Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Cunningham Light Tank
In 1927, members of this group, armed with a small appropriation, arranged with Cunningham to produce experimental tanks and other armored vehicles. What they wanted most was a fast light tank. The lumbering Christies of the First World War had been suited to trench warfare, but they were too slow for a war of maneuver. Their function had been to batter holes in a heavily held line. Light tanks, in contrast, would make rapid encirclements. They would have to travel long distances rapidly and without breaking down.
NINE-TON CALVARY TANK, MOUNTING A 37mm CANNON AND 30 CAL. MACHINE GUN
Cunningham went to work, and in March, 1928, its first tank was tested at Aberdeen, Maryland. Equipped with a revolving turret and armed with a 37 millimeter cannon and a .30 caliber machine gun, it traveled twenty miles an hour, more than three times as fast as any tank that had been produced up to that time.
This was only a beginning. By 1933, Cunningham had developed a tank track, with light-weight rubber-block treads that allowed for greater speeds. In 1935 one of its tanks attained a cross-country speed of fifty miles an hour.
FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE T4 ARMOURED CAR, 1930
Cunningham also developed experimental half-tracks, cargo-carriers, armored cars, and a weapons carrier for a 75 millimeter howitzer. Then appropriations for this purpose ceased, and when the firm resumed defense production five years later, it was no longer equipped to make vehicles.