The M26 Pershing was an American heavy tank manufactured towards the end of the second World War. It was named after General John J. Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force in World War One. Pershing was also the founder of the U.S Tank Corps. The M26 Pershing was developed to replace the M4 ‘Sherman’ which was lacking both armor and armament during the second World War to take on the German ‘Panther’ and ‘Tiger’ guns. Hence, plans for the development of a new tank were put in place. The new tank was to include a noticeably thicker armor, a lower silhouette and to be much more streamlined. Thereafter, a series of tanks were designed to fulfill this need. The first design was called the T20. Six pilots were then produced. Two of these were based on T20 designs. Another two were referred to as T22 and the other two were called the T23. Three of these pilots were armed with 76mm guns while the other three had 75mm guns. It was later discovered that these 75mm guns were still no match for the powerful German armaments. Thus, by late 1944 another tank, named the T26 equipped with a 90mm gun was developed. This new tank would prove to be equal competition to the powerful 88 KwK43 Tiger and panther used by the Germans. Upon entering Europe in 1945, the T26E3 ( a version of the T20) was renamed M26 Pershing.
A Detailed Description of the M26 Pershing
In 1945 the M26 Pershing was developed as a heavy tank for the United States. It weighed 46 tons with a height of 9 feet and 1.5 inches (2.78m) and a width if of 11 feet and 6 inches (3.51m). The length of the Pershing was 28 feet and 4.5 inches or 8.649 meter ( turret facing forward). It could also carry a crew of five persons. This crew included the driver, co-driver, commander, gunner and loader. The primary armament of the M26 Pershing was a 90m Gun M3 which could hold 70 rounds of ammunition. The secondary armaments was a 2× Browning .30-06 which held 5000 rounds and a Browning .50 cal. which could hold 550 rounds. With a high speed of 25 miles per hour, the person was equipped with a Ford GAF 8 cylinder engine which had 450-500 horsepower.
The M26 Pershing in Action
Due to its late arrival, the M26 did not make much of an impact in the second World War. It would later go on to provide extensive service in the Korean War where its performance was outstanding. The M26 Pershing was also later stationed throughout Europe during the Cold War. It was also used during the Chinese Civil War. By the late 1950s, the use of the M26 Pershing became more limited. Instead, the Pershing became the inspiration for the production of many other future battle tanks. Some of these tanks included the M46, the M47, M48 and M60. The M47 was especially similar to the M26 Pershing, the only differences were the engine, transmission and main gun.