|This page is about the premium Italian medium tank M26 "D.C.Ariete". For other vehicles of the family, see M26 (Family).|
The M26 (132nd Armored Division) is an American-made tank which was widely used by Italy during the early stages of the Cold War. The Italian Army would receive M26 Pershing tanks from the USA as part of the Mutual Defense Assistance Act at the beginning of the 1950s. The previously supplied M4 Sherman had become obsolete and needed replacement. They would be in service for many years and quickly became one of the strongest platforms at their disposal. The 132nd Armoured Division "Ariete" was created in 1939, it fought during the North African campaign until their destruction at the 2nd Battle of El Alamein. In 1948, the Ariete Division was reconstituted at Forte Pietralata in Rome and transferred to Pordenone in the Friuli region in Northern Italy to prevent any invasion by armoured divisions of the Warsaw Pact's armies. The M26 was allocated to the 132nd Armoured Division Ariete at the Eastern border with Yugoslavia but never saw combat action.
Introduced in Update 1.73 "Vive la France", the M26 can be quite an effective machine at its battle rating; however, there are some notable weaknesses that players must be aware of when using this tank. The M26 is quite a big platform, therefore when in tight urban maps you can be easily taken care of by enemy players which fire at you from positions you aren't able to see. Without its mobility upgrades it is also very slow, so until you unlock them you'll need to play a more supportive role rather an offensive one. Armour-wise, the M26 can protect you from a lot of medium calibre shells that will come your way, hull down positions are recommended if you're not advancing. The firepower of the M26 is good enough for you to be able to take out the majority of enemies you'll face in 1-2 shots, granted you know their weakspots. You have access to a 90 mm Cannone da 90/50 M3A1 and machine guns which will come in handy against lightly armoured vehicles. Overall, it is a great tank to have for your lineup.
Survivability and armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Front, turret)
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Side, Rear, Roof)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 101.6 mm (42-46°) Front Glacis
162.5 mm (25-60°) Upper front glacis
76.2 mm (28-53°) Lower Glacis
| 76.2 mm (0-1°) Front
50.8 mm (0-3°) Rear
| 50.8 mm (7°) Top
22.2 mm (71°) Bottom
|Turret|| 101.6 mm (1-55°) Turret front
114.3 mm (1-84°) Gun mantlet
|76.2 mm (2-54°)||76.2 mm (0-79°)||25.4 mm|
|Cupola||76.2 mm (conical)||25.4 mm|
- Suspension wheels and tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 25.4 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
|90 mm M3||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy
| Screen hold
| Explosive mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|70||65 (+5)||56 (+14)||48 (+22)||40 (+30)||32 (+38)||24 (+46)||17 (+53)||11 (+59)||1 (+69)||No|
- Shells are modeled individually and disappear after having been shot or loaded.
- 1 shell from rack 7 is fired after rack 1 is emptied. For the purpose of clarity, it is counted as belonging to rack 2 in the table above.
- Rack 9 is a first stage ammo rack. It totals 10 shells and gets filled first when loading up the tank.
- This rack is also emptied early: the rack depletion order at full capacity is: 9 - 1 - 2 - etc. until 8.
- If you pack 17 (+53) shells, it will keep most of the hull empty of ammo.
- Full reload speed will be realized as long as shells are available in the ready rack 9. If the ready rack is empty, a penalty to reload speed will occur.
- Simply not firing when the gun is loaded will move ammo from racks 1-8 into rack 9. Firing will interrupt the restocking of the ready rack.
|12.7 mm M2HB|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
The roof-mounted M2HB .50 cal heavy machine gun is very good at knocking out tracks, punching through lightly armoured vehicles and shooting down low-flying aircraft. Use it sparingly because of its low ammo count.
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
The small calibre of the M1919A4 machine gun makes it largely ineffective against all armoured vehicles but the ones with an open compartment. It still can be used to ping targets as a rangefinding help or to mow down minor obstacles blocking your line of sight.
