The M47 Tank
The M47 Patton was an intermediate solution basically incorporating the M46 hull and a newly shaped turret originally designed for the T42 heavy tank that did not enter
service at all.
It was the last US tank with a five-man design. The tank was not fitted with any NBC, night fighting or computerized fire control systems. The M-47 was powered by a Continental AV-1790-5B, 12 cylinders, 820 HP,
gasoline propelled engine.
With a full tank of 882 liters, the M-47 could only run approximately 128km.
The main gun was the M36 90mm gun with on M12 optical rangefinder fitted. Its secondary armament
consisted of a .30cal Browning as bow machine gun and the .50cal Browning M2 on a pintle mount on the turret roof. The M47 has had only little imrovements during its production run. A first batch shows the use of a
“mushroom” muzzle brake, later versions a tubular version and the final versions a T-shape muzzle brake. The German and a few US M47 also show a different version of the turrets railings, too.
The M47 entered US service in 1952 but did not see any action in the Korean War.
8676 M47 were produced during that time and mainly used to equip NATO partners against the Warsaw Pact forces.
The M47 was
widely used by the european NATO countries forming the first modern tank forces in Belgium, France, Germany and Austria.
Spain and Portugal were equipped with it also, both using it until the 1980’s. Spain rebuild those in service to E1 and E2 standards with a more powerful AVDS 1790 diesel engine and the E2 even with a 105mm main
gun, due to CFE agreements Spain has disarmed its complete fleet of M47E1 and E2.
Other users of the M47 were and still are Greece, Turkey and the Republic of Korea as well as Jordan, Iran, Pakistan and the
former Yugoslavia. Iran rebuild its M47 to M47M standard with the Continental AVDS-1790-2A turbocharged diesel engine. Externally the main difference was the rebuild engine compartment with the exhaust venting
through rear louvres replacing the mufflers on the M47 rear
fenders. The crew was reduced from five to four to make room for more ammunition. The small track tension idler wheel was deleted, and the rear road wheel was moved abt. 9.7cm to the rear to compensate for the loss of it. It also encorporated a fire control system but retained the old 90mm gun. This version is also in use with the Pakistani forces.
In US service the M47 was quickly replaced by the M48 entering service in 1953.
Therefore the war record of the M47 shows use by Jordan, Iran and Pakistan mainly. A few French M47 saw limited action as part of the expeditionary force in the Suez crisis in 1956. The Jordanian M47, being used
in the West Bank territories were no match against the IDF during the 1967 Six-day war, however many M47 were lost mostly due to IAF air superiority.
Pakistan used its M47 against India in the 1965 conflict without much success.
Due to questionable tactics by the forces using it, the M47 has not gained much of a reputation as MBT. Its planned adversaries
T34-85, JS-2 and -3 never being its actual opponents, it is difficult to assess the M47’s fighting abilities. Hence the M47 has a reputation as second or third world tank only.
As the final footnote to the M47 history Spain has rebuild 22 of its old M47E1 and E2 into M47ER3 from 1993 to 1996. The M47ER3 is an ARV capable of handling even such heavyweights as the Spanish Leopard II A4 and
will remain in Spanish service.