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 originUnited States
Service history
In service1961–1997 (United States)
Used bySee Operators
WarsYom Kippur War
Iran–Iraq War
Persian Gulf War
Western Sahara War
Shia insurgency in Yemen
Turkey–PKK conflict
Sinai insurgency [1]
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)[2]
WidthM60: 3.631 meters (11 ft 11.0 in)[2]
HeightM60: 3.213 meters (10 ft 6.5 in)[2]
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)[2]
Power/weight15.08 bhp/t[2]
TransmissionGeneral Motors, cross-drive, single-stage with 2 forward and 1 reverse ranges[2]
SuspensionTorsion bar suspension
Ground clearance0.463 meters (1 ft 6.2 in)[2]
Fuel capacity1,457 liters (320 imp gal; 385 U.S. gal)[2]
Operational
range
300 miles (500 km)[2]
Speed30 miles per hour (48 km/h) (road)[2]
 
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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 originUnited States
Service history
In service1961–1997 (United States)
Used bySee Operators
WarsYom Kippur War
Iran–Iraq War
Persian Gulf War
Western Sahara War
Shia insurgency in Yemen
Turkey–PKK conflict
Sinai insurgency [1]
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)[2]
WidthM60: 3.631 meters (11 ft 11.0 in)[2]
HeightM60: 3.213 meters (10 ft 6.5 in)[2]
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)[2]
Power/weight15.08 bhp/t[2]
TransmissionGeneral Motors, cross-drive, single-stage with 2 forward and 1 reverse ranges[2]
SuspensionTorsion bar suspension
Ground clearance0.463 meters (1 ft 6.2 in)[2]
Fuel capacity1,457 liters (320 imp gal; 385 U.S. gal)[2]
Operational
range
300 miles (500 km)[2]
Speed30 miles per hour (48 km/h) (road)[2]

The M60 Patton is a main battle tank (MBT)[3] introduced in December 1960.[4] With the United States Army's deactivation of their last (M103) heavy tank battalion, the M60 became the Army's primary tank[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

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 were concerned with improvement in armour and the introduction of 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.[9]

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.[9] The driver looked through three M27 day periscopes, one of which could be replaced by an infrared night vision periscope.[9] 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.[10] The M60A2, nicknamed the "Starship"[11] 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. 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.[11]

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,[12] 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]

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.[11]

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.[13]

Israel[edit]

Israeli M60 tank captured by Egypt in 1973
M60 Patton with M9 dozer blade in Yad la-Shiryon Museum, Israel

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. South of Beirut in 1982 some 400 Syrian tanks including T-72s were destroyed by Israeli M-60A1s and Merkava 1 tanks. This surprised western analysts who said M-60s easily defeated newer Soviet built T-72s in combat.

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.[14]

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.[15][16]

Other users[edit]

A Bosnian M60 A3 type tank.

As of 2005, M60 variants were in service with Bahrain, Bosnia, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan, Iran, and some other nations to varying degrees.[17] 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.[18]

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 Israel had about 150 M60A1 in service. 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 due to being misused in the Bar-Lev line. Most of these were in the first few days following the Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. Once they could operate in the open they became the most feared tank in the war. Their gun was better than that of the T-54/55 and T-62, and they were safer than other IDF tanks because of their diesel engine instead of gasoline. In Israeli service, the type is highly regarded and has been updated through the years; it has earned praise for its firepower and maneuverability. Throughout the war Israel received airlifts of replacement tanks which replaced all losses and increased the fleet to 300 M60A1. Jordan also operated M-60s but did not enter the conflict.[19][20][21][22][23]

Iran–Iraq War[edit]

Iran had 350 M60A1 in service before the revolution. These were still operational although they had lack of spares in 1980. They were able to destroy any Iraqi armored vehicle including the T-72[citation needed]. An unknown number are believed to still be in service today. Iraq managed to capture one Iranian M60 and M48 which were evaluated. Both tanks were found by US Army tank crews when Baghdad was captured in 2003.[24]

1982 Lebanon War[edit]

In 1982, M60 Pattons (named Magach 6) formed the core of the Israeli Operation Peace in Galilee . They encountered Syrian T-54/55 and T-72s as well as PLO T-34s. Although very formidable against all Syrian tanks, some were destroyed by Syrian infantry hunter-killer teams with ATGMs and supplemented by RPG-7s and SA-7 Grail MANPADs. Several other M60s were damaged by HOT missiles fired from Syrian Gazelle helicopters. One was destroyed by a T-72 and another was abandoned by its crew after taking damage. An M60 was recovered and taken to Syria to be studied by Soviet technicians (this is possibly the same one that was destroyed by a T-72). The USSR had already had access to the M60s design but this captured tank had the latest ammunition types on board. This M60 is still on display in Damascus.[25]

Other wars[edit]

