Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part 4 of his series of articles on the history of US tank development during WW2. This segment tells the story up to the end of the war with particular focus on T23, T28, T29, T30 and T26E3.
Last of the T23
In order to insure a completely fair evaluation of the T23 tank, Army Ground Forces had proposed in the spring of 1944 to equip the 785th Tank Battalion and expose the tank to extended field service tests in this country. Army Ground Forces was convinced that the tank was not satisfactory but did not want to be in a position of overlooking any advancement which the electric drive might accomplish. Ordnance had claimed that all the initial deficiencies found had been corrected in the ten production models, which were tested by the Armored Board in the summer of 1944. But again results were very disappointing. It was found, for example, that 300 man-hours of maintenance were required for each 100 hours of operation. The track and suspension system was inadequate; the cooling system was easily clogged with dust and prevented satisfactory operation in high ambient temperatures or dusty conditions; no steering or braking was possible if the engine failed, and finally the tank could not be operated satisfactorily at slow speeds without imposing a heavy burden on the traction motors. The Board listed 26 urgent deficiencies in this vehicle. Army Ground Forces approved the Board’s recommendation for a correction of these deficiencies and stated that if they were corrected two battalions would be equipped with the tank and sent to the theater. It was also found in the field test of the tank by the 785th Tank Battalion that the armored engine compartment grilles could not withstand even 20mm fire from the ground or plunging fire from aircraft.