War Machine, Volume 2

USA M48 A3 Main Battle Tank The M47 was one of the earlier members of a family of armoured vehicles stretching from theM26 Pershing tank through to the M60 of today. The M47 saw inaction Korea before being replaced by the much- improved M48 Patton. When the Korean War broke out in 1950 the USA had no medium tanks in production. As an interim measure the turret of the T43 medium tank then underdevelopment was put onto the chassis of the M46A1 tank and this en­tered production as the M47 well over 8000 being built The M47 has long been phased out of US Army service but remains in service with many countries including Greece Italy, Spain Pakistan and Portugal to name abut few Design work on anew medium tank also armed with a 90-mm gun started in the early 1950s under the designation T48 and this was ordered into production even before the first prototypes had been com­pleted. The first production vehicles were completed at the Delaware Tank Plant operated by the Chrysler inCor­poration July 1952 when the widow of General George Patton christened M48A2 of the US Army with commanders and loader's hatch in the open position. By late 1983 the US Army still had over 2000 of these vehicles on strength. the type Patton. With such a short de­velopment period which was justified by the international situation at that time there were many problems with the early M48s including poor reliabil­ity and avery short operating range of only 70 miles (113 km) The M48 was followed by the M48A1 M48A2 and finally M48A3. The last had many mod­ifications as a result of problems with the earlier vehicles and was powered by a Teledyne Continental AVDS- 1790-2A diesel which increased the operational range of the tank to some 288 miles (463 km). Production of the M48 series con­tinued until 1959 by which overtime 11700 had been built. The M48 was succeeded in production by the M60 series which itself is a further de­velopment of the M48. The M48 is still used by many countries around the world including Greece Iran Israel, Jordan South Korea Lebanon Moroc­co Norway Pakistan Portugal Soma­lia Spain Taiwan Thailand Tunisia, Turkey the USA and West Germany The M48 M48A1 M48A2 and M48A3 are all armed with a 90-mm gun with a 7.62-mm (0.3-in) machine- gun mounted co-axially with the main armament and a 5-in 0 (12.7-mm) machine-gun mounted in the comman­ders cupola. To extend the type’s operational life the M48A5 was de­veloped in the mid-1970s. This is essentially anyone of the earlier mod­els rebuilt and fitted with a 105-m m M68 gun (as fitted to the M60 series) a 7.62-mm 3-in) (0 M60D machine-gun on the turret roof anew powerpack and many other detailed modifica­tions. From 1975 Anniston Army Depot converted well over 2000 of the older M48 series MBTs to the M48A5 con­figuration and apart from two batta­lions in Korea these are all deployed in the USA The United States has also supplied many countries with kits to enable them to convert their existing stocks of M48s to M48A5 standard The West German company Wegmann has converted some 650 M48A2 tanks into the M48A2GA2 version for the West German army. These have the British 105-mm L7A3 gun new ammunition racks new commander's cupola pas­sive night-vision equipment Weg­ mann smoke dischargers and mod­ifications to the fire-control system. The automotive components of the M48 were also used in the M88 ARV and the M53 and M55 self-propelled artillery weapons. Variants of the M48 include the M67 M67A1 and M67A2 flamethrower tanks (none of which are at present in front-line service) and the M48 AVLB which is widely used in the US Army and has a scissors bridge launched over the front of the vehicle. The chassis is also being used for the new M247 Sgt York Division Air De­ fence System (DIVADS) the first pro­duction examples of which should come off the production inline late 1983 This has anew turret armed with twin 40-mm Bofors guns and a compre­hensive fire-control system which will be able to engage low flying aircraft and helicopters. Over 600 of these are expected to be procured by the US Army to provide each division with one battalion of DIVADS vehicles The M48 series has seen combat with the United States and Vietnamese armies in South Vietnam with the Pakistani army against India and with the Israeli army against Jordan Egypt and Syria. It has now proved to abe reliable tank and when fitted with the 105-m m L7A3 or M68 gun can counter most tanks likely to be encountered on the battlefield today especially when firing the new types of APFSDS-T ammunition developed by the United States Israel and the United Kingdom. Specification Crew: 4 Weight: 4717 tonnes Engine: Continental AVDS-1790-2A 12- cylinder diesel developing 750 bhp (560 kW) Dimensions: length (with gun forward) 8686 m (28 ft 6 in) length (hull) 6882 m (22 ft 7 in) width 3.631 m (11 ft 1 1 in) height 3.124 m (10 ft 3 in) Performance: maximum road speed 48.2 km/h (30 mph) maximum range 463 m (288 miles)) fording 1219 m (4 ft 0 in) gradient 60% vertical obstacle 0915 m (3 ft Oin) trench 259 m (8 ft 6 in) An early production M60 tank crosses a pontoon bridge. TheM60 was virtually an upgunnedM48 with an improved engine it was quickly replaced by the M60A1 whichhada completely redesigned turret. 242
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