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Why no BMD family equivalent for the 82nd Airborne?

uk 75

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The Soviet BMD family of airborne armour looks remarkably similar to the stillborn series of vehicles that the US planned around the unsuccessful M551 Sheridan. The Sheridan served the 82nd right up to the end of the Cold War, so its derivatives could have been useful.

Britain developed air portable wheeled and tracked arnmour but by the 70s these were used for NATO recce on the Central Front and Flanks rather than landing to protect Malayan Rubber plantations (how true is the claim that Scorpion was designed to be narrow enough to negotiate these?)

Germany did not deploy its Armored Wiesel light vehicle until after the Cold War prefering the lighter and easier to deploy Kraka.

Any thoughts?
 

Bgray

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Re: Why no BMD famiy equivalent for the 82nd Airborne?

The Sheridan was a very bad vehicle and mainly served because nothing else was available. The US did try a number of designs, the RDF-LT was probably the most well known but there were others. Fundamentally not enough money and not enough demand.
 

Sea Skimmer

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Re: Why no BMD famiy equivalent for the 82nd Airborne?

Nobody was very fond of paying a lot of money for a specialist light vehicle that would be torn to pieces by any weapon heavier then a medium machine gun. The Soviets placing a minimal of a 14.5mm machine guns on everything light like BRDM and BTRs they had doesn't help, it is a fearsome weapon against light armorm Meanwhile look how much everyone was complaining that a Bradley which was protected against this weapon, was under armored. In that climate who is going to ask for a major tracked vehicle to equip one division that has considerably less protection? Lots of projects were studied, some were prototyped but nothing could make such light armor look good compared to enemy threats. As was said, [font=verdana, sans-serif]Sheridan was just bad, and once an airhead was secured M113 personal carriers could be landed if anyone wanted lightly armored transport. These and other armored vehicles would come out of the infantry division assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps. I think that was 1st Infantry Division for the later stage Cold War. This also led to the logic of prepositioned forces so that serious amounts of real armor could arrive to the Mid East or central Asia in under a week instead of over a month. When you remember that a divisional airborne operation needed about 72 hours to prepare, plus some time to actually fly to the objective this creates a fairly short window in which you have no heavy armored support. Provided of course that the objective was near the ocean; but important stuff on earth tends to be near water. All the more so since the main late cold war/early 90s mission was saving the gulf oilfields, and that started with protecting the oil loading ports themselves. [/font]



The Soviets were meanwhile also had different doctrine at work. They were focused on short range tactical landings, generally of battalion strength and seldom over independent brigade strength in direct conjunction with large armored ground forces. In that role even very bad armor was fairly important, and much more realistic to air deploy. The Soviet airborne divisions themselves were fairly small, if numerous. They seem to have had a role as generalized elite forces as much as anyone having a serious idea that eight of them would be feasible to deploy in combat by the air, on top of independent brigades in each front.

The US saw the 82nd airborne meanwhile as a large divisional scale strategic reserve for handling brush fires and generally being rapid reaction over long ranges and not intended for heavy fights. A US airborne division also had a decent number of attack and transport helicopters, plus considerably more in the overall airborne corps to provide anti tank firepower and mobility. The Soviets were very lean on this class of aircraft proportional to the size of the Soviet army, and Soviet airborne divisions had few or none organically. Paying for all the helicopters US troops had is a major reason why the US Army lacked more then a few ground weapons and engineering assets the Soviets had; such as US heavy divisions generally did not have organic anti tank battalions.


The German Wiesel [font=verdana, sans-serif]was focused on the airborne anti tank role ironically. Its main though not only method of deployment would have been CH-53s. I believe they intended to arm them in a 3:1 ratio of TOW launchers and 20mm cannon for Cold War missions. The more [/font][font=verdana, sans-serif]versatile [/font]Wiesel II came later. Considering that an armored hummve has similar if not superior armoring... hard to see the great advantage of Wiesel except crossing general mud.
 

Madurai

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The Sheridan's problems stemmed wholly from the weapon system; automotively there was nothing wrong with it. The planned variants using the chassis were done in by the snakebit image the M551 had gained during teething under fire, and the collapsing budgets after Vietnam.

As Skimmer pointed out, the will wasn't there, neither in Congress nor the Pentagon.
 

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Strip out the troubled Shillelagh gun-missile system and put in an L7 105mm instead. That would have given a decent performance although the stowed length would be longer and then perhaps a problem for Hercules stowage.

Of course they could just buy the Scorpion and the rest of the CRV family instead. Striker with TOW?
 

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Re: Why no BMD famiy equivalent for the 82nd Airborne?

Bgray said:
The Sheridan was a very bad vehicle and mainly served because nothing else was available.

Not quite. The T92 was arguably a better vehicle overall, but was passed over because it wasn't amphibious, ironically, since the M555 rarely used that capability in service. Not to mention that the army brass was enamoured with the concept of using a missile capable 155mm gun. However, the Sheridan did prove to be pretty useful during the Cold War, despite it's shortcomings.


http://www.youtube.com/v/i1T2cmp40To&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3
 

