M47 Patton Medium Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 09:15 pm

The M47 Patton medium tank was rushed into production at the beginning of the Korean War.  However, it was never used  in Korea, and American forces never used it in combat.

When the Korean War began in 1950, the United States was developing a new medium tank, which was known as the T42.

However, the T42 medium tank was not ready for mass production.

The US urgently needed a new medium tank that was better than the M26 Pershing (which had been reclassified as a medium tank after World War II) and the M46 Patton medium tank.
M47 Patton medium tank in West Germany in 1954
Tank designers quickly took the Pershing chassis and fitted it with a new turret, which held a new 3.54 inch (90mm) gun.  This became the M47 Patton medium tank.

The American Locomotive Company and the Detroit Arsenal began working on production of the M47 Patton right away, and the tank entered service in 1952. However, it never saw action in Korea.

Instead, many M47 Patton medium tanks were supplied to other NATO countries as part of the Mutual Aid Program. Later, on it was exported to many other countries around the world.

8,676 M47 Patton medium tanks were built.

Because the development of the M47 Patton had been rush, the tank had many mechanical problem. The United States soon replaced it with the M48 Patton medium tank.  

The M47 Patton medium tank weighs 45 tons (46,170kg). It has an all-cast hull and turret. 

Its armor has a maximum thickness of 3.98 inches (101mm)

The M47 Patton tank has a torsion bar suspension.  There are six pairs of road wheels and three track return rollers. The idler is at the front and the drive sprocket is at the rear.  There is a small tensioning wheel in between the drive sprocket and the last road wheel.

The engine and transmission are in the back of the tank.

Armament on the M47 Patton medium tank consists of a 3.54 inch(90mm) main gun,  two 0.3 inch (7.62mm) machine guns – one coaxial and one in the bow – and a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun on the commander’s cupola.

Five crewmen operate the M47 – driver, commander, gunner, bow machine-gunner and loader.

The driver sits in the front of the hull on the left, and the bow machine-gunner sits to the right of the driver.

The commander, gunner and loader sit in the turret – the commander and gunner on the right and the loader on the left.

While the M47 Patton medium tank was never used in combat by US forces, it has been used in many conflicts involving other countries.

The M47 Patton medium tank was used by France during the 1956 Suez Crisis, by Pakistan during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War, by Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War, by Turkey during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, by Ethiopia during the 1977 Ogaden War, by Iran during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and by Croatia during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s.


M47 Patton Medium

Active: 1952
Crew: 5
Weight: 45 tons (46,170kg)
Length: 20ft 8in (6.3m), 27ft 10in (8.51m) with gun forwards
Height: 11ft 2in (3.4m)
Width: 9ft 10in (3m)
Weapons: Main – 3.54in (90mm) gun, Secondary – 2 x 0.3 inch (7.62mm) machine guns (1 coaxial and 1 in bow), 1 x 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun
Armor Maximum – 3.98in (101mm)
Engine: Continental Av-1790-5B V-12 air-cooled gasoline, 810hp
Speed: 30 mph (48kph)
Range: 81 miles (130 km)