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The Holt 75

The source of this design has been lost to history. This sheetmetal mock up built around 1916 was advertised as the Holt Model 75 Tank. Holt did not sponsor this design. The left is the front of the tank. Either the large pipe to the left is an 8" cannon or an exhaust pipe. All guns in this picture are dummies.

The Best 75

Built in early 1917 by the C. L. Best Company. Note the wire cutter at the front, just ahead of the single front steel wheel (right side).

Holt G9---Holt G9
The Holt G9

Based on Holt's 10 ton model 75 tracked prime mover. In this picture, it looks like the vehicle has left the roadway and gotten stuck. The top speed of this monster was 3mph. The exact date of these photos are not known.

Best 75 Tracklayer
The Best 75 Tracklayer

This was a second attempt by Best to make a tank that was acceptable to the United States Military. Built in 1917, this vehicle is on deployment with the California National Guard. In that era, it was possible for private vehicles to participate in military deployments. The tank was never taken seriously.

Pioneer "Skeleton" Tank
The Pioneer "Skeleton" Tank

It may look crazy, but the idea was sound. The object was to build a tank that was light, strong, and provide less area for enemy projectiles to hit. Built by the Pioneer Tractor Company it used iron plate and standard plumbing connections. In this mock up, wood was used for the frame.

Crew 2
Weight 9 tons
Length 25'
Width 8' 5"
Height 9' 6"
Engine 2 x Beaver 422ci 4cyl 100hp each
Armor .5"
Armament never installed

1918 Studebaker
The 1918 Studebaker

Offered to the British as a pre production prototype. After testing, the British were going to purchase it as a unarmed but armored cargo carrier. The war ended before any were purchased. The only detail that has survived about this tank is that it used a 4cyl aircraft engine for power.

Christie M1919---Christie M1921---Christie M1919
The Christie M1919 and M1921

J. Walter Christie turned his considerable skills in engineering toward military tracked vehicles and came up with the M1919. Both turrets on the M1919 could turn 360 degrees. Tested at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, it turned into a disappointment for Christie and he asked testing to be halted. Christie returned again with the M1921, though rejected, it was a bit of an improvement. Both tanks could run on either track or wheel and was a true engineering marvels for their time.

Specifications - M1919
Crew 2
Weight 28,000 lbs.
Length 18' 2"
Width 8' 3"
Height 9'
Engine Christie 6cyl 1003ci, 120hp "T" head engine
Armor .5" to 1"
Armament 1 x .30cal MG
Performance 7mph (tracks) 13mph (wheels)
Specifications - M1921
Crew 2
Weight 25,305 lbs.
Length ?
Width ?
Height ?
Engine ?
Armament 1 x .30cal MG
Armor .75"
Performance ?? (tracks) 15mph (wheels)

Medium A Tank M1921---Medium A Tank M1921---Research by Ion Fonosch.
The Medium A Tank M1921

Built by the U.S. Government at the Rock Island Arsenal and similar to current British designs, this unit arrived at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in February 1922. The tank was equipped with the British cable and suspension track design. The track shoes were made of stamped steel with wooden inserts and were free to pivot. The object, besides simplicity and lighter weight was to find a way to keep the tracks from being clogged with mud. Never manufactured it did provide, as most armor produced in the United States between WW1 and WW2, testing and purposeful improvement of automotive components.

Crew ?
Weight 41,000 lbs.
Length 21' 5"
Width 8'
Height 9' 9"
Engine Murray - Tregurtha 220hp 1427ci
V12 Liberty 338hp
Packard 8cyl
Armament 1 x British 6 pounder 1 x .30cal MG
Armor ?
Performance 10 to 16mph depending on engine used

The T1 and T1E1

The second U.S. effort by the Ordinance Corps to build a successful medium tank and very close in appearance to the M1921. This tank was sometimes referred to as M1921 Phase II. Testing was performed between May 1927 to April 1932. One of the most important features of the T1 was the track was made with forged shoes with deeper profiles. Testing emphasis was placed on developing improved drive trains and steering. This is another example of a pure test vehicle. In 1932 a Liberty V12 aircraft engine was installed and the vehicle was renamed the T1E1.

Crew 4
Weight 43,900 lbs.
Length 21' 6"
Width 8'
Height 9' 5"
Engine Packard V8 1330ci 200hp or
Liberty V12 338hp
Armament 1 x 57mm or 75mm, 2 x .30cal MG
Armor .25 to 1"
Performance 14 to 25mph depending on engine used

The T2

Still surviving at the Ordinance Museum, the T2 was another test effort and built by James Cunningham & Sons Company. Once again, a heavy British influence can be seen here and is very close to the Vickers Medium of the period. Only one was ever built. Photos taken late 1931. The far right photo shows a sign attached to the rear of the tank. The sign reads "Be Good To Your Tank".

