M114 or mess in the American
At the start of the 50s, many governments were preoccupied with creating armored vehicles for their own intelligence. Not an exception in this matter were the United States. Available at that time M3 and M8 "Greyhound" is clearly not suitable for this role. They were too heavy for airborne assault, couldn’t swim, and in general, they were morally outdated and were withdrawn everywhere from the troops and transferred to the National Guard under or reserve forces.
By the year 1954, finally, they finally decided on the requirements for equipment, which by good army tradition was called the abbriveatur - ACRC (Armored Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicle - Armored Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicle). The maximum weight was limited to 3,6 tons, the crew had to be 4 person, and the maximum speed to reach - 70 km / h. In fact, the military wanted to get some equivalent of an armored jeep, which could be converted into a medavak or an anti-tank vehicle. By the way, the main reconnaissance fleet in 1951 consisted of jeeps, but soon the situation was to be rectified. The total order quantity planned in 3 is thousands of units.
Armored intelligence jeep 82-th airmobile
Only for 1960-th several models from competing manufacturers were presented for the competition, all of which are heavier than the required weight. The army began a large-scale program of state tests. At the same time, in the Soviet Union, 3 was already produced as BRDM-1 and was preparing to test BRDM-2. In the US armed forces in January of the same year, they launched a series of armored personnel carriers, the M113, of successful vehicles and still in service. Made those armored personnel carriers - "Ford Motor Company".
To the consumer's judgment, the reconnaissance armors presented the M113 C&R with a silhouette lowered for less visibility, and General Motors presented the T114 prototype. The task was not very difficult, the prototypes are similar. Whom should you choose? It seemed that the decision was obvious - the presence in the troops of a unified armored personnel carrier and an armored personnel carrier on a single platform, the lowest silhouette, the highest reliability and the lowest price of a Ford brand product. М113 C&R won the tests, but ... did not pass the state acceptance. A large-scale economic battle has always been going on between Ford and GM, it reached a special intensity just in the post-war years. Since “cut and rollback will win” even in America, GM had a bigger rollback at that time, and the lobby was stronger. So, the new ACRC of the US Army was to be the T114 from the Chrysler division. The official political reason for this decision was the creation of new jobs. And this is what these new workers did ...
Experienced models T114 appeared in 1958 year. And the first incident was the engine - the military version of the civil Chevy Small Block 283 V8 with the declared power of the 160 HP. For those who are not in the subject I will tell you that this is one of the “dead” engines of those years with a simple single-chamber carburetor. These engines were installed on mid-size cars, and for trucks and top models there was a Big Block, for which in the 58 year, the 250 hp was the lowest power level. Here, again, greed worked, big blocks of ordinary Americans bought up like pies, there was not enough production capacity to provide a “citizen”, so they put what remained on the seven-ton fighting machine. A worthy way out could be the installation of a two- or four-chamber carburetor on an aspirated base, which would increase the thrust to 180-200 horses with a slight increase in price, but this was not done either. The transmission was equipped with an automatic, modified Hydramatic with a low transmission mode for driving on water. And if the Hydramatic itself was a technological breakthrough of the time, then it was clearly finished in a hurry, however, more on that later.
The initial layout solutions included the installation of a machine gun 85 caliber 0.50 in the commander's turret, displaced in the stern of the hull, the roof was made on a complex ergonomic profile, the crew consisted of 3-s (mechanic, commander and observer), and in a tight layout they found a place for a folding seat to take the passenger. The engine was placed in front, next to the driver, the fuel tank was also there, so that it was more fun to be blown up by mines. There was also a large square hatch at the back, and the car could swim, using caterpillars to move through the water.
He is from other angles
There have even been attempts to install the 106 mm automatic bezokatku
The T114 was officially renamed to the M114 with a production start date in 1962. In order to meet the expectations of the army and politicians, the original prototype had to be substantially reworked. Basically, in order to reduce the cost of production. The roof profile was maximally simplified, the long disputes caused the tower and its necessity. In the end, they settled on this version of the fixed polubashki with eight observation instruments and a machine gun mounted on the outside WITHOUT the possibility of firing from the inside. The M85 machine gun was replaced with the M2 Browning, and the observer received an 0.30 machine gun at his disposal and became a machine gun watcher. The aft square hatch has been simplified, now it has become smaller and round. In fact, the program that passed the state acceptance program had to be redrawn anew.
As soon as the new, modified drawings came to Washington, the first 2,7 million dollars went to Cleveland to install a new production equipment. Already in August, the plant earned 1962 at full capacity, attracting additional workers to 7200. Total for 1965 year produced 3710 machines, with the original order in 3 thousands.
The military vehicles, intoxicated with the expected success, immediately began supplying equipment to the units and immediately the first problems began to surface.
The very first problem was the machine gun. In order to shoot both the commander and the observer were forced to look out of his cozy compartment to the waist. The flap was not even. About protection against weapons of mass destruction in this case story was silent. The first 600 machines left the assembly line as they were, then the bug was fixed and the wardrobe with the remote control of the main armament received the designation M114A1.
