Medium Tank T2

The Medium Tank T2 was a 15ton tank that was judged to be the best tank yet designed by the US Ordnance Department when it was tested in 1931, but that didn't enter production because of financial restrictions during the Great Depression.

On 11 March 1926 the Ordnance department was given permission to develop two new tanks - a heavier model based on the Medium Tank M1921, which emerged as the Medium Tank T1, and a lighter model with a maximum weight of 15 tons that eventually produced the Medium Tank T2.

The first design to be considered for the 15 ton tank was based on the Model 1924 design study. This vehicle carried one gun in the hull front plate, a smaller gun in a turret, and had tracks that came up to the top of the superstructure, with only the turret above the return tracks.  A lack of funds meant that little work was carried out on this design, and it was soon abandoned in favour of a new design based on the Light Tank T1E1.

The Light Tank T1 had been produced in 1927 by J. Cunningham, Sons and Company, and was a 7.5 ton tank with a turret at the back the engine at the front. This was followed in 1929 by the T1E1, a similar vehicle that was briefly standardized as the Light Tank M1.

The new Medium Tank T2 kept the front-engined layout of the Light Tank T1E1, and had some similarities to the Vickers Medium Tank. It has a rectangular superstructure that stretched from the back of the tank to the back of the engine compartment, with the turret mounted towards the centre of the superstructure. The back of the tank was a vertical wall, with a sizable entry door. It was powered by a Liberty V-12 engine.

The turret carried a semiautomatic 47mm gun with a coaxial .50in Browning machine gun, in a combination mount M4. As completed the gunner had to stand on the floor, but he was later given a seat that rotated with the turret.

As completed the T2 also carried a 37mm gun and 0.30in machine gun in a combination mount T3E1 mounted in the front of the superstructure. Tests showed that the 37mm gun had a very limited range of fire and interfered with the turret, and in 1931 the combination mount was removed and replaced with a single 0.30in machine gun.

The T2 underwent tests between December 1930 and January 1932, and was judged to be the best tank yet produced by the Ordnance Department, with a combination of high speed, good mobility and good firepower. The highest speed did show the limits of the clutch-brake steering system, and work began on alternative designs. The T2 could reach 25mph, but was given a limiter that restricted it to 20mph to reduce wear and tear on the machinery.

A lack of money in the early 1930s meant that the T2 wasn't accepted for production, and the prototype was the only example to be built.

Stats
Production: 1
Hull Length: 16ft
Hull Width: 8ft
Height: 9ft 1in
Crew: 4
Weight: 15.6 tons
Engine: Liberty V-12 liquid cooled, 312hp
Max Speed: 25mph (limited to 20mph to extend lifespan)
Max Range:
Armament: 47mm gun and .50in MG in turret, 37mm gun and .30in MG in hull front
Armour: 0.25-1in

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 May 2016), Medium Tank T2 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_medium_tank_T2.html

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