The familiar Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle had a long and somewhat troubled design history (what weapon system hasn’t???). After several M-113 derivatives and other considerations, the Army asked FMC Corporation for something competitive with the Soviet BMP vehicles. The first prototypes, named XM-723 appeared in 1973. One of those prototypes on display at the Infantry Museum at Fort Benning (these were taken before the museum relocated).
Note the port firing weapon stations on the side. Here’s a close up view.
This early prototype lacks the TOW launcher found on later prototypes and of course the production M-2/3 Bradleys. I cannot confirm, but the turret may be an early “one man” version with a main gun and coax machine-gun. The gun may be either a 20mm or early 25mm (Forgive me for not climbing up and measuring the bore!).
The TOW addition was somewhat a reaction to reports from the Middle East wars, where anti-tank missiles had performed well. So well that some were calling into question the dominance of the main battle tank at the time.
If we look at the Bradley today, from the perspective of an ultimately successful weapon design consider a “lesson learned” if you will. In 1977, General William DePuy testified to Congress:
Almost every army you look at is ahead of the American Army, as far as taking care of our infantry. The Russians, are ahead of us, the German, are ahead of us, the Dutch are ahead of us, the French are ahead of us, the Yugoslavians are ahead of us. Almost everybody has a better infantry vehicle than the U.S. Army. We would have been better off in 1963 when we started to just build the MICV immediately. Are we to start over again? My guess is that if you start over again, you will have a 10 percent increase in effectiveness and 50 percent increase in cost.
Bradley development continued over anther five years after General DePuy made that statement. Weapon development is not a simple, linear process. Still, a “good” weapon in the hands of excellently trained troops today will trump the “perfect” weapon delivered after the shooting is over.