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M26
T26E4

Medium Tank M26 Pershing1-11

M26: General
Date of first acceptance November 1944 Total acceptances 2202
Manufacturers
  • Fisher Tank Arsenal
  • Detroit Tank Arsenal
Crew
5 men:
  • Commander in turret right rear
  • Gunner in turret right front
  • Loader in turret left
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
M26: Dimensions
Combat weight 92,355lbs
41,892kg
Height over cupola top 109.4"
277.9cm
Length without gun, with sandshields and pintle 249.1"
632.7cm
Gun overhang forward 91.4"
232cm
Width over sandshields 138.3"
351.3cm
Tread 110"
279cm
Ground clearance 17.2"
43.7cm
Fire height 78"
200cm
Turret ring diameter 69"
175cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 12.5psi
.878kg/cm²
M26: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation
90mm Gun M3 M67 in turret 70 rounds
(10 ready)
360°
(hydraulic and manual)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.50cal M2HB MG Flexible in turret AA mount 550 rounds 360°
(manual)
-- Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Coaxial to 90mm gun 5000 rounds 360°
(manual and hydraulic)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow Manual -- Manual
M26: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Rolled and cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 4.0"
10cm
46°
Lower front 3.0"
7.6cm
53°
Front sides 3.0"
7.6cm
Rear sides 2.0"
5.1cm
Upper rear 2.0"
5.1cm
10°
Lower rear .75"
1.9cm
62°
Top .875"
2.22cm
90°
Front floor 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
Rear floor .5"
1.3cm
90°
Turret
Cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 4.5"
11cm
Front 4.0"
10cm
Sides 3.0"
7.6cm
0° to 8°
Rear 3.0"
7.6cm
0° to 5°
Top 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
M26: Automotive
Engine Ford GAF; 8 cylinder, 4 cycle, 60 vee gasoline
Horsepower Net: 450@2600rpm
Gross: 500@2600rpm
Torque Net: 950 ft-lb@2200rpm
Gross: 1040 ft-lb@2200rpm
Fuel capacity 183gal
693L
Transmission Torqmatic, 3 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, 3 shoe, reverse anchor
M26: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion bar 6 individually sprung dual/track 5 dual/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
13-tooth rear drive Dual compensating at front of track On first 2 and last 2 road wheels/track
M26: Track
T80E1
Center guide, double pin, rubber and steel
Width 23"
58cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 82 Ground contact length Left side: 151.5"
Right side: 155.5"
Left side: 384.8cm
Right side: 395.0cm
T81
Center guide, single pin, steel
Width 24"
61cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 82 Ground contact length Left side: 151.5"
Right side: 155.5"
Left side: 384.8cm
Right side: 395.0cm
M26: Performance
Max level road speed 25mph sustained
30mph dash
40kph sustained
48kph dash
Max trench 96"
240cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 46"
120cm
Min turning diameter 60'
18m
Max fording depth 48"
120cm
Cruising range ~100mi, roads
~160km, roads

The M26 Pershing was the culmination of the T20 series of test vehicles. The T26 series was reclassed from medium to heavy tanks on June 29, 1944, but renamed as medium tanks in May 1946. Although not standardized until March 1945, Pershings had been sent to the European Theater of Operations as T26E3s with the Zebra Mission in January 1945 (along with equipment including pilot models of the 155mm GMC M40 and 8" HMC M43). M26 was armed with the same 90mm gun as the M36 tank destroyer, and the GAF engine in the M26 was essentially the GAA of the medium tank M4A3 redesigned to present a lower height, even though M26 weighed almost 26,000lbs (12,000kg) more than M4A3. This produced a relatively underpowered tank. The drive sprocket of the M26 was mounted below the level of the track's upper run, and the engine exhaust escaped through an opening in the hull rear plate. A bulge in the hull glacis between the drivers housed an exhaust blower. Early-production tanks were fitted with a 400cfm ventilator between the drivers. This was replaced by a 1000cfm ventilator, which necessitated a new upper front hull casting. The armor in front of this ventilator was also thickened, and the set of drivers' periscopes in the hull armor was eventually omitted.

In 1948, the first improved M26A1s were accepted. These tanks were armed with the 90mm gun M3A1 in the combination gun mount M67A1. The M3A1 was fitted with a bore evacuator and a lighter, single-baffle muzzle brake. The M67A1 mount had a lighter equilibrator spring since the M3A1's lighter muzzle brake imparted less torque upon firing. M26A1 also had a modified gun travel lock, and some vehicles had a gun elevation stabilizer installed.

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Medium Tank T26E4 Pershing1,3,7,12-13