Crew ?
Weight 31,200 lbs.
Length 16'
Width 8'
Height 9'
Engine V12 Liberty 312hp 1649ci
Armament 47 or 37mm, 1 to 2 .30cal MG
Armor 1/4 to 7/8"
Performance 25mph (governed to 20mph)

usmt-ChristieM1928.jpg (23614 bytes)---Photo provided by Ion Fonosch---usmt-ChristieM1928a.jpg (21565 bytes)---Christie M1928
The Christie M1928

Presented for testing in October 1928, this vehicle suprised all by it's nimble abilities but was rejected for lack of armor, no turret, and inability to upgrade the firepower. Christie was asked to improve his design with a promise of $54,500 by the Army for another test vehicle.

Crew ?
Weight 8.6 tons
Length 17'
Width 7'
Height 6'
Engine V12 Liberty 338hp
Armament ?
Armor 1/2"
Performance 42mph (tracks) 70mph (wheels)

Christie M1931---Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch---Christie M1931
The Christie M1931

After the Army asked Christie to improve his M1928 and promised him a cash reward, Christie went to work and promptly returned with the M1931. Testing was delayed constantly due to a string of mechanical failures including a complete failure of the Liberty V12 engine (furnished at government cost). The Army said that they would purchase the vehicle - at a reduced price due to the tank's inability to pass all the reliability tests. Christie and the Army could never agree on the figure so Christie returned to his factory with his tank. Bidders were invited to manufacture the tank and in June 1931, Christie's U. S. Wheel Track Layer Corporation won the bid and proceeded to make 7 tanks for the United States. Three would become the T3 infantry tank. The remaining four would become the T1 cavalry combat car.

Christie's ideas had attracted other buyers. In a land with such great distances as the Soviet Union, there was almost a necessity for a tank that could move at high speeds on wheels or tracks. Two examples of the M-1931 were purchased and tested carefully at the tank test center in Voronesh and a new tank was quickly designed. The Kharkov "Comintern" factory produced the prototypes, but even before they were finished the Revolutionary War Council of the Soviet Union decided on May 23, 1931 that production of the new tank, designated the BT-2 should begin. Series production began in September 1931 and three new BT-2 tanks participated in the November 7th parade in Red Square - the design's greatest achievement. Thus began the BT series of quick, light tanks that would eventually lead to one of the greatest tank designs in history - the T34. The BT series (2, 5, 7) was not a combat success - as the German invasion of 1941 would quickly prove. In fact, their light armor was too thin to stop anything more than pistol shots. The wheel/track design was not a great success in a nation with too few paved roads. Using the wheels off road lead to getting stuck. Towing, using the wheels, was a failure due to only a third of the vehicle weight being placed on the "drive wheel". Though impressive on parade, this design must be judged a failure for anything other than testing. Still, and it must be said, this design would influence an entire generation of armor and that in its self is a success.

Christie T3---Christie T3---Christie T3---Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch

The Christie T1, T3, T3E2, T3E3

In 1932, seven of these improved Christie tanks were presented for testing for a total cost of $241,500 (in adjusted dollars that would be nearly $31,000,000 today based on the prices double every decade formula - and cheap by military standards). Of these seven, three would be delivered to the infantry and become the T3 Medium Tank. The remaining 4 would be called the T1 Combat Car and be given to the cavalry. Extensive tests were carried out at Ft. Benning by the 67th infantry (tanks). These showed that the cooling for the engine was not enough and the capacity was doubled in the remaining four units then being built for the cavalry. The tanks were well liked by their crews. These photos were taken at Ft. Benning in 1932.

The T3E2 (whatever happened to the E1?) was an improved version of the T3. The Ordinance Department wanted 5 to be built, but this time Christie declined to bid on the contract as he was involved designing his next amazing tank. The fire apparatus manufacturing company American LaFrance Foamite won the bid. Improvements incorporated were a larger 2 man turret, a more powerful main gun, better engine cooling, tracks with a shorter pitch, and a better rear suspension. The 2 images on the bottom are of the T3E2. Tests done at Ft. Benning showed further changes (not known to TANKS!) were needed and the improved vehicle was known then as the T3E3.

