Jump to content


American Post-war Light Tanks


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

DeadArashi #1 Posted 06 December 2017 - 12:06 PM

    Imperium Tech Priest

  • Member
  • 12884 battles
  • 1,723
  • Member since:
    05-31-2013

So I was doing research on the T92 in preparation to do a video review of the new tier 8 premium and I ended up getting a bit too engrossed in my research and found out that there was a large number of tanks associated with it. Like, a mind boggling number of designs and retrofits that came into existence because of the M41 and the tanks designed to replace it

 

I'm sure people who have seen me on the forums before are aware, I like to think I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the history of tanks and trying to help spread that information. Yer, you could just as easily google each one individually or pick up a book about them, but I thought I would try to compile a brief history about each one here. I'm going from the M41 in 1949 all the way up to mentions of the Stingray from 1983.

 

There's a lot to cover but I'll try to keep it short. There's just so much info over so many tanks that it's actually doing my head in.

 


 

M41

 

In 1949 Cadillac designed the M41 which was originally to be called the "Little Bulldog" but was changed to "Walker Bulldog" in memory of General Walton Walker who died in 1950. Production of the vehicle lasted from 1951 to 1954 and was the first post-war light tank to see worldwide service. A total of 5,467 units were constructed during the 3 years of production.

 

 

The engine chosen to power the M41 was the AOS-895-3 capable of producing 500hp. Weight-wise, it came in a 23.49 ton giving it a power to weight of 21.2hp/t and was capable of reaching speeds of 72km/h. By early 1952, over 900 M41's had been constructed but they were too late to enter the Korean war which the army had been pushing for light tanks that could be easily airlifted.

 

When the M41 entered production it wasn't considered an economical move to construct a singke tank chassis and hull. So to balance out the logistics the chassis, engine, tracks and many other parts of the M41 was also used for the M57 APC and the M44 Howitzer that was armed with the 155mm gun. Original designs for this self-propelled gun were for it to have a closed fighting compartment but was quickly scrapped after it was discovered that firing the weapon discharged a poisonous gas into the fighting compartment. A redesign was performed to make them open top and the tank has since seen long time use with the Turkish army with reports of them being in use as recently as 2015. A rather impressive feet for a tank built in the early 1950's.

 

 

The M41 was never well received by troops though. There were complaints about  limited space inside, recon units complained about the size not being suited for discrete recon and, while developed to be air dropped into combat, it's weight meant that this was impracticable.

 

There were, however, two plans to increase the armament of the M41. The first was to mount a 90mm gun directly into the M41's turret, the second was to mount a 90mm into a new, larger turret and was designated the T49. The T49 would then go on to be a test bed for Cadillac's XM551 turret and 152mm gun-launcher.

 

 

As a side note, in 1983, the Stingray light tank turret and L7 105mm gun was mounted onto the hull of the M41 to market as a possible retrofit upgrade to existing M41 light tanks

 

 


 

T71

 

In 1952, just a mere 3 years after it's original design, the M41 Walker Bulldog was already set to be replaced. By 1953, three companies rose up to design the next light tank for America; AAI Corporation with their T92, Cadillac with the T71 and Detroit Arsenal with their own T71. The original plan was for a 20-ton heavy tank that was to be armed with a 90mm gun... so Detroit gladly obliged and produced their first T71 and constructed a mock-up for it. The 90mm was to be an autoloader to cut the crew size back to 3 people.

 

 

The requirement's, however, changed into being an 18-ton tank armed with a 76mm. The 76mm used would be the same M38 used in the M41 and carry a total of 60 rounds, while the engine would be the AOI-628 engine that produced 340hp. At 18 ton it would provide a power to weight 18.88hp/t. The turret design changed, with the smaller gun it was possible to make the turret smaller, the hull design also changed to be a pike-nose design.

 

 

The tank would only require a crew of three thanks to the automatic loading system fitted in it. The armor was to be no thicker then the M41's 38mm.

 

Cadillac also produced their own design for a T71, it was to use the same 76mm gun and 340hp engine. Weight was to adhere to the 18ton specification. However, unlike Detroit's design, Cadillac's was to be a conventional turret with a manually loaded gun and crewed by three people.

