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Monday, March 06, 2006

Reader Response to "Stump the Blogmeister"

Reader Jay very kindly responded to our query on the unusual tanks here and here:

"About your tanks...

The second tank is the M6 heavy tank. It was developed but never put into production because the Army ground forces calculated that they could ship 1.5 M-4 shermans for every M-6 heavy. By the time we got into combat in France, the M-6 design was obsolete. The M-26 pershing was developed and shipped instead, arriving a few weeks before the war endded.

Your first tank is either a "stretched" M-26 or a a "stretched" M-46. The rear drive sprocket which is out of your photo will tell which is which.

The M-26 has a rear drive sprocket lower than the line of return rollers for the upper line of track.

The M-46 has the rear drive sprocket in line with the upper return rollers.

There were a number of these "stretched" experimental tanks. This one looks like it has been lengthened about 4 feet, having an extra pair of road wheels, and a much larger turrret carrying the 120mm AA gun instead of the normal 90mm gun. The enlarged turret also had 2 loaders, one for the shot and one for the powder charge. There was even one of these things built, carrying the 155mm gun (that is a BIG gun guys!)

This philosphy of "stretched" hulls was actually put in to production about 1959 or 60 with the M-103 heavy tank. This was a stretched M-48 tank, again carrying the 120mm AA gun. About 50 were built and they were fielded in Germany as independent companies, held at corps level. The philosphy was they they would loiter at the rear of the battle area, picking off the JSIII Russian tanks, while the M-48 mediums mixed it up with the T-34 and T-44 tanks at shorter ranges.

You can see info about the M-6 in Chamberlain and Ellis' wonderful book "British and American Tanks and AFVs of WWII"."

If anyone can find a link to that book, I'd love to publish it here! I searched Amazon and Google, but no luck.

Thanks so much for your time and the great information Jay! We're not tankers, but we love our tanks!

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