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United States' M40 Gun Motor Carriage and M43 Howitzer Motor Carriage

Photos

T83 Prototype
United States' T83 Gun Motor Carriage Prototype
Imperial War Museum
M40
United States' M40 Gun Motor Carriage
Aberdeen Tank Museum

Design

A replacement was needed for the M12 GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) as the supply of M1918 guns was exhausted and it's chassis was unsuitable for the more powerful M1 and M2 155 mm guns.

Used M4A3 chassis that was widened and used the high volute suspension springing (HVSS). The engine was moved to the front and a spade was placed in the rear to help absorb some of the recoil.

Front Crew Compartment

The M40 had a compartment in the front that the driver sat in. Beside him was the co-driver. The M40 had an escape hatch located just behind the co-driver.

The driving compartment had 2 hatches in the roof for access.

Engine

Behind the crew compartment was the engine.

Armament

The M40's main armament was located in the rear of the vehicle.

Gun had range of 25,175 yards with a 95 lb round.

Rear Fighting Compartment

The gun crew would stand on a hinged platform when firing the gun.

Intended to be used well behind the front lines so no protection for the fighting compartment was provided.

Prototype

The T83 was developed from M4 Medium tank components. It had a wider hull and used the new horizontal volute spring suspension.

On March 18, 1944, 5 pilot models of the T83 were authorized to be built. These were built by the Pressed Steel Car Company.

The 8" howitzer was developed after successful trials of the T83 and designated the T89.

Production

Was standardized in November 1945. 304 T83s and 304 T30s (cargo carriers) were ordered and production started in January 1945.

  • M40 Gun Motor Carriage: 311, 418
    • Manufactured by: Pressed Steel Car Co.
    • Production: January 1945 - ?, February 1945 - late 1945
  • M43 Gun Motor Carriage: 48
    • Manufactured by: Pressed Steel
    • Production: January 1945, August 1945
    • 576 ordered , but was cancelled when war ended.

Variants

  • T30 Cargo Carrier: Designed to carry crew and ammunition.
  • T83 Gun Motor Carriage: Prototype for M40 Gun Motor Carriage. Had 155 mm M2 "Long Tom" gun on a widened M4A3E8 chassis.
  • T89 Gun Motor Carriage: Prototype for M43 Gun Motor Carriage.
  • M40 Gun Motor Carriage: Mounted 155 mm Gun M1 or M2 in a Mount M3. Standardized in May 1945.
  • M43 Howitzer Motor Carriage: Mounted 8" howitzer M1 or M2 in a Mount M17.

Usage

A few took part in attack on Cologne (first use).

Post World War II

The M40 was used in the Korean War by the United States Army.

Britain

Britain bought some of the M40s and M43 and these were in service until the early 1960s.

France

French forces used some of the M40s in Indochina.

Specifications

  M40 Gun Motor Carriage
Crew Commander, driver, gun crew (6)
8
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 80,020 lb, 80,080 lb, 82,000 lb
36.6 tons, 40 tons, 40.5 tons
36,400 kg, 37,195 kg, 40,640 kg
Length w/gun 29.7', 29' 8", 29' 9"
9.04 m
Length w/o gun 20.6', 20' 7", 21' 10"
6.65 m
Height 8' 9.5", 8' 10", 9' 4", 10.8'
2.69 m, 2.84 m
Width 10.3', 10' 4"
3.14 m, 3.15 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 19.25"
Ground contact length 164"
Ground pressure 10.7 psi
Armament  
Main 1: 155 mm
1: 155 mm M1A1
OR 1: 155 mm M2
1: 155 mm M2, L/45
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 20
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.47"
12, 12.7
Front: 0.5"
Side: 0.5"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Engine (Make / Model) Continental R-975 C4
Continental R-975
Continental
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Air
Cylinders Radial, Radial 9
Capacity  
Net HP 395, 400@2,400 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio 5.7:1
Transmission (Type) Automatic
5 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric
Electrical system 24-volt
Ignition Magneto
Fuel (Type) Gasoline, Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 215 gallons
Road consumption 0.5 mpg
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 18° left and 18° right
Speed - Road 24 mph
38 kph, 38.6 kph
Speed - Cross Country 5-20 mph, 20 mph
Range - Road 100 miles, 107 miles
160 km, 161 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -5° to +45°
Fording depth 3', 3' 6"
1.067 m
Trench crossing 7' 5", 7.7', 7' 8.5"
2.26 m
Vertical obstacle 2', 2' 10"
0.61 m
Climbing ability 31° (60%) slope
Suspension (Type) Horizontal volute spring
Horizontal volute spring suspension (HVSS)
Wheels each side 3 bogies of 2 wheels each
Return rollers each side 2
Tracks (Type) Rubber block, double pin shoe
Length  
Width 23"
Diameter  
Number of links 79
Pitch 6"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8.4', 8' 4.75"
  M43 Howitzer Motor Carriage
Crew Commander, driver, gun crew (6)
8
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 80,020 lb
Length w/gun 29' 9"
Length w/o gun  
Height 8' 9.5"
Width 10' 4"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 10.6 psi
Armament  
Main 1: 8" howitzer
1: 8" howitzer M1 in mount M17
1: 203 mm howitzer
1: 203 mm (8") M1 Howitzer
OR 1: 8" howitzer M2 in mount M17
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 16
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 12
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Engine (Make / Model) Continental R-975
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 24 mph
Speed - Cross Country 5-20 mph
Range - Road 107 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 3'
Trench crossing 7' 8.5"
Vertical obstacle 2' 10"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 23"
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8' 4.75"

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  5. Profile: AFV Weapons 26: Hellcat, Long Tom and Priest and Complete Check List of all U.S. World War II Self-Propelled Weapons, Colonel Robert J. Icks, 1971
  6. World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles, Jack Livesey, 2006
  7. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site