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105mm Self-Propellef Howitzer

United States | 1955

"The M52 Self-Propelled Howitzer was born from the chassis and running gear of the M41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank family."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/06/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Development of what would become the M52 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) began in 1948 just prior to the Korean War (1950-1953). In its pilot form, the vehicle was known as the T98 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage in keeping with U.S. Army naming convention of World War 2 (1939-1945) for its artillery gun carriers. The vehicle was based on the chassis of the M41 "Walker Bulldog" Light Tank which was introduced in 1953 but in development beginning in 1947. Production of M52 SPH systems totaled 584 units.

The T98 pilot vehicle fielded the T96 short-barrel howitzer weapon in a welded turret featuring power-assisted traversal of 60-degrees from center. This provided some tactical flexibility for the gunnery crew as the vehicle did not have to be wholly turned to face a specific engagement direction. The mounting hardware allowed the gun barrel to raise some 65 degrees and lower to -10 for additional flexibility when ranging target areas. Unlike previous SPA/SPH vehicles of the U.S. Army, the M52 actually held its gunnery crew and driver in an enclosed turret superstructure (the driver at front-left). The total crew complement was five. The commander's position at rear-right sported a raised cupola for observation and a 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine gun for self-defense. This was supplied on a trainable pintle mount. The turret was set over the rear of the vehicle which allowed the placement of the engine in a forward compartment in the hull.

The running gear included six double-tired road wheels with a front-mounted drive sprocket. There was no track idler at rear for the fifth wheel took on this role. Four track return rollers were used with the last one slight larger in diameter than the other three. Drive power was possible through a Continental AOS-895-3 series 6-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine (500hp) as featured in the Walker Bulldog line. Road speeds reached 35 miles per hour with driving range out to 100 miles. The engine was mated to an Allison CD-500-3 cross-drive transmission system and the suspension was a torsion bar arrangement.

With ongoing testing, the M52 developed slowly, even into the Korean War years. The T98 pilot vehicle was revised in response to several issues - a key one being a larger turret ring. From this work came the evolved T98E1 model which was now referred to as a "Self-Propelled Howitzer" - no longer using the
"Motor Carriage" of the previous decade. When finally accepted for serial production, the U.S. Army ordered the type as the M52 Self-Propelled Howitzer. The Army wanted 684 units.

Production then began in January of 1951 though Army authorities felt that the vehicle was not yet ready for prime time and continued its development. With more changes - including the loss of power-assistance in the gun function - the M52 graduated to operational levels. However, this was not until 1955 and the Korean conflict had ended in a loose Armistice during 1953. The subsequent M52A1 mark simply introduced the Continental AOS-895-5 engine when it arrived for the M41 tank family.

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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 M52 SPH 105mm Self-Propellef Howitzer.
1 x Continental AOS895-3 gasoline engine of 500 horsepower.
Installed Power
The physical qualities of the M52 SPH 105mm Self-Propellef Howitzer.
10.3 ft
3.15 meters
O/A Width
10.9 ft
3.32 meters
O/A Height
65,036 lb
29,500 kg | 32.5 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the M52 SPH 105mm Self-Propellef Howitzer.
1 x 105mm howitzer gun barrel
1 x 0.50 caliber Anti-Aircraft heavy machine gun
Not Available.
Nightvision - YES.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES.
Notable series variants as part of the M52 SPH family line.
M52 - Base Series Designation
105mm Self-Propelled Howitzer M52 - Formal U.S. Army designation.
T98 Howitzer Motor Carriage - Pilot vehicle designation.
T98E1 - Pilot vehicle with increased diameter turret ring amongst other changes.
M52 - Initial Production Model
M52A1 - Version with AOS-895-5 series engine
M52T - Version for the Turkish Army with German MTU engine and other changes.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the M52 SPH. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 584 Units

Contractor(s): USA
National flag of Turkey National flag of the United States

[ Turkey; United States ]
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Image of the M52 SPH
Image from the United States Army image archives.

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 M52 SPH 105mm Self-Propellef Howitzer appears in the following collections:
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