Out of the attic

This week’s Out of the Attic item is a picture published in the Newark Post on May 13, 1954 showing the T-43 heavy tank that had been secretly being built over the past three years at the Chrysler Delaware Tank Plant in Newark.

The plant was well known for its production of nearly 12,000 medium Patton M-48 tanks that were the work-horse of the 1960’s Vietnam conflict and other conflicts around the world up into the 1990’s. In the Cold War era of the early 1950’s, England and the United States both designed heavy duty tanks to counter the Soviet Union’s Stalin Tank in the event of a conventionally fought World War III.

The information release at this first public showing spoke of the T-43 as the “newest, heaviest, and most powerfully armed of Uncle Sam’s land battleships. Many of its details are still classified. For its Sunday punch the T-43 mounts a 120 mm cannon, plus .50 caliber and .30 caliber machine guns. Hull and turret are each cast from a single piece, with contours sloped to deflect enemy fire. The biggest tank ever put into production by the United States, the T-43 is claimed to be more than a match for any tank that could be put in the field against it.”

The 300 Newark-built T-43 heavy tanks were designed to use some components and systems originally developed for the M-48 medium tanks. Field experience showed the added weight and bulk of the T-43 required design upgrades and retrofitted parts to meet battlefield requirements. Modifications of the T-43s and manufacture of additional tanks were assigned to the Detroit Tank Arsenal.

Learn more about Newark history. Located on South College Avenue beside the bridge, the Newark History Museum is open for public visits Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. now through November 2013. It is also open by appointment at other times all year. Individuals, families, groups, and organizations may call 302-368-9845 to arrange a time to visit the museum in the morning, afternoon, or evening, on weekdays or weekends. For more information visit the Newark Historical Society website at www.NewarkDeHistoricalSociety.org. Contact the Newark Historical Society by e-mail at newarkdehistoricalsociety@yahoo.com, by message phone at 302-224-2408, or by postal mail to P. O. Box 711, Newark, DE 19715-0711.

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