M55 8" Self-Propelled Howitzer (T108)
The M55 was essentially a 155mm self-propelled gun M53 rearmed with an 8" [203mm] howitzer. The M55 used components of the M48 Patton tank, but the automotive aspects were reversed. The engine was mounted in the front and drove through a front-drive sprocket. The driver's cupola is visible on the front left of the turret, and spare track blocks were stored on the turret front.
The M55 8" Self-Propelled Howitzer was largely deployed in NATO areas and its ammunition was commonly used throughout NATO forces. It was extensively used during the Vietnam era, and subsequently withdrawn from service in the US military. Vehicles of this type remain in service in the militaries of some other countries.
During the 1950s the standard of US Army motorized howitzer of 203mm was the M55, based on the chasis and the turret of the M53 self-propelled howitzer of 155mm gun. The weight of the machines of this family (±40t) prohibited, however, their air transport, while their gasonline engines confered a range limit of approximately 260 km. The M55 had attachments for protecting the crew from radioactive fallout.
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