AMX-13 Light Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 09:05 pm

France’s AMX-13 light tank was designed soon after World War II ended. 

Design of the tank began in 1946. The first prototype was finished in 1948 and production began in 1952. The AMX-13 entered service in 1953.

The AMX-13 light tank was designed to be an air-portable reconnaissance vehicle and tank destroyer.   

It has a low profile for protection and was built to be operated by crew-members who were no more than 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 meters) tall.
AMX-13 light tank
The hull on the AMX-13 is made of all-welded steel.

There is a torsion bar suspension, with five pairs of road wheels and two or three track return rollers. The drive sprocket is in the front and the idler is in the back.

The AMX-13 has an oscillating turret with a separate top half and bottom half. The top half of the turret has the gun, an autoloader and a store of ammunition.  The top half was mounted on two trunnions in the bottom half.

In order to raise or lower the gun, which is fixed, the top half of the turret must be raised or lowered.

The addition of an autoloader to the AMX-13 light tank eliminates the need for a human loader, so a crew of only three men – driver, commander and gunner – is needed.

The driver sits in the front left of the hull, with the engine on his right.

The commander and gunner sit in the turret, which is mounted in the back of the hull.  The commander sits on the left, and the gunner sits on the right.

Model 51, the earliest version of the AMX-13, had a 2.95 inch (75mm) main gun.

Secondary armament consisted of a 0.295 inch (7.5mm) or 0.3 inch (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun.

Some tanks had an additional 0.3 inch (7.62mm) anti-aircraft gun.

There were two smoke grenade dischargers on each side of the turret.

In later models, the 2.95 inch (75mm) main gun was replaced with a 3.54 inch (90 mm) main gun.

A version with a 4.13 inch (105mm) main gun was exported to other countries.

In some models, the gasoline engine was replaced with a diesel engine, and in some, the torsion bar suspension was been replaced with a hydropneumatic suspension

The AMX-13 light tank has no NBC protection.

Optional equipment on the AMX-13 includes a laser rangefinder, additional armor protection, improved fire control systems and passive night vision equipment. (The AMX-13 was not originally designed for night fighting.)

Variants of the AMX-13 include a bridgelayer, a combat engineering vehicle, an armored recovery vehicle, an armored personnel carrier, some self-propelled artillery vehicles and a tank that is armed with HOT anti-tank guided missiles.

The AMX-13 light tank has been exported to over 25 countries.

It was used by Israel during the 1956 Suez Crisis and the 1967 Six Day War and by India during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War.

Production of the AMX-13 ended in the 1980s. More than 3,000 AMX-13 light tanks have been built.

 The AMX-13 light tank is currently in service with the Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Indonesia, Singapore, Venezuela, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Ecuador.

An infantry combat vehicle, the AMX VCI, uses the chassis of the AMX-13. The first AMX VCI was completed in 1957.

About 3,400 AMX VCIs have been built.

The AMX VCI is in service with Sudan, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Indonesia, Cyprus, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Venezuela.


AMX-13 Light

Active: 1953
Crew: 3
Weight: 15 tons (15,000kg)
Length: 16ft 0in (4.88m); 20 ft 10in(6.36m) with gun forwards
Height: 7ft 6in (2.3m)
Width: 8ft 2in (2.51m)
Weapons: Main – Early version: 2.95in (75mm) gun, later versions 3.54in (90mm) gun, export versions: 4.13in (105mm)gun; Secondary – 1 x 0.295in (7.5mm) or 0.3in (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun, 1 x 0.3in (7.62mm) anti-aircraft gun (optional), 2 pairs of smoke grenade dischargers
Armor Maximum – 0.98in (25mm)
Engine: SOFAm Model 8Gxb 8-cylinder water-cooled gasoline, 250hp (Replaced with diesel engine in some variants)
Speed: 37mph (60kph)
Range: 249 miles (400 km)