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The Heavy Tank M26 Pershing was an American heavy tank used during World War II and the Korean War. It was named after General John Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in World War I.

Development of the M26 during World War II was prolonged by a number of factors, the most important being opposition to the tank from Army Ground Forces (AGF). As a result, only the initial 20 M26 (T26E3) tanks deployed to Europe in January 1945 saw combat in World War II. The M26 and its improved derivative, the M46 Patton, both saw more combat in Korea. The M26 was underpowered and mechanically unreliable and so was withdrawn from Korea in 1951, in favor of the M46, which had a more powerful engine. The lineage of the M26 continued with the M47 Patton, and was reflected in the new designs of the later M48 Patton and M60 Patton tanks.



The M26 was the culmination of a series of tank prototypes which began with the T20 in 1942, and represented a significant design departure from the previous line of tanks that ended with the M4 Sherman.

The Army's first series of tanks had evolved from the M1 Combat Car and progressed to the M2 Light Tank, M2 Medium Tank, M3 Lee, and finally the M4 Sherman . These tanks all shared the common traits of using rear mounted Continental air cooled radial engines and a front sprocket drive. The rear engine-front sprocket drive layout required a driveshaft to cross underneath the turret, which increased the overall height of the tank, a characteristic shared with German tanks of World War II, which also used this layout. In addition, the large diameter of the radial engines in the M4 line of tanks added further to the hull height. These mechanical features accounted for the high silhouette and large side sponsons that were characteristic of the M4 lineage.

In the spring of 1942, as the M4 Sherman was entering production, U.S. Army Ordnance began work on an improved followup tank. The T20 tank reached a mockup stage in May, 1942 and was intended as an improved medium tank to follow the M4. An earlier heavy tank, the M6 had been standardized in February 1942, but proved to be a failure.

The T-20 was designed with the intent of producing a more compact hull. The Ford GAN V-8 had become available - it was a lower silhouette version of the GAA engine used in later variants of the M4 Sherman. The engine had originally been an effort by Ford to produce a V-12 liquid cooled aircraft engine patterned after the Rolls Royce Merlin, but failed to earn any aircraft orders and so was adapted as a V-8 for use in tanks. Together with the choice of a rear transmission and rear sprocket drive, it was possible to lower the hull silhouette and eliminate the side sponsons.

The initial T20 was fitted with the new 76mm M1A1 cannon that had been developed from the 3 inch gun and was the same weight class as the M4, with only a ½ inch of extra frontal armor compared to the M4. It used an early version of the horizontal volute suspension.

A series of additional prototypes followed - the T20E3, T22, T22E1, T23, T23E3, T23E4, T25, T25E1, T26, T26E1, T26E3. The T20E3 had a torsion bar suspension, as did the T23E3 and all of the T26 versions. The T23 turret with the 76mm gun would be later used for all 76mm M4 Shermans as this gun did not easily fit into the original M4 turret. The T23, T23E3, T23E4, T25, and T26 also used an experimental electrical generator-transmission drive. The electrical transmission was abandoned in the T25E1, T26E1, and T26E3 and replaced by a regular torqmatic transmission in subsequent versions.

All of the T25 and T26 versions mounted the 90mm M3 gun, which was installed in a massive new turret that used up all the height savings of the more compact hull. The Ford GAF engine, a minor modification of the GAN engine, was installed on the T25E1, T26E1, and T26E3.

The widespread introduction of the German 7.5 cm KwK 40 during 1943 had led to an awareness of the need for increased armor, and so the T26 models were given 4 inches of frontal hull armor, which pushed their weight over 40 tons. As a result these tanks were classified during World War II as heavy tanks. This increased weight also required an increase in the track width to 24 inches. The engine was not changed, and the T26/M26 would prove to be underpowered and prone to mechanical breakdowns as a result of the increased weight.

The T26E3 was the same as the T26E1 with a number of minor modifications made as the result of field testing. It became the first production version T26 sent into combat.

Additional Developmental History

By 1 April 1944 just four T26 had been completed, with another four completed during April. They were all test beds and were used or trials and evaluations at Knox and Aberdeen.

