Battlefrontmodels

1/16 SCALE RC TANK MODELS

AMERICAN PHOTO GALLERY

Sherman M4 Medium Tank

The M4 was the primary battle tank produced in the second world war by the United States, production exceeded 50,0000 units and its chassis served as a basis for other armoured vehicle designs and variants such as tank destroyers, retrievers and self propelled artillery.

In the united Kingdom the M4 was named the Sherman after the famous American civil war General William Tecumseh Sherman. Subsiquently the Britsh name found its way into the Us following WW2, the M4 was manufactured by the US until after the Korean war and many countries used the tank for training and security roles well into the 20th Century.

The US Army Ordnance Department designed the Medium Tank M4 as a replacement for the M3  Detailed design characteristics for the M4 were submitted by the Ordnance Department on August 1940 , but development of a prototype had to be delayed so final production designs for the M3 could be finished, and the tank put into full scale production.

On April 18th. 1941 the final design characteristics for the new tank were approved at a conference at Aberdeen Proving Grounds attended by representatives of the Armored Force and the Ordnance Department. The stated goal was to produce a fast, dependable medium tank that was capable of defeating any other tank currently in use by the Axis. The first pilot model of the M4 was completed on September 2nd. 1941. The M4 was standardized and placed into production in February of 1942.

During the production period, the US Army's seven main sub-designations, M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A4, M4A5, and M4A6, did not  necessarily indicate linear improvement: for example, A4 is not meant to indicate better than A3. Instead, these sub-types indicated standardized production variations, which were in fact often manufactured concurrently at different locations.

The sub-types differed mainly in terms of engine, although M4A1 differed from M4 by its fully cast upper hull rather than by engine; M4A4 had a longer engine system that also required a longer hull, longer suspension system, and more track blocks; M4A5 was an administrative placeholder for Canadian production; and M4A6 also elongated the chassis but totaled fewer than 100 tanks. Only the M4A2 and M4A6 were diesel: most Shermans were gasoline. "M4" might refer specifically to the single sub-type with its Continental radial engine or generically to the entire family of seven Sherman sub-types, depending on context. Many details of production, shape, strength and performance improved throughout production life without a change to the tank's basic model number; more durable suspension units, safer "wet" (W) ammunition stowage and stronger armor arrangements such as the M4 Composite, which had a cast front hull section mated to a welded rear hull. The British nomenclature differed from that employed by the US.

Early Shermans mounted a  75mm medium velocity general purpose gun. Although Ordnance began work on the Medium T20 Tank as a Sherman replacement, ultimately the Army decided to minimize production disruption by incorporating elements of other tank designs into Sherman production. Later M4A1, M4A2, and M4A3 models received the larger T23 turret with a high-velocity 76mm M1 Cannon, which traded reduced HE and smoke performance for improved anti-tank performance.

The British offered the QF 17 Pounder (76.2 mm) anti-tank gun with its significantly better armour penetration to the Americans but the US Ordnance Department was working on a 90 mm tank gun and declined. Later M4 and M4A3 were factory-produced with a 105 mm howitzer and a new distinctive mantlet in the original turret. The first standard-production 76 mm-gun Sherman was an M4A1 accepted in January 1944 and the first standard-production 105 mm-howitzer Sherman was an M4 accepted in February 1944.

M18 ''Hellcat'' Tank Destroyer

Hellcat in a forested area.

Hellcat: Side View..Lightweight and very Fast

Hellcat Firing from the Roadside

Inside the open top of the Hellcat

M18 Hellcat Firing at postions accross the Rhine at St.Gore.

M18 with 50 Cal Browning AA MG.

History and Developement of the M18 ''Hellcat''.

The 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) M18 was an American tank destroyer of World War II.  It was given the nickname "Hellcat" and is recorded as being the fastest tracked armored fighting vehicle during the war with a top speed of over 50 mph. The M18 was built by Buick.

In December 1941, the Ordnance Corps issued a requirement for the design of a fast tank destroyer using a Christie suspension, the Wright Continental R-975 engine and a 37 mm gun.

In the light of experience gained in North Africa, the 37 mm gun was found to be inadequate and the design was changed to use a 57 mm gun. During the development process, the design was further upgunned to a 75 mm gun, and then finally to the 76 m gun. The Christie suspension requirement was also dropped and replaced with a torsion bar suspension. The design was standardized in February 1943 and production began in July 1943.

As a new design, the M18 incorporated several innovative maintenance features. The Wright R-975 engine was mounted on steel rollers, which permitted it to be disconnected from the transmission, rolled out onto the lowered engine rear cover, serviced and then reconnected to the vehicle. Similarly, the transmission could be removed and rolled out onto a front deck plate to allow repairs and inspection.

