A running Panzer 57/60 tank, a Swiss Centurion variant, has been donated to The Tank Museum by the Swiss Army – Centre for Historic Equipment of the Armed Forces (CHEAF).
Head of Collections, Chris van Schaardenburgh, “The Centurion is an iconic post-war British tank and we’re really pleased to have this Swiss variant in the collection.”
The Centurion is widely considered to be one of the most successful post-war tanks, due to its reliability and its capacity for modification. This flexibility and effectiveness meant the tank was in British service for over 50 years and exported to over 20 different countries, where its variants remain in service today.
When the Swiss Army were looking for a new tank in the 1950’s, the Centurion’s success during the Korean War, 1950-53, made it a desirable choice. They bought a total of 312 tanks and 30 Armoured Recovery Vehicles between 1955 and 1961, the first of which were named Panzer 55.
As the vehicles were upgraded and modified with Swiss equipment, they moved through a series of variants including the Panzer 55/60 and the Panzer 57/60. The Panzer 57/60, now on display in the Museum’s Cold War Hall, replaced the Centurion’s 20 pounder gun with the L7 105mm weapon.
Chris van Schaardenburgh continued, “We are incredibly grateful to the Swiss Army – Centre for Historic Equipment of the Armed Forces for donating this vehicle to us in such good running condition.
“It’s currently on display for visitors to see in the Cold War Hall and we look forward to seeing it operating in The Tank Museum arena at our events in the future.”
Discover the history of the Centurion tank, from Historian David Fletcher on The Tank Museum’s YouTube channel.