These are the best of the best. These are the top ten infantry fighting vehicles.
When the call went out to develop a vehicle to replace the much-loved and ubiquitous jeep, the winning design had to be exceptional. The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Humvee, first appeared in 1980 and a contract was awarded to makers AM General for nearly 60,000 vehicles. This figure has now risen to over 160,000, with Humvees sold to more than 36 countries.
Its low center of gravity and strong frame make the Humvee a very dependable transport in over 12 different configurations. From armored carrier to special operations, from missile platform to recoilless rifle vehicle, this amazing fighting vehicle is fast making a reputation for itself.
The Humvee's ability to carry eight troops plus crew, top speed of over 65 mph and .50-caliber machine gun further strengthen that reputation. Its all-terrain capability is global, with the U.S. Army using the Humvee for operations in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Though the Humvee has been criticized by some for its vulnerability, the sheer usefulness of this vehicle has led to its service in situations that normally call for much more heavily armed and armored vehicles.g.
9. LVT MK-4 (Landing Vehicle Tracked)
Known as amphibious tractors, or amtracks for short, the LVTs were the backbone of all the Marine landings during the long and bloody campaign of the Pacific War.Introduced in 1944, the innovative LVT MK-4 had a rear door so that either a jeep or gun could be unloaded. This new door also saved the lives of countless Marines, as they did not have to clamber over the side as in previous LVTs.
With its powerful 75-mm howitzer, the LVT MK-4 could deliver a hail of fire to protect its 30 disembarking troops. Also, it did not have to stop at the water's edge. Propelled by tracks instead of a propeller, this LVT was just as at home on water, sand or jungle mud as it was on hard roads or grass. It was also used by the British forces in river crossings, particularly the Rhine, during the war in Europe.
So respected was the LVT, that Navy leader Vice Adm. Edward L. Cochrane wrote: "There is not the slightest shadow of doubt that the overwhelming victories of our forces at Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima would not have been possible without the Amtracks."
8. M-3 Halftrack
Inspired by a 1931 French design, the U.S. Army started work on a halftrack in 1938 and the basic M-3 design went into production in 1941. Used throughout the Army, the M-3 was an essential part of the armored divisions â€” each motorized infantry battalion had approximately 62.
By the end of World War II, more than 40,000 M-3 halftracks had been produced in a wide variety of configurations, including personnel carrier, artillery tractor and communications vehicle. Because of the drive to its front axle, the M-3 was easier to maneuver than its counterpart, the German Sd.Kfz. 251. However, it lacked all-terrain usage and the ability to carry troops.
The M-3 served around the world during World War II, as well as for many years afterward. Although production stopped in 1945, the M-3 was still going into combat with the Israeli Defense Force in the 1980s.
7. Universal Bren Gun Carrier
The British Universal Carrier, or Bren Carrier as it was popularly known, was the most widely used of all armored fighting vehicles during World War II. Able to carry between four and 14 troops, the Bren Carrier came in several versions, including machine gun, flamethrower, mortar platform, troop carrier, medi-vac and gun tractor. It was also capable of being glider borne and airlifted with a 6-pound anti-tank gun.
From the battlefields of Europe to the jungles of the Far East, this vehicle was involved in every theater of action during World War II. Many of these carriers were captured by the Germans, who modified them to carry a 37-mm anti-tank gun and called them Panzerjaeger Bren. In fact, the Bren was the only carrier used by soldiers from every nation involved in the conflict of 1939-45. With a service record second to none, and with more than 200,000 built, this World War II vehicle richly deserves its accolades.
Once the armored personnel carrier had shown its worth in World War II, wheeled and tracked vehicles entered service with all the world's armies. The Soviet Red Army was the first to move the idea of a personnel carrier forward so that infantrymen would be able to fight from it, rather than have to dismount and lose the protection of the vehicle's armor.
The first sight the West had of the brand-new vehicle was at a parade in Red Square in 1967. The Bronevaya Maschina Piekhota (BMP-1) had firing ports and vision blocks to enable its passengers to fire from within the vehicle. It also featured an automatic loading 73-mm turret-mounted gun firing fin-stabilized HEAT missiles. The BMP was amphibious, propelled though the water by its tracks.