The T70 prototype for the M18 first saw combat at Anzio, Italy, and production versions of the M18 were used in North-West Europe and Italy from the summer of 1944 onwards.

In contrast to the M10 Wolverine, which used the chassis of the M4 Sherman, the M18 Hellcat was designed from the start to be a fast tank destroyer. As a result it was smaller, lighter and significantly faster, but carried the same gun as the Sherman 76 mm models. The M18 carried a five-man crew as well as 45 rounds of main gun ammunition and an M2 Browning machine gun on a flexible ring mount.

The main disadvantage of the M18 was its very light armor and the inconsistent performance of its 76 mm gun against the frontal armor of later German designs such as the Tiger and Panther. The open-topped turret (a characteristic which it shared with the M10) left the crew exposed to snipers, grenades and shell fragments. The doctrinal priority of high speed at the cost of armor protection thus led to an unbalanced design. The problem of the main gun performance was remedied with High Velocity Armor Piercing (HVAP) ammunition late in the war which allowed the 76 mm gun to achieve greater frontal armor penetration, but this was never available in quantity.

While the M18 was capable of high road speeds this attribute was difficult to use successfully in combat, but along with the high top speed was a commensurate ability to accelerate rapidly and change direction at the drop of a hat. Although sustained travel at road speeds was hardly ever used outside of the allied response during the battle of the Bulge, most Hellcat crews found the higher speeds especially useful in a sprint to flank German tanks which had relatively slow turret traverse speeds, and such maneuvering allowed the tank destroyer crew a shot instead into the enemy's thinner side or rear armor. Interviewed veterans described the vehicle's ride as very smooth and generally comfortable, much akin to a ski boat with its tendency to skid turn such that the rear of the vehicle would slide when taking a turn at speed. Aiding the analogy, in earthen terrain, the hellcat frequently threw up "rooster tails" of dirt and turf from the rear of its tracks very similar to a boat's wake. In general, Hellcat crews were complimentary of their vehicle's performance and capabilities, but did complain that the open top created a cold interior in the Northern European winter of 1944-'45.

The only M18 variant which was produced in significant numbers was the Armored Utility Vehicle M39, a turretless variation used to transport personnel or cargo or as a gun tractor. This version was armed with a single M2 machine gun on a flexible mount.

The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. 2,507 had been produced by that time at a unit cost of $57,500. Though all tank destroyer units were disbanded by the U.S. after the war, surplus M18s continued to see limited service.

M36

The 90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 was an American tank destroyer in World War II. It was known as the Jackson or Slugger. The name Jackson refers to Confederate general Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.

History of the M36

With the advent of heavy German armor such as the Panther and Tiger, the standard U.S. tank destroyer, the 3in Gun Motor Carriage M10, was rapidly becoming obsolete, because its main armament, the 3in M7 gun, was not powerful enough to engage these new tanks. This was foreseen, however, and in September, 1942 American engineers had begun designing a new tank destroyer armed with the M3 90 mm gun. This was several months before any Allied unit encountered a Tiger in combat, and well over a year before any US unit encountered a Panther in combat.

The first M36 prototype was completed in March 1943, with a new turret mounting the 90mm M3 gun on a standard M10 chassis. After testing, an order for 500 was issued. The prototype was designated T71 Gun Motor Carriage; upon standardization the designation was changed to 90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 in June 1944.

Like all US tank destroyers, the turret was open-topped to save weight and provide better observation. Postwar, a folding armored roof kit was developed to provide some protection from shell fragments, as with the M10. The M36 had a large bustle at the rear of its turret which provided a counterweight for the main gun. Eleven additional rounds of ammunition were stored inside the counterweight.

It was not until September, 1944 that the vehicle first began to appear in the European Theater of Operations. About 1,400 M36s were produced during the war. The need for 90 mm gunned tank destroyers was so urgent that, during October-December 1944, 187 conversions of standard Medium Tank M4A3 hulls were produced by Grand Blanc Arsenal. These vehicles, designated M36B1, were rushed to the European Theatre of Operations and used in combat alongside standard M36s. The M36 was well liked by its crews, being one of the few armored fighting vehicles available to US forces that could take out heavy German tanks from a distance.

After World War II, the M36 was used in the Korean War. It could destroy any Soviet-made AFV deployed in that theatre. One postwar modification was the addition of a ball-mounted machinegun on the co-driver's side as in many other armored fighting vehicles of the time.

The M36 was used by the French army, during the French-Indochinese war.

