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M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan
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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Walter_Sobchak
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:47 pm
Post subject: M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan

Today I drove over to Dowagiac Michigan to take some pictures of the M103 tank that is out in front of the National Guard building at 700 W Prairie Ronde St. It's in pretty rough shape, but still quite interesting. From what I can tell, this is a former Marine vehicle and it was an M103A2. The back of the vehicle is quite strange, everything to do with the powerpack is missing, including the air cleaners and the top and rear engine decking. They have welded some sheet metal over the hole. It's pretty obvious in the pictures. Also, one of the return rollers is missing. This does not seem to be an uncommon thing for display vehicles. In Muskegon MI I found a M48A1 on display that is missing 3 out of it's ten return rollers. I suspect that since later models of the M48/M60 family of vehicles had only three return rollers per side, a few missing on the older vehicles with five per side was not a big deal. The pictures are available here. I am not a very sophisticated photographer, these were taken with a regular consumer grade digital camera. I have to remember to bring a small ladder next time so I can get shots from a higher perspective. Still, I hope people find these worth looking at.
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:42 pm
Post subject: Re: M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan

Walter,

If there wasn't snow all over the M48A1 when you took the pictures of her at Muskegon you might have noticed she is very unique. Looks like she was the test rig for the Teledyne/Continental installation of the AVDS-1790-2C/CD-850 combination. This set up did not require the extensive cutting and welding that they used when making the M48A3/A5 rear decks and grills. Was marketed as a much simpler and cheaper solution to upgrade older M48 fleets. Taiwan used this set up when making their CM12's from M48A1's.

Rear Hull

CM12

Probably drove/towed her right over from the factory, since it's right next door but now part of L3 systems.

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ChrisC
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:48 pm
Post subject: Re: M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan

Did they also do this conversion on M-47's?
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Costas_TT
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:42 pm
Post subject: Re: M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan

As far as I know, Spain, Iran and Pakistan, the only users of the dieselized M47M adopted the BMY package, with the raised rear hull roof. The commercially offered upgrades by Urdan/IMI and OTO-Melara were similar.
The MTU MB 837 Ea-500 engine was tested in the M47 and retained the original hull roof, but was not adopted.
NAPCO also offered a Detroit Diesel 12V71TA engine for upgrading older M48s, retaining the original decking (which was modified when Astra SpA. fitted the same engine to the M47).
In addition, I seem to recall MTU offering their diesel for the M48 as well, similarly without changing the rear decking.

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Walter_Sobchak
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:48 am
Post subject: Re: M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan

- Joe_D
Walter,

If there wasn't snow all over the M48A1 when you took the pictures of her at Muskegon you might have noticed she is very unique. Looks like she was the test rig for the Teledyne/Continental installation of the AVDS-1790-2C/CD-850 combination. This set up did not require the extensive cutting and welding that they used when making the M48A3/A5 rear decks and grills. Was marketed as a much simpler and cheaper solution to upgrade older M48 fleets. Taiwan used this set up when making their CM12's from M48A1's.

Rear Hull

CM12

Probably drove/towed her right over from the factory, since it's right next door but now part of L3 systems.


I am in Muskegon fairly regularly, I need to stop by and get some better pictures of that tank. My father worked at the Getty St. plant for 40+ years and still lives in the area. I did not know that an AVDS-1790-2 could fit in the older style bay of the M48 and M48A1. I just checked my copy of Hunnicutt's "Patton," he describes the conversion on page 402. I guess I never read that far into the book! I'll have to see if my father remembers this program. Thank you for pointing this out!
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:45 pm
Post subject: Re: M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan

Walter,

Your M103 pictures are most interesting, unfortunately it took a while for me to open your blog site (Very poor internet on my behalf). Also noticed an M60A3 in the background. What's the story on her???

About your M103, The turret looks like it is from an M103A1, which is basically the same as an A2 other than the A2's FCS was upgraded to Metric over Yards, requiring a change in the Telescope and ballistic computer. Does not appear to be an A2 turret because there are no provisions for the AN/VSS-1 searchlight, which A2's had. Leads me to believe she does not have the upgraded FCS of the A2, which the computer was converted to metric and also modified for use with the searchlight. Telescope was also changed to metric with A2. Cupola is also the A1 variation, basically the Chrysler version from the M103 but modified to the simple external firing flex mount found on A1 and A2's.