Sea Skimmer

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Not really that useful at all, the missile system never worked and it was a complete deathtrap in Vietnam between the weak armor and totally unprotected ammo. The conventional shells for the 152mm were incredibly bad with a painfully low rate of fire and all kinds of dangerous problems like the combusting case breaking apart when handled. The cases often did not fully combust, and burning residue could be blown inside the turret... and onto those exposed ammo cartridges. These problems were so bad the ammo had to be stored inside a special casing, which had to be stripped off before firing making the rate of fire even lower. The amphibious capability wasn't used much because you had to erect a flotation screen which also precluding firing anywhere but dead ahead, and the thing barely floated even though it actually had foam filled buoyancy packs built in. The commie BMDs and BMPs were pretty good deathtraps too, but at least they could easily fire while floating and didn't need the screens. Better then the M109's ability to swim though, with both a screen and actual air bags. You sure don't hear about anybody trying that in service.
The vehicle would have been far superior had it mounted its originally intended armament which was a long barrel 76mm similar to that of T92. 90mm was also studied, and so was a lightweight 105mm. An 105mm L7 seems to have been too big. For a lot less trouble a 76mm or 90mm gun could have been placed on an M113, as several nations have done, to create a barely protected scout vehicle. As it was the US Army was lucky that the price inflated so much only about half the intended buy was actually built. Its kind of telling that they were withdrawn from all units except the 82nd Airborne by 1978 after not even ten years general service,and before the M1 tank or M2 Bradley were even available.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Sea Skimmer said:
Better then the M109's ability to swim though, with both a screen and actual air bags. You sure don't hear about anybody trying that in service.

The Koreans have copied the side bag flotation system for their new K21 IFV and promptly sunk two vehicles in trials. And no one was shooting at them!

Sea Skimmer said:
For a lot less trouble a 76mm or 90mm gun could have been placed on an M113, as several nations have done, to create a barely protected scout vehicle.

The Australian M113 Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) was initially built to provide mobile fire support base and convoy protection in VietNam to free up the Centurion tanks for offensive use. While the FSVs were being built we used M108s (the 105mm version of the M109) in this role. The Australian Army had wanted an airborne light tank to provide the Medium Recce Vehicle (MRV) capability to our cavalry regiments and trialled the M551 for this role in the 60s. It was found to be not up to minimum combat standards for the reasons outlined above. In its place additional M113 hulls and Scorpion turrets were purchased to make more FSVs for the MRV capability. But this was always considered a sub optimal solution because there was no acceptable ABCA light tank available at that time (the Scorpion being judged as too small and petrol powered for the Australian Army). The T92 would have been a much better solution for Australian needs.
 

Avimimus

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Sea Skimmer said:
Not really that useful at all, the missile system never worked and it was a complete deathtrap in Vietnam between the weak armor and totally unprotected ammo. The conventional shells for the 152mm were incredibly bad with a painfully low rate of fire and all kinds of dangerous problems like the combusting case breaking apart when handled.

You have to admit though - it is a somewhat elegant idea. You get the short range demolition power of a heavy artillery round, combined with a completely internal (and reloadable) missile launcher capable of killing any existing tank (with with reasonable growth potential due to a fair sized bore). Of course, a limited rate of fire, small amount of ammunition and low muzzle velocity (requiring one to get in close) are problems for the main gun and the missile system has the long flight times the plague all sub-sonic missiles. The addition of 30mm weapons rounds out the BMP3's weapons array (with its large number of rounds) - otherwise it is a similar approach to getting a nice armament (on paper at least).

It can kill heavy tanks at long ranges and provide artillery caliber direct fire to support infantry - a potentially attractive combination if you have no other armoured support.
 

Sea Skimmer

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It’s questionable that the 100mm diameter missile on BMP-3 can kill modern tanks at long range, but the main focus of Soviet gun launched missiles was to counteract NATO ATGM vehicles anyway and it works well for that. This was also a big part of the logic of the 100mm cannon in the first place; a 30mm autocannon simply could effectively not reach out and suppress ATGM teams at the maximum ranges possible with said ATGMs. If the proposed 100mm version of Ainet air burst fusing had been deployed, not sure it ever was on actual production BMP-3s, they also could have countered even longer ranged NATO helicopter missiles. It’s also just nice that BMP-3 can keep up a fairly high rate of fire until the autoloader is empty, while a Sheridan crew smokes cigarettes in-between shots.

Shillelagn wasn’t a bad idea on paper sure, but the fact is the US Army knew it and the regular features of the gun were working badly before the thing ever went into service. It’s basically a perfect demonstration of the fact that procurement problems predate outsourcing all the R&D to contractors.
Abraham Gubler said:


The Koreans have copied the side bag flotation system for their new K21 IFV and promptly sunk two vehicles in trials. And no one was shooting at them!

I forget all about that! God what a bad idea; though it is at least better implemented since the side flaps provide token anti North Korean Makarov clone protection to the bags in the water and they generally seem much quicker to deploy. I wonder how well those rubber bags burns when hit by incendiaries. This was one of many problems with flotation screens, but newer materials might negate it as a serious hazard by now.

The Australian M113 Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) was initially built to provide mobile fire support base and convoy protection in VietNam to free up the Centurion tanks for offensive use. While the FSVs were being built we used M108s (the 105mm version of the M109) in this role.

Driving around outside the wire with 200 rounds of bagged charge 105mm ammo kind of negates any concept of survivability, but it sure would get the job done until you blow up. Maybe the only thing worse around would be the LVTH-6 with nearly as much ammunition but a gasoline engine and fuel tanks under the floor so mines can ignite it as easily as possible. I think the Marine plan was that it made flamethrowers unnecessary.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
The Australian M113 Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) was initially built to provide mobile fire support base and convoy protection in VietNam to free up the Centurion tanks for offensive use.

Actually it wasn't. It was intended to provide fire support to the Cavalry squadrons that had assumed the air portable role of the Division. (p.4, Myszka, J., Australian Fire Support Vehicles, Military Briefs No.1, Mouse House Enterprises, Deakin, 2006). It was actually to be complimented by the Sheridan which was intended to be the air portable tank element. Early copies of the Pam published in ~1965 on the Division even included pictures of the Sheridan and explanations of its intended role. It later came to assume those roles but was never intended to fulfil them.

