AN INTRODUCTION TO

This material is mainly from research done by the late Michael Rosen of San Leandro, California.
THE AFV ASSOCIATION

In spite of the significance of his contributions, J. Walter Christie probably remains the most obscure and ambiguous figure to be found in the history of the development of tanks.
From the early 1900's until his death in 1944, Christie devoted himself to the construction of armored fighting vehicles in the USA. Underlying and providing continuity to his work during this period was the attempt to design a chassis possessing superior mobility. While such emphasis is open to conflicting opinions, it should be pointed out that Christie was one of the few who had recognized the full implications of the the concept of mechanized warfare. In aiming for cross-country speeds of 30 to 40mph, and tank transport by air, he sought to create a fighting vehicle which was capable of simply devouring great distances.
M1919
M1921
M1928
M1931
M1932
M1935/A
M1935/B
M1936
M1937
M1938
M1941
M1942
FOR A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE CHRISTIE TANKS, CLICK ON ANY
OF THE ABOVE MODELS.




M1919
Produced in 1919 by THE FRONT DRIVE MOTOR COMPANY. Total production = 1.



M1921
Rebuilt from the 1919 tank in 1921 by THE FRONT DRIVE MOTOR COMPANY. Total production = 1.

The CHRISTIE M1921 by Robert J. Icks from the Sept/74 AFV News
WWI on the Western Front, except for the first few and last few weeks, consisted of trench warfare and its influence continued for many years afterward. Because of low track life, medium and heavy tanks had travelled as little as possible outside of combat, while light tanks were carried on trucks. The Westerveldt or Caliber Board, recommended the direction that future weapons development whould take, including a recommendation that only a medium tank be developed.
The US Tank Corps in 1919 urged negotiations with Walter J. Christie, whose self-propelled guns represented a different approach, designed to conserve track life. This was done, and the Christie M1919 tank resulted, but it had been hastily built and assembled. It had poor suspension and the engine and transmission were difficult to get at. Changeover from tracks to wheels required 15 minutes. The center wheels were raised when running on roads.
This tank was armed with a 6pdr(57mm) gun in the main turret and one MG in the cupola. It had 1/4" to 1" armor, steel tracks 15" wide, and 9-3/4" pitch. The road wheels were rubber tired and only the center wheels were sprung. After generally unsatisfactory performance, the tank was returned to Christie, who rebuilt it into the M1921. The appearance was changed by eliminating the turret and placing the 6pdr in the nose, and lowering the height to 7'1". Another MG was added and one was placed on either side of the main weapon. The suspension was similar, but the front wheels in this model were sprung with long recoil springs.
At first this tank performed so well that Army TO&E were rearranged on the premise that eventual rearmament with this type of tank would take place. However, manoeuverability was poor, the crew compartment was cramped, and more and more defects appeared. After testing by Ordnance, it was turned over to the Infantry, who dropped it in 1924.
Christie came back with a new vehicle with a more advanced suspension in 1928 and this evolved into the T3 Convertible. The later T4 finally was also dropped. Christie built 15 vehicles between 1916 and 1924 at a cost to the Ordnance Dept. of $739,240 plus $100,000 for all current and future suspension patent rights. When Congress began cutting funds to the military in 1921, there was little money for experimental designs.
Many of Christie's designs were ingenious, but they were mechanically unreliable. In addition there were other factors during this period. A surplus of tanks was left over from WWI, and the National Defense Act of 1920 assigned tanks to the infantry but the War Dept. made no policy statement on tanks until 1922. At that time they were classified as light, medium and heavy, to be few in number and possessed of slow speed so as to accompany infantry under conditions of trench warfare. Ordnance designed a Medium A tank in 1921 and rebuilt it into the M1922 the following year. It was turreted, armed as the Christie M1919 and was rugged and dependable, and had a longer track life. Interest swung to it and away from Christie.

M1928
Produced in 1928 by U.S. WHEEL TRACK LAYER CORPORATION. Total production = 1.



M1931
Produced in 1931 by U.S. WHEEL TRACK LAYER CORPORATION Total production = 9.



M1932
Produced in 1932 by U.S. WHEEL TRACK LAYER CORPORATION Total production = 1.



M1935/A
Produced in 1935 (?). Total production = 1.



M1935/B
Produced in 1935 (?). Total production = 1.



M1936
Produced in 1936 by THE CHRISTIE CHASSIS, Inc. Total production = 1.



M1937
Produced in 1937 by U.S. CONVERTIBLE SYSTEM, Inc. Total production = 1.



M1938 (T-12)
Produced in 1938 by U.S. CONVERTIBLE SYSTEM, Inc. Total production = 1.



M1941 (Bigley GMC)
Produced in 1937 by U.S. CONVERTIBLE SYSTEM, Inc. Total production = 1.



M1942
Produced in 1942. Total production = 1.


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