Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

AMX 13

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Type  Light tank
Designed  1946
Place of origin  France
Wars  Suez Crisis Algerian War Sand War Dominican Civil War Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 Six Day War Yom Kippur War Western Sahara War Lebanese Civil War
Designer  Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux
Manufacturer  Atelier de Construction Roanne

The AMX-13 is a French light tank produced from 1953 to 1985. 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.


Development History

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 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.

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).

The AMX-13 tank was phased out of service with the French Army in the 1980s. Current French armoured vehicles with a similar role are the ERC 90 Sagaie and the AMX 10 RC.

Additional characteristics

  • Ground clearance: 370 mm (15 in)
  • Fording: 600 mm (24 in)
  • Vertical obstacle 650 mm (26 in)
  • Trench: 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in)
  • Gradient 60%
  • Side slope: 60%
  • NBC system: None
  • Night vision: Optional
  • France

    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.

    Dominican Republic

    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. 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 first moved south in the West Bank area through Taluzi and Tubas and occupied Nablus (against Jordan).
  • The second captured the strongpoints protecting the Gaza Strip and the coastal road in the north of the Sinai Peninsula (against Egypt).
  • The third assaulted the Golan Heights (against Syria).
  • 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. Subsequently, the IDF completely phased out the AMX-13 from its inventory and sold them to the Singapore Army in 1969.


    During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Pakistan Army's 1st Armored Division (with 264 US-built tanks) was blunted at the Battle of Asal Uttar on September 10th, 1965. Pakistani forces were opposed by three Indian armoured regiments: the Deccan Horse, 3 Cavalry, and 8 Cavalry. Only the 8 Cavalry had AMX-13s. The Indian regiments withdrew but then deployed their tanks into a U-shaped formation around the town of Asal Uttar. The tall sugarcane grass in the area allowed the Indian tanks to remain hidden. Eventually, about 100 Pakistani tanks were either destroyed or captured by India, while India lost only 10 tanks during this battle.


    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.


    Morocco used some AMX-13s in the Sand War of 1963 and the Yom Kippur War on the Sinai front. Later on, they were engaged in the Western Sahara conflict. They were replaced during that war by the Austrian SK-105 Kürassier light tank.


    Char AMX-13 (2A)
    Prototype with 4 roadwheels and trailing idler
    Char AMX-13 (2B)
    Prototype with 5 roadwheels and raised idler
    Char AMX-13 (2C)
    Prototype with FL-10 turret and two support rollers
    Char AMX-13 (2D)
    Prototype with 4 support rollers
    Char AMX-13 (2E)
    Prototype with 3 support rollers and 90 mm gun
    Char AMX-13 (2F)
    Prototype with 2 support rollers and, later, a thermal sleeve

    Other prototypes

    AMX-13 avec tourelle
    A14 Fitted with a German HS-30 turret
    Fitted with a 105 mm howitzer barrel
    AMX-13/75 (AMX-13e)
    Experimental variant with a short-barreled 75 mm in FL-11 turret
    Char AMX-13 avec Canon 57 L/100
    Prototype with a special gun
    AMX-13 Twin 20 mm in a welded turret without a bustle
    Char 48FCM
    AKA Char 12T FCM, DCA de Quatre Canons de 20 mm—4 x 20 mm cannon in an FL-4 turret
    DCA de 40 mm
    AKA Char 13T DCA a 40 mm Bofors L/70 gun in a large faceted turret
    AMX-13 GTI
    Improved suspension by Krauss-Maffei
    AMX-13 THS
    Prototype fitted with hydrostatic transmission
    Fitted with Rapace 14 MBRL
    AMX-13 HOT
    Fitted with HOT ATGM launchers

    Production variants

    Some initial vehicles were fitted with the turret of the M24 Chaffee
    AMX-13 [DTT]
    Initial vehicles with the turret of the M24 Chaffee converted into a driver training tank. Gun removed.
    AMX-13/75 Modèle 51
    High-velocity 75 mm Gun in FL-11 turret as installed in Panhard EBR armoured car, with two top rollers
    AMX-13/75 Modèle 51
    High-velocity 75 mm Gun in FL-11 turret, with four top rollers and revised stowage
    AMX-13 T75 (Char Lance SS-11)
    Fitted with SS.11 ATGM launchers
    AMX-13 T75 avec TCA
    Fitted with an electronic guidance system for the missiles
    AMX-13/90 Modèle 52
    FL-10 turret refitted with the F3 90 mm gun
    AMX-13/90 LRF
    Fitted with a laser rangefinder
    AMX-13/105 Modèle 58
    Fitted with a 105mm Gun in an FL-12 turret (used by the Argentine Army and the Netherlands)
    Upgraded export version of the Modele 58 with a thermal sleeve and a revised hull front
    AMX-13 Model 1987
    Late production version
    AMX-13 DCA 30
    SPAAG version with a retractable radar fitted; 60 were produced beginning in 1969.
    AMX-13 [Training Tank]
    AMX-13 with the turret removed; used for driver training
    AMX-13 Modèle 55 (AMX-D)
    Recovery version
    AMX-13 PDP (Poseur De Pont) Modèle 51
    Scissors-type bridgelayer

