120 mm Gun Full Tracked Combat Tank, M-56,also known unofficially as the M-56 Easton, was a third generation Main Battle Tank. It one the primary tanks used by the U.S. military and was known as "the most survivable tank in the world".
The M56 was designed in 2045 as a universal main battle tank to replace the U.S. Military's older medium and heavy tanks and supplement the M-75. The U.S. Military incorporated survivablity into every aspect of the tank, from the massively powerful 120mm rifled cannon to the advanced composite, polymer, and depleted uranium armor. These were considered better than anything China, Europe or Russia could conjuer up, and plowed through everything the PLA had.
The M56 was protected by 64 inches worth of chobham and classified metal/composite armor layers as well as reactive armor, depleted uranium, and polymer plates. The inside was armored as well as the U.S. did not intend to loose very many of these vehicles. The main reason for all the armor was that the U.S. didn't have the resources to make bulk tanks with paper thin armor. They needed an invincible death machine that could take any amounts of hits and still come out swinging. Its only weakness was its tracks, which when hit rendered the tank temporarily inoperable. The PLA took advantage of this in numerous fire fights, however the weapons systems on the tank still worked. Out of the all destroyed M56 tanks, 80% were destroyed by American forces as to prevent the tank from falling into enemy hands. The PLA did manage to capture and repair an M56, and used it against U.S. forces in a single battle. It was destroyed in that battle however, after taking 36 plasma rounds from a pair of M28 Heavy Tanks and 8 mini nukes from infantry forces. It was still operable however, the crew inside just died from radiation seeping through holes in the armor. Another survivablity feature was the lack of an auto-loader system. In other tanks, when the auto loader was hit, the ammo in the magazine would detonate. As a precaution the M56 was equipped with armored compartments with blowout panels to protect the crew from the risk of the tank's own ammunition cooking off if the tank is damaged. If the M56 was to suffer damage resulting in a fire in the crew compartment, the tank is equipped with a fire-suppression system that automatically engages and extinguishes fires in seconds.
M245 rifled gun
The main armament of the M56 is it's deadly 120mm M245 rifled gun. Combined with its massive velocity, and it's huge punch, it easily made hamburger of even the heaviest of PLA tanks. It could fire APFSDS, HEAT, Thermobaric, Plasma, Nuclear, ATGM, and Pulse rounds, as well as anti infantry and anti air rounds.
The M56 was equiped with an automated M3HB .50 caliber HMG turret of the top of the main turret. This provided the tank with 360 degree anti infantry and anti air coverage. The M3HB could also be loaded with a variety of rounds such as plasma, pulse, explosive, and armor piercing incendiary.
M89 Coaxial Gatling Laser
If the .50 wasn't enough, this bad boy packed a coaxial gatling laser for anti infantry. Capable of firing 60,000 rpm, this laser disentigrated PLA infantry by the hundreds.
82 mm Mortar
The 82mm mortar provided infantry on the ground indirect fire support if there was no artillery avalible. It could fire Plasma, Pulse, Flechette, Thermobarac, and Bunker Buster rounds. It was controlled by a similar ballistic fire controll computer as the main gun.
M78 Tactical Grenade Launching System
An additional armorment added on to the M56A2 was an automatic 40mm grenade launcher. Capable of saturating an area with indirect fire, this new weapon system saved the lives of thousands of U.S. service men. When the Chinese would charge U.S. trenches, M56A2s would fire air-burst munitions, that had similar effects to cluster bombs. These would prove useful when air support was not avalible.
The M56 was powered by a 1,500 shaft horsepower (1,100 kW) RobCo HellHoney ATG 1500 hybrid plasma turbine, and a six speed (four forward, two reverse) RobCo X-1100-3B Hydro-Kinetic automatic transmission, giving it a top speed of 60 mph.
