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Tanks of the Month: T20 and M26 Pershing

Commanders,

Having told you all about the T1 Heavy and M6 last month, it now is time to move onto the evolution of American medium tanks. This month we present to you the T20 and its bigger brother, the M26 Pershing and offer a bonus on both of these vehicles.

 

During September (from 7:30 CEST on the 1st till 7:00 CEST on the 28th) you will be able to enjoy 125% profit on the following vehicles:
  • T20, American tier VII medium tank
  • M26 Pershing, American tier VIII medium tank

 

As usual, we’ll start with a little bit of history:

After the M4 Sherman was introduced into mass production, the American military decided to continue to improve its military potential.  On the 25th of May 1942, they started working on another vehicle, which was originally named the M4X.

Initially there were three medium tank prototypes called T20, T22 and T23.   All were all very similar, with the exception of the type of transmission used on each one. Each of the prototypes had several models which were equipped with different guns and suspension models.

However, the entire T20 series was never introduced into mass production due to critical problems with oil leaking and overheating. The T22 series was also cancelled, this time because of transmission problems and the need for larger caliber guns than the T22 series was initially equipped with.

 

 

Meanwhile, the T23 series was initially considered a success. It was the first of the vehicle series which was actually able to maneuver at an acceptable pace. In May 1943 an order for 250 units of the T23 series came in.  However, the vehicles were never sent to the front line and never saw combat. This was because of two issues: the untried transmission and problems with weight distribution.

Because of these issues, modified versions of the vehicle were ordered instead: the T23E3 and T23E4. The T23E4 shared the fate of the T20 and T22 series and was never completed. However, the T23E3 with a torsion bar suspension was more successful due to improved ground pressure compared with the original T23 series.

In 1943, the Ordnance Department tried to standardize the T20E3 and T23E3 series, but the request was rejected and the entire project was dropped.

The T20 series later evolved into the T25, which was simply a bigger version of the T23. After that, it evolved into the T26 and T26E1.

The M26 Pershing, named after General John J. Pershing, was initially called the T26E3.

The T26 series had been designed when the need for a more heavily armored version of the T25 had arisen. The main issue during development of the T26 series was the extremely high mass of the tank (over 45 tons). To try and reduce this, the vehicles were changed to having a Torque-matic transmission. The first order for the T26E1 was placed by the Ordnance Department in 1943 and the first batch of 500 vehicles was supposed to be delivered in 1944.  However, that plan was stopped by a decision of the Armored Force Board who wanted to mount a 90 mm gun on the vehicles. Later the Army Ground Forces filed an order for 1000 T26E1s equipped with a 76 mm gun. This second order was not resolved until 1944 because of further development work that was needed.

On the 1st June 1944 a new order came in from the European Theatre of Operations for the T26 equipped with 90 mm and 105 mm guns. Those vehicles were then renamed to M26 Pershing and assigned as heavy tanks.

Whilst the M26 Pershing was deployed to Europe in 1945 and took part in some battles of World War II, it didn’t see a lot of combat in Europe.  Nonetheless, wherever the tanks were used, they seemed to prove their technological superiority over enemy vehicles. The main problem with them was the heavy weight.  This prevented them from crossing many bridges in Europe, which had only been designed to support lighter vehicles.   However, the tanks were widely used in the Pacific in the battle of Okinawa in 1945 and then served alongside the M46 Patton in the Korean War.

 

In-game performance:

T20 medium tank

In World of Tanks, the T20 is an American tier VII medium tank and is a truly ferocious beast. It is available for research after the M4A3E2 (also known as the Jumbo Sherman) and after the M4A3E8 (also known as the Easy 8). The research cost after both vehicles is 55500 experience. After researching the T20 you will be able to research the M26 Pershing.

