T21 Light Tank

The T21 Light Tank was a design for a light tank based on the T20 Medium Tank, but that never reached the prototype stage. The T20 Medium Tank project began early in 1942 and was intended to produce a tank that would replace the M4 Sherman. One T20 and one T20E3 were built, both armed with the 76mm M1 gun but using different forms of suspension. Both used a Ford GAN V-8 tank engine with Torquematic transmission, and both suffered from reliability problems with the transmission.

These T20 wasn't completed until June 1943 and so the transmission problems hadn't been discovered in August 1942 when the Armored Force and the Ordnance Board decided to begin work on a light tank based on the T20 design. The T20 weighed in at over 32 (short) tons with up to 64mm armour. The T21 was to weight 24 (short) tons and have no more than 30mm of armour. It would use the basic hull shape and turret of the T20, which had a rounded turret and a sloped front to the hull. Suspension would either be torsion bar or use the vertical volute spring suspension from the T7 Light Tank (M7 Medium Tank), which was standardised in August 1942. The T21 was to be armed with the same 76mm gun as the T20.

The Ordnance Board produced plans to built two pilot models of the T21, but Armored Force wanted its light tanks to weight 20 (short) tons or less, and so permission to build the prototypes was never granted. This left the US Army without any new light tank designs and so in 1943 work began on the excellent M24 Chaffee Light Tank which would enter service late in the Second World War.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 February 2014), T21 Light Tank , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_t21_light_tank.html

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