The Easton is equipped with a ballistic fire-control computer that uses user and system-supplied data from a variety of sources, to compute, display, and incorporate the three components of a ballistic solution—lead angle, ammunition type, and range to the target—to accurately fire the tank. These three components are determined using a YAG rod laser range-finer, crosswind sensor, a pendulum static cant sensor, data concerning performance and flight characteristics of each specific type of round, tank-specific boresight alignment data, ammunition temperature, air temperature, barometric pressure, a muzzle reference system (MRS) that determines and compensates for barrel droop at the muzzle due to gravitational pull and barrel heating due to firing or sunlight, and target speed determined by tracking rate tachometers in the Gunner's or Commander's Controls Handles. All of these factors are computed into a ballistic solution and updated 30 times per second. The updated solution is displayed in the Gunner's or Tank Commander's field of view in the form of a reticle in both day and Thermal modes. The ballistic computer manipulates the turret and a complex arrangement of mirrors so that all one has to do is keep the reticle on the target and fire to achieve a hit. Proper lead and gun tube elevation are applied to the turret by the computer, greatly simplifying the job of the gunner. The fire-control system uses these data to compute a firing solution for the gunner. The ballistic solution generated ensures a hit percentage greater than 95 percent at nominal ranges. Either the commander or gunner can fire the main gun. Additionally, the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) on the M56 can be used to locate targets and pass them on for the gunner to engage while the commander scans for new targets. In the event of a malfunction or damage to the primary sight system, the main and coaxial weapons can be manually aimed using a telescopic scope boresighted to the main gun known as the Gunner's Auxiliary Sight (GAS). The GAS has two interchangeable reticles; one for HEAT and MPAT (MultiPurpose AntiTank) rounds and one for APFSDS and STAFF (Smart Target-Activated Fire and Forget) as well as other ammunition. Turret traverse and main gun elevation can be accomplished with manual handles and cranks in the event of a Fire Control System or Hydraulic System failure.
Active Protection SystemEdit
In addition to the armor, all Eastons are equipped with a Softkill Active protection system, the AN/VLQ-6 Missile Countermeasure Device (MCD) that can impede the function of guidance systems of some semi-active control line-of-sight (SACLOS) wire and radio guided anti-tank missiles (such as the Russian AT-3, AT-4, AT-5, AT-6 and the like) and thermally and infrared guided missiles. The MCD works by emitting a massive, condensed infrared signal to confuse the seeker of an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). However, the drawback to the system is that the ATGM is not destroyed, it is merely directed away from its intended target, leaving the missile to detonate elsewhere. This device is mounted on the turret roof in front of the loader's hatch. The turret is also fitted with two six-barreled smoke grenade launchers (USMC M56s use an eight-barreled version). These can create a thick smoke that blocks both vision and thermal imaging.
The vehicle was fitted with a nuclear, biological, chemical protection system, image intensification sights for gunner and driver and a floatation screen. A commode was located under the commander's seat, an internal water tank and a boiling vessel for cooking and heating water were also provided.
Variants and upgradesEdit
- XM56: Experimental model. Nine test-beds were produced in 2045.
- M56: First production variant. Production began (at Chryslus) in 2049 and continued to 2077 (at General Dynamics).
- M56A1: Production started in 2055 and continued to 2062, pressurized NBC system, rear bustle rack for improved stowage of supplies and crew belongings, redesigned blow-off panels. All M56 systems upgraded to M56A1 by 2064.
- M56A2 (Baseline): Production began in 2062 The M56A2 offers the tank commander an independent thermal sight and ability to, in rapid sequence, shoot at two targets without the need to acquire each one sequentially, also 2nd generation depleted uranium armor mesh. All M56s upgraded to M56A2 by 2074.
- M5 Panther II Mine Clearing Blade/Roller System.
- M56ABV Assault Breacher Vehicle: Assault variant for the USMC. Based upon the M56A1 chassis, the Assault Breacher Vehicle has a variety of systems installed, such as a full-width mine plow, two linear demolition charges, and a lane-marking system. Additional reactive armor has been fitted to the vehicle providing more protection against HEAT-based weapons. The turret has been replaced by a new smaller one with two MICLIC launchers at its rear. A M3HB .50 machine gun in a remote weapons station is mounted on the commander's cupola and a bank of grenade launchers are fitted to each side of the superstructure to cover the frontal arc are provided for self-protection.
- M565 Armored Recovery Vehicle.
Great War AftermathEdit
After the Great War on October 23rd, 2077, most M56 tanks were still operable, but burried under thousands of feet of rubble. As 8,000 of the 10,000 were in Asia at the time, most M56 tanks lie below just over 1,000 feet of sand. The other 2,000 in North America are either sitting derelect under a destroyed building, or being picked over by prospectors. While they can still be operated, they would need to re-charge their hybrid engines, and the re-chargers were all destroyed. One M56A2 known as "Destructo" is still up and running however, repaired by a famous mechanic known as "Willy Pete". Willy Pete riggeed the tank to work off MF Breeders from recharger rifles and pistols. He also took out most of the inside seats and unnessessary equipment to make the interior bigger. He then installed the personallity of his own personal securitron into the tanks primary computers. Without the need of a crew, Willy simply tore out all unneeded technoalgy, and make Destructo his own home. The two best friends continued adventuring across the Colorado wasteland, bringing justice to those unfortunate to cross them.