T20 general characteristics (the characteristics that do not change when swapping modules):

Speed limit (km/h) 56
Hull armor in mm (front/sides/rear) 63/50/38
Crew 5 members: commander, gunner, driver, radio operator and loader
XP needed to research all modules from stock 54900 xp
XP needed to research next vehicle (M26 Pershing) 98100 xp

 

T20 modules:

Suspensions:

Suspension name Load limit (t) Traverse speed (deg/s) Weight (kg) Experience cost
Suspension HVSS T48 30 37 5400 Stock module
Suspension HVSS T51 34 37 5400 8000

The suspension in the T20 is a necessary improvement for as early as possible. Although the suspension does not increase the traverse speed or general performance, it is required to mount the upgraded turret, which in turn allows mounting of the top 90 mm and 105 mm guns.

 

Engines:

Engine name Engine power (h.p.) Chance of fire on impact Weight (kg) Experience cost
Ford GAA 520 20% 569 Stock module
Ford GAN 560 20% 569 11500

The stock engine power is only slightly lower than the improved engine power, but when moving up on hills or on curves the enhanced engine power is clearly visible.

 

Guns:

Gun name Gun caliber (mm) Rate of Fire (rounds per minute) Average penetration in mm (AP
/APCR
/HE)
Average damage (AP
/APCR
/HE)
Accuracy at 100 m (m) Aiming time (s) Weight (kg) Xp cost
76 mm Gun M1A1 76 14.29 128/177
/38
115/110
/185
0.43 2.3 1567 Stock module
76 mm Gun M1A2 76 18.18 128/177
/38
115/110
/185
0.4 2.3 1590 5800
105 mm SPH M4L23 105 7.5 HE/HEAT
53/150
HE/HEAT
410/350
0.55 2.3 2600 1500
90 mm Gun M3 90 6.38 160/243
/45
240/240
/320
0.38 2.3 2050 14000

The M26 Pershing has 4 guns available. The stock M1A1 gun is very similar to the M1A2 gun; the only difference is an improved rate of fire and slightly improved accuracy. Both of these guns are pretty weak, but fortunately the upgraded gun can be mounted without any upgrades, as it fits into the stock load limit and does not require the upgraded turret. The 90 mm and 105 mm guns require first researching and mounting the upgraded T20 turret, the T20D2. The 90 mm Gun M3 is the most commonly used gun on the T20.  Its good penetration and higher damage output, combined with a far higher accuracy, makes it really effective on the battlefield. The 105 mm SPH M4L23 is a short-barreled and inaccurate howitzer.  It often delivers very little practical damage thanks to the thick armor of most opponents and is generally considered inferior to the 90 mm M3.

It is worth researching the 90 mm M3 gun before researching the M26 Pershing as this gun can be equipped on both vehicles.  In fact, the M26 only has one better gun that is not available for the T20. Besides, the grind for the M26 Pershing will be by far easier when using the 90 mm gun than when using the 76 mm M1A2.

 

Turrets:

Turret name Armor in mm (front/sides/rear) Traverse speed (deg/sec) View range (m) Weight (kg) Tank hitpoints Experience cost
T20D1 88/63/63 44 370 7000 1000 Stock module
T20D2 88/63/63 42 390 8400 1100 8050

At first glance it may seem that the upgraded turret of the T20 is inferior to the stock one, but that is not true. The turret armor of both turrets is the same and losing 2 deg/sec rotation speed to gain just 20m of view range may seem a bad tradeoff.  Of course, the turret is needed to mount the 90mm M3 gun and whilst that extra 100 hitpoints could help you in many situations, the upgraded turret also has another advantage that may not be found in the statistics but is easily noticeable when looking at the visual model of the tank.

T20D1 T20D2

As you can see, the T20 stock turret is far more “boxy” than the upgraded one. The upgraded turret has a slightly better slope on its frontal armor as well as side and rear plates. This means that whilst the thickness is the same, there is a higher chance of bouncing enemy shots.

 

Radios:

Radio name Signal range (m) Weight (kg) Experience cost
SCR 508 395 100 Stock module
SCR 506 615 110 5600

The stock radio on the tank is relatively poor for a tier VII vehicle, especially a medium tank. Signal range is extremely important for a medium tank because without it, it is not possible to fully utilize the potential of this vehicle. You have to remember that the high speed allows you to quickly move from flank to flank on the battlefield and to give support to your team mates where and when they need it the most.  The good news is that the SCR 506 radio should already be researched when you unlock the tank because it is the top radio available for the M4A3E8 Sherman as well as the M4A3E2.