 

 


 

T92

 

The T92 was designed by the Aircraft Armament Incorporated, or AAI. The purpose was the same as the T71 designs, to replace the M41. It was a unique design that favored being low profile and this was achieved thanks to a cleft turret. What this means is that the gun is mounted semi-independent of the turret and allowed the gun to depress 10 degrees, something that would have required a larger turret had a convention design been used. To get the rounds to the breach, a semi-automatic loading system was used. The loader would place a shell on a lift that would take the round to the breach and load it. This process resulted in a maximum rate of fire of 12 rounds per minute.

 

The weight was 18.5 ton with different sources claiming the engine was 340hp while others say 375hp, resulting in a power to weight of 18.37 to 20.27 hp/t. Top speed was only recorded at 56km/h.

 

 

Two prototypes of the vehicle were developed, the first arrived at Aberdeen in 1956 for testing. A large number of issues were found with the tank ranging from the tracks to the shell ejector and required about 50 changes to the tank. Production of the T92 was still planned for 1962. It was close to being fully developed and put into service, but in 1957, just as the second prototype arrived for testing, the Soviet PT-76 was discovered with it's amphibious capabilities. The T92 was so unique in it's design that it couldn't be converted to be amphibious, thus marking the end of the project.

 


 

M551 'Sheridan'

 

One of the reasons I wanted to make this post is because of the historical errata regarding the T92, and the other was because I found out that Cadillac wasn't the only company to submit a design for the XM551, it was the design that was chosen, but AAI also submitted a design for it;

 

 

There's actually very little information about it. What we do know is that it was feather weight at 11.5 ton with a top speed of 65km/h. From the image, it looks to have a power to weight of 18.3hp/t which would mean it was to only have a 212hp engine. The turret is a very interesting design, from what I know, it was to have a 3 man crew, two in the turret and a driver in the hull. This leads me to believe that it would have a semi-automatic loading system similar to the T92's. My interpretation of the the design is that the breech is partially out of the turret with part of the roof hinged above the gun so that it can get better gun depression in the small turret.

 

AAI really did create some interesting designs for their light tanks.

 

Moving onto Cadillac's design though; 

 

 

Production of the Sheridan started in 1966 due to the requirements for a light weight tank that could be easily airlifted, had amphibious capabilities and enough fire power to knock out a main battle tank. Deeming that a conventional gun would be ill-suited due to weight and turret size requirements, it was decided that missiles that could be launched from a tube would be the best option. This allowed the gun size to be small and didn't require a large turret. To further reduce the weight, aluminium was used to construct the hull.

 

 

 

I believe it was the seventh pilot tank that coined in the design that would be used for the final production version of the Sheridan. Amphibious capabilities were achieved through the used of a flotation ring that sat on the upper edge of the hull, giving it the rounded edges. The gun proved to have some issues where cracks would appear on the barrel after firing the gun multiple times. After some research it was discovered that the deep cut key to guide the missile down the barrel had weakened the integrity of it. They made the key shallower and reduced the fin size on the missile to fit and sold the problem.

 

The production model of the tank came in at 15.2 ton and powered by a Detroit Desiel 6V53T turbocharged engine that produced 300hp giving a power to weight of 19.7hp/t and a top speed of 70km/h.

 

There were actually a number of proposed armament changes to the Sheridan as well. Armament proposed included the 76mm gun, 90mm and even a 105mm in the Sheridan turret. One version was known as the AG S-Sheridan and was the turret and 105mm gun off the Stingray mounted on the hull of the Sheridan.

 

 

There's also an interesting design I stumbled upon that was for a 155mm self-propelled gun artillery system to use the chassis of the Sheridan as well

 

 


 

Stingray

 

It's appeared twice now on both the M41 and the Sheridan so I figured some people might be interested in it by now. It needs to be stated that the Stingray and any variants involving it will never make it into World of Tanks as it's too new, that's not to say it would be too good, in fact were it not for the year it was developed it would be a viable tank for the game. The Stingray was developed between 1983 and 1987, not to be competition with the Sheridan, but as a private venture by Cadillac to construct a tank to export to international countries. This didn't go very well as only a hundred units were sold to the Royal Thai Army.

