The M-60 Patton tank in World War III

The M-60 Patton tank was, at the time of the outbreak of the Third World War, still the primary main battle tank of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, as well as National Guard and Reserve units, though the M-48 was still in Reserve service. Though being replaced by the M-1 Abrams in 1985, the M-60 served throughout the war, and is still in service (in the M-60A4 variant) in National Guard and Army Reserve units today. This work will cover those variants that saw service during the war and after: 

M-60A1: Initial main production version with IR/White light searchlight, and M68 105-mm main gun. U.S. Army versions upgraded to M-60A3 standard. USMC M-60A1 RISE Passive version fitted with improved night vision equipment and reactive armor. USMC versions replaced by M-60A4 version during the war, with the M-1A1 replacing all USMC M-60s in the 1990s. 

M-60A2: “Starship” version fitted with 152-mm gun/missile launcher for the Shillelagh missile. All converted to either M-60A3 standard or to bridgelayer vehicles. 

M-60A3: Primary U.S. Army version during the war. TTS version began entering service in 1980. Thermal sight, laser rangefinder, and ballistic computer as standard. Production continued during the war, though secondary to the M-1 and M-1A1.. Reactive armor added to U.S. Army vehicles, and those in service with both the ROK Expeditionary Force and the Taiwanese 1st Mechanized Division. Most survivors converted postwar either to M-60A4 standard or to bridgelayers.

M-60A4: Final version for both U.S. Army and USMC. M-60A4-105 fitted with same turret as the M-1 Abrams with the standard 105-mm gun. M-60A4-120 fitted with same 120-mm gun as used on the M-1A1. Introduced 1987 for baseline version, early 1989 for the 120-mm armed version. Largely out of service by 2010, but some saw combat in the Baja War. 


M-60AVLB: Bridgelayer version with a 60-foot scissors bridge. 

M-60MCLIC: Modified AVLB fitted with two MCLC (Mine Clearing Line Charge) launchers in place of scissors bridge. 

M-728 CEV: Combat Engineer Vehicle with A-frame and 165-mm demolition gun used for bunker-busting and for urban warfare. 

Wartime Users: 

U.S. (Army, Marine Corps) 

South Korea: ROK units with M-48 transitioned to the M-60A3 prior to being committed to combat. ROK purchased surplus M-60A3s to convert to A4 standard postwar. 

Taiwan: Primary tank for the ROC 1st Mechanized Division serving with U.S. Sixth Army.