With the deteriorating condition on the European mainland during the opening phases of World War 2 (1939-1945), neutral Sweden continued to evolve its Stridsvagn L-60 (Strv L-60) Light tank series against the very real threat of invasion from either Germany in the West or the Soviet Union in the East. The L-60 was designed as early as 1934 and manufactured in limited numbers by AB Landsverk across subsequent variants, all based on the standardized design. The evolution of the line eventually led to the Stridsvagn m/38 model of 1938 and, ultimately, the wartime Stridsvagn m/39 (Strv m/39) model of 1940.
The Strv m/39 featured revisions at the turret that included a better-protected mantlet design. It was armed with the still-useful 37mm Bofors main gun and operated by a crew of three - driver, commander, and gunner. Power was through a single Scania-Vabis 6-cylinder, water-cooled gasoline-fueled engine developing 142 horsepower which allowed for road speeds to reach up to 28 miles per hour. Dimensions included an overall length of 15.3 feet, a width of 6.7 feet, and a height of 6.8 feet. Anti-infantry and local defense was handled by 2 x 8mm Ksp m/36 machine guns.
Its profile remained largely faithful to the earlier Swedish offerings. There was a shallow hull superstructure with a traversing turret fitted over the front section ahead of midships. The driver managed a position in the front hull. The engine was installed in a compartment at the rear of the vehicle. The running gear included a track arrangement encompassing four road wheels with the drive sprocket at front and track idler at rear. Two track return rollers assisted the track links along the upper portion of the hull sides.
Some 20 vehicles arrived during 1940 and these were further armored during the war years as the war in Europe began to clearly showcase limitations in existing light-class combat tanks - particularly those with prewar origins like the m/39. Its 37mm main armament would have been woefully outdone by German and Soviet offerings. The Swedish tank line then moved on to introduce the Stridsvagn m/40 (Strv m/40) model of 1941 and the Strv m/42 then followed. Despite all this, Sweden was able to maintain its neutrality during World War 2 and its tank force never put into action.
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