Ok, so I am bored... I am sitting here cleaning up the links for a set of AFV Club T-136 tracks for my Italeri Paladin build and I got to thinking about modern US style tracks. So often I have heard, and even repeated that modern US tracks are "live" and therefore dont sag. I have even heard that the tracks (I would assume the real traks, not the model ones) will tend to curl on their own if taken off the tank.
Well, one does not have to look very hard at a Paladin to see that, yes in deed the tracks sag. So, haveing seen real tracks on M60s I can not imagine anything in the track itself that would make them "live" or especially curl on their own. Its just pads, pins and end connectors. No springs attached anywhere. So... my thought on especially the M60s or M1s would be the track tensioner. Are THEY live, in other words, are they not "fixed" but able to on the fly take up slack in the trck? This makes more sense to me. I dont see any other way that the tracks would remain tight, unless the crew is constantly adjusting the tension. Also, a gummed up tensioner, that is no longer so "live" would explain some of the slight sag I have seen in photos of IDF Magachs.
However, I have never crewed a tank, or worked on the real thing, so I bow to anyone that can set me straight.