Centurion Mark 5/1 ARN 169017 (Vietnam Modifications) – Part 1

Location: Holsworthy Barracks, Holsworthy, NSW, Australia

Contributed by: Ron Puttee & Lindsay Sparkes

Date: January 1996

This series of images was taken in 1996 at Holsworthy Army Base, Sydney Australia.

Centurion 169017 has an interesting history and is one of perhaps only two vehicles surviving with South Vietnam modifications in place. Subsequent to these images being taken, 169017 was relocated north to 1 Brigade in Darwin where it remains on duty as a gate guardian.

According to Shane Lovell’s “Military Briefs 3: Australian Centurions in Vietnam”, the “original” 169017 was part of the first shipment of Mark 3 vehicles received by the Australian Army in 1951/52, and subsequently served in South Vietnam with 1 Armoured Regiment, C Squadron September to December 1968. It was badly mine damaged, and returned to Australia where it was rebuilt using a hull cannibalised from a Centurion purchased in a batch of 8 from New Zealand. A “rebirthed” 169017 returned to South Vietnam in November 1970 and served again with C Squadron January 1971 to September 1971.

We understand that Shane’s valuable reference has been reprinted, and a series of Vietnam Centurion decals (two sets) has been released, by the publishers Mouse House Enterprises.

Some interesting features to note:

  • Early production turret – 31364T casting number on turret. Rear hatch present, hinge of which can also be seen.
  • Combination loader’s periscope / bomb thrower.
  • Early positioning of loader’s hatch.
  • Latch protection on side storage bins.
  • Reinforced trackguards, including supporting brackets.
  • .50 cal Ranging Machine Gun protruding a bit too far from mantlet.
  • Infantry telephone relocated to side of fitted armoured auxilliary fuel tank. Also note that cover of phone is open so internal detail is fully visible.
  • Clip mountings for Commander’s cupola MG at rear of turret.
  • Spare road wheel mounts on up-armoured glacis.
  • Details of IR searchlight mount from side and rear.

For further details of this vehicle, have a look at Mark Tucker’s images in our supplementary Australian Centurion ARN 169017 Walkaround.