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AMX-50 Tank Char M4 90mm Gun
France

AMX-50 Tank

French AMX-50 Tank model the AMX-50-120
Unveiled / Entered Service
1945
French AMX-50 Tank Model AMX-50B
Status
Former Prototype
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Table of Contents

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Introduction

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.

Background

During its development process, it evolved from a medium to heavy 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.

Variants and Marks

Prototype 1: Char 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

his 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 calibre.

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 contour etc.

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

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
120mm SA46
Secondary Weapons
Ammunition Storage
Engine
Maybach HL 295 12VC 850 HP
Transmission
?
Top Road Speed
51 km/h
Road Range
Fuel Capacity
Vertical Obstacle
?
Water Capability
?
Trench Crossing
?
Gradient
?
Side Slope
?
Length Gun Forward
7.35m
Length Hull
?
Width
3.4m
Height
3.35m
Ground Clearance
?
Weight
57+ Tonne
NBC Protected
no
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Driver