M-46 Patton Medium Tank

The M-26 Pershing, introduced at the end of World War II, was an improvement over the M-4 Sherman tank, but it was underpowered and had other shortcomings that required improvement.

The M-46 Patton tank was first deployed in late 1949, just in time to be available for combat in the Korean War the next year. The demands of Korea, and the escalating Cold War, accelerated development of a new medium tank to cure a severe shortage of U.S. medium and heavy armor when compared to Soviet forces. As a stop-gap measure, the M-46 hull and chassis were joined with a new turret design to create a new tank designated the M-47 Patton Medium Tank. As soon as the M-47 entered production, work began on its replacement, the highly successful M-48 Medium Tank.

See United States Tanks After World War II for additional information about the M-46 Patton Medium Tank.

M-46 Patton Medium Tank leaving bow door of LST-914 during invasion of Wonsan, Korea, 2 November 1950
M-46 Patton Medium Tank leaving bow door of LST-914 during invasion of Wonsan, Korea, 2 November 1950.

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M-46 Patton Medium Tank

M-46 Patton Medium Tank.  Photo: Courtesy of Mark Holloway. Thanks to MSG Bill Campbell for correct description
M-46 Patton Medium Tank. Photo: Courtesy of Mark Holloway. Thanks to MSG Bill Campbell for correct description.

USMC M-46 Patton Medium Tank just landed by an LSU to support Marine infantry in Korea, 8 Jul 1952
USMC M-46 Patton Medium Tank just landed by an LSU to support Marine infantry in Korea, 8 Jul 1952.

Same USMC M-46 tank as above, showing close-up of rear panel with three round transmission access covers
Same USMC M-46 tank as above, showing close-up of rear panel with three round transmission access covers.

M46 Patton tank delivering mail in Korea, during the Korean War.  Thanks to Bukvoed for proper ID of the tank
M46 Patton tank delivering mail in Korea, during the Korean War. Thanks to Bukvoed for proper ID of the tank.

M-46 Patton Medium Tank of Dog Company, 1st Tank Battalion, in Korea, 25 March 1953.  This tank has been equipped with a dozer blade and a wire cage around the turret to defeat the use of 3.5 inch rockets fired at the tank
M-46 Patton Medium Tank of Dog Company, 1st Tank Battalion, in Korea, 25 March 1953. This tank has been equipped with a dozer blade and a wire cage around the turret to defeat the use of 3.5 inch rockets fired at the tank.

Thanks to Bob Pettit for help with this page.