therealisnes: Interesting proposition, thanks for sharing it. Can you tell us some details about the Centurion Mk 5/1 and the CEGA/IND please? Also imagine the shitstorm if the Romanian tech tree got the Zrínyi II earlier than the Hungarians would get it. 😀
A: Thanks for the compliment! Anyhow, according to Ion Mihai Pacepa’s damning exposé, “Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief”, the Romanian government was able to obtain Western designs through various insidious manners. If you don’t know who Pacepa is, he is the highest ranking officer to ever defect from the Eastern Bloc and was a three-star general of the Securitate (essentially, the Romanian KGB). I know some Romanians that have strong negative feelings about him.
Normally, I wouldn’t give his book much thought. However, one peculiar piece of information caught my eyes. Before I elaborate on it, let me explain what the Cega/Independence (Independence was shorten to IND) is.
According to Pacepa, Romanian intelligence was able to sneakily obtain plans on a “Leopard 2”. However, the plans for the engine were too detailed and complicated to copy and manufacture. As a result, they somehow got the president of the engine manufacturer of the “Leopard 2” to help them out with their troubles. Romania built a husk of the “Leopard 2”. It was pretty much a metal husk, no engines, weaponry, etc. They eventually completed the whole thing. The name “Cega” is a mix of ‘Ce’ from Ceausescu, the Romanian communist leader at the time and ‘ga’ from Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator who was funding Romania’s tank program and whom the tank was intended for. The vehicle wasn’t intended for Romania’s national security and it wasn’t only intended for Libya. It was also an export vehicle which Romania could make a profit from so it another name which was “Independence”.
The reason why i believe this to be true is due to the fact the Cega/Independence had difficulties involving the engine which the TR-77/TR-800 (a spiritual precursor to the TR-85) as well. The TR-85 and TR-77/TR-800 had a West German MTU engine which developed 830 hp. This is very similar to the one on the Leopard 1 which also had an MTU engine. This is why I believe that the Cega/Independence was actually a Leopard 1.
About the Centurion, this may get a bit political, Romania apparently exchanged Romanian Jewish people for an Israeli Centurion and then wanted plans of the Centurion. They also considered producing the Centurion.
Even though you didn’t ask about the AMX-13, I’ll throw it in here since it’s related. The PLO supposedly gifted a tank which very much sounds like an ex-Israeli AMX-13 to the Romanians. They also considered producing it. I’m in the midst of making an article on the Cega/Independence and will be providing some speculation and skepticism.
You’re definitely right about the Zrinyi II, but I threw it in because why not. I’m happy to remove it, there are enough TD premiums already.