By Steven J. Zaloga
One of many weaknesses of airmobile forces has continually been their vulnerability to enemy armor. because the Forties, there were various schemes to box gentle tanks that may be deployed by means of parachute or different ways to make stronger paratroopers and different airmobile forces. This e-book tells the tale of the USA event with airmobile tanks, beginning with efforts in international warfare II, particularly the M22 Locust airmobile tank. even supposing no longer utilized in strive against by means of the USA military, it used to be used in the course of Operation Varsity in 1945 by means of British airborne forces and ended up helping US paratroopers in this venture at the Rhine river. The publication then turns to post-war efforts equivalent to the original T-92 airborne tank, designed for paratroop drop.
The merely airborne tank really synthetic in major numbers was once the M551 Sheridan. The heritage of this tank presents the point of interest of this booklet, highlighting the problems of mixing heavy firepower in a chassis mild sufficient for airborne supply. The booklet examines its arguable strive against debut in Vietnam, and its next wrestle historical past in Panama and Operation wasteland typhoon. It additionally rounds out the tale via reading makes an attempt to interchange the Sheridan with different armored autos, reminiscent of the short-lived M8 MGS and military LAV courses.
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Additional info for M551 Sheridan: US Airmobile Tanks 1941-2001 (New Vanguard, Volume 153)
The 11th ACR substituted three Sheridans for two M113 Armored Cavalry Vehicles (ACAVs) in one of three scout sections per armored cavalry platoon. While this arrangement decreased the number of dismounted scouts in the sections, it substantially increased their firepower. In reality, the units often deployed Sheridans from one section with several ACAVs from other sections to create a mixed force. The bee-hive round proved to be the most popular projectile in the Sheridan’s arsenal; in the first three months of combat, the Sheridans fired 1,461 rounds of bee-hive compared to 350 rounds of M409 HEAT as well as 431,000 rounds of machine-gun ammunition.
In spite of this, the Army approved the production of the AGS on October 27, 1995, as the M8 with a first contract for 26 vehicles. However, on January 24, 1996, the Army finally decided to kill the AGS program for cost-cutting reasons, largely based on the decision against deploying it with the 2nd ACR; it was unaffordable if built only for a single battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division. In March 2004, the Army approved the transfer of four of the M8 AGS in storage to Ft Bragg for further examination of airborne armor requirements.
Another common modification was the addition of stowage bins on the rear of the turret to compensate for the small stowage rack provided on the baseline vehicle. qxd:NVG153 26/11/08 11:34 Page 33 In spite of the numerous difficulties with the Sheridan, it eventually proved to be a useful addition to the armored cavalry when used as a substitute for the M113 ACAV, but not as a substitute for the more robust M48A3 tank. The Sheridan’s main advantage was that it was more mobile on soft terrain than the heavier M48A3.