M36s were also exported after World War II to various countries. One of the recipients was Yugoslavia where the engine was replaced with the 500 hp Soviet-made diesel engine used in T-55 main battle tanks. Yugoslavian M36s participated in the independence struggle of Croatia (1991–1995) but they are no longer in service with the Croatian Armed Forces due to their withdrawal immediately after the war. M36s were also used by Serbian forces in Bosnia and Croatia, and they were used during the Kosovo war as decoys for NATO air strikes. They were also supplied as part of U.S. military aid to Pakistan in the 1950s and served in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

The Republic of China Army acquired eight ex-French examples in 1955 and had them stationed in Kinmen island group, where they are deemed more maneuverable than the bigger M48A3 and later CM11/12 MBTs while being more powerful than M24 and M41 light tanks. As of April 2001, at least two still remained in service with troops defending Lieyu Township.

 

M36B2 "Slugger"

M36B2 "Slugger" Variant tank Destroyer was similar to M18 Hellcat but a 90mm HV Gun mounted onto an M36 Tank Destroyer Chassis. This was a stopgap tank to give the American tankers a vehicle and gun to engage the Panther, Tiger and King Tigers.  (Correction by BFM Member- Robert Stoner. USA)

 

M3 Halftrack

The Carrier, Personnel Half-track M3 was an armoured vehicle used by the United States and its allies during World War II and the Cold War.

History of the M3 Halftrack

Between the world wars, the US Army sought to improve the tactical mobility of its forces. With the goal of finding a high-mobility infantry vehicle, the Ordnance Department had evaluated the half-track design by testing French Citroën-Kégresse vehicles. The White Motor Company produced a prototype half track using their own chassis and the body of the M3 Scout Car.

The design, using as many commercial components as possible to improve reliability and speed production, was standardized in 1940 and built by the Autocar Company, Diamond T Motor Company, and the White Company.

The M3 was the larger counterpart to the M2 Half Track Car. The M2 was originally intended to function as an artillery tractor. The M3 had a longer body than the M2 with a single access door in the rear and seating for a 13-man rifle squad. Ten seats were arranged down either side of the vehicle, with three in the cab. Racks under the seats were used for ammunition and rations; additional racks behind the seat backs held the squad's rifles and other stowage. A small rack for mines was added on the outside of the hull just above the tracks. In combat, most units found it necessary to stow additional food, rucksacks and other crew stowage on the outside of the vehicle. Luggage racks were often added in the field, and very late vehicles had rear-mounted racks for this crew stowage.

Early vehicles had a pintle mount just behind the front seats mounting a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine Gun. The later M3A1 adopted a raised, armored 'pulpit mount' for the .50 caliber, and .30 caliber (7.62 mm) machine guns could be used from mounts along the sides of the passenger compartment. Many M3s were later modified to the M3A1 standard. The body was armoured all around with an adjustable armoured shutter for the engine's radiator and a bullet proof windscreen.

Total production of the M3 ran to nearly 41,000 vehicles. To supply the Allied nations International Harvester produced several thousand of a very similar vehicle, the M5 half track for Lend-Lease.

The American 'LEE' Tank

Mid to Late Version LEE Tank.

Mid Version LEE Tank.

M3 1942

Tri Colour LEE.

LEE tank USA parked up in Algiers.

 

The Medium Tank M3 was an American tank used during World War II. In Britain the tank was called "General Lee" named after General Robert E. Lee, and its modified version built to British specification, with a new turret, was called "General Grant" named after General Ulysses S. Grant.

HISTORY OF THE M3 LEE 

As a rush job intended to be brought from design to production in a short period, the M3 was well-armed and -armored for the period, but due to various shortcomings (high silhouette, archaic sponson mounting of the main gun, below average off-road performance) it was not competitive and was withdrawn from front line duty as soon as the M4 Sherman became available in large numbers.

In 1939, the U.S. Army possessed few tanks or viable tank designs. The interwar years had been a time of small budgets for tank development. The United States had no infrastructure for tank production, little experience in tank design, and little doctrine to guide design efforts.

In this context the M2 series medium tank was developed. Though typical of tanks of many nations when first produced in 1939, by the time the U.S. entered the war the M2 design was obsolete with only a 37 mm gun, about 30 mm armor, and a very high silhouette. The success of tanks such as the Panzer III and Panzer IV in the French campaign prompted the U.S. Army to rethink their designs. The U.S. Army immediately issued a requirement for a new medium tank armed with a 75 mm gun in a turret. This eventually became the M4 Sherman. However, until the Sherman could be ready for production, an interim design with a 75 mm gun was urgently needed.

