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United States' T25 and T26 medium tank

Photos

T25 Medium Tank:
Germany's Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant transport
Aberdeen Tank Museum
T25E1 Medium Tank:
Germany's Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant transport
Aberdeen Tank Museum

Design

With encounters with German Tiger tanks in Tunisia, tanks crews were wanting a tank with bigger guns than 75 mm and 76 mm. It was hoped that the T26 would be able to battle toe to toe with the Tigers.

A request for 8,000 T25s and T26s with 75 mm and 76 mm guns was rejected.

Ordnance Recommendation

In March/May 1943 the Ordnance Committee suggested that some of the T23s be fitted with 90 mm guns for testing. This was declined but fitting a 90 mm gun to the T25 and T26 was approved.

The T26 was to have an inch thicker armor and tracks four inches wider than the T25.

An order for 40 T25s and 10 T26s was approved.

T25

The T25 was based on the T23 with a different suspension and turret. The turret was larger to handle the 90 mm T7 gun that sat in a T99 mount. The suspension and tracks were later used on the M4 Mediums.

Abandoning the Electric Transmission

Army Ground Forces rejected the electric transmission as it had way too many hurdles to get it to perform properly. In August 1943 the Ordnance Committee converted the vehicles to torquematic transmissions which eliminated most of the problems.

T26

After it was seen that the M4 medium was inadequate the Armored Forces requested that that the T26E1 get immediate priority with 500 being built and Ordnance recommended that 1,500 be built. However the Army Ground Forces felt that was too many and only authorized 250.

T26E3

It was shown that the T26E1 didn't have enough room for carrying ammunition and the result was the T26E3. Ordnance wanted the T26E3 to become standardized but the Army Ground Forces didn't agree as they felt it hadn't been tested enough. There was even the request to ship the first 20 T26E3s to Europe but, again, Army Ground Forces refused. However, Ordnance was able to talk the General Staff into shipping 20 of them to Europe where they arrived by the end of January 1945. Finally, at this time, Army Ground Forces declared the T26 battle worthy.

Aberdeen Demonstration

In June 1944 a demonstration of the T26E1 and T26E3 were conducted at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and Ordnance reclassified them as heavy tanks.

Production

Ordnance wanted to have 500 T25s and 500 T26s produced so that they would be available in 1944, but the Army Service Forces would not authorize it.

  • T25E1: 40
    • Manufacturer: Fisher, Ford
    • Production: Early 1944, January - May 1944
  • T26E1: 9
    • Production: January 1944 - May 1944
  • T26E1-1: 1
  • T26E3: 40
  • T26E5: 5

Variants

  • T25: The 90 mm gun fired a 24.11 lb APC shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,800'/sec. It also fire a 16.8 lb HVAP shell.
  • T25E1: The 90 mm gun fired a 24.1 lb APC shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,800'/sec.
  • T26: Similar to T25.
  • T26E1: Similar to T25E1. Designated a heavy tank in June 1944.
  • T26E1-1: Had T15E1 high velocity 90 mm.
  • T26E2: Had 105 mm M4 L/25 howitzer in a M52 mount. Armor on turret front was increased. Became the M45.
  • T26E3: Added muzzle brake the the T26E1. More storage for ammunition.
  • T26E4: Long 90 mm T15E2 L/73 gun.
  • T26E5: Had very thick armor on turret and bow front.

Usage

European Test

In January 1945 the first 20 of the T26E3s arrived in Europe for testing.

Specifications

  T25
Crew 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 77,590 lb, 82,000 lb
Length 18' 6 3/8", 26' 11 5/16"
Height 8' 4", 8' 10.5"
Width 10' 6 5/16", 10' 11"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 17 11/16"
Ground contact length Left: 148 5/16"
Right: 152.5"
Ground pressure 13.9 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 90 mm
90 mm M3
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
.50 cal HBM2 MG, AA
2: .30 cal M1919A4 MG, coaxial, bow
Side arms 12 hand grenades
12: 2" smoke bombs
Quantity  
Main 42
Secondary  
MG .50 cal: 500
.30 cal: 5,000
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 1.5" - 3.5"
Hull Front, Upper 3"@0°
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 2"@0°
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 1.5"@0°
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 3.5"@0°
Turret Sides 2.5"@0°
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAF
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-8
Capacity  
Net HP 470
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Electric
Torqmatic
3 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 200 gallons
Road consumption 0.4 mpg
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Manual and hydraulic
Speed - Road 25 mph, 30 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 90 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +25°
Fording depth 4'
Trench crossing 7' 11"
Vertical obstacle 3' 6"
Climbing ability 30° slope
Suspension (Type) Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS)
Horizontal volute
Wheels each side 6
Return rollers each side 5
Tracks (Type) Steel, rubber bushed track pins
Length  
Width 1' 7", 1' 11"
Diameter  
Number of links 82
Pitch 6"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 105"
  T25E1
Crew Commander, driver, co-driver, gunner, loader.
5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 77,590 lb
34.6 tons, 38.3 tons
35,194 kg
Length 19' 4.5", 21.9', 22' 11", 22' 11.25"
7 m
Height 9' 1", 9' 1 3/8", 10.3'
2.77 m
Width 10.3', 10' 4"
3.1 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 17.7"
Ground contact length 152.25"
Ground pressure 13.3 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 90 mm
90 mm M3
90 mm T7 (M3)
90 mm T-7, L/53
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
2: 7.62 mm (.30 cal) MG
12.7 mm (.50 cal) MG
2: .30 cal Browning MG
.50 cal Browning MG AA
2: .30 cal M1919A4 MG, bow, coaxial
1: .50 cal M2, AA
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 48, 70
Secondary  
MG .30: 5,000
.50: 300, 550
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 12, 87
1.5" - 3"
Front: 3"
Side: 2"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 3.5"-2.5"
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAF
Ford
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-8
Capacity  
Net HP 500@2,600 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Hydramatic
Torquematic
Combination torque converter and gear
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric
Electrical system  
Ignition Magneto
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 191 gallons
Road consumption 0.5 mpg
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Manual and hydraulic
Speed - Road 30 mph
48 kph
Speed - Cross Country 18-20 mph, 20 mph
Range - Road 92 miles, 100 miles
161 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +20°
Fording depth 4' 8"
Trench crossing 7' 6"
Vertical obstacle 2'
Climbing ability 31° (60%) slope
Suspension (Type) Torsion Bar
Individual torsion rod
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type) Cast
Length  
Width 1' 7", 1' 11"
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch 6"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8.75', 9'
  T26
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 100
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  T26E1
Crew 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 86,500 lb
Length 22' 4.75"
Height 9' 1 3/8"
Width 11' 2"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 90 mm
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 2" - 4"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAF
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Torquematic
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 25 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2'
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  T26E2
Crew 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 93,000 lb
Length 20' 9"
Height 9' 1"
Width 11' 6"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament (mm)  
Main 105 mm howitzer
Secondary 3: MG
MG  
MG - coaxial  
MG - bow  
MG - antiaircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 2.5" - 5"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAF
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 20 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  T26E5
Crew 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 98,750 lb
Length 20' 9"
Height 9' 1"
Width 11' 6"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament (mm)  
Main 90 mm
Secondary 3: MG
MG  
MG - coaxial  
MG - bow  
MG - antiaircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 2" - 6"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAF
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 22 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  3. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  4. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  5. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  6. Profile AFV Weapons #32 The M6 Heavy and M26 Pershing, Robert J. Icks, Colonel AUS-Retired, 1971
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