While the FSVs were being built we used M108s (the 105mm version of the M109) in this role.

An interesting claim. Its not mentioned in Mike Cecil in his superb book, "Mud & Dust: Australian Army Vehicles & Artillery in Vietnam" (AWM, Canberra, 2009). He only mentions six being borrowed from MACV and used to "bolster the defences of 1ATF base at Nui Dat..." They were returned to MACV soon after the arrival of the Centurions (which occurred in "late February 1969) (p.19). As the FSVs arrived in June/July 1971, it would have been remarkable for the M108s to have fulfilled that role. The M108s, when used by 1ATF would have been far too valuable to be used on Convoy Escort duties, I think.

The Australian Army had wanted an airborne light tank to provide the Medium Recce Vehicle (MRV) capability to our cavalry regiments and trialled the M551 for this role in the 60s. It was found to be not up to minimum combat standards for the reasons outlined above. In its place additional M113 hulls and Scorpion turrets were purchased to make more FSVs for the MRV capability. But this was always considered a sub optimal solution because there was no acceptable ABCA light tank available at that time (the Scorpion being judged as too small and petrol powered for the Australian Army). The T92 would have been a much better solution for Australian needs.

It may have been but as far as I am aware, it was never considered because it never reached production. The only suitable, available light tank in this time frame would have been either the M41 Walker Bulldog or the PT-76. As politics would have precluded the adoption of the PT-76, while the M41 was out of production, it would have prevented the adoption of any of them. As I mentioned, the Army's interest was much higher than many suppose in the Sheridan. It was included in the establishment of The Division before trials had occurred. It was only because of its dismal showing that it wasn't adopted.
 

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Kadija_Man said:
Actually it wasn't.

SNIP

An interesting claim.

Well you misquote Cecil on the arrival of the Centurions as it was 1968 not 1969 otherwise they would have had a lot of trouble fighting in the Tet Offensive battles! I never claimed that the M108 was used for convoy escort but rather that the M113 FSV was. The M113 FSV program went from a play around and trial (there were never enough Saladin turrets to provide for the basis of provisioning of the MRV role) to a rapid fielding because of the Coral and Balmoral FSB fights after Tet. I got the M108 chronology switched around which is what happens when one is chatting in the bar and not writing essays. The FSVs were rushed to VietNam to relieve the Centurions of the FSB protection role so they could be used offensively. They were also used as convoy and route protection because enough were in operation (a single troop with three sections of three FSVs each), there was the need and less need to guard the FSBs and their crews were aggressive.

Kadija_Man said:
It may have been but as far as I am aware, it was never considered because it never reached production. The only suitable, available light tank in this time frame would have been either the M41 Walker Bulldog or the PT-76. As politics would have precluded the adoption of the PT-76, while the M41 was out of production, it would have prevented the adoption of any of them. As I mentioned, the Army's interest was much higher than many suppose in the Sheridan. It was included in the establishment of The Division before trials had occurred. It was only because of its dismal showing that it wasn't adopted.

Of course the T92 was never considered because at the time it was in play the Australian Army didn’t have a cavalry regiment nor an Air Portable Armoured Fighting Vehicle (APAFV) requirement. But if it was it was far better suited for the role. Obviously the M551 was the only vehicle to fit the APAFV requirement at that time and fortunately was trialled before being ordered. The M41 could never be considered for the APAFV because it couldn’t be air dropped from a C-130 Hercules. The Australian Army at this time had no problems buying US surplus gear hence the large buy of M2A2 howitzers and the fleet of LSMs. It’s ridiculous to even mention the PT-76 in this company. The AMX-13 is a suitable contender but didn’t use ABCA standard ammunition.
 

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Sea Skimmer said:
I forget all about that! God what a bad idea; though it is at least better implemented since the side flaps provide token anti North Korean Makarov clone protection to the bags in the water and they generally seem much quicker to deploy. I wonder how well those rubber bags burns when hit by incendiaries. This was one of many problems with flotation screens, but newer materials might negate it as a serious hazard by now.

When the NKPA artillery lays down some harassing fires on their river crossing point the flying splinters are going to make a mess of those bags even if they are made from ballistic nylon. I’m not sure how high their river crossing needs are considering how fast most Korean rivers flow (ie too fast for non dedicated amtracs) but because they built the K21 out of composites it might be more of a show thing. To demonstrate that unlike similar steel IFVs this thing can float (with a little help).

Sea Skimmer said:
Driving around outside the wire with 200 rounds of bagged charge 105mm ammo kind of negates any concept of survivability, but it sure would get the job done until you blow up. Maybe the only thing worse around would be the LVTH-6 with nearly as much ammunition but a gasoline engine and fuel tanks under the floor so mines can ignite it as easily as possible. I think the Marine plan was that it made flamethrowers unnecessary.

See above for proper explanation. The M108 was just for MOB security and the M113 FSVs came in later for more mobile FSB security and were used for route protection.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
Kadija_Man said:
Actually it wasn't.

SNIP

An interesting claim.

Well you misquote Cecil on the arrival of the Centurions as it was 1968 not 1969 otherwise they would have had a lot of trouble fighting in the Tet Offensive battles!

You're right, I got the dates wrong, I apologise.

I never claimed that the M108 was used for convoy escort but rather that the M113 FSV was.

