The AMX 50 (official designation) or AMX-50 was a French heavy tank designed in the immediate post Second World War period. It was proposed as, in succession, the French medium, heavy, and main battle tank, incorporating many advanced features. It was cancelled in the late 1950s however, due to unfavourable economic and political circumstances after serious delays in development.

In total, there were five prototypes produced, that considerably differed in the details of their construction. Weighing about fifty-five tonnes, the general AMX 50 project was the heaviest of a trio of French armoured fighting vehicle designs of the postwar period to feature an oscillating turret, the others being the AMX 13 and the Panhard EBR. The oscillating turret design, lacking a conventional gun-mantlet, is in two separate parts, with an upper and lower part connected by two hinge bolts or pivots, the gun being fixed within the upper section.

The horizontal movement of the gun, traversing, is conventional, but the vertical movement, elevation, is achieved through the pivoting of the entire upper section with respect to the lower section, which holds the lower sides of the upper section within its trunnions.

This method of elevation has two main advantages. Firstly it allows for a smaller turret volume, as no internal space is needed for the vertical movement of the gun breech. Secondly, it allows the use of a relatively simple semi-automatic auto-loader fed by multiround magazines, achieving a very high rate of fire for as long as the magazines were loaded, as the gun is also fixed with respect to the auto-loader located in the back of the upper turret, i.c. a protruding bustle.

The automatic loading system worked satisfactorily when the calibre was 100 mm. After the larger 120 mm gun was introduced, reliability suffered, due to the increased weight of the rounds used. The oscillating turret was a very fashionable concept in the 1950s, and also applied in some American projects, such as the T57, T58 and T69. Only the French however, would produce operational systems, having pioneered the concept.

Engine: Maybach HL 295 12VC 850 HP (1200 HP planned).

Saumur museum of armored vehicles

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