Monday, January 19, 2015

Tank You Very Much.

While out and about in Washington DC the other day, I happened across this nifty M60 M48 tank on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
I'd seen it for some time through their fence off North Capitol Street, so the other day I stopped by their main office and they were kind enough to allow me access to take some pictures.
This one is one of the first-generation M60s, later generation M48s and it sports the long bore-evacuated 105mm main gun, as you can see here.
These machines weighed in at approximately 50 tons, and they were powered by a Continental V-12 air-cooled, twin-turbocharged diesel engine that put out 750 horsepower. (Air cooled? How do you do that on an engine that big, especially one encased in steel?)
As you can see, this one is in great shape, without a single broken light or missing fixture.
Close-up of the turret below shows an interesting logo welded on the hull. Didn't notice it until I got home and went through the pics. What do you suppose it is? Perhaps Detroit Tank Arsenal's version of a hood ornament?
Detroit made a lot of these. Between 1952 and 1959, they produced over 12,000 of them for the US Military and our allies, and Pakistan was still using them in Somalia in 1993.
The US Marines made great use of them in Vietnam, literally writing the book on jungle operations with these monsters that were designed for the open battlefields of Europe. The VC and NVA quickly learned to fear them. A great book on that aspect of the war is Praying for Slack: A Marine Corps Tank Commander in Viet Nam by Robert E. Peavey. Likewise, Ralph Zumbro has written several good books on tanks and tank combat, with Tank Aces being a favorite of mine.
Gotta admit, I'd love to have this beauty under my carport. But she's apparently being well-cared for where she is, and she's where she belongs, serving out her days in the company of other veterans. Still, I'll likely pop back to visit her every now and again, just because.

EDITED TO ADD: Reader Knucklehead informs me that this is an M-48, not an M-60.

I still need one, though.


  1. I was thinking the same thing about having one on my driveway. I'd be the envy of the neighborhood. Let the Jones' keep up with THAT!

    He who dies with the most toys - still dies, but dies happy.

  2. +1 on LL, but it IS in a good place!!!

  3. I'm not sure what good it would do in the driveway. In traffic, however....

  4. Something else to see next time I'm down that way.


  5. Anonymous3:52 PM

    The tank would help clear a traffic jam one way or the other

  6. just a quick note - that is an M48 rather than an M60. M60s have a straight-edged snout and an elongated turret compared to the M48. I served on M60s and we had an M48 outside the barracks.

    1. Damn, thanks for the catch. The two look so similar so I was going by the gun tube, not realizing that they also put those 105mm guns on later versions of the M-48.

      PS--tank stories are always welcome here.

  7. That 105mm was a beautiful rifle. Put sabot downrange at 5,000+ fps muzzle velocity and would hit what you were aiming at at 3km or more. In the M60A3s the darned thing was stabilized. Of course, by then the Germans were scooting around in their Leopards and could cruise past us like were were standing still.