In some sources, this vehicle is mentioned as ARL-50, but in other sources, it goes exclusively under the AMX index, on behalf of the manufacturer - the company AMX. The history of this tank began even before the end of the war. When in March 1945 a competition was announced among French companies for the creation of a new heavy tank. Real work on this machine began only at the end of this year. Two well-known French tank-building companies took part in this competition - AMX and Somua. In their companies experimental vehicles were named: AMX M4 and Somua SM.
Experimental tank AMX M4 was built in 1946. It was very much like a German heavy tank - "Royal Tiger". In general, the resemblance to German analogs was made by the famous German torsion suspension. And also, on the German tank the engine wsa a Maybach HL295, power 735.5 kW (1000 hp). The turret on the tank, was absolutely, original. It was made by welding sheets of armor, with a thickness of only 30 mm. As an armament on the tank, a 90 mm Schneider cannon was used. Same as the tank ARL-44. For the tests, two tanks were built.
Tests immediately showed the insufficient security of the turret (really, it was not immediately clear). Therefore, for the tank, the company FAMH, developed a completely new turret, with enhanced armor. The thickness of its frontal part was 85 mm. This turret appeared on the AMX tank in the early 1950s. Then a new 100 mm cannon appeared on the tank.
On the design of the turret, a turret of a similar type was used in other postwar French tanks. This turret consists of two parts. Accordingly, the upper and lower. The main feature of the turret is that the gun, located in the upper part, did not have the usual, for that time, mask, and was fixed in the turret motionless. When moving vertically, the entire upper part of the turret moved along with the gun. Horizontal displacement, tankried out in the usual way - by turning the turret. This design has a number of advantages. It greatly saved the inner space of the turret, due to the lack of a mechanism for raising and lowering the gun. In addition, it gave the opportunity to use the automatic loader.
As for the use of chasis pendant, the French, were well aware of all its shortcomings. After all, immediately after the war the tank units of France were armed with captured Tigers and Panthers. But it was a forced measure. Since, in postwar France, rubber was in great deficit. And without it, to achieve an acceptable smooth progress it was possible only by using a "chess player". Later, after overcoming the rubber crisis, it was planned to abandon it.
The tank was a classic layout. That is, the engine was located behind. As a gearbox on the AMX-50, the German ZF gearbox, from the Panther tank, was used. As I wrote above, the German petrol engine, the Maybach HL295, was used as an engine, on a tank. This motor, had 12 cylinders, and was a volume of 29.5 liters. At first, it had a capacity of 1000 hp. But after installing the fuel injection system on it, it was able to raise its power to 1200 hp. With this engine, the tank developed, along the highway, a maximum speed of 51 km/h.
The thickness of the armor of the tank was known that the thickness of the frontal armor, with its inclination at 45 degrees, was equivalent to 120 mm of vertical armor. The sides of the tank were protected by armor of 100 mm. According to the French, this was supposed to give reliable protection against the IS-3 tanks that were at that time in service in the USSR. After all, it was these machines that were considered as the most likely enemy.
Of additional weapons, on the tank, stood a paired 7.5 mm machine gun, and the same machine gun was on the roof of the turret, as an antiaircraft gun. Of the positive qualities of the machine is worth noting very good surveillance devices from the commander of the tank. Which were in the dome, in the back of the turret.
The second prototype AMX-50/120 started from the same reinforced and modified body, but this time carrying an enlarged turret for a 120 mm gun, the idea being to face the Soviet heavy tanks. Weighing 59 tons, the AMX-50/120 was powered by a Maybach HL 295 pushed at 850 hp, for a top speed of 45 km / h on the road. Its 120 mm gun was derived by the Atelier du Havre from a marine piece, with an autoloader and as a secondary armament a coaxial 20 mm gun MG151, and a heavy machine gun .50 cal M2HB on the roof. The crew of the tank was 4 people. But there was a loading machine on the tank, and in the additional member of the crew, as it were, there was no need. But, nevertheless, his task was to help with the loading of ammunition into the tank, with various repairs, and, as the saying goes, if something should happen, it should be ready to replace any crew member, or a failed automatic loading device.
Initially, the French had high hopes for this machine. They said that they had a tank, with the protection of the Panther, the firepower of the Tiger, the mobility of the T-34, and the reliability of Sherman. And it seemed fate would be, completely, prosperous. A prerequisite for this, was, as well, a reserve for the modernization of this machine. Already, in the early 1950s, there were quite successful experiments on installing 120 mm guns. In addition, there was a preliminary agreement on putting it into service in the army of Germany. Apparently, a positive role in this regard, played a high saturation in the AMX-50 of German components.
However, despite all these positive qualities, the mass production of the tank was never started. It was built only 5 copies of this machine. And the US Army M47 "Paton" tank was adopted for the French Army. There were suspicions of corruption, and bribing of French officials. It was considered better than the FV214 British Conqueror and the American M103, but the arrival of the new "G shells" and the design delays of the new 1200 hp engine meant that the project dragged on until 1955, and the order was canceled. The fact is that at this time there was a war in Korea. And America, again resumed mass production of tanks. Then the war ended, and the Americans left many orphan tanks. Part of which they were "successfully" built in France.
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