"Knowledge is power"
Tanktastic Reviews: Leopard 2A4
~ Index ~
~ History ~
~ In-game overview ~
~ Modules and upgrades ~
~ Getting the best outta it & Dealing with one ~
~ References & Credits ~
~ Special thanks ~
~ History ~
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army.
It's worth mentioning that even as the Leopard 1 was entering service in 1965, an up-gunned version equipped with the new Rheinmetall L44 120mm gun was being considered to keep pace with newer Soviet designs.
|Experimental Entwicklung KPz Keiler or “Guilded Leopard” (1969). This was the first prototype of the future Leopard 2|
However, despite promising test results, this project was cancelled in favour of the MBT-70 programme, developed jointly with the United States. Developement of the futuristic and ambitious MBT ultimately proved excessively expensive and troublesome due to severe technical and design flaws which were never completely resolved.
|German MBT-70 (Bundeswehr designation: KampfPanzer 70) in 1970. The ambitious MBT programme was halted due to skyrocketing costs and several design flaws.|
Only after Germany withdrew from the project in 1969, following large cost overruns, work on a national development was started, with seventeen prototypes ordered in 1971.
There are two main development batches of the tank: the original models, up to Leopard 2A4, which have vertically faced turret armour, and the improved models, namely the Leopard 2A5 and newer versions, which have angled arrow-shaped turret appliqué armour together with other improvements.
• The baseline Leopard 2A0, sometimes informally called this way to differentiate it from later versions, was the first series manufactured version. The vehicles were manufactured from October 1979 until March 1982, altogether 380 vehicles. 209 were built by Krauss Maffei and 171 by MaK. The basic equipment consisted of electrical-hydraulic WNA-H22, a fire control computer, a laser rangefinder, a wind sensor, a general purpose telescope EMES 15, a panorama periscope PERI R17, the tower sight FERO Z18, on the tower roof as well as a computer controlled tank testing set RPP 1–8. 200 of the vehicles had a low-light enhancer (PZB 200) instead of a thermal imaging. Two chassis served as driver training vehicles.
|Leopard 2A0 of the first batch in 1979. Notice the PZB 2000 image intensifier mounted over the gun mantlet. There was also a wind sensor but not yet any thermal imager.|
• The Leopard 2A1 featured minor modifications and the installation of the gunner's thermal sight. Deliveries of the 2A1 models started in March 1982 and ended in November 1983. The two most notable changes were the modification of the ammunition racks to be identical to those in the M1 Abrams, and redesigned fuel filters that reduced refuelling time.
|Camouflaged Leopard 2A1 in the 1980s.|
• The Leopard 2A2 was the designation given to upgraded vehicles of the first batch of Leopard 2s, brought up to the standard of the second and third batches. This modernisation gradually replaced the original PZB 200 sights in the first batch with thermal sights for the EMES 15 as they became available. Furthermore the upgrade included the fitting of filler openings and caps to the forward hull fuel tanks to allow separate refuelling, as well as the addition of a deflector plate for the periscope and a large coverplate to protect the existing NBC protection system. Finally, the tank was given new five metre towing cables with a different position. The programme began in 1984 and ended in 1987.
|Bundeswehr Leopard 2A2, first modified batch, 4th kompanie, 33th batallion.|
• The Leopard 2A3 was the designation given to slightly modified vehicles of the fourth batch: 300 vehicles; 165 by Krauss-Maffei (Chassis Nr. 10624 to 10788) and 135 by Mak (Chassis Nr. 20510 to 20644), delivered between December 1984 and December 1985. The main change was the addition of the SEM80/90 digital radio sets (also being fitted to the Leopard 1 at the same time), and the ammunition reloading hatches being welded shut.
|Bundeswehr Leopard 2A3 undergoing winter trials.|
• The Leopard 2A4 is the most widespread version of the Leopard 2 family; the Leopard 2A4 models included more substantial changes, including an automated fire and explosion suppression system, an all-digital fire control system able to handle new ammunition types, and improved turret with flat titanium/tungsten armour.
|Bundeswehr Leopard 2A4 of the 7th batch, 214th Panzer Batallion, 7th Panzer Division, CMTC Hohenfels, October 1990.|
The Leopard 2s were manufactured in eight batches between 1985 and 1992. All the older models were also upgraded to 2A4 standard. Until 1994 Germany operated a total of 2,125 2A4s (695 newly built and the rest modified older versions), while the Netherlands had an additional 445 tanks. The 2A4 was also license manufactured in Switzerland as the Panzer 87 "Leopard" or Pz 87. This version included Swiss-built 7.5mm Mg 87 machine guns and communications equipment, and featured improved NBC protection system. Switzerland operated 380 Pz 87 tanks.
