|Type||Medium Tank (M46/M47/M48), Main battle tank (M60)|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, Alco, Chrysler, Fisher Tank Arsenal, Ford|
The M46, M47, M48 and M60 Patton were the United States Army's principal battle tanks of the Cold War, with models in service from the late 1940s to the 1990s. The many models were named after General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. Third Army during World War II and one of the earliest American advocates for the use of tanks in battle. The first of the series, the M46, was a development of the M26 Pershing with a much-improved power train, and the two are nearly identical visually, which often leads to mislabeled photos.
The M46 replaced the M26 Pershing and later versions of the M4 Sherman, and was the primary U.S. tank in the Korean War. The M48 was the principal U.S. Army and Marine Corps tank during the Vietnam War. The M47 saw no action while serving with the U.S. military, but the M60A1 saw limited service with American forces in Desert Storm. The M60A1 was widely used by U.S. Cold-War allies, especially other NATO countries.
Internationally, many various Patton models remain in service. Although officially designated as the 90mm gun tank M48 Patton, the M60/M60A1 entered the Army inventory as the 105mm gun full tracked combat tank M60, and despite its outward resemblance to the earlier Patton tanks, was a completely new tank design. The M60, was a "product improved descendant" of the Patton series, and was never officially named after General George S. Patton; but was officially titled the M60 Combat tank; the latest version of which, entered service in 1978, as the M60A3. Two years later, the U.S. Army introduced the M1 Abrams, which eventually replaced the M60 series, and the M48A5 Pattons over a ten year period (M48A5 had been up-gunned from the 90 mm (3.5 in) to the 105 mm (4.1 in), and both models served alongside the Abrams well into the 1980s).
Approximately 11,703 M48 tanks were produced. The M48 and later the M60 series were designed to engage and destroy Soviet tanks in Europe. The M48 was replaced in the US Forces by the M60 Patton.
The M103 heavy tank, when viewed by the untrained eye, appeared similar in shape and design to the M48 and M60 Patton tanks, and consisted of a 120 mm (4.7 in) rifled gun and five crewmen, compared to the usual four crewmen.
- Hunnicutt, R. P. "Patton: A History of the American Main Battle Tank." 1984; Presidio Press. ISBN 0-89141-230-1.
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