M26 Pershing Heavy Tank
An M26 Pershing breaking easily through a solid wall
|Role||Heavy Main Battle Tank|
|Upkeep per Minute||-27.64|
|Prereq.||Armor Company: M26 Pershing Heavy Tank|
|Produced By||None; Called-in from the field.|
|Primary armament||M3 90mm Cannon|
|Secondary armament||2x M1919A4 Light Machine Gun|
|Max. Speed||5 m/s|
The M26 Pershing is a heavy tank fielded by the American Armor Company in Company of Heroes. Roughly equal in strength to an Axis Tiger, this is the strongest armor unit available to the Americans. Only one M26 Pershing can exist on the battlefield at any given time (Old versions used to be able to have 2 out at once!). When present, this tank becomes the focal point of American assault operations, able to sustain plenty of firepower and destroy enemy tanks easily with its large cannon. When properly escorted by infantry or other tanks, it is difficult to stop an M26 Pershing. It will also ignore almost any obstacle, including Tank Traps.
It should be noted that Pershing wasn't fielded until January 1945, where it was rushed into the Battle of the Bulge to fight off Axis Tigers and Panthers. Therefore, in real life, it would have never been a part of the July 1944-based American singleplayer campaign.
The M26 Pershing is the American army's heaviest vehicle, and their only heavy tank. Well-armored and carrying a powerful cannon, it is meant to be the Allies' answer to the German Panther, Tiger and King Tiger heavy tanks. Although rare on the battlefield, it is one of the most dangerous units to an Axis commander.
The M26 Pershing is called in to the field using the M26 Pershing Heavy Tank ability - which is unlocked by purchasing the same-named Command Upgrade from the Armor Company tree. Each use of this ability costs 800 and consumes 14, making this the most expensive American unit. Only one M26 Pershing is allowed on the battlefield - the ability is disabled while it is still alive, and re-enabled only if the vehicle is destroyed.
The M26 Pershing is considerably larger and more heavily-armored than the M4 Sherman, especially at the front. Its front armor is thicker than any Axis tank's, except the King Tiger and Jagdpanther. Like most other tanks, its rear and side armor is considerably weaker.
The tank carries a pair of Light Machine Guns, but its primary weapon is the massive M3 90mm General-Purpose Cannon installed in its massive turret. This cannon is only a "reasonable" anti-tank gun, but is surprisingly accurate against smaller targets like Infantry and Weapon Teams, making it a great overall weapon.
When the M26 Pershing enters the field, it becomes the focus of all large-scale American assaults, often escorted by as many other tanks and infantry units as possible to make powerful but short punches intended to capture enemy territory to knock out large enemy forces. It lacks the staying power of the King Tiger or Jagdpanther, but then again benefits greatly from the various abilities gathered along the Armor Company Command Tree - particularly Field Repairs.
As long as this vehicle is kept in good shape and well-escorted to protect its vulnerable flanks and rear, the Americans can mount virtually unstoppable attacks. This also means that the M26 Pershing quickly becomes the number one target for all enemy direct-attack abilities.
The M26 Pershing carries one of the most powerful American cannons: the M3 90mm Cannon. It is mounted on the vehicle's slow-rotating turret.
Additionally, the tank carries two M1919a4 Light Machine Guns, one mounted co-axially to the main cannon, the other fixed in the vehicle's front hull. Both are rapid-firing weapons, meant primarily to dissuade enemies from approaching this vehicle.
M3 90mm Cannon Edit
The M3 90mm Cannon is essentially a mid-weight general-purpose gun, firing High Explosive Anti-Tank shells. Designed to match the performance of the Tiger's 88mm cannon, the two cannons are in fact almost identical.
The cannon is not remarkably accurate, having only a 75% chance to hit its target at maximum range (40 meters), and increasing slowly towards 100% at 20 meters. Note that most tank battles occur roughly at sight-range, 35 meters or so.
The cannon fires one shell every ~6 seconds, making this a relatively fast gun for its size. Each shell that hits its target directly delivers with it 137.5 points of damage. Some area damage also occurs, and could seriously injure (but not kill) infantrymen at 1-3 meters from the blast point.
For a cannon that fires high-explosive shells, this weapon is surprisingly powerful against armor. Unfortunately, most of the vehicles it will have to contend with are enemy heavy tanks, which have very strong armor on their front. Penetration is still all but guaranteed against medium tanks like the Panzer IV (slightly less so against the StuG IV), but there is only a 60% chance of getting through a Panther's front armor, 50% against a Tiger or King Tiger, and even lower values against the sloped armor of a Hetzer or Jagdpanther. Of course, rear armor penetration is assured against any target.
