The Mk AMX - 24! Alternative Tank for WW II

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Burmese Bandit, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. Burmese Bandit

    Dec 5, 2008
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    The "What if" debate on tanks usually comes to this point - what did Germany have to do from a design and production point of view to have a plausible chance of countering the T-34? And the answers by many people usually come out as - build a whole bunch of Panthers, forget about the Tiger series!

    IMHO, I believe that answer is wrong.

    And here are my reasons why.

    FIRST, the panther is supposed to be only slightly more expensive than the Mk IV, but this is simply not true. Yes, the actual production cost is almost the same, but this does not take into account the enormous research and development cost of the Panther. When that is taken into account the Panther costs is 1.33 times the Mk IV - in other words, you can buy four Mk IVs for the cost of three panthers.

    SECOND, and more important, the panther took longer to produce and was much more maintenance intensive. A telling comment was that when the Soviets captured german tanks, they preferred to keep the Mk IV to use against the Germans while sending Panthers to the junkyard!

    Therefore a Mk IV with the 75/48 gun seems to be the best production and maintenance compromise for the German Army...

    ..or is it?

    I believe that a new tank could well have been designed which could have been produced quickly, cheaply and still have protection and performance advantages over the Mk IV.

    The template for that tank is the AMX -13.

    The oscillating turret of the AMX was a design feature of genius (IMHO) and quite possible to have been done in WW II. With no need to pierce a large hole in the turret, it also opened the possibility of the turret havin a pointed triangle design, effectively creating highly sloped armour. With its autoloader, it allowed the possibility of a smaller, two-man turret. With its front engine design and low silhouette, it allowed maximum protection for minimum weight.

    I propose a scaled up, 24 ton version of the AMX 13, using the engine, the gearbox, the running gear and the treads, and the turret drive on the Mk IV. We should be able to get a lower silhouette, 50 mm very well sloped hull armour and 50 mm extremely well sloped (both vertically and horizontally) turret frontal armour, and 25 mm side armour. And, of course, the front engine offering some additional protection.

    With an oscillating turret we should be able to put, with the same turret diameter as the Mk IV, the 75/71 gun of the Panther. The Oscillating turret and low height means that there will be no recoil problems even with this much more powerful gun.

    Now I come to one of the weak points of the AMX-13 design - its ability to carry only 12 effective rounds into combat, due to its 2 6-round drum revolver magazines on the left and right which could only be loaded from outside. I propose to increase the size of those magazines slightly by having 8-round magazines instead, and DOUBLING those magazines by having a second drum behind the first, to automatically reload when the first drum is empty. This reloading could be done while the drum on the other side is supplying ammo to the gun, which means that there need to be no break in firing at all.

    With this design feature we have 8 x 2 x 2 rounds, or a total of 32 rounds. Far less than the 80 rounds that a Mk IV could carry, but still good enough for most combats.

    Yes, I am aware that the chins of oscillating turret designs are a weak spot. To this I reply that the much lower height of the design offsets this weakness.

    I believe that with this design, and with all other designs ruthlessly excluded, production figures of 1,000 a month could have been achieved from January 1944 onwards.
  2. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2005
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    Metalurgic Technician
    Cordoba - Argentina
    Actually there was a "mehrladerrichtung", autoloader proposed to be installed in a german tank in may 1945, the Panther ausf F.

    But honestly I think that with the technology or early war years to develop a realible self loading system would require a lot of time, so in that way wasting any benefit of having one of such devices in a panzer.

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