Though the BMP revolutionized armored warfare, it was not without drawbacks. The armor was thin and the low silhouette made it cramped for crew and passengers, but it was still used by many of the worlds' armies. Its successor, the BMP-2, has been made in large numbers and seen combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
5. Sd.Kfz. 251
When Nazi Germany began developing its new theory of blitzkrieg in the 1930s, it became obvious that its infantry and artillery would need a new type of cross-country vehicle if they were to keep up with the tanks of the Panzer divisions. The result was one of the most important fighting vehicles of its time â€” the halftrack.
First issued in 1938, the Sd.Kfz. 251 halftracks proved their worth during the fighting in Poland and showed that they were the ideal partners for the fast-moving German armor. Used initially as either armored personnel carriers or towing vehicles for artillery, the halftracks soon took on many other roles - such as anti-tank, anti-aircraft vehicle, ambulance, command vehicle and even a rocket launcher variant known as the "infantry Stuka" or "howling cow."
The halftracks' outstanding cross-country ability was due to the unique sophisticated track system, though the lack of power to the front wheels made them harder to maneuver than their American equivalent. Employed in every major battle fought by the German army in World War II, the Sd.Kfz. 251 was constantly in demand. It was kept in service for another 10 years after the war by the Czech army.
The Stryker is the first new armored vehicle to be introduced into U.S. Army service since 1980. This versatile warrior can be used as either an infantry carrier or mobile gun system armed with a 105-mm cannon.
With a top speed of 62 mph and the ability to carry nine troops plus crew, this all-terrain vehicle provides both a highly mobile troop transport and a powerful gun in the fluid combat environment of the war against terror.
With the ability to be airlifted by the C-130 Hercules, the Stryker can reach a combat zone much faster than the weighty Abrams tank, which has been criticized for being too heavy and unable to cope with off-road situations. The Stryker has seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 2,400 have been contracted to be built.
3. MCV-80 Warrior
The British MCV-80 Warrior, like the U.S. Bradley, reflected a change in the philosophy of armored personnel carrier design that had come about when the Soviet BMP-1 was introduced. APCs were now infantry fighting vehicles, capable of giving fire support and engaging enemy vehicles.
During the recent Iraqi conflict, a Warrior demonstrated its ability to take punishment when, caught in a fierce firefight, its driver managed to get the vehicle out of harm's way and save the lives of his badly wounded troops. For this action the driver was awarded Britain's highest military honor, the Victoria Cross.
Self-contained, the Warrior carries sufficient stores and equipment to fight on the battlefield for a sustained period of 48 hours, plus a range of 410 miles, a speed of 47 mph and a 7.62 chain gun. The Warrior earns huge praise from all that have fought with, and against, it. This tough APC is now the standard vehicle of the British armed forces.
2. M-2 Bradley
The shortcomings of armored personnel carriers as battlefield vehicles - thin armor and limited firepower â€” led to the concept of the infantry-fighting vehicle in the late 1960s. Rather than simply carry an infantry squad to the battlefield, where they would dismount to fight, the IFV would enable infantrymen to fire their weapons from within the vehicle and engage targets while still protected behind armor.
Derived from Soviet and German designs, the Bradley IFV went into production in 1981. With laminate spaced armor on top of an aluminum hull, the M-2 provides greater protection for its passengers than the M-113. The Bradley also has greater firepower available in the form of a 25-mm chain gun that can fire depleted uranium rounds. This powerful weapon knocked out more Iraqi armor during Operation Desert Storm than the 120-mm guns of the Abrams tank and is on the U.S. Army's books for the foreseeable future.
After World War II had shown the need for an armored personnel carrier for infantry, it became obvious that a fully tracked vehicle would offer the best combination of speed and all-terrain mobility. The M-113 went into production in the early 1960s.
With the ability to carry 10 troops plus crew, an all-terrain speed of 40 mph and a range of 300 miles, it was an immediate winner. Since then over 80,000 have been built, and the M-113 has been exported to nearly 50 countries. Amphibious and air portable, the M-113 has been used in combat in Vietnam, the Middle East and Iraq.
Besides fulfilling its basic personnel carrier role, the vehicle has served as a mortar carrier, command, anti-aircraft and flamethrower vehicle. The M-113 is still going strong and will probably be one of the most widely used armored vehicles ever built.