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TM-170 Sonderwagen 4

This armored car is based upon a Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG truck chassis and is used by a number of countries, including Macedonia. The Sonderwagen 4 (SW 4 - special car) has been used by the German Federal Government and the Lnder since 1984. The Sonderwagen 4 was produced in series from 1989 and was supposed to replace the outdated Sonderwagen I and II and represent a supplement to the Sonderwagen III (Mercedes off-road vehicle). The vehicle has protective armor from Thyssen.

The Sonderwagen 4 is used for the protected transport of people and material, but it also serves to clear obstacles during disaster operations or demonstrations. With the addition of the barricade, the vehicle can also be used to secure places and to drive away demonstrators. There were two versions of the SW 4: the platoon SW and the group SW. The only difference, however, was that the towing vehicle had a winch on the left side of the vehicle. The protected (3rd) platoons of the BGS-Einsatzhundschaften each had 1 platoon leader and three group SW.

In 1995 and 1996, 121 Sonderwagens 4 were handed over to the Bundeswehr as part of the reduction in the number of vehicles used by the Federal Border Police. There they were not used, however, but were partly sold on to the Macedonian army or police. But even today there are still Sonderwagens 4 in use at the BGS.

South Korean companies Doosan Infracore Defense Products BG, Shinjeong and Korea Vehicle Corporate offer near-copies of the TM-170. It is not clear what, if any, licensing arrangement exists between Rheinmetall and Doosan/Shinjeong/Kovico. Doosan offers the Barracuda with Shinjeong offering the S-5 while Korea Vehicle Corporate offers the Black Shark. The South Korean-made vehicles are in service with Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam.

The Macedonian vehicle is referred to as the Hermelin, which translates into Stoat/Ermine. An ermine is a small mammal with a very soft winter coat. Ermines look a bit like large weasels. An ermine is another name for a stoat, particularly when its fur is white for the winter. These small mammals are related to the weasel, and are a part of the Mustelidae family. Other members of the Mustelidae family include otters, badgers, minks, wolverines, and martens. The ermine ranges across the northern hemisphere, throughout North America and Eurasia.

Ermines are incredibly fond of rabbits, such as the cottontail. Despite the fact that rabbits are several times larger than ermines, these predators can easily overpower their prey. Ermines put up one heck of a fight! They use their sharp teeth to defend themselves from predators. Small and swift, ermines move quickly from burrow to crevice and between in search of food. The smaller females are skilled at pursuing their prey deep underground. They will also climb into trees to search for bird nests, including species many sizes larger than themselves. Because their fur is so soft and luxurious, hunters often target ermines. In some places, wearing their fur is a symbol of high status and even royalty.

The separate frame and body type of vehicle construction is the most common construction technique employed by vehicle manufacturers, particularly in the field of cargo vehicles. In this type of construction, the chassis frame and the vehicle body are separate entities, each a complete unit by itself. The chassis frame is designed to support the weight of the body and absorb all of the loads imposed by the terrain, suspension system, power plant, drive train, and steering system; while the body merely contains and, in some cases, protects the cargo. The body is generally bolted to the frame at a few discrete points to allow for flexure of the frame and to distribute the loads to the intended load carrying members.

In contrast, Armored Personnel Carriers [APC] and Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles [AIFV] have an integrated frame and body. The integral frame and body type of construction, also referred to as unitized construction, combines the frame and body into a single, one-piece structure by welding components together, by forming or casting the entire structure as one piece, or by a combination of these techniques. Merely welding a conventional body to a conventional chassis frame, however, does not constitute an integral frame and body construction. In a truly integrated structure, the entire frame-body unit is treated as a load-carrying member that reacts to all of the loads experienced by the vehicle-road loads as well as cargo loads.

In Macedonia, on 22 March 2018 a bullet fired from a machine gun mounted on "ermine" hit the two wounded soldiers this morning in the Tetovo barracks, informed the Basic Public Prosecutor's Office. A competent public prosecutor from the Public Prosecutor's Office in Tetovo inspected the ARM hangar where two members of the army were injured while cleaning weapons from a military exercise. According to the initial information, the event happened when two soldiers from the team, after returning from a military exercise in Stip, took off the machine gun weighing 35 kg which was mounted on "ermine". At the moment of transferring the machine gun to the hangar, he fired a bullet that injured two other soldiers who were cleaning the weapons - say the Public Prosecutor's Office.

The competent public prosecutor talked to several soldiers who were eyewitnesses of the whole event and who explained that the machine gun got stuck several times during the military exercise in Stip. In order to fully clarify the case, by order of a competent public prosecutor, an expert examination of the machine gun and the cartridge found on the spot will be performed, and the entire protocol of the performed military exercise in Stip will be examined.

In addition, the complete medical documentation for the two injured soldiers, who are currently in stable condition and out of danger, will be obtained. The event is being investigated by the Criminal Police Department of the Military Police, which will also submit its report to the competent public prosecutor.

In Macedonia, on 30 July 2019 in the area of the barracks "Gjorce Petrov", where the armored vehicles "Hermelin" are located, police officers checked the correctness of the armored vehicles and a 25-year-old police officer driving "Hermelin H09" ran over the foot of a 38-year-old police officer. The injured person was treated at the City General Hospital "September 8". The case was reported to the Public Prosecutor's Office Skopje, on whose order an on-site inspection was performed. The Department for Internal Control, Criminal Investigations and Professional Standards of the Ministry of Interior is taking a measure within their competence.

In Macedonia, on 04 April 2014 The personnel of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion (4th MPB) - Kicevo from the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade carried out the planned exercises and shooting with an armored personnel carrier "Hermelin" of AP Krivolak, with the declared company for the Protection of the European Union (EUBG 2014-2). At the stationary camp, the training was realized at several different locations, and at each of them the staff got acquainted with the advantages, limitations and opportunities offered by the field of AP Krivolak.

As always, the "Leopards" from the 4th MPB achieved excellent results and met the required criteria and standards in combat procedures and performing tactical exercises with combat shooting of mechanized infantry units and lines. The exercise activities continue with the staff of the reconnaissance company from the Central Infantry Battalion Group (SPBG) at the upcoming exercise "Macedonian Flash 10" which will be realized in the period from 05-12.04. 2014 at AP Krivolak.




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