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Planning Munitions for War
This is an interesting treatise on the Ordnance Department written as part of their WW II history and covers the M26 and other subjects. There's little said I haven't read elsewhere but it is the Ordnance viewpoint on some issues. Links to the free pdf and web site follow. Those who are skittish can search for:
cmh pub 10-9
Also interesting are Cmh pub 10-11 On Beachhead and Battlefront (which includes mure about procurement and development) and Cmh Pub 10-10 Procurement and Supply.
- I lookit these searched the pdfs an it seems Devers is responsible for the T26. Didn't he suggest the 90mm on the T23? Then want it on an improved tank? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 18:50, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
"Through much of 1943, there was little perceived need within the U.S. Army for a better tank than the 75 mm M4 Sherman, and 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."
No real facts in the article just opinions concerning the M26 development
The conspiracy theory sort of thing with the AGF, McNair, Tank Destroyers, and inexperienced combat commanders really isn't helpful and not actually factual, being based on opinions of others opinions. Too much is being read into Zaloga's and the others story telling where they are throwing in too many irrelevant details. It simply took a long time for the Ordnance Department to actually get the T26/M26 ready for production. McNair did deny one request for production - but at that time the T26 was not ready for production. When the T26/M26 was ready in November 1944 and the AGF tried to block it, the Army Chief of Staff Marshal overrode them. I have seen no indication that anything the AGF did caused any delays; McNair did not like the idea but he let Ordnance play around all they wanted. He threatened to prevent production but the M26 was no where near ready when he did so. The ground commanders were asked for their viewpoint on tank needs in 1945 and numerous differing options were returned because they had nothing but some statistics to work with. They and their men had not seen nor driven any proposed tank making it impossible to reach a consensus on what was best.
The Tank Destroyer doctrine did nothing but force the Ordnance Department to build GMCs with better cannon (for antitank work) than the tank's 75s.
The same thing happened with the 76-mm M1. If Jacob Devers had supported production of the first kludged M4s with 76's in April 1943 the Army might have tried them, learned them, recommended fixes. He would not accept the "crude" first fix with an 800 pound storage box on back of the turret to balance. Ordnance had developed the 3-inch GMC M10 for the Tank Destroyers in 1942 and its gun bound the turret like the 76 did and they fixed it with the workable but crude counterbalances. If Ordnance had taken the time to lengthen the turret for the 76, maybe widen it some, I might have pleased Devers enough to accept it then and there. But, no, the quick fix meant it took the Ordnance Department until August 1943 to get a setup the Armored Forces would accept. McNair resisted it; the very man who he had set up to try to better control Armored Command convinced him to allow production; production commenced January 1944. In May 1944 the ground forces were schooled on it; they had not seen the M4 (76) nor had their men driven any. They had nothing but numbers to work from and those indicated they would loose ground fire ability for armor penetrating ability. They had no idea what to do. They were experienced enough to not just accept some pretty new toy because it was said to be wonderful. They needed a chance to see what their men - who were doing the fighting and dieing - thought of it based on their own hands on experiences.
Notice how the M4 (76) was not an entirely new tank like the T26 and how long it took to get it into the soldier's hands.
The M18 armed with the 76 was finished in mid-1943 or so; tried in Italy with user feedback; approved; and in Normandy in June 1944.
If Ordnance had readied the M26 in timefor the Army to put it through trials, and in time for actual mass production and delivery, things would have been different. The T26/M26 was not finalized in the form used in 1945 in time to do more than was done with it. As Zaloga noted in Armored Thunderbolt, after all the fuss and nonsense that he had built up with tank destroyers and AGF and so on - entertaining red herrings - the actual development of the M26 drug on so long that in the end there was no real way for it to get into production any sooner. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 20:19, 28 November 2016 (UTC)
- Some of those dates look wrong but...So what you are saying is the OD started too late? Let's do something the "analysts" can't be bothered with.
- It took 12 months of development for the M3 Grant from first concepts in June 1940 to production June 1941.
- The T23 came about September 1942 so it might be expected September 1943. Hunnicutt (page 80) says first production pilot 10/1943 and final tanks 12/1944.
- In May 1943 250 T23s ordered of them 10 as T26s So, the expected date for T26 production is May 1944 and Hunnicuut page 104 says they were built Feb. 1944 to May 1944. The Armored guys wrung them out and had a fix-list including (you'll love this) a muzzle brake for the 90mm and 70 rounds of ammo rather than 42. Production started Nov. 1944. February 1945 the Zebra Mission in Europe.
- To get the T26 into Europe in 1944 the Ordnance needed to start on it May 1942. All that nonsense everyone is spewing about other people is just that. T26/M26 development was started too late.Jdnwiki2016 (talk) 01:33, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
- Thougt I had a reference but it wss not verifiable.
