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M6
M6A1


Heavy Tank M61-5
M6: General
Date of first acceptance December 1942 Total acceptances 8
Manufacturer Baldwin Locomotive Works Crew
6 men:
  • Commander in turret left rear
  • Gunner in turret right front
  • Loader in turret right rear
  • Ammunition passer in hull
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
M6: Dimensions
Combat weight ~126,500lbs
~57,380kg
Height over turret roof 118.0"
299.7cm
Length without gun, with stowage boxes 297.0"
754.4cm
Gun overhang forward 35.0"
88.9cm
Width over track armor 123.0"
312.4cm
Tread 93.9"
239cm
Ground clearance 20.5"
52.1cm
Fire height ~97"
~250cm
Turret ring diameter 69"
175cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 13.1psi
.922kg/cm²
M6: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation
3" Gun M7 T49 in turret 75 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
18°/sec +30° to -10°
(manual)
37mm Gun M6 Coaxial to 3" gun 202 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
18°/sec +30° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Flexible in turret AA mount 5500 rounds 360°
(manual)
-- Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Fixed in bow mount None -- --
Two .50cal M2HB MGs T52 in hull front 6900 rounds 30°
(15° left and right;
manual)
+60° to -10° Manual
Stabilizer
Elevation only
M6: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 3.25"
8.26cm
30°
Lower front 4.0" to 2.75"
10cm to 6.99cm
0° to 60°
Upper sides 1.75"
4.45cm
20°
Lower sides 2.75"
6.99cm
Rear 1.63"
4.14cm
17°
Top 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
Floor 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
Turret
Cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 4.0"
10cm
Front 3.25"
8.26cm
Sides 3.25"
8.26cm
Rear 3.25"
8.26cm
Top 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
M6: Automotive
Engine Wright G-200 Model 781C9GC1; 9 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline
Horsepower Net: 825@2300rpm
Gross: 960@2300rpm
Torque Gross: 1830 ft-lb@2100rpm Fuel capacity 477gal
1810L
Transmission Timken mechanical with Twin Disc torque converter model 16001, with Hycon hydraulic control; 2 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Budd disc, mechanical and Hycon hydraulic control
M6: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Horizontal volute spring 4 bogies/track;
2 dual wheels/bogie
4 dual/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
14-tooth rear drive Dual adjustable at front of track;
dual auxiliary in front of front bogie
None
M6: Track
T31
Outside guide (later center guide), double pin, rubber backed steel
Width 25.75"
65.41cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 99 Ground contact length 187.9"
477.3cm
M6: Performance
Max level road speed 22mph sustained
35kph sustained
Max trench 132"
335cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 36"
91cm
Min turning diameter 74'
23m
Max fording depth 48"
120cm
Cruising range ~100mi, roads
~160km, roads


Although standardized, the Armored Force considered the heavy tank M6 unsatisfactory due to its weight and design problems. The Army was unhappy with the awkward crew positions and the fact that the only way to cover the sides and rear of the vehicle with a machine gun involved the tank commander unbuttoning. The Armored Force recommended replacing the 37mm gun with a coaxial machine gun, but the Army lost interest in the tank before this could happen. The Armored Force also thought that a heavy tank needed better armament than the 3" gun M7. None of the M6 series were to see action in World War II.

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Heavy Tank M6A11-5
M6A1: General
Date of first acceptance March 1943 Total acceptances 12
Manufacturer Baldwin Locomotive Works Crew
6 men:
  • Commander in turret left rear
  • Gunner in turret right front
  • Loader in turret right rear
  • Ammunition passer in hull
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
M6A1: Dimensions
Combat weight ~126,300lbs
~57,290kg
Height over turret roof 118.0"
299.7cm
Length without gun, with stowage boxes 297.0"
754.4cm
Gun overhang forward 35.0"
88.9cm
Width over track armor 123.0"
312.4cm
Tread 93.9"
239cm
Ground clearance 20.5"
52.1cm
Fire height ~97"
~250cm
Turret ring diameter 69"
175cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 13.1psi
.922kg/cm²
M6A1: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation
3" Gun M7 T49 in turret 75 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
18°/sec +30° to -10°
(manual)
37mm Gun M6 Coaxial to 3" gun 202 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
18°/sec +30° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Flexible in turret AA mount 5500 rounds 360°
(manual)
-- Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Fixed in bow mount None -- --
Two .50cal M2HB MGs T52 in hull front 6900 rounds 30°
(15° left and right;
manual)
+60° to -10° Manual
Stabilizer
Elevation only
M6A1: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Rolled and cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 3.25"
8.26cm
30°
Lower front 4.0" to 2.75"
10cm to 6.99cm
0° to 60°
Upper sides 1.75"
4.45cm
10°
Lower sides 2.75"
6.99cm
Rear 1.63"
4.14cm
17°
Top 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
Floor 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
Turret
Cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 4.0"
10cm
Front 3.25"
8.26cm
Sides 3.25"
8.26cm
Rear 3.25"
8.26cm
Top 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
M6A1: Automotive
Engine Wright G-200 Model 781C9GC1; 9 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline
Horsepower Net: 825@2300rpm
Gross: 960@2300rpm
Torque Gross: 1830 ft-lb@2100rpm Fuel capacity 477gal
1810L
Transmission Timken mechanical with Twin Disc torque converter model 16001, with vacuum assist control; 2 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Budd disc, mechanical and vacuum assist control
M6A1: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Horizontal volute spring 4 bogies/track;
2 dual wheels/bogie
4 dual/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
14-tooth rear drive Dual adjustable at front of track;
dual auxiliary in front of front bogie
None
M6A1: Track
T31
Outside guide (later center guide), double pin, rubber backed steel
Width 25.75"
65.41cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 99 Ground contact length 187.9"
477.3cm
M6A1: Performance
Max level road speed 22mph sustained
35kph sustained
Max trench 132"
335cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 36"
91cm
Min turning diameter 74'
23m
Max fording depth 48"
120cm
Cruising range ~100mi, roads
~160km, roads


The M6A1 was identical to the M6 except for the M6A1's welded versus cast hull and the lack of Hycon assist in steering.

Although never standardized, twenty heavy tanks T1E1 were built and were unofficially called "M6A2." This variant had a cast hull like the heavy tank M6, but was built with an electric transmission similar to that used in the medium tank T23.


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References

  1. TM 9-721 Heavy Tanks M6 and M6A1. Washington, DC: War Department, 5 February 1943.

  2. Hunnicutt, R.P. Firepower: A History of the American Heavy Tank. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1988.

  3. Chamberlain, Peter, and Chris Ellis. British and American Tanks of World War Two. Frome, England: Cassell & Co., 2000.

  4. Crismon, Fred W. U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.

  5. Kirk, William. "Heavy Tanks." TANKS! 29 Dec 2000. 14 Jan 2001 <http://members.nbci.com/_XMCM/metalmonster/UnitedStates/heavytanks/HeavyTanks.html>. TANKS!



Last updated 13 Apr 2012.

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© Copyright 2001-12 Chris Conners