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M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank
The M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank (MBT) was designed in response to the Soviet T-54, as an improvement and follow-on for the M-48 Patton Tank. The M60 was the first U.S. tank to carry the MBT designation, a heavily armed and armored tank that was also fast and maneuverable.
Although frequently called a Patton tank informally, the correct nomenclature was Tank, Combat, Full-Tracked, 105mm Gun, M60.
The M-60 Tank was first produced in 1959 and fielded near the end of 1960 by Chrysler Corporation at the Detroit Tank Arsenal. During the 1970s and 1980s, the M-60 was the main assault tank for both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Over 15,000 M-60 tanks were delivered over its 23 year production history in the four principal variants M60, M60A1, M60A2, and M60A3 along with a number of other low-production prototypes and experimental models.
See United States Tanks After World War II for additional information about the M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank.
M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank (MBT)
Fielding of the M60A3 variant of the M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank (MBT) began in 1979, with nomenclature M60A3 Combat Tank, Full Tracked, 105 mm Gun. Under a service-wide Army upgrade program, almost all existing M60 models were converted to the M60A3 variant with thermal tank sights (M60A3 TTS). Conversion of M60A1 tanks to the M60A3 TTS configuration began in July 1981 at the Anniston Army Depot (AL), and a similar program at the Mainz Army Depot (Germany) began the next year. The Army planned to procure 7,340 M60A3 TTS tanks, 1,741 from new production and 5,599 through conversion of older M60 series tanks. Most of the M60A2 variant tanks were also converted to the M60A3 configuration.
The M-60's crew consisted of the commander, gunner, loader, and driver. It operated at a top speed of 30 mph. Among other innovations, the M60 was the first U.S. tank to be equipped with laser range finders and thermal sights, giving it the capability of being employed at night and under conditions of limited visibility.
The M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank has been replaced in the U.S. military by the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Its last American combat was the liberation of Kuwait City during Operation Desert Storm in February 1991 where USMC M-60A1 tanks rolled into the city in the vanguard of the liberating force. The M-60 has been used and continues in use with the armed forces of more than 20 countries, including successful combat use by the Israeli IDF during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:
Thanks to Harry Tenney (US Army, Retired) and Melvin Gregory (US Army, Retired) for help with this page.
M-60 Patton Tanks Photo Gallery
Recommended Book about the M-60 Patton Main Battle Tank