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<T28, SUPER HEAVY TANK> I would like to thank the Staff and volunteers of the Patton museum, Ft.

Knox, Kentucky for their invaluable assistance with this article. The majority of the specifics and pictures of this vehicle are from the manual Notes on materiel gun motor carriage T 95 that was found in the H.P. Hunnicutt files in the museum library. With information coming from other sources to include the personal files of Don Moriority who also assisted me with the time line.

<HISTORY> As the war progressed it was decided that a heavier tank would be needed to assault the heavy defensive lines in Europe. In 1943 the designing of a new very heavy tank was proposed. This was to use as many mechanical components from the T23 series of tanks as possible. Twenty five in total were to be built at Pacific Car & Foundry, five being pilot models the remainder production vehicles. In 1944 Army Service Forces approved the design though changed the electric transmission used in the T26 to a mechanical type. In March of 1945 it was decided to change its designation, without a turret it did not really fit the name tank. This led to the designation 105mm Gun Motor Carriage T 95. In June of 1946 T95s designation was again changed, this time to Super Heavy Tank T28. With the end of the war in 1945 the number of pilot models was reduced to two and production put on hold. The first pilot model was completed in September of that year. Trials took place at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland and Ft Knox, Kentucky between 1945 and 1948. In 1947 one of the two pilots was sent to Yuma proving grounds where it is said to have suffered an engine fire and was reported to have been scraped. In 1948 the remaining T28 was put through trials for loading onto an LST at Aberdeen. After March of 1951 it seems to slip into oblivion until 1974 when it was re-discovered at Ft Belvoir Virginia. From there it was moved to FT Knox Kentucky and placed out front of the Patton museum. In January 2010 it was to be moved to another destination at this time unknown to me. This took the staff and volunteers most of one day and 2 M88 ARVs to complete. It took several moves and hook ups of an M88 to winch the T28 from its platform. First attempt to move it with one M88 failed. It was then hooked to two M88s and still it took many tries to get it rolling due to its weight and icy conditions. It was then hauled cross country as it would have torn up the roads with its weight and steel track shoes to storage where it awaits transport to its next destination. <DESCRIPTION> T28 is a fully tracked vehicle with an all welded structure made from cast and steel plate armor. There are two sets of towing lugs one set on front armor plate and the other on the 2 inch thick rear armor plate. This rear plate has two cut outs with final drive covers welded to them and an exhaust outlet at center top, originally sporting a single towing

pintle though the one that exists today has two. With armor 12 inches thick at the front along with 4 inches on the side plates of the track skirts it could withstand fire from most tanks of its time. It was divided into two sections, the fighting and engine compartments. These divided by a centrally located water tight pressure sealed bulkhead. Weighing in at an estimated 186,000 pounds loaded and having a length of 34 ft 8 inches with a width of 14 ft 11 inches it is a massive beast. With the main gun mounted in the front T28 had a very low silhouette having a height of just over 9ft tall including the machine gun ring. To carry this massive weight took four sets of tracks mounted two per side. These using 16 horizontal volute bogie assemblies to run on, giving it a ground clearance of 19 inches with an approximate ground pressure of 9.4 pounds per square inch. It had a trench crossing capability of 6 ft and was able to negotiate a grade of 48.2%. With its size it had a turning radius of 28 ft. The outer set of tracks was removable and could be towed behind the vehicle reducing its width considerably. <FIGHTING COMPARTMENT and CREW> T28 had crew of four, commander, driver, loader, and a gunner each having their own seat. The drivers position was located in the left front of the vehicle with the loader around three feet behind him. The commander was located at the right rear of the fighting compartment with the gunner at the front right position. Both driver and commander having new all round vision cupolas with a ring mounted 50 caliber machine gun located above the commanders cupola. There were two escape hatches in the 1 inch thick floor for emergencies. Commander, gunner, and driver used similar seats with the commanders lacking the removable back rest. The drivers and gunners seats were adjustable front to rear on a spring loaded adjustable height mounts. The drivers seat also able to swing to left about four inches allowing the main gun to a wider angle of traverse. There is a radiator type heater with electric fan located on the floor to the right of the drivers station used to heat the fighting compartment. To keep fresh air in the fighting compartment a ventilator is used. This attached to the bulkhead with the cover on the left rear portion of the vehicles roof. Under the commander was a carbon dioxide fixed fire extinguisher assembly for fire protection in the engine compartment. T28 mounted the T5E1 105mm gun with a massive 11 inch thick cast mantlet at its snout. The gun was in a trunnion style mount with a sight in the roof above the gunner. This mount allows the gun to be elevated to 19.5 degrees with -5 degrees lowered with a traverse of 10 degrees right or left. These achieved manually through two hand wheels operated by the gunner. Two part ammunition was used that was stored around the interior of the vehicle in racks and storage containers. There was a travel lock on the floor underneath the gun that would lock it at its maximum elevation for travel. <ENGINE COMPARTMENT and POWER PLANT> To power the beast a Ford GAF V8 500hp gasoline engine was used. This is very similar to if not the same used in the Pershing tanks. With the engine bolted to a transmission that was again bolted to a differential and called the power plant as a whole. The power plant could be removed in one peace for maintenance or replacement and was mounted to

