Canada (1976)
Armoured Personal Carrier – 265 built

The AVGP (Armoured Vehicle General Purpose)

Three AFVs (armored fighting vehicles) based on the same chassis were ordered back in 1976. These were Cougar (fire-support), Husky (ARV -support vehicle) Grizzly, an APC. The latter was probably the closest to the six-wheeled version of the Swiss MOWAG Piranha I. The Grizzly entered service in 1978 but was gradually retired until 2005 by the LAV III.

Development & design of the Grizzly

The Grizzly was to be used as an alternative armoured personnel carrier to the M113 for the regular force infantry battalions, and reserve units. It was designed for a three-man crew, could carry a section of infantry (5-6 men) and was given a Cadillac-Gage 1 metre turret mounting a .50 BMG plus 7.62 mm machine gun. The troops can exit from rear doors and roof hatches.

Although the configuration was basically the same as the two other vehicles, with a 6×6 chassis and sloped welded steel hull, front driver with a hatch with three vision sights (central one could be swapped for a night vision sight). Maximum armor thickness for the hull was 10 mm which provided protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. For mobility, the Grizzly was given a Detroit Diesel 6V53T diesel, which developed 275 hp for a maximum road speed of 101 km/h, and amphibious water speed of 10 km/h thanks to two propellers, plus a 600 km range. It was able to climb a gradient 60% high, 30% side slope, 0.8 m vertical step, and a trench about 80cm wide.

The driver sat in the front left part of the hull. When the infantry was inside the vehicle, the gunner was seated behind the driver, working on the radio. The commander sat in the turret, manning the turret. However, when the infantry troop dismounted, the commander would accompany them. The gunner would then occupy the turret and the vehicle could act as infantry support or withdraw.

Cadillac-Gage 1 metre turret was designed for armored vehicles, denominated after its 1-meter turret ring. It was originally armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun (0.3′) and 12.7 mm machine gun (0.5′ or cal. 50). The only variant of the Canadian AVGP to mount this turret was the Grizzly. It was the smallest possible to keep the vehicle’s interior enough room. When these vehicles were made available to African Union peace-keeping forces operating in Sudan, the latter had to seek permission from the US Government in order to ship them with theses turrets. The other vehicle using it (in US service) was the M1117 4×4 Armored Security Vehicle.

CG 1m turret
Closeup of the CG 1m turret, here with a grenade launcher on the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle.

Active service

In service, the the majority saw their water propulsion removed. The Wheeled LAV Life Extension project saw conversions of the Grizzly (and Husky) as support variants (Command Post, Mobile Repair Team Vehicle). These variants were to be the Command Post (80), Radio Relay (10), Unit Access Nodes (20), Very Short Air Defence (24), Artillery Gun Tractor (18) and Mobile Repair Team (70). But this project was cancelled in 2005. In May 2007, the Edmonton Police Service was donated a single, unarmed Grizzly from the Army.

In June 2005, the Canadian government announced the loan of 105 AVGPs (100 Grizzlys and 5 Huskys) to African peacekeepers in the Darfur region of Sudan, as seen above. This low-intensity conflict for which the vehicle was of the right size and capability. Civilian contractors ware called to maintain the vehicles. Since US-manufactured or licensed parts were used (mostly the turret) permission was to be required to loan the vehicles. First they were to be shipped without their CG turrets, and they arrived in Senegal in late summer 2005, the turrets being shipped later, on November 18, 2005. The loan was originally planned for one year, but it was extended, and transferred from the African Union to the United Nations.

According to Amnesty International, soldiers who used the loaned vehicles had little time for training but gained experienced. One of these vehicles was destroyed by a RPG. A second one damaged when ramming a more heavily armed unarmored Technical vehicle. In 2009, Uruguay purchased 98 Grizzlys (and 5 Huskys) previously on loan with the AMIS/UNAMID mission in Darfur.

Front view, at the 

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Front view of the vehicle, at the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

Sources & Links

The AVGP series on wikipedia
The Grizzly on CASR.ca
The Grizzly on warwheels.net
On canadiansoldiers.com

AVGP Grizzly specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 5.97m x 2.53m x 2.53m
(19’6″ x 8’3″ x 8’3″ ft.in)
Total weight, battle ready 10,5 tons
Crew 2+6 (driver, commander, gunner +6-8 infantry)
Propulsion Detroit Diesel 6V53T Turbodiesel 275 hp
Suspension 6×6 independent coil springs
Speed (road) 101 km/h (60 mph)
Range 600 km (350 mi)
Armament 1x 0.5in (12.7 mm), 1x 0.3in (7.62 mm)
Armor 6 mm sides to 10 mm front (0.2-0.4 in)
Total production 265
acvp-grizzly-ifor
AVGP Grizzly with IFOR (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina).

acvp-grizzly-un
Grizzly in peace-keeping operations for the UN. Formerly these were used by the AMIS mission.

acvp-grizzly
AVGP Grizzly in green livery.