 

 

It weighed in a 22.6 tons and powered by a Detroit V8 Diesal Allison 8V-9TA engine that produced 550hp, allowing the Stingray to reach speeds of 70km/h with it's power to weight ratio of 24.33hp/t. The turret ring of the Stingray was the same as the M41 Walker Bulldog and M551 Sheridan, hence why it was mated to both. It was armed with the British 105mm L7 and protected by 35mm of armor at the thickest with the hull being constructed out of aluminium.

 


 

RDF/LT and HSTV (L)

 

in the mid 1970's, AAI was working on a possible replacement for the Sheridan. The first of these designs was for a Rapid Deployment Force / Light Tank a.k.a the RDF/LT. The armament was to be the same 76mm gun from the M41, however a new APFSDS round by AAI and is described as having similar penetration capabilities as the 105mm M68, the American version of the British L7, during testing.

 

 

It had a combat weight of 12.4 ton and a power to weight of 26.5hp/t thanks to its 350hp General Motors 6V-53T turbocharged engine. The max road speed was 64km/h. The 76mm gun could depress 10 degrees over the front of the hull and achieve 22 degrees of elevation. A crew of three could operate the tank, two in the turret and one in the hull.

 

In 1982, AAI revealed a new version with a smaller, 1 man turret and armed with the 75mm ARES automatic cannon. 

 

 

From my understanding, it was also a cleft turret, this allowed it to achieve 6 degrees of gun depression over the rear, 17 degrees over the front and 30 degrees over the side. Gun elevation was 45 degrees and could be used as a short range AA-SPG. The track was to be an improved version of the Sheridan's with the suspension being a fixed height hydro-pneumatic suspension.

 

The weight of the vehicle was increased to 20.45 ton with a more powerful Avco-Lycoming 650 turboshaft engine fitted provided 650 hp increasing it's power to weight ratio to 31.78hp/. Speed wise it was quick, able to achieve speeds of up to 84 km/h, acceleration from 0 to 48km/h was recorded to take 11.8sec.

 

Overall height was 2.4m but to the top of the turret was only 1.99m. It was 2.79m wide and 5.9m long (8.5m with gun included), a very small target indeed.

 

While it never saw active service, the HSTV provided valuable field testing data for fire control and weapon stabilization equipment.



Hype_ #2 Posted 06 December 2017 - 12:27 PM

    I mean, it could be worse

  • Member
  • 8699 battles
  • 1,074
  • Member since:
    09-21-2013
Nice work, very interesting, intrigued by the T71 and always thought it was such a weirdly designed tank.

 


DeadArashi #3 Posted 06 December 2017 - 07:39 PM

    Imperium Tech Priest

  • Member
  • 12884 battles
  • 1,723
  • Member since:
    05-31-2013
Glad you liked it. I've always been a fan of the T71 by Detroit. It's so different to other American tanks in design. The T92 is interesting but you can see some of its influence in later tank designs by AAI. Something I didn't mention is that they originally wanted to take aspects of both T71's and the T92 and use those aspects in a light tank design, but it didn't work out because all three designs were so uniquely different from each other

mttspiii #4 Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:37 AM

    Major

  • Beta-Tester
  • 32703 battles
  • 17,126
  • [PVP] PVP
  • Member since:
    04-15-2012

View PostDeadArashi, on 06 December 2017 - 12:06 PM, said:

 

T71

 

In 1952, just a mere 3 years after it's original design, the M41 Walker Bulldog was already set to be replaced. By 1953, three companies rose up to design the next light tank for America; AAI Corporation with their T92, Cadillac with the T71 and Detroit Arsenal with their own T71. The original plan was for a 20-ton heavy tank that was to be armed with a 90mm gun... so Detroit gladly obliged and produced their first T71 and constructed a mock-up for it. The 90mm was to be an autoloader to cut the crew size back to 3 people.

