Tank Trivia Time: The M113 APC, aka Green Dragon
At Tank America, the Green Dragon APC is used to transport visitors to and from the FV433 Abbot, the tank you’ll be driving during the tank experience. However, there’s more to the Green Dragon than simply being an armored personnel carrier. During the Vietnam War, the Green Dragon, while originally intended to be used solely for transportation, was later modified to be a sturdy and essential weapon for combat. Check out some Green Dragon trivia below, and let us know what you’ve learned on your next visit!
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The nickname “Green Dragon” was originally coined by the Viet Cong, and refers to the force & ferocity the vehicle displayed while breaking through the jungle during an ambush.
During the Vietnam War, the M113 APC was the most widely used armored vehicle of the U.S. Army.
Top speed of the M113 is 42 mph, 3.6 mph in the water.
The M113 was modeled on earlier APC’s that had been produced – the M59 and M75. It improved upon the earlier design flaws by adding new aluminum armor, making it light enough for air travel and to be moderately amphibious, but tough enough to protect crew members from fire.
The M113 is made with 5083 aircraft-quality aluminum alloy, which is lighter than steel but with the same protection and strength.
The M113 can carry 11 passengers and 2 crew members.
The M113 is powered by a small engine, the Detroit 6V53 V6 two-stroke diesel engine of 318 cubic inches. It runs with an Allison TX-100-1 three-speed automatic transmission.
In order to swim, the original production M113s are propelled by their tracks while in the water.
The M113 was originally intended to be used solely for transportation, and because of this the vehicle is a clean slate for modifications and firearm adornments. Usually, a .50 cal machine gun is added, but a 0 mm Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher is also a popular option. High explosive cannons can also be used, turning the M113 into fire support.
On March 30th, 1962, the very first batch of M113s arrived in Vietnam.
In January 1963, 14 .50 caliber gunners were killed during the Battle of Ap Pac, which prompted gun shields to be manufactured for better protection during battle.
The first shields produced for the M113 were created by using metal salvaged from the hulls of sunken ships. Later, even better shields were made from scrapped armored vehicle parts.
The M113 was transformed into a fighting vehicle first by the ARVN 80th Ordnance Unit in South Vietnam, then by the U.S. Army, who added more shields and a circular turret for the .50 caliber machine gun, two M60 machine guns with shields for the left and right rear positions, and belly armor.
The M113 has a light base armor, but it can be easily modified with steel plates or with reactive and slat armor, the latter of which protects against rocker-propelled grenade.
In Israel, the M113 has plenty of nicknames: “Bardelas” (Cheetah), “Nagmash” (Hebrew acronym equivalent to APC), “Nagman”, and “Kasman”, “Zelda”, and “Zelda 2”. In Australia, its “bucket”, “bush taxi”, or “beast”. As for Germany? They prefer “elephant shoe”, “tank Wedge”, and “bathtub”.
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Want to ride in the Green Dragon? We thought you might. Click here to pre-book your tank experience now – opening weekend is January 5th – 7th!