Development of the Leopard 1 can be traced back to November 1956, when the operational requirement for a new battle tank was formulated by the Federal German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). Originally a Franco-German project, the tank under design was named the 'Standard-Panzer'. The French later dropped out, however, and on 1 October 1963 the 'Standard' tank was officially named 'Leopard', an appropriate choice considering Germany's wartime pedigree with the formidable Tiger and Panther. This book traces the development and service record of the Leopard 1, detailing its control systems, modifications and variants.
Michael Jerchel was born in 1956 and is interested mainly in Western and former Soviet military equipment, as is reflected in his work as a freelance journalist and author. He is a recognized authority on modern German armour, having also published New Vanguard 6: T-72 Main Battle Tank 1974-93 and New Vanguard 24: Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank 1979-1998. He lives and works in Hanover, Germany.