M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers

The M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) is a tracked vehicle capable of travelling on roads and across country, including rough terrain and through jungle. The M113 also has limited amphibious capabilities. The vehicle has a crew of two – a driver and crew commander – and has the capacity to carry up to ten passengers. A ramp at the rear of the vehicle allows passengers and crew to enter or exit the vehicle quickly. When the ramp is closed, a door set into the ramp can be used to access the interior of the vehicle.

Designed and built in the United States in the late 1950s, the M113 was introduced into service with the US military in 1960. The improved, diesel powered M113A1 was purchased in 1964 by the Australian government and the first vehicles began to arrive in Australia in 1965. The M113A1 has been employed by a variety of units, including armoured and infantry. This vehicle type has been used operationally in South Vietnam, Somalia, Rwanda, and East Timor.

The first Australian APCs to arrive in South Vietnam were from 1 APC Troop, a reduced troop of ten M113A1 APCs from A Squadron, 4th/19th Prince of Wales's Light Horse Regiment, which arrived at Vung Tau on 8 June 1965. Initially armed with an M2HB .50-calibre machine-gun, the M113A1 was soon fitted with a protective armour shield to provide protection for the otherwise exposed crew commander. The shields proved to be of limited value, and in the second half of 1966 some of the APCs deployed to South Vietnam were modified by fitting Model 74C command cupolas, made by Aircraft Armaments Incorporated. Only 20 Model 74C cupolas were purchased, of which 19 were sent to South Vietnam.

Permanent improvements were made with the introduction of the Cadillac Gage T-50 (Aust) turret, which could be fitted with either a .50 calibre machine-gun and .30 calibre machine-gun combination, making the vehicle an LRV, or twin .30 calibre machine-guns in the APC. Only the APC and LRV variants were fitted with the turret: all other variants within the family of vehicles retained the flex-mounted commanders machine-gun. By the end of the Vietnam commitment, or soon afterwards, the armament on the APC/LRV was standardised with a .50/.30 combination.

The M113AS3 upgraded the M113A1 with a new engine, drive train, brakes, increased ballistic protection, external fuel tanks, modified stowage, and many other modifications. The M113AS4 (APC/LRV) upgrade lengthened the vehicle and an additional pair of road wheels were added. A new single-person turret armed with an M2HB Quick Change Barrel machine-gun was also added.



M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)

Armament: .50 calibre and .30 calibre machine-guns

Armour: 12–38 mm

Crew: 2 + 10 passengers

Power plant: GMC V6 diesel

Speed (max.): 66 km/h

Length: 4.87 m

Height: 2.41 m

Width: 2.69 m

Weight: 10.5 t


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