T92 AMERICAN LIGHT TANK



HISTORY
T92 Light Tank was an innovative American light tank developed in the 1950s by Aircraft Armaments. At 18.5 tonnes, 5m length, it was designed as an airdropped replacement for the 5 tonnes heavier M41 Walker Bulldog. The T92 had a crew of 4, Commander, Gunner, Loader and Driver.

The engine was moved to the front, which increased protection, and a rear access door provided an escape hatch and protection while reloading; this layout was later adopted by the contemporary Israeli Merkava battle tank. It had a crew of four with a semi-automatic loading system.

The first T92 arrived at Aberdeen in 1956, the second arrived the next year. Both proved capable machines but there were problems found, in all 50 or more changes were to take place and ranged from problems with the tracks to problems with the shell case ejector.

T92 was very close to being put into production which was planned in 1962. In 1957, before the 2nd pilot T92 arrived at Aberdeen, Congress found out about Soviet PT-76 and its amphibious capabilities. The T92 was unable be modified to become amphibious due to the design of the vehicle. In 1958 the T92 was cancelled. The T92 would be passed over and the M551 Sheridan would take it's place.



ARMOUR
Protection is effectively the same as the M41 Bulldog but lighter weight materials such as aluminium were used to protect parts of the T92. With a maximum thickness of 25mm on the hull and 32mm on the turret, the tank was protected from most small arms fire. This allowed the tank to remain mobile and easy to transport via road or air. The T92 has an unique layout not seen in American light tanks before, the rear of the tank contained access doors which allowed the crew to evacuate in an emergency or load supplies and restock ammo reserves.

The Turret is made from rolled and cast homogeneous steel and cast aluminium; The hull is rolled and cast homogeneous steel and rolled aluminium with an all welded assembly. The armour on the vehicle varies depending on the section, thus there are no uniformed plates, but the estimates are as follows:

Upper frontal plate: 13mm
Lower frontal plate: 13mm
Side hull armour: 10-19mm
Rear armour: 10mm

Turret front: 32mm
Turret sides: 13mm, 19mm cradle
Turret rear:   32mm, 19mm cradle
Cupola front: 32mm
Cupola Sides: 29mm



WEAPON SYSTEM
The T92 had very low profile turret with very little exposed and was armed with three weapons. Along with the 76mm main gun (T185E1), there were a 12.7mm (50cal) heavy machine gun with 700 rounds and a 7.62mm (30cal) machine gun with 5000 rounds on two smaller cupolas! These cupolas can be used as independent turrets or can be locked to the main turret to be used as coaxial guns.

The main gun's rate of fire was on average 12 RPM and carried 60 rounds for the 76mm gun, with an automatic ejection system for the shell casings. It could be elevated to -10/+20 degrees and had a semi-automatic loading system. The T92 did not have an auto-loading magazine gun and also did not come equipped with a stabilization device.

The 76mm gun fired a number of different rounds over the years, the most common in US service were the AP-T M339, HVAP-T M319, the HVAP-DS-T M331A2, the HE M352 and the canister round, M363.



MOBILITY
The tank was equipped with a Continental AOI-628-1, 8 cylinder fuel injected engine that provided 340hp, giving the tank roughly 18.3hp/t. This engine would allow the T-92 to be very mobile. It had a reserve of 150 gallons of gasoline (petrol). The tank had 8 road wheels, 4 per side and came with a choice of tracks, either the T110 steel or T85E1 rubber respectively. The T92 had a top speed of 56.3 km/h on standard road conditions with an approximate active range of 210 miles.

As you can see in the image below, the T92 is noticeably smaller than the M41 Walker Bulldog. That in mind, even though the M41 was 5 tons heavier, it had a 500hp engine giving it 21.3hp/t, an increase of 3hp/t. It was also faster than the T92, able to reach 72 km/h.


CONCLUSION
We already know from the developers that now with the implementation of the Sandbox and the game rebalance, that Tier 10 light tanks can now be put into the game. Would this tank make a decent candidate? I think there could be a place between tier 8 and 10, the HVAP round could easily be balanced to have 200mm plus of penetration, and the HEAT as the premium round could be put around the 290-320mm area. Being small the tank could have excellent camouflage to balance the lack of armour and while the speed would be an issue, I'm sure adding an extra 5-10 km/h would not be balance breaking.





CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES

Works Cited:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T92_Light_Tank (History)
http://www.primeportal.net/tanks/david_lueck/t-92_light_tank (images)
76mm GUN TANK T92 documents - US Military (Technical specifications)

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