Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The M46 Rapid Railroad Destructor

Designed in the late 1940’s by the Army Corps of Engineers and Sperry Products Corporation, the M46 Rapid Railroad Destructor was a machine designed to destroy railways in order to deny enemy forces from using them in the case of a retreat. Built upon the chassis of an M46 Patton tank, the Rapid Railroad Destructor would first lift the railroad track into its maw with a winch.  Inside the device was a series of machines designed to totally destroy the railroad.  First, a set of six Browning .50 caliber machine guns loaded with armor piercing ammunition would shoot notches the rails so that it could evenly feed into the device.  Then the ties were smashed by a set of swinging hammers.  Finally the notched rails would be snapped into short sections by a set of rollers.  From the rear would be expelled a spray of woodchips and pieces of metal.  Incredibly, the M46 RRD could chew through rails at a rate of 6 miles per hour.
Only a few prototypes were produced, however the M46 RRD was rejected by the US Army.  The amount of .50 BMG ammunition needed to shoot notches in the rails was prohibitively expensive.  It was also determined that it would be easier and cheaper to use explosives.

Picked up from tank a lot

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