A more modern American diesel engine with the same power turned out to be much smaller than the Soviet one and made it possible to rearrange the engine compartment, allocating space for the rear "tunnel" in it, through which the crew can leave the car under enemy fire if necessary.
It is believed that after the end of the Second World War, American tank building was in a state of hibernation, from which the Korean War forced him to wake up. This led to rapid development and launch into a series of heavy classic tank M103. Already in April, 1952 was presented for consideration three projects of new heavy tanks, an interesting feature of which was the use of frontal armor plates with a backward slope - it was believed that this would strengthen their security. Of greatest interest was the third project, according to which it was supposed to install an 175-mm cannon with an automatic loader on the tank. The weight of the machines was supposed to be 62 tons. True, all these projects were rejected, but it became obvious that promising tanks needed even greater broadening of the turret charm, up to the diameter of 2,7 m, which allowed the use of a tower with a low silhouette and a higher level of armor protection.
Experienced towers under such a shoulder strap were tested already in 1954, and the tests confirmed the engineers' assumptions. This was followed by new designs of a heavy American tank with various options for installing guns, including the 105-mm smoothbore tank gun T120. In the process of developing a design of a tank with an 105-mm gun, it turned out that the turret with it could well be installed on the chassis of the new medium tank T95, which received the designation T95-X4. However, this tank seemed to the American military too revolutionary, which is why it was eventually rejected in favor of the more traditional M60.
After the French, the Americans also experienced several cars with “swaying” towers and an automatic loader. On some of them, for example the T58 tank, even an 152-mm gun was installed. But despite the obvious convenience of this scheme, for universal tanks of the US Army, it turned out to be unsuitable only because the junction between the upper and lower parts of the turret could not be reliably sealed. Meanwhile, it was during these years that the tank began to install protection systems against weapons mass destruction, and the tanks themselves were supposed to be used on the edge of a tactical nuclear strike. It is clear that any leakage of armor joints under these conditions would nullify all the efforts to protect the crew, which is why such towers took root only in France, as well as on French-built tanks in a number of nuclear-free countries.
In France itself, the “swinging” FL 10 type towers were placed not only on tanks, but also on EBR 90 armored cars - a very futuristic vehicle design with two pairs of all-metal wheels in the middle of the hull, which could be lowered and raised. In fact, it was not even so much an armored vehicle, as a highly original wheeled tank with solid armament and reservation. When driving on the highway, two pairs of middle wheels were raised, and the car could move along it at high speed. However, when she moved out onto the ground, these wheels immediately sank, which helped her to mix easily on the road.
Armored car EBR90 with a swinging tower FL 10
In the USA, the experiments on the tanks with a swinging turret were considered unpromising, and it was decided to return to the project of a heavily armed tank with an 120-mm gun, which could fight Soviet tanks at a great distance. The first project received the designation T110, but was rejected by the military because of too large dimensions of the machine, which did not allow its transportation on a railway platform through the tunnels of the standard sample. In the process of evolution of the project, the tank received the casemate, then the tower location of the gun, and its drivers were moved to the nose of the hull, then to the fighting compartment. One of the problems of a tank with a casemate deployment of weapons was the mask of a cannon, which was supposed to be 230 mm thick armor, but at the same time would weigh 2 tons. In addition, according to American standards, the corners should be provided with vertical fire from + 20 ° to -10 ° That was difficult for the casemate scheme, especially in the case of a downward inclination of the trunk. Of course, you could do with smaller angles. But here, the designers apparently remembered the experience of the British, who, using the example of their heavy tank, the Conqueror, could see that the declination angle -7 ° was not sufficient for low-lying targets, and kept the same angle unchanged.
English experimental tank "Centurion" Mk. III with 120-mm tool L1
American heavy tank M103
As a result, the Americans again returned to the turret version, and it turned out that in this case it is possible to completely meet the assumed mass of the machine in the 50 t. The tank received an epaulet of 2,15 m in diameter - the same as the МХNUMX tank, but its crew was reduced to four exceptions second loader. The project entered the official stage and was made in a full-size mockup, but by this time the Americans decided to abandon the development of the T103 program, and in relation to the M110 tank, limit it to upgrading.
The interest of the military in designing new heavy tanks instantly found a response among various firms that offered them their often very original designs. One of them was the project of the heavy tank “Hunter” (“Hunter”), presented in September 1953.
Project of the American heavy tank "Hunter"
The final version of the tank had a rather unusual body shape and two 105-mm guns, stabilized in two planes and firing active-projectiles. The driver was located in the center of the car behind a heavily inclined armor plate. Behind him between the two guns in a small single-seat tower was the gunner. In this case, the guns themselves had a rigid attachment to the tower and were equipped with automatic loaders for seven shells each, with the rate of fire of each of the guns up to 12 rpm. Considering that 80 shells were still in the tank hull, its total ammunition was 94 projectile - an excellent indicator for any machine of this type.
The tank should also have a strong machine-gun armament, consisting of two 7,62-mm machine guns, paired with guns, and another one or two 12,7-mm on the commander's turret. The workplace of the tank commander was covered by a rising roof section. To the left of the commander, immediately behind the guns, there was a loader, replenishing the automatic loaders of both guns.
