Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless anti-tank rocket launcher weapon fielded by the United States Army. Referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was among the first generation of rocket-propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat. Featuring a solid-propellant rocket for propulsion, it allowed for high-explosive anti-tank warheads to be delivered against armored vehicles, machine gun nests, fortified bunkers at ranges beyond that of a standard thrown grenade or mine; the universally-applied nickname arose from the M1 variant's vague resemblance to the musical instrument called a "bazooka" invented and popularized by 1930s U. S. comedian Bob Burns. During World War II, German armed forces captured several bazookas in early North Africa and Eastern Front encounters and soon reverse engineered their own version, increasing the warhead diameter to 8.8 cm and issuing it as the Raketenpanzerbüchse "Panzerschreck". Near the end of the war, the Japanese developed a similar weapon, the Type 4 70 mm AT Rocket Launcher, which featured a rocket propelled grenade of a different design.
The term "bazooka" still sees informal use as a generic term referring to any ground-to-ground shoulder-fired missile weapon. The development of the bazooka involved the development of two specific lines of technology: the rocket-powered weapon, the shaped-charge warhead, it was designed for easy maneuverability and access. The rocket-powered weapon was the brainchild of Dr. Robert H. Goddard as a side project of his work on rocket propulsion. Goddard, during his tenure at Clark University, while working at Worcester Polytechnic Institute's magnetic lab and Mount Wilson Observatory, designed a tube-fired rocket for military use during World War I, he and his co-worker, Dr. Clarence N. Hickman demonstrated his rocket to the US Army Signal Corps at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, on November 6, 1918, but as the Compiègne Armistice was signed only five days further development was discontinued; the delay in the development of the bazooka was as a result of Goddard's serious bout with tuberculosis.
Goddard continued to be a part-time consultant to the US government at Indian Head, until 1923, but soon turned his focus to other projects involving rocket propulsion. Hickman became head of the National Defense Research Committee in the 1940s where he guided rocket development for the war effort, including completing the development of the bazooka. Shaped charge technology was developed in the US into a shaped charge hand grenade for use by infantry, effective at defeating up to 60 mm of vehicle armor; the grenade was standardized as the M10. However, the M10 grenade weighed 3.5 lb, was difficult to throw by hand, too heavy to be launched as a rifle grenade. The only practical way to use the weapon was for an infantryman to place it directly on the tank, an unlikely means of delivery in most combat situations. A smaller, less powerful version of the M10, the M9, was developed, which could be fired from a rifle; this resulted in the creation of a series of rifle grenade launchers, the M1, the M2, the M7, the M8.
However, a capable anti-tank weapon had yet to be found, following the lead of other countries at the time, the U. S. Army prepared to evaluate competing designs for a more effective man portable anti-tank weapon; the combination of rocket motor and shaped charge warhead would lead to Army development of light antitank weapons. In 1942, U. S. Army Colonel Leslie Skinner received the M10 shaped-charge grenade, capable of stopping German tanks, he gave Lieutenant Edward Uhl the task of creating a delivery system for the grenade. Uhl created a small rocket, but needed to protect the firer from the rocket exhaust and aim the weapon. According to Uhl, I was walking by this scrap pile, there was a tube that... happened to be the same size as the grenade that we were turning into a rocket. I said, That's the answer! Put the tube on a soldier's shoulder with the rocket inside, away it goes." By late 1942, the improved Rocket Launcher, M1A1 was introduced. The forward hand grip was deleted, the design simplified.
The production M1A1 weighed only 12.75 pounds. The ammunition for the original M1 launcher was the M6, notoriously unreliable; the M6 was improved and designated M6A1, the new ammunition was issued with the improved M1A1 launcher. After the M6, several alternative warheads were introduced. Many older M1 launchers were modified to M1A1 standards in July and August 1943, with batches of M6 rockets being modified with the latest ignition systems to be able to be fired from the modified M1 launchers; the M6A3 rocket featured a blunt, rounded nose to lessen the chances of it ricocheting off of angled armor, was meant to be fired from the M9, M9A1, launchers. Late in World War II, the M6A4 and M6A5 rockets with improved fuses were developed; these rockets were used post-war. The 2.36 inch Smoke Rocket M10 and its improved subvariants used the rocket motor and fin assembly of the M6A1, but replaced the anti-tank warhead with a white phosphorus smoke head. WP smoke not only acts as a visible screen, but its burning particles can cause severe injuries to human skin.
