Contest Winners. Ever See a Tank Swim?
M551 Sheridan Ft. Knox, c. 1978
Me neither. But we tried. You’d think for being such an odd duck the thing could float. But not quite. More in a bit.
The contest was to guess the vehicle ID with the Penta-Posse a-top.
We have two winners: The Drill SGT and Fred Boness.
The Drill SGT sends this shot and writes:
I think the shot is of an M551. If I need to get more specific, I think it is NOT an M551A1, but rather an M551 plain.
here is the best comparable photo
You likely took the photo at Aberdeen or Knox.
Do I get a bonus if I can tell you which track they are sitting on and where it is?
BTW: the overexposure on that shot is gonna make it tough for most folks
The Drill SGT
The Drill SGT got extra credit for guessing Knox. Contest Picture was from the Patton Museum.
Fred Boness is also a winner sending this shot and making points on style:
One of those awkward in between things, the M551 Sheridan. Too heavy to be a sportscar, too light to be a tank. Fred Boness
Awkward indeed. Designed to launch missiles and fire conventional rounds down the same tube; armored and airdroppable . Traverse land, lake and air!
The first picture at top of the page was of one of my 551’s about to go seaborne. The front floatation panel collapsed, the ship sank, nobody hurt. I don’t know how the driver got out. We then had an instructive vehicle recovery operation.
And I didn’t get fired. The swimming exercises were quietly discontinued.
Sometimes technology doesn’t solve everything. But the designers of the XM551 in the 60’s tried.
The missile was excellent for killing tanks, but was not armed/stable inside 800 meters. Ergo the gun — a monster 152 mm cannon. But the recoil would rock(et) the Sheridan back lifting the first two road wheels off the ground — knocking the bejeebers out of the missile electronics. So the missiles never worked anyway.
Younger, smarter MilBloggers from the 82d: do tell me if the problems were ever really solved.
The lesson would be from WWII armor: 20,000 simple-light Shermans beat 500 complex-heavy Tigers.
A final note on the contest — lest You, Gentle Reader think that I have lost all my female readers (both of them) — an interesting entry was from Jane Lathem who writes:
I think it is an army tank!
A good simple answer to what was complicated mission creep.
Thank you (foot)notes:
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