rotating tanktop machinegun turrets

John Arthur

Active member
Some tanks were built with rotating machinegun turrets, like a mineature turret on top of the main gun turret.

I'd like to know a little about that, if someone can please give me some information. If you only know one answer, please send it to me.

Are such turrets rotated electrically, or by muscle power?

Does the machinegun turret operator sit in a seat, or stand on a platform or floor?

If it is a seat, how would you get through the hatch in the turret and into or out of the main gun turret, without stepping on the seat cushion, or do you just step on the seat cushion? Or, is the entry/exit hatch different from the machinegun turret? Does the mg turret even have a hatch of its own?

What tanks had such turrets? What is the proper nomenclature? Did they use heavy or lighter caliber ammunition?

Thank you.
Just going off the top of my head here, but before the US adopted the Sherman, we had these lighter tanks that had I think a turret with a .30 cal in em. Ill do some research and see if Im right...
I know the American M3 Lee was configured like that. The main gun wasn't in a turret though because at that point there was no turret capable of holding it. But the machine gun turret on top was much too small for a man to sit inside of, so I dunno how that worked. You may want to look into that.
The M60

The M60 has a top mini-turret for the commanders MG(0.5). I think it dosent rotate a full 360, more like a 200, but im not sure. The turret was a hassel so we took it of in Israel. I saw one juast laying in a field once....
It is called the Commanders Coupella(sp?) It is his job to operate the .50 Cal. It is mechanically turned but a crank inside the commander's hatch, that controls T/E In later models of the M1 MBT the .50 cal can be operated using the thumb trigger.
The M1 and M1A1 tank had a coupla on top that is called the CWS (Commander's Weapons Station). The .50 caliber machine gun (M2HB turret .50 caliber machine gun - has no handles mounted on the backplate) was electricaly fired using a solenoid. It was a mechanical mount, which used a series of brass gears to elevate and depress the weapon. The coupla was rotated either electricaly (belt driven) or manualy, to lay the weapon for azimuth. It had a sight on the inside of the tank, so the Tank Commander could aim and fire the weapon from inside, in the "buttoned up" posture. The problem was performing immediate action on a malfunctioning weapon. It could NOT be done while buttoned up.

The M1A2 and the M1A2 SEP have a traditional .50 cal mount that CANNOT be fired from the aforementioned posture. It can only be fired "open hatch". It is a standard .50 cal (M2 FLEX - handles mounted on the backplate, thumb fired). The plus side is that immediate action CAN be performed on a malfunctioning weapon, the minus side is the tank commander has to be fully exposed to fire it.

HOWEVER, I think you may be referring to the CROWS. It's an add-on for a military vehicle that is basicaly a small rotating machine gun mount that can be fixed onto certain vehicles. It is electricaly fired and aimed. It's still not fielded in the traditional sense. More in development than anything else. Think of the German MARDER, the infantry vehicle. On the back, it had a remote control 7.62mm machine gun that was controlled and fired by the crew.