In the various articles on the Scrapboard various vehicles are often mentioned. This page is intended to give a brief introduction to some of the more commonly mentioned or more important ones.
An article on the tactical applications of vehicles may be found here.
The M113 Gavin.
First and foremost is the M113, unofficially known as the Gavin. This is one of the most successful and versatile AFVs of all time and still has lots of potential. Oddly, it has never had an official name! Go here to help change this.
To really find out about the capabilities of the M113 visit Mike Sparks site where there are numerous articles. Several of my current favorates are:-
There is a vast range of variants of these vehicles, but we'll concern ourselves with just two. The first is what one might term the plain vanilla M113, preferably in A3 configuration. This is the sort of vehicle that will be found in CAB/TAB units. These are essentially standard M113s with the exception that some mount Mk-19 40mm grenade launchers instead of .50 HMGs and many will be fitted with mounting brackets for Dragon or Javelin launchers. CAB M113s may or may not be fitted with Applique armour, but one thing that should be mandatory is the installation of gunshields.
The CAB for the 82nd Airborne would be slightly different to those intended to support other units. Firstly it would be an organic part of a division, rather than an assigned centrally controlled unit. Secondly its personnel would be parachute qualified and practiced in Air-drop operations with M113s. Thirdly the vehicles of the 82nd's CAB are more likely to be full IFV versions.
Our second version of the M113A3 is an IFV variant or "Super Gavin" as it has been termed.
This will have enhanced levels of protection such as Applique armour. This gives the vehicle resistance against RPGs and 30mm Light cannon rounds. The commander's weapon will have gunshields, or preferably some form of one man turret or cupola. A good weapon for the M113-IFV would be the 30mm ASP-30 cannon or M230 chaingun. The turret would also mount a co-axial 7.62mm machine gun and pylons for missiles, FFAR pods and other ordinance. Medium machine guns with gunshields will be fitted to the sides of the rear hatch, and there may also be provision for firing a 60mm commando mortar from the vehicle roof.
Some M113-IFVs would mount dozer blades, both as increased frontal protection and for removing barricades. Vehicles should also mount smoke dischargers. Vehicles such as the White M3 halftrack and scout car had a roller mounted at the from at about bumper level. This helped the vehicle extra itself should it drive into a ditch. I wonder if such a simple device would improve the ditching ability of M113s even further?
120mm Assault Gun Mortar. The AGM is a battalion level weapon system that would prove useful in Mechanized Infantry, Armoured Cavalry, Anti-tank and Engineer units, among others.
The AGM is based on the M113 but mounts a 120mm gun-mortar capable of both direct and high trajectory on its glacis. This gives a lower and better protected vehicle than turreted gun-mortar vehicles. Such a system could easily be produced:-
Take an M113 and reverse all the gearing.
Slope the rear wall of the vehicle and up armour it (this now becomes the front).
Install an "off the shelf" 120mm Gun mortar in the front plate of the vehicle, exactly as it would be installed in a turret.
Move the driver to a more useful position.
Fit a gunshield to the commander's MG, possibly replacing it with a 30mm ASP. Alternately install any one man turret such as an Amtrack turret with a .50 and a 40mm AGL or a turret with an ASP and co-axial MG.
Tankita The Tankita is another M113 based vehicle, but mounting a turreted gun on a lower hull. The Tankita is essentially a light tank, although I tend to avoid this term since to many people "light" implies either poorly armed or with a low level of armour.
The Tankita is well armed and protected, and is probably better thought of as "compact armour" rather than light. Tankitas based on Wiesel, M551 and Bradley Hulls have also been suggested. The advantage that the Tankita has over other tanks such as the M8 is that it will be possible to move the Tankita by helicopters such as the CH-47
Logistics Track. This is a tracked vehicle capable of carrying a mechanized formations supplies and keeping up with tanks and APCs, so the CSS element is a central stomach rather than a tail. This would be a flatbed vehicle possibly with the armoured cabin of the M1108 and its own pallet loading system.
M60Z Many people feel that the M1 Abrams tank needs to be supplemented by medium tanks more suited to supporting infantry and more general missions. A sensible choice for such a vehicle is an upgraded version of the M-60 tank.
This is discussed in more detail on this page. An alternate approach to creating a medium tank is to fit a Bradley hull with a turret such as that of the AMX-13 or M8.
M1 Abrams The Abrams has proven itself to be a great tank killer, but its infantry and light vehicle fighting capabilities could be improved. Suggestions for improving the M1 are at this G2mil site. These improvements include gunshields or improve cupolas for the commander and gunner, a co-axial .50 machine gun, a Mk-19 for the loader's position and a .50 gatlin or 30mm ASP cannon for the commander. Another suggestion is to fit some M1s with diesel engines to make them more suitable for supporting infantry in MOUT, creating a "Heavy Urban" tank. An ideal candidate for this conversion are some of the 1000 105mm armed M1s that it is planned to spend over $3 million on each converting them to M1A1 standard. The 105mm is more than sufficient for MOUT and allows more rounds to be carried. Retaining the 105mm gun and fitting an diesel and increased secondary armament would be far more cost effective than creating more M1A1s, of which the army already has an excess. I call this version the M1D-105
M2 Bradley. One drawback of the current Bradley platoons is the small number of dismounted troops available. When the German Army was planning to replace the Marder one design concept was to have two vehicle designs, one an infantry carrier and the other a "support fire" vehicle armed with a 35/50mm Rh503 gun. Mike Sparks has suggested that a Bradley with the two-man turret removed might be capable of carrying a more useful number of infantrymen. This variant would probably have a simpler turret or cupola. The Bradley element of a Heavy Battalion might possibly be a mixed force of turreted and "unturreted" Bradleys, some of the former mounting heavier armament.
Ralph Zumbro writes:- "Bradley....Better put a bunker busting heavy gun in the beast, maybe the French AMX turret with a Cockerill 90mm. Keep a couple of dismounts and they can reload the turret bustle revolvers from the top hatch. They can also provide local security. Pair the Bradley with a 113 full of dedicated armored infantry.
Call five pairs like this a doubled platoon and add a resource sergeant with a couple of M548s and you've GOT something."
I'd rather have the infantry in a compatible vehicle. Some Bradleys could also mount the 76/90mm guns that I've suggested for the Tankita. A hull that weight should be capable of handling a 105mm, so the M8 turret is an alternative I like the idea of twinned platoons though
Roy Ardillo suggests:- "How about 4+2 ? Mike and I talked about it a while ago. Four for infantry carriers with two fire support vehicles. Two carriers and one fire support vehicle per squad."
The Bradleys with the two-man turret removed (lets call these Bradley-APCs) would probably have a powered cupola with a 30mm ASP cannon. This is in some respects a better armament than the 25mm Bushmaster armed Bradleys though the latter have the advantage of stabilized gun mounts and TOW systems. Alternate armament for the Bradley-APCs are the .50 gatlin or " Hueycobra style" M28 turret with grenade launcher and minigun. The one-man 25mm armed turret developed for the IFV-L would simpify logistics since it uses the same round as the "standard" Bradleys.