The M-47 General George S. Patton Medium Tank was an interim design derived from an interim tank. It was developed because the Army needed a medium tank heavier than the M-4 Sherman after the invasion of South Korea by North Korea in 1950.
Following the end of World War II, the majority of the military establishment concerned with the design and use of armor thought that the medium tank concept should be developed further. They had the fine examples of the German Panzerkampfwagen V Panther and the Soviet 85 millimeter gunned T-34 to spur them on.
Work began to upgrade the M-26 Pershing Heavy Tank to a more heavily armed and gunned medium tank. The result was the M-46 and its slightly up-rated variation, the M-46A1. The M-46 chassis and hull were the same as those used for the M-26, but the new tank had a new engine and transmission built by Continental.
At the same time, development work was being carried out on a second medium tank concept, designated the T-42. The T-42 was equipped with a new turret mated to a modified T-40 chassis, which in turn was derived from the M-26. The T-40 chassis had been given a new engine and transmission.
When the Korean War began in June 1950, the new turret on the T-42 was well along in development but the designers were still working the bugs out of the new chassis. To provide a new medium tank as soon as possible, the T-42 turret with its new 90mm T119 gun was mounted on the M-46 chassis. The result was christened the M-47 General George S. Patton.
The M-47's hull was built from cast-and-welded sections. Escape hatches were provided in the floor, rather than through the sides, to secure the hull's integrity.
The M-47 was also the last American tank to have a hull machine gunner. He sat on the right side of the hull to operate his 7.62mm NATO machine gun. The driver sat on the left side of the hull. The gunner sat at the right front of the turret, the loader on the left side, and the commander behind.
The loader's station had a rear-opening hatch above. The commander had a separate cupola and rear-opening hatch. Commander and loader stations had periscopes. The gunner also had a periscope as well as a stereoscopic range finder.
For more on the capabilities of the M-47 General George S. Patton Medium Tank, continue to the next page.
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