T49 Light Tank – US upcoming tier 8

Hello everyone,

now that the fuss about the new graphics is over, we’re going to have a look at the upcoming tier 8 light tank candidate, the T49.


Basically, the T49 was a prototype M41 Walker Bulldog with a 90mm gun (crew of 4). In the late 40′s and early 50′s, it was recognized that a 76mm gun is no longer enough to combat modern Soviet medium tanks, specifically the T-54. And so, in January 1950, a commanding officer of Detroit Arsenal recommended developing a light tank with a 90mm gun, specifically to install a 90mm smoothbore gun on the M41 chassis. This 90mm gun was a new weapon, designated T123. It started as a smoothbore, but after bad tests results, when it came to accuracy, it was modified with shallow rifling, creating the T123E3 gun. Two of these were mounted in the production M41E1 turrets and this combination was redesignated T49. The turret was modified too: it was somewhat higher and it was equipped with a stereoscopic rangefinder. Further modification were made when in the ammo stowage compartment. The gun itself could fire three types of rounds: HE, HEP (HESH) and HEAT rounds.

The two T49′s were sent to Aberdeen, where they were tested between May 1954 and May 1955. The tests of the vehicle were somewhat satisfactory, but the gun still had issues with the ammunition used: specifically the HEAT round was very inaccurate, making the HEP (HESH) round the preferred way to deal with armor. There were some other issues too and as a result, the army lost interest in this vehicle. The prototypes were stored in Aberdeen – I am not sure whether they still exist or were scrapped.

It’s worth noting that the T49 is not the “only” 90mm Walker Bulldog project – Cadillac made a proposal to arm the Walker Bulldog with a 90mm M41 gun from the M48 Patton in November 1958. At this point however, the army was focusing on creating new and superior light tank and so this project never passed beyond the drawing boards.

In World of Tanks

This vehicle was confirmed by Storm to be the American tier 8 light tank and from what I can gather, it was a good choice, especially given its upgrade possibilities (you’ll like them, trust me). First, some basic overview of the tank. Please note that due to its shallow rifling, the T123E3 gun is actually acceptable for World of Tanks.


As you can imagine, the T49 is not exactly well armored – after all, it’s a light tank. Its armor was made of RHA steel and welded. The turret was cast.


- upper frontal plate: 25mm at 60 degrees (50mm EFF)
- lower frontal plate: 32mm at 45 degrees (45,2mm EFF)
- sides: 25-19mm
- rear: 13-19mm
- roof: 19mm
- floor: 10 or 38mm


- front turret: 25mm at 18 deg (26,3mm EFF)
- mantlet: 32mm
- sides: 25mm
- rear: 25mm
- roof: 19-13mm

Not exactly a game breaking armor, but solid.


Well, here, we have a bit of a problem. I haven’t found any penetration data on the 90mm T123 (the gun itself is L/50 apparently) and even if there were some available, calculating the HESH effect is always really messy. What we know is that it fired:

- T91 HE round at 731 m/s
- T142E3 HEP (HESH) round at 792 m/s
- T108E45 HEAT round at 853 m/s

What I was able to find out is that based on the US reports, the T108E45 HEAT round was able to penetrate between 349mm and 377mm (depending on charge used) – classic gold round. Other than that, we know that the vehicle carried 46 90mm rounds, the gun elevation was -9,5/+19,5 degrees and it could fire 10 rounds per minute.

Either way, when it comes to the Cadillac proposal to arm the Walker Bulldog with the M41 90mm gun, the gun is actually in the game already (M48′s stock gun), so we know how it would behave in the game:

DAM: 240/240/320
PEN: 173/263/45
ROF (balance parameter): 9,52 RPM
Acc: 0,36
Aim: 2s

That however would be unhistorical (although it would probably make a much better stock gun than the quirky T123E3).


The vehicle weighed 24,1 tons and was powered by a Continental AOS-895-3 supercharged V6 engine with the power output of 500 hp, giving it the power-to-weight ration of 20,74 hp/t. Not bad. Its maximum speed was 72 km/h. While the power-to-weight isn’t that awesome for a light tank, it has a potential of being very fast.