Like the German 88mm cannon, the M3 90mm Cannon is surprisingly accurate against infantry. It has a 75% chance of hitting infantrymen at 20 meters or less, which means it can snipe them out when required, and is particularly useful against Weapon Teams. Naturally, it cannot handle an entire enemy infantry squad in any reasonable amount of time, another reason why this tank needs to be escorted wherever it goes.
M3 90mm HVAP Cannon Edit
Note: This upgraded cannon is only available after Patch 2.400 is installed.
With the M1A1C 76mm Gun upgrade purchased at the Tank Depot, M26 Pershing tanks also receive an upgrade to their main cannon in the form of HVAP rounds (High Velocity Armor Piercing).
The 90mm HVAP cannon has the same general properties as the normal 90mm Cannon, except for a massive increase in Penetration power against any armored vehicle in the game and has much less power against infantry.
As a result, the M26 Pershing's main cannon can now reliably pierce the front armor of most Axis tanks, including the Tiger and King Tiger (and even the Hetzer, which was previously very hard to penetrate with this gun). Penetration against Panther and Jagdpanther front armor is still not perfect, but is significantly increased to a basic 88% and 70% respectively.
This allows the M26 Pershing to reliably engage enemy tanks from the front, hastening the destruction of enemy tanks significantly. Nonetheless, it is still often required to surround enemy tanks with additional armor units to make sure that they are rapidly destroyed - they can still cause a lot of damage to the M26 Pershing themselves, after all.
M1919a4 Light Machine Gun Edit
In addition to its main cannon, the M26 Pershing is armed with two M1919a4 Browning Light Machine Guns. These are standard vehicle-mounted weapons found on various Allied units. Belt-fed and fully automatic, they are unfortunately poor offensive weapons.
One of the LMGs is mounted co-axially on the turret, and will usually engage any target the main cannon is pointing at. The other LMG is installed in the front hull of the vehicle, and can engage targets in the direction the hull is pointing at. Both of these weapons are identical, except for their firing directions.
The M1919a4 fires in long, 5 second bursts, with about 35 bullets per per burst. This is mitigated by very low accuracy values. When firing at anything beyond very close range (5 meters or so) only a few bullets if any will strike the target at all. It also delivers a relatively low amount of damage: 4 points per hit, with a serious damage reduction against most targets (even against most infantry units). It can take upwards of 10 bursts to kill a single infantryman with this weapon, unless the target is very close.
Additionally, the M1919a4 has almost no Suppression ability, despite being a rapid-fire weapon. This makes it even less useful against infantry, the only targets it can actually damage with any reliability.
This weapon is meant only to discourage infantry from approaching the front of the tank, and add some anti-infantry capability to tank's overall firepower. In fact, it is more likely for the tank's main cannon to kill infantry than it is for its Light Machine Guns.
Like all other American units, the M26 Pershing obtains Veterancy points by killing enemy units. It receives 100% of the experience value of each unit it kills. Once it has accumulated a sufficient number of Veterancy points, it will automatically advance to the next level, gaining the related bonuses immediately.
American units do not share Veterancy points with one another. To receive points, the unit must personally kill an enemy unit.
At each Veterancy level, the M26 Pershing gains a specific set of bonuses as listed below. These bonuses are cumulative with each other.
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
For the American Armor Company, the M26 Pershing becomes the focus of armored assault groups. It essentially takes over the role of the smaller M4 Sherman tank as the leading element for such groups, tasked with engaging and holding the enemy while other units make flanking maneuvers.
As a result, the company can make short, sharp attacks against enemy sectors, in a similar way to the operation of British armor - capturing one sector at a time, fortifying it, and then moving on to the next sector.
The M26 Pershing may also be called for in protecting against Axis heavy armor attacks. It is the only American vehicle that can stand up to a King Tiger, and even then requires some support to survive.
Main Armored Battlegroup Edit
The M26 Pershing is a very powerful and tough unit, but its slow turret rotation and weaker side and rear armor expose it to various sorts of enemy countermeasures. It will not last long against a couple of anti-tank infantry squads, and can be easily surrounded by a pack of Axis medium and heavy tanks.
For this reason, the M26 Pershing is used as the centerpiece of an armored battlegroup, tailored to crush any resistance it may come across. In this battlegroup, the M26 Pershing's role is to engage enemy units directly from the front, drawing enemy firepower to itself and buying time for other units to flank and destroy the enemy.
Thanks to its heavy armor, the M26 Pershing can stand up to most enemy tanks. In fact, most Axis anti-tank cannons will have trouble even getting through its front armor, not to mention inflict enough damage to destroy this juggernaut. This means it can maintain its position for a long period of time, especially when Field Repairs are used, or with Engineer Squads constantly working to repair the vehicle during the battle.
