After World War II and Japan's withdrawal from the Asian continent, North Korea remained a divided country, with Soviet-influenced communism in the north and US-backed democracy in the south. The country was divided along the 38-degree line, with both governments maintaining physical presence (and interests) throughout the peninsula during the early days of the East-West "Cold War". The promise of free elections fell through in 1948, adding to already rising tensions.
This led to the North's invasion of the South on June 25, 1950, with the support of Soviet leader Stalin and Chinese leaders, in an attempt to forcibly unify the peninsula under Communist rule. Thus began the Korean War, which became the first notable Cold War engagement between the United States and the Soviet Union (although in military terms it was largely regarded as a "proxy war").
During this time, the world has grown tired of war, and defense budgets are being slashed from the height of World War II. As a result, most of the WWII stockpile survived, including the U.S. Army's ubiquitous M4 Sherman medium tank. For the Communist North, which fielded a plethora of Soviet T-34 medium tanks - heroes of WWII - some later variants mounted powerful 85mm guns in the T-34/85 configuration.
In addition to the M4 Sherman, the U.S. Army can also field the post-war M26 Pershing, which was initially classified as a heavy tank before the times advanced in the post-war world, reducing it to a medium tank.
In combat, the M46 performed well. It outperformed the North Korean Soviet T-34/76 and limited T-34/85 medium tanks significantly. The 90mm gun proved to have good penetration at range, and Western tactics proved superior on the day. The ensuing battle regained some of the territory initially lost in North Korea's initial offensive, eventually pulling Chinese troops into the camp (Soviet jet fighter pilots also fought against the Americans). As it turned out, the M46 played a key role in defending the all-important Busan Line in the second half of 1950, otherwise both the U.S. military and South Korea would fail.
The M46 has since been deployed to support the U.S. Marines' amphibious landing at Incheon, and to support UN forces during the retreat after the Chinese advance. The war would eventually end in a truce, although an official end was never acknowledgedmeaning there was a state of war between North and South ever since.
As a result, limited skirmishes continue today in the South Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which stretches about 2.5 miles north and south as a sort of buffer zone. The Korean War became the only combat exposure of the M46 breed as it was quickly replaced by a similar M47 Patton starting in 1952.
The M47 was not used in the war, but was stockpiled in subsequent years for US allies throughout Europe and the Middle East. The remaining M46s were eventually leased to Belgium, France and Italy as interim combat and training systems, pending the arrival of the M47s in their respective inventories.
At this point, the tenure of the M46 Patton came to an end, the first in a series of Pattons that culminated in the 1961 M60 Patton, America's first "main battle tank". The M60 itself was replaced by the first-class M1 Abrams main battle tank in 1980.
The M46 Patton was officially retired in 1957. A total of 1,160 M46 tanks were built at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Factory. The M46 was in service with U.S. Navy and Army units during the Korean War.
- Infantry Support
- Tank vs Tank
11.48 ft (3.5 m)
10.37 ft (3.16 m)
49 tons (44,000 kg; 97,003 lbs)
81 miles (130 km)
for everyone else in our database)
1 x 90 mm M4A1 main gun
1 x 12.7mm machine gun top mount (optional)
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
1 x 7.62mm bow-mounted machine gun
70 x 90mm bullet
550 x 12.7mm ammo
M26E2 - Original Product Name
M46 - name of the base series; equipped with Continental V12 engine; cross drive; M3A1 90mm gun on M26A1 Pershing; repositioned exhaust system; 800 copies made.
M46A1 - Improved Oil Cooling, Brake System Fire Suppression System, Updated Dashboard, Updated Wiring, Improved Transmission and Power Pack (CD-850-4 Transmission, AV-1790-5B Engine); Generated 360 examples.
M46 (Dozer) - Comes with M3 Dozer Conversion Kit.