By Steven J. Zaloga, Tony Bryan
One of many weaknesses of airmobile forces has consistently been their vulnerability to enemy armor. because the Nineteen Forties, there were a variety of schemes to box mild tanks that may be deployed through parachute or different how to strengthen paratroopers and different airmobile forces. This booklet tells the tale of the united states adventure with airmobile tanks, beginning with efforts in international battle II, particularly the M22 Locust airmobile tank. even supposing now not utilized in strive against by way of the U.S. military, it used to be used in the course of Operation Varsity in 1945 through British airborne forces and ended up helping US paratroopers in this venture at the Rhine river. The e-book then turns to post-war efforts comparable to the original T-92 airborne tank, designed for paratroop drop. the single airborne tank really synthetic in major numbers was once the M551 Sheridan. The historical past of this tank presents the focus of this publication, highlighting the problems of mixing heavy firepower in a chassis mild adequate for airborne supply. The booklet examines its arguable strive against debut in Vietnam, and its next strive against background in Panama and Operation barren region typhoon . It additionally rounds out the tale through reading makes an attempt to interchange the Sheridan with different armored cars, resembling the short-lived M8 MGS and armed forces LAV courses.
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One of many weaknesses of airmobile forces has continually been their vulnerability to enemy armor. because the Forties, there were a variety of schemes to box mild tanks which may be deployed by way of parachute or different tips on how to toughen paratroopers and different airmobile forces. This booklet tells the tale of the USA adventure with airmobile tanks, beginning with efforts in international warfare II, significantly the M22 Locust airmobile tank.
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Extra info for M551 Sheridan: US Airmobile Tanks 1941-2001
One of the most significant improvements in the Sheridan was the adoption of an AN/VVG-1 laser rangefinder, the first installed on a US tank. The M551A1 was the first US tank equipped with a laser rangefinder to improve gun accuracy. The rangefinder was added on to the commander’s cupola below the machine-gun tripod, as seen on this example of the 2nd ACR in Germany in 1974. qxd:NVG153 26/11/08 11:34 Page 35 The Sheridan had a more urgent requirement for this system than tanks with conventional guns, as its standard M409 projectile was unusually slow and had a pronounced ballistic arc, mandating greater elevation correction than typical high-velocity ammunition.
The conversion of the armored cavalry units in USAREUR began in June 1978 and was completed in April 1979 and in the rest of the Army by 1980. The exception to the retirement plan was a single armor battalion with the 82nd Airborne Division, and a dozen vehicles in service with the National Guard. The “residual fleet” was drawn down to 140 vehicles, the remainder being held in pre-positioned reserve. AIRBORNE OPERATIONS The 82nd Airborne Division was the only unit to regularly make use of the M551 Sheridan in the airborne role.
For forced entry, the other two methods were needed. Parachute drop could be undertaken using the C-130 or C-141 using low-velocity air drop (LVAD) techniques. qxd:NVG153 26/11/08 11:34 Page 39 parachutes. A far more dramatic method was the low-altitude parachute extraction system (LAPES). As in the case of more conventional parachute delivery, the Sheridan was mounted on a special pallet with crushable honeycomb below to help cushion the impact. The Sheridan would be carried into the drop area by C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which would fly as low and as slow as possible over the landing area.