I kinda imagine this vehicle in the game as something like current Chaffee. Quite tall, good passive scout, good firepower and hulldown capability, but the agility probably won’t be completely stellar. Sounds like a solid tank for now, right?

Well, wait, there’s more…


That’s right, a tank needs its second turret and more guns. There is but one option in this case:


You are looking at the XM551 (prototype Sheridan) turret mounted on a M41 chassis. Very little is known about it other than in July 1962, XM551 test bed turret was mounted on the M41 chassis for the evaluation of firepower and tests. These tests took place in Aberdeen – they started on 23.8.1962, with 590 rounds being fired from the 152mm gun-launcher.

Now, you might say: “But Silentstalker, how is this possible, SerB said ‘no rocket launchers in WoT!’ and this gun fired the Shillelagh missiles!” – well, there is a trick around that. You see, by the time this test bed was built, the Shillelagh missile was not yet developed, so in this case, the gun is really just a 152mm gun.

Considering how little is known about this vehicle, its parameters will be mostly speculative. Most people are probably interested in the 152mm XM81 gun-launcher. Basically, it’s a big HEAT lobber. It’s main round is the XM409 HEAT round, weighing 22,6 kg. It had the muzzle velocity of 689 m/s and it was capable of penetrating 177mm at 60 degrees (in WoT terms it’s like 205 PEN I think). Other than that, it can fire a HE round too (M657, 23,4kg). An APFSDS round was also developed for the 152mm gun, but that is way beyond WoT timeframe and had nothing to do with the project. In the Sheridan turret, it would have the elevation of -10 to +20 and could fire 4 rounds per minute. Prototype Sheridans (XM551 pilots) carried 20 rounds of 152mm ammunition.

As for the turret itself, it was made from steel (only the Sheridan hull was aluminium!), so no problem there, unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any actual turret armor thickness values. Not even Hunnicutt has them, strangely enough. It’s reasonable to assume that the Sheridan turret armor is quite thin though, around 30mm.

Well, there you have it.

Hunnicutt – A History of the American Light Tank Vol.2: Sheridan

103 thoughts on “T49 Light Tank – US upcoming tier 8

  1. IF it gets the 152mm or not… I don’t care! I want this beauty eitherway.

    Any possibility that you get the M48 90mm as an upgrade to the T123 gun or viceversa?

      • I’m assuming the M48 90mm would be the stock and the T123E3 being the upgrade depending on the penetration characteristics with either the HESH or the HEAT being the primary round and the other being gold depending on which one pens better. I could see WOT using the M48 gun proposal for the stock setup and essentially using the actual T49 as the upgrade.

        It’ll probably come down to whether or not they’re willing to use the Sheridan turret/gun which is going to be a pretty big stretch.

  2. 177 mm if angled at 60° would be around 354 mm as 60° angle provides double effective armor value compared to basic value, of course if we disregard normalization of rounds.

    Even with AP round normalization (which is the best of all WoT rounds IIRC) of 5°, then 177 mm at 55° provides around 308 mm effective armor.

    • I think usually in these tests, 60 degrees usually means from horizontal, so it’s not that good.

      • That would mean that despite having much larger caliber and being developed 8 years later it has only half of the penetrating power compared to the 90 mm HEAT. Is there something I’m missing here?

        • Actually yes, the penetration is in fact ~350mm, Americans test from the vertical, not the horizontal, and the information is from Hunnicutts Sheridan, page 78 -

          ” The XM409 had a muzzle velocity of 2260 feet per second and its spin compensated shaped charge was estimated to penetrate seven inches of rolled homogeneous armor at 60 degrees obliquity.”

          Further, Silent neglected to add the 105mm option considered for the Walker Bulldog, page 49 -

          “By this time, other design studies were in progress to provide a superior light tank and there was no further interest in upgunning the M41A1, although the Ordnance Commit- tee as early as June 1952 had considered the possibility of installing an unmanned turret on the M41 chassis. This turret was to be armed with a 105mm gun using an automatic loader and provision was to be made for remote stereoscopic vision for the crew in the tank hull.”

