The armored command and reconnaissance carriers M114
COMMAND AND RECONNAISSANCE VEHICLES
Several weapons and mounts were evaluated to improve the firepower of the T114. Some of these were tested on the early pilot vehicles. This program resulted in the development of a new Model X commander's station which was introduced to replace the turret.
Initially, the new station was armed with a turret type M2HB .50 caliber machine gun and it could be aimed and fired from inside the vehicle without exposing the commander. The machine gun was elevated and traversed manually and could be fired electricallv or manually. When fitted with the new commander's station, the vehicle was designated as the T114E1.
The remaining 600 vehicles in the original production order of 1,215 were completed as T114Els during 1962. On 16 May 1963, AMCTCM Item 966 type classified the T114 and the T114E1 as the armored command and reconnaissance carriers M114 and M114A1 respectively. A total of 2,495 M114Als were delivered during 1963 and 1964 bringing the total run to 3,710 vehicles.
On 2 November 1961, OTCM 37905 had initiated the development of the vehicle rapid fire weapon system (YRFWS) including a 20mm high performance gun suitable for use on armored vehicles such as the command and reconnaissance carriers.
This weapon was intended for use with the new commander's station, but it was still under development when the station was authorized for installation on the T114E1. When the new 20mm gun became available, the designation of the commander's station was changed. It now became the XM26 when armed with the .50 caliber machine gun and the XM27 when fitted with the 20mm gun Ml39.
On 22 August 1963, a meeting at Aberdeen Proving Ground decided that the manual controls on the XM26 and XM27 cupolas should be replaced by hydraulic power controls. When the new XM27 cupola with the 20mm gun was installed on the M114 and M114A1, they were designated as the armored command and reconnaissance carriers M114E2 and the M114A1E1 respectively. Later, both of these cupola mounts were standardized as the M26 and M27.
The M1 Hand the M114A1 had combat weights of 15,093 pounds and 15,276 pounds respectively. On the M114A1E1, the combat weight increased to 15,455 pounds. The M114 series had a maximum speed of 36 miles per hour on roads and 3.6 miles per hour in water. The cruising range on roads was about 275 miles.
The M114 series was deployed with armored cavalry units in both the United States and Europe. They also were provided to the U.S. Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). A total of 80 M114s were shipped to Vietnam to equip four ARVN armored cavalry squadrons and to provide vehicles for the ARVN Armor School. The performance of the M114 was evaluated for a year by the Army Concept Team.
Although there were no important organizational or logistical problems, a serious flaw in the design of the M114 soon became obvious. The vehicle was limited in its ability to move cross-country and had difficulty in entering and leaving waterways. Part of the problem was the fact that the front hull of the M114 extended out in front of the tracks.
On a steep bank, the hull would contact the bank before the tracks and prevent the vehicle from climbing out. This greatly limited the usefulness of the vehicle in Vietnam and they were soon replaced by M113 armored personnel carriers. This performance was not lost on General Creighton Abrams and when he became Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army he ordered the vehicle retired from service in 1973.