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AMI-VTT (Vehicule Transport de Troupe)
AMX-VCI (Vehicule de Combat d’Infanterie)

The AMX-VCI (Véhicule de Combat d`Infanterie) is one of the many variants of the French AMX-13 light tank. The AMX VCI Infantry Combat Vehicle sported a turret-mounted machine gun and side-firing ports. The AMX 10 P is a French infantry fighting vehicle. It was developed after 1965 to replace the AMX-VCI in French service.

The French were the victims of the German Army's armored blitzkrieg. From their observations of the Wehrmacht they identified the need for an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), and began developing an IFV right after the war. Due to various political and fiscalconstraints, however, they did not field an IFV until the mid-fifties.

It is commonly held that the IFV era began with the Soviet introduction of the BMP-1 in 1968. Contrary to common belief, the IFV era did not begin with the Soviet introduction of the BMP-1 in 1968. The Soviet fielding of an IFV certainly focused the attention of Cold War Western analysts, but it was not the first entry into the worldof the IFV. West German concepts and developments with the Scheutzenpanzer 12-3 (Spz12-3) in the late 1950s, marked the true entry of a radically new type of vehicle for the infantry. The Spz 12-3 had a turret with a 20-millimeter rapid-fire cannon and a 7.62-millimeter machine gun, making it a genuine infantry fighting vehicle designed to be more than a battle taxi to transport infantry.

Conceptually the Spz 12-3 was preceded by a 1954 French vehicle, the AMX-VCI (Vehicule de Combat d'lnfanterie). Using components of the AMX-13 tank series, the VCI displayed many of the salient characteristics now associated with IFVs. It possessed a weapon mounted on the vehicle designed to participate directly in the fight. This active and deliberate role for the vehicle weapon system is a characteristic of IFVs. It is distinct from the much more cautious role described for the World War II era half-track's machine-guns. Other common features of early IFVs seen in the AMX-VCI were: firing ports for infantry squad small arms; increased armored protection designed to allow the vehicle to enter into the fight prior to dismounting its squad; and even rear doors to allow the squad to dismount with less exposure, an improvement over the half-track the Spz 12-3 lacked.

The AMI-VTT (Vehicule Transport de Troupe) was probably the world's first modern infantry fighting vehicle. It was fully tracked, so it could travel where ever the tank went For the new horrors of war, it offered chemical, biological, and nuclear protection for twelve infantrymen and a driver. The three hundred and sixty degrees of 15 to 30mm of armor shielded the men from artillery fragments and small arms fire. Most significantly, their infantrymen could fight with the vehicle. It had firing ports for the infantry in the sides of the vehicle and in the rear. This enabled the infantry to protect the tank from anti-tank gunners while moving protected on the battlefield. Furthermore, the vehicle had either a turret-mounted 7.5mm machinegun or a .50 caliber machine gun that could be fired from the safety of the vehicle.

Appropriately, the French redesignated the vehicle as the AMX-VCI (Vehicule de Combat d'Infanterie). The 1954 French vehicle, the AMX-VCI (Vehicule de Combat d’Infanterie) used components of the AMX-l3 tank series. The AMX-VCI incorporated many of the defining characteristics later associated with the IFV. It had a weapon mounted on the vehicle designed to participate directly in the fight. This active and deliberate role for the vehicle weapon system is a defining characteristic of the IFV. It is distinct from the much more cautious role ascribed to the World War II era half-track’s machine-guns. Other common features of early IFVs seen in the AMX-VCI were: firing ports for infantry squad small arms; increased armored protection designed to allow the vehicle to enter into the fight prior to dismounting its squad; and even rear doors to allow the squad to dismount with less exposure, an improvement over the half-track the Spz 12-3 lacked.

The Spz 12-3 and the AMX-VCI herald the beginning of IFV development in the world’s armies. With the AMX-VCI the French began integrating IF Vs into their force structure in 1954, followed by the West Germans a year or two later with the Spz 12-3, the Soviets by 1968, but the US Army not until 1982.





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