The AMX 13 Light Tank – Images of War – Review

The AMX-13 light tank is a French designed and built light tank with a production run from 1952 to 1987. In the French Army it was referred to as the Char 13t-75 Modèle 51. It was named after its initial weight of 13 tonnes and was a tough and reliable air-portable chassis. It was exported to more than 25 other nations. The AMX-13 was fitted with an oscillating turret built by GIAT Industries with revolver type magazines, which were also used on the Austrian SK-105 Kürassier. There are over a hundred variants including self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft systems, APCs, and ATGM versions.

The turret was to the back of the vehicle, with the engine the full length of the vehicle, driver on the other side. Total crew of three. The gun was aimed by rotating the elevating the turret to the target.

Guy Gibeau, Peter Lau, and M. P. Robinson have out together a complete pictorial history of the AMX-13 which is released as:

The AMX 13 Light Tank – A Complete History
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 237
ISBN: 9781526701671
Published: 12th December 2018

The book covers the origins of the AMX-13 and its design and funding then looks at the various builds and marks as well as the export and second hand sales versions of the vehicle (for example, Peter Lau covers the Singapore Army’s AMX-13 that were acquired from Switzerland (150); India (150); and Israel (40).

The AMX -13 is currently deployed by:

  • Argentina: 58 AMX-13/105,24 AMX-VCI, 24 AMX F3 155mm and 2 AMX-13 PDP armoured bridge-layers
  • Ecuador: 108 AMX-13/105s
  • Indonesia: From the total of 275 only 120+ AMX-13/105 are still in service as 2018. Scheduled for replacement by the PT Pindad Harimau jointly developed by Indonesia and Turkey.
  • Morocco: 120 AMX-13/75s and 4 AMX-13 CD armoured recovery vehicles;[2] 5 operational.
  • Peru: 108 tanks; 30 AMX-13/75s and 78 AMX-13/105s
  • Venezuela: 67 AMX-13s; 36 AMX-13/75s and 31 AMX-13/90s

AMX-13 former operators:

  • Algeria: 44 AMX-13/75s
  • Austria: 72 AMX-13/75s and 3 AMX-13 CD armoured recovery vehicles
  • Belgium: 555 AMX-13s
  • Cambodia: 20 AMX-13/75s
  • Côte d’Ivoire: 5 AMX-13/75s
  • Djibouti: 60 AMX-13/90s
  • Dominican Republic: 15 AMX-13/75s
  • Egypt: 20 AMX-13/75s
  • France: 4,300 (of all types)
  • Guatemala: 8 AMX-13/75s
  • India: 164 AMX-13/75s
  • Israel: 400 AMX-13/75s
  • Lebanon: 75 tanks; 42 AMX-13/75s, 13 AMX-13/90s and 22 AMX-13/105s
  • Nepal: 56 AMX-13/75s
  • Netherlands: 131 AMX-13/105s, as AMX-13 PRLTTK (Pantserrups Lichte Tank) and 34 AMX-13 PRB (Pantserrups Berging) armoured recovery vehicles
  • Singapore: 340 second-hand AMX-13/75s
  • South Vietnam: 4 AMX-13 CD armoured recovery vehicles
  • Switzerland: 200 AMX-13/75s
  • Tunisia: 30 AMX-13/75s

The versatility of the tank is apparent from its multiple combat roles, being used as light tank, reconnaissance vehicle, self-propelled artillery platform, ATGM platform among others.

The book contains the following chapters:

  1. Origin
  2. Design, Funding and Production
  3. AMX13 Mle 51 Production Series
  4. Rebuilds and Upgrades
  5. The AMX13 Enters Service
  6. The AMX13 FL-11 and AMX-US
  7. The AMX13 Mle 58
  8. Division 1959
  9. The AMX13 SS-11
  10. The AMX13 C90
  11. The Division 1967
  12. Derivatives of the AMX 13
  13. The AMX13 as an Export Success
  14. Modernising the AMX13
  15. The AMX13 Mle 51 as a Combat Vehicle

The vehicle saw combat in the following wars:

  • Suez Crisis
  • Algerian War
  • Sand War
  • 1958 Lebanon crisis
  • Vietnam War
  • Cambodian Civil War
  • Dominican Civil War
  • Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
  • Six-Day War
  • Western Sahara War
  • Lebanese Civil War
  • Guatemalan Civil War

There were 7,700 vehicles built of which 3,400 were exported.

