The Spähpanzer Ru 251 is a German light reconnaissance tank developed in 1964 to replace the obsolete American M41 Walker Bulldogs in service in the Bundeswehr. It was designed on the basis of the German Kanonenjagdpanzer 4-5 tank destroyer. The final product possessed exceptional mobility and armament, but with the arrival of the more powerful Leopard 1, the Ru 251 was never put into mass production.
The Spähpanzer Ru 251 light tank was conceived solely as a reconnaissance vehicle. In the early 1960s, the Bundeswehr were still using the outdated American M41 Walker Bulldogs in their armored scout battalions, however the time had come to replace them with something more modern. A program to develop a new light tank was launched in 1960. It was essential that the tank had excellent mobility and enough firepower to destroy the main Soviet tanks of the day. The first prototype was built in 1963, followed by at least one more by 1964. In 1964, the Ru 251 prototypes underwent intensive field tests, although by that time the Leopard main battle tank was already being readied for serial production and the Germans decided against ordering another tank so similar to the Leopard.
The Spähpanzer Ru 251 was built based on the Kanonenjagdpanzer 4-5 tank destroyer, borrowing the majority of its components. Instead of a cabin, the Ru 251 was fitted with a cast rotating turret. The tank was also equipped with the 90 mm Rheinmetall BK 90 gun, the German version of the American 90 mm M36 installed on the M47 Patton IIs. Like its forefather, the Ru 251 possessed remarkable mobility and firepower, but lacked any shell-proof armor. The work on the Ru 251 prototypes was strictly confidential, and details of its development are still kept under wraps by the Bundeswehr today.
Despite attempts to keep this scout under the radar, its path is now clear to join the battlefield in War Thunder. Soon every player will be able to feel the wind in their hair and relish breakneck speeds as the Ru 251 outstrips other tanks, evading shells and leaving opponents languishing in the dust. Yes, the Ru 251 will wrest the garland of victory from the muddy tracks of the M18 Hellcat and set a new landmark speed – 80 km/h! An impressive top speed is all well and good, but first you need to get there, and the Ru 251’s 650 horsepower diesel engine will make sure that you do. The power-to-weight ratio of this 25-ton vehicle is a meaty 25.4 horsepower per ton, and with such a formidable capacity, it’s safe to say that the Ru 251 won’t be dawdling in the rear guard.
The tank’s armament is also nothing to sniff at. Plenty of players are already familiar with the exceptional armor-piercing qualities of the 90 mm cannons on the KanJPz 4-5, so they’ll be pleased to see them again on the Ru 251. This weapon is already capable of piercing any SPG or tank available in War Thunder, but with an amendment to the mount on the rotating turret and the increased speed of its new carrier it will become an even greater threat. As before, the ammunition complement includes three shell types – APCRs, non-rotating HEAT shells and high-explosive shells – meaning that the Ru 251 has something for everyone.
As a light tank designed for reconnaissance, the Ru 251 is not equipped for full-scale firefights with an opponent and its light bulletproof armor reflects this. The Ru 251’s 20mm of armor can comfortably withstand a burst from a high-caliber machine gun, but is vulnerable to anything bigger. This is understandable, however, as this tank is built to quickly move around an opponent from the sides or rear and deal a lightning strike before taking cover. Any excess armor would only hinder such maneuvers.
This new addition in update 1.67, a superb steel scout, new land speed record-holder and all-around superb tank, will soon delight all fans of light armored vehicles and take its place at rank IV on the German tech tree as a premium. Wipe off your grimy speedometers and get ready for the Ru 251 – the fastest tank in War Thunder!
The War Thunder Team
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