      • dEPENDS WHAT YEAR FOR THE us tbh.

        They used to have from Vertical tests. I know a lot of the early 50`s tests with other countries were.

        Anyways I know the T123 had massive pen and even its “Bad Accuracy” was fairly reliable at 1k meters and just wasn`t enough at 1500.

        But IMO its hard to imagine a 152mm getting less than 300mm HEAT, I mean the bigger the round the more/hotter jet. 105`s were al;ready at 300+.

        M551 Sheridan

        M409 HEAT
        355mm at any range
        680 m/s

        So how could the older one be that far back?

  3. If it gets the Sheridan turret as an upgrade, then it wouldn’t be called T49, it would be called XM551. And they already said NO Sheridan, didn’t they?

    AR/AAV XM551 could be tier 8 if they stick to “initially considered” armaments, such as the 76mm M32 and 90mm M41. There’s also the Sheridan’s 105mm Howitzer XM103E7.

    Honestly, if they give it the XM551′s test bed turret, even without the 152mm, I’d hope they would at least call it a Sheridan because that name is really cool!

      • It’s an M41 chassis. And M41 chassis + XM551 turret configuration = XM551. Just like M41 chassis + modified M41E1 turret configuration = a whole new designation: T49

        There’s just no way to go around it. It would be another T49 GMC fiasco where the turrets and name are completely wrong (how ironic, they would share the same name).

        • But in T49′s case, the T49 designation was specifically assigned to it. Without it, it would be simply an M41 with a 90mm gun. XM551 is also something else (the three pilot Sheridan prototypes).

          • XM551 Pilot No. 1 = XM551 test bed turret on M41 chassis.

            It’s in the source for this very article.

            • Nonsense. A “pilot” vehicle is an initial testing batch of the Sheridan. There were three, with Sheridan suspension. This is just a testbed for the XM551 turret testing, nothing else. It does NOT count as a pilot vehicle.

  4. Highly interesting. However, unless WG amend high tier LT play, this will have a limited role.

    Are the tier 6 and 7 candidates known?

      • damn was to slow to edit previous post.

        are the two excisting lights seperated from the mutant Med > light > light > med > med > heavy line or are we getting an entire new scout line and they stay put ?

        • There will dedicated scout line

          V: Chafee – nerfed, changed MM (like german tier V Leopard has), without top turret and gun
          VI: T37 – bassically current Chaffee but with different hull.
          VII: M41 Walker Bulldog
          VIII: T49

  5. Do you think they might let it go with HE/HEAT for the 90 mm or will they pull an ELC and give it fake AP/APCR ammo?

  6. T49 with a 152mm gun OMG NO Just No… O__O”
    Its not possible a light tank fire a 152mm gun its just that… I give up I’m so screwed
    Other Light tanks(wz132 and amx13-90) would be so jealous.

  7. Neat-o, it’s a very nice choice for Tier 8. And I can’t wait for it to come out since atm, I haven’t touched light tanks at all besides the T-50-2… when it was still in the game that is.

  8. I highly doubt they will even think about getting that second version (XMnumbers) in the game. A passive scout with a 90 mm gun sounds like a tier 8 LT. Also… will the branch look like this?

    Chaffee (V) -> T92 LT (VI) -> M41 Walker Bulldog (VII) -> M49 LT (VIII)

    The only problem I see with this branch is that the Walker Bulldog in its top configuration would be too similar to the T49 and the only differences would be soft stats.

    Anyway, that M49 seems like a good choice for a tier 8 LT and WZ-132 will finally have an opponent of its caliber. Unlike that AMX 13 90 which can finish a WZ if it manages to unload an entire clip.

    I don’t remember of any tier 8 LT proposals for USSR, UK and Japan? Did anyone write anything about those?

    • I think they will put Chaffee to tier VI, and they will put a new Stuart variant to one of the lower empty tier.

      • No no please god no no.
        Remove T49 turret from Chaffee, adjust Chaffee at tier 5 accordingly. T49 can be tier 6. Please no more of this ahistorical silliness.

