Steam Wheel Tank

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Steam Wheel Tank
The Steam Wheel Tank
Place of origin  United States
Weight 17 tons
Length 22 ft 3 in
Width 10 ft 1 in
Height 9 ft 10 in
Crew 6

Armor .23" to .63"
2× six-pounder cannon
2× machine guns
Engine 2 steam

The Steam Wheel Tank was a U.S.-produced, prototype armoured fighting vehicle built by the Holt Manufacturing Company (now Caterpillar Inc.). Developed sometime between late 1916 and early 1917, it was the third tank to be designed in the U.S. The prototype was completed in February 1918 and was evaluated between March and May 1918 at Aberdeen Proving Ground. It performed poorly and was not developed further.


Although it is often assumed that the vehicle was a tadpole configuration (with two driving wheels at the front), a senior Holt executive and the Aberdeen Proving Ground's report state that it was a delta configuration (with the large wheels at the rear), and that the vehicle drove like a conventional agricultural tractor.[1]

The two driving wheels were eight feet in diameter with three-foot-wide treads, and a four-foot diameter roller, used for steering, was sited at the front. The rear wheels were made from pressed-steel sheet, the same as those used on Holt agricultural machinery of the period. A small plate was attached to the roller to assist in crossing trenches. Each rear wheel was driven by a Doble two-cylinder 75 horsepower steam engine and a Doble kerosene-fired boiler.

The vehicle's armament comprised 2 six-pounder cannons, mounted in sponsons, and two machine guns. Its riveted armour plating was between six and fifteen millimetres thick.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Crismon p84
  • Rigsby, Tim. "Steam Wheel Tank". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  • Crismon, F.W. (1992) U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles. Motorbooks International
  • Automotive Historical Records: Volume III, Tanks and Combat Cars, (Automotive Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 1945)

External links[edit]