The American M108 Self propelled Gun was developed with the more popular and known M109, so both vehicles share the same hull and turret with some slight changes and entered service in 1963, replacing the M52.
The most noticeable difference is the main gun. The M108 uses a much shorter 105mm M103 howitzer. It is manually elevated from -4 to +74 degree’s, whilst the turret traverses 360 degree’s.
The main gun fire several rounds, including smoke and illuminating. A standard High Explosive round could reach 11.5km. It had a 12.7mm (.50 cal) MG for close encounters, mounted on the left of the superstructure. A spade at the rear of the vehicle is lowered in to position with the ground and continues to lower as the vehicle reveres, pushing the spade into the ground, so as to stabilize the vehicle whilst firing.
87 rounds of 105mm and 500 rounds of 12.7mm could be stored in the vehicle. It had no NBC protection and used a five man crew. Only the driver had passive night vision.
The vehicle is powered by a Detroit 8V-71T turbo charged diesel, which generates 405bhp. It has a top road speed of 56 km/h and operational range of 390km. Built of aluminium, its combat weight is just under 22.5tons and is amphibious with a preparation kit.
The American M108 Self propelled Gun Operators:
US Army – Was fired in anger during the Vietnam War, retired as they went with just the M109 series.
Turkish Army – Still in service.
Taiwanese Army – Still in service.
Spanish Army – Still in service.
Brazilian Army – Still in service.
Belgium Army – Adopted the M109 and most vehicles were converted to command post vehicles and designated the VBCL.