The T28 GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) was a solution to a problem that never materialized. In September, 1943 the Ordnance Board proposed the construction of a heavy self-propelled assault gun to take on the German border defenses referred to as the Siegfried Line. So as to withstand defensive fire from large caliber anti-tank guns and artillery expected to be encountered, it had to be able to take on most anything the Germans could throw at it and to take out bunkers and prepared positions to allow other tanks in the spearhead to penetrate the defensive line.
The T28 did not have a turret but had its main armament, a newly developed T5E1 high velocity 105mm gun, in casemate mount with limited traverse. In April 1944, the Army gave approval for the T28 development to start with five pilot vehicles to be produced by Pacific Car and Foundry in Seattle, Washington. In March 1944, the T28 was re-designated as 105mm Gum Motor Carriage T95 but in June 1946 it was re-designated again to "Superheavy tank, T28." It's combat weight was to be 95 tons and to carry this weight it used four sets of tracks instead of two. The outer track units could be removed and towed behind the vehicle when in confined areas or when being transported. The T28 was propelled by a Ford GAF V8 which produced 500 horsepower giving it a maximum speed of 8 mph which severely limited its obstacle crossing and cross-country ability.
To remove the outer suspension units, one side would be detached using small ratcheting winches that were part of the vehicle's equipment. Once it was detached, two telescoping arms with foot pads would be used to keep the unit upright, similar to a motorcycle kickstand. Next the T28 would drive around to the other side of the detached unit and align itself alongside it. The second suspension unit would be detached and the two units would then be attached to each other with pins and connecting rods that could then be towed by the T28.
Two brake drums stored on the side of the hull would then be attached to the detached suspension units' drive sprocket. Two ropes would then be wound around these drums which would then work like capstans. One crewman each would walk behind the towed suspension units holding the ropes and would slow down or help steer by pulling on the ropes.
The T28 had 12" of upper frontal armor, 5.25" on the front lower hull, 2.5" on the upper hull sides and the outer suspension units were 4" thick. It had a crew of four, commander, driver, gunner and loader and the only other armament it had was a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a ring on the commander's hatch.
The first pilot model wasn't completed until September 1945, a month after World War II ended, so the order for five pilot models was reduced to two. The first pilot model, RN 40226809, was delivered to APG on December 21, 1945 for evaluation, while the second, RN 40226810, was delivered on January 10, 1946. The second pilot model was sent to Fort Knox for trials, eventually being sent to the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. There it suffered an engine fire resulting in heavy damage and the vehicle was scrapped in 1947. The T28 never went into service and the program was cancelled in October 1947. The surviving T28 was used in further tests of heavy trailer designs and also was used in amphibious training and testing at either APG or Fort Story on the coast of Virginia in May, 1948. In 1950, the lone T28 was transferred to the Ordnance Museum at APG and was reported to have been scrapped.
There the story of the T28 should have ended, but in 1974 a hunter walking in the woods of Fort Belvoir, Virginia came across the surviving T28 sitting in a clearing with small trees growing around it. He brought it to the attention of the post where someone contacted the Patton Museum at Fort Knox seeking identification. After determining that this was the last T28, it was sent to the Patton Museum where an exterior cosmetic restoration was completed and then put on display outside Skidgel Hall, an armor training facility that was part of the Armor School. Eventually it was removed and placed on a concrete pad in front of the Patton Museum where it stayed for almost 30 years until being moved to Fort Benning, Georgia in 2012.
The mystery remains on how and why the T28 was sent to Fort Belvoir. The last known photograph of the T28 was taken, according to the photo label, at APG on March 8, 1951. So at some time after that the T28, along with its detached outer suspension units, was taken to the back area of the post and left there for over 20 years until discovered.
There is other information about the T28 on the Internet or in print. One book, "Allied-Axis Issue 26" has many good photos of the T28, some taken during evaluations at APG.
Click on the links below to see a few period photos of the T28 along with interior and exterior views while it was at Fort Knox. Use your back button to return to this page to see each gallery. Hover your cursor over each photo to see captions.