M46 Patton

M46 Patton

Infobox Weapon

caption=USMC M46 in the Korean War.
origin=flagcountry|United States
type=Main battle tank
wars= Korean War
manufacturer=Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant
number= 800 + 360 M46A1
variants=M46 A1, M47 Patton
weight=44 tonnes
length=8.48 m
width=3.51 m
height=3.18 m
crew=5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, assistant driver)
armour=102 mm maximum
primary_armament= 90 mm gun M3A1 70 rounds
secondary_armament=0.5 in (12.7 mm) M2 machine gun
2x .30 cal M1919A4 machine guns
engine=Continental Continental AV-1790-5A V12 Air-Cooled, 12 cylinder, 4 cycle, 90° vee gasoline
engine_power=810 hp (604 kW)
transmission=General Motors CD-850-3 or -4, 2 ranges forward, 1 reverse
fuel_capacity= 878 litres
pw_ratio=18.4 hp/tonne
suspension=torsion bar
clearance= 478 mm
vehicle_range=130 km
speed=48 km/h

The M46 was an improved M26 Pershing (sometimes named Pershing II) tank and one of the U.S army's principal main battle tanks of the early Cold War, with models in service from 1949 to the mid 1950s. It was not widely used by U.S. Cold War allies, being exported only to Belgium, and only in small numbers to train crews on the upcoming M-47. The M46 tank was designed to replace the previous M26 Pershings and M4 Shermans.


After World War II most US Army armored units were equipped with a mix of M4 Sherman and M26 Pershing tanks.

Designed initially as a heavy tank, the M26 Pershing tank was reclassified as a medium tank postwar. The M26 was a significant improvement over the M4 Sherman in firepower and protection. Its mobility, however, was deemed unsatisfactory for a medium tank as it used the same engine that powered the much lighter M4A3. Its underpowered engine was also plagued with an unreliable transmission.

Work began in January 1948 on replacing the original power plant with the Continental AV-1790-3 engine and Allison CD-850-1 cross-drive transmission. The design was initially called M26E2, but modifications continued to accumulate, and eventually the Bureau of Ordnance decided that the tank needed its own unique designation. When the rebuild began in November, 1949 the upgraded M26 received not only a new power plant and a main gun with bore evacuator, but a new designation along with a name - simply M46. In total 1,160 M26s were rebuilt: 800 to the M46, 360 to the M46A1 standard.

Combat service

The only extensive combat use of the M46 was in the Korean War. The tank proved superior to the much lighter North Korean T-34-85, which were encountered in relatively small numbers. M46s formed about 15% of US tank strength in Korea; the majority of tanks in service in Korea were M4 Shermans. The M46 was in the early fifties for training purposes leased for free in small numbers to some European countries, including Belgium, France and Italy, in preparation of the introduction of the M47. US instruction teams used the vehicles to train European tank crews and maintenance personnel.


*M26E2/M46 - M26/A1 Pershing upgraded with Continental V-12 engine and cross-drive transmission. Used the same M3A1 90 mm gun as the M26A1 Pershing, and differed mainly in the position of the exhausts.Fact|date=June 2008
*M46A1 - Product improved variant with improved braking, cooling and fire suppression systems, as well as, improved electrical equipment, AV-1790-5B engine and CD-850-4 transmission.
*The later M47 Patton utilized the same hull as the M46 but with a different turret.
*M46 equipped with M3 dozer kit. [http://www.jedsite.info/tanks-mike/mike-number-us/m046_series/m46-series.html "JED The Military Equipment Directory"] ]




*Steven J Zaloga, Tony Bryan, Jim Laurier - "M26–M46 Pershing Tank 1943–1953", 2000 Osprey Publishing (New Vanguard 35), ISBN 1-84176-202-4.
*Abraham Rabinovich - "The Battle for Jerusalem June 5-7, 1967", 2004 Sefer Ve Sefer Publishing, Jerusalem, ISBN 965-7287-07-3
*Nolan, Keith W. "Into Lao's, Operation Lam Son 719 and Dewey Canyon II." 1986. Presidio Press. Account of the US Army's final offensive of the Vietnam War.

ee also

* List of armoured fighting vehicles
* M1 Abrams
* M26 Pershing
* M47 Patton
* M48 Patton
* M60
* M103 heavy tank

External links

* [http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/m46patton.html AFV Database: M46 Patton]
* [http://www.patton-mania.com/ Patton-Mania]

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