T29 Heavy Tank

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Heavy Tank T29
T29.Fort Knox.0007x8yr.jpg
T29 at the General George Patton Museum in 2007
Type Heavy tank
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service Trials only
Used by United States Army
Production history
Designed 1944 - 1945
Manufacturer Pressed Steel Car Company
Detroit Arsenal
Variants T29E1, T29E2, and T29E3
Specifications (T29)
Weight 141,500 lb (64.2 t) combat loaded
Length 37 ft 11.5 in (11.57 m) gun forward
32 ft 9 in (10 m) gun aft
Width 12 ft 5.5 in (3.80 m) over sand shields
Height 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m) over cupola
Crew 6 (driver, commander, gunner, 2 loaders)[1]

Armor hull front 4 in (102 mm) maximum
gun shield 11 inches (279 mm) maximum
turret front 7 in (249 mm)[1]
Main
armament
105 mm gun T5E2 (63 rounds)
Secondary
armament
2 x .50 (12.7 mm) Browning M2HB machineguns, coaxial
1x .50 M2HB flexible AA (2,420 rounds)
1x .30 Browning M1919A4, bow (2,500 rounds)
Engine 1649 cubic inch (27 liter) Ford GAC V12[1] gasoline
650 hp (480 kW) net at 2800 rpm
Power/weight 9.2 hp/tonne (net)
Transmission General Motors CD-850-1 crossdrive, three speeds (two forward, one reverse)
Suspension torsion-bar
Ground clearance 18.8 in (48 cm)
Fuel capacity 300 US gallons (1,140 liters)
Operational
range
100 miles (160 km)
Speed 22 mph (35 km/h)

The Heavy Tank T29 and Heavy Tank T34 were an American heavy tank project started in March 1944 to counter the new German heavy tanks. The T26E3 Medium Tank (that entered service as the M26 Pershing), weighing around 45 tonnes, was not considered heavily enough armed or armored to counter the Tiger II, which weighed closer to 70 tonnes. The T29 was not ready in time for the war in Europe, but it did provide post-war engineers with opportunities for testing the engineering concepts in artillery and automotive components.

Development[edit]

The T29 was based upon a lengthened version of the T26E3 hull and featured heavier armor, an uprated Ford GAC engine providing about 770 bhp (570 kW) gross, 650 bhp (480 kW) net, more comfortable controls for the driver,[2] and a massive new turret incorporating the high velocity 105 mm gun T5. It weighed approximately 132,000 lb (60 t) unstowed and 141,000 lb (64 t) combat loaded. Its maximum armour thickness was 279 mm[3] compared to 180 mm on the German Tiger II while its 105 mm gun was 7.06 m long[4] compared to the 6.29 m[5] of the Tiger II's 88 mm.Other trial models had Allison V1710 V12 engines.[6]

Developed at the same time and closely related to the T29, the T30 Heavy Tank was virtually identical but mounted a 155 mm gun T7 and featured a more powerful engine and an extra crew member to help load the gun. In 1945, with the war in Europe already over, the T29 and T30 were classified "limited procurement" and a small order proposed on the basis that their large guns and heavy armor would be useful for attacking Japanese bunkers. Army Ground Forces command, however, objected to the deployment of such heavy vehicles and the war ended before the issue was resolved, so only a small batch of pilot models were constructed.

The final variation of the T29 concept, the Heavy Tank T34, mounted a 120mm gun based upon the then-current 120mm anti-aircraft gun. This gun was designated as the 120 mm T53, which could achieve a maximum rate of fire of 5 rpm with two loaders.[7] With solid shot weighing 50 pounds, it had a muzzle velocity of 3150 feet per second. A lightweight HVAP round with a muzzle velocity of 4100 feet per second was in development. In order to balance out the longer and heavier cannon, an additional 4" of armour was welded on the rear of the turret bustle.[8] There were only two prototypes, one converted from one of the T29 pilot models and one converted from a T30. Once again, the end of the war curtailed further development, but the experience gained with the T34 was valuable in the development of the M103 heavy tank.

The T29 featured a coincidence rangefinder projecting from both sides of the turret.

There are a couple of surviving T29s at Fort Benning, Georgia. They are being stored in preparation for an Armor exhibit. One has the distinctive rangefinder, while the other does not. Both can be seen as well as many other vehicles in a fenced enclosure on 25 Infantry Regiment Road. One is located in front of the National Armor & Cavalry Museum. There is also a surviving T29 without the rangefinder at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hunnicutt, Firepower, p.197.
  2. ^ Hunnicutt, Firepower, p. 72
  3. ^ Hunnicutt, Firepower, p.198.
  4. ^ Hunnicutt, Firepower, p.216. continental length - from rear face of breech to muzzle
  5. ^ Jentz & Doyle, Kingtiger Heavy Tank 1942-45, p.8.
  6. ^ Hunnicutt, Firepower, p.198.
  7. ^ Hunnicutt, Firepower, p.217.
  8. ^ Hunnicutt, Firepower, p.94.

External links[edit]