Israeli AMX-13 on display at "Yad La-Shiryon" armor museum
|Place of origin||France|
1958 Lebanon crisis
Cambodian Civil War
Dominican Civil War
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Western Sahara War
Lebanese Civil War
Guatemalan Civil War
|Designer||Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux|
|Manufacturer||Atelier de Construction Roanne|
|No. built||7,700 (Total)|
4,300 (Used in French military)
|Mass||13.7 t (30,000 lb) empty|
14.5 t (32,000 lb) combat
|Length||6.36 m (20 ft 10 in) with gun|
4.88 m (16 ft 0 in) hull
|Width||2.51 m (8 ft 3 in)|
|Height||2.35 m (7 ft 9 in)|
|Crew||3 (Commander, gunner and driver)|
|Armour||10-40 mm (0.39-1.57 in)|
|75 mm SA 50 tank gun (or 90 mm or 105 mm) with 32 Rounds|
|1× 7.5 mm (or 7.62 mm) coaxial machine gun with 3,600 Rounds|
1× 7.62 mm AA machine gun (optional)
2× 2 smoke grenade dischargers
|Engine||SOFAM Model 8Gxb 8-cylinder water-cooled petrol engine|
250 hp (190 kW)
|Suspension||Torsion bar suspension|
|400 km (250 mi)|
|Speed||60 km/h (37 mph)|
The AMX-13 is a French light tank produced from 1952 to 1987. It served with the French Army, as the Char 13t-75 Modèle 51, and was exported to more than 25 other nations. Named after its initial weight of 13 tonnes, and featuring a tough and reliable chassis, it was fitted with an oscillating turret built by GIAT Industries (now Nexter) with revolver type magazines, which were also used on the Austrian SK-105 Kürassier. Including prototypes and export versions, there are over a hundred variants including self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft systems, APCs, and ATGM versions.
The tank was designed at the Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX) in 1946 to meet a requirement for an air-portable vehicle to support paratroopers. The first prototype ran from 1948. The compact chassis had torsion bar suspension with five road-wheels and two return rollers; the engine runs the length of the tank on the right side, with the driver on the left. It features an uncommon two-part FL-10 oscillating turret, where the gun is fixed to the turret and the entire upper turret changes elevation. The turret is set to the rear of the vehicle and holds the commander and gunner. The original 75 mm gun was loaded by an automatic loading system fed by two six-round magazines located in on either side of the automatic loader in the turret's bustle. The 12 rounds available in the drum magazines meant that the crew could engage targets quickly; however, once those rounds were expended, the vehicle had to retreat to cover and the crew had to reload shells from outside the vehicle.
Production began at ARE (Atelier de Construction Roanne) in 1952, with the first tanks delivered the following year. In 1964, production was transferred to Creusot-Loire at Chalon-sur-Saône, as ARE switched to the production of the AMX-30 MBT, and the numbers produced declined significantly.
After 1966, AMX-13s in French service were up-gunned with a 90mm F3 medium pressure gun firing more effective high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) munitions; this variant was designated AMX-13/90. The F3 was similar to the DEFA D921/F1 low pressure gun developed for the Panhard AML-90, and even utilized the same ammunition, though it possessed a significantly higher muzzle velocity. By the late 1960s, an export model of the AMX-13 was also available with an even larger 105mm gun in a FL-12 turret.
Although there were many variants on the turret, the basic chassis was almost unchanged until 1985, when changes including a new diesel engine, fully automatic transmission and new hydropneumatic suspension were introduced. Production halted with the AMX-13 Model 1987. After sales support and upgrades are still offered through GIAT Industries (now Nexter).
During the Suez Crisis of 1956, the French Army used two sections of the 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment's AMX-13 tanks in Port Fouad. The AMX-13s also saw limited action in the Algerian War, largely due to the rough terrain in most of Algeria and much of the fighting with the anti-colonial guerillas being in the difficult terrain of the countryside. France also fielded a number of AMX-13s fitted with US Chaffee light tank turrets in the fighting in Algeria.
AMX-13s saw service among both the loyalists and the rebels during the Dominican Civil War of 1965. Two AMX-13s used by the rebel forces were destroyed by M50 Ontos of the United States Marine Corps during the subsequent American intervention in the Dominican Republic.
The AMX 13 was Israel's first modern tank and was purchased at a time when France was the only country willing to openly sell arms to Israel. By 1956, Israel had received 180 AMX-13 light tanks as part of an agreement to reinforce Israel's military and to maintain the balance in Israel's favour after the Egyptian-Czechoslovak arms agreement. Besides buying whole AMX-13s, Israel also purchased a quantity of 75mm main guns of these light tanks for fitting (upgunning) into other tanks in their inventory, such as the American M4 Sherman. Due to the shortage of tanks, the IDF used them as main battle tanks and employed them to form a tank battalion in the 7th Armored Brigade. IDF reconnaissance units did not use AMX 13s.
By 1967, Israel had acquired about 400 AMX-13s and formed three AMX-13 battalions, all of which fought actively on all fronts during the Six-Day War.
The IDF realised that the AMX-13 tank was too lightly-armoured and had a weak main gun. Losses were heavy at places like Rafah Junction and Jiradi Pass during the Six-Day War, with many destroyed by heavier Arab-fielded Soviet armour, such as T-55 MBTs and IS-3 heavy tanks. Subsequently, Israel gradually phased out all of its AMX-13s following the Six-Day War, with most ending up being sold to the then newly-established Singapore Army between 1968 and 1969.
During 1965 Indo Pak war India deployed AMX-13 Tanks in Chumb area.
Lebanese AMX-13s saw extensive service during the Lebanese Civil War in the hands of the Lebanese Army and various armed groups in and outside Beirut between 1975 and 1990, following the collapse of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) structure in January 1976, and later again in February 1984 in the wake of the Mountain War. During this period, most of the regular Army's AMX-13s fell into the hands of the competing Christian-rightist Lebanese Front and Muslim-leftist Lebanese National Movement (LNM) militias or were taken way by dissident rebellious Lebanese Army factions. France later delivered additional AMX-13s to the regular Lebanese Army between 1978 and 1981. Captured AMX-13s were employed by the Lebanese Arab Army (LAA),Army of Free Lebanon (AFL),Kataeb Regulatory Forces (KRF), Tigers Militia, Lebanese Forces (LF), South Lebanon Army (SLA), Amal Movement, and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Nearly all AMX-13s eventually were returned by the demobilized militias to the Lebanese Army between 1990 and 1993.
In July 2018, six of these withdrawn AMX-13 and various other former Lebanese Army military vehicles were dumped in the sea off the coast of Sidon in southern Lebanon and used as part of an artificial reef.
Morocco used some AMX-13s in the Sand War of 1963. Later on, they were engaged in the Western Sahara conflict. They were supplemented by the similar Austrian SK-105 Kürassier light tank during that war.
This section is about operators of the AMX-13 light tank and its engineering and recovery variants. For operators of the APC derivative, see AMX-VCI. For operators of the self-propelled howitzer derivative, see Mk F3 155mm.