As we have come to expect with then Images at War series, there are a plethora of photographs of the vehicle at various times and in various roles.

I have always liked the lines of the modern French AFVs, the AMX30; the Leclerc; but the AMX13 is one of my all-time favourite vehicles. This is a recommended work for modern tank modellers and enthusiasts, military historians with an interest in modern AFVs and wargamers wanting background and weapon information on AFVs of the recent past – the last half of the 20th Century.

Available from Pen and Sword Books – the link is:

The Forgotten War Against Napoleon – Review

Gareth Glover’s The Forgotten War Against Napoleon – Conflict in the Mediterranean, published on 26 June 2017 by Pen & Sword Military, ISBN 9781473833951, 265 pages is a survey of the Napoleonic Wars in the Mediterranean over the period 1793 to 1815.

The Mediterranean theatre is one familiar to Napoleonic warfare buffs that but for a few engagements is generally is overlooked.

This book does not have a great deal of detail on any one engagement but rather provides a brief look at 55 or so engagements around the Mediterranean.

I’ll come out of the closet. I am a wargamer and the Napoleonic Wars are a period I keep looking at but never really get a head of steam up on a project – much as I have a deep interest in the uniforms, the ships, the battles, and the campaigns.

Glover has surveyed action around the Mediterranean and he provides between 2 and 7 pages per chapter discussing the various actions of the time. This includes both naval and land actions. Egypt is covered as is Corsica, Naples, Malta, Sicily and such. Each of the chapters provides a reasonable overview of the action and sufficient information to persuade the reader to look deeper.

For example, one action I had not heard about (or at least cannot remember reading about) is Algeciras in 1801. This was an action between the British, lead by Sir James Saumarez (the next book on my reading stack being his biography) and a Franco/Spanish fleet. The British 74s engaged a fleet consisting of 74s and Spanish 112s, capturing or sinking a couple. The following morning the French Formidable beat off the attacks of two British ships of the line and a frigate, so a mixed result for the British.

The book is full of short descriptions (the one above lasting just two pages) but will provide plenty of inspiration for either further reading or, in the case of wargamers, scenarios for future games.

The book finishes with the elimination of the Barbary pirates, using that as the conclusion of the war in the Mediterranean.

For the wargamer, a useful source for information for scenarios in the Napoleonic period. For the general reader of history, a useful summary of what went on in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic Wars.

Langton Egyptian and Sea Peoples — What’s Under the House -1

Langton Egyptian and Sea Peoples 1/1200 scale vessels - 10 of each
Langton Egyptian and Sea Peoples 1/1200 scale vessels – 10 of each

Christmas Day, I thought I rather than gloat over the gifts from this year I would, instead, start sorting and tidying up the lead pile under the house.

First actual metal I ran across was a German Aeronef and British Land Ironclad pack, filed them! Next was some WTJ 1/3000 pre-dreadnoughts. Filed them as well. Checked then and packed them away. Came across a 1/1200 scale GHQ 74-gun Napoleonic ship of the line. Packed that away as well.

Next was some Langton 1/1200 Ancient ships – Egyptian and Sea Peoples, 10 of each. Now I’m trying to decide whether to keep them or sell them. I’m leaning towards eBay.

If anyone wants them, let me know here in the next day or so, make me an offer and I’ll see what we can do.

There are 10 Sea Peoples boats and 10 Egyptian boats – one of which is a pharoah’s boat.

Chariots of Fire

I had been looking for some board wargames to add to my meagre collection of this genre. I particularly was interested in board games because generally they do not require so much space (yes, I know, some of the bigger ones are really big), they are self contained and many have good suitability to solitaire play.

In addition, I was looking for some games that had a ancient feel about them. I had a tax refund cheque coming so this seemed the perfect opportunity to add a game or two to the collection.

