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Reference Articles
M26 Pershing Walkaround Part 3

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M26 Pershing Walkaround Part 1
M26 Pershing Walkaround Part 2
M26 Pershing Walkaround Part 3
MiG-17 Walk Around
P-26A Peashooter Details
Skyraider Details
T-72 Details Part 1
T-72 Details Part 2
T-72 in Iraqi Service

Photographs and Text by Scott Taylor

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The final part of our look at the Pershing focuses on the turret. Here we are looking aft towards the commander's cupola. The commander's sighting vane is prominent front and centre, with the gunner's sighting periscope lid is beside that. The round plug welded to the turret roof in the centre is where the searchlight mount would originally have been. Of note is the fact that the large lifting lug at the extreme right is very heavy and has been cleanly welded to the turret roof.

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The harsh late afternoon light allows us to see the many different textures present on the turret roof. The machine gun pintle mount in the centre can, with four bolts removed, be folded back on the turret roof (see Dennis Glas' article on chemical etching in the Modeling Articles section for some ideas on how to detail this part). Immediately behind that are several casting marks, and a tie-down for a canvas cover for the machine gun. The circular plates to the left and right cover the antenna mounts, while the triangular piece at the lower right is for the clip that secures the .50 calibre in traveling position.

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The M26 on interior display has a .50 calibre in place on the turret roof. Details of the MG mount and the ammunition box tray can be seen. As an aside, I highly recommend Verlinden's affordable new resin .50 calibres for any American World War II vehicle. Yes, that's a Tiger Ausf B ("332," formerly of SS-sPzAbt 501 in the Ardennes and previously on display at Aberdeen Proving Grounds) visible in the background.

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A canvas cover that protected the area between the mantlet and the turret front was often seen on Pershings, and this photo shows how it was constructed. Notice the seams, especially where it covers the lifting lugs on the turret and the mantlet, and how metal strips snap over the edges to secure the cover to the tank. The lifting lug on the turret roof of this vehicle is of a different style than that seen on the other tank, and appears to have been cut off and reattached; behind it can be seen the plug for the turret roof searchlight. The textured patch at the bottom of the photo behind the mantlet cover identifies this as a later production turret; the patch replaces the hoisting device brackets fitted to the turret of the vehicle on outside display. Once again, both early and late production turrets show up on all members of the Pershing/Patton family, from the M26 through the M26A1 and M46.

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This photo looking forward on the M26's turret shows the lifting lugs on the turret, the mantlet housing, and the mantlet itself. Of note is the prominent weld seam that runs around the collar of the mantlet, just where it meets the gun. The studded strips for securing the mantlet cover can also easily be seen in this photograph.

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The commander's vision cupola on the M26 is the same as that seen on later production M4 Sherman variants and, as can be seen, is quite complicated in construction. The casting numbers which Dennis Glas added to his Sherman cupola (see his chemical etching article in the Modeling Articles section) are quite prominent. Just to the right of the cupola can be seen the right-side bracket for the turret-mounted hoisting device, present on early production turrets only. On top of the cupola hatch can be seen the hook for locking the hatch in the open position. This is attached to a handle on the inside which can release the lock and close the hatch. Notice the gap in the turret casting at the rear of the cupola, which allowed water to drain off.

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Another view of the commander's cupola, showing more details of its construction. The round part in the centre of the hatch rotates, and a periscope normally protrudes from under the flap. To the left is the turret top machine gun pintle, while the rough turret casting texture is again visible. The viewing prisms in the fixed portion of the cupola have been broken and painted over, although in my experience these are not easy to see out of, even when they are in perfect condition!

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Our final photo is not of a Pershing at all, but an M24 Chaffee at the Oshawa Military Museum. I have included this picture, however, because it well illustrates the searchlight mount on the roof of the M24, which happens to be a common fitting with the Pershing and many other American vehicles. If necessary, the searchlight can be detached and stowed inside the vehicle; typically, when not in use, the searchlight is pointed at the roof of the vehicle to protect the bulb. On the right side of the tank is a plug attached to a chain, which covers the mount when the light is stowed.

There are some great printed references out there for the Pershing. If you are able to find a copy, the absolute best is Richard Hunnicutt's definitive Pershing: A History of the Medium Tank T20 Series (2nd Edition Bellingham, Washington: Feist Publications, 1996). Unfortunately, it is neither cheap nor readily available, but it's worth every penny. A much cheaper, but nevertheless valuable, reference is number 3 in the Museum Ordnance Special series,  M26 Pershing Medium Tank by G. Ronald Lehman (Darlington, Maryland: Darlington Productions, Inc., 1994). Illustrated with many images from the M26 technical manual and photos of the Aberdeen Pershing, this book offers particularly good coverage of the suspension, an area that I know I neglected in these articles. More recently, Steve Zaloga has done a volume in Osprey's New Vanguard series on the M26/M46 family, that I will comment on as soon as I get a copy but have no doubt is excellent, and Squadron/Signal has recently announced an In Action title on the Pershing which I will also be actively seeking. A recent Schiffer book by Troy D. Thiel, The M26 Pershing and Variants: T26E3/M26 M26A1 M45 M46/M46A1 (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2002; ISBN: 0-7643-1544-7) has some great combat photos of Pershings in action both in World War II and Korea.  In my opinion, an excellent value at $24.95 CDN.  Steve Zaloga's article on building the DML T26E3 in Military Modelling (Vol. 30, No. 7) should also provide all of the inspiration you need to build a Pershing.  Steve's great model can also be seen on Missing Links. 

On the Web, Mike Kendall's series on AFV Interiors is an excellent reference on both the inside and outside of the Pershing.  I am sure that resin manufacturers will have an interior for the Tamiya kit soon, but if not, then this page will have all you need to do it yourself. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that's even more true if the words are in Italian and you can't speak a word of the language.  The great Italian wesbite Ferrea Mole has 40 images from the M26's technical manual, and is an invaluable reference for any Pershing project. Finally, Terry Ashley has just posted a review of the Tamiya kit, including a comparison with the DML kit, on the Perth Military Modelling Society's website.

Well, I hope this helps you to figure out how to detail your Pershing kit. Now let's see some built!

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