Jungle Tracks Austrailian Armor in Vietnam.

  • The weather that we "British seem so preocupied with at the moment, is dark, wet, and bloody depressing. Added to which I`ve a hole in my gum the diamiter of my  little finger were a tooth as broke. Since modelling is out I turned to a real good read , the above book is an exelent scource for any one wishing to build Austrailians in "Nam" . It`s a most comprehensive story of "The crews" and their Year long tour of "Nam" it goes trough bassics like Storage deployment. The legistics of supply and demand of food. water. spares. and ammo/fuel, The modeling/wargaming ideas from just these often unthought of tasks is tremendous but the book as a lot more deapth. Missions, combat, cassulties, mines, traps, all with stories by the crews them selves . I brought this book for the information I`ll learn when building my Centurion, and awaiting the figures and AFV`s still to come.  

    Any one who enjoys a Armoured Book this one for you J-Tam, GG, if you`ve not already got it you`ll love it. 

  • @Geoff Maybury 

    That looks like great read.  Thank You for the recommendation.

    I read some books about U.S. armor in Vietnam, but not Australian.  Then M48 was a beast on the battlefield (I'm sure the Centurian was at least as successful).  The Sheridan was too thin skinned and tended to burn.  I have a soft spot for the M113 ACAV.  I TC'd a 113 with the full "turret" armor for a couple of years.  Fun fact: If you are parked on a slope, good luck turning the turret. (You can usually do it if you get a guy in the open troop compartment to haul on the turret too).

    I've always thought a Vietnam mod for "Patton's Best" would be awesome.  M48s, Sheridans, M113 ACAVs, and for masochists M114s vs. dismounted Infantry, RPG teams, and recoiless rifles.  (Maybe some PT-76s).  Maybe a retirement project for me one day.  

    EDIT: A further Australian mod with Centurians, M113s, and the imagination capturing M113 FSV would be awesome too.

    If you aren't familiar with Patton's Best it's an old Avalon Hill solitaire WW2 Sherman simulator board game.  (Similar to Avalon Hill's B-17 Queen of the Skies).  It's a fun game.  There's already mods to play other US tanks, as German armor, or as Russians. 

  • @Geoff Maybury 

    Treasure your hard copy:

  • I remember reading about Sheridan's problems, expecially its vulnerability to mines, and how some literally melted (!) when on fire. Another problem was the low ROF of the main gun, more than 90 s to open the breech, then firing it pratically KOed the electronics. It seems that the Aussies were very lucky to have an older, but reliable war horse as was the Centurion.

  • @Alessio De Carolis The book actually  in graphic detail gives the  events of a destroyed M113 that loses all crew + most troops in a mine incident. The pictures of the complete front hull melted,  is very sobering, as are the details of the losses, talking to friends in the military, I think that several of them fear Aliminium machines.

    T he book tells many little true gems about things that a civi would never know Eg There`s a screw plug in the front floor between the drivers legs to allow cleaning. Its design stipulates that it should be screwed in from underneath the tank .To save time and ease the drivers put them in from inside, one day a Tank hit a mine the poor driver was nearly castrated by the flang blowing out and exiting through the open hatch (Thank god). 

    The flange is only struturaly sound when fitted from below other wise the thread is stripped in an explosion. No more time was saved in cleaning again. These snipits of information are a real gem in to the under standing of a soldiers service. Add to these logistics of fueling with lend lease Helicopters carrying fuel ballons, and its a modelers dream book.     

  • The aluminum armor melting isn't actually a big deal.  Hear me out.  

    Pound for pound aluminum armor is generally stronger than steel.  The M113 had armor equivalent to any APC in its class.  I.E. proof against small arms (medium machineguns and below) and f*ckt against anything bigger.  The armor melting thing is disconcerting, but in reality by the time the vehicle starts melting the crew is either long out or long dead.

  • @Geoff Maybury 

    Fascinating detail.  Is that screw plug on the Centurian?


  • @JTam Logically the M113 wasn't intended for a conventional war, following  how they tought a future war had to be fought, it was intended as a sort of armoured "taxi" for carring an infantry squad in a "limited"(!) nuclear battle field, this was the reason it didn't had any extenal visor or firing slits for the passengers. Naturally the 'Nam was a totally different scenario, and the crews had to improvise, its armour was more apt to resist (from a certain distance) to a nuclear blast, not paradoxically to a mine! Effectively the US Army, to build a better APC, should've studied some (very) late war germans' studies base on the Pz38 chassis.

  • @Alessio De Carolis 

    I'm not sure that's actually true. 

    There is an unbroken line of American APCs with the same layout as the M113 all the way back to the end of WW2 (when the implications of the atomic battlefield weren't being fully considered yet.)

    M44 from the end of WW2.

    Too big and expensive so the M75 followed.

    Too big and expensive so the M59 followed.

    It was too cheap (mechanically unreliable) and so the M113 followed.  It must have more or less been the sweet spot as we are still using them.

