The T110 120mm Heavy Tank Project

Today’s post is on the T110 120mm heavy tank project. While I cite numerous sources for this article I must point out that it is the work of author Hunnicutt which is the authoritative and most influential of all reference materials.

Initiated on December 3, 1954, the T110 120mm heavy tank project began (Estes). Prior work had begun on October 30 for cannons to be used in this project, the T204 and T179, 120mm cannons. On September 18, 1956 the project would be canceled in light of the success of the  T43 project which would lead to the M103 (Estes). The T110 began life as concept TS-31 and was given to Chrysler Corporation with their proposal being the 120mm gun tank T110 (Hunnicutt). There were multiple versions of the T110 that were proposed. The initial proposal was rejected as its dimensions would of prohibited the vehicles passage through the Berne International Tunnel, a requirement for the project (Hunnicutt). A further requirement was that the vehicle have a 50 ton weight limit (Hunnicutt). As design progressed the  T123E1 was selected as the cannon (Hunnicutt). All total there were five T110 designs (Hunnicutt). The names Chrysler and Detroit Arsenal should be considered interchangeable when reading on the development of this tank. To be clear the Detroit Arsenal, or Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant (DATP) was established by Chrysler but owned and by the United States government and alternately would be Army operated or contractor operated (“Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant”). Chrysler operated the facility during the development of the T110; having regained it from the Army in 1952 (“Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant”).

The five proposals:

  1. Proposal 1 – initially rejected as the cupola arrangement would have prohibited the vehicles passage through the Berne International Tunnel. Redesigned so that the cab width was reduced to 124″ and commander relocated to center rear; the nose shortened; and fuel removed from the front. AV-1790 engine selected; XTG-500 transmission; flat-track suspension (Hunnicutt).

  2. Proposal 2 – redesign of proposal 1 with transmission relocated to engine compartment; cupola removed; fuel moved to front with the driver to the left; AOI-1490 engine selected; XTG-500 transmission; traditional suspension (Hunnicutt).

    Proposal 2

    Proposal 2

  3. Proposal 3 – the main gun was placed in a rigid mount for this proposal. This proposal was fraught with problems with regards to power plant mounting; engine and transmission issues; grill area issues (Hunnicutt).

    Proposal 3

    Proposal 3

  4. Proposal 4 – this proposal placed an AOI-1490 engine and XTG-510 transmission in rear; rear deck infrared sheilding; rigid gun emplacement; both .50 and .30 caliber machine guns; a T53 OPTAR range finder; a T156 telescope as the main gun site and a M16A1 periscope as the secondary sitting mechanism. The commander was placed in the center towards the rear; the gunner on the left of the gun mount; and the driver at the right of the gun mount. This vehicle had a limited turret traverse (Hunntington).
  5. Proposal 5 – this design was for a vehicle with a turret capable of a full 360 degree traverse. This design many standard components including the same turret traverse ring as the M103 series. This design had a crew of four; with the gunner and the commander to the left of the main gun. This design had a power rammer for the main gun; a commander’s override system; a T53 OPTAR range finder. A full size mock up was made of this vehicle (Hunntington).

    Proposal 5

    Proposal 5

A document reflecting specifications for the T95, T96, and  T110:

Project T95 used the OPTAR range finder (“The Chieftain’s Hatch: Rangefinding.”); just as was called for in the fourth and fifth T110 designs. Utilizing pulse lights, the OPTAR range finder could determine the range by timing the reflection of light from the target; although it suffered from a scattering effect (Hunnicutt).

A T95 with an OPTAR rangefinder; as was intended for the fourth and fifth T110 designs.

A T95 with an OPTAR rangefinder; as was intended for the fourth and fifth T110 designs.

The video game World of Tanks represents three of the proposed T110 designs as vehicles in game; as the T110E3, the T110E4, and the T110E5, representing the third, fourth, and fifth proposals respectively.

Works Cited:

1. Estes, Kenneth W. M103 Heavy Tank 1950-74. Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2012. eBook.

2. Hunnicutt, R. P. Firepower: A History of the American Heavy Tank. Presidio, 86, 130, 172 – 176. Print.

3. “T110E3.” World of Tanks Wiki. Wargaming.net, 20 Mar 2013. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://wiki.worldoftanks.com/T110E3>.

4. “T110E4.” World of Tanks Wiki. Wargaming.net, 18 April 2013. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://wiki.worldoftanks.com/T110E4>.

5. “T110E5.” World of Tanks Wiki. Wargaming.net, 10 May 2013. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://wiki.worldoftanks.com/T110E5>.

6. “The Chieftain’s Hatch: Rangefinding.” World of Tanks. Wargaming.net. Web. 25 May 2013. <http://worldoftanks.com/news/2351-chieftains-hatch-ragefinding/>.

7. United States. HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. DIRECT SUPPORT, GENERAL SUPPORT, AND DEPOT MAINTENANCE REPAIR PARTS AND SPECIAL TOOLS LIST TELESCOPE M97 (1240-360-1593), M97G (1240-732-1470) AND M97H (1240-732-1469). Washington DC: , 1970. Print.

8. “Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 15 Nov 2012. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Arsenal_Tank_Plant>.

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