History of the American heavy tank T28 (later Gun Motor Carriage T95) project from the Second World War and its use in the computer game War Thunder.
T28 (later T95)
Type: heavy tank (later Gun Motor Carriage).
In September 1943 the American Ordnance Department proposed the construction of a very heavily armored tank, which was designated as T28. Its task should be to attack heavily fortified positions and to be invulnerable against all known enemy tanks.
This heavy tank should have an armor plating of 8 inch (203 mm) and should be based on the chassis and the mechanical components of the medium tank T23. It was proposed to use the newly developed 105 mm gun T5E1, which had a high muzzle velocity.
The American Army Service Forces granted approval for the T28 in April 1944, but demanded that a mechanical drive be used instead of the electric transmission of the T23.
Five prototypes of the final design were ordered by Pacific Car & Foundry. While work was still going on the first vehicle, the designation was changed to 105 mm Gun Motor Carriage T95 in March 1945, as the gun was not in a turret but in the fuselage.
With the cessation of hostilities against Japan, the order for the prototypes was reduced to only two, the first being completed in September 1945. Thus, the tests with the prototypes were not carried out until after the end of the war, with the second vehicle being destroyed by fire during its test drives.
Due to the successful development of the T29 heavy battle tank, work on the T28/T95 project was discontinued in October 1947. Nor were any production orders placed, although series production was temporarily planned in case the war against Japan had continued.
The T28/T95 was the heaviest American tank construction in World War II and also one of the most unusual. In a certain way it resembled the British Tortoise, but had some innovations.
The hull was a cast construction with a length of two thirds of the track and oriented towards the rear of the tank. There was a boom at the rear to load ammunition into the combat compartment. The turtle-shaped superstructure (hence the name ‘turtle’) had a vision cupola for the commander, topped by an anti-aircraft machine gun on a ring mount.
The 105 mm cannon was arranged in the hull front with a limited traverse in a spherical mantle with 12 inch (305 mm) armor.
Each track was a twin unit consisting of two complete HVSS units, with the outer tracks on each side separable and removable to reduce the width and weight of the vehicle for transport by rail or on confined roads. The two dismantled tracked units could then be connected side by side to form a passive unit that could be towed behind either by the vehicle itself or by an accompanying towing vehicle.
|Type||Heavy tank (T95: gun motor carriage)|
|Engine||Ford GAF V-8 petrol with 410 hp|
|Crew total||8 (commander, driver, co-driver, 5 as gun crew)|
|Length||36ft 6in (11.2m) overall; 24ft 7in (7.5m) excluding gun|
|Width||14ft 5in (4.42m); outer tracks removed: 13ft 11in (4.24m)|
|Height||9ft 4in (2.84m)|
|Weight||190,000 lb (86,070 kg)|
|Maximum speed||8 mph (33 km/hr)|
|Cross-country speed||5.2 mph (12.9 km/hr)|
|Fuel consumption per 100 miles||?|
|Road radius||100 miles (160 km)|
|Vertical obstacle||3 ft (0.91 m)|
|Fording depth||3 ft 11 in (1.19 m)|
|Details unknown||25-300 mm||?|
Armament and Equipment:
|Main armament||105 mm T5E1 gun|
|Traverse||-10° left to 10° right|
|Elevation||-50° to +19.5°|
|Max effective range||?|
|Secondary armament||1 x .50 Browning AA MG|
|Telescopic sight||type unknown|
Penetration of gun unknown.
|Production||Prototypes ready from Sep 1945|
|Price per tank||?|
|Total production figure||2 (prototypes only)|
T28 in War Thunder
Status of the information: March 2020.
In the F2P computer game War Thunder, the T28 is a premium vehicle and located on the Battle Rating (short BR) 6.3. The freely playable variant under the designation T95 is on the significantly higher BR 7.0, but has a stronger side armor.
In its BR range, the T28 is practically unbreakable from the front, which makes it an interesting premium vehicle. The whole thing is further enhanced by the fact that most battles with the American line BR 6.3 usually do not take place higher than BR 6.7 and even the situation of being set as top-tier occurs relatively frequently.
I acquired the T28, together with the fast tank destroyer Super Hellcat, for 50 percent discount during the War Thunder anniversary (early November). In addition, these premium vehicles are also available with this discount around Christmas to New Year, as well as May 8th with about 30 percent.
It takes some experience to get used to the slow speed and sensitive sides of the T28. This requires a certain knowledge of the maps, where and when the heavy tank destroyer should be used.
Usually, my match opening begins with the use of the M18 and the capture of a CAP zone and the attempt to knock out at least one opponent while defending it.
Heavy or frontally well armored vehicles like a Panther tank can be easily destroyed from the side from ambush positions, while light tanks are often no problem even for the heavy 0.5in machine gun. However, the latter also applies to the M18 itself.
As soon as the M18 is history, the T28 is usually used. If the map is unsuitable or the way into the combat area is too long, the use of the heavy battle tanks M4A3E2 (76mm) Jumbo on BR 6.3 to 6.7 or the T26E1-1 from BR 7.0 is an alternative.
In any case, the T28 can still be used to defend later the base (spawn zone) in case of an imminent defeat. This is all the more likely as it is considered a tank destroyer in War Thunder and therefore still costs relatively few spawn points even when used as an additional vehicle at a late stage.
Video of T28 in action at War Thunder
The effectiveness of the T28 when used correctly, i.e. avoiding the sensitive sides and the rear facing the enemy and covering the few weak spots (mainly the commanders cupola) with bushes, can be guessed from the following eight-minute replay video of a ‘realistic battle’ with eight kills:
Win rate and BR up-tiers
From November 2019 to February 2020, the author’s win rate for the American BR 6.3 line ranged between 50 and 67 percent per month (average just under 62 percent) in a total of 205 battles.
