M48 Patton Medium Tank
Gary's Combat Vehicle Reference Guide

  M48 M48A1 M48A2 M48A3 M48A5
Alternative DesignationsPatton II
Country of OriginUSA
RoleMedium tank
Date Of Introduction 1952 1968 1975
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Combat Weight 49 tons (45 mt) 52 tons (47 mt) 52 tons (47 mt) 52 tons (47 mt) 54 tons (49 mt)
Ground Pressure 11.2 psi (0.79 kg/cm²) 11.8 psi (0.83 kg/cm²) 11.8 psi (0.83 kg/cm²) 11.8 psi (0.83 kg/cm²) 12.2 psi (0.86 kg/cm²)
Length, Hull 22 ft
(6.705 m)
22.5 ft
(6.87 m)
22.5 ft
(6.87 m)
22.6 ft
(6.882 m)
21.1 ft
(6.419 m)
Width, Overall 11.9 ft
(3.631 m)
11.9 ft
(3.631 m)
11.9 ft
(3.631 m)
11.9 ft
(3.631 m)
11.9 ft
(3.631 m)
Height, Overall 10.6 ft
(3.241 m)
10.3 ft
(3.13 m)
10.1 ft
(3.089 m)
10.2 ft
(3.124 m)
10.1 ft
(3.086 m)
Ground Clearance 15.5 in (393 mm) 15.2 in (387 mm) 15.2 in (385 mm) 16 in (406 mm) 16.5 in (419 mm)
  M48 M48A1 M48A2 M48A3 M48A5
Engine Continental air-cooled, 12-cylinder 810 hp (604 kw) gasoline Continental AVDS-1790 series turbosupercharged, fuel injection, 90° "V" type, aircooled, 12-cylinder 750 hp (559 kw) diesel
Range 70 miles (113 km) 160 miles (258 km) 287 miles (463 km) 310 miles (499 km)
Fuel Capacity 200 gal (757 l) 335 gal (1,268 l) 375 gal (1,420 l)
Road Speed 26 mph (41.8 km/h) 30 mph (48.2 km/h)
Cross Country Speed ?
Fording DepthUnprepared: 4 ft (1.219 m).  Prepared: 8 ft (2.438 m)
Trench Crossing8.5 ft (2.59 m)
Vertical Wall Climb3.0 ft (0.915 m)
  M48 M48A1 M48A2 M48A3 M48A5
Hull front: 4-4.72 in (101-120 mm)     Turret front: 4.33 in (110 mm)
Hull sides, front: 3 in (76 mm)Turret sides: 3 in (76 mm)
Hull sides, rear: 2 in (51 mm)Turret rear: 2 in (50 mm)
Hull top: 2.25 in (57 mm)Turret top: 1 in (25 mm)
Hull floor: 0.5-2.5 in (12.7-63 mm)
Hull rear: 1.75 in (44 mm)
Applique ArmorN/A
Explosive Reactive ArmorN/A
Active Protective SystemN/A
NBC Protection System Gas particulate air purifier
Smoke Equipment N/A Vehicle engine exhaust smoke system (VEESS)
M48, M48A1, M48A2, M48A3
Type Mount Typical Ammo Load
90mm M41 gun Turret; manual loading 64
anti-personnel, armor-piercing, high-explosive, anti-tank, smoke
7.62mm M73 (later models) or M1919A4E1 (earlier models) machine gun Coaxial to main gun 10,000
.50 caliber M2HB machine gun Turret cupola (M48 has simple open mount) 3,000
Type Mount Typical Ammo Load
105mm M68 rifled gun Turret - M87 mount; manual loading 54
7.62mm M73 machine gun Coaxial to main gun 10,000
7.62mm M60D machine gun Loader's hatch; pintle-mounted
.50 caliber M2HB machine gun (some have an M60D) Pintle-mounted above turret cupola 3,000


Design work for the M48 series medium tank began in 1950, and the first production model was completed in 1952. By completion of production, 11,703 M48s were built.

The cast hull is boat shaped with additional sections welded into position. The driver sits in the center front with a hatch cover opening to the right. In front of him are three periscopes. A night periscope is in the turntable in the driver's hatch.

The one-piece cast turret holds the commander and gunner on the right, and the loader on the left. The commander has a 360° traversable cupola with five vision blocks and a sight for controlling the .50-caliber machine gun.

Infrared driving lights are fitted as standard and most models have an infrared/white light searchlight mounted over the main gun. Standard equipment also includes an NBC system, heaters, external infantry phone, and provision for installing a dozer blade on the front of the hull.

Recognition features:


1952. Original production model. See data above. The first model has a small driver's hatch, five track return rollers, no tensioning idler, no dust shields on the fenders, and a "T" or cylindrical-type blast deflector on the barrel. The commander's cupola has the 12.7 mm machine gun on an open mount rather than in a fully enclosed cupola.
The letter "C" is embossed on the right front of the hull meaning this training tank has a non-ballistic mild steel hull unsuitable for combat. This model is used for training only.
This model has a larger driver's hatch, fully-enclosed commander's cupola, fender dust shields, rear track idler wheel, five track return rollers, and a "T" type blast deflector.
"Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 90-MM Gun, M48A2". This model has a fuel-injection system, larger fuel tanks, improved engine deck to minimize infrared detection, constant-pressure turret control system, improved fire-control system, modified commander's cupola, stowage basket mounted at the turret rear, and the main gun is fitted with a "T" type blast deflector. Also, jettisonable long-range fuel tanks can be fitted at the rear.
GTA 17-2-8: M48A2
"Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 90-MM Gun, M48A2C". This model is almost identical to the M48A2, except for slight differences in the optical and fire control equipment. Most do not have the track tensioner wheel.
M48A3 (NSN 2350-00-895-9154)
1968. "Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: 90-MM Gun, M48A3". A rebuild of earlier tanks, this has the same diesel engine as the M60A1, an improved fire control system, and the commander's cupola is modified by mounting a circular ring with vision blocks between the roof of the turret and the base of the commander's cupola. Most have only three track return rollers and no rear idler. They also have "T" type blast deflectors and fender dust shields.
M48A5 Main Battle Tank(NSN 2350-00-582-5595)
1975. "Tank, Combat, Full-Tracked, 105-MM Gun, M48A5". The M48A5 version modernization includes: top-loading air cleaner, top-deck grille, engine and transmission shroud, gun travel lock, exhaust grilles, new engine, track, final drives, tow pintle, hull turret seal, torsion bar knockout, bulkhead, fuel tank, track support rollers and shield, turret basket, modified hull ammunition stowage, driver's controls, periscope and escape hatch, gun shield and cover, turret and gun control, 105 mm gun, M87 gun mount, composite headlamp, searchlight, and various ballistics kits. Also provided is a modified commander's cupola and a 7.62mm M60D machine gun at the loader's hatch.

