M26 Pershing Heavy Tank

Last updated on January 11th, 2020 at 04:32 pm

In 1942, the US began developing a series of experimental tanks that were supposed to improve upon the M4 Sherman medium tank.  These tanks were designated the T20 through the T26.

The T26E3 was the prototype for the M26 Pershing heavy tank.

Designed to be a match for Germany’s Tiger and Panther tanks, the M26 Pershing heavy tank was the most powerful tank ever to be used in battle during World War II.

M26 Pershing Tanks

The Pershing, which first appeared in 1944, weighed just over 41 tons and could move at a speed of up to 30 miles per hour (48 kph).  Its main gun was a 3.54 inch (90mm) M3.  The armor in the front of the M26’s hull was 4 inches (102.6mm) thick.
M26 Pershing heavy tank and crew in Germany, 1945
Attempts were made to upgrade the M26 by adding extra armor plates and changing the main gun, for example, to the T15E1 gun.

1,436 M26s were produced during World War II.

After the Second World War ended, the Pershing was used again in the Korean War. It performed well against North Korea’s T-34.


M26 Pershing Heavy

Active: 1944
Crew: 5
Weight: 41.2 tons (41,861kg)
Length: 28ft 3in (8.61m)
Height: 9ft 1in (2.77m)
Width: 11ft 6in (3.51m)
Weapons: Main – 3.54in (90mm) gun, Secondary – 1 x 0.5in (12.77mm) and 2 x 0.30 inch (7.62mm) machineguns
Armor Maximum – 4in (102.6mm)
Engine: Ford GAF, 500hp
Speed: 30 mph (48kph)
Range: 100 miles (161 km)