Something different today. Most people would expect a stunning landscape photograph of Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. I am going back 40 years when I was in the New Zealand Army’s National service. I was in the New Zealand Scottish battalion, which had just received the M113A Amoured Personal Carriers (APC). Although the APC was amphibious it didn’t have much freeboard and was extremely slow in the water and thus was virtually a sitting duck. This was the first photograph I sold, so I suppose it was the beginning of my professional photography career. I sold 32 copies to my Army buddies. By the way this is not the recommended way to enter water in an APC, perhaps it was a “gunho” regular army cowboy at the controls. The APC was fun to drive, in non-war zones, and one of the great armoured vehicles of all times.
The M113 is a fully tracked armoured personnel carrier currently manufactured by BAE Systems. The vehicle was first fielded by United States Army’s mechanized infantry units in Vietnam in April 1962. The M113 was the most widely used armoured vehicle of the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War, earning the nickname ‘Green Dragon’ by some people, but largely known as an APC and ACAV (armoured cavalry assault vehicle) by the allied forces, as it was used to break through heavy thickets in the midst of the jungle to attack and overrun enemy positions.
The M113 introduced new aluminum armour that made the vehicle much lighter than earlier vehicles; it was thick enough to protect the crew and passengers against small arms fire but light enough that the vehicle was air transportable and moderately amphibious. In the U.S. Army, the M113 series have long been replaced as front-line combat vehicles by the M2 and M3 Bradley, but large numbers are still used in support roles such as armored ambulance, mortar carrier, engineer vehicle, command vehicle, etc. The Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Teams are currently equipped with around 6,000 M113s and 4,000 Bradleys.
The M113’s versatility spawned a wide variety of adaptations that live on worldwide, and in U.S. service. These variants together represent about half of U.S. Army armoured vehicles today. To date, it is estimated that over 80,000 M113s of all types have been produced and used by over 50 countries worldwide, making it one of the most widely used armoured fighting vehicles of all time.The Military Channel’s “Top Ten” series named the M113 the most significant infantry vehicle in history. The U.S. Army plans to retire the M113 family of vehicles by 2018 and is seeking replacement with the GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle programme.
Photograph taken with a Canon EXEE and 50mm lens on 5th November 1972.