Usage in battles
- Combat tactics
The M26 "D.C.Ariete" can perform in many different roles in battle. It can be used for supporting heavy tanks with long reload time as IS-2 or T32 or it can take part in flanking manoeuvres: your speed and agility are not brilliant but sufficient for that role. It can also be successful in sniping and ambushing situations. Use the lower profile of Pershing compared to the Sherman's to navigate through. Your depression angle allows you to shoot from upper positions without exposing too much yourself. That's an advantage compared to most Soviet vehicles which have close to no gun depression angle.
The 90 mm M3 gun owns a wide selection of ammunition to be used. The M82 APCBC with an explosive filler is extremely deadly. Usually, successful penetration with this shell can lead to a single-shot knock-out on a vehicle. It lacks a bit of penetration for the rank this vehicle sits at, but it's great for flanking shots. The M304 APCR shot gives the vehicle the ability to penetrate thick armour (provided it is a flat surface). This means you need to target crew positions or modules and aim at (almost) vertical armour. Against a Tiger II (H), this means aiming for the turret right side if he is looking directly at you on the gunner side. At that position, you can penetrate up to a distance of 1,800 m.
Although you are moderately armoured for your class, most enemies can easily kill you at this rank if you expose your tank too much. To reduce direct impacts in frontal engagements angle the Pershing, the V-shape frontal armour can deflect some shots. Your lower glacis is a weak spot, keep it hidden from the enemy.
One downside to the Pershing is the engine: the power-to-weight ratio is poor and does not allow for very quick manoeuvring. It uses the same Ford GAF that can be found in the late series M4 Medium tanks, with nearly 8 tons more weight. Being slightly underpowered, the M26 "D.C.Ariete" has a hard time climbing hills. You will need to know the maps and areas you are operating in and use them wisely.
Urban maps (Poland, Eastern Europe, Hürtgen Forest, Cologne) are perfect for ambushing, use your moderate speed to catch off-guard heavier enemy tanks. Drop arty in front of suspected enemy positions if you need to cross a street and relocate, the smoke screen will cover you.
If you've been able to flank an enemy, your first shot is decisive. Always shoot to disable the gun first (gunner or breech). The best ammo to do this is M304 APCR round, or M82 APCBC shell. M304 will guarantee a 100% successful shot, M82 can also work very good and might deal heavy damage inside the turret. But some Germans have tracks on the hull's sides and if the enemy is in the process of turning the turret, the M82 could bounce. Make sure you not to miss. The large sides of German heavy tanks are tempting targets but its very easy to punch through without dealing damage with the wrong ammo like the T33 or M304 rounds. If you flanked a turretless tank destroyer like a Jagdpanther or a Ferdinand, just aim at the engine and you will have virtually killed it.
- Arcade Battles
In arcade battles, it is much harder to flank and ambush enemy tanks because of the tag system (player name). However, the tank is still very playable and you can do different tactics depending on the situation. For urban environments, it's best to move with the team and only poke your head out when you have a good shot and the enemy tank isn't aimed at you. In open terrain, you will still be able to use the hills to your advantage and side-shot / pot-shot enemy tanks. The main rule here is don't show your sides and stay low.
- Realistic/Simulator Battles
In realistic and simulator battles, The M26 "D.C.Ariete" shouldn't be in the toughest part of the match facing very heavily armoured enemies. It's better to stay behind front lines supporting or try a flanking manoeuvre, you can't be spotted in the mini-map. The high battle rating means you can be up-tiered and fight Cold War era tanks in simulator mode. The compression and matchmaking can put you into situations where enemies are especially hard to penetrate, even from the sides.
Pros and cons
- M82 APCBC rounds can knock out most tanks with a single shot
- Low profile
- Nice handling at gear 5
- .50 calibre machine gun on top helps for anti-aircraft defence
- Fast reverse speed
- Turret ring can be easily damaged
- Slow compared to other nations' medium tanks, especially acceleration
- Heavy handling at low speed
- 90 mm gun penetration not the best
The history and development of this M26 can be traced to the number of tank prototypes produced in the Spring of 1942 as a replacement for the M4 Shermans then in use. One of these prototypes was the T20 medium tank, which was more heavily armoured than the Sherman. This eventually developed to the T22 and T23 designs with different transmissions, all of which were in the rear of the vehicle instead of the front like the Shermans. These designs were comparable to a T-34-85, but these were not quickly adopted over the M4 as the M4 performed fabulously in combat in Africa and Italy.
