M26 Pershing Platoon (UBX43)includes three Plastic M26 Pershing Heavy Tank sprues (with T26E4 Super Pershing option), one Plastic American Tank Commander sprue & one American Tank decal sheet.
The winter battles of late 1944 and early 1945 finally demonstrated to the US Army’s high command that
the M4 Sherman, though providing excellent service in previous years, was wholly inadequate to confront German heavy armour and anti-tank guns.
Furthermore, it fatally undermined the prevailing US tank doctrine, which had prescribed leaving the engagement of enemy tanks to the Tank Destroyer battalions, freeing the tanks to support the infantry and exploit gaps in the enemy lines. A new armoured vehicle was needed to better suited to the realities of modern warfare. Fortunately, after a good deal of political debate, the T26E3 heavy tank was put into production in November 1944.
The power plant was the same 500 horsepower Ford GAF V8 petrol engine in the latest versions of Sherman. The running gear had six double-bogies per side on a new torsion bar suspension running on a 23”/58cm wide track. Together, these improvements gave the T26 considerable speed for a tank in its weight class.
The final production model, the T26E3, was given the name Pershing, in honour of General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in the First World War. The Pershing provided US tankers with a vehicle that greatly improved on the M4 and was roughly comparable to the German Panther.
By the end of 1944, the first run of 40 T26E3s was complete and after a great clamour for them, the first batch of 20 arrived in the European Theatre of Operation (ETO) at the end of January 1945 as part of the Zebra Mission—a special mission to test the latest US designs of tanks and guns in combat conditions. These experimental T26s were therefore accompanied by a contingent of specialists to help report and iron out mechanical teething problems.
Ten T26E3 tanks were issued to each of the 3rd and 9th Armored Divisions. The 3rd Armored Division allocated five each to its 32nd and 33rd Armored Regiments, who in turn allocated a single example to their five tank companies.