Big Bang Ricochet 101: Argentina’s DL 43 Nahuel Tank

Reference - Military Vehicles
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Designer(s): Dana Jorgensen

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Not all military hardware built in the World War II era was used to fight World War II. Many machines were built without any intention of ever seeing light of day on the battlefields of Europe, North Africa or the Pacific Rim. In this instance, we have the DL 43 Nahuel Medium Tank.

During World War II, South America was essentially left out of the war, dealing with its own various problems. Most of the nations of Latin America were hostile to one another and had long relied on military sales from other nations to keep their armies well supplied and armed. However, World War II interfered with this, quickly reducing war machines to rusting hulk for a lack of spares.

Through this period, most nations of South America were lucky if they could keep small arms and munitions facilities operation, keeping soldiers supplied in guns and ammo. However, Argentina saw a need for itself to improve its military capacity, thanks to hostilities with Brazil and Chile. Buying military vehicles from Germany, France, or the UK was out of question, and the astonishingly sudden development of the US arms industry was dedicated completely to the war. So Argentina decided to have a go at it alone.

With the cooperation of over 200 manufacturers inside the nation, Argentina built the first armored military vehicle to be designed indigenously in South America. That vehicle was the DL 43 Nahuel medium tank, a feat that would not be repeated until Cardoen in Chile and ENGESA in Brazil began developing native armored military vehicles in the late 1970’s. Even then, the second indigenous tank of Latin America, Engesa’s Osorio, appeared more than 40 years after the Nahuel.


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