Crew 2
Weight T3 - ?
T3E2 - 28,500lbs
Length T3 - 17' 5"
T3E2 - 18' 9"
Width T3 - 7' 8"
T3E2 - 8'
Height T3 - 7' 3"
T3E2 - 7' 6"
Engine T3 - V12 Liberty 338hp
T3E2 - Curtiss TD12 1135ci 435hp
Armament T3 - M1916 37mm (infantry) 1 x .30cal MG (cavalry)
T3E2 - 1 x 37mm 5 x .30cal MG
Armor T3 - 3/16" maximum
T3E2 - 1/4 - 1/2"
Performance T3 - 27mph (tracks) 46mph (wheels)
T3E2 - 35 (tracks) 60mph (wheels)



---T4---T4E2---T4---Photo taken from John Szalay's father's army service album. Actual photo source is not listed in the book. - Photo provided by John Szalay.
The T4, T4E1 Medium Tank - T4E1, T4E2 Combat Car

Using patents purchased earlier from Christie, the Rock Island Arsenal built the T4 as shown above. Note the turret in the right picture and compare it to the Light Tank M1 Combat Car. Tests were mainly carried out on turret types and armament. Other tests included improvement of braking. Remember - Tanks could only be owned by the Infantry, Cavalry had to hide tracked vehicles from Congress by calling them "Combat Cars". Tanks were usually - though not always - fitted with a cannon plus machine guns. Cavalry Combat Cars came only with machine guns. To the best of my knowledge, the bottom two pictures are of the T4E1 and E2 Combat Cars. The middle row center and right are of the T4E1 Infantry medium tank. The rest are of the T4 Infantry medium tank. The specifications below are of the Infantry versions. Most of the testing appears to have taken place in 1937. Steering was done by a Ross Power Steering unit while on wheels or a controlled differential while on tracks.

Crew 4
Weight T4 - 19,240 lbs.
T4E1 - 20,000
Length T4 - 16' 1"
T4E1 - 16' 1"
Width T4 - 7' 7"
T4E1 - 7' 7"
Height T4 - 6' 7"
T4E1 - 6' 7"
Engine T4 - Continental 7cyl 668ci 250hp
T4E1 - Continental 7cyl 668ci 250hp
Armament T4 - ?
T4E1 - 1 x .5 cal MG 5 x .30cal MG
Armor T4 - ?
T4E1 - ?
Performance T4 - 27mph (tracks) 52mph (wheels)
T4E1 - 30 (tracks) 44mph (wheels)


T5 Phase 1

T5 Phase 3---T5E2 Phase III---T5E2 Phase III
The T5

The Ordnance Department, in an attempt to simplify the medium tank, started to turn away from Christie style engineering. The M2 Light Tank program was already successful. It was decided to use as many parts and Shown above top are the T5. The T5's upper hull was made of wood and soft steel. The middle is the T5 Phase 1. The bottom is the T5 Phase 3. Phase 2 was only a design study on paper. Phase 3 shows the much sought after high velocity 37mm cannon all others show dummy cannon.  The image in the middle shows testing using a 75mm howitzer. This testing would result in the inclusion of a 75mm gun on the M3. Note the clean appearance due to using a cast hull. Finally, the U.S. had a design worth manufacturing and just in time because the world was briskly heading into war. These photos were taken in 1937 and 1938.

M2---M2 Interior showing the sponson.

M2A1---M2A1 at Aberdeen.---M2A1---M2A1
The M2 and M2A1

The M2 is a direct result of the T5 series and was ready for production by 1939. Eighteen were built in early 1939. The center and right pictures are of the M2A1. 126 M2 and (depending on the authority) either 92 or 98 M2A1 were built at the Rock Island Arsenal. The Chrysler Corporation was gearing up to produce 1000 of these until the tactical situation in Europe showed that the German Panzer IV was using a 75mm gun. The tank was found wanting for firepower, the order cancelled, and work began on the soon to be famous M3. The top picture is of the M2, the rest are of the M2A1.

Crew 6
Weight M2 - 38020 lbs.
M2A1 - 41315 lbs.
Length M2 and M2A1 - 17' 8"
Width M2 and M2A1 - 8' 7"
Height M2 - 9' 4"
M2A1 - 9'
Engine M2 - Wright 973 radial 350hp
M2A1 - Wright R975EC2 400hp
Armament 37mm, 8 x .30cal MG
Armor 1" face hardened
Performance 26mph
Tracks 14"
Ground Pressure 18.8 psi

A short note on vehicle names

American armor, up to WW2, was named in rather bland (and if you ever served in the U.S. military you know this), unimaginative ways (it is a "bean counter" paradise). A name like M2A1 is about is inspiring to a warrior as being asked to mop out a hangar. Thankfully, the British came to the rescue. It was the British, who were used to naming their weapons and vehicles, rather than just designating them with letters and numbers, who began the practice of giving purchased American tanks the names of distinguished American cavalry men, starting the J.E.B. Stuart (M3 - M5 Stuart Light Tank), and continued with Ulysses S. Grant (M3 Grant) and Robert E. Lee (M3 Lee). It was they who named the M4 Sherman. By then, the dour Americans caught on and began to realize that adding a hero's name to a vehicle could actually create spirit! And so, thanks to the British, the Americans would name the M26 Pershing, the M24 Chaffee, the M41 Walker Bulldog, the M46, M47 and M48 Patton, the M551 Sheridan and the M1 Abrams.

