Austarmycrest.gif (8966 bytes)Australian Military Vehicles Research

Australian M113A1 hull top ammunition stowage – Vietnam War 1965-1972

The first Australian M113A1 Armoured personnel carriers arrived in Vietnam in June 1965. The vehicles were armed with a .50 inch (12.7mm) calibre machine gun operated by the commander.

After a short time of combat experience extra 50 calibre ammunition liners were carried internally under the troop seats. This soon became difficult as it required the infantry troops to pass up liners to the commander. The ammunition liners then were carried on the hull roof within easy reach of the commander.

During the period 1965 to 1969 the ammunition liners were carried in a number of ways:

By mid 1969 rectangular angle iron frames seem to have been constructed and again lashed to the aerial brush guards. These structures had either no upright "legs" or did have "legs" but were still not welded to the hull roof.

It was not until 1970 that the more iconic angle iron structure at the lower edge was welded to "legs" which in turn were welded to the hull roof but also had a flat steel upper support which allowed loose liners to be stored safely.

These two layer liners storage racks came in various lengths and shapes.

All this information is based on the Australian War Memorial (AWM) images on their website ( and is by observation. Illustration of these arrangements from the AWM image archive can be found using these image references:




1965 liners strapped down to spot welded tiedowns


1968 50 shield - liners in wooden box


1968 50 shield - held on roof by saplings


1969 August angle iron structure


1969 50 shield - liners held in by wooden plank (Normie Rowe’s APC)


1969 ammo liners strapped down to spot welded tiedowns


1969 liners in a wooden box one side only


1969 50 shield - liners in metal box (possibly US 90mm ammo box)


1970 liner in angle iron frame but held in place by strapping & showing "legs"


Ammunition liners were carried inside the M113A1 APCs under the troop compartment seats. These were soon carried on the roof and were generally strapped down to spot welded tiedowns points in groups of two-three liners.

The strapping inhibited easy access to extra liners so the liners were carried in wooden or metal boxes from tank ammunition. At the same time the liners were carried loose on the roof but boards / star pickets / saplings lashed to the aerial brush guards stopped the liners from falling over board.

From 1969 the early angle iron structures were used without the top rail to store the liners in long rows. The early structures were simply laid on the roof.

The final version of the Royal Australian Electrical  and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) produced an angle iron structure that had an angle iron base plus a top rail and was mounted on legs welded to the hull roof.

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