Hobby Master HG3702 USMC M46 Patton Medium Tank with 18 Inch Searchlight - 1st Marine Division, Changdan, Korea, 1952 (1:72 Scale)
"The only way you can win a war is to attack and keep on attacking, and after you have done that, keep attacking some more."
- General George S. Patton Jr., January 1945
The M46 was an improved M26 Pershing (sometimes named Pershing II) tank and one of the U.S army's principal main battle tanks of the Cold War, with models in service from 1949 to the mid 1950s. It was widely used by some U.S. Cold War allies, especially other NATO countries. The M46 tank was designed to replace the previous M26 Pershings and M4 Shermans.
After World War II most US Army armored units were equipped with a mix of M4 Sherman and M26 Pershing tanks.
Designed initially as a heavy tank, the M26 Pershing tank was reclassified as a medium tank postwar. The M26 was a significant improvement over the M4 Sherman in firepower and protection. Its mobility, however, was deemed unsatisfactory for a medium tank as it used the same engine that powered the much lighter M4A3. Its underpowered engine was also plagued with an unreliable transmission.
Work began in January 1948 on replacing the original power plant with the Continental AV-1790-3 engine and Allison CD-850-1 cross-drive transmission. The design was initially called M26E2, but modifications continued to accumulate, and eventually the Bureau of Ordnance decided that the tank needed its own unique designation. When the rebuild began in November 1949, the upgraded M26 received not only a new power plant and a main gun with bore evacuator, but a new designation along with a name - simply M46. In total 1,160 M26s were rebuilt: 800 to the M46, 360 to the M46A1 standard.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USMC M46 Patton medium tank with an 18 inch searchlight that was attached to the 1st Marine Division, then deployed to Changdan, Korea, during 1952.
Release Date: December 2008
Historical Account: "The Outpost War" - The 1st Marine Division was ordered to the westernmost sector of the MLR in March 1952 to strengthen the defenses of the Kaesong-Munsan corridor, the enemy avenue of approach closest to Seoul. As part of Operation Mixmaster, the 1st ROKMC Regiment led the move to the west and established its new defensive positions along the Jamestown Line, the MLR. Across the Han River, the 5th ROKMC Battalion defended the northern areas of the Kimpo Peninsula. When the remainder of the Division arrived, the Kimpo Provisional Regiment was established and additional units assigned to better protect the port at Inchon, the logistics complex at Ascom City and Kimpo Airfield. The 5th Battalion's mission and area of operations remained the same, and it continued to defend along the MLR.
The change in location brought about significant changes in the enemy, terrain and tactics. The Korean Marines fought soldiers from the Chinese Peoples' Volunteers in relatively flat terrain. More significantly, the United Nations Command directed a policy of limited offensive in late 1951 in order to facilitate the sporadic truce negotiations. Thus began what historian Lee Ballenger wrote about in his book titled "The Outpost War." Operations were characterized by company- and platoon-size attacks on combat outposts forward of the MLR.
The Outpost War started slowly for the Korean Marines: Dense fog and heavy rains limited Chinese actions during the spring and summer. During this time, the 1st ROKMC Regiment received additional forces and capabilities and was designated the 1st Marine Combat Group on October 1st, 1952, composed of four infantry battalions, single battalions of artillery, armor and engineers, and heavy weapons and headquarters companies. The new organization would be tested at the Battle of Changdan.
At 2200 on October 31st, eight CCF infantry companies attacked four Korean Marine outposts in an attempt to seize key terrain on the left flank of the 1st Marine Division. The outposts supported the defenses anchored on Hill 155, which was critical to the Division's defensive plan and overlooked both enemy avenues of approach and the friendly corridor leading to Panmunjom, the site of truce talks since October 1951. Although the Chinese possessed a 4-1 advantage in each attack, the regiment's artillery battalion, 4.2-inch mortar company and artillery of the U.S. Marines' 11th Marine Regiment provided accurate and continuous fire support to the companies, platoons and squads defending the outposts.
The battle continued throughout the night, with CCF soldiers seizing outposts, withdrawing under pressure from Korean Marine counterattacks and supporting fire, then attacking again. By the time the last Chinese units withdrew at 0600, the Korean Marines had killed 295 CCF soldiers, captured nine prisoners and inflicted more than 460 casualties while suffering 50 dead and 86 wounded in the heaviest fighting in the final year of the war. The 1st Marine Combat Group received the Korean Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the Battle of Changdan, the second time it was awarded to a KMC unit during the Korean War.