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M50 Ontos "dozer"
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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Rick_Eshleman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:43 pm
Post subject: M50 Ontos "dozer"

Photo US Army MHI. USMC 3rd Division camouflaged Ontos made to look like small bulldozer. 1969.
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:59 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

Any background on this? This one and the one next to it have their guns removed (or not yet assembled). Preparation for transport or recent arrivals, I wonder? Wondering about the reasons for this subterfuge.
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Rick_Eshleman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:34 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

Doug,
All information I have on this is what was on reverse of photo. I copied that over 20 years ago at US Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA. It appears they are using packing crate plywood to camouflage (from a distance) the vehicles. Also, cables still attached to vehicle make it look like a recent air drop by helicopter? Rick
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treadhead
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:34 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

In my copy of Squadron Signals, M50A1 Ontos in action page 27. Caption states that 2 Ontos' were diguised as bulldozers in March '69 so they could be airlifted to southwest of Khe Sanh for operation Maine Crag.
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:32 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

Good stuff, Guys. Sounds like they might have been involved in this joint op with 5th Mech, 101st Abn in that region:

www.8th-4th-arty.com/events69.html

"1969/03/15
Unit: 5th Mech supports 3rd Mar
Source: 101 ABN Website
Location: Vietnam Salient
Event: Op Maine Crag

On March 16, 1969, the 1st Brigade, 5th Inf Div (Mech) was again committed in the 3rd Marine Regiment's AO. It operated an Armor/infantry Task Force named Task Force Remagen to re-open the RC (Route Coloniale) 9 to the Laotian border, to conduct reconnaissance in the Khe Sanh plain, and support the 3rd Marine regiment's Operation Maine Crag. For three days, between 12 and 16 April, the Brigade conducted a search and clear operation over a 100-square kilometer area near Lang Vei on the Laotian border. No US were killed and North Vietnamese Army casualties were also light. "


An Ontos weighs about 8-9 tons, so easily lifted by a CH-47 and maybe a CH-46, whoever was picking up. I'm just surprised that they were lifted with the guns separate...usually you could stabilize the load with a small parachute or securing line to keep stuff like that from twisting around in the sling.
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:03 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

Doug

Sorry for being a little late on this.

The justification on the gun removal in this particular situation was for pure disguise & hopeing that Charlie would open fire on non tactical equipment.

Air mobile transport of the Ontos was done occassionally from 1966-70. In the early days the Ontos weighed too much so the PIG had to be stripped of all weapons, ammo and even engine decking. This enabled it to be airlifted.

Later in the war, as helicopter lift limits increased, it was done more often and without stripping too much equipment.

BTW: During Operation Maine Crag, neither Ontos fired their weapons as enemy opposition was not encountered. There was a rumor that NVA had light armor in the Area of the Op, so the Ontos was included...


Regards
Don
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:33 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

Thanks, Don. Good info.
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Rick_Eshleman
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:44 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

Doug and Don, Thanks for the info! It's always good to get the full story. Rick
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:52 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

The last reported airmobile operation of the Ontos, was done by the 173rd Arbn.


In 70-71, an undetermined number of Ontos were transferred from the USMC to the Army. D Co 16th Armor was given the few remaining Ontos in Vietnam that the USMC didn't ship back to the states.

The Ontos was airlifted by chinook to an LZ then used in the immediate area. After the Operation they would be 'lifted' back to there base. This last operational episode in the life of the Ontos has completely elluded me for several years. It was an Army Pilot who did the lifting that gave me the basic information. ...and the hunt goes on,....

Regards
Don
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:54 pm
Post subject: Re: M50 Ontos "dozer"

- treadhead
In my copy of Squadron Signals, M50A1 Ontos in action page 27. Caption states that 2 Ontos' were diguised as bulldozers in March '69 so they could be airlifted to southwest of Khe Sanh for operation Maine Crag.


....What an EXCELLENT reference book....LOL!! Cool

Mr. Green

Regards
Don
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