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Subject: Biggest gun?
Bob Moss    5/3/2005 4:31:02 PM
Anywhone know the largest main gun ever put in or proposed for a tank?
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Enzo    RE:Biggest gun?   5/4/2005 3:41:19 AM
i think the Russians had a big 152mm how. on the ISU-152. i know the Germans had plans for a 150mm on the "Maus" tank, but that thing never got in to production. I seem to think they had plans to put a really big gun, almost rail-way gun size, on a tracked vehicle, but for the life of me can't remember what that thing was called.
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MadRat    RE:Biggest gun?   5/4/2005 4:27:13 AM
The Germans proposed a 150mm field piece main gun for the 207T mouse supertank. See The Russians fielded a smoothbore 152mm armed light tank. During WW2 the Russians mounted a 155mm field piece on the 57T KV heavy tank. The Russian T-10 mounted a 152mm howitzer. The T-95 is currently mated to a 135mm smoothbore main gun designed around guided munitions, but it probably has a less powerful kick than the 125mm gun of the T-80. The Americans fielded a smoothbore 155mm armed light tank. But the most powerful weapon mounted on a tank so far has been the 120mm Rheinmetal. The same company is working on a 140mm version of a tank gun for both the U.S. M-1 and German Leopard 2. The biggest gun mounted on a railcar was this: The German gun had an operational career of 13 days, during which it fired 48 shells in battle. It was just too big to move quickly to the effective. It took 25 trainloads of equipment, 2000 men and up to six weeks to assemble the massive killing machine.
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Enzo    RE:Biggest gun?   5/4/2005 4:39:33 AM
Madrat, glad you knew what i was talking about! Has the T-95 finally made it into production or is it still on the line?
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hmpf    RE:Biggest gun?   5/4/2005 10:08:07 AM
The biggest barrel mounted on tracks and used in combat was the "Karl Gerät", a 60cm self propelled mortar. And there was the Sturmtiger which got a 38cm "rocket mortar" (related to a naval depth charge thrower AFAIK) instead of the planned 21cm howitzer. Never build (of course) was the P1000 "Ratte" (rat), a 1000t monster with the turret of the Gneisenau Battleship/cruiser (2*28cm) and several smaller guns/flak and the P1500 which would have been a 1500t self propelled version of the 80cm railway gun "Schwerer Gustav" mentioned by MadRat.
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Texastillidie    RE:Biggest gun?   5/4/2005 12:42:19 PM
The M551 Airborne Tank See: And: The M551 Sheridan tank was designed in the early 1960's, as a need arose for U.S. forces needing a light tank. Constructed of aluminum armor, it is extremely fast, using a 300 hp Detroit Diesel engine and cross drive transmission. It mounts a steel turret and an aluminum hull. It was air transportable and fully amphibious with the screen around the sides raised. The main gun fired a 152mm standard projectile or a missile. It packed a lot of punch for a small tank. A similar gun was also used on the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle. It is equipped with nuclear, biological, and chemical protection for the crew of four men. This enables it to fight in almost any climate or situation. The vehicle has seen combat use in Vietnam, Panama and Desert Storm, and it is used today for training in the California desert by the Armored Force Opposing Forces training center. Weight is 34,900 lbs. Top speed is 43 mph. The M551 was built by General Motors, Allison Division. There was even some M551’s that were deployed by dropping out the back of an aircraft using a parachute or low-altitude parachute extraction (LAPE). During a LAPE operation, the aircraft flies very low over the drop zone, and the tank is pulled out the back by a parachute. The tank is mounted on a landing skid. This is why the vehicle is occasionally called the M551 “airborne” tank. They could be dropped using the C-130 (42,000 lb max load) and the C-141 aircraft (38,500 lb max load). The M551 Sheridan light tank parachute airdropped into combat by the 3/73d Armor BN attached to the 82d Airborne Division for Panama in 1989. The Army announced 11 September 1996 the decision to inactivate the 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor Regiment at Fort Bragg, NC. This unit was the only light tank battalion remaining in the US Army, with the Sheridan tank. The Sheridan's last battle action was with the 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 73rd Armor of the 82nd Airborne Division during the Gulf War. If the Iraqi Army had gone on the offensive against the 82d Airborne Division, the division’s only antitank capability would have been the 3d Battalion, 73d Armor, the antitank companies of the battalions, and the Dragon gunners in the line companies. When the M551 vehicles were finally placed in the battlefield position that they were originally designed to dominate, the long armed Shillelagh missile system killed Iraqi armor very well indeed. The M551 Sheridan was developed to provide the US Army with a light armored vehicle with heavy firepower. The main armament consists of a 152mm M81 gun/missile launcher capable of firing conventional ammunition and the MGM-51 Shillelagh antitank missile (20 conventional rounds and 8 missiles). Due to problems with the gun-tube-launched antitank missile, the Sheridan was not fielded widely throughout the Army. The gun would foul with caseless ammunition, gun firing would interfere with missile electronics, and the entire vehicle recoiled with unusual vigor when the gun was fired, since the 152mm gun was too big for the light-weight chassis. In addition to the main gun/missile launcher, the M551 is armed with a 7.62mm M240 machine gun and a 12.7mm M2 HB antiaircraft machine gun. A Detroit Diesel 6V-53T 300hp turbo-charged V-6 diesel engine and an Allison TG-250-2A power-shift transmission provide the Sheridan's power. Protection for the four-man crew is provided by an aluminum hull and steel turret. Although light enough to be airdrop-capable, the aluminum armor was thin enough to be pierced by heavy machine-gun rounds, and the vehicle was particularly vulnerable to mines. Initially produced in 1966, the M551 was fielded in 1968. 1,562 M551s were built between 1966 and 1970. The Sheridan saw limited action in Vietnam. Sheridan-equipped units participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989), and were deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. As projectile technology advanced, the Sheridan's potential declined and it was phased out of the US inventory beginning in 1978. The M551 was last used by the 82nd Airborne Division. At present, Some 330 "visually-modified" Sheridans represent threat tanks and armored vehicles at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
