The Chieftain’s Hatch: T40/M46

Over at the Chieftain’s Hatch section of the WoT forum, Nickolas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part 1 of an article looking at the history of the US M46 medium tank.


chieftains hatchAs it is well known, the M26 Pershing was not an unqualified success. By the end of WW2, deficiencies in the vehicles, many of which were already known even at the time of fielding, became reinforced. Thus, a general improvement program was started, the T40 which ultimately would become M46. It turned out that improving a tank isn’t always all that easy…

The program for T40 really kicked off in the first half of 1948, as a series of conferences between Army Field Forces and Ordnance Dept culminated in a number of changes, particularly to the power train, but also notably weapon and suspension, in what would become the M46. As an improvement of an extant design, tests of the ten T40s were relatively brief. In fact, M46 was standardised by the Ordnance Committee in July 1949, the month before the first T40 showed up at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds!

This did not, however, provide adequate time for field service testing. It’s one thing to run a vehicle around the test track for a couple hundred miles, it’s another to really run them through the grinder on the training grounds. As a result, the Army Field Forces Board #2 (i.e. Armored Board) received four of them to test out while the production run started.

Read the full article here.

The Chieftain on WW2 US gyrostabilizer issues

chieftains hatchOver 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.

Read the full article here.

WoT’s Chieftain posts new article: US Centurion Part 2

chieftains hatchWorld of Tanks researcher Nicholas Moran, aka “The Chieftain” has published part 2 of his article on US testing of the Centurion III tank.  Part one dealt with the US assessment of the Centurion III’s fighting compartment.  Part 2 deals with automotive tests.  This picture of “damaged parts of clutch assembly” should give the reader a hint of how the tests went.


The full article is available to read at The Chieftain’s Hatch.