M60 Patton

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M60 Patton
American M60A3 tank Lake Charles, Louisiana April 2005.jpg
An M60A3 Patton on display in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in April 2005.
TypeMain battle tank
Place of origin United States of America
Service history
In service1961-1997 (United States)
Used bySee Operators
WarsVietnam War
Yom Kippur War
Iran–Iraq War
Persian Gulf War
Western Sahara War
Shia insurgency in Yemen
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Production history
ManufacturerDetroit Arsenal Tank Plant, Chrysler
Produced1960–1987
Number builtOver 15,000 (all variants)
VariantsSee Variants
Specifications
WeightM60: 50.7 short tons (46.0 t; 45.3 long tons)
M60A1: 52 to 54 short tons (47 to 49 t; 46 to 48 long tons) depending on turret design.
LengthM60: 6.946 meters (22 ft 9.5 in) (hull), 9.309 meters (30 ft 6.5 in) (gun forward)[1]
WidthM60: 3.631 meters (11 ft 11.0 in)[1]
HeightM60: 3.213 meters (10 ft 6.5 in)[1]
Crew4

Armor6.125 in (155.6 mm)
Main
armament
105 mm (4.1 in) M68 gun (M60/A1/A3)
152 mm (6.0 in) M162 Gun/Launcher (M60A2)
Secondary
armament
.50 cal (12.7 mm) M85
7.62 mm M73 machine gun
EngineContinental AVDS-1790-2 V12, air-cooled Twin-turbo diesel engine
750 bhp (560 kW)[1]
Power/weight15.08 bhp/t[1]
TransmissionGeneral Motors, cross-drive, single-stage with 2 forward and 1 reverse ranges[1]
SuspensionTorsion bar suspension
Ground clearance0.463 meters (1 ft 6.2 in)[1]
Fuel capacity1,457 liters (320 imp gal; 385 U.S. gal)[1]
Operational
range
300 miles (500 km)[1]
Speed30 miles per hour (48 km/h) (road)[1]
 
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M60 Patton
American M60A3 tank Lake Charles, Louisiana April 2005.jpg
An M60A3 Patton on display in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in April 2005.
TypeMain battle tank
Place of origin United States of America
Service history
In service1961-1997 (United States)
Used bySee Operators
WarsVietnam War
Yom Kippur War
Iran–Iraq War
Persian Gulf War
Western Sahara War
Shia insurgency in Yemen
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Production history
ManufacturerDetroit Arsenal Tank Plant, Chrysler
Produced1960–1987
Number builtOver 15,000 (all variants)
VariantsSee Variants
Specifications
WeightM60: 50.7 short tons (46.0 t; 45.3 long tons)
M60A1: 52 to 54 short tons (47 to 49 t; 46 to 48 long tons) depending on turret design.
LengthM60: 6.946 meters (22 ft 9.5 in) (hull), 9.309 meters (30 ft 6.5 in) (gun forward)[1]
WidthM60: 3.631 meters (11 ft 11.0 in)[1]
HeightM60: 3.213 meters (10 ft 6.5 in)[1]
Crew4

Armor6.125 in (155.6 mm)
Main
armament
105 mm (4.1 in) M68 gun (M60/A1/A3)
152 mm (6.0 in) M162 Gun/Launcher (M60A2)
Secondary
armament
.50 cal (12.7 mm) M85
7.62 mm M73 machine gun
EngineContinental AVDS-1790-2 V12, air-cooled Twin-turbo diesel engine
750 bhp (560 kW)[1]
Power/weight15.08 bhp/t[1]
TransmissionGeneral Motors, cross-drive, single-stage with 2 forward and 1 reverse ranges[1]
SuspensionTorsion bar suspension
Ground clearance0.463 meters (1 ft 6.2 in)[1]
Fuel capacity1,457 liters (320 imp gal; 385 U.S. gal)[1]
Operational
range
300 miles (500 km)[1]
Speed30 miles per hour (48 km/h) (road)[1]

The M60 Patton is a main battle tank (MBT)[2] introduced in December 1960.[3] With the United States Army's deactivation of their last (M103) heavy tank battalion, the M60 became the Army's primary tank [4] during the Cold War. Although developed from the M48 Patton, the M60 series was never officially classified as a Patton tank, but as a "product improved descendant" of the Patton series.[5] On 16 March 1959, the OTCM (Ordnance Technical Committee Minutes) #37002 officially standardized the vehicle as the 105 mm Gun Full Tracked Combat Tank M60.[6]

