Over at the World of Tanks forum, Nicholas Moran “The Chieftain” has published a new article summarizing a report he found in the archives from the Armored Board on the issue of tank gun stabilizers. US tanks had a gyrostabilizer system on the main gun starting with the M3 Medium tank, a feature no other country could brag of. However, many sources note that the stabilizer system was not popular with US crews and was often not used or disabled. The Armored Board noticed that troops were not satisfied with the stabilizer and so in April of 1944 they commissioned a study of the issue. The Chieftain’s summary of the study is essentially that the stabilizer worked, but that US troops were not trained to effectively make use of it.
1. The “secret” and “confidential” classification of the gyrostabilizer during the early stages of its use was the cause of much ignorance in its employment and maintenance, and led to a hesitancy on the part of officers and men to make any use of it; consequently, when gunnery was attempted, the device was usually inoperative. This led to all but a few organisations abandoning its use. Those few, including the 3rd Armored Division and the 753rd Tank Battalion, have promoted the use of the gyro and believe that it is a useful instrument. The 3rd Armored Division went so far as to devise a very useful gadget, a sliding weight, so designed that the gun could be breech-heavy without the gyro, and balanced with the gyro. When TM 17-12 was published with a statement that the gyro should not be used beyond 600 yards, the men of the 3rd Armored Division were disappointed because they had been using it successfully at greater range. The 753rd Tank Battalion has reported outstanding success in the use of the gyrostabilizer against enemy tanks in Italy.
2. Many reports of the unreliability of the gyrostabilizer in combat areas have been received. This reliability is in all probability caused by:
a: Old type equipment, now obsolete
b: Lack of training in simple first and second echelon maintenance.