The M10 was therefore used to mark targets, to blind enemy gunners or vehicle drivers, or to drive troops out of bunkers and dugouts. The 2.36-Inch Incendiary Rocket T31 was an M10 v
The Stokes mortar was a British trench mortar designed by Sir Wilfred Stokes KBE, issued to the British and U. S. armies, as well as the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps, during the half of the First World War. The 3-inch trench mortar is a muzzle-loading weapon for high angles of fire. Although it is called a 3-inch mortar, its bore is 3.2 inches or 81 mm. Frederick Wilfred Scott Stokes – who became Sir Wilfred Stokes KBE – designed the mortar in January 1915; the British Army was at the time trying to develop a weapon that would be a match for the Imperial German Army's Minenwerfer mortar, in use on the Western Front. Stokes's design was rejected in June 1915 because it was unable to use existing stocks of British mortar ammunition, it took the intervention of David Lloyd George and Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Matheson of the Trench Warfare Supply Department to expedite manufacture of the Stokes mortar; the Stokes mortar was a simple weapon, consisting of a smoothbore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount.
When a mortar bomb was dropped into the tube, an impact sensitive primer in the base of the bomb would make contact with a firing pin at the base of the tube, ignite the propellant charge in the base, launching the bomb towards the target. The warhead; the barrel is a seamless drawn-steel tube necked down at the base end. To the breech end is fitted a base cap, within, secured a firing pin protruding into the barrel; the caps at each end of the bomb cylinder were 81 mm diameter. The bomb was fitted with a modified hand grenade fuze on the front, with a perforated tube containing a propellant charge and an impact-sensitive cap at the rear. Range was determined by the angle of the barrel. A basic propellant cartridge was used for all firing, covered short ranges. Up to four additional "rings" of propellant were used for incrementally greater ranges; the four rings were supplied with the cartridge and gunners discarded the rings that were not needed. One potential problem was the recoil, "exceptionally severe, because the barrel is only about 3 times the weight of the projectile, instead of about one hundred times the weight as in artillery.
Unless the legs are properly set up they are liable to injury". A modified version of the mortar, which fired a modern fin-stabilised streamlined projectile and had a booster charge for longer range, was developed after World War I; the mortar was in no sense a new weapon, although it had fallen out of general usage since the Napoleonic era. In fact, while the British and French worked on developing new mortars, they resorted to issuing century-old mortars for use in action; the Stokes mortar remained in service into the Second World War, when it was superseded by the Ordnance ML 3 inch mortar, some remained in use by New Zealand forces until after the Second World War. As well as receiving a knighthood for inventing the modern mortar, Stokes was given several forms of monetary reward by the Ministry of Munitions for his invention; the French developed an improved version of the Stokes mortar as the Brandt Mle 27, further refined as the Brandt Mle 31. Despite their indigenous production, out of 8,000 81 mm mortars in service with the French in 1939, 2,000 were of the original Mk.
I build purchased from Great Britain. In World War I, the Stokes mortar could fire as many as 25 bombs per minute and had a maximum range of 800 yards firing the original cylindrical un-stabilised projectile. British Empire units had 1,636 Stokes mortars in service on the Western Front at the Armistice. By World War II, it could fire as many as 30 bombs per minute and had a range of over 2,500 yd with some shell types. A 4 in version was used to fire smoke, poison gas and thermite rounds but this should be considered a separate weapon to the standard 3 in version firing high explosive rounds described in this article; the Stokes mortar was used in the Banana Wars and helped American forces defeat Sandinista rebels during the Second Battle of Las Cruces on January 1, 1928. The Paraguayan Army made extensive use of the Stokes mortar during the Chaco War as a siege weapon in the Battle of Boquerón in September 1932. Stokes mortars were used by the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War. In September 1936, 44,000 Stokes rounds arrived to Spain.