The M60 was criticized for its high profile and limited cross-country mobility, but proved reliable and underwent many updates over its service life. The interior layout, based on the design of the M48, provided ample room for updates and improvements, extending the vehicle's service life for over four decades. It was widely used by the U.S. and its Cold War allies, especially those in NATO, and remains in service throughout the world today despite having been superseded by the M1 Abrams in the U.S. military. Egypt is currently the largest operator with 1,716 upgraded M60A3s, Turkey is second with 866 upgraded units in service, and Israel is third with over 700 units of Israeli variants.

Development[edit]

Impetus[edit]

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a Soviet T-54A medium tank was driven onto the grounds of the British embassy in Budapest by the Hungarians. After a brief examination of this tank's armour and 100 mm gun, British officials decided that the 20 pounder was apparently incapable of defeating it. There were also rumours of an even larger 115 mm gun in the works. Hence there was a need to adopt a 105 mm gun, which emerged as the famed Royal Ordnance L7.[7]

This information made its way to the United States, where the Army had been experimenting with a series of upgrades to their M48 Patton tanks. Most of these were relatively minor upgrades, and all of them retained the Patton's T-48 90 mm gun. Most experiments focused on improved armour and a variety of autoloader systems and upgraded rangefinders. The British reports led the Army designers to choose the L7 for future work on their own tanks, and a somewhat hurried program to develop a platform for the L7 followed.

Initial versions[edit]

M60A1 tank of the U.S. Army maneuvers through a narrow German village street while participating in the multi-national military training exercise, REFORGER '82.

In 1957, plans were laid in the US for a tank with a 105 mm (4.1 in) main gun and a redesigned hull offering better armor protection. The hull was a one piece steel casting divided into three compartments, with the driver in front, fighting compartment in the middle and engine at the rear.[8]

The resulting M60 series largely resembles the M48 it was based on, but has significant differences. The M60 mounted a bore evacuated 105 mm main gun, compared with the M48's 90 mm (3.5 in), had a hull with a straight front slope whereas the M48's hull was rounded, had three support rollers per side to the M48's five, and had road wheels constructed from aluminum rather than steel, although the M48 wheels were often used as spare parts.

The improved design incorporated a Continental V-12 750 hp (560 kW) air-cooled, twin-turbocharged diesel engine, extending operational range to over 300 miles (480 km) while reducing both refueling and servicing. Power was transmitted to a final drive through a cross drive transmission, a combined transmission, differential, steering, and braking unit.

The hull of the M60 was a single piece steel casting divided into three compartments, with the driver in front, fighting compartment in the middle and engine at the rear.[8] The driver looked through three M27 day periscopes, one of which could be replaced by an infrared night vision periscope.[8] Initially, the M60 had essentially the same clamshell turret shape as the M48, but this was subsequently replaced with a distinctive "needlenose" design that minimized frontal cross-section to enemy fire and optimized the layout of the combat compartment.[citation needed]

The M60 was the last U.S. main battle tank to utilize homogeneous steel armor for protection. It was also the last to feature an escape hatch under the hull. (The escape hatch was provided for the driver, whose top-side hatch could easily be blocked by the main gun. Access between the driver's compartment and the turret fighting compartment was also restricted, requiring that the turret be traversed to the rear).[citation needed]

Originally designated the M68, the new vehicle was put into production in 1959, reclassified as the M60, and entered service in 1960. Over 15,000 M60s (all variants) were constructed.[citation needed]

In 1963, the M60 was upgraded to the M60A1. This new variant, which stayed in production until 1980, featured a larger, better-shaped turret and improvements to the armor protection and shock absorbers. The M60A1 was also equipped with a stabilization system for the main gun. However, the M60A1 was still not able to accurately fire on the move, as the system only kept the gun pointed in the same general direction while the tank was traveling cross country. It did however enable the coaxial machine gun to be brought to bear while moving.

M60A2 "Starship"[edit]

M60A2 tank is driven off LARC 60 amphibious landing craft during the Army exposition PROLOG '85.

