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M1918 Ford Three-Ton Light Tank

The three-ton tank, put into service as a three-ton special tractor, model 1918 (aka Ford Three-ton Tank). It was created by Ford in 1918 with maximum use in commercial vehicle components, costing in the neighborhood of $4,000. It was adopted as an artillery tractor, as tests showed it was unsuitable for the role of a tank.

The Ford Motor Company agreed to develop a two-man light tank for the US Army. The US program was augmented in the summer of 1918 by the development of this 3-ton, 2-man tank, originated by the Ford Motor Company. This third tank to be mass-produced during 1918 was powered by two Ford Model T, 4-cylinder engines, and had a maximum speed of 8 miles per hour. Armed with a .30-caliber machine gun, it had a crew of two (driver and gunner). Even for just two people, the interior was cramped and uncomfortable.

The French, British, and (with French equipment) Americans organized light tank units in 1918. The British "Whippet" tank was faster (7.5 miles per hour versus four miles per hour) than most heavy tanks. Light tanks were much easier to redeploy in secret from one sector to another, because they could be loaded onto trucks instead of moved by rail. Thus, technological innovations of the times increased the mobility and effectiveness of tanks. Not only did tanks increase in mobility, but trucks improved greatly in operational mobility by 1916.

The M1918 was one of the first light tank designs by the US. The Ford Motor Company was selected to mass-produce this tank at a rate of 100 per day (!) so the design incorporated many standard Ford automobile parts. Nevertheless, the exterior design owed much to the French FT-17. A prototype was sent to France in October and received good ratings which resulted in an order for 15,000 units. There were ambitious plans to use the vehicle as a machine gun and ammunition carrier, a cargo carrier, a tractor, and a self-propelled howitzer.

Initial production was fifteen vehicles and one was sent to France for testing. Small and cramped, the US Tank Corps felt it did not meet their requirements, and continued using the French Renault FT-17. Although 15,000 were ordered, only fifteen were built due to the ending of the war.

M1918 Special Tractor Ford Three-ton Tank
Years of production1918
Number issued, pcs.15
Main operatorsUS flag
Case length , mm3277 , 4064 with a tail
Width, mm1626
Height mm1626
Clearance , mm350
Armor typesteel rolled surface hardened
forehead of the body (top), mm / deg.13 / 038
forehead of the body (bottom), mm / deg.10/60
Board of the case, mm / hail.6/22 - 13/0
Body feed (top), mm / deg.10/37
Body feed (bottom), mm / deg.6/35
Bottom, mm6
Roof of the case, mm6/60 - 10/90
Armament Sightstelescopic
Machine guns1 7.62 mm Marlin or M1919
Engine typetwin row 4- cylinder carburetor liquid cooling
Engine power, l. with.2 17
Speed on the highway, km / h13
Cruising on the highway , km55
Specific power, l. s./t9.4
Suspension type three on horizontal springs
Ground pressure, kg / cm0.64
Overcoming rise, hail.25
Breakable wall, m0.5
Overcoming ditch, m1.5
Overcoming ford , m0.55

M1918 Ford Three-Ton Light Tank

M1918 Ford Three-Ton Light Tank M1918 Ford Three-Ton Light Tank M1918 Ford Three-Ton Light Tank M1918 Ford Three-Ton Light Tank

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Page last modified: 03-05-2019 18:42:59 ZULU