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T42 Medium Tank
United States of America

T42 Medium Tank

T42 Medium Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
T42 Medium Tank
Former Prototype
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Steel Aces Play for free
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The T42 Medium Tank is a former series of prototypes (pilot tanks) that would later be re-designated “90mm Gun Tank T42”. The T42 was an attempt to produce a new medium tank that was equally matched firepower wise with the M46 Patton, but was better protected. After six pilot tanks were built, the project was officially ended in October 1954.


The requirements for a new medium tank for the US Army were outlined in 1948. It had to have at least the equal firepower of the M46 Patton Tank, but have superior protection and weighted no more than 36 tonnes.

In additional, it had to be capable of being retrofitted with an autoloader, accommodate a gun stabilisation system for the main gun for firing on the move, a .30 calibre machine gun mounted on both sides of the turret and finally a coaxial .50 cal machine gun as well as the gunners sight were to be installed in the gun mantlet.

T42 Medium Tank Initial Wooden Mockup
T42 Medium Tank Initial Wooden Mockup

A wooden mock up of the tank was completed in October 1949 resulting in several changes, including the dimensions of the hull, the turret ring being enlarged, the .30 machine guns being eliminated and changes to the gunners sight. The biggest change was the decision to replace the original M3 90mm main gun (as used on the M46 Patton) with the 90mm T119, which offered greater punch when firing AP rounds.

The T42 had a four-man crew, the Driver was located in the front left of the hull, ammunition rack to his right (x36 rounds stored), the Gunner and Commander in tandem on the right side of the turret and the loader on the left side.

The Gunner had a T41 range finder and T35 periscope sight. Though the design accommodated a stabilisation system for the main gun, it was not installed on the pilots. Additional 90mm ammunition was stored in the turret.

The vehicles mobility was criticised as being underpowered and tricky to control due to a similar single steering stick like that used on the M46.

Six pilot vehicles were ordered for trials, the first being delivered in December 1950, which caught fire during trials. The second vehicle was delivered in 1951 and had a different transmission, which required a new shape to the hull’s rear. The remaining pilots were trialled by the Army and one by the USMC.

The decision to reject the T42 was made fairly early on during trials, which resulted in a prolonged development period as proposed fixes to address the vehicles defects were rejected. The project was officially ended in October 1954.

But this was not the end of the T42. After completing trials, the third pilot vehicle hull was later fitted with a new 90mm oscillating turret and designated the 90mm gun tank T69 prototype.


Main Gun
90mm T119
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 50. cal Machine Gun, commanders 50 cal machine gun
Ammunition Storage
x60 90mm
500hp Continental AOS-895-3
Top Road Speed
Road Range
Fuel Capacity
Vertical Obstacle
Water Capability
Trench Crossing
Side Slope
Length Gun Forward
Length Hull
3.21m (over commanders MG)
Ground Clearance
33.8 Tonnes
NBC Protected
Standard Armor(s) Type
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver


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