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 (www.awn.gov.au) and is by observation. Illustration of these arrangements from the AWM image archive can be found using these image references:

Image

Description

DNE/65/0164/VN
P04670.011

1965 liners strapped down to spot welded tiedowns

P05923.021

1968 50 shield - liners in wooden box

P03856.005

1968 50 shield - held on roof by saplings

EKN/69/0060/VN

1969 August angle iron structure

P04656.578

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

P04656.780

1969 ammo liners strapped down to spot welded tiedowns

COM/69/0297/VN

1969 liners in a wooden box one side only

P04568.002

1969 50 shield - liners in metal box (possibly US 90mm / 105mm ammo box)

P05132.006

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

 

1966 ammo liners strapped down through spot welded tiedown loops with webbing straps

 

1967 - ammo liners loose and in a wooden artillery crate

 

 1968

1968 - appears to be a locally made four sided box strapped to the hull roof.

1968 two racks for 50 cal ammo plus wooden box for claymores.

 

Late 1968 - ammo liners still strapped down

 

1968 - US metal picket star strapped  to aerial brush guards.  Ammo liners loose.  Wooden claymore box.

 

1969 - ammo liners in metal box. Flares stowed loosely.

 

 

 

1970 - angle iron ammo racks with flares

 

 

1971 ammo rack on twin 30 cal T50 turret APC

 

 

1971 B Squadron 3 Cavalry Regiment APC

 

 

1971 -  2 x 20mm ammo liners for claymore mines and plastic explosives then an angle iron ammo rack to the engine deck.

 

 

Both APCs with T50 turrets but one has 30/50 and the other 30/30 machine gun armament.  2 x 20mm ammo liners right rear corner plus 2 x angle iron ammo liners.

Callsign 30A has the flares in a 50 cal ammo liner

Summary

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. Shortly thereafter angle iron legs were added to each corner and welded/attached to the hull.

There is no photographic evidence that a second/top rail was added during the Vietnam war.  This appears to be a post 1972 modification.  B Squadron 3/4 Cavalry Regiment also introduced a square (rather than long straight) ammo rack on the left side of the T50 turret in the 1980s.

Check the catalogue for  products MA127 / MA128 / MA129


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