"Four T25E1 and one T26E1 were completed in February 1944 and by the end of May a further 36 T25E1, eight T26E1 and one T26E1-1 (with the experimental T15E1 hi-velocity 90mm gun) were built. It was then that the War Department decided upon the T26E1 for large-scale production, which was probably a mistake since the added armor and weight meant that the type never achieved the reliability desired. Furthermore it was also decided that main gun ammo stowage was too limited (41 rounds) and exposed so it was redesigned to allow stowage of an additional 31 better-protected main gun rounds. With the additional ammo stowage and addition of a muzzle break the tank was designated the T26E3 (the T26E2 was planned with a 105mm howitzer, but the first was not completed until July 1945), production of which began in October 1944 with 10 accepted by the end of November. In June 1944 the type was re-designated as the T26 Heavy Tank, rather than Medium Tank, although it still was not type standardized. Also in June 1944 the much-maligned Armored Force requested high priority for production of the type, but was refused by Army Ground Forces, who recognized the problems with the ammo stowage and protection, which at that time were still being modified.

Delayed production

The M26 was introduced late into World War II and saw only a limited amount of combat. Controversy continues to exist as to why the production of the M26 was so delayed.

In his 2000 book Death Traps, Belton Cooper, who was a lieutenant in the Third Armored Division during World War II, working as a liaison officer for the Division's armor repair units, made the claim that General George S. Patton was primarily responsible for delaying the development and production of the M26 and even attributed certain quotes to Patton to this effect. Cooper's claim about Patton's role, and his other criticisms of the M4 Sherman, have since been widely repeated by readers of his book, and have even come to be cited as references. The author has also appeared in other media such as the History Channel to expound on his views.

A close examination of the historical record, however, shows that Cooper's claim about Patton's role in delaying the M26 lacks support. U.S. Army tank development and production during World War II was primarily the province of three departments: Ordnance did the design and development work, the Armored Force Board at Fort Knox was responsible for field testing, and Army Ground Forces (AGF) decided which weapons to accept, which was the final step leading to production. Field commanders were asked for their opinions, but they otherwise had no direct control over these departments. Most importantly, during the time period in which the delay of the M26 production occurred (mid-1943 to mid-1944), Patton had been dropped into a professional limbo by the U.S. Army as a result of the "slapping incident", and was not in a position to influence any military decisions, having lost his combat commands.

When Patton was given command of the Third Army in mid-1944, his armored division commanders refused to accept any of the new 76mm M4 Shermans which had already been produced and shipped to England. The 75mm gun, which had a more powerful high explosive shell and did not have the large blinding muzzle blast of the 76mm gun, was superior for the infantry support role, which was considered to be far more important. This refusal of the 76mm M4 Shermans was universal among all of the U.S. armored divisions that landed in France, and thus the U.S. Army did not have any 76mm M4 Shermans in France until late July, 1944. Patton's Third Army did not accept any 76mm M4 Shermans until after the Battle of Arracourtmarker at the end of September 1944. It is possible that in the retelling of history, the initial resistance of the various U.S. armored division commanders to accept the 76mm M4 Sherman in France was conflated with the resistance to begin production of the 90mm T26 Pershing back on the homefront by the AGF, and that in this conflation, Patton got the blame as the armored divisions of the Third Army were the last to take in the 76mm M4 Shermans.

Without doubt, production of the M26 Pershing was delayed needlessly. Tank historians who have researched the original military documents such as Richard P. Hunnicutt, George Forty and Steven Zaloga have generally agreed that the main cause of the delay was opposition to the tank from Army Ground Forces, headed by General Lesley McNair. Zaloga in particular has identified several specific factors that led both to the delay of the M26 program and limited improvements in the firepower of the M4:

1. McNair, who was an artillery officer by trade, had promulgated the "tank destroyer doctrine" in the U.S. Army. In this doctrine, tanks were primarily for infantry support and exploitation of breakthroughs. Enemy tanks were supposed to be dealt with by the tank destroyer forces, which were composed of lightly armored but relatively fast vehicles carrying more powerful anti-tank guns, as well as towed versions of these anti-tank guns. Because of the tank destroyer doctrine, emphasis was placed only on improving the firepower of the tank destroyers, as there was a strong bias against developing a heavy tank to take on enemy tanks. For this same reason, improvement of the firepower of the M4 Sherman was limited only to the 76mm gun upgrade.

