"No, I'm not defending German technical superiority, I'm stating the fucking obvious!"
- – Anonymous Soviet soldier, Company of Heroes 2
The armored fists of the Fatherland are back, with one of the most successful tanks ever designed. The Leopard 2 is currently one of the heaviest and most expensive tanks in the world. The Leopard 2 has influenced modern tank design around the world with some systems proving so successful that they have been adapted onto other nations vehicles. Particularly the Rheinmetall 120mm L/44 smoothbore cannon with hydraulic recoil compensation which has become the standard tank cannon for all of NATO and was adapted for American use as the primary weapon of the M1A1 Abrams and later variants.
In Team Yankee
You poor, majestic beast.
The Leopard 2 is the strongest MBT in the game when it comes to tank-on-tank engagements. The 120mm L/44 smoothbore grants the Leopard 2 a ROF of 2 shots both on the move and stationary, perfect for Commanders who prefer to fight a mobile war, and the AT value of 22 practically overwhelms Soviet armor from the front while if you manage to get their side armor by sneaking through a forest that they thought was impossible to traverse than it is simply game over for those sorry communist bastards. In addition you get a pair of MG3 7.62mm Machine guns to deal with infantry, one of which can be employed in an AA role.
The Leopard 2 is protected by the second strongest frontal armor in the game with a value of 18
Damn Yankees. It also gets additional protection against HEAT warheads with the Chobham Armor Package increasing the side armor to 16 against them, though the unaltered value of 7 is enough to deal with things like autocanons and such.
But why haven't these units seen more play? Mostly because tanks in Team Yankee have proven to be far too inefficient when competing against infantry, especially with affordable ATGMs for all. The Leopard holds the crown for having some of the worst efficiency in the game unless used for the specific role of tank combat. For ELEVEN POINTS PER TANK (did we mention how expensive they were?), a Leopard 2 Zug would cost between 22 to 33 points! If taken in twos, a Leopard has a very real chance of bailing on the spot due to morale, meaning that the true minimum cost is 33 points. For this, your opponent could have purchased an infantry platoon, with artillery and a couple of ATGMs. Even the Germans could have purchased an infantry COMPANY with some support for the price.
This is worsened by the fact that anti-tank roles can be performed better by a Leopard 1 Kompanie. Instead of taking three Leopard 2s, you could have taken 7 Leopard 1s for 21 points, a Jaguar Zug for 4-6 points and have LEFTOVER POINTS. In the current meta of infantry, there is little reason to bring expensive tank killers when the days of T-72 hordes are long gone.
With much sadness, the Leopard 2 is relegated to the realms of casual play and friendly games despite it being one of the prettiest panzers around. Maybe just maybe the low model sales may trigger something in someone that makes these things to lower their pointage in a new edition or bumping up their stats. -cough M1IP cough-
Update: As of April 2018, West German Commanders are authorized to fill their panzer zugs with up to 4 tanks while having 3 platoons per kompanie. We're all confident in your 44 point platoon carrying the game.
Dutch Leopard 2 platoons form the backbone of the tank squadrons, coming in units of 2-4 at 10 points each. Only 1 tank is allowed in the HQ, while the Recon (Verkennings) squadron can take up to two pairs of Leopard 2s.
However, this discount comes at a price: dropping to 4+ skill and morale. The survival of Leopard 2s relies on the player being able to maneuver their vehicles to minimize any return fire, given that a single piece costs around 10 points. A failed 'shoot and scoot' order would typically be met with casualties as your Leopards are hammered with ATGMs or tank guns: they are strong but far from impervious against dedicated anti-armor.
Now for a plot twist: you will probably be buying a couple of these at higher point levels. Why? Because this is the best anti-tank option you can get for the Dutch. While a unit of PRATs might suffice at the lower point levels, vehicle ATGMs is a pretty iffy choice in general. A platoon of Leopards has the ability to pick off enemy tanks from pretty much any point of the table when managed correctly, with orders used to minimize the chance of your tanks blowing up.
It may not be the best tank overall, but it's still the king in a tank fight.
With the Leopard 1 entering service in the mid 1960s, it soon became apparent that a successor should be developed to better fit the modern battlefield and utilize newly developed technologies. The Bundeswehr initially partnered with the US of A in the development of the MBT-70, but as time marched on and more and more money was sunk into the program, it soon became apparent that the MBT-70 was never going to see service. With this in mind, West Germany began to look into ways to upgrade the Leopard 1 platform while utilizing as much as they could from the failed MBT-70.
The result of this was the Leopard 2. The first Leopard 2 prototypes were initially armed with the 105mm L7 gun which basically equipped all of NATO, and few of these 105mm armed Leopards were actually sent over to the US to be tested against their American sibling, the brand new XM1 Abrams, but soon the 120mm L/44 was mounted after it became apparent that a more powerful weapon was needed to deal with modern Soviet armor. The Americans definitely appreciated the Leopard, but they chose to stick with the Abrams, and began to work on ways to make as many parts interchangeable between the two tanks.
The Leopard 2 remains in service to this day and makes up the majority of every NATO nation's MBT force. Even nations as far as Indonesia choose to equip their armored forces with the Leopard 2, thanks to its legendary reliability, excellent gun accuracy and toughness. In the 21st century, the Leopard 2 competes rather comfortably with contemporary designs like the T-90, Abrams and Challenger 2, depending on mission requirements and environment. Even as the Russians experiment with the T-14's 152mm main gun, the Germans are testing out the 130mm. Time will tell which is the caliber of the future.
Meanwhile Germany and France are co-developing what many call the "Leopard 3" by the 2030s. In an attempt to avoid falling into the pitfall that now plagues many western weapon procurement programs. By that time laser Active Protect systems might actually be a thing.
|West German Forces in Team Yankee|
|Tanks:||Leopard 2 - Leopard 1|
|Transports:||Fuchs Transportpanzer - Marder Zug - M113 Armored Personnel Carrier|
|Troops:||M113 / Marder Panzergrenadier Zug - Aufklarüngs Zug|
|Artillery:||Raketenwerfer Batterie - M109 Howitzer - M113 Panzermörser Zug|
|Anti-Aircraft:||Roland Flak Batterie - Gepard Flakpanzer Batterie - Fliegerfaust Gruppe|
|Tank Hunters:||Jaguar Jagdpanzer|
|Recon:||Luchs Spah Trupp - M113 OP|
|Aircraft:||Tornado - BO-105P|
|Dutch Forces in Team Yankee|
|Tanks:||Leopard 1 - Leopard 2|
|Transports:||YPR-765 IFV - M113 Armored Personnel Carrier|
|Troops:||M113 Tirailleur Peleton/YPR 765 Pantserinfanterie Peloton|
|Artillery:||107mm/120mm Mortier Peloton - M109 Veldartillerie Batterij|
|Anti-Aircraft:||Gepard Flakpanzer Batterie - Stinger Peloton|
|Tank Hunters:||YPR-765 PRAT|
|Recon:||M113 C&V Ploeg - YPR-765 OP|