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T30 (Heavy Tank T30) Heavy Tank (1945)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/1/2014

The T30 was another later-war American heavy tank development that would not see the light of day.

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The T30 was developed for the American Army during the latter stages of World War 2 to counter the appearance of German Army heavy tanks during Nazi Germany's "last gasp" in 1945. The T30, along with the similar T29, followed behind the T28 Super Heavy Tank development. While the T28 was essentially more akin to a self-propelled gun, the T30 and T29 designs utilized a turreted layout and were much lighter than their four-tracked forerunner - however still heavily armed and armored. Prototypes (known in the tank world as "pilots") of the T30 were being designed as early as April of 1945 - this turning out to be the end of the war in Europe - though completed forms were not made available until 1947. By then, the war in the Pacific had also concluded leaving the T28, T29 and T30 designs in limbo. Eventually, all heavy tank projects (as well as a myriad of other interesting wartime developments) were cancelled with surviving examples inevitably becoming museum pieces in the Fort Knox, Kentucky area.

The T30 made use of one of the largest guns ever fitted to an American tank - this being a 155mm T7 L/40 main gun. The main gun was fitted into a fully traversing turret protected by slab sided surfaces with rounded edges, giving the entire tank a rather high, however necessary, profile. The barrel was capped at the muzzle with a baffled muzzle brake to content with the main gun's recoil. Thirty-four projectiles of 155mm ammunition were afforded the system and crew and would have comprised both armor-piercing (AP) and high-explosive (HE) types. The main gun was supplemented by 0.50 caliber, coaxially-mounted Browning HB M-2 machine gun as well as a Browning M1919A4 0.30 caliber, bow-mounted general purpose machine gun.

The turret was set onto a conventionally arranged chassis featuring a tracked wheel assembly dominated by eight road wheels to a track side. Suspension was torsion-bar oriented and each track width was noticeably wide to contend with varying soil types. A well-sloped glacis plate protected the front of the tank by helping to deflect any incoming enemy shells by supplying awkward angles. The chassis was powered by a single Continental-brand AV1790-3 series, air-cooled, gasoline engine of 704 horsepower output. This provided for speeds up to 16.5 miles per hour on paved road surfaces, though lesser so when heading off-road.

The T30 weighed in at roughly 145,000lbs (72.5 tons). Her length was listed at 37 feet, 11.5 inches with a width of 12 feet, 5.5 inches and a height equal to 10 feet, 6 inches. A crew of six would have managed her various critical stations on the battlefield had she ever gone into production and operational service. These crew positions would have encompassed the tank commander, driver, two loaders, a gunner and a bow machine gunner. The two loaders were needed to operate and maintain the special loading function concerning the large 155mm projectiles - each weighing in at 98lbs. One loader managed the integrated crane responsible for maneuvering each shell into position while the other operated the rammer responsible for moving the shell into the firing chamber. Armor protection across all facings of the tank ran from 25mm (0.98 inches) to 280mm (11 inches) in thickness.


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Specifications for the
T30 (Heavy Tank T30)
Heavy Tank


Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: State Factories - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1945
Production: 8


Focus Model: T30 (Heavy Tank T30)
Crew: 6


Overall Length: 37.96 ft (11.57 m)
Width: 12.47 ft (3.80 m)
Height: 10.50 ft (3.20 m)
Weight: 79.9 US Short Tons (72,500 kg; 159,835 lb)


Powerplant: 1 x Continental AV1790-3 air-cooled gasoline engine delivering 704 horsepower.


Maximum Speed: 16 mph (26.5 km/h)
Maximum Range: 0 miles (0 km)


NBC Protection: None
Nightvision: None


Armament:
1 x 155mm T7 L/40 main gun
1 x 0.50 caliber coaxially-mounted heavy machine gun.
1 x 0.30 caliber bow-mounted general purpose machine gun.


Ammunition:
34 x 155mm projectiles


Variants:
T30 Heavy Tank - Base Series Designation


T30E1 - Hatch at rear of turret added to eject spent shell casings.

T30E2

T57 - Oscillating turret with automatic loader.


Operators:
United States