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  • Get Inside The Tanks

  • Richard "The Challenger" Cutland

  • The M47 Patton

  • Welcome to the Muckleburgh Collection...

  • ...in Norfolk, on the East Coast of the UK.

  • Today, were going to look closely at a major tank of the Cold War...

  • ...which, even though it saw plenty of action around the world...

  • ...was in fact never used on the battlefield...

  • ...by the Americans who built it.

  • It’s the M47 Medium Tank, known as theGeneral Patton', named of course...

  • ...after the most prominent American armoured commander of World War II.

  • Background

  • The original ancestor of the M47 was the M26 Pershing...

  • ...created as a Heavy Tank very late in World War II.

  • In the limited action it saw, the Pershing proved itself a match for the Tiger II...

  • ...and the Panther, with its 90mm gun, but it was plagued with reliability problems.

  • To cure these, a new engine and transmission were introduced...

  • ...along with improved suspension.

  • There were so many changes that it was decided to redesignate it the M46...

  • ...and to formally name it after the most famous generalPatton.

  • But although the M46 acquitted itself well in Korea...

  • ...it remained essentially a stopgap...

  • ...and parallel developmen on a totally new tank was already underway.

  • As it happened, this experimental new tank performed badly in tests...

  • ...but it did have a better turret.

  • So it was decided to mount the new turret on the existing chassis...

  • ...and call it the M47 Patton.

  • Let’s examine it more closely.

  • Turret

  • The turret is without question the most striking feature of this tank...

  • ...so it’s probably a good place to start.

  • It was obviously very different...

  • ...from anything which had gone before it in the US Army.

  • It is much more sharply angled at the front and sides...

  • ...and has this very largebustleat the back.

  • On top, the M47 is conventional...

  • ...with a commander’s cupola at the rear right...

  • ...and a loader’s hatch on the other side.

  • At the front there are still two crew positions and hatches...

  • ...the driver on the left...

  • ...and the co-driver, who also doubled as the radio-operator...

  • ...and machine gunner, on the right.

  • It is worth noting here that the M47 was the last US tank...

  • ...to have a machine gun in the bow.

  • Armour

  • The turret had 101.6 mm of armour at the front...

  • ...and 63.5 mm on the side and rear.

  • The hull front also had 101.6 mm...

  • ...with 76.2 mm on the hull sides.

  • Gun

  • It mounted the 90mm gun inherited from the M26 and M46...

  • ...although by now its performance had been significantly improved and...

  • ...coupled with an optical rangefinder, proved highly effective.

  • It could penetrate up to 160mm of armour with APDS ammunition...

  • ...or 190 mm with HEAT rounds.

  • Whilst this gun in the Pershing had been more than a match for the T-34-85s...

  • ...used by the North Koreans and Chinese forces in Korea...

  • ...it would have been hard pushed to defeat the frontal armour of the IS-3s...

  • ...which emerged in the late 1940’s.

  • It carried 71 rounds of ammunition...

  • ...11 of these were carried on the left side of the turret...

  • ...with the rest in racks under the turret basket floor.

  • Secondary armament consisted of a .30 calibre machine gun in the bow...

  • ...a .50 calibre coaxial mounted machine gun in the turret...

  • ...and a further .50 calibre on the turret roof.

  • Engine & Suspension

  • Under the engine decks is the Continental AV-1790-5B engine...

  • ...already used in the M46A1.

  • One of the M47’s drawbacks was the fact that the engine...

  • ...like all US engines to that date, used gasoline and not diesel...

  • ...which resulted in a small range of about only 160km...

  • ...compared with a Diesel-engine T-54’s range of 700km.

  • The M47 inherited the compact torsion bar suspension...

  • ...from the M26 and the M46...

  • ...with a drive sprocket still at the rear, along with a transmission.

  • This made an enormous difference to the amount of interior space.

  • Inside

  • Here inside, the layout was conventional for US tanks.

  • Where I am at the moment, on the right-hand side of the turret...

  • ...was where the commander would sit.

  • Directly in front of the commander was the gunner’s position.

  • And across the breach, on the left-hand side of the turret...

  • ...was where we would find the loader.

  • To the left of the loader, you can quite clearly see the turret ammo racks.

  • The gunner controlled the traverse, elevation and firing, via these controls.

  • Turret traverse was fast, thanks to a new hydraulic system...

  • ...as opposed to the electrical one that had been used up until then.

  • The M47 had a very effective range finder, but it was tricky to use.

  • When properly used, it could deliver...

  • ...a first shot hit-probability of 50 percent...

  • ...which was amazing for its time.

  • Perhaps the driver was the biggest beneficiary of the improved technology.

  • Although the Cross Drive transmission was more complex than the old sort...

  • ...it proved reliable and much, much, easier to operate than the old lever systems.

  • A single control lever to the driver’s right operates the gearshift...

  • ..forwards and back, and the steering, left and right...

  • ...a far cry from the sweat and effort needed before.

  • In Service

  • As I said before, the US Army never actually used the M47 in anger...

  • ...but other nations did.

  • It was used by Iran, in the Iran-Iraq war...

  • ...with captured examples being recycled into the Iraqi forces...

  • ...and the Pakistani army used it in the war with India.

  • This one is in the Iraqi markings, but was originally in service in Italy.

  • When handled well they came out well...

  • ...in the 1967 war between Israel and Jordan...

  • ...the Israeli’s stated that they lost a total of 112 tanks, mostly to M47s.

  • For a tank which had such a troubled past and hurried creation...

  • ...thisstopgapproved itself a very useful weapon.

Get Inside The Tanks

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Inside the Tanks: The M47 Patton - World of Tanks

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    Ray posted on 2016/07/11
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