About 700 Stokes mortars were acquired by Poland between 1923 and 1926. Ordnance ML 3 inch mortar: British 1930s successor 7.58 cm Minenwerfer: approximate German equivalent Australian War Memorial, Canberra An example with bombs is displayed at l'hotel de ville d'Arras, France. Bernard Plumier: Link to his web page which has details and photograph Direct link to photograph Mortar List of infantry mortars "Range Table For 3-Inch Stokes Mortar". United Kingdom War Office. September 1917. "Stokes' trench howitzer, 3", mark I". US Army War College, January 1918. Made available online by Combined Arms Research Library Field Artillery Notes No. 7. US Army War College August 1917. Provided online by Combined Arms Research Library Canfield, Bruce N.. "The Three Inch Stokes Mortar". U. S. Infantry Weapons of the First World War. Andrew Mowbray Pub. ISBN 978-0917218903. Farndale, M.. Western Front 1914–18. History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. London: Royal Artillery Institution. ISBN 978-1-870114-00-4. Ruffell, W. L.
"The Stokes Mortar". The Mortar. "Handbook of the M. L. Stokes 3-Inch Trench Mortar Equipments. 1919." Published by His Majesty's Stationery Of
The M24 Chaffee is an American light tank used during the part of World War II. In British service it was given the service name Chaffee after the United States Army General Adna R. Chaffee Jr. who helped develop the use of tanks in the United States armed forces. M24s were removed from U. S. and NATO remained in service with some Third World countries. British combat experience in the North African campaign identified several shortcomings of the M3 Stuart light tank the performance of its 37 mm cannon. A 75 mm gun was experimentally fitted to a Howitzer Motor Carriage M8 - an M3 tank with a larger turret - and trials indicated that a 75 mm gun on the M5 light tank development of the M3 was possible; the M3/M5 design was dated though, the 75 mm gun reduced storage space, the armor was insufficient. The T7 light tank design, seen as a replacement, grew in weight to more than 25 short tons taking it out of the light tank classification, so was designated as the Medium Tank M7; the weight increase without increased power gave it unsatisfactory performance.
This prompted the Ordnance Committee to issue a specification for a new light tank, with the same powertrain as the M5A1 but armed with a 75 mm gun. In April 1943, the Ordnance Corps, together with Cadillac, started work on the new project, designated Light Tank T24; the powerplant and transmission of the M5 were used together with some aspects of the T7. Efforts were made to keep the weight of the vehicle under 20 tons; the armor was kept light, with the glacis plate only 25 mm thick but sloped to maximize effectiveness. A new lightweight 75 mm gun was developed, a derivative of the gun used in the B-25H Mitchell bomber; the gun had the same ballistics as the 75 mm M3 in use by American tanks but used a thinly walled barrel and different recoil mechanism. The design featured 16 in tracks and torsion bar suspension, similar to the earlier M18 Hellcat tank destroyer, which itself started in production in July 1943; the torsion bar system was to give a smoother ride than the vertical volute suspension used on most US armored vehicles.
At the same time, the chassis was expected to be a standard used for other vehicles, such as self-propelled guns, specialist vehicles. It had a low silhouette and a three-man turret. On October 15, 1943, the first pilot vehicle was delivered; the design was judged a success and a contract for 1,000 was raised by the Ordnance Department. This was subsequently increased to 5,000. Production began in 1944 under the designation Light Tank M24, it was produced at two sites. By the time production was stopped in August 1945, 4,731 M24s had been produced; the M24 Chaffee was intended to replace the aging and obsolete Light Tank M5, used in supplementary roles. The first thirty-four M24s reached Europe in November 1944 and were issued to the U. S. 2nd Cavalry Group in France. These were issued to Troop F, 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron and Troop F, 42nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, which each received seventeen M24s. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, these units and their new tanks were rushed to the southern sector.
S. First Army; the M24 started to enter widespread use in December 1944, but they were slow in reaching the front-line combat units. By the end of the war, many armored divisions were still equipped with the M3/M5 Stuart; some armored divisions did not receive their first M24s. Aside from the US Army, the British Army was another user of the Chaffee, with at least several hundred obtained through the US Lend-Lease program; these saw action in northwestern Europe and the North German Plain where British forces saw action against German troops. Reports from the armored divisions that received them prior to the end of hostilities were positive. Crews liked the improved off-road performance and reliability, but were most appreciative of the 75 mm main gun, a vast improvement over the 37 mm; the M24 was inferior to German tanks, but the bigger gun at least gave its crews a much better chance to fight back when it was required. The M24's light armor made it vulnerable to all German tanks, anti-tank guns, hand-held anti-tank weapons.