2. McNair established a "battle need" criteria for acquisition of weapons in order to make best use of America's 3000 mile long supply line to Europe by preventing the introduction of weapons that would prove unnecessary, extravagant or unreliable on the battlefield. In his view, introduction of a new heavy tank had many problems in terms of transportation, supply, service, and reliability issues, and was not necessary in 1943 or early 1944. The problem of course was that tank development took time, and so the sudden appearance of a new tank threat could not be met quickly enough with such rigid criteria.

3. A sense of complacency fell upon those in charge of developing tanks in the U. S. Army which came about because the M4 Sherman in 1942 was superior to the most common German tanks – the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Even through most of 1943, the 75mm M4 Sherman was adequate against the great majority of German armor, although the widespread appearance of the German 7.5 cm KwK 40 during this time had led to a growing awareness that the M4 was becoming outgunned. There was simply not enough forward thinking to understand that there was an ongoing tank arms race and that the U.S. armored forces needed to anticipate future German tank threats. The Tiger I and Panther tanks that appeared in 1943 were seen in only very limited numbers and thus were not considered as major threats.

During the critical period of 1943 and early 1944, which was when the M26 could have come to fruition in time for the Normandy invasion, development of the various prototypes of the M26 instead proceeded only slowly due to disagreements within the U.S. Army about its future tank needs. The details of what exactly happened during this time vary by historian, but all agree that AGF was the main source of resistance that delayed production of the T26:

Zaloga version
In his 2008 book Armored Thunderbolt, Zaloga significantly revised an earlier version of this story which had appeared in his 2000 book M26/M46 Pershing Tank 1943-53. Unlike the earlier book, Armored Thunderbolt quotes from a much more extensive list of original documents from the Ordnance Dept., Army Ground Forces, Gen. McNair's correspondence, and other sources, which appears to be the reason for the change. Zaloga's current take on this episode is as follows:

In September and October 1943, a series of discussions occurred over the issue of beginning production of the T26E1, which was advocated by the head of the Armored Force, Gen. Jacob Devers. Ordnance favored its pet project, the 76mm gun, electrical transmission T23. Input from theater commanders generally favored a 76mm gun medium tank such as the T23, and were against a heavy 90mm gun tank. Testing by the Armored Force at Fort Knox of the T23 had demonstrated reliability problems in the electrical transmission however, of which most army commanders were unaware. The new 76mm M1A1 gun approved for installation on the M4 Sherman seemed to be the answer that addressed concerns about firepower against the German tanks. However, all participants in the debate were completely unaware of the inadequacy of the 76mm gun against the Panther tank's frontal armor. Ordnance, the Armored Force Board, and AGF had all failed to research the effectiveness of this gun against the new German tanks, which had already been encountered in combat.

Gen. Lesley McNair had agreed to the production of the 76mm M4 Sherman, and he strongly opposed the additional production of the T26E1. In the fall of 1943, he wrote this letter to Devers, responding to the latter's advocacy of the T26E1:

Gen. Devers pressed on with his advocacy for the T26, going over McNair's head to Gen. George Marshall, and on Dec. 16, 1943, Marshall overruled McNair and authorized the production of 250 T26E1 tanks. Then, in late December 1943, Devers was transferred to the Mediterranean, where he would eventually lead the invasion of Southern France with the Sixth Army Group. In his absence, further attempts were made to derail the T26 program, but continued support from Gen. Marshall and Eisenhower kept the production order alive. Testing and production of the T26E1 proceeded slowly, however, and the T25E1 did not begin production until November 1944. These production models were designated as the T26E3.

Hunnicutt version
Ordnance requested production of 500 each of the T23, T25E1, and T26E1 in October 1943. The AGF objected to the 90mm gun of the tanks, whereas the Armored Force wanted the 90mm gun mounted in a Sherman tank chassis (a project to mount the 90mm gun on an M4 Sherman chassis did produce a prototype, but the project was stopped in favor of T26 production). Gen. Devers, by now in London, cabled in a request for production of the T26E1. In January 1944, 250 T26E1s were authorized. Gen. Barnes of Ordnance continued to press for production of 1000 tanks. Most of Hunnicutt's information was from Ordnance Dept. documents.

