College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in History - Comprehensive (MA)


David L Snead


Armor, HVAP, M26. Pershing, T26, Tank


History | Military History | Other History


The M26 tank, nicknamed the “General Pershing,” was the final result of the Ordnance Department’s revolutionary T20 series. It was the only American heavy tank to be fielded during the Second World War. Less is known about this tank, mainly because it entered the war too late and in too few numbers to impact events. However, it proved a sufficient design – capable of going toe-to-toe with vaunted German armor. After the war, American tank development slowed and was reduced mostly to modernization of the M26 and component development. The Korean war created a sudden need for armor and provided the impetus for further development. M26s were rushed to the conflict and demonstrated to be decisive against North Korean armor. Nonetheless, the principle role the tank fulfilled was infantry support. In 1951, the M26 was replaced by its improved derivative, the M46. Its final legacy was that of being the foundation of America’s Cold War tank fleet.