The 105mm gun tubes are interchangeable on the M48A5, M60A1, M60A3, M1, British L7A1-equipped, and German L7A3-equipped tanks.

TB 43-0209: M48A5
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M48A5 camo pattern
645x825, 71K, GIF
TB 43-0209: M48A5
Click on image sample to see full size image.
M48A5 camo pattern
655x825, 71K, GIF
M48 AVLB - Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge
An M48-series chassis is fitted with a scissors bridge that is launched hydraulically over the front in three minutes. The bridge opens to 19.2 meters and spans a gap of 18.3 meters. It weighs 14,470 kg. and has a 60,000 kg. capacity. The two-man AVLB weighs 55,746 kg. with bridge.
TM 5-5420-226-10: M48A5 AVLB
Sergeant York Division Air Defense Gun System (DIVAD)
Had an armored turret with two 40mm guns mounted on a modified M48A5 tank chassis. The DIVAD was intended to replace the M163 Vulcan system by 1985.
German M48s
Germany rebuilt 650 M48s to a new configuration known as the M48A2GA2. The modifications included the replacement of the 90mm gun by the same 105mm L7A3 rifled gun used in the Leopard 1. Further modifications included a new commander's cupola, modified ammunition stowage, passive night vision equipment for the driver, commander, and gunner, and modifications to the fire control system. German M48s also have four German smoke dischargers on either side of the turret. The driver has an image-intensifier periscope. A passive TV aiming and observation unit with a screen that can be seen by both the commander and gunner is mounted over the 105mm gun.
Super M48 Main Battle Tank
A German private venture offers a retrofit package for improvements to the vehicle, armor protection, mobility, or firepower. The Super M48 main battle tank has additional armor protection for turret front and sides, new tracks and skirts, commander's cupola, and 105mm gun with a thermal sleeve.

Recognition features:
  • 105mm main gun.
  • Six evenly spaced road wheels.
  • Uneven or jagged side skirts.

Add-on armor is fastened to the basic structure of the turret front and sides by elastic elements. If damaged or hit, another panel can be quickly interchanged.

An MTU MB 837 Ka-501 diesel engine develops 1,000 horsepower (745 kw) at 2,300 rpm. It has an intercooler, exhaust turbo-chargers, flat radiators, and an air cleaner system with a dust evacuation blower. This diesel has a much greater operating range than the 113 km for the gasoline engine of the original M48. A fully-automatic steering transmission is integrated with a brake system that has a retarder and multiple disc brakes. The powerpack is equipped with quick-disconnect couplings and mountings to allow for quick replacement.

The top decking of the engine compartment is modified. The fuel system was changed to a 1,050-liter capacity, with five storage tanks and one delivery tank. The Super M48 also has a new electrical system and fire-suppression system.

A MOLF 48 firecontrol system has a roof-mounted primary gunner's sight incorporating day sight, laser rangefinder, and thermal night sight. A computer controls the main gun and coaxial machine gun. The system can engage stationary or moving targets while the tank is either stationary or moving. The stabilization system has four modes:
  • "stab on" when stabilized gun and turret are slaved to the gunner's primary stabilized sight.
  • "stab ready" for self-stabilized gun and turret, manual laying with hydraulic power, and line of sight electrically slaved in elevation and azimuth
  • "observation" for manual laying by hand cranks and line of sight is electrically slaved to elevation and azimuth.
  • "turret off" for manual laying by handcranks, gunner aims using FERO Z19 panoramic telescope.

The suspension system gives an improved ride and good pre-stabilization for the firecontrol system. A new track has removable rubber pads and spoon-shaped end connectors for increased life and reduced track noise. Armored side skirts help reduce dust going into the air cleaners.

A 105mm L7A3 rifled tank gun replaces the M48 tank's 90mm gun. The Super M48 carries 40 rounds of 105mm ammunition in the hull and on the turret platform. There is a new electro-hydraulic gun/turret drive and weapon stabilization system.

A bank of four Wegmann smoke/fragmentation dischargers may be fitted on either side of the turret towards the rear.

Combat Weight: 58 tons (53 mt)
Dimensions (LxWxH): 22.5 x 11.9 x 9.5 ft (6.87 x 3.631 x 2.9 m)
Road Speed: 35 mph (56.3 km/h)
Fuel Capacity: 277 gal (1,050 l)

M67, M67A1, M67A2 Flamethrower Tank
"Tank, Combat, Full Tracked: Flamethrower". M48A1, M48A2, or M48A3 equipped with a flamethrower.
U.S. Marine Corps M67A2. Near Da Nang, Vietnam.
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