The T28 Super Heavy tank destroyer, pictured first on March 8, 1951, and sometime after World War II.
The concept for the T28 was born in 1943 when the need for a heavy assault tank was outlined by U.S. Army Ordnance, which proposed a modest production run of twenty-five vehicles. Likely due to the vehicle’s demanding design, this number was later lowered to just five after an agreement between Ordnance & the vehicle’s production company in March 1944. That company was provided with the design in March 1945, and had constructed a completed hull by August. By this point, however, World War II was over, and thus the desired number of vehicles was reduced to two.
Two prototypes of the T28 were ultimately built. The odd-shaped casemate design differed from most Allied vehicles, although it can be compared to something such as the Jagdpanther, which utilized a similar design. The vehicle mounted a 105mm T5E1 gun within its casemate, a weapon chosen for its reliable performance against concrete structures. The gun could be elevated 19.5° vertically or depressed to -5°. Horizontal movement was, of course, limited, with the gun capable of traversing 10° to the right and 11° to the left of the centerline. 62 rounds of ammunition were provided.
Perhaps more impressive than the size of the gun was the T28’s incredible amount of armor. Frontal armor was 12 inches (305mm) thick, more than enough to stop most things fielded by the Germans. The lower glacis was 5.2 inches (130mm) thick. It was powered by a Ford GAF V-8 engine and because of its sheer weight of 95 tons, the T28 could only reach 8mph (13km/h) on flat surfaces. Also unique about the T28 was that it could be fitted with four total sets of tracks. These were added to the sides and could be removed if needed. This was intended to minimize ground pressure. You can see this in the second photo.
With no need for the vehicles, both prototypes were evaluated at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. One was lost to an engine fire in 1947 and scrapped. The second vehicle was essentially lost and eventually found abandoned at Fort Belvoir, Virginia in 1974. Since then, it has been displayed at several museums.