ArmyInform publication: M113 – armoured personnel carrier with the “heart” of a harvester

Posted on 29 March 2023



Link to the original publication on ArmyInform



The tracked armoured personnel carrier M113 was already mentioned previous publications by ArmyInform. It helps our defenders to perform combat tasks in various areas of the front.

This is a light, nimble machine that is devoid of many “childhood diseases” common in infantry fighting vehicles (and the M113 is most often compared to the BMP-1 of Soviet design. Our soldiers have already managed to give a worthy positive assessment of the combat capabilities of the foreign armoured personnel carrier.

What about maintenance? Like any mechanism, combat equipment breaks down from time to time. Not only due to combat “injuries”, but also due to other factors of extreme use in the conditions of the frontline. The correspondent of our publication was able to talk with the servicemen who are “putting the M113 into service” at the field maintenance and repair station.



The commander of the armoured vehicle repair platoon, Senior Sergeant Mykhailo, kindly allowed us to inspect his “farm”. In his peaceful life, he is a mechanic of an agricultural enterprise, a combine operator with several decades of experience.

– Don’t laugh, but the M113 is essentially the same as a combine harvester. Only that it doesn’t mow wheat, but enemies, – says the soldier, showing one of the foreign armoured personnel carriers with the engine removed.

On the “engine” we notice the emblem of the Mercedes company – a three-pointed star in a circle.

— Yes, this is a European modification of the M113 with a Mercedes engine. The “Americans” have Detroit diesel engines. John Deer combine harvesters, popular in the Ukrainian market of powerful agricultural machinery, are powered by similar power units. I myself worked for more than one year in such a field near Kyiv. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand the repair of the “heart” of this armoured personnel carrier. Of course, the engines that are on combat vehicles are strengthened for military needs. But the construction is generally the same, says the army repairman.

 One of the advantages noted by the commander of mechanics is accessibility to components and assemblies of the vehicle.

– You can immediately see a completely different engineering school. The designers and constructors took care not only of the comfort of the crew and the landing party, but also so that during repairs in the field it would not be necessary to disassemble half of the vehicle to get to the issue. For example, in this medical evacuation M113 – he points with his hand at an armoured personnel carrier with the engine removed — there are problems with the valves. We fitted the “remletyuchka” with an arrow, removed the engine without any problems. Now the necessary parts will be delivered and we will carry out the replacement. We will put everything back and the vehicle will be in order again!

It should be noted that the medical armoured personnel carrier shows signs that the vehicle was used on the battlefield: a headlight broken by a bullet, and scratches from debris.

— The armour of this armoured personnel carrier withstands the gunfire and even a shot from an RPG. Although it is a medical tow truck, it is not toothless. Above is the American Browning M2, says Mykhailo. – You can also install an American automatic grenade launcher. The attachment is the same.

Next, he demonstrates another M113 in the “Pioneer” modification – this is now a platoon machine, which removes vehicles from the battlefield. Above the trimmed “nose” of the vehicle, jagged horns stick out.

— And this is a special device to prevent the driver from being hit by branches while driving through the forest. It cuts them like a garden secateur, says the repairman. — And this APC floats. Here, on the nose, as on our BMPs, there is a breakwater-float. It unfolds if it is necessary to overcome a water obstacle. In the folded state, it provides additional protection.

Mykhailo adds that he also likes the precision of assembly in the vehicles. Liquids do not leak anywhere, a puddle of oil and fuel does not form in the landing compartment on the floor, as it happens in Soviet armoured vehicles. All seals are intact and perfectly cope with their functionality.

— I remember when we were on duty during training, we covered the gaps in the armoured personnel carriers with “cannon oil” before crossing the water obstacle. There is no need to do this here. The whole structure is hermetic, without additional manipulations. I read somewhere that these APCs were developed by the Americans with the expectation of use during a nuclear war. And the landing party and the crew had to be reliably isolated from the external environment, – says the soldier.

And to be honest, according to an army technician, the M113 does not have to be repaired as often as, say, Soviet BMPs or armoured personnel carriers.

— The boys and I have already mastered the main technological cycles for engines, fuel systems, and chassis. If someone needs advice, contact us, we will teach you! he says at the end.

Author’s photo and video

Latest posts