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Why is the Christie suspension no longer used?

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PanzerJosh #1 Posted Jan 02 2018 - 20:00


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A lot of World War Two tanks (Cromwell, and T-34 as best examples) had the Christie suspension, but little to no post war tanks have it. Was it to complex, or to expensive, cause I can only find that it gave very good cross country performance.

Dogsoldier6 #2 Posted Jan 02 2018 - 20:08


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Because the Shocks took up too much of the internal volume of the tank.


Go on You Tube and look up some of Chieftan's Inside The Tanks videos on the T-34 T-34-85. It shows this well.

AndrewSledge #3 Posted Jan 02 2018 - 20:09


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I believe it took up a lot of space internally, and the ability to remove the tracks was found to be unnecessary.

TeaTimeWithKongou #4 Posted Jan 02 2018 - 20:26

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The overall space it required was way to much in terms of volume of space available and torsion bar suspension especially nowadays is even better if not with its very progressed fording capabilities. 

The_Chieftain #5 Posted Jan 02 2018 - 20:54

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Not only was it a matter of the internal space, but maintenance on the system was god-awful. Bogies can be easily replaced. Torsion bars can be annoying, but usually aren't too awful in comparison.


Example, to get at the springs on something like Comet, Cromwell or Crusader, you have to pull off the tracks, and then pull off the armor. And, I believe, often the wheels. Doing it on T-34 seems to be even tougher, given the side armor nature.


Pongo #6 Posted Jan 02 2018 - 21:06


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Also the size scales with the weight, so to dampen a 40 ton tank effectively(if it could) it would be all suspension. The T34 had a terrible suspension from a dampening stand point and the Russians knew it before they were even in the war. Their design to change to torsion bars was canceled due to production needs when they entered the war.

stalkervision #7 Posted Jan 03 2018 - 16:22


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The Christie suspension isn't the most stable gun platform for a tank to put it very very mildly that's why. That is why almost all modern tanks use torshen bar suspensions. Also include what the others said above. .

Mega_Scizor #8 Posted Jan 04 2018 - 22:51


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Don't forget that the Christie suspension was designed specifically for a light fast tank from the beginning.

Swearengen5 #9 Posted Jan 09 2018 - 17:04


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Christie's coil suspension was a truly inventive system, and most developers saw it as such.  It had tremendous benefits in providing cross-country use and (due to very low rolling resistance) was quite fast, but needed further development. Unfortunately, during the interwar years most officials in the US government (as well as the Ordinance Department) were cutting spending, so approval for tank research was cut to the bone---so further leaps forward in Christie's and other tank designs proceeded at a snail's pace. 


What Christie had developed was a new and revolutionary design...but it had its failings also: 1. durability at high speeds was less than exemplary,  2. maintenance/repair was both costly and time-consuming, 3. excessive sag in the track increased the tendency to shed a track (this was even worse in high-speed maneuvers), 4. the suspension took up a great deal of space, but the BIGGEST PROBLEM 5. the materials of the day were not up to the task (especially the rubberized road wheels) thereby limiting lifetime significantly.  <45 years later, the Israelis took the Christie design as a basis to design the Merkava, developing a revised Christie design using modern materials to overcome flaws 1,2,3,&5, but it still takes up a LOT of space>


In the 1930s, many nations (especially Britain/France/Germany/Poland/Russia ) saw that tanks could become essential to their defense.  Britain/Germany/France/Poland all had Christie designs, but Christie's suspension saw the largest amount of development/experimentation/manufacture by the Russians.  With adoption of the Christie suspension, the BT2 (and later the T-34 and its derivatives) showed all the advantages and disadvantages inherent in the use of Christie's design.  Of note: while the T-34 was put into production with the Christie suspension, the Russians recognized the benefits in ease of manufacture and durability that a torsion-bar suspension would provide.  With war on the horizon, however, they knew that stopping/slowing production to retool and make such a significant change to the T-34 was not an option.  They even kept the design on the T-34-85 to speed production.  It wasn't until the T-44 that they instituted the change. Overall, the Russians found that torsion bars gave more benefits when compared to the Christie system at that time.  The Russians didn't try the Christie system again until the T-64 was put into development, but once again found it to be less reliable and more costly than standard leaf/torsion systems (which they put into production on the T-72 and T-80).


I didn't bother going into German/French/British/Polish developments as I believe Russia's experience was the most straight-forward and summed most of it up.      



Edited by Swearengen5, Jan 09 2018 - 17:46.

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