Manufactured during the start of The Cold War, The US Army Model 56 “Scorpion” was envisioned as a light-weight, forward deployed Armor Attack Vehicle. It’s size and weight was specifically designed to accommodate The US Army Airborne Forces of the 1950s. Early Test Prototypes were used in Spain, South Korea and Morocco with somewhat good results. Weighing 7-Tons, The M56 was 15-feet long and 8-feet wide. (6) Wheeled, dual rubberized Tracks were used for traction. This was unique, in that most Tracks were Metal. The M56 used a Continental A01 Gasoline Engine (non-diesel), which was seen as an issue of quick speed and deployment (at 28-mph). The primary Armament was a 90mm Main Gun. This was a modified Ground Flak Gun System in which The M56 fired a 3.5-inch Shell. It had a 10,000-yard maximum effective range. It could sustain 25-rpm. The M56s major drawback was it’s thin Armor plating (mostly 0.25-inches).
Used as a Scout Attack Vehicle, The M56 Crewed 10 to 16 soldiers (5 Primary, the rest Transport). Air dropped from Cargo Planes and later Helicopter – The M56 was first deployed with America during the ending months of The Korean War and early Vietnam (1964-1965). The Model 56, although it afforded no protection from Atomic weapons or Fallout, it was capable of deploying The W8 Warhead. Just prior to (and during the inception of The Nike System), The Model 56 was seen as a “possible” Front Line, First Response Weapon to an attack by Soviet Forces should they invade America. As with most Tracked Missile and Heavy Caliber Attack Vehicles, The American Missile Defense System removed all such weapons from inventory. However, a few M56 “Scorpions” were still known to exist in The Moroccan Army as of 1991.