The Marder (German for "marten") is a German infantry fighting vehicle operated by the German Army as the main weapon of the Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) from the 1970s through the present day
About this creation
Developed as part of the rebuilding of Germany's armoured fighting vehicle industry, the Marder has proven to be a successful and solid infantry fighting vehicle design. While it does include a few unique features, such as the fully remote machine gun on the rear deck, it is overall a simple and conventional machine with rear exit hatch and side gun ports for mounted infantry to fire through. The Marder is currently being replaced by its successor, the Puma.
Photos by Bernard Zee
Around 2,100 Marders were taken into service by the German Army in the early 1970s, but the vehicle in its German variant was not sold to any foreign militaries. As the German Army began to retire older vehicles, the Chilean government agreed to acquire 200 Marders; the government of Greece has considered the purchase of 450 retired vehicles in the past. Argentina uses a simplified and locally produced variant, the VCTP, and has a number of vehicles based on that platform constructed by Henschel and built by TAMSE.
The A3 upgrade program began in 1988, with Thyssen-Henschel being awarded a contact to upgrade 2,100 Marder 1 A1/A2 series vehicles to A3 standard at a rate of 220 a year. The first upgraded vehicles reached the German army on 17 November 1989. The modification package included:
- Improved armour weighing 1,600 kg intended to protect against the 30 mm 2A42 cannon on the Russian BMP-2. The armour also provided additional protection against cluster boomlets.
- The hatches over the infantry compartment were re-arranged.
- Turret was reconfigured.
The hull of the Marder 1 is all welded steel, giving protection from small-arms fire and shell fragments with the front of the hull providing protection from up to 20 millimeters APDS rounds. Later variants had increased protection up to 30mm APDS, in response to the 30 mm autocannon armed BMP-2 and the development of top attack cluster bomblets.
The Marder 1A3 is the currently most common version of this system, and is in service with the German Bundeswehr, the Marder 1A4 differs from the 1A3 only by the use of a cryptography-capable radio-set. Newest version of the Marder is the Marder 1A5 with advanced mine protection. Only a small number of this variant is in service.
Primary armament is the 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 autocannon mounted in the small two-man turret which can fire either armour-piercing or HE rounds. Mounted coaxially to the left of the cannon is a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun. The turret has 360 degree traverse, and can elevate from -17 degrees to +65 degrees at a rate of 40 degrees per second while traversing at a rate of 60 degrees a second. Early Marders up to and including version 1A1 had a second MG3 mounted on the rear deck in a remote controlled pod. Typically 1,250 rounds are carried for the 20 mm cannon, along with a further 5,000 rounds for the MG3.
With the first unit delivered in Summer 1971, the Marder IFV remained untested in combat for 38 years until July 2009 when they defended a German combat outpost against the Taliban in Chahar Dara district of Afghanistan's Kunduz Province, killing and wounding scores. Since then, the Marders have been involved in heavy fighting several times. The vehicles proved to be extremely useful and were praised as a great tactical asset by German troops.
However, the crews were subject to great physical stress as none of the vehicles had been equipped with air conditioning systems.
In June 2011, A German Marder was destroyed near Kunduz by a 200kg IED, killing one soldier and injuring five others.
Below is the Marder 1A1 at the museum I work at.
Even has a license plate.
Weight - 28.5 tons
Length - 6.79 m
Width - 3.24 m
Height - 2.98 m
Crew - 3+7
Armor - Welded steel, protection up to 20 mm APDS DM43 from 0 m and 25 mm APDS from 200 m
Main armament - 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon
Secondary armament - 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun
Engine - MTU MB 833 Ea-500 diesel engine w/600 hp
Ground clearance - 0.45 m
Fuel capacity - 652 L
Range - 520 km
Speed - 75 km/h