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Why The M26 pershing come late into the war

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by CaptainFoxley21, Sep 29, 2020.

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  1. CaptainFoxley21

    CaptainFoxley21 New Member

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    i want to learn more about this topic in some sources says development issues in death traps general patton hated it so what is
    the correct anwser
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  3. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    I think part of the problem was that the US Armor Board couldn't make their minds up on what exactly was the role of the heavy tank and a lot of time was wasted on initial prototypes that were too heavy, under gunned and under performing. The US Army wasn't pressing for a heavy tank that much any way. Opinion was moving towards what was to become the multi purpose Main Battle Tank concept.

    BTW did you mean shell trap rather than death trap?
     
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  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Would the Brits have wanted the -26 if it had been produced in numbers?
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I suspect he was referring to the book Death Traps by Belton Cooper. Haven't read it but I understand it is very critical of the Sherman tanks and of General Patton.

    p.s. Welcome to the forum, @CaptainFoxley21!
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Good question. They were developing the Centurion which similar in concept and characteristics but just missed getting into action.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The American heavy tank development began as a recommendation by the Chief of Infantry 20 May 1940. It was approved for development 11 July 1940 by the Armored Board. Development was desultory through 1941 as Armor focused priorities on light and medium tanks, then got blindsided by Roosevelt's production declaration of 3 January 1942, where he called for production of 500 heavy tanks in 1942 and 5,000 in 1943. The problem? There was no workable design at that point.

    I think he was referring to Belton Cooper's partly ghost-written memoir.
     
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  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    So many misstatements in that article, so little time.
    "1. Tank destroyer doctrine...McNair, who was an artillery officer, had promulgated the "tank destroyer doctrine" in the U.S. Army."
    Uh, no. The origins of the TD development was 14 April 1941, when General Marshall “directed prompt consideration be given to the creation of additional highly mobile antitank - antiaircraft units, as corps and army troops in addition to organic antitank weapons.” This was nearly a year before McNair became Chief of Army Ground Forces. Wrong General M. Further development was placed in the hands of Lieutenant Colonel Andrew D. Bruce. On 7 October 1941, "General Marshall held a conference at his office with General McNair, General McNair’s G-3, Brigadier General Mark W. Clark, Colonel Bruce, and members of their staffs. The conference agreed on establishing an antitank organization and designated it the “Tank Destroyer Force”." It was a corporate effort.

    "2. Simplification of supply...McNair established "battle need" criteria for acquisition of weapons in order to make best use of America's 3,000-mile-long (4,800 km) supply line to Europe by preventing the introduction of weapons that would prove unnecessary, extravagant or unreliable on the battlefield. In his view, the introduction of a new heavy tank had problems in terms of transportation, supply, service, and reliability, and was not necessary in 1943 or early 1944."

    An oversimplification of many issues, but aside from that, McNair was, quite simply, correct in his view. Many of the issues in the development of the T20, T22, T25, and T26 series of tanks were simply because Ordnance repeatedly chose to ignore McNair's "battle needs" criteria.

    "3. Complacency...A sense of complacency fell upon those in charge of developing tanks in the U.S. Army because the M4 Sherman, in 1942,"

    Nothing like mind-reading without a shred of evidence. The first of the "cutting edge" tank development projects, the T20, was approved 25 May 1942, as production of the M4 had just begun, when few were in Armored Force hands, and long before they entered combat.
     
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  9. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Might I say that Cooper/Ambrose's book is frankly completely dreadful on M26. (As it is on most other things.)
    • As Rich says; M26 really wasn't ready in any useful form by the time of D-Day.
    • I think c.Ten T26 development examples were knocking about at that point (?), Not finished models with production laid on - development machines. Prototypes.
    • Patton had virtually no bearing on armour choice or development. (Or much else of a 'Grand Strategy' nature by that point.)
    • A switch to an unfinished design so late in the game would be exceptionally dangerous. Do you want an immense supply of perfectly useful M4s, or almost all tank production stopped while factories are re-geared to produce an unproven model? (Rhetorical question.) DDay was a closer-run thing than many like to admit - disruptions to that careful balance don't make sense.
    • Last factor off the top of my head, and a most significant one - transport. Hard to overstate just how much effort had been put into LCT capacity for DDay. Months of strategic effort & planning thrown at it. The allied world combed for production, & intricate plans laid around the capacity achieved. Wise to choose an unproven/unfinished machine that would mean less tanks per landing craft so late in the game? (Along with all the associated changes in supply, training etc.) - Of course not.
    M26 took to the field about when it was ready to test; in the way that 'trials' vehicles were.
    I don't blame people for falling for the doubts raised by Ambrose etc., but none of the 'what if?!' M26 stuff stands up to any serious analysis.
     
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  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    One T26E1 pilot was completed in February 1944, 3 in March, 4 in April, and 2 in May. They were tested through the spring and summer and found wanting, because Ordnance had failed to follow end-user requirements, especially with regards to ammo stowage. The redesigned T26E3 production type was not produced until November 1944 (10). Otherwise, a single T26 (electric drive) was completed by Ordnance in October 1944, despite the fact no one wanted the electric drive by that time. Only one T26E1 got to Europe, but was probably never actually in combat, the rebuilt T26E4 (AKA T26E1-1).
     
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  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Allied strategy was not based on tanks. Patton was against this. Thus it was molbility than tanks itßelf that was trusted
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think any "strategy" has ever been based on tanks?

