Building On the Past: Lesser-Known Allied Tanks

Crusader Mk III - World War II Cruiser Tank, IS-3 Pike - Russian Heavy Tank and M26 Pershing Tank

Here at Brickmania, we are always looking for new tanks to feature. Among the many tanks of World War II, there are several unique tank designs that are not often mentioned in history books. These tanks include models such as the Soviet IS-3 Pike and the American M26 Pershing. Several of these lesser-known Allied tanks contributed to the war effort in small ways, either in combat or by helping with future designs.

Two heavy tanks, the IS-3 and Pershing are both late-war responses to heavy German armor such as the Tiger and Ferdinand. Many of the Allied medium tanks, like the Sherman and T-34, had significant difficulty in engaging these German tanks in combat due to their thick armor and powerful 88mm gun. In anticipation of the war stretching into 1946 or 1947, the Allies began turning out these heavy tanks knowing the likelihood of facing stiff German resistance as they invaded the Reich. Although many of these tanks never saw combat, they went on to influence design for Cold War main battle tanks by their respective nations. The IS-3 and Pershing demonstrated precisely what the Germans had learned the hard way: heavy tanks were not cost-effective and had a tendency to develop severe maintenance problems.

Two other lesser-known tanks appeared at the beginning of the war—the American M3 Lee and British Crusader MK III. Deployed at Operation Torch in North Africa, these two tanks struggled in combat against German panzers commanded by Erwin Rommel. Largely considered a stop-gap measure, weaknesses in the two tanks helped both the United States and England in future tank designs such as the M4 Sherman and Cromwell Cruiser MK VIII.

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