I haven’t forgotten, I’m just living life a little close to the edge at the moment.  Up to and including what I believe to be a summer flu which has knocked me on my ass.  But I’m not dead.  Not yet.

I’m getting back to 6-Commando at last.  So to warm up, here’s one you might remember from certain flashbacks: the M479 “Ames” Light Tank.  It’s one that’s no longer actually in service at the time the story takes place, having been superseded by the Ranger LAV and the Howler hovercraft.  Still, it’s a design I like a lot – it draws a lot on the Y-15 Tank designed by Kow Yokoyama, about which very little has ever appeared in print.

Anyway, we’re coming back soon, and this is the proof!  You guys are all saints for waiting on me this long!

M479 Ames Light Tank/Air-Transportable Armored Vehicle

AFFILIATION: United Nations Alliance
YEAR IN SERVICE: 1964 (Withdrawn 1994)
NATION OF ORIGIN: Canadian Confederation
DESIGNER: Nordyne Defense Dynamics Land Systems
MANUFACTURER: Nordyne Defense Dynamics Land Systems
UNIT COST: (est.) CA$6,955,000 (1997)

Prior to the introduction of ground-effect vehicles capable of interface operations, the UNA relied on the M479 “Ames” light tank series for rapid-deployment maritime armored support. Most notable for its incorporation of boron-aluminum armor, the Ames tank was extremely light, weighing less than 20 tons, and could be palletized for rapid deployment by drogue chute from low-flying aircraft, or by skycrane helicopters from the decks of light carriers. Though conceptualized as a major force multiplier, in practice the Ames tank series proved less than adequate and was at best an infantry support tank in most of the conflicts in which it saw service, as its light armor and short, medium-velocity 10-pdr howitzer proved inadequate against Communist armored forces. As a reconnaissance vehicle, however, it had significant success, and was forward-deployed with scout forces throughout the 1980s, until its final replacement by the Ranger 6X6 wheeled vehicle and the “Howler” hovercraft. The Ames tank was withdrawn from UNA service in 1994, but remains in service with a number of national armies. In particular, the Militias of several US states make use of upgraded Ames M479A6 tanks, but they are used solely for national defense and have not been deployed overseas since 1995.