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Medium Tank M4 Sherman was a real “workhorse” of the American army. A modification of his M4A3E8 that tankers were called “true eight”, in turn, was the culmination of this family.

Creator of the tank was a talented but virtually unknown designer Harry Austin Knox. His car for more than ten years, literally dominated the American tank industry! Who is he and what is his contribution to the development of the tank industry in the US?

When the tanks have not been

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Harry Knox was born on January 19, 1875 near Westfield, Massachusetts. In 1894 he graduated from the Technical Institute in Springfield. Knox “sick” of the car and in the same year built his first gasoline engine. Initially, Harry worked on Overman Bicycle Company, which built the engines for three-wheeled vehicles, and later decided to start their own business.

In 1900, in Springfield opened Knox Automobile Company. Knox initially created tricycle car, later appeared and four-wheel model. Since 1906, his firm builds fire trucks. Passenger cars Knox Automobile Company produced until 1914. Truck production lasted much longer. The company ceased to exist in 1927, with part of its production has survived to the present day.

From the car to the tank
In terms of influence with Harry Knox can only be compared Heinrich Ernst Knipkampa

A couple of sources it is mentioned that Harry Knox later engaged tank development, but few know how far he went in this topic. Work Knox military began in 1924. Just at this time the US Arms Control bits quarreled with J. Walter Christie, another tank builders, who came from the automotive business.

In contrast to Christie, which are extremely difficult and often attract media attention to themselves and their cars Harry Knox was a non-public person. As mentioned above, his name even to historians of armored vehicles will not say anything. Meanwhile, a little-known automaker in reality is a key figure in American tank manufacturing.

How great was the influence of Knox, you can understand if you dig into the archives of the Patent Office. The famous rubber-metal tracks, pendant on a spiral springs, which was put on the US tanks over a dozen years, the transmission in a single unit, which is located in the bow of the tank – all this actually invented Harry Knox. On account of his nearly hundreds of inventions that have been used in American tanks and half-track tractors.

Moreover, Knox patented not only individual components but entire tanks. For example, the author and the holder of the patent for the light tank Cunningham T1 is exactly Harry Knox. In fact, the firm was the only contractor Cunningham weapons control. Against the background of how many inventions Knox, Christy is simply lost.

shadow figures of influence
Everything that could make Christy – this delay Harry Knox hegemony machines for several years

Why, then, this man was unknown? Respond to this question, if you read any of the patents Knox, somehow related to military developments. Begins with the text of the patent that the invention is transferred at no cost to the state, and they can be used without any restrictions. Thus, the inventor remained in the shadow of his patrons of armament control.

Inherent salary inventor was quite enough, moreover, it certainly encouraged. On the other hand, the management of arms was devoid of headache due to “court” the designer, who, unlike Christie, not to demand payment for patents. Incidentally, one of the patrons was John Knox Krismes, the man who played a key role in exile Christie and his tanks from the US Army in the early 30s. Krismes even appears as a co-author of a pair of patents Harry Knox.

With such patrons, the designer may not have to worry about potential competitors. Yes, designed by Knox light tank T1 and created on its basis the average T2 for all items lost M1928 tank design Christie, appeared as a jack-the-box, at the wrong time. Created Christie tank tore plans to purchase 250 of lung T1, and Harry Knox had to radically alter its concept cars. As a result, there were light tanks T2 and T5, which became the conceptual basis for virtually all American tracked combat vehicles from 1935 to 1945.


Light Tank M2, M3, M5, medium M2, M3, M4, M7, M6 heavy and superheavy even T28 – all these machines were created from the running gear components and assemblies created by Knox. He also belongs to the idea of ​​a trolley with rubber-metal tracks, which was used in the American “halftrakah” (half-track). Knox and use the developments in tanks firm Marmon-Herrington, including M22 Locust.

Star Knox beginning to come only in the mid 40s, when it became clear that his development obsolete. The place occupied torsion spring suspension, transmission finally moved to the back of the tank. Incidentally, the concept of change has affected our HF-1, which was sent in the autumn of 1942 in the United States for testing. His last patent is dated 1951 year.

Died eminence grise of American tankoproma in 1957, went down in history as the creator of one of the many American car companies. Tank heritage Harry Knox still waiting to be explored …

Lyricist – Yuri Pasholok

Yuri Pasholok – who specializes in armored vehicles during World War II. Author of numerous articles in various publications armored subjects, as well as books «Panzerkampfwagen” Maus “» and “Steel balls Stalin.” Historical Consultant World of Tanks.

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