After 2000, Germany and the Netherlands found themselves with large stocks of tanks they had no need for, because of the end Cold War. These tanks were sold to NATO or friendly armies around the world. Among these were Austria, which received 114 vehicles, Canada (107), Chile (140), Denmark (51), Finland (139), Greece (183), Norway (52), Poland (128), Portugal (37), Singapore (96), Spain (108), Sweden (160), and Turkey (354) were among the buyers of the surplus tanks.
~ In-Game Overview ~
The Leopard 2 featured in Tanktastic can be fully upgraded from the basic Leopard 2A0 to the latter Leopard 2A4; therefore, from now on, I will refer to it as its completely upgraded variant, i.e. the Leopard 2A4.
Since in Tanktastic the Leopard 2 groups, aside from the basic A0, its upgraded variants as well, i.e. the A1, the A2, the A3 and the A4, the tank initially features a very low purchase price, though, also, a very high number of upgrades:
- Silver currency purchase price: 6400 coins. This purchase option is unlocked once reaching rank 28, Second Lieutenant.
- Gold currency purchase price: 420 coins. This purchase option is unlocked once reaching rank 26, Chief Warrant Officer Grade 2.
Due to the very high number of upgrades available, however, this MBT subsequently develops into one of the highest-tier unit in the game
- Tier development: level 39 to level 67.
- Tech tree: NATO tech tree - German line.
~ Modules and Upgrades ~
Leopard 2A4's starting stats:
• Health: 462.0
• Armor: 190.0
• Damage: 190.0
• Speed: 47.0
• Reloading speed: 1.9
• Turret rotation speed: 30.0
• Damage per minute: 6000.0
Fully upgraded Leopard 2A4's stats:
• Health: 985.0
• Armor: 663.3.0
• Damage: 400.0
• Speed: 59.4
• Reloading speed: 1.5
• Turret rotation speed: 46.0
• Damage per minute: 16000.0
• Hull upgrades: two-tier hull upgrade available. (Upgrade class II)
The Leopard 2A4 features a two-tiers hull upgrade; both are required in order to acquire most upgrades and don't change the tank's appearance; as of patch 1.22.
• Health pool upgrades: five-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class V)
Health pool upgrades: five-tier upgrade available.
The Leopard 2A4 features a five-tier health upgrade: this MBT's health pool is high; definitely above average.
Armour and Active Protection System:
• Passive armor upgrades: five-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class V)
• Reactive armor upgrade: no upgrades available. (N.A.)
• Spaced armor upgrades: two-tier upgrades available. (Upgrade class II)
• Active protection system (APS) upgrades: no upgrades available. (N.A.)
The Leopard 2A4 hull has spaced multilayer armour and is divided into three compartments: driver at the front, located at the front right side, fighting in the centre and power pack at the rear. Some variants of the Leopard 2A4 are equipped with add-on armour to increase the protection of the crew against mines and improvised explosive devices. The turret, improved with flat titanium/tungsten armour, is mounted at the centre of the hull with the commander and gunner on the right and the loader on the left. The commander is provided with a circular hatch cover that opens to the rear and periscopes for all-round observation. The loader is seated on the left side of the turret and has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear and a single day observation periscope.
|Internal crew disposition: driver situated in the front hull, commander and gunner in the turret right side, loader in the left side.|
The Leopard 2A4 features a five-tier passive armor upgrade and a two-tier spaced armour upgrade, which is actually very effective; thus granting an excellent degree of protection against HEAT rounds: This allows the Leopard 2A4 to engage enemies in close range combats should the need arise, as HEAT rounds are arguably the primary type of ammunition used in higher tier battles.
However, a major downside of this MBT is the total absence of reactive armor: the Leopard 2A4 only relies on passive armour when it comes to mitigate the damage dealt by enemy fire; even once fully upgraded, the tank's armour isn't actually very effective; with the major exception of the front turret which, on the other hand, is fairly solid indeed.
