Re: odd US military depressed center flat car

Marty McGuirk

Why are you puzzled it's "USA" and not "USAX?" "USA" was a valid reporting mark assigned to the United States Army. As was "USAX." As far as I know they're still considered valid reporting marks by the AAR although most DOD owned rail cars are currently assigned "DODX" reporting marks, I know there's plenty of "USN" lettered cars still around (and some lettered "USNX"). So the existence of a "USA" car in the late 50s wouldn't surprise me.


I think it's very odd that the barrel isn't traversed and locked for transport. I also think some of the lighting looks little strange. That photo, provided it's not faked in some way, looks to be from the late 1950s. (The M103 tank was first deployed in 1957, but it may have been photographed prior to deployment when it was being developed and tested).


I'm not a tank expert but I know the 103 was primarily fielded by the USMC between 1957 and 1972, when they were all retired from service. A total of 300 M103s were built - with only 70 or so in the Army's inventory for a brief period of time - by 1963 the Army transferred all their M103s to the USMC. 


Marty McGuirk 

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