Two excellent main battle tanks of the Cold War that could have met on the battlefield should the Soviet Union have invaded the North; the famous T-55 and the unique S-tank. If this happened, which tank was the most effective? The workhorse of the Soviet army that remains in use within 50 nations today, orSweden's low-profile tank that could make itself invisible in any terrain?
Scenario: The Soviet Union invades Finland, which is supported by Sweden. 10 T-55 tanks are on a reconaissance mission when they discover 10 S-tanks preparing a defensive line. The Soviet tanks, confident of their superiority, decide to attack. The T-55's attack from an open field while the S-tanks are dug in at the edge of a forest. The starting distance is 10 km.
Statistics T-55 Stridsvagn 103 (S-tank) Type: Main battle tank Main battle tank Origin: Soviet Union Sweden In service: 1946-present 1961-1999 Users: 50+ 1 Number built: 100,000 290 Weight: 36 t 39.7 t Length: 6.45 m 9 m Width: 3.37 m 3.6 m Height: 2.4 m 2.14 m Crew: 4 3 Armor: 20-205mm 90-100mm Main armament: 1x 100mm gun 1x 105mm gun Main gun ammunition: 34 rounds 50 rounds Main gun range: 14.6 km 8 km Main gun rate: 4 rpm 15 rpm Secondary armament: 1x 7.62mm machine gun 3x 7.62mm machine guns Engine: 581 hp 490 hp Power/weight: 14.6 hp/t 18.3 hp/t Transmission: 5 forward, 1 reverse 2 forward, 2 reverse Suspension: Torsion bar Hydropneumatic Operational range: 350 km 390 km Speed: 48 km/h 50 km/h
My own conclusion:
This is a very realistic comparison, since the Soviet Union and Sweden were not exactly best friends in the 1960's. The T-55 was the most common tank of the eastern superpower while Sweden's defense relied heavily on the unique capabilities of the S-tank (Strv 103). The S-tank is unique in its lack of turret, which gives both advantages and drawbacks over other tanks - the obvious drawback is that the entire tank has to turn in other to aim the cannon horizontally. But the S-tank is very difficult to hit and even more difficult to damage; not only is it low in height, but it also has a very deflective armor and a frontal steel grid that will make the first few rounds against the tank's front useless. Also, the S-tank can make itself almost impossible to hit by digging a trench matching the cannon's height above the ground. Let us look at the comparison instead of the non-statistical traits, though: the S-tank has a slightly more powerful cannon, much more ammunition, four times the rate of fire and three times as many machine guns. The S-tank is also slightly faster. As for armor protection, the T-55 has a much weaker minimum armor and much stronger maximum armor than the S-tank, so it all just comes down to where it hits. But the S-tank can quite easily destroy the T-55 with a good hit, while it would take more than one good hit by the T-55 to destroy the S-tank. And judging from the scenario, the S-tank has a superiority with its defensive lines and despite the T-55's ability to fire at longer ranges, accuracy will be so bad that the T-55's will close in and be destroyed.
Final conclusion: S-tank wins.