Thursday, June 26, 2014

M48 Main Battle Tank




The M48 Patton MBT was utilized to good effect in Vietnam, though it was far from the perfect jungle tank.

The M48 Patton Main Battle Tank was effectively the first tank engineering design in post-war America. The M46 and M47 Patton versions were merely developments of the World War Two M26 Pershing, which in itself, was a development of the M4 Sherman chassis.


The M48 Pattons underwent a modernization program in the 1970's and became known as the M48A5 featuring the more powerful 105mm main gun. The weapon system saw limited action in the Korean War and extensive action in the Vietnam War. The M48 Patton was the first tank to arrive in Vietnam with the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in 1965.


The M48 is named after famed World War Two US General George S. Patton, Jr., and is in the family of the Patton series of tanks that include the aforementioned M46 Patton and M47 Patton along with the M60 Patton Main Battle Tank.


The M48 is no longer in a frontline service role for the US Army.


Nearly 12,000 M48s were built from 1952 to 1959. The early designs, up to the M48A2C's, were powered by a gasoline 12-cylinder engine which was coupled with an auxiliary 8-cylinder engine (called the "Little Joe"). The gasoline engine gave the tank a short operating range and were prone to catching fire when hit. This version was considered unreliable but numerous examples saw combat use in various Arab-Israeli conflicts. They also were prone to fire when the turret was penetrated and the hydraulic lines ruptured spewing hydraulic fluid (nicknamed "cherry juice" because of its red color) at high pressure into the crew compartment resulting in a fireball. The flashpoint was too low, less than 300 °F (150 °C), causing many burns and deaths to crew members. Beginning in 1959, most American M48s were upgraded to the M48A3 model which featured a diesel power plant. M48s with gasoline engines, however, were still in use in the US Army through 1968 and through 1975 by many West German Army units including the 124th Panzer Battalion.




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Conqueror Tank

The British-produced Conqueror was designed to be fielded in conjunction with the hugely successful Centurion Main Battle Tank (still in service in many parts of the world today) in post-war Europe. The system was classified as a heavy tank and charged with long-range fire support on the battlefield, wielding it's large-caliber 120mm rifled main gun.


As heavy tanks go, the Conqueror (from the official designation of FV214), was derived from a series of universal chassis design that was to make up the future of British armored forces. To go along with the mammoth chassis, the base Centurion turret - in full - was mounted to make the Conqueror in essence, a heavy gun tank version of the Centurion itself. With production covering a mere three years, few Conqueror forces were fielded in any quantitative value alongside Centurion groups.


The Conqueror maintained several benefits over the Centurion as a whole, but was sorely lacking in other areas of major importance. The Conqueror's long range main armament of 120mm pattern, along with 39 projectiles, was a definitive advantage over the 105mm Centurion tank. A coaxial 7.62mm and a commander's mounted 7.62mm machine gun complimented the Conqueror's main gun. Additionally, as with most heavy tanks, armor was another inherent benefit and the Conqueror did not disappoint in that area. Unfortunately, the system's sheer size, lack of mobility cost/troubles of maintaining the complex system would limit both production and fielding of the Conqueror.


In all, just about 200 Conquerors were ever produced. With the vision of a universal family of chassis being unfulfilled, the design produced just two notable additions in the form of an Armored Recovery Vehicle and a heavy self-propelled anti-tank weapon system. The Conqueror would not see the production successes of its predecessor, the Chieftain, but it would nevertheless find a footnote in the history of British armored warfare.


Variants:
FV214 "Conqueror" - Official Production Model Series
FV219 ARV Mk 1 - Armored Recovery Vehicle based on the FV200 chassis.
FV215b - Heavy Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun based on the FV200 chassis.
FV 221 Caernarvon - test bed for the 120 mm main gun
FV 222 - Conqueror Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) 


Specifications:

Length: 37.99ft (11.58m)
Width:13.09ft (3.99m)
Height: 10.99ft (3.35m)
Performance:
Speed: 21mph (34km/h)
Range: 96miles (155km)


Accommodation: 4
Weight: 71.7 US Short Tons (65,000kg)
Engine(s): 1 x 12-cylinder pertrol engine generating 810bhp.
1 x 120mm main gun
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
1 x 7.62mm machine gun (commander's cupola)
35 x projectiles

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