M59 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
M84 Mortar Carrier
The FMC M59 and M59A1 were full-tracked, fully amphibious, armored personnel carriers designed to replace the M75. The M59 was designed as a lower-cost alternative to the M75 armored infantry vehicle. The program for the replacement armored infantry carrier was initiated in late 1951. The Ordnance Division of the Food Machinery and Chemical [FMC] Corporation produced a number of pilot models. The best of these, the T59, was type classified as the M59 in May of 1953, and a production contract was awarded to FMC. Deliveries of the new vehicle to armored infantry battalions began in the spring of 1954 and by the end of production in 1960, over 6,300 M59s had been manufactured at the San Jose, California, plant of FMC.
The 18.7-ton M59 utilized civilian components in order to keep costs down. Its design took advantage of its relative bulk to give it limited amphibious capabilities, allowing it to operate in fairly calm water without any preparation. Mechanically, both the M75 and the M59 were similar to the M41 light tank, and as a result were capable of accompanying tanks over any terrain they could traverse. Such capabilities helped facilitate the development joint armor-infantry tactics.
The M59A1 was based on the M59 but included a few enhancements. The two small engines in the M59-series were inadequate and the vehicle never saw combat. The M59-series was replaced by the M113 in the early 1960s.
The engines and transmissions of the M59 were in either sponson, leaving the cargo and personnel area free. The transmission was attached directly to the rear of the engine, the engine facing to the rear so the transmission was pointed forward. Troop access to the vehicle was through a large rear ramp which was fitted with an escape hatch, and through roof hatches over the passenger compartment. M59s were amphibious, and a trim vane was located on the hull front slope. Early vehicles were fitted with the Model 300MG Hydramatic transmissions.
Early M59s featured a rotating mount for an M2HB .50cal machine gun around the commander's vision cupola. The commander's cupola on mid-production vehicles sported periscopes instead of the earlier vision blocks, but retained the external .50cal MG mount. Late-production M59s were fitted with the M13 cupola, which was armed with an internally-mounted .50cal machine gun. The early cupolas produced a height of 102.6" (260.6cm), and the mid-production cupolas were 112.5" (285.8cm) tall. Vehicles lacking the M13 cupola could only stow 1470 rounds of .50cal ammunition.
With the infantry bench seats folded up and the ramp down, a jeep could be driven up into the carrier compartment. The M59 was designed to be fully amphibious and a trim vane and rubber seals around all openings provided for a watertight compartment.
The M84 was the mortar carrier version of the M59. The mortar was mounted in the passenger compartment, facing the rear, and the rear roof hatches were reconfigured to include front, center, and rear hinged hatches, all of which folded to the front when the mortar was in use. The escape hatch in the rear ramp was relocated from the left to the right side, and the mortar ground mount was then stowed on the left of the ramp.
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