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M40 Gun Motor Carriage

155mm Self-Propelled Artillery

United States | 1945

"The M40 appeared late in World War 2 but played a large role in the upcoming Korean War."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/14/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
With the conversion of M3 Lee Medium Tanks to the successful 155mm-armed M12 Gun Motor Carriage, work began on an improved type based on the better M4 Sherman chassis. However, the M3 modifications utilized existing stocks of the old French-based M1917 artillery guns which were well beyond their prime and expectedly in short supply. As such, the 155mm M1 "Long Tom" rifles were mated to the Sherman M4A3 model chassis to create the "M40 Gun Motor Carriage" - known in its official U.S. Army longform as "155mm Gun Motor Carriage M40". While much of the components of the Sherman M4A3 were retained, the hull was widened some to compensate for the massive gun and mounting hardware.

The M40 appeared in pilot form as the "T83" prototype. Upon successful completion, the vehicle was adopted into service as the M40. However, it was not shipped in suitable numbers to Europe for combat use - in fact only a single prototype was used operationally. Production from the Pressed Steel Car Company did yield some 311 examples (some state up to 420) - the first in February of 1945 - but these arrived too late for service in the conflict and the large drawdown of American military goods stopped manufacture of the complete 600-strong stock originally envisioned. The M40 was not standardized in U.S. Army service until May of 1945.

Nevertheless, the M40 replaced the outgoing M12 models and these also entered service with the British Army (as the "155mm SP, M40 Cardinal"). It was available in number by the time of the Korean War (1950-1953) where it provided good service for ground forces.

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As completed, the M4 Sherman origins of the M40 could clearly be identified, particularly at the sloping glacis plate at front. Running gear included six road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front and track idler at rear. The crew numbered eight and included the driver, commander, and up to six of the gunnery crew. All told, the vehicle weighed some 40 tons with 12mm of armor protection and its 155mm main gun barrel. Dimensions included a length of 29 feet, 10 inches, a width of 10 feet, 4 inches and a height of 8 feet, 10 inches. Power was served through a Continental R975 EC2 gasoline engine of 340 horsepower. This provided the vehicle with a maximum road speed of 24 miles per hour and a range of 105 miles. Suspension was through the same Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS) arrangement seen in the Sherman M4A3 model.

The 155mm main gun fired a 95lb explosive shell out to 25,175 yards. It sat atop a complex recoil mechanism and structure that allowed for the necessary elevation. Onboard storage allowed for twenty of the massive 155mm shells to be carried so the M4A1 tractor served to tow an M23 ammunition trailer.

The T89 Howitzer Motor Carriage (detailed elsewhere on this site) was a related M40 development though mounting an even more powerful 203mm howitzer system. The vehicle was standardized in November of 1945 - missing out on action in World War 2 - and was designated as the M43 Howitzer Motor Carriage in service. These chassis was convertible back to M40 forms if needed.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the M40 Gun Motor Carriage 155mm Self-Propelled Artillery.
1 x Continental R975 EC2 engine delivering 340 horsepower.
Installed Power
24 mph
38 kph
Road Speed
106 miles
170 km
The physical qualities of the M40 Gun Motor Carriage 155mm Self-Propelled Artillery.
29.9 ft
9.1 meters
O/A Length
10.3 ft
3.15 meters
O/A Width
8.9 ft
2.7 meters
O/A Height
80,028 lb
36,300 kg | 40.0 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the M40 Gun Motor Carriage 155mm Self-Propelled Artillery.
1 x 155mm M1 / M2 main gun
20 x 155mm projectiles carried. Ammunition trailer supplying additional projectiles.
Nightvision - NONE
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE
Notable series variants as part of the M40 Gun Motor Carriage family line.
T83 - Prototype Designation
155mm Gun Motor Carriage M40 - Formal Designation
M40 Gun Motor Carriage - Base Series Designation beginning March of 1945.
155mm SP M40 - British Army Designation
250mm Mortar Motor Carriage T94 - Single Prototype Example appearing in 1946; never produced.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the M40 Gun Motor Carriage. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 600 Units

Contractor(s): Pressed Steel Car Company - USA
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[ United Kingdom; United States ]
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Image of the M40 Gun Motor Carriage
Image courtesy of the Public Domain.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The M40 Gun Motor Carriage 155mm Self-Propelled Artillery appears in the following collections:
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