- The Wikipedia writers are mistaking Zaloga's explanations of why the Army commanders were unable to see the need for better armed tanks in time for any action to be taken. The development cycle for the M26 was no longer than that of other similar new tanks; at 19 months it was likely faster. He went over that in his M26/M46 book but it obviously flew over the head of the Wikipedia authors. Zaloga writes like a drama queen and that leads to drama queen fans. Under Stalin the Soviets responded quickly to needs having starting in 1941; Hitler pushed German developments. The US had weak leadership where head of the AGF McNair resisted improvements in favor of Tank Destroyers and the other major Army leaders had no idea what to do, asking for improvements months after the timeline needed to implement them had passed. Such as the request for 1,000 x 90mm armed M4s late in 1943; they might have started arriving late in 1944 if someone overrode Armored Forces to prevent them from wasting months in trials and requiring fixes because the 90mm had no muzzle brake, etc. (See the76mm gun.) And asking the British to supply 17pdr armed M4s only after the need became obvious in 1944. Britain had weak leadership in tank design and had to combine the 17pdr with the M4 to get it in a tank the Army wanted. The Armored Forces spent 21 months getting the M4 Sherman into production; they seemed to think that thereafter Ordance had a magical machine that could pump out new designs and produce them in a month's notice.188.8.131.52 (talk) 16:59, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
- Take this for what you may: The explanations given so far must be overly complex. Boiled down (1) McNair did not directly interfere with development of the M26 only preferred to prevent production as stated on page 330 or 331 of On Beachhead and Battlefront: "General McNair had no objection to 'experimenting' with 90-mm. tanks, but felt that by supplying them AGF would be encouraging tank versus tank battles instead of giving antitank work to the field artillery and tank destroyers to which he thought it belonged." What he failed to do in his office was more important than any efforts he otherwise took. As commander of the Army Ground Forces he should have cultivated better combat vehicles. But, since he favored artillery and anti-tank guns he also let his leadership job slide. All he had to do was sit back and let the other branches fumble around failing to achieve anything. (2) The same culture that was responsible for the Tank Destroyer Doctrine was also responsible for slighting tank development. Yes, Tank Destroyers got better armed vehicles in the field, but in place of tanks. Work spent on the gun motor carriages could have been spent on better tanks. Again, as commander of the AGF McNair favored the tank destroyer concept (but also towed guns and artillery) over tanks so he let the Doctrine continue onward. (3) He let Ordnance fiddle around with designs like the T23 with an electrical transmission when as leader he might have ended that dead end and focused them on the 90mm armed M26. (4) If Armored Forces/Command/etc had participated more in some projects like the 76mm and M26 they may have been completed earlier and with better results. McNair let hem do as they pleased since he did not want the 76mm (at first) nor the M26. (4) Lacking the foresight of the British in arming tanks with better cannon like the 17 pounder, the ground combat commanders had only experience to teach them. As it is, they had it easy in 1942-1943 and while they took some lumps and losses their units "won" their battles so there were no had knocks let alone common sense to lead them to urgently call for better combat vehicles in 1942-1943. They did not need all tanks to mount a 17 pounder or 90mm; but rather something like the base M4 armed with the 76mm (properly set up with mzzle break, HE, WP, etc.) and 1 in 5 or 1 in 3 or so armed with a 17 pdr or 90mm. They had NONE so equipped when going into Europe in 1944. When Europe 1944 showed better guns were advisable, it was too late for anyone to provide them. That is what their "complacency" was about - the lack of personal or external forces to make them think, "Wait, why not have some well armed tanks available?" When they asked for 90mm armed M4s in 1943 and the 17 pounders in 1944, it was too late for action. McNair did not guide them along and force them to accept better tanks because he dd not want them to have better tanks. JDNatWiki (talk) 21:29, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
- "Britain had weak leadership in tank design and had to combine the 17pdr with the M4 to get it in a tank the Army wanted." - previously in 1940 Britain had had to leave most of its armour and other vehicles behind at Dunkirk and so unlike the US was having to maximise production of existing or modified vehicles at a time when it really needed to be developing new ones. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 08:44, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
It's been nearly nine years since I started extensively revising this article on the M26 Pershing. If you go back in the history of the article, my first entry was:
08:06, 21 November 2009 220.127.116.11 (I didn't start a login ID until several entries later)
The previous version of the article can only be described as very incomplete, and contained a massive bit of fake history:
08:47, 7 November 2009 SmackBot
This was because it contained the slanderous claim by Belton Cooper, made in his book "Death Traps" (and also in a History Channel documentary in 2000 where he featured as an expert tank historian of sorts) that U.S. tanks, especially the M4 Sherman, were "vastly inferior" to German tanks and that Gen. Patton was the one who personally intervened to delay the development of the M26 Pershing.
By that time in 2009, Zaloga's books "Panther vs. Sherman" and "Armored Thunderbolt" had come out, and it was clear to me that Zaloga had written "Armored Thunderbolt" specifically to address all the Fake History that Belton Cooper had been spouting, basically making stuff up that wasn't true about both the M4 and Gen. Patton.