The rising section of the roof limited the horizontal firing angle of the tower 200 °, and a full circular attack could be carried out at the elevation of the guns at 20 °. The engine had a hydraulic transmission that powered the 12 hydraulic motors running on each of the road wheels. Such a running gear allowed the tank to move, even after losing one of the tracks or several road rollers, and to use cast rubber tracks.
“Hunter” turned out to be very squat and low-power, which, together with the use of booking using elements from ceramics, would provide him with good protection against cumulative projectiles.
Since the entire roof of the commander’s compartment was hinged and hydraulically actuated, it could be easily opened, if necessary, both for leaving the damaged tank and for maintaining it. Nevertheless, the revolutionary nature of the project did him a disservice, because of the conservatism of the military, its development was eventually discontinued. Interestingly, as one of the reasons for the rejection of this machine, pointed to the difficulty of sealing the shoulder strap of a small tower, recessed inside the case.
It is possible that there could accumulate water, as well as various metal debris, such as fragments of a projectile, which, in turn, could easily lead to breakdowns of the mechanisms of rotation of the tower, especially in winter.
Project of the American heavy tank H-3
In August, 1955 considered projects of tanks with cermet armor and 120-mm gas-dynamic tools with a gaseous propellant from a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen and helium. It was assumed that the armor penetration of such a weapon using a sabot projectile with a diameter of 30 mm would be 150 mm at an angle of 60 ° at a distance of 2000 m. tank at the level of 30 t.
Two other projects included tank armament with a low-impulse gun of 120-mm caliber for firing a high-explosive projectile at a distance of 1000 m, and for fighting tanks at long distances - installing guided missiles on it. At the same time, the driver had to be in the turret on all three tanks of this project.
American "atomic tank" project TV-1
However, the most unique was to be the American "atomic tank," that is, a tank driven by a small-sized nuclear reactor placed directly in the car. According to one of the projects, the weight of the tank should have been 70 t, with the thickness of its frontal armor up to 350 mm.
Armament - modified 105-mm gun Т140. The power plant of the tank, in addition to a small-sized nuclear reactor with an open gas circuit of the coolant, also included a gas turbine, which received gas from the reactor and put it into action. It was believed that such an installation would provide the engine with up to 500 hours of continuous operation at maximum power, but at the same time, few of the project authors doubted that the “atomic tank” would be very expensive, and due to the high level of radiation and unsafe for it own crew, which will have to be changed very often to prevent people from getting high doses of radiation.
Extremely interesting and original heavy tanks were developed at that time in the USSR, where the design of a new Soviet heavy tank was also practically started in 1955. The tank was developed immediately in two versions: the “277 object” had a diesel engine "- gas turbine, and both options differ only in the engine compartment. Elements of anti-nuclear protection were installed on the tank “278 object” for the first time. The 277-mm M-130 rifled gun had an automated loader that allowed the 65 – 10 firing rate / min. The gas turbine engine for the “15 object” was supposed to have a power of 278 l. c, however, as a result, work on these machines were stopped. In KB Z. Ya. Kotin in Leningrad, under the leadership of L. S. Troyanov, the project of a unique heavy tank on four tracks - “an 1000 object” - was created and implemented in metal. With a mass of 279, the tank had a cast turret, and its hull was welded from four cast armored blocks. The tank reservation was unprecedented for all Soviet vehicles: the maximum thickness of the turret armor on it was 60 mm. Both the tower and the hull were not penetrated by domestic X-NUMX-mm and 305-mm armor-piercing shells of cumulative shells from any distance and at any angle.
Soviet experimental tank "object 278"
Soviet experienced heavy tank "object 279"
In the undercarriage of the tank, the designers used a four-track propulsion unit that provided the tank with extremely high maneuverability and precluded its landing on the bottom. But it turned out to be very difficult and time consuming to repair and maintain.
Comparing the data in time, it should be noted that the designers lost their interest in the creation of new heavy tanks both in the USA and in the USSR almost at the same time - at the turn of the 1960s, as if by some mutual agreement. But the British designers did not go for it, and all their tanks were heavier than both American and Western European machines. Considering that the mass of the tank can be increased to 60 t, they assumed that most bridges in the European TDV still have a load capacity of up to 20 t, therefore they are equally likely to fail under both the 50-ton and tank, while bridges with load-carrying capacity of 60 and 50 t are fairly uniformly distributed in Europe. It was noted that light and low, but at the same time possessing powerful armor and armament, Soviet tanks can perfectly fight on open plains. However, on the territory of Germany, which in the event of a new war, they would have to pass, they would be on the ground more suitable for infantry action, and their high mobility was no longer a trump card. That is why the choice of British engineers seemed more preferable to the British military. At the same time, it is easy to notice something else, namely that the technical solutions worked out by American engineers, such as: smooth-bore guns, combined cermet armor and installation of guided missiles on tanks, soon appeared in tanks designed in the USSR. But for some reason, the American military suddenly made much more traditional solutions, embodied for many years in the M60 tank.
American main tank M60AZ