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XM-734 in Vietnam
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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MarkHolloway
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:34 pm
Post subject: XM-734 in Vietnam

XM734 ~ 1/5th Infantry "Bobcats" 25th Infantry Division "Tropic Lightning"
Track "C-35" , probably operation "Cedar Falls" , January 1967 /Robert C.Lafoon collection/.


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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:50 pm
Post subject: Re: XM-734 in Vietnam

Never actually seen a pic of one of those there. Then again, I notice everybody is operating on or out the top and none of the ports are open, so it's being used just like any other ACAV there, but without the M60's. A lot of infantry unit M113's didn't have the full ACAV kit anyway (like the one just in front of it).

Looks like a case of "we have it and need to test it, so let's send it" regardless of actual utility in the theater to which it's been sent. (Recall that there was a proposal to send Sheridan's without main gun ammo in the beginning, but that idea was dropped)
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:07 am
Post subject: Re: XM-734 in Vietnam

Hi Folks!

My first post Vietnam era unit at Hunter Ligget had ten of those vehicles. The word was they had been used over there and had been judged a failure. Like Doug noted the troops are up in the cargo hatch or on top. During my time, the major problem was land mines (now called IED's). The only troops who were inside were the drivers. The TC needed to kept all of his body above the turret ring. Those cupolas where known to pop off when a vehicle hit a mine.

Somehow the Army went from the gun port of the XM-734 which was made for the M-14 to poke out of, to the gun ports of the M2 Bradley IFV with it's Port Firing weapon.

In the end, it was all a waste of time after the Army up armored the Bradleys and covered over the firing ports.

Sgt, Scouts Out!

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MarkHolloway
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:36 am
Post subject: Re: XM-734 in Vietnam

There is a pretty good collection of Vietnam photos on Flickr at:

www.flickr.com/search/...3895%40N04

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C_Sherman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:54 pm
Post subject: Re: XM-734 in Vietnam

- Roy_A_Lingle
Hi Folks!

My first post Vietnam era unit at Hunter Ligget had ten of those vehicles. The word was they had been used over there and had been judged a failure. Like Doug noted the troops are up in the cargo hatch or on top. During my time, the major problem was land mines (now called IED's). The only troops who were inside were the drivers. The TC needed to kept all of his body above the turret ring. Those cupolas where known to pop off when a vehicle hit a mine.

Somehow the Army went from the gun port of the XM-734 which was made for the M-14 to poke out of, to the gun ports of the M2 Bradley IFV with it's Port Firing weapon.

In the end, it was all a waste of time after the Army up armored the Bradleys and covered over the firing ports.

Sgt, Scouts Out!


Hi,

It's all a case of PC-envy. In the early 60's, the Soviets rocked the military world by introducing the BMP, which had firing ports and was now considered an Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Partly fueled by the armaments companies and partly by Cold War me-too-ism, the military world was quickly infatuated with the idea of infantry being able to fight from under armor on a nuclear battlefield. Like so many of this sort of idea, no one ever actually conducted honest tests to determine if this was even practical. All the tests that were conducted, were biased to show how great the capability was. The voices that said it wasn't that great an idea were either ignored or silenced.

The Army went through a series of vehicles (XM-734 was one of them) trying to incorporate firing ports into existing APCs. Fortunately, budget constraints and obvious shortcomings prevented large-scale adoption of any of them. After all of the programs were stone-dead, the money became available to develop the Bradley IFV from scratch, while trying to incorporate the lessons from the earlier program. Sadly, one of those lessons didn't include the futility of infantry fighting from within the vehicle. That lesson wasn't learned until the Bradley was widely fielded and everyone finally had to face the fact that the firing ports were useless for anything but wasting ammunition. Oddly enough the Soviets had quietly learned that lesson years before, but continued to use the feature to sell BMPs around the world!

Nothing new, but still a disheartening look into how wacky the acquisition of military vehicles can be.

What is funny is that for years after the Bradley showed up, commanders had to sign and re-sign for hundreds of the special Firing Port Weapons. In most cases the weapons sat locked in racks for the entire time they were in the possession of unit. Most Commanders and Senior NCOs considered that maintaining positive control of a single M16 was only barely within the abilities of most Soldiers, and had no desire to issue them a second weapon. I also know one former Company Commander who was signed for several hundred weapons for his entire command tour, two years after the unit had turned in it's last Bradley that still had firing ports.

C

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:31 pm
Post subject: Re: XM-734 in Vietnam

- C_Sherman


Hi,

It's all a case of PC-envy. In the early 60's, the Soviets rocked the military world by introducing the BMP, which had firing ports and was now considered an Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Partly fueled by the armaments companies and partly by Cold War me-too-ism, the military world was quickly infatuated with the idea of infantry being able to fight from under armor on a nuclear battlefield. Like so many of this sort of idea, no one ever actually conducted honest tests to determine if this was even practical. All the tests that were conducted, were biased to show how great the capability was. The voices that said it wasn't that great an idea were either ignored or silenced.

The Army went through a series of vehicles (XM-734 was one of them) trying to incorporate firing ports into existing APCs.
C


Chuck,

The FMC proposed M765 and "Product Improved M113A1" also envisioned the inclusion of firing ports and an M139 20mm gun to make it even more BMP/IFV like (both had a reduced rear hull rather like the "M113 1/2 C&R" vehicle).

The "me too" think that imposed stuff like this (and the "swim ability") of the M551 Sheridan was not a proud era in U.S. AFV design.

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C_Sherman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:20 am
Post subject: Re: XM-734 in Vietnam

Hi,

Doug, that Product Improved M113 lives on today! The AIFV, still in service (and maybe production, too!) in a number of nations outside of the US, is externally almost identical to the advertising you posted. I'm sure that it has been updated internally since 1970. I've seen it in Dutch and Turkish service, and I'm sure I've seen it other places too.

I had the privilege of touring the FMC-licensed production facility outside of Ankara, Turkey in 2003. I was startled by the depth of the commonality with the M113-series vehicles I was familiar with. Up to about 1 meter off of the ground, it's almost indistinguishable. The M113 lives on, much more than we realize here in the US.

However, I did notice that the whole firing-port infatuation has faded. Some (all?) of the AIFVs I've seen...didn't have the firing ports anymore!

C

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will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
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Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc!
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:59 am
Post subject: Re: XM-734 in Vietnam

- C_Sherman
Hi,

Doug, that Product Improved M113 lives on today! The AIFV, still in service (and maybe production, too!) in a number of nations outside of the US, is externally almost identical to the advertising you posted. I'm sure that it has been updated internally since 1970. I've seen it in Dutch and Turkish service, and I'm sure I've seen it other places too.

C


Chuck,
In Dutch service, it even lived on with the model number, but re-designated "YPR 765".

D.
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