The M3
The M3

Click the icon for view the M3's own special page!

The M7, T7, and T7E2

The T7 began as a test tank to study where to go next after the M3 and M5 light tanks but ended up as a medium. The pilot model was built at Rock Island in January 1942. Finally standardized as the M7 Medium Tank, International Harvester obtained a contract to build 3,000 but the contract was cancelled in favor of the M4. The tank was deemed under-powered and overweight. 7 tanks were built. In the photos above are (from left to right) the T7 (still called a light tank), an early T7E2 (still called a light tank), a late T7E2 (now called a medium tank) which became the M7 Medium Tank.

Crew ?
Weight 26,000 lbs. to 56,000 lbs. (T7E2)
Length 16' 10"
Width 7' 8"
Height 9'
Engine Wright R975 340hp
Armament 37 or 75mm (with gyro), 2 x .30cal MG
Armor .75 to 2.5"
Performance 30mph

The M4 Sherman
The M4 Sherman

Click the icon for view the M4's own special page!

The T14

A combined British and American test to make a form of super Sherman. Testing and production of the model was slow but the eventual test vehicle showed that it was much to heavy. The project slowly fizzled out as the Allies saw the end of the European War in sight and the M26 started manufacture.




The T20 Project

The series of test vehicles that lead to the M26 Pershing. From left to right, the top row shows the T20, T20E3, and the T22. Second row shows the T23, T23E3, and the T25E1. Third row shows the T26, T26E1, and T26E3. The T26E3 became the M26. Bottom row shows the further tests done with the prototypes after the T26E1 (M26) began manufacture. Shown are the T26E4 and the T26E5. The T26E5 tests were done in 1946 and now this program begins to move outside the time parameters of TANKS!


M26 Pershing with the 3rd Army in Europe.---M26 dummy. - Photo submitted by Mark Holloway.---Men of the 9th Infantry Regiment man an M-26 tank to await an enemy attempt to cross the Naktong River. - Photo submission by MarkHolloway
The M26 Pershing

By late 1943, the need for a 90mm gun armed tank reached the point that a requirement for one was issued. By this time, the T25 with HVSS suspension and the T26 with torsion bar suspension were under test. In September 1943, limited production of the T26 was ordered. The T26 had many features developed in the T20 Project including torsion bar suspension, wide center guided tracks, and a fluid drive automatic transmission. The first T26s, officially Medium Tank T26E1 reached Europe in January 1945. Their first combat occurred in February. Other combat usage was on Okinawa in the Pacific in May 1945. In May 1945 the T26E1 was officially adopted as the M26. 2,350 were built between 1944 and 1945. At first identified as a heavy tank, it was reclassified as a medium. By the time the Pershing appeared, the war was all but won by the Allies. American tanker moral was low with a feeling of technical inferiority by this point. The Pershing was a superior design that restored flagging American moral.

The following data is based on protection performance @ 30% normal angle of impact. Panther D used a 75MM 70cal gun, APCBC shell, and had 120mm armor max. Tiger II used a 88mm 71cal gun, APCBC shell, and had 185mm armor max. JS2 used a 122mm 43cal gun, APCBC shell, and had 160mm armor max. Sherman used a 76.2mm 55cal gun, HVAP shell, and had 105mm armor max. Comet used a 76.2mm 50cal gun, APDS shell, and had 101mm of armor max. Pershing used a 90mm 53cal gun, HVAP shell, and had 145mm of armor max.

Main Gun Performance Comparison
Tank (attacker)

Failure Distance

Tank (defender)


Fails at 1500M

Panther D
Panther D 75mm

Fails @ 400M


Fails @ 200M

Tiger II
Tiger II

Fails @ 1200M

Sherman M4A3E8

Fails @ 1500M

Panther D
Panther D

Fails @ 1600M

Sherman M4A3E8

Fails point blank

Tiger II

Tiger II

Fails @ 2500M



Fails @ 1500M

Panther D

Panther D Fails @ 1500M Comet
Comet Fails @ 500M Tiger II
Tiger II Fails @ 2500M Comet
Pershing Fails @ 2000M Panther D
Panther D Fails @ 600M Pershing
Pershing Fails @ 1300M Tiger II
Tiger II Fails @ 1800M Pershing
Crew 5
Weight 96,000 lbs.
Length 20' 9.25"
Width 11' 6.25"
Height 9' 1 3/8"
Engine Ford V8 GAF 1100ci 500hp @ 2600rpm
Armament 90mm M3 2 x .30cal MG 1 x .50cal MG
Armor 102mm (max)
Performance 20mph



Last Update: Thursday, February 13, 2003

Major General Winfield Scott

This page is dedicated to...
Winfield Scott

Last Update: Thursday, February 13, 2003 15:40