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M551 Sheridan

Discussion in 'Post-World War 2 Armour' started by Zhukov_2005, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    I have always respected this tank, but I do not know alot about it though. I know it had a very complicated 152mm gun/missile launcher and it was highly prone to landmines, but I have heard alot about its unreliability. Does anyone have any additional info such as how many were made, its problems, combat stories, etc.



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  2. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    As for its combat history; it served in Vietnam, but made a bad reputation for itself in this theatre, mainly because of its thin belly armour which provided little protection from mines. It also served in the invasion of Panama in 1989, and in the First Gulf War.

    About 1700 M551s were built between 1966 and 1970.

    Its main armament was a M81 152mm gun / missile launcher which could fire a Shillelagh missile or one of the following types of conventional ammunition : HEAT-T-MP, WP, TP-T or Canister, the latter was widely used in Vietnam. Normally it would carry 20 rounds of normal ammunition and eigth missiles.
     
  3. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Well thanks for the info. I always saw the Sheridan ahead of its time, and it probably could have seen more use if its flaws were worked out. They probably didn't add more belly armor because of the weight, after all, this tank was designed to be airlifted and then dropped in the battle zone.
     
  4. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    The turret reminds me of the Chaffee and the Crusader, in a way, but the entire purpose of this tank and its gun strongly remind me of the Panzer III N.

    I relate to WW2 tanks only. :D
     
  5. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Author David Drake served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam. He described the Sheridan as "an aluminum hulled deathtrap." He saw them in action, so I'm inclined to take his word for it. During an attack on a Cambodian village, a Sheridan was destroyed by a 12.7mm antiaircraft quad mount, along with an M113 APC. The guns were then destroyed by M48 tanks.

    The Tank Museum in Danville, Virginia has a Sheridan on display, BTW.
     
  6. JCalhoun

    JCalhoun New Member

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    The Sheridan was designed to be an amphibious light tank for use against the USSR in Europe. It is also capable of being air dropped from C130 aircraft. These three qualities are why it's the only tank that the 82d Airborne can use.

    The 152mm gun/misile system worked well with the missle but not with the gun ammo. Fired ammo had a problem of leaving burning embers in the gun. A blower system was eventually installed to remove embers.

    The engine was a V6 Detroit Diesel. It had overheating problems in tropical climates. The engine belt and pulleys were not well designed and the radiator suffered from a lack of airflow. In Europe, overheating wasn't a problem.

    The lower hull was quite susceptable to mines. The hull was made of aluminum. Eventually, the lower hull would have a titanium plate attached. The commander's copula also had armor put around the M2 machine gun.

    The Sheridan is still in use with the 82d ABN and the OPFOR unit at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin. There they are remodelled to look like Soviet made vehicles.
     
  7. PanzerProfile

    PanzerProfile New Member

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    well, good or bad tank, it's a good looking one! That pic with the rocket is really awesome! :eek:
     
  8. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    That's the Shillelagh (sp?) missile. It was eventually dropped due, IIRC, to its cost and complexity.
     

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