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Tank M-50 "Ontos"

During the 1950's, a proliferation of tanks and armor by Russia fueled the "Cold War" and had the U.S. Marines seeking a mobile tank destroyer. The M-50 "Ontos" was developed in 1951, with the first prototype constructed in 1953. The "Ontos" was a small self-propelled tracked vehicle with (6) 106mm recoilless rifles mounted in an unusual array on its exterior. Powered by a 185 hp gasoline engine the "Ontos" had a operating range of 150 miles with a maximum speed of 30 mph. Construction of (300) of these tank destroyers were completed by Allis Chambers Corporation by 1957. The U.S. Marines did utilized the "Ontos in the Dominican Republic in 1963 and the early phases of the Vietnam War. The "Ontos" was quickly obsolete as the anti-tank TOW missile was devised in the early 1960's.
In operation the driver positioned the vehicle and the gunner would manually aim the 106mm recoilless rifles. The turret mount could be adjusted 40 degrees left or right, or with 20 degrees angle in elevation. Aiming was assisted by a .50 caliber spotting rifle. The gunner would fire the spotting rifle and adjust for effect, firing one or more 106mm rounds simultaneously. The "Ontos" carried (18), 106mm High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) projectiles, they had an effective range of 1,200 yards or a maximum range of 7,600 yards. In addition, a .30 caliber machine gun was mounted on the turret for protection.


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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net