Flame Thrower Tank M42B11-3

M42B1: General
Date of first acceptance November 1944 Total acceptances 151
Manufacturer M.W Kellogg Co. Crew
4 men:
  • Commander in turret right rear
  • Gunner in turret right front
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
M42B1: Dimensions
Height over turret hatch 108"
274cm
Length without gun, without sandshields 230"
584cm
Gun overhang forward 0" Width without sandshields 103"
262cm
Tread 83"
211cm
Turret ring diameter 69"
175cm
M42B1: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
Mechanized Flame Thrower Gun M5-4 Turret 270gal effective discharge capacity
1020L effective discharge capacity
360°
(manual and hydraulic)
+25° to -12°
(manual)
.50cal M2HB MG Flexible in turret AA mount 330 rounds 360°
(manual)
Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Coaxial to flame gun 4000 rounds 360°
(manual and hydraulic)
+25° to -12°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow 20° left, 25° right
(manual)
+20° to -10°
(manual)
M42B1: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Upper cast, lower rolled and cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 2.0"
5.1cm
37° to 55°
Lower front 2.0"
5.1cm
0° to 45°
Sides 1.5"
3.8cm
Rear 1.5"
3.8cm
0° to 10°
Top .75" to .5"
1.9cm to 1.3cm
83° to 90°
Front floor 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
Rear floor 0.5"
1.3cm
90°
Turret
Cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Turret shield 3.0"
7.6cm
Front 3.0"
7.6cm
30°
Sides 2.0"
5.1cm
Rear 2.0"
5.1cm
Top 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
M42B1: Automotive
Engine Continental R975 C4; 9 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline
Horsepower Net: 400@2400rpm
Gross: 460@2400rpm
Torque Net: 940 ft-lb@1700rpm
Gross: 1025 ft-lb@1800rpm
Fuel capacity 175gal
662L
Transmission Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
M42B1: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Vertical volute spring 3 bogies/track;
2 wheels/bogie
1 at rear of each bogie
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
13-tooth front drive Adjustable at rear of track None
M42B1: Track
T48
Outside guide, double pin, chevron, rubber
Width 16.56"
42.06cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 79 Ground contact length 147"
373cm
T49
Outside guide, double pin, parallel bar, steel
Width 16.56"
42.06cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 79 Ground contact length 147"
373cm
T51
Outside guide, double pin, smooth, rubber
Width 16.56"
42.06cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 79 Ground contact length 147"
373cm
T54E1
Outside guide, double pin, chevron, steel
Width 16.56"
42.06cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 79 Ground contact length 147"
373cm
M42B1: Performance
Max level road speed 21mph sustained
24mph dash
34kph sustained
39kph dash
Max trench 90"
230cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 24"
61cm
Min turning diameter 62'
19m
Max fording depth 40"
100cm
Cruising range ~120mi, roads
~190km, roads

The M42B1 and M42B3 were the first US flame thrower tanks to receive their own designation, although this was not approved until 20 December 1945. M42B1 was assigned to medium tanks M4A1 armed with the mechanized flame thrower E12-7R1, while M42B3 referred to M4A3s with this weapon. The flame thrower was standardized as the M5-4. The design replaced the 75mm gun with the flame thrower, which consisted of the M5 fuel and pressure unit installed in the hull and turret basket, and the M4 mechanized flame thrower gun. The flame thrower gun was ensconced in a dummy 75mm gun tube made of .5" (1.3cm) face-hardened armor so that the flame tank's identity could not be detected until it started firing. Modifications made for the conversion included rebuilding, rewiring, and shortening the turret basket by 7" (18cm). Turret stowage consisted of main and secondary fuel containers, an atomizer fuel container, and an auxiliary pressure container in the area formerly occupied by the loader. The 75mm gun M3, gun mount M34, and counterweight were replaced by the mount for the flame gun, which included the dummy gun tube, rotor mount, and turret shield counterweight. The batteries were moved from the floor to the left sponson, the hull was rewired, and if the main generator was originally found on the hull floor by the driver, it was replaced by a standard generator over the drive shaft. The main fuel system had three containers piped in series, with two in the hull and one in the turret. These stowed 291 gross gallons (1,100 gross L), with a maximum fuel capacity of 275gal (1040L) to allow for expansion space or void, yielding 270gal (1020L) of effective discharge capacity. This effective discharge capacity was equivalent to 1,700lb (770kg) of thickened fuel. The operating pressure was 360-390psi (25-27kg/cm²), while operating pressure at the nozzle was 325-350psi (22.8-24.6kg/cm²). The discharge rate with a .5" (1.3cm) nozzle was 2.2gal/s (8.3L/s) at a 195ft/s (59.4m/s) flow rate, or 4.4gal/s (17L/s) at 205ft/s (62.8m/s) with a .75" (1.9cm) nozzle. Total firing time was 125 seconds with the smaller nozzle and 63 seconds with the larger. The secondary fuel system contained 12.5gal (47.3L) of motor fuel, operated at 520-540psi (37-38kg/cm²), and flowed at 300cm³/s.

Twenty-two early M42B1s (serial numbers 4,800-1,001 to 4,800-1,020, and 5,200-1,021 and 5,200-1,022) could stow around 10gal (40L) more effective main fuel capacity and 2.5gal (9.5L) more secondary fuel capacity. Also, this cohort did not receive special flame gun sighting devices; their turret basket floor rims were not cut to provide easier access to the engine air strainers and engine lubricant filling pipe; in some, the turret roof well for flame fuel filling wasn't completely sealed from the turret interior; the dummy gun tube was homogeneous armor instead of face-hardened armor; and the numbering of electrical wires and cables was different from later machines.

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References

  1. TM 3-360 Flame Thrower, Mechanized, E12-7R1 (Installed in Medium Tanks M4A1 and M4A3). Washington, DC: War Deptartment, 20 July 1945.
  2. Hunnicutt, R.P. Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1994. Reprinted with permission from Sherman, R.P. Hunnicutt ©1994, available from Presidio Press, 505B San Martin Drive, Suite 160, Navato, CA 94945.
  3. Crismon, Fred W. U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.

Last updated 9 Jun 2021.
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