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T57 Heavy Tank
United States of America

T57 Heavy Tank

T57 Turret Drawing
Unveiled / Entered Service
1951
T57 Heavy Tank
Status
Former Prototype
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.

Introduction

The T57 tank was an American project to develop a new heavy tank to replace the problematic M103 Heavy Tank, which featured an autoloader mounted in a oscillating turret.

The benefit of such turrets (as demonstrated with those used on French tanks) is the reduction in size, weight and reload speed as the forth crewman, the Loader, was made redundant. However, this wasn't the case with the American oscillating turret designs, which retained the forth crewman.

Background

An oscillating turret is made up of two parts. The first part sits in the turret ring and can traverse a full 360 degrees. It supports the upper section of the turret at a pivot point, which the turret depresses and elevates on. The 120mm main gun was mounted in the upper section of the turret, so the turret would move up and down to elevate the gun (15 degrees, and depress 8 degrees), rather than the gun working independently of the turret.

The vehicles autoloader was different from the ones used on the French AMX-13 light and AMX-50 heavy tanks, which were located in the turret bustle. The T57’s was located below the main gun and comprised of an eight round ammunition drum. An automatic rammer would lower itself to the drum, extract the round, elevate itself so it was in-line with the breach and push the round in.

Once fired, the spent cartridge would be ejected out through a hatch in the turret bustle as part of the automated loading process. Whilst eight rounds in the drum, a total of eighteen rounds could be carried, which could be High Explosive, Armour Piercing or High Explosive Anti-Tank (Heat).

In 1951, the American firm, Rheem Manufacturing Company was appointed to develop the new turret, who eventually produced two turrets for testing. One turret was mounted on a spare T43 (the designation for the M103 Heavy Tank during development) hull. Its not clear if this was the intended hull for the T57 should it have been accepted into service, but it is common to use spare hull’s during development of firepower technology to save money and provide a level autonomy for the turret until development is finished.

The T57 project was cancelled in 1957 and the turrets scrapped, but their design was carried forward in other heavy tank projects (see variants below).

Variants and Marks

The T77 Heavy Tank:

During the development of the T57 a second project was started that explored the possibility of mounting the T57’s turret on a medium tank hull. The hull selected was one from the T48 project, which was in development as a series of improvements to the M47 Patton (resulting in the M48 Patton).

The T77 project suffered the same fate as the T57 and was cancelled in 1957.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
120mm T149
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, commanders 50 cal machine gun
Ammunition Storage
x18 120mm rounds
Engine
?
Transmission
?
Top Road Speed
?
Road Range
?
Fuel Capacity
?
Vertical Obstacle
?
Water Capability
?
Trench Crossing
?
Gradient
?
Side Slope
?
Length Gun Forward
?
Length Hull
?
Width
?
Height
?
Ground Clearance
?
Weight
?
NBC Protected
no
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver

References

  • American Cold War Tank Development - Doctor Robert Cameron
  • The USA Historical AFV Register 4.4 - Michel Van Loon
  • Firepower A History of The American Heavy Tank - R.P. Hunnicutt