The M60A2 was intended as a stop-gap solution until the projected replacement by the MBT-70.[9] The M60A2, nicknamed the "Starship"[10] due to its Space Age technology, featured an entirely new low-profile turret with a commander's machine-gun cupola on top, giving the commander a good view and field of fire while under armor but spoiling the low profile. It featured a 152 mm (6.0 in) main gun similar to that of the M551 Sheridan light tank, which fired conventional rounds as well as the MGM-51 Shillelagh anti-tank missile system. The fitting of a CBSS (closed breech scavenger system), which used pressurized air to clear the breech after each shot, solved the problem of unburnt propellant from the main gun rounds fouling the barrel and pre-detonating subsequent rounds. The M60A2 proved a disappointment, though technical advancements would pave the way for future tanks; the MBT-70, which relied on much of this technology as it was used in the M60A2, never advanced beyond prototype stage though. The Shillelagh/M60A2 system was phased out from active units by 1981, and the turrets scrapped. Most of the M60A2 tanks were rebuilt as M60A3, or the hulls converted to armored vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB) vehicles.[10]

M60A3 series[edit]

In 1978, work began on the M60A3 variant. It featured a number of technological enhancements, including smoke dischargers, a new flash-lamp pumped ruby-laser based rangefinder (AN/VVG-2) that could be used by both commander and gunner, and an M21 ballistic computer, and a turret stabilization system.

M60A3 main battle tank moves along a street in Germany during Exercise REFORGER '85.

Late production M60A3s omitted the commander's cupola (Israel Defence Force armor doctrine required tank commanders to fight commander-exposed, and it was discovered that non-penetrating hits upon the vehicle could dislodge the cupola from its mount while the commander was in it). The remote-controlled M85 machinegun was relatively ineffective in the anti-aircraft role for which it was designed compared to a conventional pintle mount. Removing the cupola lowered the vehicle's relatively high silhouette. The cupola's hatch also opened toward the rear of the vehicle and was dangerous to close if under small-arms fire owing to an open-locking mechanism that required the user to apply leverage to unlock it prior to closing.[citation needed]

The M60A3 was phased out of US service in 2005,[11] but it has remained a front-line MBT into the 21st century for a number of other countries.

While overall a less advanced tank than the M1 Abrams, the M60A3 did have some advantages over some M1 models:[citation needed]

An M60A3 TTS was involved in a civilian police chase in 1995, when one was stolen by Shawn Nelson from a California Army National Guard armory and taken on a rampage through San Diego, California. Nelson was killed by police when he refused to surrender after the tank became stuck on concrete freeway dividers. News footage of this incident has been shown numerous times on various television programs.

Service history[edit]

United States[edit]

Marines from Company D, 2nd Tank Battalion, drive their M60A1 main battle tank during a breach exercise in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The tank is fitted with reactive armor and an M9 bulldozer kit.

The M60-based M60 AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launch Bridge) and the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle were the only variants of the M60 deployed to South Vietnam. The AVLB, commonly referred to as the "bridge tank", was mounted on an M60 tank hull, and the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle was an M60 tank mounting a short-tubed 165 mm (6.5 in) main gun that fired a shaped charge.[10]

Late in the M60's U.S. Army service a number of prototype upgrades were evaluated. These were passed over in favor of simply producing more M1 Abrams. Due to the end of the Cold War, surplus US Army M1s were absorbed into the remaining USMC units, allowing the Marine Corps to become an all-M1 tank force at reduced cost. Except for a small number in active service, most M60s were placed in reserve, with a few being sold to US allies.

The M60A3 participated in close air support trials with the F-16 in the 1980s. M60A1s are still used by the USAF for testing of ground radar equipment on new aircraft and for ground force adversarial work at Red Flag at Nellis AFB Nevada.[citation needed]

USMC M60A1 tanks were used in Grenada and Beirut in 1983. In February 1991 USMC M60A1 ERA tanks rolled into Kuwait city after a two-day tank battle at the Kuwait airport.

