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M-113 - The "taxi" of the Brazil's Armed Forces

by Marcelo Ribeiro © 2003

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The late '70s and the beginning of the '80s, were decisive for the Brazilian warlike industry. During that time, several projects were carried out, and many vehicles which had been constructed in that country, were adopted by the Brazilian Army. The most known such as the Cascavel light tank, the Urutu APC and the AstrosII rocket battery, are still used massively by the Brazilian Army (EB).


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A rear view from the M-113B of the EB. Note that it doesn't have the flag on the lateral, near the badge.

Nevertheless, one of the most important vehicles, that Brazil uses nowadays, hasn't been constructed there, and it's a 40 years old design. The M-113, a light vehicle for personnel transport, from American manufacturing during the 60's, is found in several Brazilian infantry armored units and seems to be staying there for long.
The M-113 got transcendence during the Vietnam War (1965-1975), when the American soldiers went into the Asian Southeast jungles, to fight against a virtual invisible enemy. With a simple and bold conception at a time, the M-113 is apparently an armored box, which resist to most of the impacts from the infantry weapons, fragments from grenades or mortars; and with not much amphibian capability. Besides of being light and of easy maintenance, the M-113 could carry to the front, up to eleven equipped men, that's the reason why it was designated "Combat Taxi" A mobile ramp, automatically operated, facilitates the soldiers exit, allowing a fast movement of the troops from its interior.

Its use in Brazil

This note doesn't aim at showing the different and diverse existing versions of this vehicle so used in several countries, and that, without any doubt, turned it into the main one of it class in the 20th century. What I intend here, is to tell you briefly about its performance in the EB and its use in the Brazilian Marine Corps.
Three hundred M-113 units of the basic version, were brought to Brazil in 1964. They had 50 caliber gun (12,7mm)mounted. The EB version was equipped with 75M V8 Chrysler high octane gasoline water-cooled motor. During the '80s, all the EB tanks were modified and modernized by the Motopecas company. The new version was known as M-113B with a new and more modern diesel motor, Mercedez-Benz OM-352 A.


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Since the M-113 arrived to Brazil, it showed off two basic paint schemes. In 1964, the M-113(s)- as other Army vehicles- were painted olive green. From the middle of the '80s on, the vehicles began to be painted in a two camouflage tones: olive-green (FS34079) and brown-light red (FS30219).
The Brazilian Marines as well as the EB, use more modern M-113(s) of the A1 version, besides of owning other versions of the vehicle, which can't be find in the EB. The Brazilian Marine bought some modified units, as the M577 military command vehicle, with a more powerful radio equipment and a more roomy rear compartment, they also got another versions such as : mortar launchers, ambulance and AMB versions. You may add to the M-113(s) a detailed ACAV kit, which will let them carrying more weaponry and a more efficient armor.
Anyway, either in the EB colors or in the Marines', the M-113 was and will always be a very important attainment in the Brazilian Army equipment. Its retirement seems to be far, specially for the rendered active services, and it wouldn't be strange to see them operatives in Brazil, in the middle of the 21st century yet.

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M-113B belonging to the 20ºArmored Infantry Battalion at Curitiba, Parana State, in the south of Brazil. The vehicle displays the current EB badge on the lateral area together with the Brazilian flag.
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M-113B belonging to the 20º Armored Infantry Battalion at Curitiba, Paraná State, in the south of Brazil. The vehicle shows an old EB badge in the lateral. This badge was replaced with the current one from the 2000 on.
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M-113B During the parade "Dia de la Patria" in Brazil (Country Day's cellebration) on September 7th, 1998 at Curitiba.
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Left lateral view of the M-113B belonging to the EB. Note the camuflage net tied to the vehicle front plate.

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