French AMX-50 Tank – Second AMX-50 100 Prototype built from scratch Image #2

French AMX-50 Tank – Second prototype the AMX-50 100. Picture has a newely built AMX-50 100 and a converted M4

The French AMX-50 Tank aka AMX 50 was a series of prototypes developed and built by French Company AMX (Atelier de Construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux) and other French Bureaus to meet the requirement for a new modern tank for the French army during Post World War 2.

During its development process, it evolved from a medium to heavy tank and eventually a Main Battle Tank after being up-gunned and up-armoured a number of times, resulting in various shapes and sizes.By the late 1950’s the AMX-50 development ended.

It had been an ambitious project that had evolved through various classes of tanks and it had been hoped that other Western countries would buy it following trials in America of earlier prototypes.

France had almost placed production orders, but the problems with the Maybach engine that haunted development and weight issues due to trying to get the best balance of firepower and protection never yielded a final satisfactory design after 10 years of development.

AMX-50 Tank Models & Development Timeline

Prototype 1: Chad M4

The project 141 by the AMX company was first unveiled in 1945 resulting in the Chad M4 prototype. It was armed with a 90mm main gun, overlapping road wheels and slopping frontal armour at just 30mm thick to reduce its weight to around the 30 tonnes.

Prototype 2: AMX-50-100

This oscillating turret design was kept, but modified so a 100mm main gun could be fitted to a modified hull with changes to the glacis plate. This was officially designated the AMX-50 and appears to be the second prototype design. The term AMX-50 100 was not official, but referred to the 100mm bore caliber.

One of the Chad M4 prototypes was then modified to the AMX-50 100 design and another AMX-50 100 prototype was built from scratch. This new one kept the oscillating turret design, but had changes to its turrets cantores etc.

French AMX-50 Tank - Second AMX-50 100 Prototype built from scratch and converted M4 Chad

French AMX-50 Tank – Second AMX-50 100 Prototype built from scratch and converted M4 Chad (marked as wrong)

Both these tanks appeared together in a vehicle parade and photographed side by side, along with several other armored fighting vehicles in the early 1950’s. Trialls of these vehicles were concluded in 1952.

Prototype 3: AMX-50-120

Another development stage of the AMX-50 was fitting it with a new 120mm main gun. Work had begun in 1951 and the first prototype was completed in 1953 for trials.

To accommodate the new larger gun, autoloader, enlarged ammunition storage and additional weight from all of this, a new much larger oscillating turret was added with thicker armour increasing the vehicles weight to 59.2 tonne.

Prototype 4: AMX-50 Up-armored

French AMX-50 Tank Model AMX-50 Up-armored

French AMX-50 Tank Model AMX-50 Up-armored

The surblindé prototypes hull had a new curved glacis plate (upper section of the front of the hull) replacing the earlier sloped, giving greater armoured protection but was now taller. The turrets height was modified and the overall vehicle weight had now gone up to 64 tonne. Development ran from 1954 to 1955.

Prototype 5: AMX-50B

From 1956 to 1958 a new version was developed called the surbaissé, to address the surblindé increased weight and resulting mechanical problems. The vehicles cast hull was lowered and a lighter but again higher turret, the Tourelle D (fourth type turret) was fitted retaining the same 120mm main gun. Development ran from 1956 to 1958 and 57.8 tonne.

AMX-50-100 Tank Specifications

Main Gun 100mm SA 47
Elevation -5 to +12
Secondary Weapons x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 7.62mm MG
Ammunition Storage x32 90mm, x4,000 7.62mm
Engine 250hp SOFAM Model 8Gxb Petrol
Transmission Manual (4 forward/ 1 reverse gears)?
Top Road Speed 60 km/h
Road Range 350+ km
Fuel Capacity 480 Litres
Vertical Obstacle 0.65m?
Water Capability 0.6m Wading
Trench Crossing 1.9m
Gradient 60%
Side Slope 60%
Length Gun Forward 6.7m
Length Hull 4.88m
Height 2.8m (overall)
Ground Clearance 0.4m
Weight 15,000kg aka 15 tonne combat?
NBC Protected No
Armor Type Steel/Slope
Active Protection Systems No
Commander Yes
Gunner Yes
Driver Yes
Additional Crew
Troops Carried n/a

See Also: