ARL 44 Tank: Unveiling the specifications and operations of a heavy tank turned tank destroyer

A French heavy tank converted to tank destroyer, ARL 44, appeared after World War II but had problems with its performance. Early in its military life, the 48-ton vehicle with a 575 horsepower engine, a 90mm SA 45 cannon, and other weapons had mishaps. ARL 44 was decommissioned in 1954 after being replaced by the M47 Patton in 1953.

Just before the Second World War ended, work on the French heavy tank and tank destroyer, designated ARL 44, started. Only sixty of these tanks were finished in the end, beginning in 1949, despite being started during this crucial time. Unfortunately, the ARL 44’s performance was subpar and it was only partially deployed in service before it failed to live up to expectations. In 1953, the tank was eventually phased out, bringing an end to its brief and disappointing combat career.



The ARL 44 measures 10.53 metres (34 feet 7 inches) in length, 3.40 metres (11 feet 2 inches) in width, and 3.20 metres (10 feet 6 inches) in height. Its mass is 48 tonnes (53 short tonnes; 47 long tonnes). It has five people working on it, and its front armour is 120 mm (4.7 inches) thick, while the side armour is 80 mm (3.1 inches) thick.

The tank is armed with a powerful 90 mm SA 45 gun that can hold 37 rounds as its main weapon. It is armed with two 7.5 mm MAC 31 Châtellerault machine guns in addition to its main armament. With a 575 horsepower Maybach HL 230 V-12 petrol engine powering the tank, its power-to-weight ratio is 11.9 horsepower per tonne. Vertical coil springs are a component of its suspension system.

The tank has an operational range of 350 kilometres (220 miles) with a gasoline capacity of 1372 litres. It is capable of travelling at a top speed of 37.2 km/h (23.1 mph). As a result of its mobility, armour, and firepower, tanks are extremely powerful weapons in combat.



On October 26, 1950, the ARL 44—originally categorised as a heavy tank—changed classification, becoming the Chasseur de Chars de 48 tonnes, a tank destroyer. By late 1950, these tanks had mostly replaced seventeen Panther tanks with the 503e Régiment de Chars de Combat, which was headquartered in Mourmelon-le-Grand. Nevertheless, the ARL 44 experienced severe accidents early in its service due to dependability problems, mainly with its brakes, gearbox, and suspension. To improve the vehicle’s performance, most of these issues were resolved through a focused improvement programme. Out of ten units, the ARL 44 made its only public appearance on July 14, 1951, during the Bastille Day parade. 

The American M47 Patton, which had a 90mm gun similar to the ARL 44, was introduced in 1953, and it eventually replaced the ARL 44. There were discussions in November 1953 of either eliminating them or using them in fixed positions to strengthen border defences. In the end, on December 20, 1954, it was decided to dismantle the ARL 44 tanks, with some of them being used as targets. The assertion that a sizable quantity of ARL 44s were shipped to Argentina is false, despite rumours. Thus, the tank’s history of use shows that it was used to replace Panther tanks, took part in the Bastille Day parade, and was eventually phased out with the arrival of the M47.