The contribution of the M24 to winning the war in Europe was insignificant, as too few arrived too late to replace the worn-out M5s of the armored divisions. In the Korean War, M24s were the initial U. S. tanks directed to combat the North Korean T-34-85s. The occupation troops in Japan from which the tanks were drawn were inexperienced and under-equipped due to rapid demobilization after World War II; the M24 fared poorly against these better armed, better armored, better crewed medium tanks, losing most of their number while inflicting only minor damage on the T-34 units. Managing a fighting withdrawal, they ended up as artillery in the Pusan Perimeter. M24s were more successful in the war in their reconnaissance role, supported by heavier, more capable tanks such as the M4 Sherman, M26 Pershing, M46 Patton. Like other successful World War II designs, the M24 was supplied to many armies around the globe and was used in local conflicts long
Vickers machine gun
The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name used to refer to the water-cooled.303 British machine gun produced by Vickers Limited for the British Army. The machine gun required a six to eight-man team to operate: one fired, one fed the ammunition, the rest helped to carry the weapon, its ammunition, spare parts, it was in service from before the First World War until the 1960s, with air-cooled versions of it on many Allied World War I fighter aircraft. The weapon had a reputation for great reliability. Ian V. Hogg, in Weapons & War Machines, describes an action that took place in August 1916, during which the British 100th Company of the Machine Gun Corps fired their ten Vickers guns continuously for twelve hours. Using 100 barrels, they fired a million rounds without a failure. "It was this absolute foolproof reliability which endeared the Vickers to every British soldier who fired one." The Vickers machine gun was based on the successful Maxim gun of the late 19th century. After purchasing the Maxim company outright in 1896, Vickers took the design of the Maxim gun and improved it, inverting the mechanism as well as reducing its weight by lightening and simplifying the action and using high strength alloys for certain components.
A muzzle booster was added. The British Army formally adopted the Vickers gun as its standard machine gun under the name Gun, Mark I, Vickers.303-inch on 26 November 1912. There were still great shortages when the First World War began, the British Expeditionary Force was still equipped with Maxims when sent to France in 1914. Vickers was, in fact, threatened with prosecution for war profiteering, due to the exorbitant price it was demanding for each gun; as a result, the price was slashed. As the war progressed, numbers increased, it became the British Army's primary machine gun, served on all fronts during the conflict; when the Lewis Gun was adopted as a light machine gun and issued to infantry units, the Vickers guns were redefined as heavy machine guns, withdrawn from infantry units, grouped in the hands of the new Machine Gun Corps. After the First World War, the Machine Gun Corps was disbanded and the Vickers returned to infantry units. Before the Second World War, there were plans to replace the Vickers gun.
However, the Vickers remained in service with the British Army until 30 March 1968. Its last operational use was in the Radfan during the Aden Emergency, its successor in UK service is the L7 GPMG. In 1913, a Vickers machine gun was mounted on the experimental Vickers E. F. B.1 biplane, the world's first purpose-built combat aeroplane. However, by the time the production version, the Vickers F. B.5, had entered service the following year, the armament had been changed to a Lewis gun. During World War I, the Vickers gun became a standard weapon on British and French military aircraft after 1916. Although heavier than the Lewis, its closed bolt firing cycle made it much easier to synchronize to allow it to fire through aircraft propellers; the belt feed was enclosed right up to the gun's feed-way to inhibit effects from wind. Steel disintegrating-link ammunition belts were perfected in the UK by William de Courcy Prideaux in mid-war and became standard for aircraft guns thereafter. By 1917 it had been determined that standard rifle calibre cartridges were less satisfactory for shooting down observation balloons than larger calibres carrying incendiary or tracer bullets, the Vickers machine gun was chambered in the 11mm Vickers round, known as the Vickers aircraft machine gun and sometimes the "Balloon Buster", was adopted by the allies as a standard anti-balloon armament and used by both the British and French in this role until the end of the war.
