Armored Personnel Carrier M59, late production1-3

M59: General
Date of first acceptance August 1953 Total acceptances 6300+
Manufacturer FMC Corp. Crew
12 men:
  • Commander in hull right front
  • Driver in hull left front
  • 10 passengers
M59: Dimensions
Combat weight 42,600lbs
19,300kg
Height over cupola 109.0"
276.9cm
Length 221.0"
561.3cm
Width over track shrouds 128.5"
326.4cm
Tread 103.0"
261.6cm
Ground clearance 18.0"
45.7cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 8.4psi
.59kg/cm²
M59: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
.50cal TTHB MG M13 cupola 2205 rounds
(735 ready)
360°
(manual)
+57° to -11°
(manual)
Night vision
Infrared periscope M19 for driver
M59: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Rolled and cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front .625"
1.59cm
50°
Middle front .625"
1.59cm
Lower front .625"
1.59cm
55°
Sides .625"
1.59cm
Rear .625"
1.59cm
Top .375"
.953cm
90°
Floor 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
M59: Automotive
Engine Twin GMC Model 302; 6 cylinder, 4 cycle, inline gasoline
Horsepower Net: 254@3350rpm
(127/engine)
Gross: 292@3600rpm
(146/engine)
Torque Net: 508 ft-lb@1800rpm
(254/engine)
Gross: 530 ft-lb@1800rpm
(265/engine)
Fuel capacity 135gal
511L
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
T91E3
Center guide, single pin, steel with detachable rubber pad
Width 21"
53cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 72 Ground contact length 121.25"
307.98cm
M59: Performance
Max level road speed 32mph
51kph
Max water speed 4.3mph
6.9kph
Max trench 66"
170cm
Max grade 60%
Max vertical obstacle 18"
46cm
Min turning diameter 30'
9.1m
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 1470 rounds of .50cal ammunition.

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References

  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 9-2300-203-12 Operation and Organizational Maintenance: Full Tracked Armored Personnel Carrier M59 (T59) and 4.2-inch Full Tracked Self-propelled Mortar M84. Washington, DC: Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, 25 Oct 1958.
  3. Crismon, Fred W. U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.

Last updated 23 Jan 2021.
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