MK V Centurion Tank
This was Australia's battle tank During
the Vietnam War. Weighing 50 tons it was initially thought the tank
would be too heavy for the jungles in the Republic of South Vietnam,
but the tank stood the test and the men of 1st Armoured Regiment
fought many courageous battles and supported 5RAR on many occasions
and in particular during the Battle of Binh Ba.
From Colin Fitness, ex Armoured
"The Australian army purchased Centurion Tanks which were a MK 3.
The mistaken belief that the up grade to MK5 consisted of all the
items added for Vietnam. In fact the MK 3 had a Besa machine gun and
it was replaced with a .30 cal Browning. This was the total upgrade
to make it a MK5 and nothing more. Later most of the Centurions were
up graded to Centurion MK 5 /1 (Aust) This was the configuration
that went to Vietnam."
100 gallon rear fuel
50 calibre machine
gun mounted beside the .30 calibre and co - axel with the 20
pounder main gun (Where the main gun pointed so did the .30 and
.50)The .50 was restricted to three rounds all rounds were
tracer. Its use was as a ranging gun for the 20 pounder to save
20 pounder rounds.
three tracers were
fired - where they landed was the point of impact for the 20
pounder. On obtaining correct point with the .50, a 20 pounder
was fired. In most cases, one shot one hit.
A .30 calibre flex
was mounted on the cupola of the turret for the crew commander,
this was flexible up and down and left and right.
A B Barrel was
fitted to the main gun, which had a fume extractor in the middle
of the barrel.
A heavy up armoured
plate was installed on top of the Glacis plate in front of the
I R (Infrared) spot
light and crew viewing scopes were installed. Also a rear turret
carry cage for the spotlight and other spare items.
This basic setup was the Centurion MK 5 /1 (Australian)
There were many other modifications made in Vietnam by LAD (Light
Aid Detachment) and crews, Cut down guards to stop damage from
jungle, removal of smoke dischargers from the turret (same reason).
Road wheels placed on the Glacis plate in front of the driver,
removal of the side plates over the road wheels / tracks. Mud
scrapers fitted on front and rear guards to stop most of the mud
being carried into the turret and drivers compartment (which would
have to be removed when servicing the tank.
To view Colin's website dedicated to the Centurion Tank see the
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