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Light armored vehicles with a large-caliber main weapon had already been part of the equipment of the land forces of many nations since the 1950s. However, the range of missions for these vehicles has changed significantly during the post-war era.

The present article deals with the change of the operational philosophy as well as with questions of interpretation and the technical development of this vehicle category.

Change of mission philosophy

In the 1950s, light armored vehicles with large-caliber weapons were used primarily as reconnaissance tanks or as tank destroyers in the army's units. France in particular showed a high degree of creativity in the development of such vehicles, as there was an interest in vehicles that had a high operational mobility and, due to their low weight, could also be used in regions with poorly developed infrastructure due to the deployments in Africa.

Stryker MGS firing a shot. The use of muzzle brakes leads to a high level of stress (bang pressure, heat, etc.) in the entire area around the vehicle (Photo: author)

A typical example here were the 8 × 8 vehicles from the EBR series. As early as the early 1950s, the aspect of air transportability was added to the AMX 13 light tank. At that time, however, the air transport of (light) armored vehicles was only possible in individual and exceptional cases, as no transport aircraft were available in significant numbers with a payload of 15 t and more. The C-130 was introduced in the USA beginning in 1955.

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