The famous Sopwith Camel and the SPAD XIII types used twin synchronized Vickers, as did most British and French fighters between 1918 and the mid-1930s. In the air, the weighty water cooling system was rendered redundant by the chilly temperatures at high altitude and the constant stream of air passing over the gun as the plane flew. Several sets of louvred slots were cut into the barrel jacket to aid air cooling, a better solution than what had been attempted with the 1915-vintage lMG 08 German aircraft ordnance; as the machine gun armament of fighter aircraft moved from the fuselage to the wings in the years before the Second World War, the Vickers was replaced by the faster-firing and more reliable Browning Model 1919 using metal-linked cartridges. The Gloster Gladiator was the last RAF fighter to be armed with the Vickers, although they were replaced by Brownings; the Fairey Swordfish continued to be fitted with the weapon until production ended in August 1944. Several British bombers and attack aircraft of the Second World War mounted the Vickers K machine gun or VGO, a different design, resembling the Lewis gun in external appearance.
Vickers machine guns, designated as models E and F were used among others in Poland, where 777 of them were converted to 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge in 1933-1937. The larger calibre version of the Vickers was used on naval vessels; the Gun, Vickers.5-inch, Mk. II was used in tanks, the earlier Mark I having been the development model; this entered service in 1933 and was obsolete in 1944. Firing eith
The STEN was a family of British submachine guns chambered in 9×19mm and used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War. They had a simple design and low production cost, so they were effective insurgency weapons for resistance groups. STEN is an acronym, from the names of the weapon's chief designers, Major Reginald V. Shepherd and Harold Turpin, EN for Enfield. Over four million Stens in various versions were made in the 1940s; the Sten emerged while Britain was engaged in the Battle of Britain. The army was forced to replace weapons lost during the evacuation from Dunkirk while expanding at the same time. Prior to 1941 the British were purchasing all the Thompson submachine guns they could from the United States, but these did not meet demand. American entry into the war at the end of 1941 placed an bigger demand on the facilities making Thompsons. In order to equip a sufficient fighting force to counter the Axis threat, the Royal Small Arms Factory, was commissioned to produce an alternative.
The credited designers were Major R. V. Shepherd, OBE, Inspector of Armaments in the Ministry of Supply Design Department at The Royal Arsenal, Mr. Harold John Turpin, Senior Draughtsman of the Design Department of the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield. Shepherd had been recalled to service after having retired and spending some time at the Birmingham Small Arms Company; the Sten shared design features, such as its side-mounted magazine configuration, with the Royal Navy's Lanchester submachine gun, a copy of the German MP28. In terms of manufacture, the Lanchester was different, being made of high-quality materials with pre-war fit and finish, in stark contrast to the Sten's austere execution; the Lanchester and Sten magazines were interchangeable. The Sten used simple stamped metal components and minor welding, which required minimal machining and manufacturing. Much of the production could be performed by small workshops, with the firearms assembled at the Enfield site. Over the period of manufacture the Sten design was further simplified: the most basic model, the Mark III, could be produced from five man-hours of work.
Some of the cheapest versions were made from only 47 different parts. It was distinctive for its bare appearance, its horizontal magazine; the Mark I handle. The Sten has been described by Max Hastings as: "highly unreliable, prone to jamming, inaccurate beyond 30 metres, it was unsuitable for guerrilla operations in open country because it encouraged waste of ammunition. But it was easy and cheap to produce, a gun was said to cost fifteen shillings, was supplied to the Resistance in huge quantities"; the Sten underwent various design improvements over the course of the war. For example, the Mark 4 cocking handle and corresponding hole drilled in the receiver were created to lock the bolt in the closed position to reduce the likelihood of accidental discharges inherent in the design. Most changes to the production process were more subtle, designed to give greater ease of manufacture and increased reliability. Build quality ranged from quite good to poor Sten guns of late 1942 and beyond were, in general effective weapons, though complaints of accidental discharge continued throughout the war.
