Discussion in 'Post-World War 2 Armour' started by Miller phpbb3, Jan 28, 2007.
How come the M-46 was used in Vietnam, it was over 20 years old by the time we go involved
The M46 was in effect the most modern tank that America had with the exception of the M60 - and it was basically a revamped M46. The M60 was in all likelihood keopt for the european theatre and home as it was expected to have to deal with the T-62. I don't think North Vietnam had those but they did have T-55's.
I think the most modern American tank fielded in Vietnam was the Sheridan which has not been considered a great success. I'm happy to be corrected :wink:
Even the airfoirce did not field it's top line (latest) aircraft so I tend to see a pattern here. Why field the latest equipment and potentially lose any advantage they have against the more percieved threat when the older models can still do the job in hand?
why is the B-52 used still then?
Because it can still do the job. :grin:
One company of M60s was deploy in NAM. I had a CSM in that unit and would quickly tell you about it. Perhaps the M551 was the most modern tank in theater but newer isn't always better. I understand the only real problem was the electronic package on it. The short but powerfull cannon allowed great flexability and maneuverability. We could still use something like that today.
Aren't you fellows refering to the M-Forty-EIGHT in Vietnam service?
I thought so.
The M551 Sheridan was designed to a different standard than the traditional MBT. It was to be a lightweight, amphibious, airborne-capable recon-vehicle, and the 152mm Shillelagh missle and conventional caseless ammunition was to give it added punch over a traditional cannon.
When first deployed, they had problems with unburned propellent igniting as the next round was loaded... and detonating the caseless propellent used in the ammuntion. Some terrible accidents and crew-losses were the result until the scavenging system was modified.
Also, I'm told the recoil from a main-gun round was a BITCH!
It was a very interesting light tank, but not especially popular with it's crews. Also, it's light weight meant that if it struck an anti-tank mine, it would likely be destroyed, whereas the M-48/M-60 would be repairable.
Last I heard,when the B-52 is finally retired,it will have been in service for almost a century.Get used to seeing them.
I work with some old M551 guys, including a master gunner, and they tell some wild stories similar to what you discribed. I agree the role of the Sheridan wasn't for how it was used but it really was the best vehicle, minus its faults, for that environment.
I've talked to an Indiana national guardsman that served on Sheridans some years ago. He related a story where he had hopped out of the turret. He was standing behind the tank when the rear bustle suddenly fell-off the back of the turret and nearly killed him.
I believe they still use the Sheridan in OPFOR games, and I agree it was a tank better suited to the terrain in Vietnam than some. Still, it appears the M-48 did make a difference, and some interesting tactics were developed to make it more effective.
They were especially good at rolling-up bunker-lines as they would charge and spin around the top of the bunkers, mashing the fortifications--and enemy troops--under their tracks. (Coordinating support with infantry such as was pioneered with Marine tankers in WW2-Pacific was crucial.)
The Sheridan couldn't absorb RPG-hits like an M-48, but that is to be expected with a "light-tank."
The Sheridans are being, if not already completed, replaced as OPFOR vehicles at the two stateside CTCs.
I knew a crew that was trying to do the same thing during desert storm. The problem was the bunker was a lot bigger than anyone had imagined and it collapsed. The M1A1 had to get pulled out of the hole. Sucks to be a grunt.
Even the M48s weren't doing too well against the RPG-7. It was a common practice to pound a spent .50 casing into the hole to try and keep the rain out after they were recovered and repaired. The short gun tube of the M551 was better suited for the terrian but your right the protection was limited.