Friday 28 February 2014

World of Tanks: Today in History: Pershing in Combat

The main tank of the US Army after 1942 was the famous M4 Sherman. With all of its advantages, it was insufficiently effective when fighting German Tigers and Panthers. In order to solve this problem, the M26 Pershing tank was designed. Initially planned as a medium, it was reclassified as a heavy in late 1944, and served this way until the end of the war.

The Pershing was armed with a 90 mm M3 cannon based on an AA gun. This gun was approximately equivalent to the 88 mm gun on the Tiger tank. The M26 was also armed with 7.62 and 12.7 mm machineguns.

Compared to the M4, the M26 had much thicker armour. The front of the hull and turret was 102 mm thick, and the sides and rear were 51 mm thick. The tank was equipped with a 450 hp Ford GAA engine, letting it accelerate to 32 kph. Practical application of the tank revealed that the engine was insufficiently powerful, which was taken into account, and solved when designing the M46 Patton tank.

The first combat use of the M26 was on February 25th, 1945, in battle for the Ruhr river in the Netherlands. The first loss of a Pershing happened three days later, on February 28th, near Elsdorf. 310 Pershings were sent to Europe, 200 of which were used by the army.

Original article available here.

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