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The Chrysler TV-8 Concept Tank

Which, as Rod finally found, was the subject of the Whatziss tank this weekend.

The front view in that post was odd enough - I'm thinking this one, the side view, will trump that for oddness.

Chryslet TV-8 concept tank from the 1950's.

The 50's were a time of ferment in the tank design business, what with all those nukes to contend with, concerns about the need to disperse formations, reduce the number of troops, make the vehicles lighter and more strategically deployable... hmmm, sounds a lot like the 00's, doesn't it?

There have been many theoretical approaches for doing things differently than the classic 3 in the turret, one in the hull that is pretty standard (with some variations).  I'll probably get around to several of the more interesting ones in future posts.  Two of the more common variations are "all in the turret" and "all in the hull except the gun" approaches. The TV-8 is an example of putting everything - including the engine - in the turret.  Some of that was to enhance vehicle survivability against nuclear blast, because the leadership at the time were really optimistic about how we soldiers were going to be all gung-ho about slinging around battlefield nukes and having a party shooting at each other at the same time.

This design located the entire crew, armament, and power plant in that pod-shaped turret mounted above a very lightweight chassis. The total weight was estimated to be 25 tons with about 15 tons in the turret and 10 tons in the chassis. I'm wondering what the dynamics of shooting the gun to the side on a hill might have been with that high a center of gravity.  The two components were separable for shipment by air. 

Mind you - the specification for the FCS armored gun system is 30 tons.

The TV-8 was to be armed with the 90mm gun T208 that would be rigidly mounted in the turret and have an auto-rammer.  Presaging the ammo storage designs of most modern tanks like the M1 and later model Leopards, the ammunition stowage was in the rear of the turret separated from the crew by a steel bulkhead.  Secondary armament consisted of two coaxial .30 caliber machine guns firing through the turret and one .50 caliber machine gun on top of the turret remotely operated by the tank commander.  The crew would use closed circuit television  to protect the crew from the flash of tactical nuclear weapons.

Initially, the power plant consisted of  a Chrysler V-8 engine that drove a generator in the turret - essentially like a submarine (sound of shoe being picked up).  The generator powered electric motors in the hull which drove the tracks.  The fuel was in the hull, keeping it separate from the crew compartment in the turret.  But that was just the initial thinking on powerplants.  Anticipating the M1 (another Chrysler product) there were plans to use a gas turbine engine, and best of all - a mini-nuke engine!  Whee!  Think you got DU-dust issues on the battlefield with the M1's long-rod penetrator ammo, wait until you're using DU to crack open little reactor piles all over the battlefield!  Those guys were nothing if not the antithesis of "Green."  

You can see the layout below.

Interior layout of the Chrysler TV-8

Note there's essentially a turret within the turret.  Although the tank could be operated by only the gunner and driver, the tank was to have a crew of four - because a crew of four can be self-sufficient for numerous maintenance tasks like breaking track, while a crew of two is generally going to have no choice but to sit around and wait for help - a concern with some FCS platforms, like the NLOS-Cannon today. 

The gunner and driver flanked the gun.  The driver could operate fully protected inside the turret or with his head and shoulders exposed above the roof, though I'm still thinking this is a tank that would have taken out a lot of fences, cars, and building corners maneuvering through the villages that dot the german countryside.  The tank commander was at the right rear with the loader to his left. The heavily armored inner turret was surrounded by a light outer shell that gave the turret its pod-like appearance, and provided some protection against the blast front of a small nuke.  

But wait!  There's more!

The Chrysler TV-8 concept tank showing off it's swimming ability.  At least in an artist's fantasy...

[Sound of shoe being dropped] This shell was watertight, creating sufficient displacement to allow this baby to float!  Take that, FCS!  Talk about strategic mobility!  She was to be propelled like a personal watercraft is today - a jet pump operating from the turret.  In a nod to not-yet-popular RPGs (but very popular HEAT rounds fired by cannon) the shell did double-duty, acting like the slat-armor on Strykers to pre-detonate shaped-charge warheads thus reducing their penetrative power.

The turret was supported by an articulated assembly which rotated in a ring in the hull roof and it was moved in elevation by two large hydraulic cylinders. I'm just guessing that the cynical engineers on the team called that the Achilles Assembly.  

Further studies determined that this design offered no real advantages over the current (and still current) form of tank design, so nothing ever went beyond mock-up stage.

I'm thinking that's a good thing.

14 Comments

Yeah, it's from Chrysler -- you can tell by the *fin* on the turret...
 
Looks like an Alien tank from war of the worlds or the day the earth stood still.
 
...and a field day for a Russki tank (or anti-tank) gunner. Double-shell turret or no, there's no missing that target...
 
The turret ring looks like a hella weak point.
 
Oh blimey it *is* supposed to take a blast.  It might have been a devious plot of the navy to force all tankers to become submariners.
 
..and it has now progressed from "mock-up" stage to "mock it" stage.
 
This is just like when the Army got pissed off because they weren't allowed to fly airplanes anymore, so they tried to put a retractable 1-blade rotor on a Starfighter and call it a "helicopter"...I guess they're jealous of the Navy too...
 
Josh,

I wouldn't give the Air Force any ideas here. That turret looks like one of those lifting bodies NASA was playing with; so a couple of jet engines and a swap out to better landing gear and you have a Super Warthog. Although the cannon may slow it up some when fired.
 
Fish, you use the cannon for propulsion! :)

Just no one mention "pentomic," ok? I don't think I could take that again...

 
Fishmugger...Super Warthog?  Isn't the A-10 a 25 ton aircraft fully armed and fuelled?  If that turret really does weigh only 15 tons, it would be a MINI-hog...

Not that any piece of heavy equipment ever REALLY comes off the assembly line as light as the designers claim it will be...

And Casey...I HAVE heard that the recoil of the GAU-8 is roughly equal to the maximum thrust of one of the two turbofans on the A-10...so all we need is unlimited ammo and it will work!  Ah, why oh why don't video game cheat codes work in airplanes...
 
Josh - perhaps Dusty, a real, live Hog-driver, will flutter out of the clouds he lives in and give you the down and dirty.
 
Any chance I can go for a ride?  I promise not to scratch it!

Oh wait...it's a Hog...um...I promise to make some cool-looking scratches?

So where is Dusty anyway?
 
 Not a lot of tankers on that design team.

Cheers
 
Josh - probably somewhere in the vicinity of 35K hauling cargo somewhere.