It was particularly remarkable that 22 percent of the battles were fought on the best battle rating as ‘top tier’, i.e. the BR 6.3. Another 37 percent were up-tired by only one step to BR 6.7.
Only 22 percent of the fights took place on the BR 7.3, i.e. up-tired by a full Battle Rating. And also here the T28 is still a powerful opponent.
In contrast to the US line of BR 6.7, where 46 percent of all battles were fought on BR 7.7, this is an excellent starting point for the T28 and all other vehicles with this line.
Which vehicle deck has proven itself for US line BR 6.3 ?
The following is a summary of a proven line for the BR 6.3, whereby the maximum possible number of 10 vehicle slots is used.
As always, the right mix of main vehicles for battles or conquest scenarios as well as aircraft, tank destroyers and anti-aircraft vehicles is crucial for successful combat.
In addition to the T28 and the already mentioned M18, the following vehicles are also suitable:
Heavy battle tank T26E1-1 (BR 6.3)
The T26E1-1 ‘Super Pershing’ leaves a mixed impression as a heavy battle tank. First there is the excellent cannon, which is the same as in the T28. On the other hand the tank has many weak points – especially the ammunition stored behind one turret side – which experienced opponents can easily exploit. When used cautiously with cover for the chassis and correctly angled turret to the enemies, the T26E1-1 is quite effective and can clearly be brought forward faster over longer distances than the slow T28.
Tank destroyer Super Hellcat (BR 6.3)
The ‘Super Hellcat’ is, like the T28, a premium vehicle, which the author purchased together. Although the ‘Super Hellcat’ is much faster than the normal M36 tank destroyer of BR 5.7, it only has the same cannon and is also thinner armored.
Also missing are smoke grenades and because of the clearly lower speed compared to the M18 this tank destroyer is also not so much suitable for the match opening with the conquest of a control zone (CAP).
In addition, the cannon swings for a long time when slowing down from the drive, so that the tactical use is actually only defensive in nature: quickly reaching a suitable ambush position and waiting for the enemy.
All in all a premium vehicle, which is not absolutely necessary to buy, and an M36 would also do it as an additional reserve tank, especially since it costs less entry points due to its lower ‘battle rating’.
Heavy Battle Tank M4A3E2 (76)W Jumbo (BR 6.0)
Actually the author prefers the faster, more agile and frontally better protected M4A3E2 (76)W Jumbo from BR 6.0 to the T26E1-1 on BR 6.3. It has only a 76 mm cannon, but this is usually sufficient for battles up to BR 6.7. Since almost 60 percent of all battles are in this range, it is often used as a second vehicle after the M18 on larger maps with longer approaches and also the ratio of losses to kills is better than with the T26E1-1, at least for the author!
Light tank M41A1 (BR 6.0)
The M41A1 ‘Walker Bulldog’ is from 1951 and does not fall into the period of the Second World War, but still has the BR 6.0.
The light tank is fast and maneuverable, has the ability to reconnaissance and mark enemy tanks and the requirement of an ‘air strike’, which means it is easier to achieve the necessary spawn points for the deployment of an aircraft. In addition, it costs even less entry points than the M36 tank destroyer who has the lower BR 5.7.
Therefore, it is especially suitable if you are up-tired to BR 7.3 or do not have enough spawn points left for one of the other vehicles.
Anti-aircraft tank M42 (BR 6.0)
The AA tank M42 also dates from the post-war period and was only put into service in 1953. As its Bofors anti-aircraft gun is not exactly the best, at least for shooting down aircraft, it is also only on the BR 6.0.
However, it is quite fast and maneuverable, making it suitable for flanking and engaging not too heavily armored vehicles.
Anti-aircraft half-track vehicle M16M6MC (BR 2.3)
The quadruple AA on the M3 half-track vehicle, which is called M16M6MC, consists only of 0.5in machine guns and has the BR 2.3, but it can shoot down aircraft much better than the M42. It is also possible to fight lightly armored vehicles successfully.
So if you want to fight mainly airplanes or you don’t have enough spawn points left to bring the M42, this vehicle is suitable.
Fighter bomber P-47M1-RE (BR 5.7)
With the aircraft it is such a thing for the US line of BR 6.3. The author was not very successful with the different variants of the P-47 Thunderbolt and even has the premium P-47M. Finally, the premium variant P-51D-20-NA of the Mustang from BR 4.3 turned out to be the most successful fighter bomber, because its superior maneuverability allows a more precise target approach and statistically led to more successes than a P-47. However, the heavily armored P-47, armed with eight 0.5in machine guns, is better suited for fighting aircraft with the BR 6.3 line.
Here each player should use either his most effective fighter for air combat or fighter-bombers for ground attacks according to his own preferences.
Attack aircraft BTD-1 (BR 4.0)
The author has had the premium attack aircraft BTD-1 for a long time and had purchased it for a very reasonable price. With a 2,000 lb bomb and in a dive attack, any strike on a tank is a pretty safe affair, but at least a 2-second time delay should be chosen for it. Also, the BTD-1 always costs 600 entry points, because it is rated as a bomber in War Thunder.
Alternatively, the AD-2 (BR 5.7) or AD-4 (BR 6.0) from the normal research tree could be used as a attack plane, but the author is still working on the research of the latter model at the moment.
Therefore, every player should use his most successful bomber or fighter plane
If you don’t know this F2P tank and plane game yet, you can download War Thunder here for free and will receive extra 50 Golden Eagles premium currency as well as a Rank I premium plane or tank:
References and literature
British and American Tanks of World War II (Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis)