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Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of History
American main battle tanks in the European Theater of World War II were technologically inferior to their German counterparts. Crews in the M4 Sherman tank thus suffered extreme casualties in the fight to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi Germany. This thesis contends that the U.S. Army had another tank available by the fall of 1944 that could have saved the lives of many American soldiers and might have also ended the war sooner than May 1945. The existing historiography fails to consider much of the records from the U.S. Army’s Ordnance Department about the development of this more advanced tank: the M26 Pershing. These records provide evidence that many senior officers in the Army actively prevented the Pershing tank from reaching the battlefield in time for it to make a difference in the overall war effort. The tools of war often directly impact the progress of a given conflict. A similar instance of neglect occurred following the 2003 Allied Invasion of Iraq. Inadequately armored Humvees resulted in high American casualties—a problem that was foreseen as early as 1994. Greater attention to improving battlefield equipment will save lives and reduce the duration of armed conflict between belligerents.
Fox, Jacob, "The Wrong track: Errors in American tank development in World War II" (2013). Masters Theses. 215.