Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


This is coolbert:

Here is another very strange combat vehicle.

[this is another weapon that creates the same reaction as did the "Pogo" or the "Davy Crockett"!!]

ONTOS [means "The Thing"] in Greek.

An armored [very lightly armored] tracked vehicle sporting no less than six [6] 106 mm recoilless rifles. Had four integral .50 caliber aiming rifles coaxially mounted with the recoilless rifles.

Was designed as an anti-tank weapons system. To be used by the U.S. Marine Corps.

Designed to fire a rocket with a shaped charged. A shaped charge capable of defeating the armor of any Soviet main battle tank of the era [1950's and 1960's].

When first seeing a picture of "The Thing", almost everyone has the same reaction, "what is that??"

Well, this is reasonable. It, "The Thing", just does not look right.

ONTOS did fill a void for the infantryman that existed at the time. The anti-tank guided missile [ATGM] did not exist at the time in a suitable variety. This weapons system WOULD have provided support and protection for the infantry from a massed enemy [Soviet] tank attack.

Was NEVER used in the role it was intended for.

Was used in Vietnam. And effectively too. WAS successful in taking out enemy bunkers. Supporting the infantry of the Marines in an assault. Was also successful in firing a "beehive" round. Hundreds of flechettes would emerge from ONE round and mow down an entire jungle and anyone [enemy troop] in front of the machine.

"APERS round. The APERS round converts the RCL into a giant shotgun for use against infantry. The projectile is filled with 6,000 13-grain flechettes (looking like nails with fins) stacked nose-to-tail. The APERS round resembles the HEP round, but it has a nose fuze that allows it to function at the muzzle or at a preset distance from the muzzle of the RCL. The APERS round also has a tracer element in the base of the projectile."

NO, not hundreds of flechettes, six thousand flechettes!! Don't stand in front of if you can help it!!

A word about those 106 mm recoilless rifles.

This recoilless rifle DID fire a round that could defeat the armor of any Soviet main battle tank of the time.

The rifle was capable of firing four rounds in a minute, after which it required a fifteen minute cool down time, the barrel would get so hot. [gunners were equipped with asbestos gloves to be able to handle the barrel after firing.].


The rifle could fire one round a minute forever and not require a cool down time.

Keep in mind, however.

Soviet tank tactics called for "flooding" an area with a massive number of tanks. More tanks than the defenders could shoot at. ONTOS DID give the gunners a better chance to engage more tanks quicker with more rounds more accurately. This concept WAS valid.


Most experts would say that the gunners of ONTOS could probably get off ONLY a few shots and hits and destroy a FEW tanks before ONTOS became the zero target of a bunch of Soviet tankers. An ONTOS would NOT last long in a fight against a whole bunch of Soviet tanks.



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