Saturday, 4 June 2011

Your Guide to the M26 Pershing - US Tier 9 Medium

The Heavy Tank M26 Pershing was an American heavy tank used in World War II briefly and in the Korean War. It was named after General John Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force in Europe in World War I.
Development of the M26 during World War II was prolonged by a number of factors, the most important being opposition to the tank from Army Ground Forces (AGF). As a result, only the initial 20 M26 (T26E3) tanks deployed to Europe in January 1945 saw combat in World War II.[1] The M26 and its improved derivative, the M46 Patton, both saw more combat in Korea. The M26 was underpowered and mechanically unreliable and so was withdrawn from Korea in 1951, in favor of the M46, which had a more powerful engine.[2] The lineage of the M26 continued with the M47 Patton, and was reflected in the new designs of the later M48 Patton and M60 Combat Tank.
Source: wikipedia

The M26 Pershing is the current pinnacle of the US Medium Tank tech tree in World of Tanks, occupying the Tier 9 Medium role. Whilst many might argue that people who have reached the level of the M26 Pershing should not need a guide on how it could be played, I feel that a few pointers and bits of information can help even the most seasoned player get a little bit more out of the tank, or help others learn its weakenesses and exploit them.

Firstly, here is my suggested research progression for the M26 Pershing:


NB: This assumes that you have researched everything from the T23 tank. If you do not possess the Engine and Radio from the T23, I recommend researching the Engine at #5, the second engine as #6 and the Radio as #7.
  1. Engine and Radio: From the T23. Might as well start with the best you can. Equip immediately.
  2. Tracks: Essential for equipping the 105mm T5E2M2 gun. Keeps the M26 Pershing nice and nimble. Equip immediately.
  3. 105mm T15E2M2: Finally, you get a worthwhile weapon.This gun is, in my opinion, the best gun available on a Tier 9 Medium (by a slender margin).
  4. Turret: Not a great deal better in the most commonly hoped for areas but a 480m view range is simply the best in the game at time of writing.
  5. Engine: Icing on the cake. Makes the tank feel a little snappier.
At this point, I would like to congratulate you on your Elite M26 Pershing. Enjoy!

The 90mm T15E2M2 is a great gun on its own merits but it cannot really hold a candle to the 105mm T5E1M2. It lacks the damage and penetration of its 105mm brother and only serves as a 19,500 experience slowdown on the grind towards the 105mm. It is my recommendation to ignore it and persevere with the 90mm M3 until you get the 105mm. I know that by now you're sick of that 90mm M3 but all will be better soon.

M26 Pershing Strengths: Mobile and agile, both the tank traverse and turret traverse are excellent. A fast firing gun with high damage, best view range in the game with the upgraded turret (not counting binoculars or coated optics), great at hit and run tactics where cover is available.

M26 Pershing Weaknesses: Armour is not good and miracles are the only things that will make shots bounce. Top speed is 48kph which is lower than other mediums at tier 9. 

There seem to be no specific module or crew issues with the M26 Pershing. The amount of module breakage and crew deaths seem normal to me.

M26 Pershing with 105mm T5E1M2 gun
The M26 Pershing will typically face opponents ranging from Tier 5 to Tier 10 and must be acutely aware that most, if not all of those tanks will be able to deal some damage to them with AP rounds to the front.

Pershing's are probably like the T20 and T23 in that they fulfill a rather fuzzy role within a side. They possess agility and speed which allow them to perform hit and run tactics against any tank but will fall quickly if guns are pointed at them. The Pershing's innate high accuracy on the move ability should be abused when enagaging foes, firing rounds, ducking behind cover and approaching the tank from another flank or engaging another target.

They are not really sniper tanks though they can perform the job adequately. They are not the brawler type as they cannot take the hits well. They deal a high amount of damage and fast, packing a nasty sting in the tail.

Generally speaking in 1v1 situations, most heavies on their own are quite easy to either circle or distract and bait into letting you have a few free shots on them. Caution is required to avoid being hit by your prey or attracting unwanted attention from another enemy.

Mediums, I can honestly say that your biggest threat here is the T-54. It bounces me at awkward times, is more agile than I am and penetrates me every single time. Tier 8 Mediums as well as the Panther II pose a high level threat too but they are not as much of a threat at close range as the T-54.

Dreaded artillery... they don't seem to like aiming at me unless I'm the only target out there. Artillery players will be able to fill you in more as to their personal target priorities but I've not really had any issues with being an artillery target. I feel like they treat me as 'low priority'.

Advanced Section

Crew Skills: You will probably bring across your T23 crew to your M26 Pershing. I would recommend that you choose Repair as your first crew skill in the M26 Pershing. I also recommend camouflage as the second skill. I know I take flak for this but I personally do not feel that firefighting is worth the effort.

Specialist Equipment (modules?): I personally chose Medium-caliber Shell Rammer, Vertical Stabiliser and Improved Ventilation Mk II. I want to be able to fire quickly and accurately whilst on the move and I need my crew to be the best they can be.

I have heard of players using Coated Optics to increase their constant view range to 500m, allowing them to detect threats from a longer distance. As the view range is capped to 500m, I find this to be a little bit of a waste of a module slot, only adding 20m view range onto the already outstanding 480m base.

Update 06/06/2011
"The thing about optic enhancement is not only does it give you longer (if capped) view range, but also better range at detecting units with camo bonuses - so even if your total max. view range will change only slightly, you will get better at detecting "cloaked" units at a bit longer range."
Source: Tuccy, EU WoT Moderator

With this information on board Coated Optics seem like a more viable option, increasing your detection abilites further than a simple +20m max view range.I am not sure whether I would personally use this on an M26 Pershing where I don't want to be the first tank into battle unless it's an emergency... but I can certainly see the utility in it.

Final Notes

Personally, I found this guide difficult to write. I can visualise the way I play certain tanks such as the Panther or the KV but when it comes to the US Tanks, I cannot really put it into words. I seem to float around the battlefield, assessing my surroundings. poking my gun around a corner to shoot an enemy tank in the side, pulling back and reassessing what is going on and moving on from there. There is no real pattern to this approach, it just flows naturally to me.

I hope this helps anyone who has an M26 Pershing or anyone who aspires to own one.

Other World of Tanks Guides

The KV, A Guide to...
General FAQ
Darkburrow's SPG Guide
SPG (Artillery) Guide
Tank Destroyer Guide
Heavy Tanks Guide
Medium Tanks Guide
Light Tanks Guide