Forty version
Ordnance recommended 1500 of the T26E1 be built. The Armored Force recommended only 500 be built. The AGF rejected the 90mm version of the tank, and wanted the 76mm gun to be mounted instead. Ordnance somehow managed to get production of the T26E1 started in November 1944. Forty primarily quoted from a postwar report from the Ordnance Dept.


Regardless of how it came about, production finally began in November 1944. Ten T26E3 tanks were produced that month at the Fisher Tank Arsenal, 30 in December, 70 in January 1945, and 132 in February. The Detroit Tank Arsenal also started production in March 1945, and the combined output was 194 tanks for that month. Production continued through the end of the war, and over 2000 were produced by the end of 1945.

Following its introduction into combat in Europe, the T26E3 tanks were redesignated as the M26 in March 1945.

The Super Pershing

[[Image:Super pershing.jpg|thumb|The so called "Super Pershing" before extra armor welded on. Note length of barrel, 73 calibres long, to compete with the 88 mm KwK 43 L/71 gun of the Tiger II.]]

The 90mm M3 gun of the Pershing was similar to the German 88mm KwK 36 used on the Tiger I. In an effort to match the firepower of the Tiger II's deadlier 88mm KwK43, the T15 90mm gun was developed and mounted in a T26E1 in January 1945. The T15 gun was 73 calibers in length and had a much longer high capacity chamber. It had a muzzle velocity of 3750 ft/sec with the T30E16 APCR shot and could penetrate the Panther's frontal armor at up to 2600 yards. This model used a single piece 50 inch long ammunition and was the only Super Pershing sent to Europe.

A second pilot tank was converted from a T26E3 and used a modified T15E2 gun that used a two piece ammunition. A total of 25 of these tanks were built and designated as the T25E4.

Post-war, two M26 tanks had the T54 gun installed, which had the same long gun barrel, but the ammunition cartridge was designed to be shorter and fatter, while still retaining the propellant force of the original round. The tanks were designated as the M26E1 tank, but lack of funds cut off further production.

Post World War II

In May 1946, due to changing conceptions of the US Army's tank needs, the M26 was reclassified as a medium tank. Designed as a heavy tank, the Pershing was a significant upgrade from the M4 Sherman in terms of firepower and protection. On the other hand, its mobility was unsatisfactory for a medium tank (it used the same engine that powered the M4A3, which was some ten tons lighter) and its transmission was somewhat unreliable. In 1948, the M26E2 version was developed with a new powerpack. Eventually the new version was redesignated the M46 General Patton and 1,160 M26s were rebuilt to this new standard. Thus the M26 became a base of the Patton tank series, which replaced it in early 1950s. The M47 Patton was an M46 Patton with a new turret. The later M48 Patton and M60 Patton, which saw service in later Vietnam and Mideast conflicts and still serve in active duty in many nations today, were evolutionary redesigns of the original layout set down by the Pershing.

Combat history

World War II

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The heavy U.S. tank losses in the Battle of the Bulge against a concentrated German tank force composed of some 400 Panther tanks, as well as Tiger tanks and other German AFVs, revealed the deficiencies in the M4 Shermans and tank destroyers on the U.S. side. On December 22, 1944, while the battle still raged, the brand new T26E3 tanks were ordered deployed to Europe. The unexpected German tank attack had settled the question once and for all as to whether the T26 was needed. (McNair had by this time been killed in a friendly fire incident as the result of inaccurate bombing during Operation Cobra, on July 25, 1944. He had traveled to the front lines to observe the operation). Twenty were sent in the first shipment and arrived in Antwerp in January 1945. They were given to the First Army, split between the Third and Ninth Armored Divisions. There were further shipments of these tanks, and a total of 310 T26E3 tanks in all would be sent to Europe before VE Day. However, only the first 20 would see any combat action.

In February 1945, General Gladeon Barnes, chief of the Research and Development section of Army Ordnance, personally led a special team to the European Theater, called the Zebra Mission. Its purpose was to support the T26E3 tanks, which still had teething problems, as well as to test other new weapons.