    Against what? Strategy? Or tanks?

    Again I'm not sure what you mean? Trusted by whom?
     
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Nope. We had the Centurion in development. A better tank and not Lend Lease that would have been thrown away at the end of the war.

    Arguably British land strategy was based on expending steel rather than blood.

    Churchill in 1941 painted the picture of mechanised, tank heavy, British troops would augment massed light infantry from a European uprising ignited by SOE. Churchill was an artist and good at filling many canvases with words as well as paint, and many of his ideas were mere rhetoric. However the WW2 British Army was disproportionately armour heavy. Between 1942-43 the Home army even experimented with turning every infantry division into a panzer grenadier division with one armoured and two infantry brigades, Large number of infantry battalions were converted to gunners, armour and recce (Cav) It was a popular move with the electorate which avoided the heavy losses of WW1.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ... Germany was at war [ lots of tank combat ] since 1939/etc--and didn't produce the heavy Tiger until when? July 1942 production according to page 102 World War II Tanks by George Forty--and it still had problems = so, you would expect the US to not be ready for production of a heavy tank ''long'' after that

    ....it was not easy to engineer/design/etc a much ''different'' vehicle like these heavies....heavier guns-heavier ammo-heavier everything -and it must be combat efficient....bigger gun requires bigger frames--and every part affects the other parts...heavier means more stress on the engine/etc----bigger engine means where will the added space for fuel/ammo/etc be??
    ..and the factories building these new models have to modify/etc their methods/equipment/etc


    ...page 149--regarding US heavy tanks:
    ''''Almost as soon as the M4 design was completed,work had begun on its successor......''' = with the 76mm M1 gun!
    ''In May 1942, a mock up was built.....''''

    T20, 22, and 23 had the 76mm M1 gun...the three E models would have the 75mm
    .....May 1943 a contract was issued for 250 of the T23--with only 50 modified with the '''newly developed''' 90mm gun
    ''''..after much trials work, the T26 was chosen.'''''
    ..and then they had different models of the T26 that needed testing

    page 151:
    ''''early in June 1944, those at the sharp end in the [ETO] stated that they did not want any new tanks with 75mm or 76mm guns.......''''

    so, we see lots of different models--lots of mock ups/trials/etc--with the smaller guns! ..so, even more time is ''wasted''' by having to modify the new models with the ''newly developed''' 90mm gun
    ..it all takes time
    ..they were not in the ''mind frame'''
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, but you did take six IIRC for evaluation, including one in December 1944 from the initial production batch.

    Yes, but not necessarily expressed as tanks. Big guns going bang a lot of times was how a large part of the steel was expended...as I am sure you know. :D

    Of course, you could make a case for the British Army being the most highly mechanized of the war. At one point "mixed" divisions meant that one third of every infantry division was armoured, and as it was there was nearly one armoured or tank brigade per infantry division. Then, even though they were not all deployed or even lasted to the end of the war, there were rather a lot of armoured divisions planned for in proportion to other divisions.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The US strategy was based on speed not heavy tanks with maximum steel to protect the crew. Patton wanted heavy tanks.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    To be fair, it took the Germans that long because they kept upping the design - first was the VK 30.01, then the VK 36.01, and finally the VK 45.01. The VK 45.01 was ordered into production on May 26, 1941(?). So, a little over a year from start to rolling of the assembly line.

    If you just looked at the face of the problem, the US should have landed at Normandy(this was said by Fritz Langanke, 2nd SS Dad Reich panzer commander in an interview) with the finest tank in the world. After all, the US had sat out the first two years of the war(while still collecting and receiving intelligence on what the Axis was doing). The US industrial base was essentially immune to bombing raids or other damage. The US had a vast wealth of factories to produce near about anything. So, yes, the Americans should and could have landed at Normandy with something equalling the Panther. But for all the infighting, this did not happen.
     
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    In short; M26 came late in the war, because it wasn't ready until late in the war.

    The internet tone is often 'but they should have done X, the fools!'.
    Shoulda woulda coulda.
    Immensely serious engineers & soldiers doing what they could with resources available in pressurised timescales, having basically been attacked.

    Miss-steps & confusions along the way, certainly, obviously, but hindsight a wonderful thing and I'll continue to applaud what was achieved in such a short time from a largely standing start.
     
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  19. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..you must not know how engineering/production/design works....I've been in those fields for over 30 years
    ...again, they were still going with a 76mm/75mm in 1943....like I said, the mind frame was not there for ''big'' guns/big tanks/etc
    ..and the US kept ''upping'' the design...the first designs were for an upgraded M4!! so that takes time...then, they need/want to upgrade that!!
    ...again, they were designing then building,then testing mockups of the advanced M4, then designing, building, testing the T20, then T22, 23, etc models... then designing, building, testing the different T26 models....then finally, they design, build, test the M26

    ...the ''infighting''' doesn't count = irrelevant--that's part of the reason why they didn't produce it faster...that went on in Germany and England, also--and it goes on today--it's part of the process= for example--the F111...they wanted the same plane for the Navy and USAF....but ''infighting'' cut it out of the NAVY---much time/etc '''wasted''' getting a plane for the Navy
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I was always of the impression that the M-26 came late in the war because it was not wanted earlier in the war.

    60-80 years of to think about past decisions has this effect of giving the false impression that one is smarter than those who came before.
     

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