You stated, and I quote: "While the FSVs were being built we used M108s (the 105mm version of the M109) in this role." As the role you had claimed for the FSV was, and again I quote, "The Australian M113 Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) was initially built to provide mobile fire support base and convoy protection in VietNam to free up the Centurion tanks for offensive use." "Convoy protection" was one of the roles you therefore claimed for the M108. The other, "mobile fire support base...protection" was also incorrect as the M108s were used in a static role for their entire deployment. Perhaps your sentence was poorly worded but I took it as read.

The M113 FSV program went from a play around and trial (there were never enough Saladin turrets to provide for the basis of provisioning of the MRV role) to a rapid fielding because of the Coral and Balmoral FSB fights after Tet.

The FSV was never intended for the "MRV" role. The MRV as a concept was created post-Vietnam, in an effort to beef up the Cavalry recce regiments for a conventional warfare role in the 1980s. MRV in the nomenclature does not appear until after Vietnam. The FSV was intended, as its name suggests for Fire Support and was allocated on the basis of initially several per Squadron in a separate troop and then later one per Troop.

I got the M108 chronology switched around which is what happens when one is chatting in the bar and not writing essays. The FSVs were rushed to VietNam to relieve the Centurions of the FSB protection role so they could be used offensively. They were also used as convoy and route protection because enough were in operation (a single troop with three sections of three FSVs each), there was the need and less need to guard the FSBs and their crews were aggressive.

Thank you, that was all I was pointing out. Your claim about the M108 was incorrect.

Kadija_Man said:
It may have been but as far as I am aware, it was never considered because it never reached production. The only suitable, available light tank in this time frame would have been either the M41 Walker Bulldog or the PT-76. As politics would have precluded the adoption of the PT-76, while the M41 was out of production, it would have prevented the adoption of any of them. As I mentioned, the Army's interest was much higher than many suppose in the Sheridan. It was included in the establishment of The Division before trials had occurred. It was only because of its dismal showing that it wasn't adopted.

Of course the T92 was never considered because at the time it was in play the Australian Army didn’t have a cavalry regiment nor an Air Portable Armoured Fighting Vehicle (APAFV) requirement. But if it was it was far better suited for the role. Obviously the M551 was the only vehicle to fit the APAFV requirement at that time and fortunately was trialled before being ordered. The M41 could never be considered for the APAFV because it couldn’t be air dropped from a C-130 Hercules. The Australian Army at this time had no problems buying US surplus gear hence the large buy of M2A2 howitzers and the fleet of LSMs. It’s ridiculous to even mention the PT-76 in this company. The AMX-13 is a suitable contender but didn’t use ABCA standard ammunition.


All points which reinforce what I stated. Thank you, I had forgotten the AMX-13, although it could have been adopted, even if the Ammunition was non-standard, if the political will had been there. However it wasn't. The Army was and remains reluctant to purchase out of production or oddball AFVs knowing how difficult they are to maintain. In the 1960s, it was very much in the grip of "standardisation" with its major allies.
 

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Kadija_Man said:
You're right, I got the dates wrong, I apologise.

You don’t have to apologise. Only an anal retentive jerk would think badly of you for such a simple and irrelevant mistake.

Kadija_Man said:
You stated, and I quote: "While the FSVs were being built we used M108s (the 105mm version of the M109) in this role." As the role you had claimed for the FSV was, and again I quote, "The Australian M113 Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) was initially built to provide mobile fire support base and convoy protection in VietNam to free up the Centurion tanks for offensive use." "Convoy protection" was one of the roles you therefore claimed for the M108. The other, "mobile fire support base...protection" was also incorrect as the M108s were used in a static role for their entire deployment. Perhaps your sentence was poorly worded but I took it as read.

Are you enjoying this nit-pick-a-thon? I wrote something about the M113 FSV and then tacked on to the back of that mention of the M108 previously being used in this role. Technically the FSV was only sent to VietNam to provide the base protection capability which the M108 had previously been in use for. In action the FSV troop expanded their missions to include convoy escort. If you can’t let that go and cut someone some slack for not having written the required paragraph to explain everything in full then you’re a lessor person.

Kadija_Man said:
The FSV was never intended for the "MRV" role. The MRV as a concept was created post-Vietnam, in an effort to beef up the Cavalry recce regiments for a conventional warfare role in the 1980s. MRV in the nomenclature does not appear until after Vietnam. The FSV was intended, as its name suggests for Fire Support and was allocated on the basis of initially several per Squadron in a separate troop and then later one per Troop.

The MRV, LRV (M113 APC in Australian Army recce units) mix is a standard recce troop organisation going back to WWII. Even though the MRV was actually called the FSV Mk 2 I’ve used the different names – like everyone else – to differentiate between the way the two vehicles were used differently. FSVs (Saladin turret) in a FSV only troop and MRVs (FSV with Scorpion turret) integral to the recce troop. Early ORBATS that were never implemented may have had the recce sqn with an FSV troop but that was just a legacy from the Saladin days. Once 2 Cav actually had the FSV on the ground (which was the Mk 2 never the Saladin turret) they used the mixed troop construct. Which has carried through to today with each recce troop having two mounted patrols each of two LAV-25s and one LAV-PC.

Kadija_Man said:
All points which reinforce what I stated. Thank you, I had forgotten the AMX-13, although it could have been adopted, even if the Ammunition was non-standard, if the political will had been there. However it wasn't. The Army was and remains reluctant to purchase out of production or oddball AFVs knowing how difficult they are to maintain. In the 1960s, it was very much in the grip of "standardisation" with its major allies.

No its doesn’t reinforce what you said. You said, and I quote: “The only suitable, available light tank in this time frame would have been either the M41 Walker Bulldog or the PT-76. As politics would have precluded the adoption of the PT-76, while the M41 was out of production, it would have prevented the adoption of any of them.” The M41 was never considered for the APAFV because it wasn’t air portable!