During Operation Desert Storm in 1991 at least one US Air Force unit was equipped with M60s. The 401st TFW (P), deployed to Doha, Qatar had two M60s for use by explosives ordnance disposal personnel. It was planned that using the MBTs would allow the EOD crews to remove unexploded ordnance from tarmac runway and taxiway surfaces with increased safety.[12]

Israel[edit]

Israeli M60 tank captured by Egypt in 1973
Destroyed Israeli Pattons during Yom Kippur War

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) purchased its first M60A1 tanks from the US in 1971. M60s and M60A1s saw action with Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in both the Sinai and the Golan Heights (although mainly in the Sinai). The United States sent additional M60s to Israel just before and during hostilities. Following the war, the IDF received many more M48s, M60s and M60A1s from the U.S. Israel further upgraded their inventory of M60s prior to their use in the invasion of Lebanon in the 1982 Lebanon War. The Israeli modifications included new tracks and explosive reactive armor (ERA). This variant was known as the Magach. Further work in Israel has been done on the upgraded Magach models, adding new armor, new fire control system, a thermal sleeve and smoke dischargers. The latest versions, the Magach 7 (with variants A through C), are in use with some IDF units.

In July 2013, Israel began a program called Teuza (boldness) for the purpose of turning some military bases into sales lots for obsolete IDF equipment. Older models that are not suited for Israel's forces will be sold off, or sold for scrap if there are no buyers. M60A1/A3 and Magach tanks are among those being offered. Main buyers are expected from Latin American, Asian, and African countries.[13]

Kuwait[edit]

The M60A1 RISE Passive of the U.S. Marines saw action during Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, opposing Iraqi armor which included the T-54, T-55, T-62, Type 69, and T-72. The M60A1s were fitted with add-on explosive reactive armor (ERA) packages and supported the drive into Kuwait City where they were involved in a two-day tank battle at the Kuwait airport with ten tanks lost. They saw service with the United States Marine Corps and the Saudi Arabian Army.[14][15]

Other users[edit]

As of 2005, M60 variants were in service with Bahrain, Bosnia, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Iran, and some other nations to varying degrees.[16] Royal Thai Army M60A3s were engaged in combat to recapture Border Post 9631 from Myanmar Army forces in 2001, and reportedly exchanged fire with Type 69 tanks.

The U.S. military continues to have significant stockpiles of M60s waiting to be scrapped, sold-off, converted, or used as targets in weapons testing, or used for radar objects for jet attack planes. Some vehicles that use the chassis are still in use, however. Most of the M60s still used are much upgraded models. Pattons formed the basis for many 'new' tank designs, some using the chassis but with all-new turrets others using various upgrade packages. Jordan for example, is modifying two battalions of M60A3 with the IFCS system.

Greece offered to donate 13 M60A3 tanks to Afghanistan in 2007.[17]

Combat performance[edit]

A 401st TFW (P) M60 seen at Doha, Qatar during the Persian Gulf War

Yom Kippur War[edit]

During the Yom Kippur War, Israeli M60 tanks fought effectively against Egyptian T-54/55 and T-62 tanks.[citation needed] However, many Israeli M60s were destroyed by Egyptian troops armed with AT-3 Sagger anti-tank missiles. Most of these were in the first few days following the Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. In Israeli service, the type is highly regarded and has been updated through the years; it has earned praise for its firepower and maneuverability.[18][19][20][21]

Iran-Iraq War[edit]

During the Iran-Iraq War, Iranian M60A1s performed poorly against Iraqi tanks such as T-62s and T-72s, this however was due to poor training and tactics used by the Iranian Army in the war. In early 1981, three Iranian armored brigades faced three Iraqi armored regiments. During the four-day tank battle 250 Iranian M60A1 and Chieftain tanks were destroyed and captured. The Iraqis lost 50 T-62 tanks. The remaining Iranian armor, turned about and withdrew. It was the biggest tank battle of the Iran-Iraq War.[22]

Other wars[edit]

The M60A1/A3s performed well against opposing tanks such as T-55s, T-62s and Type 69s in various conflicts including the Yom Kippur War, Lebanon and the battle for the Kuwait airport. The U.S. Marine Corps M60A1s had ERA that helped to protect them, and the Iraqi tank crews were not well trained and were using older T-55s and T-62s.

Variants[edit]

M60A1E1 tank
M60A3 TTS tank of the Turkish Army at the IDEF'07 Show, Ankara, Turkey

Specialized[edit]

A remotely controlled Panther armored mine clearing vehicle leads a column down a road in Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 16, 1996.

