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T58 Heavy Tank Early
United States of America

T-58 Heavy Tank

T58 Heavy Tank Mock Up
Unveiled / Entered Service
1952
T58 Heavy Tank Diagram
Status
Former Prototype
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
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Introduction

The T58 Heavy Tank was another 1950's oscillating turret design for a suitable heavy tank for the US Army. Unlike the T57 and T77, the size of the main gun meant the autoloader and ammunition drum were located in the turret bustle, much like the French AMX-13 and AMX-50.

Background

Whilst some in the US Army felt that the 120mm main gun of the T43 (would later be accepted into service as the M103 Heavy Tank) and T57 oscillating turret project would be sufficient against Russian Heavy Tanks, the decision to develop an oscillating turret with a 155mm main gun was made in late 1951.

In 1952 the United Shoe Machinery Corporation was appointed to develop a new oscillating turret mounting the 155m T7 main gun, which was had a low muzzle velocity and could penetrate over 400mm of steel with a HEAT round.

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 T7 main gun, rather than the gun working independently of the turret.

The T7 main gun was fitted with a recoil spring mounted dampening system to avoid the turret being any bigger than it already was, which restricted it roughly to a 12 inch recoil.

The enormous size of the main gun and the weight of its shell made for a rather interesting auto loading system. Each round was 2 parts. The physical shells were stored in a ready bin in the hull. The loader would then use a powered host to lift them out and raise them to the loading mechanism where he would push it into the ammunition drum, which could store six rounds of different ammunition (HEAT, HEP or HESH). The loader would then crank a handle to spin the drum to align it with the rammer, which would then push the round and charge into the guns breach ready for the gunner to pull the trigger.

Like the T57, the T58 turret was married to a T43 hull. It’s not clear if this was the intended hull should the T58 turret have been accepted into service, but was most likely used to move the turret around during the testing.

Like all the oscillating turret projects, the T58 project was terminated in 1957.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
155m T7
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, commanders 50 cal machine gun
Ammunition Storage
?
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