Tank-O-Rama #7: M48 Patton by Buffalo1 ()
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This is the third and last tank to be named after General George S. Patton. It is a follow on to the M46 and M47 tanks, but while basing itself on what was learned with the previous tanks, the M48 was a new design. The rounded turret and better armor protection made it a more formidable fighting machine. The crew was well protected from mines and M48s were used to clear roads in South Vietnam by simply driving on them. The treads or wheels might be damaged, but the crew was fine.The early M48 pictured used a gasoline engine, but these were replaced in U.S. service with diesel engines and designated M48A3. The same modifications were made to the numerous M48s in foreign service, but not all. The 90 mm gun was modernized and the last version of the M48A5 carried the powerful Brtish designed L7 105mm gun.
12,000 of these 50 ton tanks were produced and used in at least a dozen wars. They have seen considerable service in Vietnam, the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1965 & 71, the Six Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, and just about every other Middle Eastern combat of the late 20th Century. Results were often mixed in different battles with other tanks largely depending on training and tactics. The U.S. Army determined that the M48 was vulnerable to the 20 pounder (84mm) gun found on the widely used British Centurion tank and the high velocity 75mm found on French AMX tanks. Most tanks were vulnerable to the 90mm carried by the M48. All tanks were vulnerable to the 105mm gunned version. Ten countries still operate M48 versions, but they are being phased out of service.
Image Comments (9)
Great photo! I "broke track" on an M 48-A5 in early training once. A great tank for its day. The chassis was still in use as late as 1994, when I found one used as the basis for a then-currently serving Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) during an equipment inspection in Mannheim, Germany.
Thanks for the photo and the history. It straightened out the confusion I've had over the designations - there were several due to several production models. I wonder how this tank would fare in a confrontation with a Tiger 1, a Panther, and a Tiger II. The L7 105 mm gun could most likely punch through the Panther and Tiger 1 frontal armor, but the Tiger II or Hunting Tiger? Would be interesting to compare. Keep up the good work. I've really enjoyed this series. :-)