ON GUARD OF PEACE AND CAPITALISMIn October 1950, the design Bureau of the Detroit Arsenal (Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant) began designing a new tank, designed to replace the M47 medium tank. Will not be superfluous to note that the latter at the moment has not yet been adopted. It is obvious that the leadership of the U.S. army was aware that the M47 is not promising fighting machine, as largely based on constructive solutions tank M26, created at the end of the Second world war.
The draft of the new machines put the design of a skilled heavy tank Т43. He was inherited by the new one-piece streamlined housing is u-shaped, which is close to oval in cross section. American experts believed that this form of housing equal to the thickness of the armor will provide better ballistic and mine protection in comparison with traditional designs. In addition, the new medium tank, the diameter of the tower overhead in the light maintained the same as on a heavy – 2159 mm. And this despite the fact that he would be armed with 90 mm gun, not 120mm, as Т43. This solution allowed to make the walls of the tower, a significant slope and to abandon a developed stern niches. In General, the tower had the shape close to a hemisphere, which significantly increased its sharedetails.

Tank draft completed by December 1950. And on 27 February of the following year it was officially approved by the military and received the designation 90 mm Gun Tank T48. The chassis of the first prototype arrived on a two-week factory sea trials on the ground in Chelsea in January 1952. The remaining five prototypes were produced in April – July of the same year. State tests of tanks proceeded at Aberdeen proving ground and the ground in Fort Knox until the end of 1952. According to their results in the design of the T48 has made numerous changes, but many questions still remained unsolved. However, due to the urgent needs of the army in the new tank, April 2, 1953 it was adopted under the designation 90mm Gun Tank M48. In addition, he was given the proper name “General Patton III” (General Patton III), in honor of General George S. Patton, the most famous American tank commander of world war II.

Serial production of the M48, then still under the designation T48 began in the factories of the companies Chrysler Corporation, General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Alco Product even before completion of testing. From 1952 to 1959, the US industry has released 11 703 of the machine.

The body of the tank was the one casting mass 13 T. the front part had a rounded streamlined shape, is beneficial from the point of view of sharedetails. The thickness of the frontal and side armor were, respectively, 120 and 75 mm. In front of the body adjustable seat was located the driver who was driving the tank via the steering wheel, shift lever and brake pedal. For observation of the battlefield he had periscopic devices, and infrared night vision device.

On the fighting compartment was located a hemispherical cast turret (mass 6,3 t) with weapons. On the roof of the tower housed the commander’s cupola with the hatch, Luke loader, and a turret anti-aircraft guns, and inside – jobs commander, gunner (right of the gun) and loader (left).

Medium tank М48А5Т1 the Turkish army

Medium tank М48А5Т1 Turkish army

The main armament consisted of 90-mm tank gun of the M41 with a barrel length of 50 calibers and an initial velocity armor-piercing shells 851 – 914 m/s For removal of gases from the barrel of a gun was fitted with ejection device. The breech of the gun vertical, wedge, semi-automatic. Recoil device consisted of a hydraulic brake rollback and spring nachalnika. For aiming gun to the target was used electro-hydraulic and manual actuators. The firing of a gun could lead as a tank commander and gunner. The commander used stereoscopic sight-rangefinder М13А (maximum measuring range 4,400 m), and the gunner had a periscopic and telescopic sights. The sight-rangefinder, gun and periscope gunner’s sight was linked to M13 ballistic computer, working in the mechanical and electrical modes. Measured as a tank commander with the sight-rangefinder, the distance to the target is automatically entered into a computer. To the same from control panel manually introduced the ballistic characteristics of the shells, as well as amendments to the initial velocity loss due to barrel wear and weather conditions. The angle of aiming determined by the evaluator, passed into the mesh of the gunner’s sight and the sight-rangefinder. Simultaneously operated hydraulic system, thus the installation of the gun barrel in a position corresponding to the measured range.

As a subsidiary of weapons used coupled 7.62-mm machine gun “Browning” (Browning) М1919А4 and 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun М2НВ. The turret anti-aircraft machine gun had a remote control with which the tank commander could fire while in the tower. Ammunition of the tank was 60 shots, 5900 rounds of 7.62 mm, 180 rounds of 12.7 mm.

The tank was fitted with 12-cylinder V-shaped petrol engine air-cooled AV-1790-5B of the firm “continental” (Continental) with a power of 810 HP at 2800 rpm the Engine was placed in the MTO along the longitudinal axis of the tank and were combined into a common unit of transmission units. Fuel the engine was the gasoline with octane number not below 80, the tank is located inside the tank of the fuel tanks was 757 litres of increase is clearly insufficient reserve (113 km) tank was fitted with a block connected to the fuel system of four 208-litre drums, placed on a detachable frame in the rear of the tank. Since no protection this design had, before joining the battle drums removed or extra reset in case of sudden threats.