About the hull, It is a very early T43E1/M103 hull. Come to this conclusion based on the following:

Drivers hatch is of the small type, this is evident by the lack of support bars used with the larger type, which were required much like the M48A1 and later models to clear the periscopes. Cannot tell by the pictures you posted but it also appears not to have the drivers M24 IR viewer modification, which was on the M103A1's and later. The small drivers hatch based on Mr. Hunnicutts' book "Firepower" is unclear on how many were produced before switching to the larger version, stating some sources that the first 60 had them, which I believe is accurate.

Compensating idler and arms are of the early M103 type, much like M48/M48A1's. These arms and hull attachment points were identified as weak points in the suspension, pron to damage, when the M103A1 upgrade was created these arms were replaced by the same heavier arms used in the M48A2's and later. They also welded an extension boss to the hull to adapt these arms, much like they did for the M48A3/A5 hulls that were upgraded from M48A1's. The early adjusting link and arm not having the offset was the first thing I noticed that led me to inspect your pictures closer.

Rear towing pintle, this makes it very interesting, since the pintle is of the very early type. The standard model for M103/103A1's was bolted to a mount and was detachable, having a stowage bracket located below the left taillight assembly. Tanks with the earlier pintle also had the two piece travel lock instead of the later three piece model found on later M103/103A1 models. Cannot tell with your tank since the upper half of the rear hull has been cut off to convert for AVDS-1790 installation. To put in perspective, of the 60 early small hatch tanks produced, not all had this pintle or three piece travel lock. Only images I've seen of the early pintle were on the pilot T43's and T43E1's.

Being this tank is in Michigan, home of oddities, and based on all the above, I'm thinking she might have been the test rig to do the feasibility testing of installing the Diesel engine for the USMC. The modified rear hull is non-standard and is lacking all the attachment points for both the rear deck and top grills found on the M103A2. What's interesting is she does have an A1 turret, although the range finder blisters are not original, coming from an M48/M60 turret. Maybe part of the local restoration. Also unusual and maybe because of the images you posted, but the M103A1 turret bulge associated with moving the gunner and sights forward required cutting the turret and casting an insert bulge and aperture. This procedure left obvious weld lines which I cannot make out in your pictures. Million dollar question is what is she? M103A1 turret on an early M103/T43E1 hull is what I can tell, but doesn't make sense. Two pilot T43E2/M103A1's were made, Pilot #2 went to Knox and images show she had the later large hatch hull, the other went to Aberdeen, but I don't have any pictures of her, so can't say if she used the same upgraded hull as the Pilot #2. I would assume so but can't be certain. With the pictures you posted it's really hard to conclude. Obviously could be one of the three Pilots the Marines commissioned for the Diesel program, based on the engine bay layout, but was this turret original to this hull and if so was she then originally one of the two T43E1/M103A1 pilots? Detroit re used a lot of the same test vehicles for later upgrades so could be. Also could be an old early M103 hull used for initial layout testing and then someone put an old M103A1 turret on her before disposing of her as a monument tank.

Very long winded post, but wanted to explain why this was such an unusual tank. As with all research, more info always leads to more questions. Thanks for sharing. On my "List" now of tanks to see in person.

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Walter_Sobchak
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:00 am
Post subject: Re: M-103 on display in Dowagiac Michigan

Thanks for the input Joe. We had a thread going on about this vehicle over at tank-net as well. This particular vehicle definitely has the forward gunners bulge indicative of an "A1", but there are no weld lines.

The M-60 in the background is in a fenced in area so I didn't try to get any good pictures of it. Jumping the fence of a National Guard facility just to get pictures of an M-60 didn't seem like a good idea to me. Anyway, there seem to be no shortage of M-60s to take pictures of here in Michigan. Earlier this week I took some of an M-60A3 and an M48A2C in front of an Amory south of Grand Rapids. The pics are at.
tanksandafv.blogspot.c...ng-mi.html

Pretty soon I should be getting better pictures of that M48A1 in Muskegon. I asked my father about it, he did not remember that specific program but he is intrigued now and wants to go check that tank out. He was the program manager on the AVDS-1790 RISE program way back in the 70's so he knows a good bit about the engine.

Thanks!
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