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M113

m113 model

Two of each vehicle were put through their paces in hot dry and hot wet climates to determine the most appropriate vehicle for Australian service. These were the same standard vehicles that were in service with the US Army. During the trials the vehicles were left in the Jungle for two weeks with out touching them.

Before purchasing the M113 the Australian Army learned of the diesel engined M113A1 with it's better operating range and being less likely to catch fire. The M113A1 finally arrived in Melbourne Australia in early 1965. One of the main differences of the Australian M113A1 was the large ventilation blower on the cargo hatch on the roof of the M113A1. The large domed ventilator on the standard M113 was omitted. The early M113A1 batch were painted in Khaki Brown, and had 6 digit registration numbers beginning with "134". After 1972 the vehicles were given a 5 digit registration number.

The Australian M113A1 was sent to serve along with the Australian forces serving in South Vietnam in mid 1965 with 'A' squadron, 4/19thPrince 0f Wales Light Horse Regiment. The number of M113A1 and variants serving with the Australian's in Vietnam steadily grow until there were over 60 vehicles, on active service. Although it was specified that all personnel were to travel with in the M113A1 whilst on patrol. It has often been observed in photos the troops riding on top of the vehicles as it was considered safer if the vehicle hit a mine. Also the troops could easily debus by jumping over the side or return into the M113 by means of the cargo hatch. Another important duty of the M113A1 in Vietnam was the escort of convoys through out Phuoc Tuy Province. The M113A1 was modified in South Vietnam to make the vehicle more suitable to local conditions and to some extent to the crews ideas of how it should be configured. One of the first modifications was to the commanders pintle mounted .50 calibre Machine gun. This was in the form of a armoured shield to give some protection from the front and sides of the commander. Although the gun shield improved the safety of the commander it was not considered ideal.

As it afforded no protection from the rear or the top. A new turret for the M113A1 was the next thing looked into. The first model of turret was the M74C mounting twin .30cal M1919A4 Browning machine guns. Only 20 of these turrets were ordered. 19 of which went to South Vietnam and the other to Australia for modification trials. These turrets were only seen as a interim measure until a better turret became available. This turret was the Cadillac-Gage T50 turret. This was the same turret as that on the Cadillac-Gage V100 Commando armoured car, which entered production in 1964. The T50 turrets entered service in two configurations. Twin .30cal machine gun turret to be used by the M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier, and one .30cal and one .50cal machine gun to be used by the M113A1 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle. There was no other difference between the M113 APC and M113 LRV other than the turret armament.

In 1966 there was a request for more fire power. So the feasibility of mounting a General Electric GAU-2B/A Minigun was looked into. This gun fired a 7.62mm round at between 2,000 and 4,600 rounds a minute. It was a modern variant of the old gatteling gun having 6 barrels revolving around a single axis, and being driven by a 28 volt DC electric motor. The very high rate of fire and problems of supplying sufficient ammunition for the gun resulted in the project being dropped.