Video


From our partner, The Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum Collection

Gallery

Interior of the Grizzly
Grizzly Interior view with the turret removed

Grizzly in exercises
AVGP Grizzly in exercises

grizzly details
Grizzly – details (www.canadiansoldiers.com)

M113 C&V Lynx
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10 Responses to AVGP Grizzly

  1. Anthony Sewards says:

    These were Cougar (recce), was never called this, as it was a wheeled fire support/ tank trainer .The first vehicles handed over in February 1978 not 1976 .but was gradually retired until 2005 by the LAV III, not the Bison . The Drawings listed are incorrect, they represent a vehicle post 2000, as it has the TCCCS communication system mounted. And as presented never served with UN, IFOR & SFOR. will cause some confusion for anyone looking for reference. These need to be corrected as it posts incorrect information.

    • Stan Lucian says:

      Hello Anthony,
      Changed the Cougar description.
      The Office of the Auditor General of Canada gives a report that gives the following data
      Grizzly
      The Grizzly is a wheeled armoured vehicle whose primary use is to provide mobility and protection for an 11-person infantry section. Quantity: 265. Date of purchase: 1976.
      Indeed, they were replaced by LAV IIIs, modified.
      Agreed on the TCCCS, notifying our illustrator.
      Thank you Anthony!

  2. Steve Hearn says:

    In addition to Anthony’s comments above the article also contains a number of factual errors. There were in fact 269 Grizzlies produced along with 195 Cougars and 27 Huskies. The driver’s hatch is hinged on the left and does not slide to open. The night vision device for the driver is of the image intensification type not infrared. The swimming speed was 10k and it was driven by propellers in the water not water jets. And finally the picture of the Grizzly interior shows a vehicle during the upgrade process an does not have a turret

    • Stan Lucian says:

      Hello Steve,
      The Office of the Auditor General of Canada gives a report that gives the following data
      Grizzly
      The Grizzly is a wheeled armoured vehicle whose primary use is to provide mobility and protection for an 11-person infantry section. Quantity: 265. Date of purchase: 1976.
      Corrected the hatch.
      Couldn’t find any refs for the image intensification sight, changed phrasing to be more vague.
      Changed water jet to propeller.
      Added clarification to the image.
      Thank you Steve!

  3. Andrew says:

    For the Grizzly, the vehicle Commander was also the commander of the infantry section.
    The vehicle gunner would sit directly behind the driver in his own seat with his own hatch and operate the radios (so basically do nothing).
    When the infantry section deployed, the commander would leave the vehicle and take command of the section. The Gunner would then scramble into the turret to man the weapons.
    The grizzly could then be redeployed or follow the infantry section to act as fire support.

    Fun fact the Grizzly was the best to sleep in. Officially the gunner’s and driver’s seats could be folded ‘flat’ and used as a bed.
    In reality you would fill in the foot well with tarps, duffle bags etc. With the surface reasonably flat, you could lay out on an air mattress or a stretcher for a good nights sleep.

    • Stan Lucian says:

      Thank you for sharing this with us Andrew!
      We have added the crew part to the article, nice insight!

    • Ian White says:

      Section Commanders sat in the hatch directly behind the driver while their Gunner was always in the turret. Platoon Commanders would sit in the turret for better visibility and the Platoon Warrant Officer would sit behind the Driver and move to the turret on dismount to command the vehicle group/fire base. At Company HQ, the Officer Commanding sat in the turret while the Company Sergeant Major would sit behind the driver.

      Regiments and Battalions may have had different procedures.

      We also marked the turret ring so that targets could be registered in defensive positions.

      Another fun fact: the Grizzly was equipped with a heating vessel for heating water used to heat rations. When these worked – they often didnt – we would tie coffee grounds into a field dressing and toss it into the vessel with water so that we always had coffee ready.

  4. Anthony Sewards says:

    1976 was for the purchase of the AVGP fleet , not brought in service, which was later in 1978 and most units did not receive them until 1979. Information comes from official CDN DND information and the Canadian Wheels Reference AVGP Series.

  5. Nuno says:

    Is this correct?
    “…when ramming a more heavily armed unarmored Technical vehicle….”

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