T28 vs T95 – Which is Correct?
You may have seen the names T28 and T95 thrown around in discussions about the superheavy American tank developed in the 1940s. This machine is well known, having appeared in games such as World of Tanks and Warthunder, but there is still considerable confusion on what this vehicle is, was or should actually be called.
Not only this, but it is often thought that the T28 and T95 are two entirely separate vehicles and designated as tank destroyers.
Many of the most famous tanks have their own similar misconceptions, such as the famous “Porsche” and “Henschel” turret myth for the Tiger II, or how the M51 Sherman was never actually called the “Super Sherman” or “Isherman”.
The T28 is particularly interesting though, because unlike those two examples, the two names thrown about were actually used officially.
So lets quickly cover this, and clear up any confusion.
The Correct Name
For those wanting a quick, clear answer: the correct name for this vehicle is the Superheavy Tank, T28. The project began in 1943 as the Heavy Tank, T28, was renamed to Carriage, Motor, 105-mm Gun, T95 in early 1945, and then in June 1946 its name was changed again to Superheavy Tank, T28.
So if you class “correct” as a name that a vehicle had at some point in its life, then T28 or T95 are both correct. However, as the last designation for the tank was T28, that is, in our opinion, the correct name.
Are the T28 and T95 the Same?
So, where did the mix up between T28 and T95 come from?
This confusion likely comes from the games World of Tanks and Warthunder, which both feature the T28 and T95 as two separate vehicles.
Warthunder and World of Tanks both list the T28 as essentially a version of the T95 without its outer tracks.
Warthunder’s T28 is virtually identical to their T95, except it doesn’t have an outer set of tracks. World of Tanks depicts the T28 as an earlier version of the T95 with a different frontal hull shape, armor thickness and suspension.
Regardless, both games designate the version most similar to the real vehicle as a tank destroyer called T95.
All of this has resulted in four main misconceptions:
- The T28 is an early version of the T95.
- The T28 is the name given to the T95 when its outer tracks are removed.
- The T95 is the real tank’s actual name.
- That regardless of the name, its role was of a tank destroyer.
All are incorrect.
In reality the T28 and T95 are the same vehicle. The are simply the designations the vehicle had at different points in its life.
The real vehicle was indeed fitted with four tracks, and the outer set was removable, however this was to make transport easier, and did not change the designation of the vehicle. As mentioned above, the “more” correct term out of the two is the T28, as this is the name the tank had for the majority of its life, and its classification of heavy tank most closely aligns with its purpose and design.
In addition, it was designed and classed as a tank, not a tank destroyer.
So while Warthunder has the physical design of this tank correct, the names are not. The T28 wouldn’t have entered battle without its side skirts, and even if it did, its designation wouldn’t change.
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World of Tanks is further off the mark, as their T28 has a very different design to their T95. According to Nicholas Moran, aka “The Chieftain”, this was likely done to fill a gap in their tech tree leading up to their T95.
The Two Names Explained
The T28 project began in the latter half of 1943, with the aim of producing a vehicle that could survive any anti-tank guns at the time, and approach to within close range of enemy fortifications and destroy them. At this point it is simply referred to as “A.T. Project“, with “A.T. standing for “Assault Tank”.
It had a casemate design, which is where the gun is placed inside the hull rather than in a turret. This did not classify it as a tank destroyer, but as an assault tank, due to its heavy armor and purpose of directly confronting enemy fortifications.
Its gun was placed inside the hull to allow the maximum amount of armor to be added and focused on the front. It also made shaping the armor much easier, as angles and sheer thickness are easier to design for a hull than a full traversable turret.
By December 1943 the tank has received a proper name: Heavy Tank, T28. The exact nomenclature varies between documents or even the same document, with some putting it as Heavy Tank, T-28 and some the Tank, Heavy, T28. This is not an unusual occurrence.
Although the vehicle was initially designed as a tank, there were some who believed that its lack of a turret meant it wasn’t actually a tank, but a gun motor carriage.
As a result, in April 1945 the name was changed, officially, from Heavy Tank, T28 to Carriage, Motor, 105-mm Gun, T95. Try saying that quickly three times!
As with its previous name, the exact wording can vary among official documents.
It stayed as the T95 for a year, but in 1946 its classification was discussed once again.
Now, it was decided that its limited traverse gun and lack of a turret did not strictly make it a gun motor carriage. Gun motor carriages were typically lightly armored and not meant to absorb heavy incoming fire – the T28/T95 was designed with some of the thickest armor ever mounted on a tracked vehicle and designed to directly attack enemy fortifications.
Therefore in June 1946 the name was changed for the third and final time, from Carriage, Motor, 105-mm Gun, T95, to Superheavy Tank, T28.
To recap, the T28’s designations were as follows:
- Summer 1943 – A.T. Project
- December 1943 – Heavy Tank, T28
- April 1945 – Carriage, Motor, 105-mm Gun, T95
- June 1946 – Superheavy Tank, T28
So today, calling the tank either the T28 or T95 is certainly not wrong, as they were both official names at one point in its life. However, as T28 was the final designation, and the one given to the tank for the majority of its service, this is, in our opinion, the correct name.
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In addition, the designation T95 has the associated gun motor carriage classification, something it was only classed as for a year.