Category: Military Vehicles

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

The M113 is an amphibious armored personnel carrier that was put into service in 1960.  It was first used in the Vietnam War in 1962 and became the most extensively used armored vehicle in the US military in that war.  Though mainly referred to by the allies as an APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or ACAV (armored cavalry assault vehicle), the M113 was often referenced by its nickname ‘Green Dragon’.  This carrier was capable of breaking through heavy jungle thicket, allowing troops to attack even the most remote enemy positions.

The M113, unlike its predecessor the M59, was made out of aluminum armor, which still provided protection against small arms fire, but made it lighter in comparison.  The lighter weight of the M113 made it easier to transport.  The US Army mainly uses the M113 today as an armored ambulance, mortar carrier or an engineer or command vehicle.  Front-line combat missions were taken over by the M2 and M3 Bradley.

Development of the M113

The M113 was also developed by the Food Machinery Corporation (FMC), manufacturers of the M59 and M75.  It bore a striking resemblance to these two earlier personnel carriers and was a combination of the best features of each.  FMC worked in conjunction with Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Company to come up with the M113s lighter armor.    FMC submitted two design proposals to the Army – the aluminum T113 and the T117, which was made mostly from steel.  The lighter aluminum, however, provided as much protection as the steel so in 1960, the US Army adopted the prototype, now known as the M113.  Once the M113 was implemented in Vietnam, it became quickly noted that survivability of the exposed commander was crucial.  Eventually, shields were created using scraps from armored vehicles.

Brief Look at the Military Use of the M113

Vietnam – the M113s were utilized heavily during the Vietnam War.  They were often used in offensive operations and search and destroy missions and were part of two of the largest invasions in Vietnam – Cambodia in 1970 and Laos in 1971.

Other Combat – Variants of the M113 Personnel Carrier have also been used in the Invasion of Panama, the Iran-Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War and are still being used today in Afghanistan.  These later variants have been modernized with newer technology and upgrades.

Specifications

  • Crew:  2
  • Passengers:  11
  • Main Armament:  M2 Browning machine gun
  • Operational Range:  300 miles
  • Speed:  42 miles per hour / 3.6 miles per hour in the water

The M113 variants remain in service today bringing total production of this armored personnel carrier well over 80,000 vehicles.

Advancements in Technology in World War II

 

In World War II, continual advancements in technology were mandatory to maintain a competitive edge over the enemy.  While technological advancements were made prior to the war, other developments were a direct result of the trials and errors suffered during the war.  The WWII era housed a great many changes which affected weaponry, logistical support, communications and intelligence, medicine and various industries.

Overview

Advancement in military weaponry occurred rapidly during the Second World War, including everything from aircraft to small arms.  At the beginning of WWII, little advancement had been seen since the end of WWI.  However, just six short years later the face of warfare morphed significantly with the military utilizing jet aircrafts and ballistic missiles.

Tanks and Vehicles

 

Due to the increased mobility of troops in WWII (vs. the static front lines of WWI), tanks saw significant advancements, including increased speed, armor and firepower.  The amphibious DUKW was another crucial development during the war and was utilized extensively for troop deployment and as a means to transport tanks to areas in need.

Ships

WWI Navy battleships no longer dominated the sea power.  Newly designed aircraft carriers were equipped with greater range and a heavier striking power.  Due to time constraints in producing new ships, older ships were being retro fitted with newly designed components.

Small Arms

 The production of small arms changed dramatically with the introduction of stamping, riveting and welding.  Semi-automatic rifles and assault rifles were also developed during this era.  A number of transformations emerged throughout this time that would affect future small arms advancements.  WWII small arms have continued to be a favorite among collectors of WWII weapons or weapons in general.

Aircraft

Aircraft development was crucial during WWII due to its increased use throughout the war – as bombers, fighters and reconnaissance.  Massive bombing raids were being utilized as an alternative to static trench warfare.  Air superiority was the goal of both the Allies and the Axis, each dedicating as much man/woman and machine power as possible to produce the ultimate air weapon.  By the end of WWII, pilots were flying jet aircrafts.  Other advancements in armament, maneuverability and radar assisted with the continual advancement of military aircraft.

Conclusion

No doubt WWII played a critical role in the industrialization of many of the nations around the world on which every military greatly relied.   As a result, incredible advancements in technology – necessitated by the advancements of the enemy – were witnessed throughout World War II.

WWII M4 Sherman Tank

The M4 Sherman Tank was the true work horse of the American Forces during WWII. The origin of the Tank came from the bloody battles toward the end of WWI.  Tanks during that time were slow, had limited mobility, and were not properly used on the battlefield.  Most military experts agreed after the war that the Tank would have a future.  Much advancement in technology came about between WWI and WWII and when war came to the shores of the United States on December 7, 1941. That’s when an iconic tank emerged, the M4 Sherman Tank.

During WWII the primary battle Tank was the M4 Sherman Tank.  The M4 was named after the great Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, who drove his Army deep into the south all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.  Between the years of 1940 to 1945 the United States produced over 50,000 Sherman Tanks.  Initially they were produced by the Lima Locomotive works, but as the war progressed, nearly a dozen companies, such as Detroit Tank, Pacific Car and Foundry Company produced the many variants of the Sherman Tank. Its primary gun was the 75 mm which had a muzzle velocity of 1,850 feet per second. After 1942 more were outfitted with 76 mm gun.  It had other weapons to assist in its missions, such as Browning 50 and 30 caliber machine guns.  It had a crew of five, but in most situations the crew usually consisted of four, led by an NCO.  At the time the armor on the M4 was the thickest of any American Tank which ranged between three inches to less than two, depending on the different areas of the vehicle.

The Sherman’s maximum speed was between 24 to 26 miles per hour.  The M4’s heart truly was its powerful Continental R-975 motor, which was used by numerous armored vehicles of WWII. Originally, it was a nine cylinder engine that was air cooled with over 400 horse power. Later on it was improved to produce over 470 horse power by the classic Chrysler A 57 multibank L-Head. General George S. Patton baptized this great Tank in the battlefields of North Africa starting off with “Operation Torch” in the North African Country of Morocco.  At first, the M4 did well against Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s German Panzer IV tank, but later as the war progressed, it had more difficulty against the powerful German Panther and Tiger Tanks. This led to the rapid advancement of the primary gun being switched to the 76mm.  After the June 6, 1944 landings in Normandy, all Sherman’s that were produced had the 76mm. The upgrades, however, only made it capable of defeating a Tiger or Panther at close range.

The Great Success of this tank was mainly because of its high numbers of production and the fine training of its crews who fought with it in the European and Pacific Theaters.  The men who fought with this tank gave it its great history.  After WWII the M4 remained in service with United States well into the Korean War and shortly afterward into the late 1950s.  It was replaced by the Patton Series Tanks, who saw service during the Vietnam War and beyond. The Sherman saw service with many other military units throughout the world well into the 1970’s.  In the world of militaria, the M4 Sherman tank is one of the most sought out tanks in the world. It is truly an American Classic.