Development continued with different interests in 1944, starting around the concept to mount a 90 mm cannon to fight the heavily armoured German tanks and fortifications in Europe. The first was the T25 series, which was an up-gunned T23 with a 90 mm gun, but they also designed a bigger and more armoured design T26. The design held the 90 mm cannon and a front armour thickness of 102 mm thick and sloped. However, the design has a weight of about 40 tons, which decreased its mobility and durability as it still uses the old Sherman engine. Though starting with an electric drive, the design proved too complicated for field use and was replaced by a torqmatic transmission in the T26E1. The designs were eventually finalized as the T26E3, which would be the production version of the T26E1. Production started in November 1944, with 10 being produced by the end of the month, 30 by December, 70 in January 1945, and 132 by February. It would take a few months for even the T26E3s built in November to get to Europe, hence why the first models did not appear in Europe until January 1945. The T26E3 would be adopted by the US Army as the Heavy Tank M26 Pershing with a total of 2,212 units produced.
In terms of usage in the Italian armed forces, the Italian Army received Pershing tanks from the USA as part of the Mutual Defense Assistance Act during the late 1950s. The previously supplied M4 Sherman had become obsolete and needed replacement, and Italy was very afraid that Yugoslavia would invade Italy to try take land they claimed to be the rightful owners of. The US Army armoured units stationed in West Germany transitioned from the M26 to the M47 Patton from 1952 through 1953. The M26 tanks, including the M26A1 version, were no longer needed by the US Army and thus given to Italy and France at a very favourable price. Italy used their M26 Pershings operationally until 1963, after which they were gradually replaced by more recent M47 Patton, M60 and Leopard 1 tanks. The 132nd Armoured Division Ariete was created in 1939. Together with the 131st Armoured Division Centauro, it was one of the two main Italian armoured divisions during WW2. Both divisions fought during the North African campaign until their destruction at the 2nd Battle of El Alamein. In 1948, the Ariete Division was reconstituted at Forte Pietralata in Rome and transferred to Pordenone in the Friuli region in Northern Italy to prevent any invasion by armoured divisions of the Warsaw pact's armies. The M26 were allocated to the 132nd Armoured Division Ariete at the Eastern border with Yugoslavia but never saw combat action.
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
- [Wikipedia] M26 Pershing
- [Wikipedia] 132nd Armoured Division Ariete
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] Medium/Heavy Tank M26 Pershing
|Italy medium tanks|
|M13/40||M13/40 (I) · M13/40 (II) · M13/40 (III)|
|M14/41||M14/41 · M14/41 (47/40)|
|P26/40||P40 · P40 "G.C. Leoncello"|
|OF-40||OF-40 · OF-40 Mk.2A · OF-40 (MTCA)|
|Ariete||Ariete (P) · Ariete · Ariete PSO · Ariete AMV|
|Germany||▄Pz.III N · ▄Pz.IV G · ▄Leopard 1A5|
|USA||▄M4 Hybrid · M4 Tipo IC · ▄Sherman Vc · ▄M4A4 · M26 "D.C.Ariete" · M26A1 · M60A1 "D.C.Ariete"|
|Italy premium ground vehicles|
|Light tanks||L6/40 (31 Rgt.) · Toldi IIA · AUBL/74 HVG · VRCC|
|Medium tanks||M13/40 (II) · Turan II · M14/41 (47/40) · Celere Sahariano · P40 "G.C. Leoncello" · ▄M4 Hybrid · ▄Pz.IV G|
|M26 "D.C.Ariete" · M60A1 "D.C.Ariete" · OF-40 (MTCA)|
|Tank destroyers||M43 "G.C.Leoncello" · Zrinyi I|