Heavy Tank T28/ 105mm Gun Motor Carriage T95

The Heavy Tank T28/ 105mm Gun Motor carriage T95 was a heavily armoured vehicle that was designed to attack fortified positions.

The US Ordnance Department believed that a very heavily armoured and armed vehicle would be needed after the D-Day landings, to take on heavily fortified areas such as the Atlantic Wall or the German West Wall. Work on the design for this tank began in September 1943. The original specification was for a tank with 8in of frontal armour, armed with the 105mm gun T5E1 and using a promising electric drive system that had been developed for the Heavy Tank T1E1 (unofficially the M6A2). The armour would make the tank impervious to all known enemy tanks, while the 105mm gun fired shells that were very effective against concrete. Not many vehicles would be needed, so the original plan was to produce 25 tanks in eight-twelve months. They would thus have been ready for the invasion of Germany.

The Army Ground Forces only wanted three pilots, using a mechanical transmission. In March 1944 the Army Service Forces approved five vehicles (to be built by Pacific Car & Foundry) , as the Heavy Tank T28. These would be 95 ton vehicles, with 12in of frontal armour. The T28 would carry its gun in the hull front, to reduce the height of the vehicle. The 105mm gun was carried in a round mount, with a traverse of 10 degrees and an elevation of -5 to +20 degrees. It would carry a crew of four - driver and gunner in the hull front, commander and loader in the rear. The only other weapon would be a .50in machine gun on a ring around the commander's cupola.

In February 1945 the Chief of Ordnance suggested that the T28 should be re-designated as the 105mm gun motor carriage T95, because it carried its gun in the hull and not in a turret. The change was approved on 8 March 1945. By now work on the project was massively delayed. Pacific Car & Foundry didn't get the basic design until May 1945, but after that worked progressed more rapidly, with the first hull complete by August 1945.

After the end of the war in the Pacific the number of pilots was reduced from five to two. The first was completed in September 1945 and delivered to the Aberdeen Proving Ground on 21 December 1945. The second was delivered on 10 January 1946. The first pilot was used for tests at Aberdeen (where it ended up travelling 541 miles), while the second went to Fort Knox, and then to Yuma, Arizona, to test floating bridges. This second pilot was later destroyed in a fire.

In June 1946 the tank was renamed once again. This time it became the Superheavy Tank T28, because it had much heavier armour than other gun motor carriages.

All work on the T28 ended in October 1947, after the war department decided to stop work on all vehicles weighting 100 tons or more. By this point the Heavy Tank T29 had also successfully proved that the 105mm gun could be carried in a conventional gun tank.

The T28/ T95 was a rather unusual design. It had a low superstructure with sloped sides that filled two thirds of the length of the track assemblies. It used for complete sets of tracks, with HVSS suspension. The outer tracks could actually be removed (taking the sloped sides of the superstructure with them), and attached together to form a separate dummy unit. This could be towed by the tank itself, or by a prime mover. The idea was to reduce the massive width of the vehicle for transport by rail or on narrow roads. There were small jibs on the side of the superstructure to help remove the outer tracks. There was also a jib at the back to load the heavy ammo into the vehicle. The T95 used the same Fort GAF engine as the M26 Pershing, despite being twice as heavy. Ut used a torqmatic transmission, and had a maximum speed of only 8mph.

Production: 2
Hull Length: 36ft 6in (with gun), 24ft 7in (without gun)
Hull Width: 14ft 4in with both tracks, 13ft 11in with inner tracks only
Height: 9ft 4in
Crew: 8
Battle Weight: 190,000lb
Engine: 410hp Ford GAF V-8 petrol
Max Speed: 8mph
Max Range: 100 miles
Armament: One 105mm T5E1 gun, one .50 Browning MG
Armour: 25-300mm

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 March 2017), Heavy Tank T28/ 105mm Gun Motor Carriage T95 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_heavy_tank_T28_105mm_GMC_T95.html

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