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Can anyone advise of usual loadout for a USMC M60A1 during 1980's ? Was HEP and Canister regular loads ?

 

Apologies for the thread necromancy.

Edited by Gman
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Gary, I was answering your PM yesterday and lost it. Since you have posted, I'll do it here for advancing general knowledge of USMC tanks on this Grate Sight. At least then the system will recover my post if it gets dumped.

 

I have never encountered USMC tank loadouts historically or in real life. I suspect that this was left to battalion and company commanders to make the call. I can verify that USMC tank ammo was carried very heavy in HE from WWII to c.1972, because the primary tank mission was support of the infantry; in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. As an example, I can show you the distribution of ammo carried for my tank platoon of 7 M48A3 tanks, embarked in our amphibious ships for a Mediterranean deployment 1970-71 [6 mo.] as part of Battalion Landing Team 3rd Bn, 8th Marines. The USMC had just disbanded the divisional antitank battalion, with its M50A1 Ontos, so my platoon was the first to go out with seven vice five tanks; that lasted only a couple of years.

 

90mm Tank Ammunition:

Canister: 28

HE: 306

AP: 80

HEAT: 148

WP: 34

Blank: 8

 

Now, these were the munitions carried on board the ships that carried the seven M48A3 tanks, 1 LSD and 1 LST. Given amphibious doctrine of spread loading, the other ships, one APA, LPD and AKA (especially the last) would have carried more tank ammunition, but that would not have been available for any D-day. My point is that you can take the proportional spread of the totals I gave you and estimate a likely loadout for the old days of infantry support.

 

But this was no longer the case when we re-equipped with the M60A1 series starting in 1974. We received vanilla M60A1 tanks in 1974, but then reformed with final production M60A1/RISE/Passive/AOS with the Reliability Improved Service Engine, passive driver's periscope and gunner's primary sight and Add-On Stabilization, all in 1977. Post-Vietnam, the emphasis for both army and USMC was NATO and its related contingencies. All USMC personnel received their tank training at Ft Knox Armor School from 1974 onward, to include the advanced course for captains. We received our first Master Gunners c. 1979. As the 2d Tk Bn S-4(Logistics) officer in 1978, I called HQMC and talked to the HQ ammo officer about allocation of ammunition for shipping and contingencies and he assured me that we were by then operating on US NATO planning figures and had abandoned the WWII methodology.

 

The USMC tanks you observed in Australia would have been there as part of the forward deployed battalion landing team with a single tank platoon attached, and perforce would have had infantry support as a primary mission. However, by 1976, USMC tank units trained and deployed to NATO exercises in company and battalion strength. As a company commander in 1979, we fired only APDS and HEAT training ammunition, with some HE and WP used in live fire exercises in California. Whether we operated the M60A1's in 1977 or the M1A1 Common Tank in 1991, I assure you that our USMC tank training and tactical doctrine were identical to the US Army.

 

 

 

As for Blazer Armor, the former USMC Tank Program manager told me in 2009:

 

The USMC programmed Blazer Appliqué sets in 1986, along with the army which acquired reportedly c.2000 sets for its large M60 fleet, still outfitting the Natl Guard and elsewhere. In 1989, the Corps cancelled the program, holding only 1 battalion's worth in storage at Cp Lejeune, actually equipping the designated company that would provide the next three afloat platoons for the Med deployments, after which M1A1 would be in hand. Comes the 1990 ODS and the Cp Lejeune 2d Tk Bn is to receive loaner M1A1s in S.A., the M60A1s offloaded [3 x 53] from the MPS battalions have no Blazer, so more kits are taken from the army, flown to Al Jubail port and installed by service support. So that's how Blazer went to war in 1991.

 

These versions protected only against shaped charges [rockets, projos, ATGMs], provided no defense against KE penetrators. Obviously in a major fight, shaped charge impacts where tiles had already detonated would have had lethal effects, but the M60A1 tankers went to war satisfied that they had much improved protection. There were also some initial administrative squabbles with the USN, which predictably objected to carrying these things on board ships. The USMC tank company at Cp Lejeune had empty boxes on their vehicles, and the explosive elements remained stored in designated magazines when they embarked the ships.

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I went through basic in '79. They told us that the Army was switching from infantry support to armor killing as armor's primary roll. They still taught us about HEP, WP, and APERs because you never would be sure what was available during a conflict. When I was stationed in Germany all of our tanks carried a full load of APFSDS/HEAT rounds in a ratio of approximately 3/5ths SABOT to 2/5ths HEAT. We still shot the occasional training HEP round during gunnery.