The Sten was replaced by the Sterling submachine gun from 1953 and was withdrawn from British service in the 1960s. The other Commonwealth nations adopted their own replacements; the Sten was a blowback-operated submachine gun firing from an open bolt with a fixed firing pin on the face of the bolt. This means the bolt remains to the rear when the weapon is cocked, on pulling the trigger the bolt moves forward under spring pressure, stripping the round from the magazine, chambering it and firing the weapon all in the same movement. There is no breech locking mechanism, the rearward movement of the bolt caused by the recoil impulse is arrested only by the mainspring and the bolt's inertia; the basic operating principles were similar to those of the German MP40, Russian PPSh-41, US M3 submachine gun and numerous other designs. These shared similar faults. However, the open-bolt firing and use of pistol ammunition restricted accuracy, with an effective range of around 100m. Stoppages could occur for a variety of reasons: some as a result of poor maintenance, while others were particular to the Sten.
Carbon buildup on the face of the breech or debris in the bolt raceway could cause a failure to fire, while a dirty chamber could cause a failure to feed. Firing the Sten by grasping the magazine with the supporting hand tended to wear the magazine catch, altering the angle of feed and causing a failure to feed – the correct method of holding the weapon was as with a rifle, the left hand cradling the fore piece, as per the picture of Winston Churchill firing one below. Additional problem
ML 4.2-inch mortar
The Ordnance ML 4.2-inch mortar was a heavy mortar used by the British Army during World War II, by other armies postwar. The 4.2-inch mortar was a Smooth Bore weapon of the Stokes pattern and was designed by the Armaments Research and Development Establishment and produced by the Royal Ordnance Factories. It entered widespread British service in 1942, equipping chemical warfare companies of the Royal Engineers; the Mark 3 became the standard model. The first combat use was at Second Battle of El Alamein, when the 66th Mortar Company was attached to the Australian 24th Infantry Brigade. During the battle, 66 Mortar Coy provided intense, effective supporting fire on 24 Bde's exposed right flank, as the infantry advanced, expending all of the 4.2-inch HE mortar ammunition in the theatre. Around mid-1943, the Royal Engineer chemical warfare companies were disbanded as an emergency expedient and one heavy mortar company of each infantry division machine-gun battalion was equipped with the mortar.
This company was organized in four platoons of four mortars each. In early 1944, divisions in Italy held a pool of mortars for issue to other units as required troops in the divisional anti-tank regiment, some regiments converted one or more batteries to mortars. Ordnance ML 4.2-inch mortars were slower to reach Commonwealth forces in the Asia. Australian Army units in the South West Pacific theatre were the first to receive them, before forces in Burma. After World War II, the mortars were handed over to the Royal Artillery, the 170th Mortar Battery used them at the Battle of Imjin River in Korea, they were used during the 1950s by airborne artillery, deployed to Kuwait in 1961 and manned by soldiers from air defence batteries during the Confrontation in Borneo in 1965. The 4.2-inch mortar tripod. The normal detachment was six men and it was transported with ammunition in a 10 cwt trailer towed behind a Loyd Carrier. There was an auxiliary baseplate that fitted around it, to increase its area for use on softer ground.
An integrated trailer/baseplate was developed, called the Mk 1 Mobile Baseplate. The wheels, which were on suspension arms, were raised for firing; the mobile baseplate trailer mounting could be brought into action by 2 men. Regarding rate of fire, one source reports a crew putting 23 bombs in the air before the first impacted. Both HE and smoke ammunition was used. Smoke include WP and Base Ejection, in World War II other types for practice. Two charges were available. In World War II, both streamlined and cylindrical bombs were available. Chemical munitions included the MK I chemical mortar bomb with Mustard gas; this round was designated as Mortar, 4.2 inches, Mk I. World War II Australia United KingdomPostwar Australia Canada Ethiopia Greece India Laos Malaysia New Zealand Nepal Turkey United Kingdom M2 4.2 inch mortar – US equivalent 107mm M1938 mortar – Soviet equivalent Pugh, Stevenson. Fighting Vehicles and Weapons of the Modern British Army. London: Macdonald. Bidwell, Shelford. Artillery of the World.
