Anti-Tank Missiles: TOW

A Marine of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC) Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment mans a HMMWV mounted M-220 TOW missile launcher during the Combined Arms Landing Force Exercise (CALFEX) of Cobra Gold 2002, Utapao, Thailand, 27 May 2002
A Marine of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC) Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment mans a HMMWV mounted M-220 TOW missile launcher during the Combined Arms Landing Force Exercise (CALFEX) of Cobra Gold 2002, Utapao, Thailand, 27 May 2002.

Today in WW II: 17 Sep 1939 Soviet troops invade Poland from the east.  More 
17 Sep 1944 Thousands of Allied planes begin airborne assault on Holland, Operation Market Garden.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M-220 Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided missile (TOW)

The TOW anti-tank missile was introduced for service in the U.S. Army in 1970. During the Vietnam War, in May 1972, soldiers used the TOW in combat, the first time that American troops had ever fired an American-made missile in combat. It has since been used in Iraq and other recent conflicts.

HMMWV anti-tank platform with TOW mounted at roof hatch
HMMWV anti-tank platform with TOW mounted at roof hatch.

The TOW is the most widely distributed anti-tank guided missile in the world. It can be fired from a tripod but due to its weight it is usually mounted on a ground or air platform vehicle which have included the M274 Mule, HMMWV, M151 jeep, M113 armored personnel carriers, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, AH-1 Huey Cobra helicopters, and others. The improved TOW II has a larger warhead and motor. Other variants are the TOW IIA which has a tandem charge warhead for defeating reactive armor and TOW IIB that uses a top-attack flight profile. Six missiles have been used with TOW, optimized for different missions.

The TOW II weighs 205 pounds, including its tripod mount. The missile itself weighs 48 pounds while the launcher weighs 52.8 pounds. The TOW II range is from 65 to 3750 meters.

Additional TOW Missile Photos are available in the Olive-Drab.com Gallery.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: missile tow. Then click the Search button.

Especially recommended:

Military Theme
T-Shirts & Stuff
Visit Olive-Drab.com's sister site for
over 10,000 free military vehicle photos!