The point which I and others had made was that the T92 would be much better suited for anyone who wanted an air portable AFV. Be it a conjectural US Army airborne mechanised divisions (they could have called the T92 the fricken “Gavin”) as suggested here by UK75 or the Australian Army’s failed attempt to find one in the 1960s. There was never any other consideration for the APAFV other than the M551 until it failed the trial. Then low and behold after that the Army was able to use the money set aside to buy M551s to purchase 48 new build Scorpion turrets from the UK and 48 new build M113 hulls from the USA and produce their own shell firing vehicle for the cavalry regiments.
 

uk 75

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Thanks everyone for so much info.

I read somewhere that in the beginning the UK, US and Australia had wanted to build a common light armoured family, but as ever this fell apart because of the different user requirements and timescales for procurement.

Sheridan was apparently looked at by Germany and other NATO nations as well as the UK and Australia but found wanting for all the reasons you give.

Unlike the US and German airborne units perhaps the closest equivalents to the Soviet Airborne Divisions were the "Airportable Brigades" which formed part of the UK Strategic Reserve until the 70s. The Scorpion and its relatives would have equipped these if their role had not dissolved with the end of UK overseas commitments and focus on NATO.

Sheridans were used in Panama and in the 1991 initial phase of operations in the Gulf. So maybe the alternatives might have been worth having..
 

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Abraham Gubler said:

When the NKPA artillery lays down some harassing fires on their river crossing point the flying splinters are going to make a mess of those bags even if they are made from ballistic nylon. I’m not sure how high their river crossing needs are considering how fast most Korean rivers flow (ie too fast for non dedicated amtracs) but because they built the K21 out of composites it might be more of a show thing. To demonstrate that unlike similar steel IFVs this thing can float (with a little help).


Most Korean rivers are narrow, and very seasonal in any case. You don’t have to beat the current to make a river crossing, as long as you can enter the water upstream of the desired landing spot. Given a fairly narrow river this works fine and its pretty standard for any amphibious crossing. Most armor performed terribly in the water. When the Indians used PT-76s to invade East Pakistan they found they actually just had to tow them across the numerous wide waterways, the engines overheated making such long swims.

NK artillery is a huge threat, but then, trying to mass, launch and assemble a pontoon bridge in the face of that kind of fire isn’t fun either. The US Army solution was/is to fly in pontoons from Chinooks, bypassing the vulnerable massing and launching phases on the friendly shore, but few people have the vertical lift to do this.

I suspect this all has as much to do with fear of NK sabotage of bridges in the rear areas as a desire to make proper assault crossings. Many Korean rivers also simply have banks which are to steep or have cliffs to allow amphibious crossings without heavy engineering support to prepare entry and exit ramps. Certainly it’s not the top notch priority, and they do have those BTR-80s around if they really need an amphibious APCs.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
Kadija_Man said:
You're right, I got the dates wrong, I apologise.

You don’t have to apologise. Only an anal retentive jerk would think badly of you for such a simple and irrelevant mistake.

I apologised because of the irony (unintended) of making a correction (of you) and in turn making a mistake in my own turn.

Kadija_Man said:
You stated, and I quote: "While the FSVs were being built we used M108s (the 105mm version of the M109) in this role." As the role you had claimed for the FSV was, and again I quote, "The Australian M113 Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) was initially built to provide mobile fire support base and convoy protection in VietNam to free up the Centurion tanks for offensive use." "Convoy protection" was one of the roles you therefore claimed for the M108. The other, "mobile fire support base...protection" was also incorrect as the M108s were used in a static role for their entire deployment. Perhaps your sentence was poorly worded but I took it as read.

Are you enjoying this nit-pick-a-thon?

Not particularly. Do you always feel that correcting another poster's errors is a "nit-pick-a-thon"?

I wrote something about the M113 FSV and then tacked on to the back of that mention of the M108 previously being used in this role. Technically the FSV was only sent to VietNam to provide the base protection capability which the M108 had previously been in use for.

And your evidence for that claim is? I've consulted several books I have on the use of Australian armour in Vietnam or Australian AFVs and none of them make that claim. I'm genuinely interested in always discovering new sources of information.

In action the FSV troop expanded their missions to include convoy escort.

They may have but that was not what their original role was intended to be nor what they were originally employed for.

If you can’t let that go and cut someone some slack for not having written the required paragraph to explain everything in full then you’re a lessor person.

Of course I can "cut you some slack" for your poorly worded statement. Are you requesting it? One would hope that you're just as generous?

The MRV, LRV (M113 APC in Australian Army recce units) mix is a standard recce troop organisation going back to WWII.

It does? How interesting. And where is this stated please? Again, I'm genuinely interested. I never saw its use before about 1984 when I served in the Army. I'm unaware of any vehicle, before the creation of the FSV which could have fulfilled such a role or a doctrine that required such a concept. As Recconniassance was a sadly neglected part of the RAAC's doctrine, this is interesting news indeed.

Even though the MRV was actually called the FSV Mk 2 I’ve used the different names – like everyone else – to differentiate between the way the two vehicles were used differently. FSVs (Saladin turret) in a FSV only troop and MRVs (FSV with Scorpion turret) integral to the recce troop. Early ORBATS that were never implemented may have had the recce sqn with an FSV troop but that was just a legacy from the Saladin days. Once 2 Cav actually had the FSV on the ground (which was the Mk 2 never the Saladin turret) they used the mixed troop construct. Which has carried through to today with each recce troop having two mounted patrols each of two LAV-25s and one LAV-PC.

