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AMX-13 on display
Type Light tank
Place of origin France
Production history
Designer Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux
Designed 1946
Manufacturer Atelier de Construction Roanne
Produced 1952–1987
Number built 7,700 (Total)
3,400 (Exported)
4,300 (Used in French military)
Weight 13.7 t (30,000 lb) empty
14.5 t (32,000 lb) combat
Length 4.88 m (16 ft 0 in) hull
6.36 m (20 ft 10 in) with gun
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 (or 90 mm or 105 mm) with 32 Rounds
7.5 mm (or 7.62 mm) coaxial MG with 3,600 Rounds, 7.62 mm AA MG (optional), 2×2 smoke grenade dischargers
Engine SOFAM Model 8Gxb 8-cyl. water-cooled petrol
250 hp (190 kW)
Power/weight 15 hp/tonne
Suspension Torsion bar suspension
400 km (250 mi)
Speed 60 km/h (37 mph)

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,[1] 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.[1] Including prototypes and export versions, there are over a hundred variants including self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft systems, APCs, and ATGM versions. Total production of the AMX-13 family is approximately 7,700 units, around 3,400 of which were exported.


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.

From 1966, the 75mm high-velocity gun was replaced by a 90 mm (the AMX-13/90) medium velocity gun firing more effective HEAT ammunition, with the French upgrading all existing base models to this specification. By the early 1970s, export models were available with an even more potent 105 mm 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 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[edit]

Close view of oscillating turret
  • 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

AMX13 in French army[edit]

During the Suez campaign the French army used two sections of 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment AMX-13 tanks in Port Fouad . The AMX-13 saw limited action in the war of Algeria, due to the absence of opposition and the rough nature of the Algerian countryside from where the guerrillas operated.

AMX13 in Dominican republic[edit]

Two AMX 13 were destroyed by USMC M-58 ontos during the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965.

AMX13 in Sinai Campaign[edit]

AMX13 was Israel’s first modern tank, purchased at a time only France was 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 and maintain the balance after the Egyptian-Czechoslovak arms agreement. Due to the lack of tanks the IDF used them as main battle tanks, equipping a tank battalion in the 7th Armored Brigade. Reconnaissance units did not use AMX13s and remained exclusively equipped with jeeps.

The 7th Armored Brigade advanced into the Sinai and its reconnaissance company played a decisive role on 30 October 1956 at Abu Ageila pass, in the central Sinai sector. The company managed to maneuver and discover that Pass was held only by a small force of Egyptian engineers who fled when the Israelis arrived. The company secured the pass, allowing the 7th Armored brigade to pass through and surround the Egyptians.

AMX13 tanks in Six Day War[edit]

By 1967 Israel had acquired about 400 AMX-13s and three AMX-13 battalions fought actively on all fronts.

  • One tank battalion with AMX-13 tanks moved south in Western Bank through Taluzi and Tubas, and occupied Nablus.
  • The second tank battalion captured the strongpoints protecting the Gaza Strip and the coastal road in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.
  • The third battalion assaulted the Golan Heights.

One of the IDF’s lessons from the 1967 battles was that AMX-13 tank was too lightly armored and gunned for both a main battle and a reconnaissance role, but the under-equipped Israelis had little choice. The AMX-13 took heavy losses at places like Rafah Junction and Jiradi, and the tank was subsequently completely phased out of the IDF inventory, selling them to Singapore.

AMX13 tanks in Indo-Pakistani War[edit]

The offensive of Pakistan's 1st Armored Division (220 M48 Patton tanks and 44 M24 Chaffee light tanks) was blunted at the Battle of Assal Uttar on September 10th 1965. Pakistani forces were opposed by three Indian armored regiments: Deccan Horse (45 Sherman tanks), 3 Cavalry (45 Centurion tanks) and 8 Cavalry (45 AMX-13 tanks). Indian regiments withdrew but rearranged their tanks in a U shaped formation around the town of Asal Uttar. The tall sugarcane grass allowed the Indian tanks to remain hidden and allow to be much closer to the Pakistani tanks, besides Indian flooded sugarcane fields to immobilize Pakistani tanks in the mud. About 100 Pakistani tanks were either destroyed or captured while the Indians lost only 10 tanks during this battle.

An entire squadron of AMX-13 tanks of the 20th Cavalry was captured intact in battle of Chamb, when Indian forces tried to stem a Pakistani advance supported by a regiment of M-48 Pattons. The Pakistan army later used those captured AMX-13 tanks.

AMX13 in Lebanon[edit]

Lebanese AMX13 saw extensive service during the Lebanese civil war against Hezbollah in the hand of various armed groups in and outside Beirut.

AMX13 in Morocco[edit]

Morocco used some AMX13 in Western Sahara, at least four were captured by Polisario guerrillas. Morocco decided to supplement its AMX-13s with the more advanced Austrian SK-105 Kürassier.


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[edit]

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
Improved suspension by Krauss-Maffei
Prototype fitted with hydrostatic transmission
Fitted with Rapace 14 MBRL
Fitted with HOT ATGM launchers

Production variants[edit]

SS.11 anti-tank missile-launcher version of the AMX-13
AMX-13 DCA AA version
AA version of the AMX-13
The Singapore Army's AMX-13 Armour Launched Bridge (ALB)
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.[2]
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[edit]

  • 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


  • 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
The Singapore Army's AMX-13/SM-1 (Singapore Modernised 1)
  • 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.[3] The 75 mm main gun remain unchanged.[3]
  • Leichter Panzer 51 Swiss Army version
  • 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.
  • 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


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[edit]

105 mm
105mm howitzer variant 4 purchased for trials by the Swiss Army.
  • 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
Main article: Mk F3 155mm
  • AMX Mk F3 (Obusier de 155 mm sur affut automoteur AMX-13 T, AMX-155) 155 mm SPH


Map of AMX-13 operators in blue with former operators in red

Current operators[edit]

Former operators[edit]

An ex-Israeli Defense Force AMX-13 on display

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Complete Guide to Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles, ISBN 978-1-84681-110-4[page needed]
  2. ^ Hogg, Ian (2000). Twentieth-Century Artillery. Barnes & Noble Books. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-7607-1994-7. 
  3. ^ a b "Official AM-13SM1 Brochure" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  4. ^ Army of Argentine plans to purchase OTO-Melara MOD-56 light howitzers and M109 155mm howitzers -, 21 December 2013
  5. ^ Belgian Tank Museum (Brussels).
  6. ^ Panzermuseum Thun, informational plaque, 2008.
  • Speilberger, Walter (1967). AMX.13. Armour in Profile. Profile Publications. Nº 12. 
  • Lau, Peter (2006). The AMX-13 Light Tank. Volume 1: Chassis. Rock Publications. 
  • Lau, Peter (2007). The AMX-13 Light Tank. Volume 2: Turret. Rock Publications. 

External links[edit]