At the World of Tanks forum, Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part two of his article on US post-WW2 heavy tanks. This installment of the article looks specifically at concerns expressed by the Armored Board in a report regarding the the T-29 and T-30 heavy tanks. The Armored Board seemed to have a more than a few concerns regarding heavy tanks, particularly one the topics of logistical support and transportation, as well as gun performance and armor.
The US Army wanted a tank which I’m not sure even they believed was entirely possible with the level of technology then available. There was also a level of contradiction: They wanted a gun which was capable of defeating all likely armor possible of being placed onto a tank while, at the same time, wanting sufficient armor to be proof against any gun. The armor team and the gun team must have had some interesting discussions. More importantly, note the amount of emphasis placed on strategic and operational mobility. Getting a tank to move about the battlefield doesn’t seem to have placed anywhere near as many restrictions on the design, or taken as many processing cycles, as being able to get it to the battlefield in the first place. Granted, it was not wartime, but six weeks to collect enough railway rolling stock to move a battalion of medium tanks is a significant amount of time. Getting the rarer heavy capacity flatcars would have taken even longer. There is little surprise that Transportation and Engineering corps usually placed objections to heavy tanks when they came up.
It is interesting to note the comparative value of the T29 to the T30. T30 provided no particular improvement in anti-armor lethality, which seems to have been the driving force behind the heavy-tank criterion, and did better at dealing with bunkers and infantry at the cost of a very reduced rate of fire and ammunition capacity. Did the merits of the one bigger bang outweigh the overall weight-of-shell per minute that the two types of tank could fire? Perhaps T34 would prove to be the compromise blend. After all, when the US finally did decide to build a heavy tank in the M103, they went with the 120mm.