While they sorted out one, the other matured. An idea came to someone’s bright mind to install Hispano-Suiza automatic cannon instead of a machine gun. According to eyewitnesses, a light machine when shooting pretty rocked the recoil, and only the first shell tried to hit the target, the rest were just scary. Even short lines did not help. In addition, the sight was very poorly visible, and the best results were given by aiming in the trunk. In general, this good aviation guns formed an extremely unfortunate land fate. Having bought a production license, the American military leadership anxiously tried to attach it at least somewhere. Neither the M551 Sheridan nor the MBT-70 escaped the fitting, but only the M114 received this “appendage” on production vehicles. Although the platform was to blame for low accuracy, but the practice of application in parts revealed another drawback. The gun designed for working in the air was pretty dirty somewhere on the 200th shot instead of the passport 550, and if, after 150-200 rounds, the warmed-up Hispane was allowed to cool, then it was no longer possible to shoot further. The soldiers, however, were happy at the shooting, they said that he was beating cool, but no one wanted to go to a real battle with her. Joint firing with the M163 "Volcano" prompted a solution. To increase stability, it was enough to install support platforms on the machine, but the already heavily weighted M114 simply did not allow this. It is not known how many copies were redone and whether it was a factory or field modernization. If the donor for the alteration was M114, the new name is M114E2, if it was M114A1, then the marking was adopted by M114A1E1, hence some confusion in the indices.
Problem number two - running. The track rollers adequately withstood all loads, but the caterpillar became the swan song of a design genius. The use of a solid (!) Rubber-metal tape at break allowed the crew to relax and just wait for the rembrigade. Splash without special equipment was impossible. If this is not enough, then I will add that in the course of an incompetent or simply unaccustomed mechanic goose goose had the property of unpredictably losing tension. At the same time, the M114 either spun round or went to the nearest ditch.
About the engine already mentioned, but add. Initially, the reconnaissance vehicle was designed for avant-garde reconnaissance, that is, it must be located or move ahead of the main forces that were, including the M113 BTR. Weak Small Block with great difficulty pulling in this case. Especially when diesel 113-e appeared. In the memoirs of veterans, the phrase is often mentioned, that here, they say, a good 114 was, there would have been a diesel engine, like in a “batter”. Yes, it was impossible! That diesel engine was almost 1,5 times heavier than its predecessor, and if the Ford machine pulled, then GM did not allow either in the layout or in the weight distribution.
Transmission, promised to add about the transmission. Revision instead of rework added a good automatic Hydramatic to spontaneously include a reduced property (which was used for water movement). And if the car while moving at a speed of kilometers 50 per hour? The effect was as if it had hit the wall. Why didn’t she “captivate”? So she had one trick - overhang. The front overhang of the tank shoes acted for the dimensions of the caterpillar. And it is quite natural that he stuck it in any overcome ravine or ditch. A special piquancy of the situation adds all the same weak engine, which could not pull the machine back. The crew had no choice but to wait for the tug. Not promoted to increase the terrain and ground clearance, in the M114 it was only 36 centimeters, as opposed to the 56cm in the M113. Servants complain that ACRC could not move along the tracks laid by the rest of the army equipment, and had to move away from them, any attempt to ride on the rolled track inevitably led to landing on the belly and long digging.
And everything, you have to go to the village behind the tractor
Booking for the sake of a smaller mass was also smaller compared to the BTR. Only a frontal even though it is comparable and that, due to the large angles of inclination. During the Vietnam War, a test batch was sent there from 40 М114, which very quickly showed their complete inconsistency in the jungle. Subtle reservations and low ground clearance contributed to the high vulnerability to undermining on mines or RPG hits, and a weak power plant limited the use of technology in conditions of highly crossed areas. The cramped fighting compartment greatly reduced the chances of surviving a mine blast and did not allow additional equipment to be taken for reconnaissance. Combat use revealed logistical problems. Due to the lack of unification, reconnaissance units experienced a terrible shortage of spare parts. According to the results of the experiment, they refused to use М114 in the jungles of Vietnam, motivating it by saying that the less problematic М551 Sheridan can solve the same tasks with greater efficiency. Knowing how many headaches of the army delivered this tank, it is difficult to even imagine the full horror of the new American BRDM.
Finally, in 1973, Chief of Staff Creighton Abrams officially recognized the M114 project as a failure and ordered the removal of equipment from service everywhere. The process continued right up to 1979, and these six years were even more painful for the crews and maintenance personnel, since the supply of spare parts ceased altogether. Even before they were removed from service, the tankettes got up in parts for a dead joke due to breakdowns. During the entire period of service, not a single unit was converted into either a medical or an anti-tank version. Meanwhile, the M113 C&R, which had not passed the state acceptance, was quite successfully conquering the export market and served in three different countries for about 35 years, as opposed to only ten from a competitor.
Separate interest is deserved by the fate of almost four thousand written off М114. Americans on the forums are at a loss. Some of them settled down in the collections, some were handed over to the police and the National Guard under, but the rest is not clear. In reserve, they say, too, no. Probably quietly melted down to something more useful. Here he is - an American mess.
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