 

In-game playing tips:

The T20 can be an amazingly effective vehicle if you know how to use it. It is significantly different to the Jumbo Sherman and the Easy 8, so it will require a lot of adjusting to. The first thing you need to remember about the T20 is that it is an extremely maneuverable and fast vehicle with a low profile and decent gun for a medium tank of its tier. The downside is that any same-tier vehicle is a threat in a head to head engagement.

The simplest way to present the playing tips for this vehicle is a small series of “do’s” and “don’ts”. Starting with the “do’s”:

  • Always watch the minimap. You have to be aware of the situation near you as well as on the edge of your radio range. Thanks to some players using the relaying skill you can have an absolutely amazing radio range which will allow you to have perfect situational awareness.
  • Stay on the move. You are fast, small and agile with a thin armor.
  • Shoot on the move! Don’t worry about ammo cost. It’s not expensive and you have a pretty good accuracy without stopping. Often it’s purely about the risk vs. reward. The reward for landing that one shot more is not worth the risk of being damaged, or even worse, tracked.
  • Always replenish your consumables and don’t hesitate to use them. They really make a difference.
  • Perform flanking maneuvers and circle enemies. Thanks to the tank’s agility you can easily do that as well as escape from a dangerous situation.
  • Try to hide your hull when stationary.  Your turret is small and hard to hit; if the enemy can only see that part of your tank, it’s unlikely that they will manage to hit you.

Don’ts:

  • Never engage heavy tanks or tank destroyers frontally.   You will get heavily damaged or even destroyed. The T20 is not a front line brawler.
  • Don’t let them track you, especially in open field.
  • Never expose your sides; the engine is easy to damage if hit from the rear or sides.
  • Don’t pick fights alone if you aren’t sure you’ll win. You are a valuable member of the team, don’t ruin your team’s chances.

 

Recommended equipment and consumables:

 

Recommended equipment

Medium-Caliber Tank Gun Rammer (200,000 credits)

Improved Ventilation Class 2 (150,000 credits)

Vertical Stabilizer Mk 1 (500,000 credits)

 

Recommended consumables

Manual Fire Extinguisher (3000 credits)

Small Repair Kit (3000 credits)

Small First Aid Kit (3000 credits)

 

M26 Pershing

Straight after researching the T20 medium tank you can research the M26 Pershing, the tier VIII medium tank. Let’s take a look at this magnificent vehicle.

M26 Pershing general characteristics (the characteristics that do not change when swapping modules):

Speed limit (km/h) 48
Hull armor in mm (front/sides/rear) 102/76/51
Crew 5 members: commander, gunner, driver, radio operator and loader
XP needed to research all modules from stock 92700
XP needed to research next vehicle (M46 Patton) 174 690

 

M26 Pershing modules:

Suspensions:

Suspension name Load limit (t) Traverse speed (deg/s) Weight (kg) Experience cost
M26T80E1 42.35 36 10000 Stock module
M26T81 45.05 38 10000 13500

As always, the suspension in the M26 is a necessary upgrade, but unlike the T20, it is possible to mount a large number of the modules without the upgrade. You could either mount the 90 mm T15E2M2 gun, SCR 508 radio and AV-1790-1 engine or the 76 mm Gun M1A2 gun, M26M67 turret, SCR 508 radio and V-1790-1 engine. It is not possible to mount both the T15E2M2 gun and the M26M67 turret at the same time without upgrading the suspension.

 

Engines:

Engine name Engine power (h.p.) Chance of fire on impact Weight (kg) Experience cost
Ford GAN 560 20% 569 Stock module
Continental AV-1790-1 704 20% 569 10500

The stock engine power is significantly lower than the improved engine power, thus making it an essential improvement for the vehicle. Without the improved engine the M26 Pershing has big problems climbing hills and reaching its top speed even on flat surfaces.