    Modernisation packages

  • Cockerill 90 mm Regunning Packaging: 90 mm upgunning package
  • Giat Industries upgrade with a Baudouin 6F 11 SRY diesel engine and an upgraded turret
  • Giat Industries Add-on Armour package installed on turret front/sides and glacis plate
  • NIMDA Upgrade Package: Israeli retrofit package
  • INDRA Amazon Fire Control System upgrade with thermal imaging and a laser rangefinder
  • National

  • AMX-13/FL-12 [Modernised] by the Netherlands: Fitted with a searchlight and FN MAG machine-guns
  • AMX-13/FL-15 Dutch FL-12 version refitted with an FL-15 Turret
  • Singapore
  • AMX-13S Rebuild of standard AMX-13/75 Modèle 51 (FL-11) by Singapore prior to SM-1 upgrade.
  • AMX-13SM1 (Singapore Modernised 1): Singaporean upgrade with modern communications, a new diesel engine replacing the original petrol engine, improved transmissions/suspensions system, laser range-finder and night vision elbow upgrade by ST Kinetics. The 75 mm main gun remain unchanged.
  • Switzerland
  • Leichter Panzer 51 Swiss Army version
  • Peru
  • AMX-13PA5 Escorpion Proposed upgrade for a standard AMX-13/105 by the Peruvian designer Sergio Casanave, fitted with modern communications and 4 9M14-2T missiles.
  • AMX-13PA8 Escorpion-2 equipped with Dante fire-control system (a ballistic computer/laser range-finder/night vision/CCTV system), four Ukrainian laser-guided Barrier R-2 antitank missiles and 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine-guns was also proposed.
  • Venezuela
  • AMX-13V CLI upgraded AMX-13/90 for Venezuelan Army
  • AMX-13 [LAR-160] Venezuelan MLRS version armed with IMI LAR-160 mm. rockets
  • AMX-13M51 Ráfaga Venezuelan Army's AA version armed with two 40 mm cannons mounted on an M-4E1 turret
  • APC

    The AMX-13 was the basis of a family of APCs beginning with the AMX-VTT and culminating with the AMX-VCI. The APC chassis was itself the basis of a number of variants.

    Self propelled howitzer

    105 mm
  • AMX Mk 61 (AMX-105A) Automoteur de 105 du AMX-13 en casemate: 105 mm casemate SP
  • AMX Mk 61 (Netherlands) Dutch Army version with 30 calibre howitzer and Browning commander's MG
  • AMX Mk 62 (AMX-105B) Prototype with 105 mm howitzer in a turret
  • AMX Mk 63 (AMX-105B, AMX Mk F2) Prototype of Mk 62 with MG cupola fitted to turret
  • 155 mm
  • AMX Mk F3 (Obusier de 155 mm sur affut automoteur AMX-13 T, AMX-155) 155 mm SPH
  • Operators

    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.

    AMX-13 (current)

  •  Argentina: 58 AMX-13/75
  •  Ecuador: 108 AMX-13/105
  •  Indonesia: 175 AMX-13/75
  •  Peru: 108; 30 AMX-13/75 and 78 AMX-13/105
  •  Venezuela: 67; 36 AMX-13/75 and 31 AMX-13/90
  • AMX-13 (former)

  •  Algeria: 44 AMX-13/75
  •  Austria: 72 AMX-13/75
  •  Cambodia: 20 AMX-13/75
  •  Côte d'Ivoire: 5 AMX-13/75
  •  Djibouti: 60 AMX-13/90
  •  Dominican Republic: 15 AMX-13/75
  •  Egypt: 20 AMX-13/75
  •  Guatemala: 8 AMX-13/75
  •  India: 164 AMX-13/75
  •  Israel: 100 AMX-13/75
  •  Lebanon: 75; 42 AMX-13/75, 13 AMX-13/90, and 22 AMX-13/105
  •  Morocco: 120 AMX-13/75
  •    Nepal: 56 AMX-13/75; purchased second-hand from Singapore
  •  Netherlands: 131 AMX-13/105
  •  Singapore: 300 AMX-13/75; purchased second-hand from Switzerland and Israel
  •   Switzerland: 200 AMX-13/75
  •  Tunisia: 30 AMX-13/75
  • Recovery and engineering variants

  •  Argentina: 2 AMX-13 PDP bridgelayers
  •  Austria: 3 AMX-13 CD recovery vehicles
  •  Indonesia: 10 AMX-13 PDP bridgelayers
  •  Morocco: 4 AMX-13 CD recovery vehicles
  •  South Vietnam: 4 AMX-13 CD recovery vehicles
  • References

    AMX-13 Wikipedia