    • I half assume the Chaffee will get split with the nerf and the T37 would end up being the tank in between the Chaffee and the M41. The T92 was intended as a replacement for M41 so it would be pretty weird to place it before it. Honestly, I don’t think the t92 fits well into the line in general and would probably be a better premium candidate. The M41 probably won’t get a 90mm.

    • I have no idea what could be tier 7 and 8 UK, USSR and Japanese lights.
      There was apparently Japanese light tanks, that could fir to those tiers (absolutely not sure, Daigensui have to confirm this).
      From Brits, i think that FV301 could fit to tier 7 (imagine FV304 with turret, lot better traverse, view range and 77mm gun. Note that also there was FV303, SPG (or it could fit nicely as TD to game, maybe tier 8, like E-25 tier higher) what had 20pdr, but no turret.
      For Soviets, i have no idea what tanks could fit to make higher tiered LTs.
      MT-25 could fit to tier 7 with new top gun, buffed HP and soft stats, but i dont think that is this good idea.

    • as far as i know Ru251 isn’t even sure, cause there are limited facts and figures known about it.
      and Japan stops at T4 with lights, UK stops at T5 and USSR at T6, so they need more candidates to fill in the gaps.

      and if they are not to busy look at the Aufkl. Pz Panther, that 42 tn behemoth can’t be called a light, and also is there any news when T8 lights are implemented will their tier spread be reduced to the +/- 2 instead of +/- 4

      • The thing with the Aufkl. Pz Panther is that it was an actually German scout tank project in reality, WarGaming was at least kind enough to upgun it somewhat for the game. Doesn’t make it suck any less, but you can at least blame the Nazis for the fact that it was ever even considered for existence.

        Not that we need more reasons to hate the Nazis.

      • WZ is a boss with the 100mm Gun. Even with the sometimes shitty gun depression, is a keeper for me. I also want the RU251, as it looks nice and it’s a German light tank. But a Chaffe on Tier VIII what was fed on steroids is not really interesting for me. Well, if it gets the 152mm gun, then I will grind it. I still have my Chaffee crew in the barracks.

        • Man, Chaffee is my favourite tank, had personal exp record on it (2960 exp with prem, no x2). I have even turned off faster crew training for a while and collected 40k exp for next tank :)
          Waiting for T49 no matter how good or bad it will be.

  9. I wonder how they will balance that 152mm gun – they should give it ca. same parameters as KV-2′s and SU-152′s ones, but that would mean that it will have horrible accuracy and even worse – light taks usually fire on the move; how will you hit anything with that 152mm while driving and trying NOT to get shot?

  10. The new tier 8 VK2801 with that 152 derp… looks fun if light tanks are balanced again.

    Want to fix scouts? Give them exclusive sixth sense (or a special version of it).

  11. Why is this tank only tier 8? It’s got gun options superior to the M26 pershing and it should also be more mobile. I think it easily goes as tier 9, and if it the 90mm would be have superior default ammo (just like the current T10 meds), it would be easily Tier 10.

    In fact, I am really wondering why WG is not expanding the light tanks to tier X. There are plenty of candidates (T-54-49 light tank, AMX-13-105, this one, Sheridan prototype, RU251 firing APCR as a default).

    Babs out!

  12. Imagine the lols… Cruising the battlefield at 72kmh, behind enemy lines, you spy an arty… you sneak up at full speed, pull up be hind and… HAHA! SURPRISE 152mm round in the arse!

    The effect on enemy heavies and mediums would also be good :)

    • No need to imagine it. It was exactly like that before they nerfed VK2801 to the ground.

  13. About the lack of regular shells for the gun: Isn’t the ELC AMX’s also a HEAT/HE slinger and WG just pulled an AP shell out of their seemingly bottomless ass (wait, what?)

  14. Before anyone complains about a tier 10 medium’s stock gun being on a tier 8 light tank, the AMX 13 90′s top gun is the 90 mm gun that the Batchat 25t gets as its stock gun (and is the gun it had historically), which some people prefer over the upgraded guns because of the shorter clip reload.

