(1968: The Defining Year)
Tank Battalion Vietnam 1968
Normally part offeree troops, in Vietnam the two tank battalions were assigned to the divisions. The standard table of organization (T/O M-4238, Revision l, 25 September 1967) for tank battalions called for a headquarters and service company, a heavy tank company, and three medium tank companies, with the proviso that only three tank companies would be activated except by order of the commandant. Both the 1st Tank Battalion and 3d Tank Battalion omitted the heavy tank company in this period (which would have been equipped with 17 M105A2 120mm gun tanks).
The headquarters and service company contained nine M67A2 flamethrower tanks (organized into a platoon with three sections of three tanks each), two M48A3 90mm gun tanks for the command section, and one M51 tank recovery vehicle. Each medium tank company rated 17 M48A3 90mm gun tanks and one M51 tank recovery vehicle, with two gun tanks and the recovery vehicle in the company headquarters and three platoons of five gun tanks each.
In December 1967 the 1st and 3d Antitank battalions were cadred, both being reduced to one reinforced antitank company. These companies were then attached to the like-numbered tank battalion, adding approximately 100 Marines, one corpsmen, and 20 M50A1 Ontos, a small tracked vehicle mounting six 106mm recoilless rifles.
* Does not include attached antitank company. ** One of these tanks was fitted with an M8 bulldozer blade.
# Does not include additional personnel to support attached antitank company. @ The standard T/O for an antitank company called for five officers and 76 enlisted Marines (T/O M-1248, Revision 2, 1 June 1967). Normally a company was divided into three platoons and equipped with 15 M50A1 Ontos. The reinforced companies attached to the tank battalions in December 1967 contained approximately six officers, 90-95 enlisted Marines, and one corpsman, and contained four platoons and a total of 20 M50A1 Ontos. Roughly one officer and six enlisted Marines were attached to the headquarters and service company to provide administrative support.