History of the T20 Medium Tank

The M4 Sherman was undoubtedly the face of American armor during World War II (1939-1945). The car was introduced in 1942 and went into production until 1945, with more than 49,200 such models (including countless variants) produced. Precisely because of its availability, the tank constituted many foreign tank inventories during and after the war, the last known front-line tank not being phased out until the 1960s/1970s.

Despite such an impressive service record, the M4 was an outdated product even by 1944 standards, especially with the advent of a new generation of German medium/heavy tanks (Panzer V, VI and VIB) in the war . In addition, the Soviets, who would be a direct threat to the West after the war, were successful with their T-34 medium tanks and "Joseph Stalin" (IS-2) heavy tanks.

As the M4 Sherman established itself as the standard American tank of war, the U.S. Department of Ordnance began to look to the future. This led to several design moves, all of which were eventually scrapped, as the M4 proved to be a capable mount on the battlefield despite its limited main gun and overall performance. In 1942, new product development began through the "M4X" program, which produced a possible M4 Sherman successor in the "T20".

However, this effort eventually led to other attempts to replace the M4, as it was not selected for official service. The T20 series - which includes four development tanks - differs primarily in the weapons, suspension and drivetrain used.

A shortened propshaft is used to help the vehicle lift a flatter profile.

Compared to the wartime Sherman, the T20 has more of the fine lines of a modern 1950s MBT. Its turret is held well forward along the flat fuselage structure, which adds some barrel overhang. The glacis boards are short but well angled for basic ballistic protection. The engine is located in the stern of the hull, and the main weapon is located in a 360-degree turret.

A pair of crew hatches are located on top of the forward hull and a pair on top of the turret. The five crew consisted of a driver, a passenger/bow gunner, a commander, a gunner and a loader - a crew of five in line with many main battle tanks of the time. Armor protection reaches 62 mm and vehicle weight is in the range of 33 tons (short).

Dimensions include a length of 5.7 meters, a width of 3 meters and a height of 2.44 meters. It is powered by a 470-horsepower Ford GAN V-8 gasoline engine, offering a road speed of 40 km/h and a range of 160 km.

All versions have a .30 caliber M1919 Browning coaxial machine gun with main gun and .30 caliber M1919 ball seat mounted on the front right side of the glacis plate. An optional .50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine gun was provided for local anti-air defense, mounted on a trunnion mount on top of the turret. 6,000 rounds. 30 caliber ammunition should be carried on board.

Depending on the main battery installed, the main battery will be fed by a reserve of approximately 70 rounds.

The four T20 forms started with the base T20 Pilot, which featured a problematic hydraulic transmission and a more powerful 76mm gun armament (the original M4 Sherman's 75mm gun proved insufficient against the latest German tanks). Subsequent T20 models changed the main armament and suspension system: the T20E1 would carry a 75mm main gun and have HVSS (horizontal volute spring suspension) suspension, although development of this model ended and its turret inherited the branding of the upcoming T22E1 development as . The T20E2 is equipped with a 76mm main gun and the more common torsion bar mount.

Additional work that followed evolved the T20E2 pilot vehicle into the T20E3 brand, with the same gun and suspension system.

None of the aforementioned T20 vehicles were accepted for series production due to the authorities' belief that the M4 Sherman appeared on a mission to help end the war. Work continues on other aspects, such as the related T22, which is equipped with a 76mm main gun and HVSS suspension.

However, he was joined by the T22E1 with a 75mm main gun and an original M4 Sherman mechanical drivetrain. Another procedural variant related to the T20 is the T23/T23E3, which are equipped with an electric transmission and are both armed with a 76mm main gun.

Even these weren't enough to be picked as the successor to the M4, work on the M4 eventually culminated in the M27, but again the authorities were content with their large stock of M4 Shermans.

The development of American World War II tanks peaked during the war years with the advent of the M26 "Pershing" heavy tank, which remained in limited numbers in Europe until the end of the war. This line was used in the Korean War, a conflict that culminated in the introduction of a whole new generation of American medium tanks through the M46, M47 and M48 "Patton" lines. The M46 itself was developed as the successor to the M4 Sherman and M26 Pershing. The M47 was a further development of the M46, which itself was the basis for the later M48.

The Americans then added their first main battle tank, adopting the M48-based M60 "Patton" in 1961, which then evolved into today's M1 Abrams.

T20 Medium Tank Specification


United States Department of Ordnance - United States
4 units


- Infantry Support

- Tank vs Tank

- Frontline



18.70 ft (5.7 m)


9. 84 feet (3 m)


8.01 ft (2.44 m)


33 tons (29,830 kg; 65,764 lb)


1 x 470 hp Ford GAN V-8 gasoline engine.


Maximum Speed:

40 km/h

Maximum range:

99 miles (160 km)


1 x 75mm or 76mm main gun

1 x .30 caliber coaxial machine gun

1 x .30 caliber bow-mounted machine gun

1 x .50 caliber roof-mounted anti-aircraft machine gun (optional).


70 x 75mm / 76mm projectile

6,000 x .30 caliber ammo

500 x .50 caliber ammo


T20 Medium Tank - Base Series Name

T20E1 - HVSS suspension; 75mm gun; not funded.

T20E2 - torsion bar suspension; 76mm gun; renamed T20E3.

T20E3 - T20E2 renamed

T22 - HVSS suspension; 76mm gun

T22E1 - HVSS mount; 75mm gun

T23 - HVSS mount; 76mm gun

T23E3 - torsion bar suspension; 76mm gun

Proposed standardized name for M27 - T23E3

Proposed standardized name for M27B1 - T20E3

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