Osprey Books has released a new entry in their New Vanguard Series titled M50 Ontos and M56 Scorpion 1956-70: US Tank Destroyers of the Vietnam War (New Vanguard). Written by Kenneth Estes, this volume looks at two of the more unusual vehicles adopted by the US Military during the cold war, the M50 Ontos and the M56 Scorpion. This book follows the same format as others in the series, being a softcover book of 48 pages. As far as we know, this is the first book devoted exclusively to these two vehicles. Ken Estes is the author of what can be fairly described as the most authoritative book on the history of Marine Corps Armor history, Marines Under Armor: The Marine Corps and the Armored Fighting Vehicle, 1916-2000.
Designed in the 1950s, the US Marines’ M50 Ontos and the US Army’s M56 Scorpion were both intended to be fast, light, air-droppable tank-killers for the Cold War battlefield – an answer to the cumbersome and ineffective World War II-vintage tanks that had taken to the battlefield during the Korean War. Although they shared the aim of bringing light, mobile and lethal antitank firepower to the infantry the two vehicles varied wildly in design to cater for their unique mission demands. They first saw service in the Lebanon intervention of 1958 but it was in the Vietnam War that they made their name, with the M50 Ontos seeing intense combat action in the Battle of Hue in 1968.
Detailed illustrations and expert analysis provide the reader with a comprehensive history of these deadly antitank vehicles, from early development through to their combat history and the eventual disbandment of the Marine Corps’ last antitank battalion with M50A1s in 1971.
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