Marder (IFV)

June 19, 2008

The Marder (German for “marten”) is a German infantry fighting vehicle operated by the German Army as the main weapon of the Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) from the 1970s through the present day. Developed as part of the rebuilding of Germany’s armoured fighting vehicle industry, the Marder has proven to be a successful and solid infantry fighting vehicle design. While it does include a few unique features, such as the fully remote machine gun on the rear deck, it is overall a simple and conventional machine with rear exit hatch and side gun ports for mounted infantry to fire through. Its successor, the Puma, is under development.

The government of Greece (as of 2007) due to budget problems postponed negotiations with the German army for the purchase of 500 Marder vehicles, following the development of Germany’s new Puma IFV. The vehicles were previously used by the German Army and are to be retired.


Development of the Marder ran from January 1960, when the first development contracts were issued, to 7 May 1971, when the first production vehicles were given to the German army.

The vehicle was intended to be an improvement over the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30. The main requirements were:
A capacity of 12 infantrymen.
A more reliable 20 mm cannon.
The infantry must be able to fight from within the vehicle or dismounted.
Protection from Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons.

Initially development contracts were awarded to two groups of companies the Rheinstahl group (Rheinstahl-Hanomag, Ruhrstahl, Witten-Annen, Büro Warnecke) and the second group comprising Henschel Werke and the Swiss MOWAG company. This resulted in the production of seven prototype vehicles. A second set of eight prototype vehicles were built between 1961 and 1963. Development priority was then switched for a while to the development of the Jagdpanzer 90 mm Kanone.

In 1967, after military requirements were fininalized, a third and final set of ten prototypes were built. Final development work was completed by the Rheinstahl group, and 10 pre-production vehicles were built and completed troop trials with the German army between October 1968 and March 1969. In May 1969, the vehicle was officially named the “Marder 1” and in October Rheinstahl was chosen as the prime contractor.

The first production Marder 1 was handed to the German army 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 army vehicles.

A number of upgrade programs were carried out, that included fitting night vision equipment and a thermal imager, as well as upgraded the ammunition feed to the 20 mm cannon.

The A3 upgrade program began in 1988, with Thyssen Henschel being awarded a contact to upgrade 2,100 Marder 1 A1/A2 series vehicles to A3 standard at a rate of 220 a year. The first upgraded vehicles reached the German army on 17 November 1989. The modification package included:
Improved armour weighing 1,600 kg intended to protect against the 30 mm 2A42 cannon on the Russian BMP-2. The armour also provided additional protection against cluster bomblets.
The hatches over the infantry compartment were re-arranged.
Suspension was reinforced, a new braking system was installed, the gearbox adjusted. The heating system was replaced with a water based heating system.
Turret was reconfigured.
Total weight is now 35,000 kg.


A Marder 1 A3 fires its 20 mm cannon in an exercise.

Primary armament is the 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 autocannon mounted in the small two-man turret which 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. Early Marders up to and including version 1A1 had a second MG3 mounted on the rear deck in a remote controlled pod. Typically 1,250 rounds are carried for the 20 mm cannon, along with a further 5,000 rounds for the MG3.

On current models since version 1A2, a MILAN anti-tank guided missile launcher can be attached to the turret to provide enhanced anti-armour capabilities. Typically six missiles are 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. Only Marder 1A1 and 1A2 had been equipped with this. Marder 1A3 and above do not have gun ports due to an extra layer of amour and outside storage boxes.

Six 76 millimeter diameter smoke grenade dischargers can create a visual and infra-red blocking smoke screen.

Type    Infantry fighting vehicle
Place of origin    West Germany
Service history
In service    1971-present
Used by    Germany
Weight    28.5 t (Marder 1)
30.0 (Marder 1A1)
33.5 t (Marder 1A3)
Length    6.79 m (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
6.88 m (Marder 1A3)
Width    3.24 (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
3.38 m (Marder 1A3)
Height    2.98 m (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
3.015 m (Marder 1A3)
Crew    3+7 (Marder 1)
3+5-6 (Marder 1A1, Marder 1A3)

Armor    Welded steel, protection up to 20 mm APDS
Marder 1A3 onwards – spaced welded steel up to 30 mm APDS
armament    20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon
MILAN ATGM launcher
armament    7.62 mm MG3 machine gun
Engine    MTU MB 833 Ea-500 diesel engine
600 hp (441 kW)
Transmission    RENK HSWL 194
Suspension    Torsion bar
Ground clearance    0.45 m (Marder 1, Marder 1A3)
0.44 m (Marder 1A1)
Fuel capacity    652 l
range    520 km (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
500 km (Marder 1A3)
Speed    75 km/h (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
65 km/h (Marder 1A3)

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