As I started writing and revising and adding to this article, I got more books to fill out my research, eventually finding a bootleg copy of Hunnicutt's Pershing tank book (I thought it was a legit reprint - I bought it on Amazon for a great price. Later, I tracked Hunnicutt down by phone to find out who owned the rights to the photos in his book, since Wiki editors were threatening to delete the photos I had posted unless I could prove they were public domain photos. That was when Hunnicutt told me that that particular copy was a ripoff unauthorized version Made in China for which he was not getting royalties. And as it turns out, the photos in his book had been taken by a U.S. Army officer, in his official capacity as part of the Zebra Mission, so they were all public domain US government photos)
I also came across Zaloga's original "M26/M46 Pershing Tank" book, and was shocked to discover that this older Zaloga book contained that same bit of Fake History about Patton being the one responsible for delaying the development of the M26.
I've since realized that many of Zaloga's earlier works have similar sloppy such history - with tidbits about tanks and weapons thrown in without any accreditation and sometimes of dubious truth.
I decided that "Armored Thunderbolt" was a much better work by Zaloga, probably written specifically to right that wrong about Patton. You can see some serious research into the National Archives records in this book, and it is indeed quite well documented, with many many references and information based on written letters between the generals involved.
My various revisions and additions to this article continued through 2010 and I stopped editing this article in 2011. Since that time there have been hundreds and hundreds of edits made by others. All of the details about Belton Cooper's false claims and why I devoted such a big chunk of the article on McNair's role in delaying the M26 have been deleted. Many of the tinier details about when or why and who did what in the history of the M26 also got deleted. A lot of useless extraneous little tidbits got thrown in by other editors. Still, about 80-90% of the information in this article is stuff I inputted.
So, if anybody thinks that the blame on McNair is not adequately documented in this article, all I can say is that well, blame the @#$%& Wiki editors who took out all of those details. This information was there originally in the versions of this article that I wrote, and they ARE in Zaloga's book "Armored Thunderbolt". The slightly different versions of this history in the books by Hunnicutt and George Forty are also documented in their books. And so there is plenty of documentation that AGF/McNair were to blame for the delay in development of the M26 and that Belton Cooper was totally off-base in his claims about Patton.
As to the delay merely being part of the "normal" development timeline for any tank, I would strongly disagree. The T23 with the 76mm gun had been developed by Jan. 1943 and 250 had been produced by the end of the year, and this was not even a full production tank. Devers had all along been advocating for a heavier tank with a 90mm gun and the "smoking gun" letter written by McNair slamming down his push for a tank with a 90mm was written in the FALL OF 1943. Despite this, Devers was able to get the T26E1 prototype produced and it was ready by February 1944. As such, similar numbers as the T23 could have been produced and sent to Europe by the time of the Battle of the Bulge, had MacNair not been in opposition and had full production been heavily pushed by somebody in charge. And, as it turned out, the #1 advocate for the M26, Devers, got transferred to command of the 6th Army in Europe, and thus wasn't around anymore to push for this to happen faster.
Another detail that was in my original article was why the 17 pounder Sherman Firefly was not adopted by the US Army. Zaloga's book makes clear this was a case of the US Army favoring its own 90mm gun over buying the British 17 pounder, and Devers may have been guilty of squashing and thus delaying earlier efforts to adopt a US Army version of the Firefly.
So there, go read the original books, or read the earlier versions of this article I wrote
Heavy or Medium
This article seems to be very confusing on when the tank was considered medium or heavy. The first paragraph indicates medium, with a ref-note stating that the heavy designation was only brief and development went ahead as medium in 1942. The later post-ww2 section states it was heavy prior to 1946. This could probably do with a paragraph in the intro as it's particularly unusual but I'm not in a position to know one way or the other.Lkchild (talk) 20:02, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
Note: this is carrying on over onto the classification in the ww2 tanks template, wher Ive just undone a change based on the text of the article, not the reference-note which contradicts.Lkchild (talk) 20:02, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
- Chamberlain and Ellis note it was called Heavy Tank T26E1 in 1944. Which is about the time a few of them where in process of being sent to Europe. GraemeLeggett (talk) 21:03, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
- Okay, after reading two books on the M26, it was a Medium tank designed to take the place of a Medium tank, but then when the T26E3s were shipped to Europe they redesignated them as Heavy tanks in 1944, and kept the Heavy tanks designation until May 1946, when tanks that were in development were going to be larger than the M26, so they were once again redesignated them, this time back to Medium tanks. Part of me wonders if the powers that be designated them Heavy tanks in an effort to boost morale or something, but I have absolutely no proof of this. If someone else doesn't make any changes to try and clear this up in the article I will try too soon. Pennsy22 (talk) 09:23, 5 August 2017 (UTC)