Did they? But Myszka makes the point that FSV development predated FSB Coral and Balmoral and was "reinforced by battle experience in South Vietnam in 1967" (p.4, Myszka, 1999), which is again, before Coral and Balmoral. He also makes the point, as you did that the FSV served in a separate Troop in South Vietnam. One would assume, again because of lack of numbers that their service in a separate Troop continued after Vietnam until the introduction of the Scorpion turreted version in greater numbers allowed them to be issued to a mixed troop (where they were still called FSVs as far as I am aware until about 1984). I however always understood that they were attached to each Squadron HQ in the Regiment (which is perhaps how they were employed).

No its doesn’t reinforce what you said. You said, and I quote: “The only suitable, available light tank in this time frame would have been either the M41 Walker Bulldog or the PT-76. As politics would have precluded the adoption of the PT-76, while the M41 was out of production, it would have prevented the adoption of any of them.” The M41 was never considered for the APAFV because it wasn’t air portable!

Errr, the M41 was airportable - if one had the right aircraft (M41s were successfully airlifted in South Vietnam in C-133s)! The lack of air portability in a C-130 did tell against it but as the FSV wasn't airportable in one either (its approximate 1 inch too high to fit into the hold of a C-130), I think the whole matter is rather moot, don't you?

I disagree with your belief that what you said did not reinforce what I said. I quickly surveyed what was available in the timeframe (missing the AMX13 as we have already discussed) and arrived at the two most likely candidates. We are agreed I think that none of the them was acceptable. The T92 because it never reached production. The M41 because it was out of production and the PT-76 because of its source.

The point which I and others had made was that the T92 would be much better suited for anyone who wanted an air portable AFV.

But the T92 was not available. The Sheridan was. The M41, the AMX13 and the PT-76 were, as well. Work with reality, not against it, please.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Kadija_Man said:
I apologised because of the irony (unintended) of making a correction (of you) and in turn making a mistake in my own turn.

Fine, it’s very easy for reasonable criticism to turn into antagonism online because of the limitations of text based interaction.

Kadija_Man said:
And your evidence for that claim is? I've consulted several books I have on the use of Australian armour in Vietnam or Australian AFVs and none of them make that claim. I'm genuinely interested in always discovering new sources of information.

Which claim? I meant to relieve the Centurions from the defensive tasks so they can be concentrated on offensive. I’m pretty sure it was Cecil (Mud & Dust) that mentioned this but I don’t have it in front of me to confirm.

Kadija_Man said:
It does? How interesting. And where is this stated please? Again, I'm genuinely interested. I never saw its use before about 1984 when I served in the Army. I'm unaware of any vehicle, before the creation of the FSV which could have fulfilled such a role or a doctrine that required such a concept. As Recconniassance was a sadly neglected part of the RAAC's doctrine, this is interesting news indeed.

The standard recce patrol/troop organisation of the divisional recce regt (later renamed armd car regt) of the British Army that evolved from WWII replacing the mix of scout cars and universal carriers in separate patrols (as used by the AIF cav regts) was two armoured cars (Daimler, Saladin, etc), 2-3 scout cars (Humber, Ferret, etc) and an attached APC (half track, Saracen, etc) from the squadron’s assault troop with a dismount section (aka vegies). Additional fire support assets were in the squadron and regiment to support these recce patrols. There are multiple sources around the place about this structure. Anything to do with British Army recce corps and post war armd car regts will support this.

In the Australian Army this structure or something similar has been used whenever there were adequate supplies of shell firing vehicles in the form of the Staghound armoured car (1 Armd Car Sqn and CMF recce regts) and the Scorpion turret M113 FSV (MRV). The same organisation in the recce troop in the 1980s (2x M113 MRV, 2x M113 LRV, 1x M113 APC with Vegies) of the Australian Army. Evolved with the ASLAV to two patrols of three vehicles as three is the minimum needed to provide security while recovering one of the patrol’s vehicles.

I wouldn’t describe the RAAC as being deficient in recce doctrine. It’s just the nature of jungle warfare has been such that armd recce is of limited use so in the rightly headline grabbing war against Japan and in VietNam there is little room for armd recce. But in WWII the AIF div cav regts in the Mediterranean theatre and recce units of the continental defence armd divs were effective and well prepared as they could be. Post war the CMF maintained armd recce capabilities from WWII to just recently and the ARA picked up the baton in the post VietNam environment culminating in the excellent ASLAV equipped armd cav regts (2 Cav and 2/14 LH) of Iraq and Afghanistan fame. Which is about to expand into the new multi role ISR/Lift cav sqn nine of which will be formed under Project Beersheba and equipped with the LAND 400 vehicle.

Kadija_Man said:
Did they? But Myszka makes the point that FSV development predated FSB Coral and Balmoral and was "reinforced by battle experience in South Vietnam in 1967" (p.4, Myszka, 1999), which is again, before Coral and Balmoral. He also makes the point, as you did that the FSV served in a separate Troop in South Vietnam. One would assume, again because of lack of numbers that their service in a separate Troop continued after Vietnam until the introduction of the Scorpion turreted version in greater numbers allowed them to be issued to a mixed troop (where they were still called FSVs as far as I am aware until about 1984). I however always understood that they were attached to each Squadron HQ in the Regiment (which is perhaps how they were employed).

I think Cecil mentions that the Saladin turret FSV were rapidly scrapped soon after the Scorpion turret project was underway and saw little use post VietNam.

