The AMX-13 is a French light tank produced from 1952 to 1987. It served with the French Army, as the Char 13t-75 Modèle 51, and was exported to more than 26 other nations. Named after its initial weight of 13 tonnes, and featuring a tough and reliable chassis, it was fitted with an oscillating turret built by GIAT Industries (now Nexter) with revolver type magazines, which were also used on the Austrian SK-105 Kürassier. Including prototypes and export versions, over a hundred variants exist, including self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft systems, APCs, and ATGM versions.

The tank was designed at the Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) in 1946 to meet a requirement for an air-portable vehicle to support paratroopers. The first prototype ran from 1948. The compact chassis had torsion bar suspension with five road-wheels and two return rollers; the engine runs the length of the tank on the right side, with the driver on the left.

It features an uncommon two-part FL-10 oscillating turret, where the gun is fixed to the turret and the entire upper turret changes elevation. The turret is set to the rear of the vehicle and holds the commander and gunner. The original 75 mm SA 50 gun was loaded by an automatic loading system fed by two six-round magazines located in on either side of the automatic loader in the turret’s bustle.

The 12 rounds available in the drum magazines meant that the crew could engage targets quickly; however, once those rounds were expended, the vehicle commander and gunner could either manually refill them from within the turret or retreat to cover and reload shells from outside the vehicle through hatches above.

Anti-tank guided missile version

An anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), anti-tank missile, anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armored military vehicles. ATGMs range in size from shoulder-launched weapons, which can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod-mounted weapons, which require a squad or team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems.

Earlier man-portable anti-tank weapons, like anti-tank rifles and magnetic anti-tank mines, generally had very short range, sometimes on the order of metres or tens of metres. Rocket-propelled high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) systems appeared in World War II and extended range to the order of hundreds of metres, but accuracy was low and hitting targets at these ranges was largely a matter of luck. It was the combination of rocket propulsion and remote wire guidance that made the ATGM much more effective than these earlier weapons, and gave light infantry real capability on the battlefield against post-war tank designs. The introduction of semi-automatic guidance in the 1960s further improved the performance of ATGMs.

As of 2016, ATGMs were used by over 130 countries and many non-state actors around the world. Post-Cold-War main battle tanks (MBTs) using composite and reactive armors have proven to be resistant to smaller ATGMs.

Read more: Tanks and fighting vehicles with Andrew Pantele ...