I've been reading up a lot lately about superweapons and crazy military vehicle ideas from all over the world. These range from flying tanks to jetpacks and everything in between. While most of them just make me chuckle and a few of them have been added to my list of must-build projects, I figured it would be a good idea to share a few of my favorites here in my blog.
First up: the T-28 Superheavy Tank:
When it comes to gigantic WWII tanks, the Germans seemed to have had the majority of the loose screws. Still, once the US Army got wind of wind of the German Maus superheavy tank, they decided to build a ridiculously gigantic tank of their own. This American giant was dubbed the T-28 and two prototypes were built. To give you an idea of how big it was, here's a shot from Time magazine showing one of the prototypes between an M-22 light tank and a howitzer self-propelled gun:
The T-28 was armed with a 105-mm main gun and had just enough room in the magazine for 62 rounds. With 12-inch thick armor plating, this beast weighed in at 100 tons. By contrast, the ubiquitous Sherman tank of World War II weighed around 30 tons and today's M1 Abrams is around 66 tons.
In order to keep all of that weight from sinking it into the ground, the T-28 needed an extra-wide set of tracks on either side. The solution: add a whole second set of tracks outboard of the original set. At just a shade under fifteen feet wide, this tank was so wide that it couldn't fit down many European streets, so the outside set of tracks could be unbolted from the hull, bolted to each other, and towed behind the tank itself:
The T-28 was fitted with a Ford GAF V-8 gasoline engine, cranking out 500 horsepower. This gave it a top speed of 8mph and severely limited the tanks ability to climb over obstructions. It was also too heavy to make use of any of the Army's portable bridge systems.
Unfortunately, the two prototypes weren't delivered until after the war was over. One had the main gun mounted in the hull and the other had a more conventional rotating turret. During field testing, the turreted model was destroyed by an engine fire. The surviving prototype was determined to be too slow for mass production and before improvements could be made, the T-30 was developed with a 155-mm main gun and a 700hp engine.
The remaining prototype was discovered abandoned in a field in the 1970s and now resides at the Patton Tank museum:
I want one. But then I suppose I need to finish building my Sherman first.