the vehicle with four engine mounts. For combustion air was taken in through two oil bath air filters located in the fighting compartment, these also used to assist in removal of gases in the fighting compartment. An auxiliary engine was used to power the tank when the main engine was turned off. This having a 150 ampere, 12 volt generator mounted above it to charge the batteries. For starting in cold temperatures there was a hand primer located in the bulkhead by the commanders station. To keep the engine at a proper running temperature a pressure sealed thermostatically controlled liquid type cooling system is used. This having four belt driven fans that would pull air through two large radiators both having oil coolers built in. Above this was a surge tank, this with the radiator assemblies mounted onto a housing that attached to the engine compartment that prevented air re-circulation in the engine compartment. This cooling unit was removable in one piece through two sets of hinged hatches above the engine compartment. Each set of hatches consisted of six doors that had overlapping lips necessitating a distinct order for them to be opened. These rested on the hinges and pads 5 inches above the hatch frame allowing air to pass through. There were four fuel cells two located the sponsons and two vertical tanks behind the bulkhead and to either side of the engine. These carried a total of 434 gallons and were filled through two filler caps covered by hinged armored covers. Both left and right sets of tanks could be used separately and had hand controls located in the fighting compartment on the bulkhead. To drive the tank a set of two manually operated steering brake handles was used that the driver would straddle. These along with the auxiliary brake and foot throttle pedals mounted onto a raised platform in front of the drivers seat. Under this was a series of linkages connected to rods that ran along the floor to what is called a through the bulkhead control assembly. This located to the rear of the fighting compartment in front of the bulkhead. The Auxiliary brakes were of the hydraulic type with two fluid cylinders located behind the drivers seat. These linkages and hoses were all concealed below a protective shield forming a tunnel that ran along the floor on the left of the fighting compartment to the bulkhead. The tracks were driven by brakes located in the differential known as the controlled type with the auxiliary brakes located to the sides of the differential. These were connected to the final drives by large universal joints inside the engine compartment. The electrical system used is a twelve and twenty four volt system. Two twelve volt batteries connected in a series are mounted on a moveable platform located behind the bulkhead on the drivers side covered by a removable door. To get to this door the ammo storage rack located on the sponson in front of them had to be removed. The twenty four volt system is used to power all the various instrument and lighting system while the twelve volt is used to operate the radio. All electrical equipment is of a heavy duty water proof type. All cables being covered with synthetic rubber and impregnated with asbestos filler making them impervious to air and moisture. These are used with conduit either to meet radio shielding requirements and mechanical support or protection as needed. All junction boxes are made of aluminum and all control panels are mounted using rubber pads to protect them from excessive movement.

<SUSPENSION> T28 being so heavy needed two sets of two individually driven tracks, each set consisting of two separate track assemblies per side. These being called inner and outer track assemblies with the inner directly mounted to the lower hull and the outer set mounted to a skirt and fender assembly. Each track assembly consisting of a drive sprocket to the rear, four suspension units, five return roller assemblies and an adjustable idler to the front. Propulsion provided by the inner track assembly directly driven from the differential and the outer assembly driven by the inner sprocket with a splined shaft between the two sprockets. Outer track assemblies were detachable and could be attached to each other and towed behind the vehicle to reduce its width. The outer assemblies fit to the sides of the tank and were held in place with five tie bar assemblies inside the skirts and six anchor pins along the top held in place with conically shaped wedges. There were a total of sixteen horizontal volute spring suspension units, each unit having four 20 inch diameter rubber tired bogie wheels mounted on suspension arms. There are two arms per unit held together with a 2 inch diameter pin. Each arm having an axle running through it supporting the two bogie wheels and above this a hook cast in. These hooks were used to hold the suspension in a raised position during track removal and installation. At the top of each unit are two horizontal volute springs in between the suspension arms held in place by a yoke that rests on a spring seat pin that is slid through the cast in spring seat on each suspension arm. Each of the two drive sprocket assemblies contains four fourteen toothed sprockets with a central hub in between. Each of the two adjustable idler assemblies was made up of two rubber tired wheels with a hub in between these mounted on an eccentric hub that could be pulled forward to tighten the track. To complete each track assembly there were three double rollers and two single rollers supporting the track. The three double rollers were spaced evenly between the front and rear and the single rollers between the out most double rollers and either the drive sprocket or idler wheels. Each length of track was twenty inches wide and consisted of one hundred links. These links consisted of two shoes, two shoe pins, two outer connecting links, and a central guide that also served a spacer keeping the shoes at the proper spacing. Both of the track shoes were pressed onto the shoe pins and held in place with rubber bushings. Each outer connecting link slipped over the outer portion of the shoe pins and connected the link to the corresponding links of the track. To hold each outer track assembly to the tank there are five tie bar assemblies. These being of two types, one a front and the other a rear type all having hooks cast into them that correspond to the ones on the suspension arms. Each tie bar assembly having two parts an inner and outer part. Inner parts having a pin type mount that attaches to the lower hull and is able to swivel to the front and rear. Outer parts with bolt on mounts that attach to the outer track assemblies. Front and rear outer parts have a smaller bolt mount that attaches to the skirt on the inner part with four bolts and hooks on only one side. Center three having a larger six bolt mount that attaches to the skirt and has hooks on both sides. Both types outer portion is hollow all the way through and longer than the

