- Yes, as a tech tree vehicle
- Yes, as a premium vehicle
- Yes, as an event vehicle
- Yes, as a squadron vehicle
- No, I would not like to see the T42 in game.
T42 prototype no.3 at Fort Knox for testing.
The 90mm Gun Tank T42 (formerly known as the T42 Medium Tank) was a prototype medium tank made by the United States in the immediate postwar period. Even as the U.S.'s M26 Pershing fleet was being upgraded to the new M46 Patton standard, it was already being considered obsolete by the time the Korean War broke out in 1950. It did, after all, inherit various shortcomings from the M26, being based on its hull. To remedy this, the U.S. initiated a medium tank design program in 1948, which called for several features:
- A tank weighing 36 tons with better armor protection and equivalent firepower to the M46.
- Two-plane gun stabilization in the elevation and azimuth axes.
- Automatic loading system for the 90mm cannon.
- Concentric recoil system to save space.
- Stereoscopic rangefinding equipment.
- A coaxial .50 caliber heavy machine gun with a .30 caliber machine gun in blisters on each side of the turret.
This, of course, was completely insane for 1948. That didn’t stop designers from trying, though. Despite being designed to incorporate a gun stabilizer, IBM was unable to deliver the system before the pilot T42 tanks had been constructed. Another loss was the automatic loading system; it was simply impossible to fit an automatic loading system in the T42’s turret, due to the way autoloaders were designed at the time. It did meet the other requirements set for it, though. Over time, the .30 caliber machine guns would be ironed out of the design.
The .50 caliber coaxial machine gun can clearly be seen protruding from the gun mantlet.
The T42 had superior armor to the M46, with an upper glacis made of cast steel 4 inches thick and sloped at 60 degrees. The turret’s design gave it better ballistic protection as well. While the tank was in development, the M3A1 90mm cannon of the M46 would be changed to the T119 90mm cannon. This gun was designed to be capable of firing APDS ammunition that could cut through 11.1 inches of steel sloped at 30 degrees from a distance of 1,000 yards, very impressive performance for the time. The stereoscopic rangefinder would also improve its capabilities compared to the M46. The hull machine gunner’s position was eliminated from the T42’s design, allowing for 36 rounds of 90mm ammunition to be stored in the left side of the hull. Plus another 24 in the turret, this allowed for 60 rounds total to be brought into battle.
Experimental installation of two .30 caliber machine guns in remote control hull blisters. They were rejected as they had no means to elevate, making them impossible to use on difficult terrain.
What ended up killing the T42 project was its propulsion. With a 500 horsepower engine, the same as the one found on the M41 Walker Bulldog, officials were concerned that the tank would be underpowered. Upon being put to the test, this ended up being true, as the performance was essentially the same as the M4A3 Sherman, which was below design standard. Even after revisions to reduce weight and bring it up to specification, the Army was no longer interested, as they had found a different use for the T42. You’ve probably been thinking that the T42 turret looks very familiar. You wouldn’t be wrong: this turret was transplanted onto the M46 hull, creating the M47 Patton II. The M47, along with the T48 (prototype M48), were enough of a success to render any further attempts to improve the T42 pointless. After cancellation, the T42 hulls would continue to see use as test beds for several years, but they would never reach production.
90mm Gun Tank T42
Weight: 37.25 tons
Powerplant: Continental AOS-895-3
- 500 gross horsepower
- 370 net horsepower
Power to weight ratio: 13.4 hp/ton gross (9.9 hp/ton net)
Maximum Speed: 32 mph (51.5 km/h)
- Main gun: T119 90mm cannon
- Rate of fire: 8 rds/min
- Traverse: 36 degrees/sec, 360 degree range
- Elevation: 4 degrees/sec, + 20 / - 10
- Ammunition types: AP, APC, HE, HVAP, HVAP-DS, HEAT, smoke
- Coaxial machine gun: .50 caliber Browning HMG (2,350 rds)
- Anti-aircraft machine gun: .50 caliber Browning HMG (700 rds)
- Upper glacis: 4 in (102 mm) CHA at 60 degrees
- Lower glacis: 4 in - 2.5 in (102mm - 63.5mm) CHA at 54 degrees
- Side front: 3 in - 2.5 in (76mm - 63.5 mm) RHA at 0 degrees
- Side rear: 1.5 in (38 mm) RHA at 0 degrees
- Rear: 1 in (25 mm) RHA at 60 degrees (later 0 degrees with new transmission installation)
- Mantlet: 4 in (102mm) CHA at 60 degrees
- Turret face: 4 in (102mm) CHA at 45 degrees
- Sides: 3.5 in - 2.5 in (89mm - 63.5mm) CHA at 40 degrees
- Rear: 3.6 in (91 mm) CHA at 7 degrees
- T41 stereoscopic rangefinder
- Patton: A History of the American MBT, Vol. 1 by R.P. Hunnicutt (1984)
- 90mm Gun Tank T42 - Tank Encyclopedia
- TM 9-718A