After training the tank crews, the T26E3 tanks were first committed to combat on February 25, 1945 with the Third Armored Division, in the fighting for the Roer River. On February 26, 1945, a T26E3 was knocked out in an ambush at Elsdorf while overwatching a roadblock. The action was described as follows:

This T26E3 was quickly repaired and returned to service on March 7, 1945.

Shortly after this encounter, also at Elsdorf, another T26E3 knocked out a Tiger I and two Panzer IVs. The Tiger was knocked out at 900 yards with the 90mm HVAP T30E16 ammunition. Photographs of this knocked out Tiger I in Hunnicutt's book showed a penetration through the front gun mantlet.

On March 6, 1945, in the city of Cologne, a T26E3 knocked out a Panther tank in front of the Cologne Cathedral after the Panther had knocked out a M4 Sherman. Dramatic newsreel footage of this action was recorded by a Signal Corps cameraman, which is now on YouTube.

On the same day, another T26E3 was knocked out near Cologne, in the town of Niehl, by an 88mm self propelled gun (Nashorn), at a range of under 300 yards.

Hunnicutt briefly mentions two other tank engagements involving the T26E3, with one Tiger I knocked out during the fighting around Cologne, and one Panzer IV knocked out at Manheim.

These are the only known combat actions between the T26E3 and German AFVs during World War II.

The T26E3s with the Ninth Armored Division saw action in fighting around the Roer River with one Pershing disabled by two hits from a 150mm German field gun.

Four T26E3s were involved in the Ninth Armored Division's dramatic dash to take the Bridge at Remagenmarker, providing fire support to the infantry in order to take the bridgehead before the Germans could blow it up. The T26E3s were too large and heavy to cross the damaged bridge and waited for five days before getting across the river by barge. Of note, some of the Division's other tanks were able to cross the bridge. Europe's bridges were in general not designed to hold heavy tanks, which had been another one of the original objections to sending a heavy tank to Europe.


In May 1945, as fierce fighting continued on the island of Okinawa, and M4 tank losses mounted, plans were made to ship the M26 Pershing tanks to that battle. A cargo ship carrying 12 Pershing tanks departed on May 31, but due to a variety of snafus, the tanks were not completely offloaded on the beach at Naha, Okinawa until August 4, 1945. By then, fighting on Okinawa had come to an end, and VJ Day was to follow on August 15, 1945.

The Super Pershing in Combat

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A single Super Pershing was shipped to Europe and given additional frontal armor to the gun mantlet and hull by the maintenance unit before being assigned to one of the tank crews of the Third Armored Division. An account of the combat actions of the this tank appeared in the war memoir Another River, Another Town, by John P. Irwin, who was the tank gunner. Zaloga, apparently working from after-action reports, described the action more precisely as follows: April 4, 1945 the Super Pershing engaged and destroyed a German tank at a range of 1,500 yards (Irwin described this only as a turret-like structure seen from about a half-mile away – later he saw an object believed to be the one he had hit, and it appeared to him to be be a dummy tank). April 12, the Super Pershing claimed another German panzer of unknown type (Irwin did not specify the type either). April 21, the Super Pershing was involved in a short range tank duel with a German tank identified as a Tiger – the German tank bounced a shot off the Super Pershing's extra armor and then was knocked out by the Super Pershing with a shot to the belly (Irwin described the tank as a Tiger, but did not specify which version, and Zaloga expressed skepticism that this really was a Tiger). After the war, the single Super Pershing in Europe was last photographed in a vehicle dump in Kassel, Germany, and was most likely scrapped.


The M26 also saw service in the Korean War. When the war began in June 1950, the four American infantry divisions on occupation duty in Japan had no medium tanks at all, having only one active tank company equipped with M24 Chaffee light tanks each. When these divisions were sent to Korea at the end of June 1950, they soon found that the 75mm gun on the M24 could not penetrate the armor of North Korean T-34 tanks, which had no difficulty penetrating the M24's thin armor. In a Tokyo ordnance depot, three M26 Pershing tanks were found in poor condition; they were hastily rebuilt, but they had no fanbelts for their engines, so a substitute was used. These three M26s were formed into a provisional tank platoon commanded by Lieutenant Samuel Fowler and sent to Korea in mid-July; used to defend the town of Chinju, the tanks soon overheated when the substitute fan belts stretched and the cooling fans stopped working, and the only three American medium tanks in Korea were lost.