Finally, another downside of the Leopard 2A4 when it comes to protection, is the total absence of active protection systems, meaning this tank is extremely vulnerable to ATGMs. However, since ATGMs can only be carried in a limited amount, unlike any other different type of ammo, they are subsequently rarely used, thus making this a bearable downside; particularly when considering the Leopard 2A4 can be fitted with smoke grenade dischargers, providing effective protection against enemy guided missiles.
Main gun and ammunition:
• Main armament upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)
• Ammunition types and upgrades:
- Armor Piercing (AP): five-tier ammo upgrade available. Damage increased with each tier. (Upgrade class V)
- Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS): six-tier ammo upgrade available. Damage increased with each tier. (Upgrade class VI)
- High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT): six-tier upgrade available. Damage increased with each tier. (Upgrade class VI)
- Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM): six-tier ammo upgrade available. (Upgrade class VI)
- Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM): six-tier ammo upgrade available. (Upgrade class VI)
The Leopard 2A4 is armed with a 120mm smoothbore gun developed by Rheinmetall. This gun is primarily designed to fire rounds with semi-combustible cartridge cases. After firing, the metal base stub -the only thing remained of the shell itself - is ejected into a box under the gun breech.
The Leopard 2A4 is fitted with a computerized fire control which has maximum range of 10,000m with a measuring accuracy to within 20m at this range. The combined system allows the Leopard 2A4 to engage moving targets at ranges of up to 5,000 meters whilst itself being on the move over rough terrain, with the latest modern ammunitions.
|Technical Diagram of a Leopard 2A1's turret interior.|
The Leopard 2A4 features a three-tier main armament upgrade, increasing the main gun's damage and accuracy. The upgrade, however, also reduces the tank's speed and acceleration. due to the increased weight of the gun and fire-control system, starting from the second tier of the upgrade.
Once fully upgraded, the damage dealt by the Leopard 2A4's main armament is average for its tier range.
• Engine upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)
The Leopard 2A4 is motorized with an MTU MB 873 diesel engine, which provides 1,103kW of engine output. The MTU MB 873 diesel engine is a four-stroke, 47.6 liter, 12-cylinder multi-fuel, exhaust turbo-charged, liquid-cooled engine. The Leopard 2A4's resulting maximum road speed is 72km/h; maximum cruising range being 550km.
The Leopard 2A4 features a three-tier engine upgrade; once fully upgraded, this MBT is. unsurprisingly, true to its real counterpart: a very fast, though not particularly agile, main battle tank.
The engine itself is located at the rear end of the hull, and it's quite oversized, meaning engine breakdowns and engine fires may be frequent.
Reloading system / Loader skill:
• Reloading system / Loader skill upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)
The Leopard 2A4's main gun is loaded manually; a three-tier loader skill upgrade, however, results in a high rate of fire. Combined with the main armament's damage, the Leopard 2A4's resulting DPM is excellent.
Turret rotation system:
• Turret rotation system upgrades: two-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade Class II)
The Leopard 2A4 features a two-tier turret rotation system upgrade: once fully upgraded, the tank can perform a full turret rotation in less than 8 seconds. Aside from particular instances, this MBT is extremely difficult to successfully outflank while avoiding any returning fire
• Radio upgrades: one-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class I)
• Radar upgrades: two-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class II)
• Smoke grenade dischargers upgrades: four-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class IV)
• Infrared optics upgrades: one-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class I)
• Thermal optics upgrades: one-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class I)
• Fording kit upgrades: one-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class I)
• Floating kit upgrades: no upgrades available. (N.A.)
~ Getting the best outta it ~
~ Dealing with one ~
Now that we have analyzed the characteristics of the Leopard 2A4, it's time to sum up:
• Above average health pool.
• Very effective spaced armour grants an excellent degree of protection against HEAT rounds.
• Strong front turret armour and good gun depression allow for effective hull down engagements.
• The combination of good damage and fast reloading speed results in one of the highest DPMs in the game.
• Very high speed.
• Very high turret rotation speed.
• Total absence of reactive armor upgrades.
• Passive armour - with the major exception of the turret front - is not very effective.
• Total absence of active protection systems.
• Engine is oversized, resulting in frequent engine fires and engine breakdowns.