Kadija_Man said:
Errr, the M41 was airportable - if one had the right aircraft (M41s were successfully airlifted in South Vietnam in C-133s)! The lack of air portability in a C-130 did tell against it but as the FSV wasn't airportable in one either (its approximate 1 inch too high to fit into the hold of a C-130), I think the whole matter is rather moot, don't you?

The M41 was not air portable by any aircraft in the RAAF which was the whole point. To acquire the M41 would have mandated the RAAF buy a larger tactical airlifter which was serious money compared to 40-50 odd lightweight AFVs. The FSV (Scorpion turret at least) was modified for the rapid removal of equipment above the turret roof so they could be deployed by the C-130. This was a requirement of the project and along with insuring they were amphibious one of the major issues of their development.

Kadija_Man said:
I disagree with your belief that what you said did not reinforce what I said. I quickly surveyed what was available in the timeframe (missing the AMX13 as we have already discussed) and arrived at the two most likely candidates. We are agreed I think that none of the them was acceptable. The T92 because it never reached production. The M41 because it was out of production and the PT-76 because of its source.

The M41 was not air-portable for the Australian Army and I don’t even know if the PT-76 can be carried by a C-130 not that it’s important because considering it in this discussion is ridiculous. The APAFV requirement had originally started with looking at wider ABCA developments in the early 1960s including the interesting British AVR program. The later was abandoned because the British thought a ~13-15 tonne vehicle was too big for air portability and wanted two ~6-7 tonne vehicles to replace it (which became Scorpion) leaving the American M551 as the only option in the 60s. Failing that the Army considered developing their own low profile vehicle hull combining the automotives of the M113 and the turret of the Scorpion. But funding limits meant they had to stick with an off the shelf vehicle hull.

Kadija_Man said:
But the T92 was not available. The Sheridan was. The M41, the AMX13 and the PT-76 were, as well. Work with reality, not against it, please.

This is actually an alternate history discussion thread and the very basis of the question put forward is conjectural. So if you want to be confined to reality you’re in the wrong place.
 

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I come back to this old thread as I have not been able to find an answer anywhere.
Did the Danes, Germans or South Vietnamese ever consider Sheridans as replacements for their M41s. The FRG an ARVn used mbts while DK upgunned their M41s?
 

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Sorry guys, but in terms of the Alvis FV101 Scorpion, was it originally designed with and only with that limited ROF 76mm L23A1 gun? Or did Alvis also propose other weapons at the time of its conception, but the British army elected to fit it with the ROF 76mm L23A1 gun?
In other words was the ROF 76mm L23A1 the basis of the design?

(P.S. I appreciate that other weapons options for the FV101came later.)


Regards
Pioneer
 
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Hood

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I suspect the L23A1 was the only suitable weapon for a light AFV then existing and it would have been a logistical win-win too for the Army. Also the L23 packed a fair punch for its size and was quite successful (thinking of the Australian M113 conversions for example).
The BMP-1 around the same time also went for a large calibre low-recoil gun, so presumably reflects the ethos of the period. I can't think of any extant 20-30mm weapon in British use at the time that could of been fitted in its place until the RADEN 30mm was ready.
 

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Back when Saladin and Scorpion were developed, experts believed that 75 mm was the minimum for anti-armour. 75 mm also fired a great HE round that proved handy against buildings and infantry.
That 75 mm gun was eventually superceded by the RARDEN and Chain Gun.

British Scorpions have been replaced by FV 107 Scimitar recce vehicles armed with 35 X 170 RARDEN auto-cannons firing 3 round clips. They have a high muzzle velocity and can punch through most light to medium targets. British FV 510 Warrior IFVs also fire RARDEN guns. They still need ATGMs to support them when facing MBTs.

Meanwhile, Canada and the USA have adopted the Hughes/Northrop, etc. 25 X 137 mm M242 Bushmaster Chain Gun for their LAVs. Americans also mount 35 mm Chain Guns on M2 and M3 Bradley IFVS. They are effective at punching through mud brick walls in Afghanistan.
 

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Kadija_Man said:
... the Army considered developing their own low profile vehicle hull combining the automotives of the M113 and the turret of the Scorpion. But funding limits meant they had to stick with an off the shelf vehicle hull. ...
This is actually an alternate history discussion thread and the very basis of the question put forward is conjectural. So if you want to be confined to reality you’re in the wrong place.

Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation did develop the M113 1/2 Lynx command and recce vehicle based on a shortened and shallower M113 hull. The biggest difference is that the engine is mounted in the rear and one of the few new parts is a drive shaft connecting the rear engine with the front final drives (ala. Sherman). FMC sold hundreds of Lynxes to Canada and the Netherlands. They left the factory with Browning .30 and .50 calibre MGs, but the Dutch later upgraded theirs to 20 mm cannons in a new one-man turret. Both NATO nations eventually retired their Lynxes, but ex-Dutch Lynxes still serve in the Chilean and Bahrain Armies.

The US Army did develop the completely new M114 tracked recce vehicle, but it was a dud.
 

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I can't think of any extant 20-30mm weapon in British use at the time that could of been fitted in its place until the RADEN 30mm was ready.

Didn't a British company have a license to build a copy of the Mauser Model F 30mm cannon, or am I mistaken?
 

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American politicians are deathly afraid that an American soldier will die because he/she was sent in to battle in a tank smaller than an M1 Abrams.
They forget that armour is only a short-term solution until bad guys build a bigger tank-busting weapon: Mauser, AT artillery, Panzerfaust, Roland, TOW, Milan, IED, etc.
Sorry to disappoint you, but even an M1 can be destroyed with a big enough roadside bomb. It may require a ton or three of explosives, but even an M1 has been flipped by an IED. Even if they hull protects them from fragments, flipping an AFV still scrambles the crews' brains, etc. Taliban, ISIS, Al Queda in the Magreb, etc. share lessons-learned.