T26E4: General
Date of first acceptance 1945 Total acceptances 25
Manufacturer Fisher Tank Arsenal Crew
5 men:
  • Commander in turret right rear
  • Gunner in turret right front
  • Loader in turret left
  • Driver in hull left front
  • Assistant driver in hull right front
T26E4: Dimensions
Combat weight 96,000lbs
43,500kg
Height over cupola top 109.4"
277.9cm
Length without gun, with sandshields and pintle 249.1"
632.7cm
Gun overhang forward 157"
399cm
Width over sandshields 138.3"
351.3cm
Tread 110"
279cm
Ground clearance 17.2"
43.7cm
Fire height 78"
200cm
Turret ring diameter 69"
175cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 13.0psi
.913kg/cm²
T26E4: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation
90mm Gun T15E2 T119 in turret 54 rounds 360°
(hydraulic and manual)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.50cal M2HB MG Flexible in turret AA mount 440 rounds 360°
(manual)
-- Manual
.30cal M1919A4 MG Coaxial to 90mm gun 5000 rounds 360°
(manual and hydraulic)
24°/sec +20° to -10°
(manual)
.30cal M1919A4 MG Ball mount in right bow Manual -- Manual
T26E4: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Rolled and cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Upper front 4.0"
10cm
46°
Lower front 3.0"
7.6cm
53°
Front sides 3.0"
7.6cm
Rear sides 2.0"
5.1cm
Upper rear 2.0"
5.1cm
10°
Lower rear .75"
1.9cm
62°
Top .875"
2.22cm
90°
Front floor 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
Rear floor .5"
1.3cm
90°
Turret
Cast homogeneous steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield 4.5"
11cm
Front 4.0"
10cm
Sides 3.0"
7.6cm
0° to 8°
Rear 3.0" (not including counterweight)
7.6cm (not including counterweight)
0° to 5°
Top 1.0"
2.5cm
90°
T26E4: Automotive
Engine Ford GAF; 8 cylinder, 4 cycle, 60 vee gasoline
Horsepower Net: 450@2600rpm
Gross: 500@2600rpm
Torque Net: 950 ft-lb@2200rpm
Gross: 1040 ft-lb@2200rpm
Fuel capacity 183gal
693L
Transmission Torqmatic, 3 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, 3 shoe, reverse anchor
T26E4: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion bar 6 individually sprung dual/track 5 dual/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
13-tooth rear drive Dual compensating at front of track On first 2 and last 2 road wheels/track
T26E4: Track
T80E1
Center guide, double pin, rubber and steel
Width 23"
58cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 82 Ground contact length Left side: 151.5"
Right side: 155.5"
Left side: 384.8cm
Right side: 395.0cm
T81
Center guide, single pin, steel
Width 24"
61cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track 82 Ground contact length Left side: 151.5"
Right side: 155.5"
Left side: 384.8cm
Right side: 395.0cm
T26E4: Performance
Max level road speed 20mph sustained
25mph dash
32kph sustained
40kph dash
Max trench 96"
240cm
Max grade 60% Max vertical obstacle 46"
120cm
Min turning diameter 60'
18m
Max fording depth 48"
120cm
Cruising range ~100mi, roads
~160km, roads

The T26E4 resulted from the desire to mount the powerful new 90mm gun T15E1 into a tank in order to take on heavier German vehicles such as the Pz.Kpfw.Panther or Pz.Kpfw.Tiger Ausf.B. Due to handling and stowage difficulties when mounted on a tank, the gun was redesigned into the T15E2 in order to use separate-loading ammunition. A large counterweight was added to the turret bustle to make up for the new ordnance, which was 970lb (440kg) heavier and twenty calibers longer than the M3. The elevation mechanism and turret and travel locks were strengthened to deal with the T15E2. One thousand T26E4s were authorized in March 1945, and these were intended to replace a thousand M26s on the production line. The end of World War II saw the production run capped at 25, due in part to the development of more powerful and manageable unitary ammunition.

The first pilot T26E4, made from the first T26E1 pilot, arrived in Europe on 15 March 1945. This tank was armed with the 90mm gun T15E1 using one-piece ammunition, and the equilibrator springs were external to the turret as opposed to production T26E4s, which used hydropneumatic equilibrators inside the turret. Applique armor was added to this tank in-theater, and the vehicle took part in a small number of engagements.

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References

  1. Hunnicutt, R.P. Pershing: A History of the Medium Tank T20 Series. Bellingham, WA: Feist Publications, Inc., 1996.
  2. TM 9-735 Heavy Tank T26E3. Washington, DC: War Department, 15 Jan 1945.
  3. Chamberlain, Peter, and Chris Ellis. British and American Tanks of World War Two. Frome, England: Cassell & Co., 2000.
  4. TM 9-1731B Ordnance Maintenance--Ford Tank Engines (Models GAA, GAF, and GAN). Washington, DC: War Department, 4 Jun 1945.
  5. TM 9-1735A Ordnance Maintenance--Medium Tanks M26 and M45, Power Train. Washington, DC: War Department, Sep 1947.
  6. Miller, David. The Illustrated Directory of Tanks of the World. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Co., 2000.
  7. Crismon, Fred W. U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.
  8. Siemers, Cary. "USA's M26 Pershing." World War II Tanks & Vehicles and Advanced Squad Leader. 4 Feb 2001. 11 Feb 2001 <http://www.shadowsfolly.com/WWII/USA/M26.htm>.
  9. Zuljan, Ralph. "M26 Pershing." Second World War Armor. 16 Mar 2000. 11 Feb 2001 <http://www.onwar.com/tanks/usa/fm26.htm>. Second World War Armor
  10. Hunnicutt, R.P. Patton: A History of the American Main Battle Tank, volume 1. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1984.
  11. Tank Data, vol. 1. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: US Army Ordnance School, Jul 1958.
  12. Tank Data, vol. 2. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: US Army Ordnance School, Jul 1958.
  13. Armor-piercing Ammunition for Gun, 90-mm, M3. Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Ordnance, Jan 1945.

Last updated 24 Oct 2019.
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© Copyright 2001-19 Chris Conners