More medium tanks began arriving in Korea at the end of July 1950. Although no armored divisions were sent because the initial response from battlefield commanders was "Koreamarker isn't good tank country", six Army infantry divisions and one Marine division were deployed. Each Army infantry division should have had one divisional tank battalion of 69 tanks, and each Army infantry regiment should have had a company of 22 tanks; the Marine division had a tank battalion of 70 gun tanks and nine combination flamethrower-howitzer tanks, and each Marine infantry regiment had an antitank platoon with five tanks each. While tables of organization and equipment mandated that all tank platoon vehicles should be M26 Pershings, with howitzer tanks in company headquarters and light tanks in reconnaissance units only, some units had a shortfall that had to be filled with other tanks. The 70th Tank Battalion at Fort Knoxmarker Kentucky had pulled World War II memorial M26s off of pedestals and reconditioned them for use, but had to fill out two companies with M4A3s; the 72nd Tank Battalion at Fort Lewismarker Washington and the 73rd Tank Battalion at Fort Benningmarker Georgia were fully equipped with M26s; the 89th Medium Tank Battalion was constituted in Japan with three companies of reconditioned M4A3s and one of M26s from various bases in the Pacific; due to the shortage of M26s, most regimental tank companies had M4A3 Shermans instead. Two battalions detached from the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hoodmarker Texas, the 6th Medium and 64th Heavy Tank Battalions, were fully equipped with M46 Patton tanks. The 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendletonmarker California had all M4A3 howitzer tanks, which were replaced with M26s just days before boarding ships for Korea. A total of 309 M26 Pershings were rushed to Korea in 1950. The Pershing and its derivative M46 Patton were credited with almost half of the North Korean T-34s destroyed by US tanks, M26s 32 percent and M46s ten percent. The 76mm gun armed M4A3 Sherman, whose anti-tank performance was improved thanks to availability of the HVAP shells, was responsible for most of the remainder.

Being underpowered and unreliable in the mountainous Korean terrain, all M26s were withdrawn from Korea during 1951, and replaced with M4A3 Shermans and M46 Pattons. The M45 howitzer tank variant was only used by the assault gun platoon of the 6th Medium Tank Battalion, and these six vehicles were withdrawn by January 1951.


After the end of World War II, US Army units on occupation duty in Germany were converted into Constabulary units, a quasi-police force designed to control the flow of refugees and black marketing; combat units were converted to light motorized units and spread throughout the US occupation zone. By the summer of 1947, the Army required a combat reserve to back up the thinly spread Constabulary; in the following year, the 1st Infantry Division was reconstituted and consolidated, containing three regimental tank companies and a divisional tank battalion. The 1948 tables of organization and equipment for an infantry division included 123 M26 Pershing tanks and 12 M45 howitzer tanks. In the summer of 1951, three more infantry divisions and the 2nd Armored Division were sent to West Germany as a part of the NATO Augmentation Program. While M26 Pershings disappeared from Korea during 1951, tank units deploying to West Germany were equipped with them, until replaced with M47 Pattons during 1952-53. The 1952-53 tables of organization and equipment for an infantry division included 135 M47 Patton tanks replacing M26s and M45s.

In 1952, the Belgianmarker army received 423 M26 and M26A1 Pershings, leased for free as part of a Mutual Defense Assistance Program, then the official designation of US military aid to its allies. The tanks were mostly used to equip mobilizable reserve units of battalion strength: 2nd, 3rd and 4th Régiments de Guides/Regiment Gidsen (Belgian units have official names in both French and Dutch); 7th, 9th and 10th Régiments de Lanciers/Regiment Lansiers and finally the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Bataillon de Tanks Lourds/Bataljon Zware Tanks. However, in the spring of 1953, M26s for three months equipped the 1st Heavy Tank Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division, an active unit, before they were replaced by M47s.

In 1961, the number of reserve units was reduced and the reserve system reorganized, with the M26s equipping the 1st and 3rd Escadron de Tanks/Tank Escadron as a general reserve of the infantry arm. In 1969, all M26s were phased out.

As the US Army units in West Germany reequipped with M47s during 1952-53, France and Italy also received M26 Pershings; while France quickly replaced them with M47 Pattons, Italy continued to use them operationally through 1963.


