90mm Self-propelled Gun M561-3
M56: General
Date of first acceptance 1953
Manufacturer Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors Corp. Crew
4 men:
  • Commander on hull left rear
  • Gunner on hull right center
  • Driver on hull left center
  • Loader on hull right center
M56: Dimensions
Combat weight 15,750lbs
7144kg
Height over blast shield 78.9"
200cm
Length without gun 179.4"
455.7cm
Gun overhang forward 50.4"
128cm
Width over fenders 101.3"
257.3cm
Tread 78.0"
198cm
Ground clearance 12.8"
32.5cm
Fire height 66.0"
170cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 4.2psi
.29kg/cm²
M56: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
90mm Gun M54 M88 on hull center 29 rounds 60°
(30° left and right
manual)
+15° to -10°
(manual)
M56: Armor
None
M56: Automotive
Engine Continental AOI-402-5; 6 cylinder, 4 cycle, opposed, fuel injected gasoline
Horsepower Net: 165@3000rpm
Gross: 200@3000rpm
Torque Net: 325 ft-lb@2200rpm
Gross: 347 ft-lb@2800
Fuel capacity 55gal
210L
Transmission Allison CD-150-4, 2 ranges forward, 1 reverse
Steering Mechanical, steering wheel
Brakes Multiple disc
M56: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion tube over bar at wheels 1 and 4, torsion bar at wheels 2 and 3 4 individually sprung/track with pneumatic tires Flat track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
15-tooth front drive Compensating at rear of track On first and last road wheels/track
M56: Track
Outside guide band type
Width 20"
51cm
Pitch 44 long sections;
4 cross bar pitch
110cm long sections;
10cm crossbar pitch
Shoes/track 8 sections/track;
88 cross bars/track
Ground contact length 94"
240cm
M56: Performance
Max level road speed 28mph
45kph
Max trench 48"
120cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 30"
76cm
Min turning diameter Pivot Max fording depth 42"
110cm
Cruising range ~140mi, roads
~230km, roads


The M56, also known as SPAT for Self-Propelled Anti-Tank, and more colloquially as the Scorpion, was designed as an airborne anti-tank gun. The 90mm gun M54 was ballistically identical to and used the same ammunition as the M36 90mm gun in the M47 tank, and it was fitted with a blast deflector. The M56 was unarmored, and consisted of little more than a gun mounted on a tracked aluminum alloy carrier. There was a small blast shield fitted to the weapon, and this had a windscreen in the left side for the driver to look through. Creature comforts were nonexistent as the vehicle was completely open. The commander sat on top of the radio, and the loader's seat was on top of the right fender stowage box, leaving the gunner and driver as the only crewmen "in" the vehicle. The tires on the M56 could run flat up to 15mi (24km) at up to 15mph (24kph). The ammunition rack was located in the lower rear hull, and the loader was provided with a folding platform from which to feed the gun.

Home       Vehicle list       Top

                                                                                    



References

  1. Hunnicutt, R.P. Sheridan: A History of the American Light Tank, volume 2. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1995.
    Reprinted with permission from Sheridan, R.P. Hunnicutt ©1995, available from Presidio Press, 505B San Martin Drive, Suite 160, Navato, CA 94945.

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

  3. Hogg, Ian V. The Greenhill Armoured Fighting Vehicles Data Book. London: Greenhill Books, 2000.



Last updated 27 Aug 2008.

Questions? Comments? Corrections? Email me

© Copyright 2001-08 Chris Conners