From the engine torque is transmitted to the drive wheels through a hydraulic-mechanical power transmission CD-850-5 type “Cross-Drive” and a single-stage final drives.

Suspension, in relation to a Board, consisted of six rubber-coated rollers, five rubber support rollers, drive wheel at the rear with a removable ring gear (cycloid gear), idler wheel. Suspension individual torsion bar, hydraulic shock absorbers on 1st, 2nd and 6th hardpoints; caterpillar steel melkosofta with RMS width 710 mm Shoe tracks equipped with rubber rubber pillows.

The weight of the tank is 44 tons, the crew – four people. The maximum speed of 42 km/h.

The modernization, which began almost immediately after the start of series production in 1954 led to the appearance of modifications М48А1 corrected defects identified during testing of prototypes, even before the launch of the tank in the series. By car there are T-shaped muzzle brake of a gun, sliding the lid of the driver’s hatch, commander’s cupola M1 with a heavy machine gun, improved transmission, lattice basket for loading on the aft part of the tower, a deflector on the top deck for discharging of hot air, additional stretch ice skating rink in the chassis. Above the barrel of the gun could be mounted xenon searchlight to illuminate the night sight was installed two-plane stabilizer pointing guns. The combat weight of the tank increased to 47.3 t

Medium tanks М48А5 Thai army

Medium tanks М48А5 Thai army

On tanks modifications М48А2, which appeared a year later, installed a gasoline engine. AVI 1970-8 with direct fuel injection capacity of 825 HP and fuel capacity is brought up to 1440 liters, so the reserve has increased to 400 km Tank received the transmission, “Allison” (Allison) CD-850-5, it changed the taps of the roof of the MTO and the stern of the hull, mounted the system the GROOVE. On tanks intended for the army, mounted three rollers, for the marine corps to five.

Machines option М48А2С in addition, set the sight-rangefinder М17С and eliminated additional roller for tensioning the tracks.

This serial modifications of the M48 tank over, all the others were obtained by upgrading the previously released combat vehicles. First in 1967 there was a modification М48АЗ.


Tanks М48А1 and М48А2 equipped with MTO tank M60 with a diesel engine AVDS-1790-2A and transmission Allison CD-850-6. They installed a new commander’s cupola, sight-rangefinder М17В1С, М105 telescopic sight and ballistic computer. The reserve amounted to 463 km 1019 upgraded tanks.

It was made six prototypes М48А4 missile tank with the turret of a tank M60A2 with 152-mm gun/launcher for the Shillelagh ATGM.

In 1975 there was a modification М48А5 with 105-mm gun M68 and M60 MBT, a commander’s cupola Israeli design with a 7.62 mm M60 machine gun, coaxial machine gun M60D and M60 machine gun on the turret hatch charging. The ammunition consisted of 54 shots and 10 000 rounds. Combat weight was 49.1 t 2064 Upgraded tank.

In addition to the linear tanks, and released a flamethrower option – M60. MB flamethrower installed instead of 90-mm guns. The tower housed and 1480-litre tank for ognesmesi. A combustible mixture were fired through the barrel with compressed air. Shooting was possible as a continuous stream for a minute, and short shots 2 – 3 C. the Second method was used more frequently. The theoretical range of the flamethrower was 150 – 200 m, but at ranges of more than 100 m, dispersion of the jet ognesmesi was already excessive. Externally M67 different from the M48 thicker and a short barrel “gun”. The flamethrower tank crew consisted of three people – a loader, because of the lack of guns were not available. The firing of a flamethrower and coaxial machine gun it was led by the gunner. The production of the M67 began in 1955. After the launch of a series of flamethrower tanks М48А2 М67А1 began to produce on its chassis. М67А1 tanks were equipped with flame throwers improved M7. Marking М67А2 flamethrower tanks received after the upgrade their chassis to the level М48АЗ.

Top view М48АЗ. Clearly visible the commander's cupola and tower new basket

Top view of М48АЗ. Visible commander’s turret and a new turret basket

The most popular machine on the basis of the M48 tank was BRAM М88. Its serial production started in 1961 by the firm BMY in York (Pennsylvania), where in less than four years produced over 1000 units.

In the first embodiment, the base platform has served М48А2 tank. On the lower part of his body were established superstructure of armor plates forming a compartment for a crew of four people. On the mechanic-driver and commander was located in a large turret.