inner portion. All inner portions are threaded on the inside to accept one of the five threaded tie bar rods which hold each skirt to the lower hull. <TRACK ASSEMBLIES> As mentioned earlier the track assemblies are removable though this is no easy feat and only recommended to get around obstacles or for rail transport. It took a minimum space of 100 feet in length by 30 ft in width to do so and must be done on as level ground as possible. With armor 4 inches at the sides and a complete suspension assembly attached these outer track assemblies are extremely heavy, each weighing in at an estimated 30,000 pounds. To remove them two manually operated hydraulic winches were used, these also used to adjust the track tension through the idlers eccentric mounts. There were four sets of winch mounts on the front of both the outer track assemblies and the upper hulls fenders. Two situated so the winch sat facing the front at a slight angle these fro track adjustment. Two more were set so the winch faced to the side for track removal and installation. There were two more sets one per side at the rear also for this purpose. Inside each of the outer track assemblies was storage trays located above the track at the rear running about half their length. These mounted on rollers with a metal cover to keep contents from fowling them when pulled out the rear of the vehicle. <REMOVAL, INSTALATION, and TOWING> Outer track assembly removal and installation had to be done in a distinct sequence. This consisting of these steps. 1. Hydraulic winches are attached to there mounts, these described earlier. 2. Wooden blocks are set behind the first and third set of bogies and the tank backed up so these are on the blocks and suspension tie links used to hold the bogies in the raised position. These are placed onto the hooks on the tie bars and suspension arms using a longer tie link for the front ones and shorter ones for the remainder. This sequence is continued until all units are raised. 3. Outer cover of the drive sprocket is removed, shaft locking nut is loosened, and the shaft is unscrewed as far as it will go. This pulls out of the spline form the inner drive sprocket. 4. Track is raised up to the suspension units using the track shoe suspension assemblies, these spaced between every other road wheel. This allows the outer skirt to be sprung free without the track dragging. 5. Five center tie bolts are removed along with the keys and pins from the four center anchor lugs along the top of the skirts, leaving the outer two until later. To support the removed assembly two sprags are prepared for attachment to the outer track skirt. These are shown in pictures included in the article. 6. Winches are connected to the outer skirts and these are lifted and the outer two anchor lugs removed. The skirts track drives are now sprung free with a pry bar, the track assembly will now stand up and the sprags can be set to hold it in this position. 7. Winches are disconnected from the skirt, the cables slack taken up, and both are moved to the other side of the tank. To remove the left track assembly the tank is moved to about three feet behind the outside rear of the right skirt track assembly. 1. Track shoe suspension assemblies are removed from the right track assembly and two spacers are attached to the outside of this over the holes for the first and third tie bolts. 2. Drive sprocket cover is removed and the

