M59 Armored Personnel Carrier

The M59 armored personnel carrier was introduced into US Army service in the spring of 1954 as a replacement for the earlier M75 APC, which had proved to be both expensive to manufacture and lacked an amphibious capability. Built by FMC at San Jose, California, the M59 design was generally similar to the M75, being a 10-16mm armored box on tracks with a sloping front, but with the addition of a hydraulically operated ramp in the rear hull. The two man crew sat in the front of the vehicle leaving the rear to accommodate up to twelve fully armed infantrymen. The commander was provided with a cupola with periscopes and a .50 machine gun.

A number of variants were also constructed including an armored ambulance, command vehicle and a 4.2 in mortar carrier in which the Mortar could be either fired through the open roof or dismounted and used away from the vehicle. Total production amounted to some 6,300 vehicles some of which were sold abroad.

The main flaw with the M59 was its underpowered 127 bhp GMC six cylinder petrol engine which placed a considerable load on the maintenance services, since the engine and transmission were always being asked to do too much. In addition the M59 proved to be too heavy to be airlifted, leading to the US Army drawing up, in 1954, a new specification that would eventually appear in 1960 as the highly successful range of military vehicles based on the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

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