12-cylinder carbureted air-cooled engine developed capacity of 825 HP and a total weight of the car reached 50 tons Special equipment included a crane with a lifting capacity of 18.4 MT, a mechanical winch with a maximum traction of 45.9 tonnes and an auxiliary winch. The front was installed, the opener-the bulldozer.

In 1975, the firm BMY has begun to release a new BRAM, which was given the index М88А1 (weight 51 tons). This machine with the diesel engine AVDS-1790-2DR, with a capacity of 750 HP is in service and currently. Due to the changed gear ratios gearbox maximality speed reduced to 42 km/h, but it has improved the factors affecting towing. Compared with the previous, this model has a more sophisticated recovery equipment. The capacity of the crane is 23 tonnes at a support case on the opener and 18.4 t in a locked hanger. The winch cable drum has a length of 61 m. Auxiliary diesel engine 11 HP provides the equipment, regardless of operation of the main hydraulic systems. From it power is also supplied to fuel transfer pump for refueling restored military vehicles or fuel can be removed from the machine beyond repair. The capacity of the main fuel tanks BRAM -1500 L.

Release М88А1 ended in 1989.

Only at the time produced about 3,500 machines М88 and М88А1.

In 1997 the command of the U.S. army issued the order for a new BRAM, the designation М88А2 HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation system for evacuation and repair of heavy military equipment General purpose). It has a more powerful engine and transmission with the best features without sacrificing the ability to tow, has increased bookings that provide protection against 30-mm shells. Positive factors include the presence of advanced A-frame crane boom lifting capacity by relying on the opener to 32.6 tonnes and winch with a pulling force of 64.8 tonnes and a cable length of 85 m. the Rest of the equipment and accessories similar to the ones on other models in this class.

Besides the production of BRAM М88А2 in the United States, the Americans signed a contract with the Egyptian tankostroitelnye plant on the Assembly 50 such machines from components supplied by US.

On the basis of the M48 tank was created by mo-stolarczyk And^intended to overcome various obstacles up to a width of 18 m tanks and other combat vehicles in a combat zone. Instead of a tower on it mounted the pavement design and the equipment for its installation. Bridge structure type “scissors” were the two riveted-gauge box-section with a width of 1.3 m, made of aluminum alloy. Bridge with a length of 19.3 m and a carrying capacity 54 MT provided cross 60% of the water obstacles in Western Europe. Laying the bridge to the barrier was carried out using hydraulics for 2 – 3 minutes, removing it for 10-30 minutes. Laying of the bridge was performed without release of the crew of mostovka Chica. Adopted, this car was taken in 1958. As a base was used the chassis of the M48 tanks, М48А1 and М48А2. In the late 1960-ies of the gasoline engines on the bridging systems was replaced by diesel.

In addition to the army and marine corps of the United States, the tanks “General Patton” consisted in the armies of many countries, while repeatedly modernized national programme.

For example, М48А2С along with the “leopard” was the basis of the tank Park land forces of Germany in the first half of 1970-ies. Externally, the “Patton” of the Bundeswehr different from American large rectangular IR-Pro-option both on firms AE(3-Telefunken on the masks of the guns and boxes, welded to aft tower basket, for non-crew members and mounted on the sides of the tower two blocks of four 76 mm smoke grenade launchers German design. One more external symptom of a West German M48 steel installed on the hull rear-view mirrors.

In the late 1970-ies the company “veg-Mann” upgraded 650 tanks in option М48А20А2. The amount of work roughly equivalent to the American М48А5, but with the emphasis on constructive and technological continuity of the machine “Leopard-1”. Were installed 105-mm gun L7AЗ with a thermal jacket, a new mount the gun in its stowed position, passive night vision for the tank commander, gunner and driver, an upgraded commander’s cupola, modified ammo (46 rounds) and improved fire control system. The tank used devices low-level television company AEB “Telefunken” with the receiving chamber, located above the gun, and a results image on the screens of the commander and gunner. Five tanks and 165 sets of Assembly units necessary for the modernization of the M48 tank to the level M48A2GA2 sold to Turkey.

Tank М48А5

Tank М48А5

Tank М48АЗ

The layout of the tank М48АЗ :

1 – 90-mm gun M41; 2 – T-shaped muzzle brake; 3 – xenon floodlight; 4 – seat of the driver; 5 – rudder; 6 – the air filter box; 7 – cooling fans; 8 – tilted manhole cover charging; 9 – manhole cover commander turrets; 10 – commander’s cupola; 11 – monitoring devices; 12 – 12.7-mm machine gun; 13 – seat commander; 14 – laying of the 90-mm rounds; 15 – breech gun


M48A2GA2 tanks entered service teams Heimatschutz – territorial units of the Bundeswehr. In the early 1990-ies in connection with the reduction of the army, they were withdrawn and transferred to Turkey under the program of military assistance.