shaft unscrewed as it was on the right assembly. 3. First tie bolt is removed and the vehicle pulled up to the first sprag. 4, Remove sprag, pull the vehicle up to the next tie bolt, remove this, and continue sequence until last sprag is reached. 5. Place track driving spool between them about 8 feet from the front of assembly to keep them at the proper spacing. 6. Remove last sprag and pull tank up so assemblys line up. 7. Tie bar tie rods are run trough their holes and attached tying the lower portions together. 8. Top of the outer track assemblies are tied together with a front and rear connecting rod. Front connecting rods have two clevises added to the out sides with the rear one having driving hooks added to the outside. 9. Lift assembly and removed as before. 10. Attach steering spool to the drive sprockets on both sides of the outer track assemblies. Towing these was accomplished by tying the outer track assemblies to the vehicle with two cables shown in one of the pictures included here. While towing the tracks the vehicle is kept at a speed that does not exceed 3 mph and requires two crew members to steer the outer tracks through turns. This accomplished with ropes attached to hooks and run over the track driving spools as shown in another picture. <INSTALATION> To install the outer track sections again requires following a set sequence. 1. Remove towing cables and hooks then back vehicle into position behind the left outer track assembly. 2. Remove steering parts from left assembly and pull tank up so anchor lug holes align. 3. Install track shoe suspensions. 4. Mount front winch and lift left track assembly, remove hooks and work connecting rod out of rear fender holes, pull tank forward so anchor holes line up, place driving spool between tank and track assembly, and attach track fixtures and pull top of track assembly to vehicle 5. Insert anchor pins and lugs. 6. Back tank up, add front sprag, and install rear tie bolt. 6. Remove spool, back tank up add second sprag, and install remaining tie bolts and anchor pins. 7. Block up bogies and remove the track suspension tie links, engage the drive sprocket by turning in its shaft, and replace cover. 8. Remove upper and lower spacers from right track assembly, maneuver tank as close to this as possible and add track shoe suspension links. 9. Mount winches, lift and align track assembly, pull track tight to vehicle using track fixtures, and install anchor lugs and tie bolts. 10. Engage drive sprocket as mentioned above. 11. Block up bogies and remove suspension tie links. Lastly stow equipment and go. <INTERNAL STOWAGE and EQUIPMENT> Crew equipment consist of the following; 1-45 caliber submachine gun, 3-30 caliber carbines, 1 grenade launcher, 12 hand grenades, 50 caliber machine gun, 4 canteens, 2 five gallon water cans, 2 days rations for four men, 3 flashlights, 1 box containing spare batteries, asbestos mittens, electrical box, first aide kit, signal flags, 6 signal flares, 50 caliber parts box, , 3 cases of carbine clips, 1 case of sub machine gun clips, and one hand held fire extinguisher. Ammunition carried on board were 660 rounds for the 50 caliber, 235 rounds of 30 caliber carbines, and 185 rounds for the 45 caliber sub machine gun. For the main gun there were 62 rounds of 105mm ammunition, a parts box, and gunners

quadrant in box. After trials the shell cases stowed was cut to 58 due to interference of these in the center rack with those in the rear rack. There were a total of eight storage racks with three storage lockers used to hold 14 105mm projectiles each. For internal communication there were two interphone control boxes boxs mounted on the roof, one between the commander and gunner the other between the loader and driver. For external communication two radios were mounted to the bulkhead. Radios used for communication were the SCR-528 on a centrally located shelf and an AN/VRC-3 mounted below the ventilator on the left side of the bulkhead. Remainder of the internal storage was held in the trays located in the outer track assemblies. In the left tray parts for the main gun including 1 bore brush, 1wiper ring, 5 staff sections, 1 cleaner and unloading rammer, 1 loading rammer. Other items stowed here are 1 decontamination apparatus, 2 field bags, 1 canvas bucket, 2 blanket roles, 1 gas cooking stove, 1 flexible tube with nozzle, 1 tool bag with tools, 1 electrical extension cord, 1 lubricating gun with flexible extension, 1 inspection lamp, 1 wedge nut, 1 end connector, and 1 wedge. In the right 3 one quart cans recoil oil, 8 one quart cans engine oil, 1 50 caliber machine gun barrel assembly, 2 field bags, 1 signal panel set, 1antenna with cover, 2 blanket roles with 1 aiming pole set and 1aiming post light set for the 105mm gun. <EXTERNAL STORAGE> Stowed on the left side of the outer hull was one moveable hydraulic winch, track towing spacer, camouflage net, 6 track shoes, 1 axe, 1 crow bar, 1 mattock handle, 1 mattock head, 2 short handled shovels, and one sledge. On the right side 1 moveable hydraulic winch, 1 track towing spacer, 2 storage boxes, 2 track towing brake spools, 1 tarpaulin, 2 track connecting fixtures, and 1 first aide kit. All external stowage is connected to the vehicle with brackets and tie downs with straps to secure them to the vehicle. As can be seen T28 was doomed from the beginning. With all its limitations it was no wonder it never went into full production. This said it is still a magnificent piece of history and deserves to be moved to a place of honor once more. I hope that this article does it justice.

Other sources. British and American tanks of WW IIPeter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis T 28 Super Heavy Tank.Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Don Moriority

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