Austarmycrest.gif (8966 bytes)Australian Military Vehicles Walkaround

M74C Turret in Australian Service
by Shane Lovell

Photo P02060.052: An unidentified Australian M113A1 fitted with an M74C Turret – September 1967. Parked in the A Squadron lines this APC displays a worn coat of Australian Olive Drab Lustreless. The vehicles original paint finish, US Olive Drab can be seen on the lower edge of the hull where the track shrouds have been removed. Photo reproduced her with permission / courtesy of Australian War Memorial

The M74C turret was fitted to a number of Australian M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carriers in South Vietnam for a short period between late 1966 and late 1968. The turret was acquired to provide a weapon station for the vehicle crew commander with 360 degree protection. Firepower was provided by two L3A3 .30 calibre electrically fired machine guns. Turret traverse and weapon elevation was manual.

Twenty turrets were purchased, of which eighteen were sent to South Vietnam and two kept in Australia. In South Vietnam, M74C turrets were fitted to Alpha and Bravo callsigns within APC sections, while the remaining vehicles within the Squadron retained their pintle mounted M2 HB machine gun. For further information on the distribution of M74C turrets within the squadron, see A Squadron Organisation Chart - January 1967. The M74C turret was superceded in South Vietnam with the arrival of vehicles fitted with the T-50 turret in the second half of 1968, though the lack of spare parts mean’t that a number of turrets had previously been removed and replaced with the original commanders cupola prior to this.

Two M74C are currently held by museums in Australia. A partially restored example is on display at the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Museum at Puckapunyal. An un-restored turret is in the collection of the Melbourne Tank Museum, Narre Warren.

A 1/35 scale resin copy of the M74C turret is produced by Verlinden as item number 301. The turret is, unfortunately, a solid cast with the hatch closed. The current availability of this item is unknown. 

External Front View. This is the turret on display at the RAAC Museum Puckapunyal. Externally, it is missing its M19 periscope that was bolted into the aperture on the turret roof. Note the two lifting rings above the machine gun apertures. Photo by Richard Simmie
External Side View. Noteworthy is the spacer between the turret and hull. This was necessary to allow the machine guns the maximum depression without hitting the vehicle. Photo by Richard Simmie
External Three-Quarter Rear View. Note the rear lifting ring on the hatch. Photo by Richard Simmie
Interior Forward View. Looking upwards at the forward interior shows how spartan the turret is. The interior is painted white. The red paint finish of the machine gun mountings and other fittings is believed to have been applied for instructional purposes and did not appear on operational vehicles. The purpose of the white brackets underneath the weapon mountings is unknown. Photo by Richard Simmie
Rear Interior View. The purpose of the bracket to the right of the gun mounts (if standing in the turret) is unclear. Photo by Richard Simmie

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