Sunday, March 4, 2012

M-6 Heavy Tank

These two Buick factories are where M-4 "Sherman" medium tank transmission work and the M-10 (variant) based on the "Sherman" chassis were built. The M-6 heavy tank transmission development work, which eventually led to the M-26 "Pershing" heavy tank was also done here. The total of tank powertrain's being built here is reported at 19,428. This would not include the transmissions for the M-18 "Hellcat" designed and built exclusively by Buick. The M-18 powertrain was assembled at the old Buick garage #08 (south of Hamilton ave.) known at that time as #78. The two factories (#02 & #94) are connected by bridge #23, "which I traveled very often". The year before I left Buick (for work in Bay City, Michigan) I was the only person that worked in 'all' of factory #02 on the night shift. "Sometimes it was kind of spooky". The fork lift maintenance department did occupy a small section of the second floor, south-west corner, near the training department, so I never seen them.

This early World War II "heavy tank" design never saw combat. This was originally created to be the equal to the heavy tanks of Germany and Soviet Russia. This tank weighed in at 50 ton. Buick built the two torque converter versions of the track drive. The other transmission was an electric version. As far as I know, only three prototype versions were built. Supposedly there is only one example left. From the following Wikipedia source, it looks like 20 tanks were actually built using these Buick transmissions, with the whole program being suspended in 1944.

Here is a rear view of the M-6 aluminum variant.

In this view, off to the right (in the background) you can see an M-4 Sherman medium tank drive.

This is another view of the aluminum variant torque converter transmission show farther below. If you will notice, the track drive gears have a different configuration also. This is in factory #02, only this is the west section that was made of reinforced concrete,"like so many other early Buick factories".

This is the M-6 Heavy tank.

This is an only partially assembled M-6 transmission. I'm thinking this would be in factory #02, but I can't be sure.

This rear view of the M-6 transmission would be in factory #94. Judging by the size of the steel supports shown behind this particular transmission, I would say this is the first floor. The second floor had much smaller supporting beams.

This view with the front cover removed would have been in factory #94.


This diagram of the Buick built transmission describes some of the parts.

This view is obviously inside the old train shed of factory #02, which had been immediately converted for war work before even the last automobile had been shipped from here. This M-6 transmission is one of two variants built by Buick during the war. This view is from the rear where the engine would connect. This area of factory #02 had many uses over it's life. This particular area shown here was plastic injection molding for many years during my time at Buick. When I left in 1997 this area was A.G.V. repair. They had a test track here (buried cable in the floor) for operating the A.G.V. . I seem to recall that this building was used as "pilot buildup" for new model cars back in the early 70's.

Links: Detroit Tank Arsenal.
Inside train shed 1942 + early '20s
Inside the train shed 1997
Another view inside factory #02/08
Factory #02 train shed 1923
Factory #02 Train Shed Vehicle Entrance
Train Shed At Buick Rail Entrance
Buick Water Towers
Army Air Force Training School
Factory #94
Factory #35 And #94
Factory #28 #17 & #94 Demolition 2000
Factory #94 North Wall
Factory #94 Inside First Floor
Inside Bridge #23
Buick City Building Designations
Division street Buick 50's / 90's

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