23 January 2018

AMX-13 DCA 40: Anti-Air Tank

Once the AMX-13 was developed, it’s chassis proved itself to be a very versatile one throughout the vehicle’s service life, taking on many different roles if certain adjustments were made. Thus, it’s not surprising that French engineers considered the AMX-13 as their first choice to serve as a base on which one of France’s first post-war mobile SPAA units would be created.

History

During and after WW2, the French army relied for the most part on American M16 MGMC half-tracks to provide the desired AA cover for ground troops. In the early 1950s, French engineers looked into the possibility of manufacturing a native mobile SPAA vehicle, based on either the new Panhard EBR armoured car or the AMX-13 light tank. After examining both possibilities, the decision was made to base the new SPAA on the chassis of the AMX-13 light tank. The weapon of choice would be a single Bofors 40mm anti-air cannon, mounted in an open topped turret. Once the prototype was constructed, a one year long testing period followed. Testing showed that the 40mm cannon was no longer suitable for use against the high-speed jet aircraft in use with most modern air forces of the day. Thus, the project for an AMX-13 SPAA armed with a 40mm autocannon got cancelled soon after testing was concluded. However, although the version with a 40mm cannon was quickly abandoned, the concept of the AMX-13 SPAA wasn’t entirely dropped. Instead, a version with dual 30mm autocannons was developed, successfully tested and subsequently entered mass production as the first French post-war mobile SPAA vehicle.

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In War Thunder, the AMX-13 DCA 40 is a self-propelled anti-air vehicle of the fourth rank of the French ground forces research tree. In contrast to the previous SPAA vehicles players can unlock, the AMX-13 DCA 40 represents the first proper attempt of French engineers to build a modern SPAA vehicle. Whilst vehicles preceding the AMX-13 SPAA were either early half-track designs or modified flatbed trucks, this one is fully tracked, armoured and fairly mobile both on and off roads. The DCA 40 is the first vehicle of the French SPAA line that offers its crew some kind of protection against incoming enemy fire and shrapnel, effectively eliminating one of the biggest  weaknesses of the early French anti-air vehicles. With the AMX-13 DCA 40, players no longer need to worry about being easy prey for enemy aircraft and other tanks, as the chassis of the AMX-13 has enough armour to stop small arms fire and shrapnel from injuring the crew. However, the open topped turret is still a very vulnerable part of the vehicle which can easily be targeted by circling aircraft or fall victim to a stray artillery shell.

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Avoiding serious threats has also been made easier with the DCA 40, when compared to its predecessors. Quickly repositioning from one place to another has never been as easy as with the AMX-13 chassis. The vehicle’s low weight in combination with the powerful engine allow it to almost fly across the battlefield at a moment’s notice, whereas it would take considerably longer with the previous anti-air vehicles. In addition to making the vehicle itself much faster, the 40mm AA cannon has also been modified to double the rate of fire of the previous model, bringing it up to 240 rounds/min. This will allow players to more effectively engage enemy aircraft on one hand, but also makes the gun overheat faster on the other. Burst firing would be the recommended firing mode here, as it not only significantly reduces the chance of an overheat from happening, but also saves on ammunition and allow players to adjust their fire more efficiently and with greater precision, compared to continuous firing.

Overall, the AMX-13 DCA 40 is one SPAA vehicle French tankers and SPAA fans will strive to get when progressing through the newly added French ground forces tree. It’s enhanced mobility, protection and firepower are a direct upgrade from previous vehicles, making it not only much easier to use, but also more fun. What do you think? Have you had the chance to try out the AMX-13 DCA 40 yourself yet? Or did you already received a large hole in your left wing from it? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below. Until next time! 

French Tanks in Gaijin.net Store


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