The original AMX-13 Light Tank appeared after the close of World War 2 (1939-1945) during a period when French infrastructure was ravaged by years of conflict and her military was reduced to pre-war equipment, donations and reconstituted German stores. Work on an indigenous light tank offering began in 1946 under the direction of Atelier de Construciton d'Issy-les-Moulineaux to which an all-enclosed tracked armored vehicle design was formally adopted by the French Army for serial production as the "AMX-13". Production was charged to Atelier de Construction Roanne and began in 1952, spanning until 1987, to which 4,300 examples were manufactured for local military use. A further 3,400 examples were exported to French allies worldwide.
The AMX-13 was of a largely conventional design inspired by World War 2 armored warfare doctrine and sported a traditional "track-and-wheel" system characterized by five double-tired road wheels to a track side. The drive sprocket was at the front of the hull with the track idler at the rear. Power was supplied from a SOFAM Model 8Gxb 8-cylinder water-cooled gasoline-fueled engine developing 250 horsepower which provided the vehicle with a top speed of 37 miles per hour and an operational road range of 250 miles. Suspension was via a conventional torsion bar arrangement which allowed for adequate cross country mobility. The vehicle was operated by three personnel and included the driver in the front hull and the commander and gunner in the turret.
The most unique aspect of the AMX-13's design was its use of an oscillating GIAT turret, essentially an upper section containing the main gun armament as well as the elevation control hinged to a lower fixed section of turret. What the oscillating turret allowed for tank engineers was use of a heavy-class armament in a lightweight design. This proved the case with the AMX-13 which fielded a powerful 75mm main gun. The turret was given noticeable overhang (for the upper turret section assembly) to allow for more internal volume in the turret. The AMX-13 became one of the few frontline combat vehicles in armored warfare history to utilize the oscillating turret concept.
The AMX-13 was inevitably produced though approximately sixteen different variants throughout her service life with many "one-off" prototypes appearing throughout. It was only natural that the chassis would be utilized in other battlefield-minded forms and one such example came in the shape of a 105mm-armed self-propelled howitzer which was used by the Dutch Army and offered to other export customers. The 105mm SPG variant was generically noted as the "AMX-105" and appeared in a few notable forms under the more precise "AMX Mk" designation. This included the AMX Mk 61 (also known as the "AMX-105A") and the AMX Mk 62 of the Dutch Army. These forms were nothing more than the existing chassis of the AMX-13 Light Tank mated to a newly-designed, semi-open-air superstructure housing a potent 105mm main gun. The main gun was capped with a sizeable muzzle brake and the overall design of the vehicle remained largely faithful to the original. The AMX Mk 62 ("AMX-105B") was a prototype 105mm SPG with a traversing turret and the AMX Mk 62 was of similar reach though completed with an added cupola fielding a general purpose machine gun for self-defense. Beyond its use by the Dutch, the 105mm variant was trialed by the Swiss Army which did not purchase the breed (they did, however, make extensive use of up to 200 AMX-13 tanks until 1980).