• High silhouette.
Getting the best out of it:
The Leopard 2A4 is often referred to as a "glass cannon", and for good reasons: first of all, this MBT doesn't feature any reactive armour upgrades, meaning that the damage dealt by enemy fire is mitigated only by the tank's passive armour, which, however, isn't very effective.
Therefore, despite the fact that the Leopard 2A4 features one the highest DPMs in the game, this tank is absolutely not designed for head-on engagements and for withstanding direct enemy fire: whereas your amazing DPM is mitigated by the enemy's armour, your opponents' isn't, or, at least, not as severely as yours is. Avoid encounters and engagements at close to very-close ranges whenever you possibly can; even against MBTs featuring a low DPM.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean that head-on engagements are a death sentence for this MBT: the Leopard 2A4, in fact, does feature a high degree of protection against HEAT rounds, due to its very effective spaced armour; and since shaped charge rounds happen to be the primary type of ammunition used at this tier range, this tank may fare extremely well even in dog fights. However, don't push your luck: experienced players are well aware of this, and inexperienced players are likely to quickly notice that and subsequently switch to kinetic energy rounds, like AP and APDS. You can figure out the rest. However, a good tip whenever forced in such situations is to put pressure and face-hug your opponents, hopefully forcing them to take rushed shots at your thick turret front.
Hence, always stay away from the heat of the fight whenever you can: the Leopard 2A4's amazing speed allows this MBT to reach advanced strategic positions where you can easily fire flanking shots at any unfortunate enough opponent; thus making the best use of its good DPM: most of the times, in fact, the enemy tanks you are shooting at will be dead before even realizing where you are shooting from and subsequently take countermeasures. Once you have been spotted, put that speed to good use and quickly relocate, but mind the tank's low reverse gear.
This tank is also exceptional at sniping, expecially from strategic positions that allow you to engage enemies hull down: your turret armour is quite solid indeed, and perfectly capable of withstanding a fair amount of enemy fire, while your DPM will simply obliterate any advancing enemies. Remember to fit and fully upgrade the smoke grenade dischargers: as previously remarked, the Leopard 2A4 lacks any kind of active protection systems; and most opponents will realize that the fastest way to get rid of you shooting from a strategic hull down position, is by using ATGMs. Therefore, as soon as you notice an enemy firing a guided missile at you, quickly activate the smoke grenade launchers system to avoid being hit and, in the case, relocate or wait for the smoke grenade dischargers to reload, before getting back into position.
Dealing with one:
At first glance, the Leopard 2A4 might not seem an extremely tough opponent, but never underestimate it: first of all, never use HEAT rounds against this tank, it's almost useless, due to its extremely effective spaced armour. Instead, load kinetic energy rounds; quite effective in this regard are AP rounds: the Leopard 2A4's passive armour, in fact, isn't particularly solid.
When it comes to head on engagements, never shoot at the turret front, as it's very well-armoured; instead, shoot at the tracks, the least armoured part on the entire front section. Always be ready to undertake countermeasures to avoid being outflanked and unable to retun fire, otherwise this tank's DPM will destroy you before you are able to react. That said, however, remember that the Leopard 2A4 is also prone to being outflanked itself, due to its low reverse gear and less-exceptional agility. Therefore, you can indeed try and successfully outmanoeuvre the Leopard 2A4; just be sure to have enough momentum and health points to be able to withstand some returning shots.
When it comes to mid to long range engagements, the Leopard 2A4 becomes a really hard nut to crack: relocate and try and find a safe route to get closer to the Leopard 2A4 so that you may engage it at cloooose range. Don't waste time trading shots from afar: its DPM and high health pool mean you won't get anything good out of it.
Here I end my review of the amazing German Leopard 2A4, the mighty German steel-clad kitten!
I apologize in advance should something written being wrong and I hope you enjoyed it.
Take care on the battlefield, fellow tank commanders!
~ References & Credits ~
• Jerchel, Michael; Uwe Schnellbacher (1998). Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank 1979–1998. Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey.
~ Special thanks to ~
• User "Fiutel_88" for allowing me to perform armor and miscellaneous test on his Leopard 2A4.
• And last but not least all of you who took time to read this review!
Copying/Using any part of this review anywhere else is strictly forbidden, unless my proper authorisation is given. Please, contact me in the case.