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Calling Joe D. & other interested parties...
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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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:33 pm
Post subject: Calling Joe D. & other interested parties...

We've had a partial discussion on this before, but can Joe give us a short summary on when full, partial or other bustle racks intended to store the AN/PSS searchlights when not mounted?

What years affected, what lights (including Crouse-Hinds), when was the "partial" rack installed and when were vis lights/mounts discontinued?

This is the "sectionable" bustle rack with stowage mount on an M60A1 in 72-73.
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:56 am
Post subject: Re: Calling Joe D. & other interested parties...

Doug,

The first US tank purpose built to accept searchlights was the M60 series. From the factory they already had installed the mounting brackets, power receptacles, and relay boxes and switches for the 18" Crouse-Hinds. These tanks were not equipped with IR sights, M60 SN 1 thru 2209 (All), and M60A1 up to SN 3459. Later models were then equipped with IR sights for the TC and Gunner along with the AN/VSS-1 searchlight, IR Binoculars, and Metascope for the Rangefinder. February 1965 a Modification Work Order (MWO) was issued to equip M60's SN 185 to 2209 and M60A1's 2210 to 2459 with the IR kits and lights. When the M48A3 came out, it also was similarly equipped as the M60 for the Crouse-Hinds Searchlight, and then later, the same night sight kit as the M60/60A1.

With the M60A1, they had to make the bustle rack with a detachable section in order to mount the searchlight in the stowed position, which your picture shows removed. Interesting that it does not have the 2" mounting balls installed on the brackets. The reason why there was a stowage position for the searchlights was doctrine at the time. Tank Gunnery Manual FM-17-12 dated April 1961, stated that searchlights will be stowed unless needed for night time operations to reduce the chance of damage. Previous editions did not mention searchlight equipped tanks. The procedures for installing in the stowed position were still in the last M60A1 AOS operators manual published in 1980. FM 17-12-2 with Change 1, dated NOV 1988 for the M48A5/M60 series, specifically mentions that the AN/VSS-1 should be stowed when not in use, yet also mentions there is no place to stow it on the M48A5. It does not for the AN/VSS-3A, which was made for the M60A1 RISE and RISE/Passives. That is because those tanks were not equipped with the stowage brackets in the rear. They were deleted by then. The detachable bustle rack section remained though until M60A3 and A1 production ran concurrently. These tanks had the one piece racks. M60A1's that were upgraded to RISE standards would have the brackets removed during this process, but still used the An/VSS-1 searchlight in it's modified form. The IR lens was replaced with the "Pink" lens to work with the Passive sights.

As to why they deleted the requirement to stow the light on the RISE tanks and later. I believe it was planned that all RISE Tanks would eventually get Passive sights for the gunner and TC. Since this sight did not need active IR illumination to work, loosing the searchlight would only decrease the viewing range, not disable the night fighting capability.

Just for fun, check out this unique FT Knox mod for the bustle rack.


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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:34 pm
Post subject: Re: Calling Joe D. & other interested parties...

- Joe_D

Just for fun, check out this unique FT Knox mod for the bustle rack.



I see that's 194th Bde, so probably Ft. Knox? Dat you? Fancy bit of fabrication there.

The reason the mounting balls are missing in my picture above is because that's the "Hot Pants" skirted M60A1 test mule and had been freshly painted. There was no requirement for the light being issued for this project. Projects like this used the post Rent-A-Tank supply, since the Armor Board didn't have any tanks permanently assigned.

Interesting summary of the progression. I'm sure it depended on what vehicles units were fielding, but is there a year where we can say that active searchlights, white or pink, left the inventory?
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Scott_Taylor
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Location: London, Ontario
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:57 pm
Post subject: Re: Calling Joe D. & other interested parties...

That's great information. I'm working on a model of a 7th Army tank in MASSTER camouflage from the early 1970s. What I was wondering is, what was done with the section of the stowage basket that was removed so that the searchlight could be stowed? Was this stowed elsewhere on the vehicle, or left at base?

Cheers and thanks,

Scott
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:12 pm
Post subject: Re: Calling Joe D. & other interested parties...

Doug,

Not me, way before my time, that tank has the early M4 Gun Fire Simulator used before the Hoffman Device was fielded. You can see the O2/Propane cylinder stowage box below the drivers hatch. When I was at Fort Riley on M60A1's, the official word came down that all searchlights were to be turned into the BN Commo shop. This was early 1987. The lights were no longer supported and were being withdrawn from service. The same message put out that the external phone boxes would no longer be supported either so if yours broke you could not order parts anymore. Some crews removed theirs, we kept ours since it worked fine and was great for bore sighting (our cord actually reached that far) and bleeding the brakes. At that time the only Active Army Divisions that were still using the M60A1 was us in 1st ID and the 5th ID at Fort Polk. I know we still were using M60A1 AOS with AVDS-17902D RISE engines along with a few M60A1 RISE and RISE/Passives with a rare M60A1 AOS 1790-2A here and there. Only place that I knew that still used the searchlights was at NTC with the OPFOR M551's T72 VISMODS, and those were AN/VSS-3's and 3A's. We had them when I was there from 87-89.

Scott,
IAW doctrine/SOP, the rack section would be secured by organizational maintenance, and they were supposed to assist in the removal/installation, although crews did this on their own. By the time I served on A1's all the stowage mount points welded to the turret ventilator lip were removed, so we couldn't stow them if we wanted to.

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