The M3 was the interim solution. The tank design was unusual in that the main weapon – a larger caliber, lower-velocity 75 mm gun – was in an offset sponson mounting in the hull, with consequently limited traverse. A small turret with a lighter, higher-velocity 37 mm gun was on the top of the tall hull. A small cupola on top of the turret held a machine gun giving the effect of one turret on top of another. The use of two main guns was seen on tanks like the French Char B, the Soviet T-35, and the Mark I version of the British Churchill tank. In each case, two weapons were mounted to give the tanks adequate capability in firing both anti-personnel high explosive ammunition (which needed to contain large amount of explosives) and armor-piercing ammunition for anti-tank combat (with efficiency depending on the kinetic energy of the projectile). The M3 differed slightly from this pattern by using a main gun which could fire an armor-piercing projectile at a velocity high enough for efficiently piercing armor, as well as deliver a high-explosive shell that was large enough to be effective. By using the hull mount, the M3 design was brought to production quicker than if a proper turreted mount had been attempted. It was well understood that the M3 design was deeply flawed, but the need for tanks was urgent.

 
Front View M3

The British ordered the M3 when they were refused permission to have their tank designs made by American factories. They were unhappy with the tall profile and had their own turret fitted—lower in profile with a bustle at the back for the radio set. Tanks manufactured with the new turret and radio setup received the name "General Grant" while the original M3s were called "General Lee", or more usually just Grant and Lee. (These names were, however, only used by British and Commonwealth forces; the U.S. Army continued to refer to the tanks as M3 Mediums.) The Grant required one fewer crew member than the Lee due to the movement of the radio to the turret. (The US Army eventually eliminated the fulltime radio operator as well, assigning the radio to the driver). The M3 brought much-needed firepower to British forces in the African desert campaign.

The chassis and running gear of the M3 design was adapted by the Canadians to develop their Ram tank, a conventionally turreted tank. The hull of the M3 was also later used for self-propelled artillery and recovery vehicles, as was the Canadian Ram, which also served as the basis for observation post and armored personnel carrier variants.

 

M2 Halftrack.

The M2 Half Track Car was an armoured vehicle used by the United States during World War II.

M2 Halftrack Vehicle Dec 41

HISTORY

The half-track design had been evaluated by the US Ordnance department using Citroën-Kégresse vehicles. The White MotorCompany produced a prototype half track using their own chassis and the body of the M3 Scout Car.

In 1938, the White Motor Company took the Timpken rear bogie assembly from a T9 half-track truck and added it to an M3 Scout Car, creating the T7 Half-Track Car. This vehicle was woefully underpowered, and when a further requirement came down from US Army artillery units for a prime mover (artillery tractor), a vehicle with an uprated engine was devised, then designated the T14. By 1940, the vehicle had been standardized as the M2 Half-Track car, and was being supplied to army units as both a prime mover and a reconnaissance vehicle. The latter was to serve in the interim, until more specialized vehicles could be fielded.

Between 1942 and 1943, these vehicles, just as with the M3 half tracks, would receive a number of modifications to the drive train, engine, and stowage, among other things.

Total production of M2 and derivatives was about 13,500 units. Later, to meet the needs of the Lend-Lease program, the International Harvester Company was brought in to manufacture vehicles similar to the M2, as the M9 adding another 3,500 units.

A Heavily Gunned M2

USAGE

The first M2s were fielded in 1941, and would be used in the Philippines, North Africa, and in Europe by the US Army, and around the Pacific by the USMC. About 800 M2 and M9 halftracks were sent to the Soviet Union. Many remaining vehicles initially destined for lend-lease were transferred to other US allies, primarily in South America. These vehicles often received a number of upgrades designed at extending service life. The Argentine Army retired its last upgraded M9 during 2006 and the last ones were donated to Bolivia.

M2 Halftrack Damaged.

M2 Algiers 1942

M3-A   variant of the M2

The M3 was the larger counterpart to the M2 Half Track Car. The M2 was originally intended to function as an artillery tractor. The M3 had a longer body than the M2 with a single access door in the rear and seating for a 13-man rifle squad. Ten seats were arranged down either side of the vehicle, with three in the cab. Racks under the seats were used for ammunition and rations; additional racks behind the seat backs held the squad's rifles and other stowage. A small rack for mines was added on the outside of the hull just above the tracks. In combat, most units found it necessary to stow additional food, rucksacks and other crew stowage on the outside of the vehicle. Luggage racks were often added in the field, and very late vehicles had rear-mounted racks for this crew stowage.

