The Pershing was a heavy tank of the United States Army. It was designated a heavy tank when it was first designed in WWII due to its 90mm gun, and its armor. In 1957, the U.S. developed the M103 tank, which had an even larger 120mm gun, and the M26 Pershing was re-designated as a medium tank. The tank is named after General John J. Pershing who led the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in World War I. It was briefly used both in World War II and in the Korean War. Intended as an improvement 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, the Panther would have to be ranked first followed by the Pershing and lastly the Tiger I. In service during the Korean War, the M26 was an overmatch for the T-34-85 in terms of firepower and protection, however the tanks proved challenged by the hilly and muddy terrain and as a result were withdrawn in 1951 in favor of its improved derivative, the M46 Patton, which had a considerably more powerful and reliable engine as well as an advanced and improved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. 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.
The M26 was the culmination of a series of tank prototypes that began with the T20 in 1942 and represented a significant design departure from the previous line of U.S. Army tanks that had ended with the M4 Sherman; a number of design features were tested in the various prototypes, some of which were experimental dead-ends, but many of which would become permanent characteristics of subsequent modern U.S. Army tanks. The prototype series began as a medium tank upgrade of the M4 Sherman and ended as the U.S. Army's first operational heavy
Weight 46 short tons (41.7 t) Length 20 ft 9.5 in (6.337 m) (turret facing aft)
28 ft 4.5 in (8.649 m) (turret facing forward) Width 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m) Height 9 ft 1.5 in (2.78 m) Crew 5 (Commander, Gunner, loader, driver, co-driver) Armor
(T26E3) Upper hull = 102mm
Lower hull and turret sides= 76mm
Hull sides = 50 to 75mm
90 mm Gun M3
2 × Browning .30-06
1 × Browning .50 cal.
550 rounds Engine Ford GAF; 8-cylinder, gasoline
450–500 hp (340–370 kW) Power/weight 11.9/10.6 hp/tonne Suspension torsion bar
100 mi (160 km) Speed 25 mph (40 km/h) (road)
5.25 mph (8.45 km/h)(off-road)