The first addition I made was the Salamis add-on to the War Galley Module of the Great Battles of History series. I can’t resist a good naval game.

I was also looking for some ancient based games so the next game I selected was GMT’s Chariots of Fire. This is also part of the Great Battles of History series and covers early warfare, when chariots ran amok on the battlefield.

This game covers warfare in the Bronze Age, from about 2300 to about 1200 BCE. The game itself is well presented and includes everything needed to start to play, including a dice and some nice little plastic bags to make it easier to store the pieces ((I may look at getting some of the counter trays GMT produce in the future)).

The game comes with counters for the following forces:

  1. Egyptian
  2. Hittite
  3. Mitanni
  4. Syria/Canaan (Ugarit)
  5. Assyria
  6. Kassite
  7. Arzawa
  8. Danaans
  9. Trojans

I will frankly admit now that until I saw this game, I had never heard of the Arzawa so from the point of view of stimulating me, the game has been a success already. I shall spend some time finding out more about them in the future ((I now know that Arzawa in the second half of the second millennium BCE was the name of a region and a kingdom in Western Anatolia, likely to have extended along southern Anatolia alongside a belt across the Lakes Region until the Aegean coast. Arzawa’s central area was later to become known as Lydia)).

The game provides maps and scenarios for the following battles:

  1. Sumer (circa 2320 BCE) – using the Hittite and Mitanni counters for the Sumerian and Akkadian respectively
  2. Sekmem (c. 1870 BCE) – Egypt v the Canaanites
  3. Megiddo (c. 1479 BCE) – Egypt v Canaan, Mitanni and Syrian kingdoms – I can’t wait to try this one out
  4. Senzar (c. 1470 BCE) – Egypt v the Mitanni
  5. Astarpa River (c. 1312 BCE) – Hittites v Arzawa (it is suggested that part of the Arzawa later became the Wilusa – the Trojans of Homer’s epic)
  6. Kadesh (c. 1300 BCE) – Egypt v Hittites – and this is another battle I can’t wait to try although it is a big scenario
  7. Nihriya (c. 1230 BCE) – Assyria v Hittites
  8. Babylon (c. 1225 BCE) – Assyria v Kassites
  9. Troy (c 1200 BCE) – Danaan v Trojans – the one the movies get made of and that is famous from Homer’s “The Iliad”.

Many battles to recreate in this board game and it seems the average battle lasts about two hours. I am really looking forward to starting to play some of these.

The game itself rates as 7.94 out of 10 at Board Game Geek.

Walk Like An Egyptian … To The Buffet

I would not have believed it had I not seen it. Mind you, I spent time in Cairo and I can’t remember seeing it there. However, here in Saudi Arabia I can now tell the Egyptian guests at the hotel restaurant.

It is the buffet.

Spending a lot of time in the restaurant at the hotel (like almost every night) we get to see lots of different guests. The interesting ones were the Egyptians. They come to the restaurant to eat from the buffet (soup, salads, main courses and dessert). They are the only guests I have seen who walk straight in (not worrying about selecting a table), and fetch a bowl of soup. They then bring this back to a table, put it down and head back to the salad bar. They then load up a plate with salad and bring that back to the table. Then it is back to the hot foods and load another plate up and carry that back to the table. At this point there is a variation as some now will sit down and proceed to eat from all three plates whilst others will select some cakes from the dessert area before sitting down to eat.

Apparently, according to the locals, it is only Egyptian guests who are like this at a buffet. So, the walk is a constant traipsing between food and table.

Bridges and Tunnels

It was a few days ago that the Lost Nomad commented on discussions about linking Korea and Japan by tunnel. It just so happened that this was the day after the Arab News here ran a piece about a Causeway Linking Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Seems the causeway is a bigger and better link than the “Junnel” or “Kunnel”. After all, the Korean-Japan tunnel simply links two countries (same really as the Sweden Denmark Bridge, the Channel Tunnel and so on). The Egypt-Saudi Causeway however is a much bigger event, after all, it links two continents, Asia and Africa.

The bridge is going to link Ras Hamid in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia with Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh and Tiran Island.

Ah, it is so nice to be able to put Japanese-Korean relations into perspective 🙂