The AMX 50 100 is a France Heavy Tank
When it became obvious that frontal armor of only 30 mm on M 4 tank would not be sufficient for the next generation of french tanks, the prototype was uparmored. In order to save weight. it was decided to install a novel oscillating turret, designed by FAMH. Nevertheless, when the first prototype, now under the designation AMX 50 after its intended weight class, was delivered in 1949, it weighed 53.7 metric tonnes.
In the winter of 1950 instead of the 90 mm, a 100 mm gun was fitted, designed by the Arsenal de Tarbes. The second prototype with a slightly different turret, but also with a 100 mm gun, was ready soon after. The prototypes had a length, with gun, of 10.43, a width of 3.40 and a height of 3.41 metres. It was intended to fit a 1200 hp engine to attain a speed much superior to all existing medium tank types. The Maybach HL 295 (a redesigned German gas engine in 1945 captured at Friedrichshafen by Engineer-General Joseph Molinié) and a Saurer diesel engine were tested. Both failed to deliver the required output and maximum speed was in fact no higher than 51 km/h. The prototypes were tested between 1950 and 1952.
The delay proved fatal to the project. In the late fifties, swift advances in hollow charge technology led to an increased vulnerability for heavy tanks. Mobility thus gained a priority over protection and the very concept of a heavy tank became obsolete. As a result the project was changed again in intention, now trying to present itself as an agile main battle tank, with the same gun as the Conqueror but much lighter and more powerful. This failed as it was much too large and expensive; oscillating turrets also became unpopular as they were inherently difficult to protect against nuclear and chemical contamination. The engine problems with the Maybach were never overcome and lowering the hull to save weight, as was done for the final prototype, made it impossible to install a larger engine. Recognizing that the problem of combining excellent mobility with heavy armour was for the time being irresolvable, the AMX 50 project was terminated; the priority given to mobility demanded a new design concept, leading to the AMX 30, the lightest MBT of its time. Only in the early eighties would France again attempt to combine heavy armour and armament in its tank designs, beginning with the later AMX 32 prototypes. The AMX 50 would not be a complete waste of time and effort however, as much technological knowledge had been gained from which the AMX 30 would profit. In the Musée des Blindés at Saumur an AMX 50 is shown, a combination of the last cast hull and the Tourelle D.
1/35 scale, unpainted resin kit.