Early vehicles had a pintle mount just behind the front seats mounting a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun. The later M3A1 adopted a raised, armored 'pulpit mount' for the .50 caliber, and .30 caliber (7.62 mm) machine guns could be used from mounts along the sides of the passenger compartment. Many M3s were later modified to the M3A1 standard. The body was armoured all around with an adjustable armoured shutter for the engine's radiator and a bullet proof windscreen.

Total production of the M3 ran to nearly 41,000 vehicles. To supply the Allied nations International Harvester produced several thousand of a very similar vehicle, the M5 half track for Lend-Lease.

Two M2 Tri Colour in transit aboard ship.

M3 Stuart Light Tank.

The M3 Stuart, formally Light Tank M3 was an American light tank of World War II. It was used by British and Commonwealth forces prior to the entry of the USA into the war, and thereafter by US and Allied forces until the end of the war. The name General Stuart or Stuart given by the British comes from the American Civil War General J.E.B. Stuart and was used for both the M3 and M5 Light Tank; in British service it also had the unofficial nickname of Honey. To the United States Army the tanks were officially known only as Light Tank M3 and Light Tank M5.

M3 Stuart

STUART Kasserine Pass.

HISTORY OF THE STUART LIGHT TANK M3

Observing events in Europe, American tank designers realized that the Light Tank M2 was becoming obsolete and set about improving it. The upgraded design, with thicker armor, modified suspension and new gun recoil system was called "Light Tank M3". Production of the vehicle started in March 1941 and continued until October 1943. Like its direct predecessor, the M2A4, the M3 was armed with a 37 mm M5 gun and 5 .30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns: coaxial with the gun, on top of the turret in an M20 AA mount, in a ball mount in right bow, in the right and left hull sponsons.

To relieve the demand for the radial aero-engines used in the M3, a new version was developed using twin Cadillac V-8 automobile engines. The new model (initially called M4 but redesignated M5 to avoid confusion with the M4 Sherman) also featured a redesigned hull with sloped glacis plate and driver's hatches moved to the top. Although the main criticism from the using units was that the Stuarts lacked firepower, the improved M5 series kept the same 37 mm gun. The M5 gradually replaced the M3 in production from 1942 and was in turn succeeded by the Light Tank M24 in 1944.

STUART TANK Class 1 Being inspected by German Troops.

STUART 'Diablo' Kasserine Pass.

British Stuart - Knocked out in North Africa April 1941.

Stuart - M5.A1.

M5 Parade Jan. 1943 Morocco.

The M5 gradually replaced the M3 in production from 1942 and was in turn succeeded by the Light Tank M24 in 1944

M10 Sherman or the British Wolverine.

The 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) M10 was a United States tank destroyer of World War II. US troops also called them TDs (a nickname for any tank destroyer). The M10 was called the Wolverine in British service.

M10 Sherman Southern France.

From World War I through to the end of World War II, armored warfare doctrine held that armored vehicles should be designed to fulfill one of two roles: infantry support and anti-tank warfare. Because the roles were seen as mutually exclusive, separate vehicles were designed for each role. In some nations such as Britain, these led to separate infantry tanks and cruiser tanks. Germany fulfilled the roles initially through the development of the Panzer III for anti-tank warfare, and the Panzer IV for direct fire support, and later by developing specialized turretless assault guns and tank destroyers. In the United States Army, tanks were seen as infantry support just as they had been in World War I, while anti-tank warfare was to be performed by tank destroyers. Though equipped with turrets (unlike most tank destroyers of the day), the typical American design was more heavily gunned, but more lightly armored, and thus more maneuverable, than a true tank. The idea was to use speed and agility as a defense, rather than thick armor, to bring a powerful self-propelled gun into action against enemy tanks.

The 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage T35 was the prototype of the M10. It was equipped with a 3-inch (76.2 mm) gun in a new sloped, circular, open-topped turret, developed from the Heavy Tank T1/M6 turret, and mounted on an early-production Medium Tank  M4A1 hull.

This prototype was further developed by sloping the hull, using an M4A2 chassis, and replacing the circular turret with a pentagonal version; this model was designated 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage T35E1. In June 1942 the T35E1 was finalized as the 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage M10 and ordered into full production.

A British variant, designated "17pdr SP Achilles", was developed by mounting the successful 17-pounder anti-tank gun in a modified turret. The 17 pounder was of a similar caliber but had a longer barrel and a superior shell available. It was used by the British, Canadian and Polish armies in Italy and North-West Europe.

M4 Shermans

PRIEST

Sherman 'Priest' motorised artillery version based on a Sherman Chassis