    The M113 also has zero provisions to help its crew survive on an atomic battlefield.  No over pressurization, no filters, no mask connects, nothing.  The M113 has rubber seals on the hatches but is not even watertight (trust me on this), let alone airtight.  So I don't think survival on an atomic battlefield was what drove the design.

    But let's say the M113 did protect its crew on an atomic battlefield.  (And sure, being in one beats standing under a poncho).  The M113 has no provision to fight from the vehicle.  So how was this even supposed to work?

    Now I wasn't there when they wrote the specs for the M113 but none of the above suggests atomic survival was a major design factor. 

    Reference taking lessons from the Germans:

    The Americans in WW2 fielded Mechanized Infantry on a scale the Germans could only dream about.  And the lessons the Americans learned were the right ones.  An APC should be a battle taxi, providing mobility, but dismounted from well before contact.  Infantry fighting from APCs barely worked at the start of WW2, was positively unhealthy by the end of the war with the proliferation of hand held antitank weapons, and near suicidal from about 1973 to today.  Note that near all (all?) modern APCs and IFVs have dropped the port weapons.  There is no provision for the dismounts to fight from the vehicle as the concept is discredited.  

  • @JTam  You have articulated my own thoughts on the M113 quite well. So basically I would just echo that. 👍

  • @JTam Effectively the Warrior didn't had firing slots, in Chechenya a lot of russian soldiers were killed because tried to fight from inside their APCs/IFVs. About the M113, I read that there were some experiments about its survivability in "hostile" environments, naturally, given the mentality of those times it could range from atomic to everything else. The fact was that in Vietnam the US army wasn't ready to fight such an asimmetrical conflict, they'd prepared themselves for a conventional war, against an organized foe, then they found themselves in an hostile terrain, without a capable leadership, and worse, with Washington trying to micromanage everything

  • @JTam Yes right at the front about a foot from your groin not one to mess with. There was a real surprise for me when an M 113 hit a bambo tree and bounced back!! The top external travelers being thrown off (No fatalities just pride and cuts).

  • @JTam So am I getting this right the "Bradley" will be the last American A.P.C. to have the Vision ports and rifle pods. all future machines will be battle taxis only. Will they linger on the perrimiter of the firefight for fire suport.

    Speaking of fire support.

  • Plus I was on cloud 9 always liked the "Tamiya" one with the table and the "Conference"

  • Back view 

  • Finally the Mortor variant.

  • Some time really soon my "Nam" modeling will kick off big time I`m like a kid in a candy store lips drolling.

  • Rubicons next push after Nam is the "Cold War " can you imagine the pure quality that will come out over the next few years.😺

  • @Geoff Maybury 

    The bouncing off a bamboo story is pretty entertaining honestly.


    It's worth noting the Bradleys in American service have had their firing ports effectively plated over for decades.  Bradleys were getting holed by .50 cal in the Gulf War and additional turret armor and armor "skirts" that covered the side firing points followed.  There may or may not still be a firing point in the ramp but I doubt anyone still has the firing port weapons.  

    Most probably assume you were supposed to be able to slot the M16 or M4 into the firing port... But in actuality you needed the M231 firing port weapon.  Higher rate of fire.  No iron sights.  Usually loaded with all tracers.

    They were already an arms room oddity by the time I was with 3 ID in 2000.

    All the new GEN IFVs (Puma, ASCOD/AJAX, CV90) have dropped the ports.

    None of the newer wheeled APCs that I am aware of have them either.  

    Sidenote:  The US Army should just buy CV90s.  The ASCOD/Ajax is apparently a piece of shit (Or maybe just the UK version is. I'd like to hear the straight scoop from a UK service member).  The Puma suffers from German engineering.

    The Future:

    Will firing ports and/or doctrinally fighting from the vehicle NEVER return?  I would be hesitant to say NEVER.  The balance between armor and antiarmor weapons has shifted before.  Could some radical shift in armor composition, active armor systems, or shielding make it practical to fight from the vehicle again in the future?  Maybe.  Or a NBC or nanobot covered battlefield may make dismounting instant death.  Who knows.  


    So an APC and an IFV are pretty much used the same way these days.  The only difference is the firepower and maybe armor they bring to the fight.

    They both SHOULD dismount their Infantry well short of the objective/contact.  The tracks whether APC or IFV can and should be used for fire support/the base of fire.  Bare in mind an IFV should be able to  provide effective fires from at least 1700 meters away (terrain dependent).  (What is good in life?  Killing your enemy while still out of range of their effective fires.)  

    In defense, some of the tracks weapons can be be dismounted and positioned on tripods.  For instance the .50 cal from the M113 or the TOW from the Bradley.  

  • @JTam If you have a kindle type device Tracks is available quite cheaply and I`m sure you would find it a great read just up your street "Brother". Thanks for the above info and pictures. Cheers

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