London: Brassey's. ISBN 0-904609-04-9. Horner, David; the Gunners – A History of Australian Artillery. St Leonards: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86373-917-3. Maintenance Manual for ML 2-inch, ML 3-inch and SB 4.2-inch mortars Bishop, Chris. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of WWII. Fendick, Rex F. Diary of a CANLOAN Officer. Saint John, NB. "British mortars of the Second World War". WWIIEquipment
The M26 Pershing was a heavy tank/medium tank of the United States Army. The tank was named after General of the Armies John J. Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in World War I, it was used in the final months of World War II during the Invasion of Germany and extensively during the Korean War. Intended as a replacement 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 and protection, R. P. Hunnicutt ranked the Pershing second, behind the German Panther medium tank, but ahead of the Tiger I heavy tank. In service during the Korean War, the M26 outmatched the T-34-85 in terms of firepower and protection, but was challenged by the hilly and muddy terrain, as a result was withdrawn in 1951 in favor of its improved derivative, the M46 Patton, which had a 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, was reflected in the new designs of the M48 Patton and M60 Patton. The M26 was the culmination of a series of medium tank prototypes that began with the T20 in 1942 and was a significant design departure from the previous line of U. S. Army tanks. Several design features were tested in the prototypes; some of these were experimental dead-ends, but many become permanent characteristics of subsequent 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" tank; the army's first lineage of tanks evolved from the M1 Combat Car and progressed to the M2 Light Tank, M2 Medium Tank, M3 Lee, the M4 Sherman. These tanks all had rear-mounted Continental air-cooled radial aircraft engines and a front sprocket drive; this layout required a driveshaft to pass under the turret, which increased the overall height of the tank, a characteristic shared with German tanks of World War II that used this layout.
The large diameter of the radial engines in M4 tanks added to the hull height. These features accounted for the high silhouette and large side sponsons that were characteristic of the M4 lineage. In the spring of 1942, as the M4 Sherman was entering production, U. S. Army Ordnance began work on a follow-up tank; the T20 tank reached a mock-up stage in May 1942, was intended as an improved medium tank to follow the M4. An earlier heavy tank, the M6, proved to be a failure; the U. S. Army had no doctrinal use for a heavy tank at the time; the T20 was designed to have a more compact hull than the M4. The Ford GAN V-8, a lower silhouette version of the GAA engine used in variants of the M4, had become available; the engine had been an effort by Ford to produce a V-12 liquid-cooled aircraft engine patterned after the Rolls-Royce Merlin, but failed to earn any aircraft orders and so was adapted as a V-8 for use in tanks. The T20 was fitted with the new 76 mm M1A1 gun, developed from the 3 inch anti-aircraft gun.
The 3 inch front hull armor was.5 in thicker than the 63 mm front armor of the M4. The glacis plate slope was similar at 46°; the T20's overall weight was the same as the M4. The T20 used an early version of the horizontal volute spring suspension, another improvement compared to the less robust vertical volute spring suspension of the early versions of the M4. Prototypes of the M26 tested a torsion bar suspension, which would become the standard for future U. S. tank suspension systems. To learn more, see T20 medium tank; the T22 series reverted to the M4 transmission because of problems with the early Torqmatic transmission used in the T20. The T22E1 tested an autoloader for the main gun, eliminated the loader's position with a small two-man turret. Through much of 1943, there was little perceived need within the U. S. Army for a better tank than the 75 mm M4 Sherman, so, lacking any insights from the rest of the army as to what was needed, the Ordnance Department next took a developmental detour into electrical transmissions with the T23 series.
The electrical transmission was built by General Electric, had the engine driving a generator that powered two traction motors. The concept was similar to the drive system of the German "Porsche Tiger", it had performance advantages in rough or hilly terrain, where the system could better handle the rapid changes in torque requirements. The electrical transmission T23 was championed by the Ordnance Department during this phase of development. After the initial prototypes were built in early 1943, an additional 250 T23 tanks were produced from January to December 1944; these were the first tanks in the U. S. Army with the 76 mm M1A1 gun to go into production. However, the T23 would have required that the army adopt an separate line of training and maintenance, so was rejected for combat operations; the primary legacy of the T23 would thus be its production cast turret, designed from the outset to be interchangeable with the turret ring of the M4 Sherman. The T23 turret was used on all production versions of the 76 mm M4 Sherman as the original M4 75 mm turret was found to be too small to mount the 76 mm M1A1 gun.
The first production 76 mm M4 with the T23 turret, the M4E6, was built in the summer of 1943. T