What American politicians forget is that you only have to out-gun the enemy.
They also forget what that Civil War general said about "getting to the battle firstest." Even the USAF will never have enough heavy transport airplanes to move a useful number of M1s in less than a month.
 

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I've been digging through old US Army Field Manuals, and the interesting thing is......the Airborne Divisions didn't really HAVE armor formally on their TOEs:


Go to FM 101 – Staff Officers’ Field Manuals section and dig through them.

For example the 1971 Airborne Division (TOE 57G) in FM 101-10-1 (1971) had:

(9x) Airborne Infantry Battalions
Combat Aviation Battalion
Engineer Battalion
Signals Battalion
MP Company
Div Arty (3 x Field Artillery Battalions, 105mm Towed)
Armored Cavalry Squadron
ADA Battalion (3 x Vulcan Platoons of 4 x Vulcan Squads each)

And digging into the Authorized Tables:

54 x 105mm Howitzers
24 x Towed Vulcan 20mm in the ADA Battalion
34 x OH-6A (9 x in DIVARTY, 4 x in Cmbt Aviation Bn, 9 in Arm Cav Squadron)
19 x UH-1B (11 in Arm Cav Squadron, 6 in Combat Aviation Battalion)
35 x UH-1D (6 in Arm Cav Squadron, 27 in Combat Aviation Battalion)

Hundreds of trucks (including 818 x Truck, Utility 1/4 Ton), but no armored vehicles at all.

Heaviest direct fire weapon is the 106mm RCL, of which 120 are in the division, with 12 of them in the Armored Cav Squadron.

The Armored Cav Squadron is:

1 x Air Cavalry Troop (17-78G)
---1 x Aeroscout Platoon
---1x Aero Rifle Platoon
---1x Air Cav AT/Rocket Platoon

2 x Armored Cavalry Troops (17-77G) with each Troop having:

26 x 1/4 Ton Jeeps
6 x 1/4 Ton Jeeps with 106mm RCL
4 x 3/4 Ton Trucks with Winch
2 x 3/4 Ton Trucks

Officially

The troops were organized into

3 x Armored Cav Platoons, with each platoon having a:

Scout Section
Tank Section
Support Section
Rifle Section

This is interesting, because according to NOT JUST AN INFANTRYMAN’S WAR: UNITED STATES ARMORED CAVALRY OF THE VIETNAM WAR by BRIAN D. KERNS:

1965 Armored Cav Platoon before Vietnam:
1 x Jeep for Platoon Leader and a Scout Driver
4 x M114 in Scout Section
3 x M48A3 in Tank Section
1 x M113 in Rifle Section with a Rifle Squad
1 x M106 Mortar Carrier in Support Squad

Vietnam Era ACAV Armored Cav Platoon:
1 x M113 ACAV for Platoon HQ
4 x M113 ACAV in Scout Section
3 x M48A3 in Tank Section
1 x M113 in Rifle Section with a Rifle Squad
1 x M106 Mortar Carrier in Support Squad

Vietnam Era Armored Cav Platoon with Sheridan
1 x M113 ACAV for Platoon HQ
4 x M113 ACAV in Scout Section
3 x M551 Sheridan in Tank Section
1 x M113 in Rifle Section with a Rifle Squad
1 x M125/M106 Mortar Carrier in Support Squad

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

I think the US Army was treating the Armored Cav Squadron of the Airborne Division as a "plug as you go" unit; to be customized according to the specific needs of whatever operation required the 82nd; thus making a potentially "fully augmented" Armored Cav Squadron have:

18 x M551 Sheridan
36 x M113 ACAV
6 x M113 Mortar Carrier
 

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... rather than landing to protect Malayan Rubber plantations (how true is the claim that Scorpion was designed to be narrow enough to negotiate these?)
Scorpion? I always heard that was the case for Alvis' FV601 Saladin armoured car and FV603 Saracen armoured personnel carrier, although how official that was versus urban legend that's been repeated so often its taken on a life of its own I couldn't say.
 

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Good find, but no 4/68th Armor? Very strange
4th Battalion was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division from 22 March 1968 until 7 February 1984, when it was reflagged as the 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor. Both units employed the M551 Sheridan.

In an old 1981 ARMOR magazine, someone mentions that each of the three Airborne Armor Companies in the 4-68 was assigned to an individual 82nd Airborne Infantry Brigade for fire support (at least by 1981)
 

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Kadija_Man said:
... the Army considered developing their own low profile vehicle hull combining the automotives of the M113 and the turret of the Scorpion. But funding limits meant they had to stick with an off the shelf vehicle hull. ...
This is actually an alternate history discussion thread and the very basis of the question put forward is conjectural. So if you want to be confined to reality you’re in the wrong place.

Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation did develop the M113 1/2 Lynx command and recce vehicle based on a shortened and shallower M113 hull. The biggest difference is that the engine is mounted in the rear and one of the few new parts is a drive shaft connecting the rear engine with the front final drives (ala. Sherman). FMC sold hundreds of Lynxes to Canada and the Netherlands. They left the factory with Browning .30 and .50 calibre MGs, but the Dutch later upgraded theirs to 20 mm cannons in a new one-man turret. Both NATO nations eventually retired their Lynxes, but ex-Dutch Lynxes still serve in the Chilean and Bahrain Armies.

The US Army did develop the completely new M114 tracked recce vehicle, but it was a dud.
It should be noted that the Canadian Special Service Force air dropped both the M 113 and the Lynx during more then one exercise during the 80s.
 

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