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Thanks very much Ken. Very interesting. So you didn't see a lot of HEP in training at all ? Or canister ? I know both were well regarded as secondary choices for ammo (over HEAT) by our tankers here in Oz, but obviously US Army doctrine is more of antitank than infantry support as a mission.

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Thanks very much Ken. Very interesting. So you didn't see a lot of HEP in training at all ? Or canister ? I know both were well regarded as secondary choices for ammo (over HEAT) by our tankers here in Oz, but obviously US Army doctrine is more of antitank than infantry support as a mission.

In 1984 while attending the Master Gunner course at Ft. Knox a couple of the Marine NCOs talked about firing some Beehive that was part of their Float's basic load. They said it didn't perform well at all. When the burster went off the round broke into big pieces with no evidence of the flechettes separating.

 

As for HEP, I can't speak for the USMC, but in the US Army unit I was in, HEP and Smoke were part of our load out. We normally were uploaded with 50 rounds of a HEAT / APDS mix with the other 13 rounds, plus a second load, in our ammo bunkers nearby. Those 13 rounds were a mix of HEP and Smoke, though I couldn't tell you the numbers of each.

 

Until about 1983 we, US Army, trained quite extensively with TP-T (training HEP).

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Speaking of the M60, this recently came into my possession. It's a cylinder head cover from an AVDS-1790 engine. Not really sure what to do with it, but I didn't want it to get thrown away. It was given to my father as a retirement gift from the guys at the factory metallurgy lab. As my dad gets ready to move into a retirement home, he has been getting rid of stuff.

 

cylinder-head.jpg?w=680

Edited by Walter_Sobchak
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You need eleven more before you can even continue this discussion. :P

Indeed! Although, I would not recommend anyone use this particular item in an actual engine. Since it came from the metalurgy lab, this might be a part from a batch that was problematic and hence sent to the lab for testing. One thing for sure, it had been sitting around the lab for a long time. After General Dynamics purchased the plant in 1996, they removed the Continental logo from the cover.

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Thanks very much Ken. Very interesting. So you didn't see a lot of HEP in training at all ? Or canister ? I know both were well regarded as secondary choices for ammo (over HEAT) by our tankers here in Oz, but obviously US Army doctrine is more of antitank than infantry support as a mission.

We fired HEP, APERS and canister at the USMC tank school, but rarely had HEP or APERS on the battalion gunnery ranges unless the unit commander wanted them for familiarization firing. On my Med float, I presumed we had canister because all the APERS ('beehive') had been sent to Vietnam. In the USMC we were blessed with large annual ammo allowances, far in excess from what annual crew certification required. So we could order any type of ammunition for main gunnery, which we did quarterly in the tank companies where I was the XO or CO. One time, in the M48A3 company where I was plt ldr and later XO, I ordered concrete piercing and VT fuzes along with the 90mm rounds, just for familiarization. Dummy, I did not know you had to order 90mm HE w/o fuze in order to use them...the issue HE had the PD fuze peened on to the round, no way to get it off. I turned the fuses back to the ammo dump, with chagrin.

 

With the 90mm one used the blank rounds because we had no firing simulators in those days. The army had Telfare but we did not.

 

Live fire training and contingencies, we always counted on carrying some mix, depending on the scenarios. Besides AP or APDS (105mm) HEAT, and some quantity of HE or HEP, we would surely take WP, but not too much because it had to be carried in the vertical ready racks. The guys in Vietnam carried HE, canister and APERS in quantity, with a minimum of HEAT and AP, as did the M56 SPAT platoon of the D/16th Armor (ABN) with the 173rd Abn Bde.

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Well, I guess the old M60 is consigned to the museums at last, from the Paul Allen Flying Heritage Collection:

" On April 13th join Dave Masters, Sergeant (Ret.), Justin Flatt, Sergeant (Ret.) and Tony Martinez for an interesting talk: Preparing with the Patton: Training in the M60

The M60, the sentinel against the Soviets, served as the primary main battle tank of the United States throughout the Cold War and later helped train the next generation of tankers. Join veteran tankers as they discuss their time training in the M60 and provide an up close walk around of the FHCAM's M60A1.

Doors Open: Member Only 6 PM / General Admission 6:30 PM "

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Well, I guess the old M60 is consigned to the museums at last, from the Paul Allen Flying Heritage Collection:

" On April 13th join Dave Masters, Sergeant (Ret.), Justin Flatt, Sergeant (Ret.) and Tony Martinez for an interesting talk: Preparing with the Patton: Training in the M60

The M60, the sentinel against the Soviets, served as the primary main battle tank of the United States throughout the Cold War and later helped train the next generation of tankers. Join veteran tankers as they discuss their time training in the M60 and provide an up close walk around of the FHCAM's M60A1.

