Fixed Gun Tank

Category: Term of the day

This is a turretless tank that features a gun fixed to its chassis rather than installed in a turret. This design offers a simple method of automatic loading and would permit a longer barrel to be used than would be possible in a turreted tank of similar size and weight.

The vehicle is essentially simpler as the complexity of a fully rotating turret is eliminated, a three man crew is possible and the reduced volume permits high levels of armoured protection to be achieved for a given weight.

The commander and gunner have controls with which they can steer the tank when driving and traverse and elevate when firing. These controls are identical; thus, if necessary, either the commander or gunner alone can drive and fight the vehicle without changing crew positions, making it operable by one man in an emergency. The third crewman, the radio operator, faces rearward and is responsible for driving the tank backwards.

Because the gun is fixed in relation to the hull, the gun is aimed in azimuth by traversing the whole vehicle. The steering system allows the traversing velocity to be continuously variable, giving fine control of gun traverse rates. Elevation is achieved by raising or lowering the front and rear road wheels. The fixed gun tank offers the advantage of a lower silhouette because the gun can be placed close to the turret roof. The design will normally allow for the glacis to be given a large angle of slope. As in the external gun tank, the compartment can be given a very high level of protection and because the crew are all co-located, this configuration offers the best possible protection for a given weight of vehicle. However, the design suffers from one very considerable disadvantage in that it is impossible to fire on the move.

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