Type: heavy tank.
In summer 1944 the T261 had been re designated Heavy Tank T26E1. Wide-ranging trial offers were completed with 10 T26E1 pilot designs by the Ordnance Department and various detail variations were created for development in production tanks. Such as upgrades to the transmission and the engine air conditioning, modified electrical system, elimination of the turret cage to boost ammunition stowage, superior engine accessibility, and bigger air cleaners. In August 1944, the Ordnance Department suggested that the T26E1 be standard and put into manufacturing. Resistance from the operator arms had been sturdy, nevertheless, and Army Ground Forces could not agree and claimed that the tank couldn’t be standard before the Armored Force Board had also tried and authorized the development changes. Previously, in July, Army Ground Forces had attempted an additional slowing step by asking for that the T26E1 become remodeled with the 76 mm gun, a retrograde concept overlooked by the Ordnance Department.
It wasn’t until finally December 1944 that the T26E was accepted for ‘limited procurement’ and manufacturing tanks, using the numerous changes previously advised, were named T26E3 to identify them from the pilot designs.
Manufacture of the initial Twenty T26E3s had started in November and the Ordnance Department suggested at the beginning of December that these be transported straight to Europe for battle evaluation. Just as before Army Ground Forces was in opposition to the purpose and requested that they first go to the Armored Force for evaluation and ‘certification of battle worthiness’. This would have spent one more month. Nevertheless, within just 7 days of this exchange, a pair of German panzer armies savagely destroyed the US 1st Army within the fast Ardennes Offensive, December 16, 1944. Amongst other things, this contrary highlighted the inefficiencies of the M4 Sherman medium tank which consists of reasonably thin armor and 76 mm gun; unquestionably it was one factor which resulted in the American General Staff to get involved in the T26 situation on December 22, and order rapid delivery of accessible T26E3s to Europe without having even more trials.
The initial Twenty T26E3s were transported to Europe in January 1945 and at the start of February these were distributed for service to the 3rd and 9th Armored Divisions. The Ardennes Offensive had certainly vindicated the Ordnance Department’s continual efforts to receive a tank with a 90 mm gun into service. In January 1945 Army Ground Forces didn’t have any doubt in accepting that the T26E3 be regarded as battle worthy, and also the cry for additional tanks originated from ETO exactly where tank crews were positively delighted using the new tank which was close to be a match for the Tiger I in a direct shooting match, and really a lot more mobile.
Total production of the T26E3 was instructed in January 1945 and it was produced by Grand Blanc Arsenal (1,190, November 1944-June 1945) and later on Detroit Arsenal (246, March-June 1945). In March 1945 the T26E3 was standardized as the Heavy Tank M26 as well as it was labeled ‘General Pershing’, usually shortened to ‘Pershing’. Later in 1945, the M26 Pershing saw action in the Pacific, being employed in the capturing of Okinawa.
The turret incorporated vision cupola for commander and a roof hatch for the loader. A pair of escape doors were built in the hull floor. Rear drive and torsion bar suspension were acquired from earlier vehicles in the T20-T25 range, and also the tank symbolized the final result of development of this series within WW2. Even more improvements in postwar years have resulted in the standard M60 battle tank of the US Army in the 1960s.
In 1945 some M26 Pershing tanks had been delivered to the United Kingdom for trials and analysis. Nevertheless, with the cessation of the war massive deliveries of this model never materialized.
A single M26 Pershing was sent to Russia by Lend-Lease Agreement.
Manufacturing Versions M26 Pershing:
M26 Pershing: In ‘limited procurement’ condition originally as T26E3.
M26E1: The M26 using its 90 mm M3 weapon continue to had unfavorable striking capacity to the German Tiger using its 88 mm gun. To boost the efficiency of the M26 a fresh more lengthy gun was created, the T54, which fired solved ammo employing a bigger cartridge case. This gun had a concentric recoil system. A couple of pilot types with the different weapon were accepted in May 1945, but no manufacturing request followed because of the cessation of the war.
T26E4: This became the trial type for the M26E1 and it was basically the M26 with a more lengthy 90 mm gun T15E2 which fired different ammo with a stronger charge in an attempt to match the hitting energy of the German 88 mm gun. Because of the longer gun barrel it had been required to customize the gun cradle and elevating mechanism, as well as include a counterweight in the turret. As many as Twenty-five tanks of this model were manufactured from March 1945, categorized ‘limited procurement’, even though 1,000 had been authorized before the cessation of hostilities.
