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M59



Overview


M59

US Army M59 armored personnel carrier during a parade in West Berlin 1959.
Source: Bundesarchiv - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

Origin
United States
Type
Armored personnel carrier
Entered service
1954
Status
Out of service
Development
1951 - 1953
Developer
United States - FMC Corporation
Production
1953 - 1960
Producer
United States - FMC Corporation
Unit cost
Number produced
About 6.300, including M84 variant
Designations
T59 (prototype designation)
Notable users

Description


Introduction

The M59 is an armored personnel carrier of US origin. It was developed in the early 1950's as a cheaper and more mobile follow on to the M75 that entered US service only a few years earlier. Although the M59 was plagued by a limited reliability large numbers were produced before the successful M113 entered service.

Layout



The design of the M59 is roughly based on the earlier M75. The M59 features a new chassis, has thinner armor and a lower profile. Instead of a single engine two smaller and cheaper engines are used. However the mechanism to combine the power from both engines proved unreliable. The troop compartment is at the rear and is accessed by a single door. A trim vane is located on the bow and is used during amphibious operations.

Firepower

The M59 is armed with a single 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun in a low profile turret. The advantage over the ring mount of the M75 is the armor protection for the gunner, but situational awareness is reduced and the weapon is harder to aim. A mortar carrier with the 107mm M30 mortar was also produced.

Protection

The steel armor protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. Since the armor is rather thin armor piercing rounds will easily penetrate. An NBC system and smoke grenade dischargers are both lacking.

Mobility

The tracked chassis allows the M75 to cross allmost any terrain. Although the weight has been reduced while a similar power is retained the M59 does not have a better mobility than the M75. In fact it has a lower top speed and very limited operational range. The major improvement over the M75 is the amphibious capability.

Users

The main user of the M59 was the US army. Large numbers were acquired and used until the mide 1960's. In US service the M59 was replaced by the much more capable M113. When the M59 was replaced large numbers of ex-US army M59s were exported to various allies of the USA. Nowadays the M59 is obsolete and no longer used.

Details


Variants of the M59

M59

The M59 is an armored personnel carrier that was produced only in one version. It can be distinguished from the M113 by its horizontal bow, forward location for the M2HB cupola and single rear door.

M84

The M84 is a mortar carrier based on the M59. Within the crew compartment a 107mm M30 mortar is mounted on a turntable. A total of 88 rounds are carried. A baseplate is carried to allows the mortar to be used away from the vehicle.

Facts M59
General
Origin
United States
Type
Armored personnel carrier
Crew
2 + 10 (driver, gunner, 10 infantry)
Dimensions
Weight
19.3 t combat load
Length
5.61 m
Width
3.26 m
Height
2.77 m overall
Main armament
Type
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Mount
Low profile turret
Ammunition
2.205 rounds, 105 ready to fire
Traverse
Manual traverse and elevation
Stabilizer
No
Chassis
Chassis type
Tracked chassis, 5 roadwheels
Layout
Drive sprocket front, idler rear
Ground pressure
0.59 kg/cm²
Suspension
Torsion bar
Track width
0.53 m
Track on ground
3.08 m
Automotive
Engine
2x GMC Model 302 V6 gasoline
Power output
292 hp at 3.600 rpm (combined)
Transmission
4 forward, 1 reverse
Fuel
511 L
Mobility
Speed
51 km/h on road
7 km/h afloat
Range
190 km on road
Turn radius
9.1 m
Power to weight ratio
15.1 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.46 m
Wall
0.5 m
Trench
1.7 m
Gradient
60 %
Fording
Amphibious
Protection
Armor type
Steel
Armor thickness
10 to 25 mm
NBC system
No
Smoke system
No
Equipment
Night vision
No

Related articles


M113

The M113 was the successor to the M59 in the armored personnel carrier role. It proved to be more capable and versatile.

Browning M2HB

The M2HB heavy machine gun serves as the main armament of the M59.