The M60A1/A3s performed well against opposing tanks such as T-55s, T-62s, Type 69s and T-72s in various conflicts including the Yom Kippur War, Lebanon and the battle for the Kuwait airport during the Gulf war. The US Marines exclusively used the M60 during the conflict. In early February 1991, two hundred USMC M60A3s of the 2nd Battalion drove north from Khafji, Saudi Arabia into Kuwait. In Kuwait they encountered an Iraqi force of T-54/55, Type 69, and T-72 tanks at Kuwait City International Airport. This was the largest tank battle for the Marines since World War II. The Marines won this battle, destroying almost nine dozen Iraqi tanks with only a single M60A3 lost. The defeat of the Iraqi force was not only humiliating to Iraq but also to the USSR’s arms export effort. This was in part due to the fact that some of the tanks destroyed were the newer T-72 which the Soviets claimed was superior to the M60. Despite the performance of the M60, the Marine Corps decided to replace it with the M1 Abrams in order to have the same tank as the US Army. The M60 was also fielded by Egypt but it is unknown if they saw any fighting.[26]

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
Tunis M60

Current[edit]

Former[edit]

See also[edit]

Comparable contemporaries[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ http://ia601408.us.archive.org/23/items/sawla333333/sawla.mp4
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Foss, p. 166
  3. ^ Hunnicutt[page needed]
  4. ^ Hunnicutt p. 165.
  5. ^ Hunnicutt/Firepower p. 181.
  6. ^ Hunnicutt pp. 6, 408.
  7. ^ Hunnicutt p. 157.
  8. ^ Steven Zaloga & Hugh Johnson, "T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 1944–2004", Osprey, 2004, pp 13, 39.
  9. ^ a b c "M60 Patton Main Battle Tank (USA)". Historyofwar.org. Retrieved 2010-03-26. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ a b c "Development and History of the M-60 tank". Patton Mania. 
  12. ^ "Hohenfels trades ‘The Butcher’ for new ‘Tonka tank’". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Mike Kopack. "The Gulf War with the 401TFW/614TFS Lucky Devils". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Israeli army is planning to sell second-hands Merkava main battle tanks and F-16 fighter aircraft". Armyrecognition.com, 16 July 2013.
  15. ^ David Isby, Lon Nordeem. M60 vs T-62, p. 73. Osprey Publishing, 2010.
  16. ^ Zaloga, Stiven. T-62 Main Battle Tank 1965–2005, стр. 46-47. Osprey Publishing, 2009.
  17. ^ "Burma/Myanmar, 1948-1999". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  18. ^ [1]. US. Central Command
  19. ^ http://www.harpoondatabases.com/Encyclopedia/Entry2026.aspx
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Hammad, Gamal (2002). Military Battles on the Egyptian Front (First ed.). Dār al-Shurūq. pp. 176-177.
  22. ^ O'Ballance, Edgar (1997). No Victor, No Vanquished: The Arab-Israeli War, 1973. Presidio. p. 104.
  23. ^ el-Shazly, Saad (2003). The Crossing of the Suez, Revised Edition (Revised ed.). American Mideast Research. p. 233.
  24. ^ http://www.harpoondatabases.com/Encyclopedia/Entry2026.aspx
  25. ^ http://www.harpoondatabases.com/Encyclopedia/Entry2026.aspx
  26. ^ http://www.harpoondatabases.com/Encyclopedia/Entry2026.aspx
  27. ^ Turkish Defence Industry Products M60 T
  28. ^ M60 Tank Modernization Project
  29. ^ Jane's Defence Weekly – June 06, 2007[dead link]
  30. ^ "Projects – Phoenix M60 Upgrade". KADDB. Retrieved 2010-03-26. [dead link]
  31. ^ آشنایی-با-صمصام-ناشناخته-ترین-تانک-ایرانی-عکس (in Persian), mashreghnews.ir 
  32. ^ John Pike. "Army Equipment – Brazil". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  33. ^ John Pike. "Army Equipment – Israel". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  34. ^ "ynet משוחרר! צה"ל נפרד מהטנק שחצה את התעלה - חדשות". ynet. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  35. ^ John Pike (2009-02-13). "Iranian Ground Forces Equipment". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-03-26. 
  36. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. and Hugh Johnson (2004). T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 1944–2004. Oxford: Osprey. p.13
  37. ^ واشنطن تزوّد لبنان أسلحة ثقيلة قبل استحقاق حزيران (in Arabic). Annahar Newspaper. April 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  38. ^ "Heavy U.S. Military Aid to Lebanon Arrives ahead of Elections". Naharnet Newsdesk. April 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  39. ^ "300 Ex-US M60A1 from 1991 to 1994 and 120 M60A3TTS and 7 M60A1 in 1997". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  40. ^ "Morocco's M60A1 tanks were upgraded to M60A3's as these became available." [2]
  41. ^ 140 Upgraded to M60A3TTS in 2009 Source: Army-guide
  42. ^ Richard Lobban, Jr. Global Security Watch: Sudan (2010 ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-313-35332-1. 
  43. ^ John Pike. "Army Equipment – Taiwan". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  44. ^ "Hohenfels trades ‘The Butcher’ for new ‘Tonka tank’". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
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]