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By Gordon Rottman

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Notice the small, rounded protrusions on either side of the upper frontal portion of the turret. They are the vision ports for the tank’s stereoscopic rangefinder operated by the vehicle’s gunner. Sadly, the stereoscopic rangefinder took a great deal of training to master and was not popular with crews as a result. S. Army took a single M46 series tank chassis and fit it with the experimental turret from the never fielded T42 medium tank and designated it the M46E1 tank. S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in March of 1951, were it was tested to identify any problems with it prior to series production.

S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground on October 3, 1949. The engine exhaust on the T40 tank was ejected through the top center grill out pipes extending sideways to mufflers mounted on each fender, as seen in this picture. Patton Museum In 1946, one of the first three examples of the new, more powerful Continental AV-1790-1 engine was installed in a modified M26 series tank that was then designated as the M26E2 tank. Coupled to the new engine was a newly-designed Allison Corporation CD-850-1 cross-drive transmission, which transmitted the power generated by the engine to the tank’s final drives and drive sprockets.

The tank rode on a torsion bar suspension system. Patton Museum The differences between the M26A1 tank and the original M26 tank included the fitting of an improved 90mm main gun, designated the M3A1, with a lighter weight single baffle muzzle brake. The lighter weight muzzle brake meant a lighter equilibrator spring could be used in the gun mount to balance the main gun. The new M3A1 90mm main gun on the M26A1 tank also featured a bore evacuator fitted just behind the new muzzle brake. The bore evacuator was a Second World War British invention that helped to eliminate powder fumes from the turret when the main gun was fired.

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