 

Guns:

Gun name Gun caliber (mm) Rate of Fire (rounds per minute) Average penetration in mm (AP
/APCR
/HE)
Average damage (AP
/APCR
/HE)
Accuracy at 100 m (m) Aiming time (s) Weight (kg) Xp cost
76 mm Gun M1A1 76 14.29 128/177
/38
115/110
/185
0.43 2.3 1567 Stock module
76 mm Gun M1A2 76 18.18 128/177
/38
115/110
/185
0.4 2.3 1590 5800
105 mm SPH M4L23 105 7.5 HE/HEAT
53/150
HE/HEAT
410/350
0.55 2.3 2600 1500
90 mm Gun M3 90 7.32 160/243
/45
240/240
/320
0.38 2.3 2050 14000
90 mm Gun T15E2M3 90 7.32 180/268
/45
240/240
/320
0.37 2.3 2250 18900

The M26 Pershing has 5 guns available. Four of them are the same as the T20, so we shall not describe them in detail (you can read about them above). The best gun by far for the M26 Pershing is the 90 mm T15E2M3 gun, which is an improved version of the top T20 gun, the 90 mm M3. The T15E2M3 has the same RoF, improved penetration values of the AP and APCR shells (by 20 and 25 mm respectively), slightly higher accuracy (0.01 better) and higher mass. By default when buying a new Pershing, the first thing one should do is mount the top T20 gun on it, so that its performance is significantly better than with its stock gun. This is also why earlier you were advised to research all the modules on the T20 before proceeding to the M26 Pershing. When equipped with its top gun the M26 Pershing is a real beast and can damage any and all enemies it can meet, although sometimes it requires aiming at weak spots.

 

Turrets:

Turret name Armor in mm (front/sides/rear) Traverse speed (deg/sec) View range (m) Weight (kg) Tank hitpoints Experience cost
M26M71 114/76/76 36 390 8000 1350 Stock module
M26M67 114/76/76 38 400 9700 1440 19500

The M26 Pershing turrets are visually very similar, but their statistics differ. The upgraded turret delivers a faster rotation speed, slightly better view range and most importantly, more hitpoints. Thanks to the upgraded turret it is easier to aim and the tank becomes more durable; both of these advantages are priceless on the battlefield.

 

The radios:

Radio name Signal range (m) Weight (kg) Experience cost
SCR 508 395 100 Stock module
SCR 528 745 80 9000

Unlike the T20, the top radio is not transferable from the previous vehicle and you will need to research it.  It is worth it though, partly because of its amazing signal range and partly because it can be transferred to many other vehicles in the American tech tree, including the M46 Patton, T95, M24 Chaffee and more. It is a necessary addition for the exact same reasons as the T20.

 

In-game playing tips:

The M26 Pershing is very similar to the T20 in playstyle. The difference is that the heavier hull and turret armor as well as the better gun give it far more options. The slower speed makes it far less useful as a scout, but thanks to its agility it is possible to avoid enemy shots even more easily than with the T20. The M26 Pershing also has an amazing ability of being able to stop dead in its tracks as well as  to rotate without moving, making retreat quick and easy when any signs of danger become visible. Additionally, the huge gun mantle covers the majority of the turret front making it very hard to penetrate.  For this reason, using hull-down tactics is strongly advised.

As with the T20, here go the “do’s” and “don’ts”. Remember all of the points mentioned in the T20 part of the article and also additionally:

Do:

  • Lead your attack force, especially in tank companies when you are amongst the top dogs.
  • Use hull-down tactics, which especially when facing heavier enemies can save your life.
  • Take advantage of the very good reload speed and rain shells on the enemy even more than with the T20.

Don’t:

  • The same things as with the T20 apply, by now you should have mastered them!

 

Recommended equipment and consumables:

 

Recommended equipment

Medium-Caliber Tank Gun Rammer (200,000 credits)

Improved Ventilation Class 2 (150,000 credits)

Vertical Stabilizer Mk 1 (500,000 credits)

 

Recommended consumables

Manual Fire Extinguisher (3000 credits)

Small Repair Kit (3000 credits)

Small First Aid Kit (3000 credits)

 

We hope that you enjoyed this tank of the month description and that you will have an awesome month with your American medium tanks.

Happy hunting, commanders!

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