    • Tell me, who is that stupid to choose gun with lower pen, lower alpha, lower accuracy and lower clip burst just to reload the clip faster!?!?!

      • Just load premium and pen is no longer an issue.

        Secondly in a large percentage of situations time matters more then accuracy and damage.

        Thirdly in WoT we are not sniping at 1000m or more… Its more like 0-300m at best… Accuracy really does not matter too much.

        I could go on for another 3 points but its not worth it.

  15. Oh look… the first generation smoothbores had accuracy issues…. well… file that under “Duh” … and wonder why WG is so adamant on not offering up a few in the proper era like the MBT/KpZ-70.

  16. I dont think the T49 will be better than the Over Powered Amx-13 90 (with a drum ammo)
    And because its tall its camo value will be BAD especially compared to the Wz-132
    (i think the chaffee has worst stationary camo rating than the T-54a
    medium !!!! this thing will be bigger>?)

    Just give the T92 airborne tank a 90mm and a better engine. That way it can at least compare in terms of maneuverability, camo-rating, and firepower to the other tier 8 Scouts.

  17. I still think the pen and damage is too fucking much for a light tank. 240 damage and 170+mm pen and that rof, thats almost tier 8 medium stats. This will be able to pen all tier 8 heavy frontaly I believe, and should a light suppose to do that really?

    • Yes. Why *else* would people have put guns on them if not to shoot stuff dead?
      Look, if you want Class-Specific Crippling Overspecialisation go play some particularly old-fashioned MMORPG or somesuch. We’re playing with tanks here, and those weren’t designed that stupid.

      And by the by ~170 pen doesn’t do shit to most T8 heavies frontally. Stop binge drinking in the middle of the week.

      • They do if they hit lower glacis dude. Also we are speaking about light tanks here, not tanks that should damage heavys either frontally or in the side from the first beginning. Speak about guns? Its all about balance. 170mm pen, 240 alpha and 10 rof is too much for a light tier 8 tank, then current tier 8 mediums are not that much better, they have like 175-180mm pen, 240 alpha but with much slower rof. Think about that pussi.

        The problem with making all tanks more MBT like will wash out the roles of many old tanks, and we have alreaddy see that. Most newer tanks, heavys, mediums and tds are too well rounded to compete with the old ones.

        • Considering tier 8 lights are going to be seeing tier 10 games almost exclusively, 180 pen/240 alpha/10 rounds/minute (2,400 DPM, less than tier 10 mediums) is absolutely pathetic..

        • “They do if they hit lower glacis dude.”
          …this is about your Kingtiger again isn’t it? L2angle.

          “Also we are speaking about light tanks here, not tanks that should damage heavys either frontally or in the side from the first beginning.”
          …I’m sorry, WHAT? Your average T8 heavy for example has *well* under 100mm of side armour; why the FUCK should lights not be able to plough through that just like everything else? (Half the T10s are no better, and a few are actually *worse* – 50B and its 30mm cardboard flanks most notably.)
          Because they keep outmaneuvering and killing your stupid ass and we can’t have that can we? *eyeroll*

          As far as T8 Med guns go, maybe parse the techtree a bit more? I just did; *five out of nine* (not countring premiums because sod them) have over 200mm average pen, in a few cases by quite a large margin too. And RoF is basically an arbitrary balance parameter WG sets to whatever the fuck playtesting and post-introduction aggregate statistics suggest is appropriate anyway.

          FYI I’d be a lot more willing to take you seriously if you didn’t reliably talk out of your ass like this.

          “The problem with making all tanks more MBT like…”
          Newsflash – that’s exactly what they gradually converged towards postwar for diverse sound practical reasons. Hell, the archetypical forerunner of the type, the T-54, was accepted into service already in *’45*.
          Makes the phenomenom kinda difficult to avoid.

  18. This whole article reminded me of how the 90mm Patton Turret got a 17 round per mad minute.

    M4 rof with 90mm anyone? Like a 90mm Autloader that doesnt end.