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"Pershing: Heavy by Necessity" Topic


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469 hits since 26 Mar 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0126 Mar 2018 11:17 a.m. PST

"The British Churchill tank was the only one supplied to the USSR by the Western Allies en masse. The US had bad luck with heavy tanks. Work on the Heavy Tank M6 hit a dead end. Nevertheless, heavy tanks did arrive in the American army by the end of the war. These were Heavy Tanks T26E3, standardized as M26 Pershing. However, the T26E3 was rather arbitrarily classified as heavy. In practice, this was a medium tank. Only its mass made it a heavy, and even then, it returned to medium after the war. This article is dedicated to the trials of the T26E3 in the USSR, during which it was compared to heavy tanks…"
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goragrad In the TMP Dawghouse26 Mar 2018 10:47 p.m. PST

Interesting that its mobility was one of its strong points.

As I recall later in Korea that was a major reason it was replaced by the Easy Eight.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 4:19 a.m. PST

I'm intrigued by the statement: "Only its mass made it heavy". Isn't that sort of like saying: 'Only gravity made it heavy'? :)

deephorse27 Mar 2018 4:30 a.m. PST

I'm intrigued by the statement: "Only its mass made it heavy". Isn't that sort of like saying: 'Only gravity made it heavy'? :)

Not when you read that line correctly.

Legion 427 Mar 2018 6:15 a.m. PST

I've always been a strong advocate that the M26 should have & Could Have been deployed earlier. We've discussed this topic a few times previously on other threads. Regardless of the problems with deployment, US Tank Doctrine, Generals' preferences, etc., etc. I do think it probably would not have ended the war in the ETO any quicker. But certainly would have saved more tank crews lives. Even if only by a few hundred …

Even in the Korean War, it was a better match for the T34/85. Where M4A3E8s and M26s then later M46s were deployed. And those were certainly a better choice than the much lighter M24.

Intended as a replacement of the M4 Sherman, the prolonged time of development meant that only a small number saw combat in the European theater, most notably in the 9th Armored Division's dramatic dash to take the Ludendorff Bridge during the Battle of Remagen. Based on the criteria of firepower, mobility, and protection, R. P. Hunnicutt ranked the Pershing second, behind the German Panther medium tank, but ahead of the Tiger I heavy tank. In service during the Korean War, the M26 outmatched the T-34-85 in terms of firepower and protection, but was challenged by the hilly and muddy terrain, and as a result was withdrawn in 1951 in favor of its improved derivative, the M46 Patton, which had a considerably more powerful and reliable engine as well as an advanced and improved suspension to better meet the demands of the specific terrain it operated in.
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