Korean War Tanks
The Korean War was the first clash between Western and Communist forces after World War II.
While tanks played a part in most important Korean War battles, supporting the infantry, there were no major tank battles during the war. The mountains and forests that covered Korea made large tank battles impossible.
Most of the tanks used during the Korean War were developed and used during World War II.
The North Korean tank force consisted of Soviet T-34/76 and T-34/85 medium tanks. Although these World War II tanks were old, they still were very effective.
When the North Koreans invaded South Korea in June 1950, using T-34s, the South Koreans had no tanks of their own.
The best anti-tank weapon that the South Koreans had was the American M9 anti-tank rocket launcher, also known as the bazooka. It was not powerful enough to do any damage to a T-34.
To damage a T-34, a South Korean soldier would have to get close to the tank with a satchel charge or a grenade. This was, obviously, extremely dangerous.
Soon after the invasion of South Korea, the United Nations voted to support the South Koreans.
Many nations began sending troops and weapons to South Korea.
The first tanks to be used by UN forces in South Korea were American M24 Chaffee light tanks, which were also used during the Second World War. They were sent to South Korea from Japanese army bases. While the Chaffee was useful for infantry support, it could not stand up to a T-34.
Later on, more UN tanks arrived. These included:
M4 Sherman medium tank - used in World War II
M26 Pershing heavy tank - used in World War II
M36 gun motor carriage - used in World War II
M46 Patton medium tank - entered service in 1949
M41 Walker Bulldog light tank - entered service in 1951, also used in Vietnam
From Great Britain
Firefly - British version of the American M4 Sherman, used in World War II
A22 Infantry Tank Mark IV Churchill - used in World War II
A27M Cruiser Tank Mark VIII Cromwell - used in World War II
A41 Centurion Mark 13 main battle tank - entered service in 1945, also used in Vietnam
The M46 Patton medium tank is the only tank that saw combat in the Korean War and no other wars.