In July 1945, after liberation of France the Chief of Defence Staff, the Staff of the Armed expressed the need for a national heavy tank design. In anticipation of rising tensions with the USSR and the balance sheets from the last world war, the French army presented a detailed specification of what should be the future main battle tank of the army. The tank must have been comparable in several respects to existing tanks. Indeed, the french army demanded a weapons whose minimum power had to be equivalent to the 88mm cannon of the german Tiger II. He was also asked a armour equivalent to the Panther and a mobility similar to that of the T-34.
Four projects were proposed but only one was selected to become a prototype, the one from AMX. Indeed, at the time, the U.S. wanted the Europe gets a powerful military industry. But, because of material and financial difficulties because World War II, the United States bore assistance to European nations through offshore procurement Programs, a credit system which was designed to provide Western Europe with a complex military-industrial performance for a conflict with the Soviet Union. Note that, for the first time since 1917, Renault was not involved in the tender, due to nationalization resulting from the collaboration of the company to the nazis during the occupation of France.
The engine chosen was that of a captured German motor from Mayback at the end of the war. To include this element in the project, it was necessary, in addition to the seizure of German equipment and prototypes, the arrival in France of engineers and mechanics who served in the factories of the Third Reich. As for the turret and armament, they were 100% French design. This was notably the first appearance of oscillating turret system that will become standard on all French armored vehicles of the 1950s.
The tests that the AMX 50 was far superior than it's american and soviet counterparts, namely the M26 Pershing and the IS-3 respectively. But the Americans did not wanted to fund a project that would not be adopted. It was therefore necessary that the two countries, France and West Germany, adopt the tank for it's development continues. If France seemed ready to accept the proposal, it was not the case of the Wet Germany, which was based on doctrines of the former general Guderian, a supporter of lighter and faster tanks. Furthermore, the development of new technologies and capabilities in the field of missiles and shells shaped charge would make the massive shielding of the tank obsolete and inappropriate for a future large-scale conflict.
- Weight: 57.8 metric tonnes
- Length: 7.35 m
- Width: 3.4 m
- Height: 3.35 m
- Armor: 80-120 mm
- Main armament: 120 mm cannon
- Secondary armament: 1x MG 151 and 1x 7.62mm Machine gun
- Engine: Maybach HL 295 12VC 850 hp
- Power/weight: 15 hp/ton
- Suspension: torsion bar
- Speed: 51 km/h