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- "Pershings Dead Ahead!"
- ―Sunflower Team
The Pershing was a heavy tank of the United States Army. It was designated a heavy tank when it was first designed in World War II due to its 90 mm gun, and its armor. The tank is named after General of the Armies John J. Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in World War I. It was briefly used both in World War II and the Korean War. In the anime, it first appears in Girls und Panzer der Film.
The M26 was the culmination of a series of tank prototypes that began with the T20 in 1942 and represented a significant design departure from the previous line of U.S. Army tanks that had ended with the M4 Sherman; a number of design features were tested in the various prototypes, some of which were experimental dead-ends, but many of which would become permanent characteristics of subsequent modern 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.
Improving the M4
The army's first lineage of tanks had evolved from the M1 Combat Car and progressed to the M2 Light Tank, M2 Medium Tank, M3 Lee, and finally the M4 Sherman; these tanks all shared the common traits of using rear-mounted Continental air-cooled radial aircraft engines and a front sprocket drive. The rear engine-front sprocket drive layout required a driveshaft to pass underneath the turret, which increased the overall height of the tank, a characteristic shared with German tanks of World War II that also used this layout. In addition, the large diameter of the radial engines in the M4 line of tanks added further to the hull height. These mechanical 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, and was intended as an improved medium tank to follow the M4. An earlier heavy tank, the M6 had been standardized in February 1942, but proved to be a failure. The U.S. Army had no doctrinal use for a heavy tank at the time.
The M26 was introduced late into World War II and saw only a limited amount of combat. The main cause behind the delay was that there was opposition to production of the tank from the Army Ground Forces, headed by General Leslie McNair. There were 3 specific factors that caused the delay of the M26 production and limited improvements of the M4:
1) The US Army ran under the Tank Destroyer Doctrine
2) An introduction of a heavy tank would affect America's 3,000 mile supply line to Europe as it would create problems in terms of transportation, supply, service, and reliability
3) A sense of complacency fell upon those in charge of creating tanks for the Army because the Sherman, in 1942, was superior to the most common German tanks: Panzer III and early models of the Panzer IV. However, due to their arrogance of the not anticipating any future German tanks, such as the Tiger I and the Panther , the Ordance Department lacked any guidance from the rest of the army, continued with its T23 project in 1943. By contrast, the British and Russians were in a full arms race on improving their tanks
Production finally began in November 1944. Ten T26E3 tanks were produced that month at the Fisher Tank Arsenal, 30 in December, 70 in January 1945, and 132 in February. The Detroit Tank Arsenal also started production in March 1945, and the combined output was 194 tanks for that month. Production continued through the end of the war, and over 2,000 were produced by the end of 1945.
In Girls und Panzer der Film
First encounter with the Pershings is when the Morning Glory Team was crossing the forest and Dandelion Team in the area of the river. In the forest, Azumi's Team was trying to break through Morning Glory defense to do an encirclement against Sunflower Team. Kay gave the order to hold up, but with the Pershings concentrating their fire Morning Glory could hardly do anything. The Chi-Ha-Tan students became upset and began to attack, but the charge failed and resulted in a Chi-Ha and a Shin-Ho-To destroyed. Kay ordered Alisa to lead a pursuit, but this also failed, due to shells that began to rain down on Alisa's M4A1(76), damaging it's tracks, transmission, and turret.
Sunflower had taken the hill and prepared for the invading forces that broke through Morning Glory, but when they started to attack, Artillery started to bombard them and destroyed 2 Kuromorimine Panthers. Maho gave the order to move before the next attack, but they later realized that they had been surrounded from two directions and began to panic. Maho gave the order to retreat and regroup with Dandelion Team.
While retreating, Katyusha got into trouble with the pursuing Pershings. Klara, Nina, and Nonna sacrificed themselves in order to protect Katyusha and to allow her to escape. Nonna immobilized 2 Pershings before finally being defeated.
After Miho decided to take down the Artillery first, Acorn Platoon found a Karl-Gerät in a dry river bed area, protected by a platoon of 3 Pershings. Mika and crew of BT-42, serving as a distraction, started an attack and immobilized 1 Pershing. The 2 remaining Pershings started chasing BT-42, and when the shot from Karl-Gerät missed and hit the bridge, 1 Pershing got hit by rubble and was immobilized. Finally, the remaining Pershing also was immobilized after a long fight, but not without also knocking out the BT-42.
- In WWII, Pershing was designated as Heavy Tank, but after the war, it was reclassified as Medium Tank.
- In the anime, the instances where a Pershing is taken out are usually due to a shot to the turret ring.
- Main article: M26 Pershing/Gallery
|Light Tanks and Tankettes||7TP • AMR-35 • BT-42 • Crusader • CV L3/33 • FT-17 • M22 Locust • M24 Chaffee • Mark VI • Panzerkampfwagen II • Panzer 38(t) • R35 • T-70 • Tetrarch • TK Tankette • Type 95 Ha-Go • Type 97 Te-Ke|
|Medium Tanks||Centurion Mark I • Panzerkampfwagen III • Panzerkampfwagen IV • Panzerkampfwagen V "Panther" • M3 Lee • M4 Sherman • M13/40 • Matilda II • Carro Armato P26/40 • Somua S35 • T-34 • T-44 • Type 89 I-Go/Chi-Ro • Type 3 Chi-Nu • Type 97 Chi-Ha|
|Heavy Tanks||ARL 44 • Renault B1 Bis • Black Prince • Churchill Mark VII • IS-2 • KV-2 • M26 Pershing • Carro Armato P26/40 • Mark IV • Panzerkampfwagen VI "Tiger" • Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B "Tiger II" • Panzerkampfwagen VIII "Maus" • VK45.01 Porsche Tiger|
|Tank Destroyers||Elefant • Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" • Jagdpanzer IV • Jagdpanther • Jagdtiger • Semovente da 75/18 • Sturmgeschütz III • T28 Super Heavy Tank|
|Self-Propelled Artillery||Karl-Gerät Mortar|
|Main Battle Tank||Type 10|