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The first MBT?

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  • The first MBT?

    Just a question for you guys to ponder, which tank in your mind was the first real "Main Battle Tank" that was deployed in the armed forces?
    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

    "We're all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorised and flattened by trivialities."
    Bukowski

  • #2
    The M-26 for the US, the T44 for the Russians, and the Centurion for the UK.
    Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

    History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
    Lazarus Long

    Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
    David Bowie

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    • #3
      M26 was originally classed as a medium tank, then classed as heavy tank on 29 June 1944, then reclassed as a medium in May 1946. It wouldn't be the US's first MBT, because that definition is traditionally used to describe tanks that combine characteristics of medium and heavy tanks into one vehicle, thereby making separate classes obsolete. The US continued to use heavy tanks (i.e., M103) through the 1950s in combination with the M48, and into the 1960s until the M60's 105 mm gun made the firepower offered by the heavy tank redundant.

      The Soviets also produced heavy tanks throughout the 1950s. Khrushchev canceled Soviet heavy tank development in July 1960--after the T-62 had been initiated--so the first true Soviet MBT that from the outset took on both the heavy and medium tank roles was T-64.

      For the British, Centurion had been intended to be a "universal tank," a spiritual predecessor to the MBT. They did away with the classifications of infantry and cruiser tanks in 1946, and the FV 200 program was shortly thereafter launched to replace Centurion with a family of vehicles based on the same hull. FV 201, the gun tank, was to be armed with the 20 pounder, but to be upgunned later on would required a drastic cut in ammunition stowage as well as loss of the bow MG and fifth crewman. FV 201 was canceled in 1949 due to these concerns, as well as the fact that the 20 pounder couldn't reliably penetrate the IS-3. Conqueror was borne from this cancellation, but when the Centurion was armed with the 105 mm gun (and received thicker frontal armor), Conqueror's firepower advantage became null, so it was abandoned much like M103. So for the British, Centurion was their universal tank, then the de facto medium tank, and finally the MBT that killed off their heavy tank class.

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      • #4
        In order to be classified as a main battle tank, your tank should have no cousins in the light and/or heavy class. When the Soviets were designing the T-44 they kept on developing the JS-3 series which later culminated in the T-10 heavy tank. When the British designed the Centurion they still has plans for heavy tanks in the drawer-this later resulted in the Conqueror heavy tank meant to take on T-10. Therefore, I don't think either UK or USSR considered T-44 and Centurion to be MBTs. I'm not sure about the American M-26 but I think it was the same story. M-26, T-44 and Centurion are all WWII designs which with the exception of M-26 arrived too late to see combat. The concept of a MBT did not gain widespread acceptance until much later.
        Last edited by MonsterZero; 04 Nov 07, 11:16.

        "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
        --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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        • #5
          What about the German Mark III ?
          It might not have be called an MTB, but that is the way it was used; a general purpose medium tank used for tank v. tank engagements from 1939 to 1942.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by PzKfwBob View Post
            The M-26 for the US, the T44 for the Russians, and the Centurion for the UK.
            Even if they never carried the designation of MBT, I still believe they were the first. MBT didn't really come into common usage until the late 60's or early 70's. They allowed the MBT's of today evolve to the present day killing machines. They were the first tanks to attempt to be all around tanks which MBT represent. IMHO
            Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

            History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
            Lazarus Long

            Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
            David Bowie

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
              In order to be classified as a main battle tank, your tank should have no cousins in the light and/or heavy class.
              Then there have not been many if any MBT's. The British have been using light armour (CVRT's) of one stripe or another for ages. The US has been using Light tanks since the end of WWII and So have the Soviets. So by your designation there's no MBT's.
              Winnie says
              ---------------------------------
              "He fell out of a Gestapo car, over a bridge, and onto a railway line. Then was run over by the Berlin Express.

              It was an Accident."
              Herr Flick.

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              • #8
                I'd always understood the US use of MBT to reflect the doctrinal problems of having different weights of armor. The Sherman for example, suffered from being designed for offensive infantry support yet inevitably coming into contact heavier defending and counter-attacking German armor.

                "Main-Battle" tank doctrine reflected the realization that the bulk of the tank force had to be able to handle nearly all of the jobs required in the main engagement areas. Lighter vehicles might still be used in scouting and economy-of-force roles.
                Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PzKfwBob View Post
                  Even if they never carried the designation of MBT, I still believe they were the first. MBT didn't really come into common usage until the late 60's or early 70's. They allowed the MBT's of today evolve to the present day killing machines. They were the first tanks to attempt to be all around tanks which MBT represent. IMHO
                  This was my intention for the thread, disregard the medium/heavy tank tag and just label a tank that you feel fulfilled the roll nicely.... no rocket science needed or right or wrong answers, just a good chance to grab some interesting comparisons!

                  As for the Centurion, my choice too...
                  "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                  Ernest Hemingway.

                  "We're all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorised and flattened by trivialities."
                  Bukowski

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                  • #10
                    Type 97 Chi-ha for MBT?

                    Good all round armour, 57mm gun and a decent speed.
                    Winnie says
                    ---------------------------------
                    "He fell out of a Gestapo car, over a bridge, and onto a railway line. Then was run over by the Berlin Express.

                    It was an Accident."
                    Herr Flick.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Listy View Post
                      Type 97 Chi-ha for MBT?

                      Good all round armour, 57mm gun and a decent speed.
                      I'd have said the Panther.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by the_redstar_swl View Post
                        I'd have said the Panther.
                        Quite a few references I've come across support your choice, can't trace them now but either way a good contender as to the "first" MBT.
                        "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                        Ernest Hemingway.

                        "We're all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorised and flattened by trivialities."
                        Bukowski

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Achtung baby View Post
                          Quite a few references I've come across support your choice, can't trace them now but either way a good contender as to the "first" MBT.
                          The French army were still employing captured Panther tanks in their armed forces well in to the 1950's , so your point is well made , concerning the Panther as a MBT.

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                          • #14
                            Chi-ha predates the panther.

                            Time wise a Panzer III ausf A is about the closest, and an Ausf H is inferior in armour and gun, and is about the same speed.

                            Add to that the German Doctrine was for light and heavies. The Japanese seemed to want a single class of tank, however due to the army being poorly equipped in tanks some of the older designs still had to linger. Although the Tankette still probaly had some logic behind it due to the terrain.
                            Last edited by Listy; 08 Nov 07, 12:50.
                            Winnie says
                            ---------------------------------
                            "He fell out of a Gestapo car, over a bridge, and onto a railway line. Then was run over by the Berlin Express.

                            It was an Accident."
                            Herr Flick.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have to say the T-34. Same reasone as the Panther but the T-34 came first.
                              "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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