M26A1 at the Royal Army Museum of Brussels.
Leased to Belgium, all M26s remained US property with the exception of this particular vehicle, which was donated to the museum in 1980.

  • M26 (T26E3). M3 gun with double-baffle muzzle brake. Main production model.

  • M26A1. M3A1 gun with bore evacuator and single-baffle muzzle brake.
  • T26E4-1 (T26E1-1 or M26A1E2). Version armed with a T15E1 large exterior stabilizer springs single piece ammo (used in combat).
  • T26E4. Experimental version armed with a long T15E2 gun two-part ammunition, improved mounting removed the need for springs.
  • M26E1. Longer gun, single-part ammunition T54 gun. (post war)
  • M26E2. New engine and transmission and M3A1 gun. Ended up as the M46 Patton. (post war)
  • T26E2, eventually standardized for use as the Heavy Tank M45 — a close support vehicle with a 105 mm howitzer (74 rounds).
  • T26E5. Prototype with thicker armor — a maximum of 279 mm.


See also


  1. Hunnicutt 1996, p.49-121
  2. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 49-50
  3. Hunnicutt 1996, p.50
  4. Hunnicutt 1998, p. 49-121
  5. Hunnicutt 1998, p. 94-121
  6. Zaloga 2008, p. 43-45
  7. Zaloga 2008, p.129-130
  8. Zaloga 2008, p.189-193
  9. Forty 1983, p. 134-137
  10. Zaloga 2008, p. 46-48, 120-125
  11. Zaloga 2008, p. 72-77, 102-108
  12. Zaloga 2008, p. 46-48
  13. Zaloga 2008, p.78-85
  14. Zaloga 2008, p. 120-125
  15. Zaloga 2008, p. 120-125
  16. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 194
  17. Forty 1983, p. 137-139
  18. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 120
  19. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 140-142
  20. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 150
  21. Zaloga 2008 p. 287
  22. Forty 1983, p. 136
  23. Zaloga 2008 p. 287
  24. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 20
  25. Forty 1983, p. 138-139
  26. Zaloga 2008, p. 287
  27. Hunnicutt 1996, p.21
  28. M26 vs. Panther at Cologne - YouTube video of this newsreel film: [1]
  29. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 22
  30. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 25
  31. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 9-12
  32. Zaloga 2008, p. 290
  33. Irwin 2002, p. 89-92, p. 106, p. 138
  34. Hunnicutt 1996, p. 30-31
  35. Jim Mesko "Pershing/Patton in action" ISBN 0-89747-442-2 p. 24.
  36. Donald W. Boose, Jr. "US Army Forces in the Korean War 1950-53" ISBN 1-84176-621-6 p. 56.
  37. Steven J. Zaloga "M26/M46 Pershing Tank 1943-1953" ISBN 1-84176-202-4 pp. 36-40.
  38. Zaloga p. 40.
  39. Boose Jr., pp. 75-81.
  40. Boose Jr., pp. 68,82.
  43. Boose Jr., p. 56.
  46. Mesko, p. 29.
  48. Mesko p. 47.
  49. Boose Jr., p. 57.
  50. Zaloga p. 43.
  51. Zaloga p. 45.


  • Cooper, Belton Y. - Death Traps, Presidio Press, 1998, Novato, California, ISBN 0-89141-670-6.
  • Coox, A. D. - Staff Memorandum US armor in the antitank role, Korea, 1950' ORO-S-45.
  • Forty, George - United States Tanks of World War II, 1983, Blandford Press, ISBN 0-7131-12147
  • Hunnicutt, R. P. - Pershing, A History of the Medium Tank T20 Series, 1996, Feist Publications, ISBN 1-112-95450-3.
  • Irwin, John P. - Another River, Another Town, 2002, J.K. Lambert, ISBN 0-375-50775-2
  • Zaloga, Steven J, Bryan, Tony, Laurier, Jim - M26–M46 Pershing Tank 1943–1953, 2000, Osprey Publishing (New Vanguard 35), ISBN 1-84176-202-4.
  • Zaloga, Steven J. - Armored Thunderbolt, 2008, Stackpole Books ISBN 0811704246

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