 

Odd, I thought USA stopped designating tanks as 'light', 'medium', or 'heavy' according to gun calibre by that time.

I'm fierce and I'm feeling mighty,

I'm a golden girl, I'm an Aphrodite

 

 


DeadArashi #5 Posted 07 December 2017 - 02:15 AM

    Imperium Tech Priest

  • Member
  • 12884 battles
  • 1,723
  • Member since:
    05-31-2013

I believe it's more based around weight as the M41 was though of as a medium tank due to its weight.

 

American tank class designation is weired. I mean, the T28/T95 jumped between being a super heavy tank and a gun motor carriage but they never thought to class it as an assault tank after the role it was designed to do


Edited by DeadArashi, 07 December 2017 - 02:51 AM.


Inglorious_Aussie_Tanker #6 Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:37 AM

    Major

  • Member
  • 10950 battles
  • 3,929
  • Member since:
    01-18-2015

Surely Other nations, with Fanciful NON TANKS need there lines filled before any REAL or Semi REAL Tanks will be added.  :trollface:

The British line is SCREAMING for Light Tanks of which the Brits built some of the BEST IRL tanks, yet we see none of them.

 

The Stingray looks SEXY, and would be my choice.  But I don't get why WOT hasn't included more Modern Tanks?

Other than removing Rocket or Missile Abilities, what do they really have Tech wise that WOT hasn't included in the game already?

SPG's use Satelite Technology.

Tanks use Auto Range finding and Penetration indicators.

We have Auto loaders

Enhanced Vision equipment.

Gun stabilisation.

Magical Repair and Med kits.

Cartoon Tanks.

Imaginary Tanks.

Black Tanks.  (Stealth Camo)

 

Other than Modern Armor, which depending on how you look at it, would hardly be game breaking, given the Premiums of late. why the resistance?


Vote NOW, to Wall up the Lakeville Valley Pass.

So Many Idiots.

So little Shells.


DeadArashi #7 Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:42 AM

    Imperium Tech Priest

  • Member
  • 12884 battles
  • 1,723
  • Member since:
    05-31-2013

This wasnt intended as a thread of tanks to add, just providing history about tanks, hence why it's in the "Tanks Throughout History" subforum.

 

But I do agree with you, the british are in need of a light tank line and it's very much achievable

 

As for why there's not more modern tanks... going to have to ask a developer about that one



Otakubouzu #8 Posted 07 December 2017 - 02:34 PM

    Major

  • Member
  • 17107 battles
  • 10,068
  • Member since:
    10-13-2012

Great article on US light tanks there.

 

As why there aren't more modern tank in WoT...well, i guess they(WG) still want to cling on WW2/early cold war aesthetic for now.

Since that other game already started introducing 1970s tanks like Kpz/MBT-70 and likes, I guess it just matter of time before WG decided to try same route.

 

 


Back to World of Tanks for now.


mttspiii #9 Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:03 PM

    Major

  • Beta-Tester
  • 32703 battles
  • 17,126
  • [PVP] PVP
  • Member since:
    04-15-2012

View PostDeadArashi, on 07 December 2017 - 02:15 AM, said:

I believe it's more based around weight as the M41 was though of as a medium tank due to its weight.

 

American tank class designation is weired. I mean, the T28/T95 jumped between being a super heavy tank and a gun motor carriage but they never thought to class it as an assault tank after the role it was designed to do

 

There seems to be no doctrine on how to use heavily-armored casemate vehicles, thus USA was wedging it between to and fro.

 

But 20 tons is very, very light for a 1950's HT. Especially since the HT designation is meant for 120mm-calibre main gun tanks. Unless, they were describing the weight, not the role lol.

 

Either way, good article. A pity a lot of the projects were shelved because USA was determined to make their tanks amphibious.

 

UK LT's deserve a different thread btw.


I'm fierce and I'm feeling mighty,

I'm a golden girl, I'm an Aphrodite

 

 


DeadArashi #10 Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:35 PM

    Imperium Tech Priest

  • Member
  • 12884 battles
  • 1,723
  • Member since:
    05-31-2013
If I find the time I might do a proposal/history line for the British LT's at some point




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users