Punching above its weight

Sold in large numbers and still in service, the AMX-13 light tank has been a huge success, writes David Garden

An ex-Israeli AMX-13 at Saumur Tank Museum
DAVID GARDEN

‘By 1967, Israel had equipped three battalions with about 400 AMX-13s’

Every so often a weapon is designed that goes against the trend at the time. It can be successful, a complete disaster or it can fit somewhere in between. An example is the French AMX-13, which, by the end of this article I’m sure you’ll agree fits into the ‘successful’ category. The rather bland name comes from the design company Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Molineaux and the fact it weighed 13 tons. The full French Army title was Char 13t-75 Modèle 51 and the prototype was rolled out in 1948.

During World War Two, French designs had been stifled by German occupation.

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