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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.

USMC M60A1 ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) MBT with reactive armor bolted to its hull and turret moves inland after coming ashore during joint services exercise SOLID SHIELD '89, Camp Lejeune, NC, May 1989.  Thanks to Leonard Hollar for correct ID
USMC M60A1 ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) MBT, with reactive armor bolted to its hull and turret, moves inland after coming ashore during joint services exercise SOLID SHIELD '89, Camp Lejeune, NC, May 1989. Thanks to Leonard Hollar for correct ID.

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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:

Two M151A2 jeeps and an M-60 main battle tank are ferried across the Cowhouse River on a floating bridge during the joint services Operation Gallant Crew 77, Ft. Hood, TX, March 1977.
Two M-60A1 tanks from Company B, 4th Battalion, 37th Armor, Fort Knox, KY, are stuck in a muddy cornfield near Normandy Loop during Exercise EAGLE STRIKE III, Ft. Campbell, KY, 10 December 1982.
An M1 Abrams and two M60A3 Patton tanks followed by an M151 jeep at far end of the column, Anniston Army Depot, Alabama (ANAD).
M60 Patton Tank at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, CA, circa 1984.
Sierra Army Depot is the main retrograde site for equipment returning from the US Army in Southwest Asia.  The long rows of vehicles appear to be M-577 Armored Command Post Carriers, an M113 variant.  The foreground tanks appear to be M60 main battle tanks. Photo circa 24 January 2011.
Marines from the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, maneuver an M-60 main battle tank across the arctic terrain during Exercise Cold Winter 83, March 1983.

Thanks to Harry Tenney (US Army, Retired) and Melvin Gregory (US Army, Retired) for help with this page.

M-60 Patton Tanks Photo Gallery

M-60A1 Patton Main Battle Tank of the 4th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), B Company, 1-77 Armor, 2nd Platoon B14, Wiesbaden, Germany, 1977.  Photo courtesy Melvin Gregory (US Army, Retired)
M-60A1 Patton Main Battle Tank of the 4th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), B Company, 1-77 Armor, 2nd Platoon B14, Wiesbaden, Germany, 1977. Photo courtesy Melvin Gregory (US Army, Retired).

M-60A1 Patton Main Battle Tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, advancing toward Kuwait City during the third day of the ground offensive phase of Operation Desert Storm, 26 February 1991
M-60A1 Patton Main Battle Tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, advancing toward Kuwait City during the third day of the ground offensive phase of Operation Desert Storm, 26 February 1991.

M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank
M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank.

M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, 49th Armored HQ, Ft. Worth, TX, 11 Nov 2004
M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, 49th Armored HQ, Ft. Worth, TX, 11 Nov 2004. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, 49th Armored HQ, Ft. Worth, TX, 11 Nov 2004
M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, 49th Armored HQ, Ft. Worth, TX, 11 Nov 2004. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit

M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, Highland Lakes Air Museum, Burnet, TX
M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, Highland Lakes Air Museum, Burnet, TX. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit

M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, Highland Lakes Air Museum, Burnet, TX
M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, Highland Lakes Air Museum, Burnet, TX.
Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit

M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, VFW Post 4239, Sidney, OH
M-60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank, VFW Post 4239, Sidney, OH. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005.  The M-60A3 had a ruby laser range finder, solid state ballistic machine gun, and an external layer of Applique Armor. The applique armor provides additional armor protection by exploding outward when hit, expending the force of the hit away from the tank.  The applique armor is primarily used on the turret and front glacis plate.  This unit is one of only five experimental M60A3 tanks produced
M60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. This M-60A3 has a ruby laser range finder, solid state ballistic machine gun, and an external layer of "Applique Armor". The applique armor provides additional armor protection by exploding outward when hit, expending the force of the hit away from the tank. The applique armor is primarily used on the turret and front glacis plate. This unit is one of only five experimental M60A3 tanks of this type produced. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

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