Armored Personnel Carrier M59, late production1-6

M59: General
Date of first acceptance August 1953 Total acceptances 6,300+
Manufacturer FMC Corp. Crew
12 men:
  • Commander in hull right front
  • Driver in hull left front
  • 10 passengers
M59: Dimensions
Combat weight 42,600lbs
Height over cupola 109.0"
Length 221.0"
Width over track shrouds 128.5"
Tread 103.0"
Ground clearance 18.0"
Ground pressure, zero penetration 8.4psi
M59: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
.50cal TTHB MG M13 cupola 2,205 rounds
(735 ready)
+57° to -11°
Aiming equipment
Periscope sight M28 for commander
Night vision
Infrared periscope M19 for driver
M59: Armor
Rolled and cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front .625"
Middle front .625"
Lower front .625"
Sides .625"
Rear .625"
Top .375"
Floor 1.0"
M59: Automotive
Engine Twin GMC Model 302; 6 cylinder, 4 cycle, inline gasoline
Horsepower Net: 254@3,350rpm
Gross: 292@3,600rpm
Torque Net: 508 ft-lb@1,800rpm
Gross: 530 ft-lb@1,800rpm
Fuel capacity 135gal
Transmission Twin Hydramatic Model 301MG, 4 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
M59: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion bar 5 individually sprung dual/track 3 dual/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
12-tooth front drive Dual compensating at rear of track On first and last road wheels/track
M59: Track
Center guide, single pin, steel with detachable rubber pad
Width 21"
Pitch 6"
Shoes/track 72 Ground contact length 121.25"
M59: Performance
Max level road speed 32mph
Max water speed 4.3mph
Max trench 66"
Max grade 60%
Max vertical obstacle 18"
Min turning diameter 30'
Max fording depth Floats Cruising range ~120mi, roads
~190km, roads

The M59 was designed as a lower-cost alternative to the M75 armored infantry vehicle. The engines and transmissions of the M59 were in either sponson with the front of the engine facing to the rear of the vehicle, leaving the cargo and personnel area free. Troop access to the vehicle was through a large rear ramp which was fitted with an escape hatch, and through roof hatches over the passenger compartment. The escape hatch in vehicles F7 to F31 and F41 and after was a large door, while vehicles F32 through F40 had a smaller hatch installed in the rear ramp. Early vehicles with the large door had a vision port in the ramp offset to the vehicle's left, while those few with the small hatch had the vision port above the hatch in the middle of the ramp. Eventually, the vision port was deleted. M59s were amphibious, and a trim vane was located on the hull front slope. Vehicles F7 through F590 were fitted with Model 300MG Hydramatic transmissions. M59s F7 through F2941 also featured an M2HB .50cal machine gun in mount 7046650 that rotated around the commander's vision cupola. The commander's cupola on vehicles F1313 through F2941 sported periscopes instead of the earlier vision blocks. Late-production M59s were fitted with the M13 cupola, which was armed with an internally-mounted .50cal machine gun. The early cupolas produced a height of 102.6" (260.6cm), and the mid-production cupolas were 112.5" (285.8cm) tall. Vehicles lacking the M13 cupola could only stow 1,470 rounds of .50cal ammunition.




  1. Hunnicutt, R.P. Bradley: A History of American Fighting and Support Vehicles. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1999. Reprinted with permission from Bradley, R.P. Hunnicutt ©1999, available from Presidio Press, 505B San Martin Drive, Suite 160, Navato, CA 94945.
  2. TM 9-7002 Full-track Armored Infantry Vehicle T59. Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 19 March 1954.
  3. TM 9-2300-203-12 Operation and Organizational Maintenance: Full Tracked Armored Personnel Carrier M59 (T59) and 4.2-inch Full Tracked Self-propelled Mortar M84. Washington, DC: Headquarters, Department of the Army, 25 October 1958.
  4. ORD 9 SNL G-280 List of All Service Parts of Infantry Vehicle, Armored, Tracked, M59 (T59). Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 28 September 1954.
  5. Sola, Samuel, Vincent Bobkowski, and Kara Crocker. Weapon Mounts for Secondary Armament. Santa Monica, CA: G. O. Noville & Associates, Inc., April 1957.
  6. Crismon, Fred W. U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.
Last updated 8 Dec 2023.
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