The T28 Super Heavy Tank — The Beast That Didn’t See Action
The T28 Super Heavy Tank is a fucking beast. Let’s not beat around the bush. In World War Two the Americans wanted a massive tank to break through the German Siegfried line. America also considered it to fight the Japanese on the mainland. It didn’t end up doing either job.
In 1943 the American’s realised the requirement for an assault tank. Engineers designed the T-28. It weighed in at an impressive 100 tons but it went through a couple of name changes. It was first designated as the T28 Super Heavy Tank. In 1945 it was reclassified due the details of its armament. The T28 didn’t have a revolving turret and so its name was changed to 105 mm Gun Motor Carriage T95 but a year later was renamed again as it became the Super Heavy Tank T28 due to the armament and heavy armour.
How Many Did They Build?
They originally planned to build five prototypes that would lead to a total of twenty five production tanks. They got to work right away. The damage that these could cause to fortified defences would be enormous for the war effort in Europe. The tanks could destroy concrete and would therefore be effective at getting through the German Siegfried line. The only problem, well, downside to this plan was that allied forces were just as effective at getting through the German defences as well, and without a T28. The plan of five was reduced to two.
It was considered a possibility to be used in the Pacific theatre against the Japanese. There were more problems though. The huge weight of the tank would cause problems for transportation of large distances so it never made it across the Pacific. Maintenance of the tank was also expensive compared to other designs.
The tank also had problems crossing portable bridges that were being used at the time and had extreme trouble with obstacles. It just didn’t seem to be able to get anything right. The project was scrapped and just two prototypes were built.
What Happened to Them?
One of the T28’s was sold for scrap after an engine fire during trials caused large amounts of damage. The remaining T28 went missing for 27 years before being discovered abandoned in a field in Virginia. It is now being displayed at Patton museum.
One part of the T28 that I thought was decent was the four track capability that reduced the ground pressure. The outer two tracks could be removed to enable transportation (for a short distance) but again the idea is great but it wasn’t that practical in the field.
The tank’s armour was immense with it being up to 12 inches thick on the front. The lower hull had 5.25 inches and the sides 2.5 inches of armour. It was certainly a tough little design but perhaps too tough to be of any use. Speed is so important as if you sacrifice too much of it then you end up with a heavy lump that doesn’t really move well. That’s not ideal as an attacking vehicle.