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doggtag    RE:Biggest gun?   5/4/2005 1:23:23 PM
The questionable M60A2 also fitted the same type of 152mm gun launcher as the Sheridans, but again, there was disappointment overall in the Shillelagh missile system, primarily the command guidance components (the missile itself claiming capability to defeat T-72 armor, which should be easy with a roughly 5" diameter shaped charge...) In a few armor books I have, there was a British idea of using a massive 183mm gun in a turret, but only the rusted turret in a static display at some UK museum (Bovington?) is shown. A handful of NATO nations had expressed interest in 140mm guns during the late Cold War, but it is doubtful that this may proceed to a fieleded system, as the current 120mm (such as the German L55 on Leo 2) can pretty much stop any known MBT. And IIRC, the NATO-class 140mm guns (American, German, and Swiss) were anticipated to reach and exceed 2000m/sec velocities, but it is doubtful anyone will anywhere in the near future produce a combat-fielded MBT needing these levels of kill performance to stop them (It would be interesting to see just how tough the latest MBTs are, even an Abrams, if facing against an L55 120mm with DU sabots...apparently though, the Germans only use tungsten penterators.) There have been turreted guns in several engineer vehicles of 165mm (a demolition gun), as fitted to the American M728 CEV (M60 variant) and a few British platforms, but I don't know if anyone still uses them. One of the WW2 German planned "E" series tanks was suggested to mount either a 15cm or 17cm gun (a different vehicle altogether than the Maus), but the E series were paper projects and wooden models only. The Israelis and Russians also use self-propelled 160mm mortars (Israel's being mounted on a built-up Sherman), and Russia even has a massive 240mm SP mortar (American M110 8" SP guns being replaced by MLRS). Several nations still use the older 8" howitzers, even some 175mm guns. There is even a large Russian 8" SP gun, massive compared to the M110. But these are all artillery, not MBTs. I think it's doubtful that we would see any large number of MBTs with guns larger than the current 120mm-125mm systems (regardless of prototypes in the works), simply because there is still room for growth (increasing barrel lenghts, improving ammunition) in these calibers that will afford them better performances. After that, I'd expect we'll see tank-mounted railguns (or KE missiles) before we'd ever see tank-mounted guns over 6" caliber.
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Professor Fickle    The M551 Airborne Tank    5/4/2005 2:38:06 PM
I have always liked the M551 Sheridan light tank. I never new it saw combat in gulf war 1. I thought it was just kept in reserve I know it was supposed to be replaced by the M-8 light tank but it was canceled. So its technical replacement is the Stryker Mobile gun system. I would like to know more about Sheridan during gulf war!!!
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Jungle-Man    RE:Biggest gun?   5/4/2005 6:48:42 PM
Well, the biggest gun /guns ever proposed for tanks would have to be either the dual 280mm naval guns that were planned for the 1000 ton "Ratte" tank (another crazy nazi super-tank project), this tank would have dwarfed the 188 ton "Maus" tank, of which by the way 2 examples were built, one was destroyed at the assembly plant, and the other captured by the Soviets (it now resides in a tank museum in Kubinka, Russia ) The other possibility was the P 1500 super-tank, another nazi project. This one would have weighed 1500 tons and would have been armed with an 800mm "Dora" mortar.
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Texastillidie    Krupp P 1000 (Ratte - Rat)   5/4/2005 8:36:37 PM
On June 23rd of 1942, Dir. Dip. Ing. Grote of Krupp Arms suggested that the Reich develop a tank with a weight of 1000 tons. Adolf Hitler himself expressed interest in this project and allowed Krupp to go ahead with it. The project was designated as Krupp P 1000 (Ratte - Rat). This "land cruiser" would be 115 feet (35 meters) long, 46 feet (14 meters) wide and 36 feet (11 meters) high. P 1000 would be equipped with 12 foot (3.6 meter) tracks per side similar to those used in excavators working in coalmines. It was planned to power P 1000 with two MAN V12Z32/44 24 cylinder Diesel marine engines with total power of 17000hp (2 x 8500hp) or with eight Daimler-Benz MB501 20 cylinder Diesel marine engines with total power of 16000hp (8 x 2000hp). According to the calculations it would allow P 1000 to travel at maximum speed of 25mph (40km/h). P 1000 would be armed with the following: Two 11-inch (280mm) guns (naval gun used in Scharnhorst and Gneisenau warships) A single 5-inch (128mm) gun Eight 20mm Flak guns 38 Anti-aircraft guns Two 15mm Mauser Machineguns
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Eagle601    RE:The M551 Airborne Tank    5/5/2005 3:48:41 AM
"I know it was supposed to be replaced by the M-8 light tank but it was canceled. So its technical replacement is the Stryker Mobile gun system." The Stryker MGS isn't a replacement for the Sheridan. The MGS is fielded with only the 6 SBCTs, the 82nd has no airdroppable armor and isn't slated to get any. It has a similar role, but is deployed with different units altogether.
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