M47 (Patton II) Medium Tank
The M47 Patton was an interim solution developed during the Korean Conflict of 1950-1953 though it did not see action in the war.
Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The M47 was another addition to the long line of main battle tanks stemming from the World War 2-era M26 Pershing "heavy tank". The Pershing, later downgraded to a medium tank, was bettered in the upcoming interim M46 Patton which became the first such tank to take on the "Patton" name - this after fabled American World War 2 General George S. Patton. The all-new M47 fell in line next only to be superseded by the much-improved M48 Patton just a short time later. The line eventually culminated in the capable M60 Patton main battle tank series of the 1960s.
With that said, the M47 was a further development of the M46 Patton, which itself was a development of the wartime M26 Pershing (externally, the entire tank family line shared many similarities in their design). Classified as a medium tank, the M47 formed the backbone of US Army and NATO forces during those critical early years of the Cold War with its escalating arms race and limited conflicts. Intended to replace both the M4 Sherman and M46 Patton classes, the M47 graduated to become the long arm of NATO for decades to follow and was ultimately produced in 8,676 examples and fielded by some 21 nations across the globe - primarily throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East. While charged to replace the M46, the M47 itself was quickly replaced in US service by the improved M48 beginning in the mid-1950s. However, it is of note that the M47 represented America's first true "all new" tank system developed since the days of World War 2.
The T42 and the Korean War
By the time of the Korean War in 1950, the mainstay force of the post-World War 2 US Army were the M26 Pershing and the M46 Patton tanks. The M46 itself was an interim solution meant to improve upon the drawbacks of the M26 - mainly in its underpowered engine (basically the same as found on the lighter M4 Sherman) and limited mobility. While the M46 fitted a better engine and improved reliability, it was still seen as nothing more than an interim solution for an all-new medium tank design was then in the works to known as the "T42". The T42 showcased a shapely, single-piece, molded turret and five double-wheeled medium-size road wheels to a track side fitted to a wide body hull. However, the ongoing war across the Korean Peninsula brought about the need for a quicker main battle tank solution without those inherent delays as found in a "ground-up" tank design program like the T42.