T26E5: This became a heavy assault type of the M26 with heavier frontal armor on hull, turret, and mantles. In its last variety it had a heavier turret with 11 inch (ca. 28 cm) of armor on the mantles, and 6 inch (ca. 15 cm) of frontal armor on the hull Weight was Fifty-one (short) tons. The track had been completely equipped with grousers. Categorized ‘limited procurement’, Twenty-seven were manufactured, beginning June 1945, all at Detroit Arsenal. The additional weight of the T2E5 had a negative influence on performance and this tank wasn’t regarded as completely acceptable.
M45 (T26E2): To satisfy the demand from ETO for vehicles equipped with the 105 mm howitzer, a gun of this size was analyzed within a T23 medium tank. In June 1944 this was abandoned to be replaced by the same gun in the T26E1. Specified T26E2, the tank were built with a remodeled turret to adopt the howitzer, and changed ammunition stowage. A heavier turret front was designed for maintain balance of the turret with the more compact gun. In July 1945 the T26E2 was categorized a ‘limited procurement’ model and re designated M45. Just a few were manufactured. Weight: 92,500 Ib; ammunition: 74 rounds 105 mm; elevation: -10° to +35°. Other details as M26.
M28A1: This became the M26 Pershing using the superior 90 mm M3A1 gun. Created postwar. In May 1946, all T26/M26 series tanks were reclassified as medium tanks.
8-inch Howitzer Motor Carriage T84: At the beginning of 1944 development had begun of the 155 mm GMC T83 on the M4A3 chassis, the tank later on standardized as the M40 GMC. In April 1944, it had been recommended by the Artillery Board that the 8-inch howitzer might be installed on the identical chassis. Army Service Forces authorized the development of a self-propelled 8-inch howitzer, but requested that it depend on the new T26E1 vehicle. A pair of pilot units were produced, but ended up at the mercy of significantly hold up because of the insufficient presence of T26E1 chassis. Tests were arrived with the pilot models when WW2 came to an end and the project was stopped. Resulting from the delays with this vehicle, the M4A3 chassis was, in the end, utilized as a basis for the 8-inch HMC, turning out to be the T89 (M43).
Cargo Carrier T31: This became the ammunition carrier created to go along with the T84 HMc. It included a cargo space instead of the howitzer mount. Develop of the prototype began in April 1944 and trials were under way when the war was over.
Users: US Army.
Animated 3D model M26 Pershing
Specifications for M26 Pershing (T26E3)
|Engine||Ford GAF V-8 petrol with 500 hp at 2,600 rpm|
|Gearbox||3 forward; 1 reverse|
|Length||28 ft 10 in (8.65 m); hull only 21 ft 2 in|
|Width||11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)|
|Height||9 ft 1 in (2.78 m)|
|Weight||92,000 lb (41,891 kg)|
|Maximum speed||20 mph (33 km/hr)|
|Cross-country speed||5.2 mph (8.5 km/hr)|
|Fuel consumption per 100 miles||?|
|Road radius||92 miles (150 km)|
|Vertical obstacle||3 ft 10 in (1.17 m)|
|Trench crossing||8 ft 6 in (2.44 m)|
|Fording depth||4 ft (1.22 m)|
|Details unknown||13-102 mm||?|
Armament and Equipment:
|Main armament||90mm gun M3|
|Traverse||360° (with gyrostabiliser)|
|Elevation||-10° to +20°|
|Max effeczive range||HE 19,600 yds; AP 3,500 yds|
|Secondary armament||1 x .30 cal M1919A4 Browning MG coaxial, 1 x .30 cal Browning MG in front hull (together 5,000 rounds); 1 x .50 cal Browning AA-MG on turret roof (550 rounds)|
|Telescopic sight||type unknonwn|
Penetration mm at 30° armor plates of the gun:
|500 yards||?||126 mm||221 mm|
|1000 yards||120 mm||120 mm||195-200 mm|
|1500 yards||?||114 mm||177 mm|
|2000 yards||?||105 mm||154 mm|
|Muzzle velocity||2,800 fps||2,650 fps||3,350 fps|
|Shell weight||?||24.1 lbs||16.8 lbs|
|Production||Nov 1944 pre-production; Jan 45 full production. Final delivery original model June 1945|
|Combat delivery||February 1945|
|Price per tank||?|
|Total production figure||1,436 (1,190 by Grand Blanc Arsenal Nov 1944-June 1945; 246 by Detroit Arsenal March-June 1945)|
References and literature
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Chris Bishop)
British and American Tanks of World War II (Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis)
Panzer und andere Kampffahrzeuge von 1916 bis heute (Christopher F. Foss, John F. Milsom, Colonel John Stafford Weeks, Captain Georffrey Tillotson, Richard M. Ogorkiewicz)
Panzerkampfwagen des 1. und 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)
Krieg der Panzer (Piekalkiewicz)