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America’s Tiger: The M6 Heavy Tank Of WWII That Never Happened

Taking into account what I do for a living , I consider myself to be an amateur historian, but this particular item has me stumped.  I knew that the United States government had submitted several requests to American manufacturers for a new tank design during World War II, but I never knew that the M6 heavy tank had even made it off of the drawing board, let alone had made it into even limited production.

I feel it was a mistake that this particular tank wasn’t put into mass production, because if it had, it would have set the gold standard for every tank design in World War 2 and given the United States military a serious advantage over the Axis powers.

Little known, the M6 was the first modern US heavy tank. The only other heavy tank built in series was the Liberty or Mark VII, a joint US-British design, produced in 1918, of the WWI-era lozenge type. When the Second World War broke out, the successful German campaign of 1940 gave a spur to US tank development. Already, on 20 May 1940, the Chief of Infantry recommended to the US Army Ordnance Corps to study a 50-ton tank design.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the M6 Heavy Tank:

“The Heavy Tank M6 was an American heavy tank designed during World War II. The tank was produced in small numbers and never saw combat.
 
Because of limited budgets for tank development in the interwar years, at the outbreak of World War II the US Army possessed few tanks, though it had been keeping track of the use of tanks in Europe and Asia. Successful employment of armored units in 1939–40, mostly by the Germans, gave momentum to a number of US tank programs, including a heavy tank. The United States possessed a massive industrial infrastructure and large numbers of engineers that would allow for mass production of tanks.”
Heavy Tank M6
M6 heavy tank TM9-2800 p120.jpg

M6 prototype
Type Heavy tank
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service trials only
Used by United States Army
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer US Army Ordnance Corps
Manufacturer Baldwin Locomotive
No. built 40
Variants 6
Specifications (M6)
Mass 126,500 lb (57.4 tonnes) combat loaded
Length 27 ft 8 in (8.43 m) gun forward
Width 10 ft 3 in (3.12 m) over track armor
Height 9 ft 10 in (3.0 m) to turret roof
Crew 6 (commander, gunner, driver, assistant driver, loader, assistant loader)

Armor 25–83 mm
Main
armament
1 × 3 in (76.2 mm) gun M7 (75 rounds)
1 × 37 mm (1.46 in) gun M6 (202 rounds)
Secondary
armament
2 × .50 cal (12.7mm) Browning M2HB machine guns, hull (6,900 rounds)
2 × .30 Browning M1919A4 machine guns, one fixed (bow), one flexible AA (5,500 rounds)
Engine 1,823 in3 (29.88 L) Wright G-200 9-cylinder gasoline
825 hp at 2,300 rpm
Power/weight 15.7 hp/tonne
Transmission Timken mechanical model 16001, three speeds (two forward, one reverse); rear drive sprocket
Suspension Horizontal volute spring
Ground clearance 20.5 in (52 cm)
Fuel capacity 477 US gallons (1,810 L)
Operational
range
100 miles (160 km)
Maximum speed 22 mph (35 km/h)
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H/T – Wikipedia

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