T58 155mm gun tank

The 155mm gun tank T58 was designed to fire HEAT and HESH shells and used an oscillating turret in an attempt to save weight.

In October 1951 the US Army decided to develop a new 150mm gun tank, which would be used to fire shaped charge projectiles (HEAT) or squash head shells (HEP in the US, HESH elsewhere).

The original plan was to use the high velocity 155mm gun T80, but HEAT and HEST shells don't rely on speed for their impact. HEAT shells use a shaped charge to create a hypervelocity jet that punches a hole through armour, with the speed coming from the chemical reaction that creates the jet, and not the speed of the original shell. HESH shells spread a layer of plastic explosive across the outside of a tank before detonating it, and send shock waves through the armour into the crew compartment. In both cases the shells retain their full effectiveness at long range. This allowed the designers to use a modified 155mm gun T7, as earlier used on the Heavy Tank T30.

The oscillating turret was designed to save weight. The gun would be fixed in position, eliminating the need for any elevation gear inside the turret. This allowed the height of the turret to be reducing, saving weight on armour. The main body of the turret was attached to a cast yoke, which was then mounted on the turret ring. To change the elevation of the gun the upper part of the turret would be moved backwards or forwards. On the similar 120mm gun tank T57 the oscillating turret also acted as the recoil mechanism, but on the T58 a four cylinder hydrospring recoil system was installed instead. The T58 was 12,500lb lighter than the Heavy Tank T30.

The turret contained a six round automatic loader. The human loader's role was to place the correct cartridges and projectiles in the auto-loader's magazine, using an electrically powered hoist to move the 95lb projectiles. The auto-loader would ram the cartridge and projectile into the gun and remove the previous cartridge. The turret contained three men - the loader, the gunner and the commander. The driver was located in the hull front.

The characteristics of the new tank were laid out on 18 January 1952, and approved on 10 April. A contract to produce two pilot turrets and install them on two T43E1 (M103) chassis then went to the United Shoe Machinery Corporation (the other USMC), despite the title a major precision engineering firm.

Work on the pilots continued into 1956, and at least one turret was installed on a chassis. Both turrets had been built by the time the project was cancelled on 17 January 1957. Both were then scrapped.

Length with gun: 425.8in
Hull Length: 275.3in
Hull Width: 143.0in
Height: 125in
Crew: 4
Weight: 132,000lb combat weight
Engine: 810hp Continental AV-179 air cooled V-12
Max Speed: 22 mph
Max Range: 80 miles road range
Armament: 155mm Gun T180 and coaxial .30in MG in turret, one .50inn AA gun on turret hatch






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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 April 2017), T58 155mm gun tank , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_T58_155mm_gun_tank.html

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