Doors Open: Member Only 6 PM / General Admission 6:30 PM "

Makes us feel a bit old, eh? :unsure:

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Well, to be fair the Abrams has now been in frontline service with the US as a gun tank for longer than the M60 was: the M60 was introduced in 1960 and was phased out of the USMC by 1996; the M1 was introduced in 1980, and of course is still being used in 2017. As a reference, if we take the same amount of time we are from the Abrams's introduction and go backwards from that date, we'd arrive at a point in time one month after the first Pz.Kpfw.Panther Ausf.D had been accepted...

Edited by DogDodger
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There was quite a run on them by US communities, before so many of what remained were consigned to the deep as part of artificial reefs. My principal feeling as I watched videos of them splashing into the ocean was the huge amount of physical sweat and tears performed by soldiers and marines to keep them in Code A condition nd ready for inspection all those years, and then....spluck!

 

Quite a few A3s did and some still soldier on in foreign armies, especially with the CFA limitations forcing the US to give up a lot of POMCUS stocks in the early 90s.

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There was quite a run on them by US communities, before so many of what remained were consigned to the deep as part of artificial reefs. My principal feeling as I watched videos of them splashing into the ocean was the huge amount of physical sweat and tears performed by soldiers and marines to keep them in Code A condition nd ready for inspection all those years, and then....spluck!

 

Quite a few A3s did and some still soldier on in foreign armies, especially with the CFA limitations forcing the US to give up a lot of POMCUS stocks in the early 90s.

 

Here in Michigan it seems like just about every town has either a vanilla M60 or an M60A3 on display. I've driven around and photographed a few. Not nearly as many as some of the guys over at the AFV Association bulletin forum. Some of the most interesting vehicles on the west side of Michigan include a really nice condition M56 Scorpion that not many people seem to know about, a really rough looking M103 with missing engine grills (the whole engine deck has been replaced with sheet metal), an M48A1 that Teledyne put a diesel into and then donated to the VFW across the street in muskegon and here in Grand Rapids we have one of the few existing M43 Motor Gun Carriages.

Edited by Walter_Sobchak
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Gentlemen, before you roll your eyes and shake your heads, as an ex-sailor from 1978-87 we had the following "discussions." We know we (USN) can beat the Red Navy, but can the Army, NATO, "The West" beat the "Red Horde." Could the M60's ammo pierce the Txx's armor? Conversely, could the M60's armor defeat the Txx's ammo. From what I can figure out on this Grate Site, the overall answer is no to both questions, at least frontally.

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Gentlemen, before you roll your eyes and shake your heads, as an ex-sailor from 1978-87 we had the following "discussions." We know we (USN) can beat the Red Navy, but can the Army, NATO, "The West" beat the "Red Horde." Could the M60's ammo pierce the Txx's armor? Conversely, could the M60's armor defeat the Txx's ammo. From what I can figure out on this Grate Site, the overall answer is no to both questions, at least frontally.

M60 wasn't able to stand anything but earlier 100mm AP ammo. 115/125mm was dead sentence at any real ranges. M68 achieved ability to somewhat reliably pen T-64A/72 UHF plate only in late 70's with M774, and even that was negletched by "Otrajaemost" at T-72A/64B/80B. Plus in 70's Soviet tanks was far ahead not only with armor and armament, but with FCS too. 1A33 FCS, installed on 64B/80B, was first real full FCS and was superior to anything before Leo 2 arrived(M60A3 sans TTS was somewhat worse it terms of fire on the move and some minor stuff). So in whole - before M1 US armor was completely screwed against Soviet armor. Before M1A1 - just in bad shape.

 

About fleet - can't argue about whole navies, don't know so much stuff about it, but what impression USN has about Soviet AShMs? Particulary P-270, P-500/1000 and P-700. Especially last one, installed on Antey(Oskar-II) sub.

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Was 105mm M833 judged capable of defeating the frontal armor of the T-72A, T-64B, and T-80B at typical ranges? Those three were roughly equivalent in terms of armor, correct?

Ugh, no, they are not equivalent. Weakest armor has T-72A. Its glacis was vulnerable at some ranges, at least until HHS plate arrival. Its turret was most probably immune. T-80B(same for 64B) has same hull armor(until BV) and even better armored turret. T-72B was the most armored with both hull and turret immune at all ranges(THS spaced armor in hull(changed in 1989 to spaced with single NERA plate) and thick turret with NERA inserts).

So in whole at real battle ranges at best only early T-72A and T-64B/80B hulls was vulnerable until additional HHS plate arrived.

Edited by GARGEAN
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