Over at the Chieftain’s Hatch section of the WoT forum, Nickolas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part 1 of an article looking at the history of the US M46 medium tank.
As it is well known, the M26 Pershing was not an unqualified success. By the end of WW2, deficiencies in the vehicles, many of which were already known even at the time of fielding, became reinforced. Thus, a general improvement program was started, the T40 which ultimately would become M46. It turned out that improving a tank isn’t always all that easy…
The program for T40 really kicked off in the first half of 1948, as a series of conferences between Army Field Forces and Ordnance Dept culminated in a number of changes, particularly to the power train, but also notably weapon and suspension, in what would become the M46. As an improvement of an extant design, tests of the ten T40s were relatively brief. In fact, M46 was standardised by the Ordnance Committee in July 1949, the month before the first T40 showed up at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds!
This did not, however, provide adequate time for field service testing. It’s one thing to run a vehicle around the test track for a couple hundred miles, it’s another to really run them through the grinder on the training grounds. As a result, the Army Field Forces Board #2 (i.e. Armored Board) received four of them to test out while the production run started.