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Land Craft 5: M113 (Paperback)

American Armoured Personnel Carrier

Transport Modelling American History Photographic Books Colour Books Military

By Ben Skipper
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Land Craft
Pages: 64
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526789778
Published: 12th February 2021



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The M113 has become as much a recognisable part of the US military machine at war as the Bell UH-1 Iroquois and M16 assault rifle. Earning its stripes in the jungles and highlands of Vietnam, it became the most widely armoured vehicle of the campaign. Such was its prowess that the Viet Cong gave it the nickname Green Dragon on account of its ability to go virtually anywhere.

Its ground-breaking aluminium hull gives the M113 a relatively low weight of 12ts, this allows it to be easily transported by air and gives it an amphibious ability. The design was also easy to modify and can carry a range of support and indirect fire weapons. From mortars to ballistic missiles, the M113 spawned a progeny of useful and innovative vehicles.

The base M113 is lightly armoured and safe against only the lightest of small arms fire and shell splinter. As a result a range of up-armour packages have been used in the past, from sandbags to complex appliqué armour.

80,000 M113s of all types have been produced and are in use with over 50 countries, making it one of the most widely used armoured fighting vehicles to be produced. Indeed such was its popularity that the US bought their final M113s in as late as 2007.

The M113 was designed and developed by the Food Machinery Corporation (FMC) to replace the heavier and less reliable steel-bodied M59 and M75 armoured personnel carriers. It was specifically designed to be lighter, air-portable and have amphibious capability. Carrying a crew of two, driver and commander, who manned the M113’s only weapon, a .50cal machine gun, the M113 would transport 11 soldiers into combat before withdrawing to the rear.

Powered initially by a V8 petrol engine the M113 would be continuously up-engined throughout its frontline and subsequent rear support lifespan. Changes included improved suspension, smoke dischargers and externally fitted fuel tanks. Other changes have included armoured commander’s turrets and slat armour.

This LandCraft title looks at the M113s development where the FMC sought to utilise its chassis into as many roles as possible, from smoke generators to flamethrowers. The book also looks at how the M113 was adapted for use by numerous overseas customers and how these are upgraded to suit local conditions.

Finally the title looks at the M113’s changing roles in the more sophisticated contemporary battlescape and how it’s still providing service in theatres across the world in a variety of roles, both combat and support.

For the modeller there is nothing more important than the little things and this image-rich section of Land Craft's M113 title delivers the goods. Filled with crisp photos that show the M113’s many details, combined with helpful accompanying text, forms an enviable visual guide for the enthusiast and modeller alike.

A welcome addition to the very popular Land Craft Series. Aimed at model makers, this series has become popular with a much wider readership, due to the excellent text describing the subject vehicle and its deployment, including unit structures. – Very Highly Recommended

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Overall, a useful book for research and model making.

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Highly Recommended for anyone interested in the M113 as a modeler or history aficionado.

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The Armor Modeling and Preservation Society

Several model kits are available and this is a good guide to them and how they can be detailed appropriately. Useful for militaria buffs.

York Model Engineers Newsletter, May 2021

The book, while dealing with a vast theme and which obviously deserves an encyclopedic tome, manages to give an excellent narrative of the development of an iconic medium which is still used in many countries 8 and which will most likely continue to be so until 2050). The photos, many, of the various versions, the color profiles and the assembled models represent an inspiration for those who want to try their hand at this hobby, as well as the information present is useful to the historian who wants to know more about one of the iconic vehicles of the War of the Vietnam is one of the main means of the Western arsenal in the Cold War. All that remains is to find an M113 on the kit market (following the useful guide at the end of the book) and try your hand at assembly!

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

Video review on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

Another good addition to the LandCraft series which I am sure modellers will enjoy.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

About Ben Skipper

Ben, a RAF veteran, is an avid modeller and writer of military themes, specialising in 20th century subjects. Ben’s work has been featured in previous Pen & Sword titles and has, on occasion, won prizes.

His interest in British armour was cemented by a visit to the Kings Royal Hussars in the early 90s as an undergraduate in the Territorial Army. Upon graduation Ben joined the RAF, where he served for five years, clocking up the air miles in a range of RAF transport aircraft including the VC10 and C17.

It was while serving with the RAF that his first foray into writing occurred, reporting on his experiences of a Kosovo/FYROM tour for an in-service trade magazine. On leaving the RAF Ben continued to develop his writing and research skills working within the third sector and NHS researching military and veteran subculture. Some of this work would be used to shape key government veteran policies.

Using this experience he decided to strike out and write about a range of field sports topics. This included researching and writing numerous pieces, from visiting the magnificent Horses and Gunners of Kings Troop, RHA, to reviewing the sometimes questionable behaviour of gun dogs. In 2018 Ben successfully completed the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists John Deere Training programme, finishing as an Honour Roll Student. The highlight of the course was to be let loose with a 26 tonne quad track tractor.

Ben is also a visual designer with a love of fashion items and has designed clothing and accessories for Help for Heroes.

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