In 1982, Germany has received an order for the modernization of the Turkish M48 182. In addition to bringing the tanks up to standard М48А5, one of the requirements of the Turkish side was the installation of a diesel engine. The Germans offered its 8-cylinder diesel МВ837 MTU Ka-500 power 1000 HP to install I had to redo the engine compartment, but the tank turned out much more dynamic than the American counterpart with an engine of 750 HP is Not clear whether the order was made, or it was limited to the prototype underwent trials at Trier.

Modernization of the greater part of the Park Turkish tanks took place with the participation of the Americans. In 1983 – 1993 in Turkey on two tank repair plants to the level М48А5Т1, approximately corresponding to М48А5 of the U.S. army, converted circa 1900 military vehicles. From 1987 to 1995 about 760 M48 upgraded to the version М48А5Т2 by installing thermal insulation covers for the barrels of the guns, the introduction of the QMS new ballistic computer and two-plane gun stabilizer. In both cases, modernization kits came to Turkey from USA.

The program of modernization of the M48 tanks in Turkey has not been completed, but now its implementation involves firms of Israel. As of 2007, the Turkish army had 1369 М48А5Т1 and 751 М48А5Т2. In addition, the troops were 658 tanks М48АЗ and 183 BRAM М48Т5.

M67 flamethrower tank

M67 flamethrower tank

In South Korea 597 tanks M48, М48А1, М48А2С and М48АЗ retool firm Hyundai Precision & Industry With Ltd. up to standard М48А5К. It is believed that the Korean variant of the superior fighting qualities of the American. Tanks mounted 105 mm gun M68, IR observation devices of the driver and spotlight illuminator on the mask gun, smoke grenade launchers on the sides of the tower, the side of anti shaped-charge screens and the diesel AVDS-1790-2D. In addition, improved SLAs, electrical equipment, commander’s cupola and suspension. 7.62 mm M60 machine guns mounted and the hatch of the commander, and in front of the hatch charging.

М48А5 about 400 tanks, the armament of the Greek army, were modernized by installation of a computerized FCS MOLF German firm Rheinmetall Defence Electronics.

The army of Taiwan consist of two variants of the modernized M48. First – М48Н/CM-11 Brave Tiger (“Brave tiger”) represents the synthesis of the tower М48А2 and body М60АЗ. It has: 105-mm gun M68, produced in Taiwan by the license; the new FCS includes a laser rangefinder on carbon dioxide of the firm Texas Instruments; thermal imaging, night vision devices, logistics, engine and transmission, borrowed from the tank М60АЗ together with chassis and suspension; new commander’s cupola. Tank CM-12 is М48АЗ with all the improvements, which were implemented on CM-11 (except housing М60АЗ).

Tank bridge layer AVLB

Armored vehicle-launched bridge AVLB

In the second half of 1950-ies M48 were the main tanks of the army and the U.S. marine corps and was stationed on the territory of the United States and in Europe. They took part in the famous confrontation in August 1961 in Berlin, when Soviet and American tanks were divided to two dozen meters.

The share of the M48 and its modifications had an impressive military career. Baptism of the new car got in the summer of 1958 in Lebanon in the brigade of the U.S. marine corps. However, prior to the shooting then it did not come. The actual fighting with the participation of the M48 began in 1965 in Indochina. By the end of the year only in parts of the United States marine corps in Vietnam, there were 65 linear tanks M48 and M67 flamethrower tank 12. In subsequent years, the tanks М48А1 and М48АЗ widely used in the fighting of the Vietnam war. And at the final stage, the two warring sides.

In 1965, Pakistan used M48 in the fighting against Indian troops, and very badly. 1st Pakistani armored division, equipped with battle machines of this type, was almost completely destroyed by means of the PTO and fire Indian “centurions”.

However, the most widespread was the use of a series of tanks M48 during the Arab-Israeli wars 1967 and 1973. All Israel received the M48 was brought to the level М48А5 and even more.

Tanks the M48 took part in the civil war in Lebanon (1975 – 1990), was used by Iran in aranayaka war (1980 – 1988) and Pakistani troops in peacekeeping operations in Somalia (1992 – 1995). The last war they were involved was an armed conflict between Palestinian militants and the Lebanese army in Northern Lebanon in 2007.

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