The pictures I’ve seen of various M48 Patton tanks show 5 rollers on the Vietnam versions and 3 on the others. I don’t know the idea of that, or if it was really consistent. For that matter what did the extra rollers do specifically?
The original M48 was designed w/5 return rollers as the track was heavier than on earlier M46 and M47 Patton tanks. It was thought that the 5 rollers would better support the tracks. This proved not to be the case. On the M48A2, the return rollers was reduced to 3 per side. M48A3s (most common version seen in Vietnam) were upgraded A1s and A2s and new build, so either 3 or 5 rollers could be seen on them. The same was true for M48A5s, which were upgraded from A3s.
All M48A3 tanks were rebuilds of earlier production vehicles. The M48A1 had five return rollers per side. In 1963, they were upgraded to the same diesel engine as the M60 (AVDS1790), which doubled the vehicle’s road range. Designated M48A3, they retained their five return rollers and the original headlight cluster. These were the most common tanks in Vietnam. In 1968, the M48A2 tanks were similarly upgraded. They had been built with three return rollers, and had the redesigned headlight cluster seen later on the M60. These features were retained. In addition, a vision riser was added underneath the cupola, an item also backfitted onto most Model 1963 versions. The Model 1968 was also sometimes seen with a Y-shaped blast deflector on the 90 mm gun muzzle, a feature that appeared late in the M48A2 production run. Some authors refer to the 1963 and '68 variants as the Model A and B, respectively. In 1974, all remaining M48 series tanks were upgraded to M48A5 standard, which had the 105 mm M68 cannon. Most also got the low-rise Urdan commander’s cupola.
there were a few M48a2 tanks in Vietnam. How many, I have no idea. You are correct about upgrading the power packs. Most M48a2’s were located to the south. The !st Div. had a few that were still gasoline powered. 3/4 CAV had a few as well, but have no idea if the power packs were upgraded. So be thinking Pleiku and further south. In I-Corp there was pretty much nothing but M48a3’s, and of course the M67 with the flame thrower. So if your building one, you need to find one to build as they were all over the place in features and mods
1st Brigade, 5th ID’s tank units- 1/77 Armor and A Troop, 4/12 Cav deployed to Vietnam with M48A2s. They were later re equipped in country with M48A3s. They mostly operated in the I Corps region.
right outta I-corp, and I never knew they had some! They operated about a hundred miles north of us, and just never saw them. I do know they started using Sheridan’s in 1969, so they may have traded the M48a2’s for them. The 5th overlapped with the 17th CAV, and the 17th used nothing but M48a3’s.
Have a look here for some good photos of 1/77 Armor
Just looked at the Tamiya M48A3 kit I have and as expected; it’s a 5-roller system; so it was modeled after an upgraded M48.
But you already knew that.
5 return rollers are rebuilt M48s and M48A1s, also the original style headlights. A2s had the three return rollers and the later style headlights.
Right, like I said back in Feb when the question was originally asked.
One thing to note - from my own photo searches it seems there were effectively three types of hull. Initial A1s had five rollers, mounted on five raised pads in the hull casting. Later A2s had only three rollers and pads. But there are some with only three rollers but five pads! I assume there was a transition period during manufacture, with the intermediate pads left empty…
never realized the 5th Mech got down to LZ Nancy. Danged near on the Yellow Brick Road! Tough place. We’d always heard about the Yellow Brick Road, but always guessed it to be fictional. Then a couple weeks back I was given a book about going into the Ashau Valley, and while looking at his maps, I pointed out two hill tops just south of the valley, and said I was placed on one of the two. They sat right on the Yellow Brick Road!
Looking at the photos did you notice that the dirt wasn’t red? Kind of a light sand color just like the Que Son Valley. Also never knew the 5th Mech got over on the coast. They arrived up there on the Fourth Of July 68, and I hit A102 on the 1st of July along with a bunch of infantry. 17th CAV went north in late July from my back door, and were replaced by the 1st of the 1st. I remember talk of somekind of a big push west.