Additional equipment:

International[edit]

Operators[edit]

Current users of the M60 in dark blue, former in cyan.
Egyptian modified version of the M60A1 participates with the Egyptian Army in Operation Bright Star.
Magach 7C in Yad la-Shiryon museum, Israel
M60A3 TTS of the Republic of China Army

Current[edit]

Former[edit]

See also[edit]

Comparable contemporaries[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Foss, p. 166
  2. ^ Hunnicutt[page needed]
  3. ^ Hunnicutt p. 165.
  4. ^ Hunnicutt/Firepower p. 181.
  5. ^ Hunnicutt pp. 6, 408.
  6. ^ Hunnicutt p. 157.
  7. ^ Steven Zaloga & Hugh Johnson, "T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 1944–2004", Osprey, 2004, pp 13, 39.
  8. ^ a b c "M60 Patton Main Battle Tank (USA)". Historyofwar.org. Retrieved 2010-03-26. 
  9. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services (1978). Hearings, reports and prints of the House Committee on Armed Services, Issue 56. U.S. GPO. p. 8961. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c "Development and History of the M-60 tank". Patton Mania. 
  11. ^ Hohenfels trades ‘The Butcher’ for new ‘Tonka tank’
  12. ^ The Gulf War with the 401TFW/614TFS Lucky Devils
  13. ^ "Israeli army is planning to sell second-hands Merkava main battle tanks and F-16 fighter aircraft". Armyrecognition.com, 16 July 2013.
  14. ^ David Isby, Lon Nordeem. M60 vs T-62, p. 73. Osprey Publishing, 2010.
  15. ^ Zaloga, Stiven. T-62 Main Battle Tank 1965–2005, стр. 46-47. Osprey Publishing, 2009.
  16. ^ http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_346.shtml
  17. ^ [1]. US. Central Command
  18. ^ Gawrych, Dr. George W. (1996). The 1973 Arab-Israeli War: The Albatross of Decisive Victory. Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. pp. 43-50.
  19. ^ Hammad, Gamal (2002). Military Battles on the Egyptian Front (First ed.). Dār al-Shurūq. pp. 176-177.
  20. ^ O'Ballance, Edgar (1997). No Victor, No Vanquished: The Arab-Israeli War, 1973. Presidio. p. 104.
  21. ^ el-Shazly, Saad (2003). The Crossing of the Suez, Revised Edition (Revised ed.). American Mideast Research. p. 233.
  22. ^ «The Iran-Iraq War» Efraim Karsh pp. 29-30.
  23. ^ Turkish Defence Industry Products M60 T
  24. ^ M60 Tank Modernization Project
  25. ^ Jane's Defence Weekly – June 06, 2007[dead link]
  26. ^ "Projects – Phoenix M60 Upgrade". KADDB. Retrieved 2010-03-26. [dead link]
  27. ^ آشنایی-با-صمصام-ناشناخته-ترین-تانک-ایرانی-عکس (in Persian), mashreghnews.ir 
  28. ^ Army Equipment – Brazil
  29. ^ Army Equipment – Israel
  30. ^ [2]
  31. ^ John Pike (2009-02-13). "Iranian Ground Forces Equipment". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-03-26. 
  32. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. and Hugh Johnson (2004). T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 1944–2004. Oxford: Osprey. p.13
  33. ^ "واشنطن تزوّد لبنان أسلحة ثقيلة قبل استحقاق حزيران" (in Arabic). Annahar Newspaper. April 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  34. ^ "Heavy U.S. Military Aid to Lebanon Arrives ahead of Elections". Naharnet Newsdesk. April 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  35. ^ 300 Ex-US M60A1 from 1991 to 1994 and 120 M60A3TTS and 7 M60A1 in 1997
  36. ^ "Morocco's M60A1 tanks were upgraded to M60A3's as these became available." [3]
  37. ^ 140 Upgraded to M60A3TTS in 2009 Source: Army-guide
  38. ^ Richard Lobban, Jr. Global Security Watch: Sudan (2010 ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-313-35332-1. 
  39. ^ Army Equipment – Taiwan
  40. ^ http://www.stripes.com/news/hohenfels-trades-the-butcher-for-new-tonka-tank-1.33649
Bibliography
  • Foss, Chris (2005). Jane's Armour and Artillery: 2005–2006. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2686-8. 
  • Hunnicutt, R. P. (1984). Patton: A History of the American Main Battle Tank. Volume 1. Novato: Presidio Press. ISBN 978-0-89141-230-4. 

External links[edit]