The Marder 1 (“marten”) is a German Schutzenpanzer (infantry fighting vehicle) operated by the Bundeswehr as the main vehicle of the Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) from the 1970s through to the present day. Developed as part of West Germany’s reestablished armoured fighting vehicle industry, the Marder has proven to be a successful and solid infantry fighting vehicle design, well suited to partnering with the Leopard 1 tank.
While the original Marder 1 did include a few unique features, such as the fully remote machine gun on the rear deck, it was 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.
The first production Marder 1 was handed to the Bundeswehr on 7 May 1971. Production of the vehicle continued until 1975, with 2,136 vehicles being completed.
In 1975, the Milan missile was first adapted to be fired by commander from his open hatch, and between 1977 and 1979 Milan missiles were fitted to most vehicles, resulting in the Marder 1A2.
A number of upgrade programs were carried out, that included fitting night vision equipment and a thermal imager, as well as an upgraded ammunition feed to the 20 mm cannon. At this time, the rear mounted remote machine gun was removed.
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 mm APDS rounds.
The Marder is a relatively conventional design, with the driver sitting at the front left side of the hull with the engine to his right. The driver has three day periscopes mounted in a hatch. The centre periscope can be replaced by a passive night vision device. Behind the driver is a seat for a single infantry man. This man had a hatch and a periscope that could be rotated through 360 degrees.
In the centre of the hull is the two-man turret, which holds the commander on the right and the gunner on the left. Only the commander is provided with a hatch. The commander has eight day periscopes for all round observation and the gunner has an additional three. In version 1A2, there was an additional thermal sight. To the rear of the turret is the troop compartment, which can hold six infantry men, sitting back to back facing outwards along the centre of the hull.
The Marder is capable of fording in up to 1.5 meters of water unprepared, and can be fitted with a kit allowing it to ford water up to 2.5 meters deep.
The Marder is powered by an MTU six-cylinder, liquid-cooled, diesel engine which delivers approximately 591 hp. The cooling radiators are mounted at the rear of hull, either side of the exit ramp. The vehicle carries 652 litres of fuel, giving it a road range of around 500 kilometres. The Marder 1A2 could achieve a road speed of 75 km/h.
The Marder is propelled by a Diehl track, which can be fitted with rubber road pads. The drive mechanism consists of six rubber tired road wheels with a drive sprocket at the front of the hull and an idler at the rear. Three return rollers are also fitted. The suspension is a torsion bar system, with additional hydrostatic shock absorbers fitted to the front two and last two road wheels.
Primary armament is the 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 autocannon, which is mounted in the small two-man turret and 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. Typically, 1,250 rounds are carried for the 20 mm cannon, along with a further 5,000 rounds for the MG3. Six Milan missiles could be carried inside the vehicle.
There are four (two per side) gun ports, which can be used by mounted infantry to provide additional fire against attacking infantry targets. Six 76 mm diameter smoke grenade dischargers can create a visual and infra-red blocking smoke screen.
YouTube: Schützenpanzer Marder (1969)