While it holds the line, the tank's cannon will of course inflict serious damage to any target engaging it. While it's unlikely to destroy an enemy heavy tank on its own, it will still hasten the destruction of any target - including infantry - that dares stand up to it.
In the meanwhile, the remainder of the battlegroup must quickly surround the enemy to ensure its destruction. M10 Tank Destroyers, M4 Crocodile Shermans and M8 Greyhounds are the primary choice for performing these flank attacks, depending of course on the type of target encountered. Alternately, Infantry squads in large numbers can often overwhelm the target - but then again we're talking about the Armor Company here, which often bases most of its strength on vehicles rather than infantry.
The M4 Sherman's role in such a battlegroup is a point of some contention. Some players argue that the M26 Pershing supplants the Sherman entirely - taking over its role in the battle as "meat shield", rendering the M4 Sherman unnecessary. Others maintain that the M4 Sherman's survivability, especially thanks to Defensive Smoke Screens, makes it better suited for flank attacks than the M10 Tank Destroyer. However, there's no argument that in an M26 Pershing's battlegroup, the M4 Shermans no longer engage the enemy from the front as they do when the armored group is centered around them. One could say that the M26 Pershing "frees up" the Shermans to take other duties during the battle.
Protection for the M26 Pershing's flanks is indispensable in any such battlegroup. If the Pershing becomes surrounded, it can be destroyed rather easily. Therefore, infantry and/or M45 Quadmounts often escort the vehicle, guarding its sides and rear. These units do not leave the Pershing's side except in emergencies, because the enemy will constantly be attempting to outflank it. If enemy tanks do manage to surround the Pershing, your best course of action is usually to retreat immediately. Do not risk losing this expensive unit!
Short Punches Edit
With a good mix of units and constant repairs, the M26 Pershing Battlegroup is very difficult to destroy. However, it is not as good at making an overwhelming breakthrough into enemy territory as a King Tiger or Jagdpanther battlegroup. One of the reasons for this is that Axis players rely on mobile defense, so they don't actually have a "front line" to breach through.
Therefore it is usually not a good idea to try and run through the enemy with a single attack. Unless you somehow manage to take out over half the enemy's force in your initial strike, it's more likely that the enemy will simply draw you into an ambush if you try to push deep into his territory. As explained above, the M26 Pershing battlegroup is much weaker when surrounded, so this is to be avoided at all costs.
Instead, it's better to adopt a more defensive approach to your assaults. Target a sector along the front lines that could be easily defended when captured, and concentrate your attack on that sector. Follow the battlegroup closely with your infantry, and begin capturing and fortifying the sector as soon as the enemy's defenses have been destroyed. Prepare for a counter-attack to come from any direction, and do your best to hold the sector and keep your units alive. If you can accomplish this, you'll have gained a sector with minimal losses, and can then prepare to take another sector and another until the enemy is subdued.
As a heavy tank, the M26 Pershing is a very tough unit. It can stand a lot of punishment, and its armor will deflect shots from most enemy medium-caliber weapons - and certainly from any weapon smaller than that.
Nonetheless, the M26 Pershing is not invulnerable. Its front armor will only block anti-tank fire some of the time, so in a one-on-one confrontation with a King Tiger or other heavy Axis tank, the M26 Pershing will often be destroyed first.
Furthermore, the side and rear armor of this vehicle are much less armored. Even a Heavy Armored Car can penetrate its armor from behind, not to mention tanks and infantry anti-tank weapons. When operating on its own or without escorts to watch its flanks, the M26 Pershing will quickly draw in a large number of enemy units that will attempt to surround and destroy it.
Artillery and other off-map attacks present another important threat. The M26 Pershing makes a very lucrative target for the enemy, so as soon as it stops to fire it will come under artillery or air-strike fire. Keep watch on the vehicle and relocate when necessary.
Finally, it's important to watch out for Mines. An M26 Pershing with its engine damaged or destroyed will become a sitting duck for enemy artillery and flanking attacks. This is why it's often not a good idea to have the M26 Pershing lead an armored column directly at the front. Use Mine-sweeping Engineer Squads or an M4 Sherman with the Crab Mine Flail upgrade to remove mines from the Pershing's path. Only drive the M26 Pershing forward to its holding position when the enemy has been engaged. This will also reduce surprise damage to the tank from ambushes or long-range Anti-Tank guns.
If the M26 Pershing is getting low on health (say, 50% or less), immediately activate the Field Repairs Command Ability to buy it more time. This is usually worth the price, and will require less time repairing the vehicle with Engineer Squads after the battle.
If the vehicle is about to be destroyed, quickly turn on the Allied War Machine Command Ability if it is available. This will create a new M26 Pershing free of charge (except for the ability's hefty Munitions activation cost, anyway).