Time for that once again...
First of all, on behalf of the team, I would like to thank all of you, our beloved public, who voted to get us in the Top 100 mods of 2011. It is an immense honor, and we are most grateful for it. Thanks, people! :)
Therefore, we would like to represent an (incomplete- a couple more are still cookin') "family tree" of a vehicle that is bound to be the staple of the US forces. You probably guessed it, and most likely seen the pictures - It's the venerable green box of awesomeness and all of its incarnations - ladies and gentlemen, put your hands up for M113 APC!
Armed with a M2HB heavy machinegun, and armored with 38-40 mm of aluminium armor (corresponding to 13 mm of RHA), the bulky and fragile M113 was a questionable choice for the workhorse in the specific battlefield of Vietnam. The amount of protection for its crews was minimal, with the worst problem of all being the lack of protection for the commander, while firing the gun. Troops and crews disliked it at first, but soon it proved itself to be perfectly suited for Vietnam. Why? Its light mass made it very mobile in the muddy roads, and it was able to cross the lightly built bridges. Its swimming ability allowed it to even swim over rivers, a thing vital for the jungle warfare of Vietnam.
A variant of M113 was made for battlefield evacuation of casualties. The M113 Armored Ambulance.
It allowed for evacuation of 4 litter patients, or 8 passengers in ambulatory mode, cared for by a medic. Machine gun was additionally added.
And so. Crews of M113 have a cardinal weakness. Bullets. If the commander is not manning the M2 all the time, he cannot see ambushes and potential hazards. M113 is defenseless, and a juicy target for RPGs. When the commander is manning the machine gun, he then becomes a target for every other weapon, and is booking himself a flight in a tin coffin back to the States. Therefore, crews themselves started practicing uparmoring their vehicles. First vehicle in that line was M113 ACAV.
First, the gun shield was made by crews from salvaged scrap - it became an instant success, and was serially installed on nearly all M113s in US arsenal. Additional protection was provided for the commander, an 8 mm "turret " protecting the side and rear. Some other things were realized in the making of the ACAV, and that is the fact that it can carry more guns than previously designed. Dual machineguns (M60s or M1919 - whichever the crew was able to find, even captured Vietnamese guns were used!) were mounted on the sides, allowing for greater damage output. Vehicles perfected like these were used in a way tank is - protecting, pathfinding, breaking through. To allow for greater efficiency, it rarely carried passengers. Instead, they were literally filled to the top with ammo for the guns.
Demonstrating the affinity of crews for strange weapons, even M40 recoilless rifles were installed on the ACAVs. Such conversions were colloquially called M113 GunCAV, and allowed for direct artillery support in the field.
Stepping aside by the individual GI's creativity and skill, this incarnation was serially made by the greasemonkeys back in the US. It traded passenger space for a long range, high pressure flamethrower. While sounding good on paper, and showing fearsome in practice, there were never too many volunteers wanting to crew these - reasons being more than obvious. The fuel tank was incredibly well designed, being self-sealing and additionally armored. However, not many things can protect from an RPG... Its name was M132 Armored Flamethrower, but the troops called it "Zippo". Maybe for the fact that it always lights when you strike it?
And the final incarnation that we are about to show today... the M106 Mortar carrier!
It was designed to carry the woefully wrong M30 Heavy (very literally heavy - 305 kgs, and yet designated as infantry portable) Mortar. Combined with M113's huge back space, the two fitted together like a hand in a glove. M30 Mortar became mobile, and the M113 got more firepower than it could ever imagine. The construction differs from other M113s in the specific top rear hatch, presence of ammo racks, strengthened floor, and the turntable allowing for 360 degrees rate of fire. Each vehicle was provided with all the necessary tools for firing the mortar even from outside the vehicle. As such, it is probably the deadliest one of all M113 incarnations. Or is it?
Keep in mind that we have 4 more (at minimum) variations of M113 to show later. When that happens, this devupdate will be enlargened.
Again, I would like to thank for the support in the MOTY contest... we're more than grateful for every vote we receive! If you find it that our cause is worthy - vote for us!
Oh and yes. If you happened to have missed the screenies from the last batch - you can see them here.
Hope you enjoyed!
For the World in War Team,