Beehive anti-personnel round

This article is about Beehive anti-personnel ammunition. For other uses, see Beehive (disambiguation).

Beehive was a Vietnam war era anti-personnel round packed with metal flechettes fired from an artillery gun most popularly deployed during that conflict and known as flechette rounds as well as by their official designation, antipersonnel-tracer (APERS-T).

"Beehive" is named for the 'buzzing' sound its darts made when flying through the air. The first example was the 105mm howitzer M546 anti-personnel tracer (APERS-T), first fired in combat in 1966[1] and thereafter used extensively in the Vietnam War. Intended for direct fire against enemy troops, the M546 was direct fired from a near horizontally leveled 105 mm howitzer[2] and ejected 8000 flechettes during flight by a mechanical time fuze.

The 105mm howitzer round was the only artillery piece provided with APERS-T. Beehive rounds were also created for recoilless anti-tank weapons: the 90 mm and 106 mm along with the Ontoses[3] APERS-T rounds were available for 90mm gun on M48 tanks and the 152mm gun on the M551 Sheridan armored reconnaissance/airborne assault vehicle. After the Vietnam War the 105mm tank gun was also provided APER-T ammunition. 40mm APERS-T rounds were also available for the M79, M203, and M320 grenade launchers.

Subsequently, it was reported that the USSR had developed similar rounds for 122 mm and 152 mm artillery for use in indirect fire.

Beehive rounds became less popular in the United States following Vietnam, with low-angle air burst techniques such as Killer Junior supplanting the use of beehive.

See also


  1. Major General David Ewing Ott (1975), Field Artillery, 1954-1973 (PDF), Washington D.C.: Department of the Army, p. 61
  2. M546 APERS-T 105-mm
  3. ONTOS mounting six 106mm recoilless rifle, the world's biggest shot gun
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