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May 29, 2010
M46, M47, M48 and M60 Patton were the United States Army's principal main battle tanks of the Cold War, with models in service from the late 1940s to the 1990s. The M46 was the primary U.S. tank in the Korean War and the M48 was the primary U.S. Army and Marine Corps tank during the Vietnam War. The M47 saw no action while serving with the U.S. military and the M60A1 saw limited service in Desert Storm. It was widely used by U.S. Cold-War allies, especially other NATO countries. The many models were named after General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. Third Army during World War II and one of the earliest American advocates for the use of tanks in battle.

The M48 was the main battle tank for the US Army and US Marines during the Vietnam war, while the M60 was the US Army's MBT in Europe. About 11703 M48 tanks had been produced. The M48 and M60 series tanks had been designed to destroy the Soviet tanks in Europe. The M48 has been replaced in the US Forces by the M60 Patton.

The Patton tank replaced later versions of the M4 Sherman and M26 Pershing. Internationally, many various Patton models remain in service. Although referred to here as the Patton series, the M48 and M60A1 were each completely new tank designs, despite their outward resemblance. The latest version of the Patton was the M60A3 variant that entered service in 1978. In 1980 the M1 Abrams was introduced, which would eventually replace the Patton tank series over a ten year period (M48A5 models were up-gunned from the 90MM to the 105MM cannon and served alongside them both well into the 1980s).

The M103 heavy tank when viewed by the untrained eye appeared similar in shape and design to the M48 and M60 Patton tanks, and consisted of a 120 mm rifled gun and five crewmen, compared to the usual four crewmen.

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