Big Bang Ricochet 039: Germany’s HS-30 IFV

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As the Cold War progressed in the 1950’s, West Germany saw a need to get its defense industry rolling again. Through the 50’s, political corruption and influence from the survivors of the Wehrmacht produced a number of ’educational’ contracts, issued to help German industry relearn the art of manufacturing military goods.

From one of these sprang an innovative vehicle. Armored troop carriers were a relatively new war machine, produced mainly in the form of lightly armored logistics vehicles or converted from medium tanks and SPGs. After the war, development of dedicated armored personnel carriers began in earnest. However, this particular German APC was substantially different. On its roof was mounted a tiny one man turret outfitted with the most ungodly weapon to be put into the hands of infantry - a 20mm automatic cannon.

The HS-30 was the world’s first Infantry Fighting Vehicle, an armored vehicle that not only carted troops around as a battlefield taxi, but it also enabled the troops it carried to fight without leaving the vehicle, including the provision of some serious firepower beyond what the squad packed on its own.

Though the first, the HS-30 was by no means the best, plagued by a laundry list of problems that lead to some vehicles being scrapped without ever firing a shot. However, though the West German military quickly replaced the HS-30, the vehicle is still in service as an IFV in South America, some 50 years after the Germans first fielded it.

This issue also includes Big Bang entries for the Hispano-Suiza HS-820 20mm Automatic Cannon and the M40 106mm Recoilless Rifle.


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