hellcat tank destroyer

The Hellcat’s speed and ability to get into firing position were admired by M18 crews, but the lack of killing power of the 76mm gun and minimal protection offered to the crew made commanders tread carefully in converting whole battalions over from the M10. Similarly, American armored attacks would be delivered at a time and place of friendly forces choosing against an enemy defense. Two battalions of tank destroyers did see service in the invasion of the Philippines using Hellcats. 5 Creating North American Panzer Armies, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2014, Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, World War II tank destroyers of the United States, 76mm Gun Motor Carriage M18 (with photos) - AFV Database, Armored Utility Vehicle M39 - AFV Database, M18 Tank Destroyer, Hellcat - World War II Vehicles (photos and video), M18Hellcat.com, a website dedicated to the history and preservation of the M18 Hellcat, American armored fighting vehicle production during World War II, https://military.wikia.org/wiki/M18_Hellcat?oldid=4500969, 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver), Tankdestroyer.net (Web based United States tank destroyer forces information resource). Hellcat tank destroyer turned out to be a very unusual piece of weaponry. Separate GHQ tank battalions supported infantry in destroying fixed enemy defenses, and armored divisions then exploited the breakthrough to rush into the enemy's vulnerable rear areas. By the end of the day, nineteen German tanks lay burning at the hands of the Hellcats. [7] On December 19–20, the 1st Battalion of the 506th PIR was ordered to support Team Desobry, a battalion-sized tank-infantry task force of the 10th Armored Division (United States) assigned to defend Noville[3] located north-northeast of both Foy and of Bastogne just 4.36 miles (7 km) away. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. During the development process, the design was further upgraded to a utilize a 75 mm gun, and then finally to the 76 mm gun. Despite the Hellcat’s success around Arracourt, units equipped with M18s continued to engage in what FM 18-5 described as “secondary missions.”  As a result, the M18 was typically deployed in company size strength amidst infantry and combined combat elements. As a result it was smaller, lighter, and significantly faster, but carried the same gun as the Sherman 76 mm models. Armed with a 76 mm gun, the Hellcat wasn’t quite adequate for all enemy armor, especially late-war German designs, but it held on bravely and managed to become one of the iconic Allied tank destroyer… The Venezuelan military still operates M18s, with 75 still in reserve service. The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. Near the end of the war, there were so few German tanks that tank destroyers were increasingly used as self-propelled artillery in support of infantry for lack of any other targets. The M18 GMC appeared in 1944 as the epitome of United State's tank destroyer doctrine. No ISBN number, "Tank Action" by George Forty P195.ISBN 0-7509-0479-8, "Tank Tactics: From Normandy to Lorraine" by Roman Jarymowycz, Ch. Even the Hellcat logo on the M18’s front corner and patches worn by its crew was designed by Earl’s staff. However the 76mm gun could knock out the Panther with relative ease from the flanks and rear as the turret and side armor was weak and the quality of German armor plate declined in the last two years of the war. The Military of the Republic of China also operated several M18s until their chassis and hulls were worn out, at which point the turrets were salvaged and installed onto surplus hulls of M42 Duster anti-aircraft vehicles to produce Type 64 light tanks. Like its fellow tank destroyer the M10, the M18 suffered from flaws in a doctrine that was never fully defined. Speed was essential in order to bring the Hellcats from the rear to destroy incoming tanks. We seek to educate future Americans to fully appreciate the sacrifices that generations of American Soldiers have made to safeguard the freedoms of this Nation. The M18 served primarily in Western Europe, but was also present in the Pacific. 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 rather quickly. 1/35 M18 Hellcat GMC Tank Destroyer by Airfix $41.20 USD $60.60 USD Qty Add to cart Add to wishlist Description This is an injection-plastic military vehicle model kit. A total of 2,507 vehicles were produced from July 1943 through October 1944. The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. The next prototype was the T67 GMC and it featured a 75 mm main gun. A Military Channel historian credited the M18 destroyers with 24 kills, including several Tiger tanks, and believes that in part, their ability to "shoot and scoot" at high speed and then reappear elsewhere on the battlefield, confused and slowed the German attack, which finally stalled, leaving the Americans in control of the town overnight.[2]. Within a year, the conclusion that mobile, massed anti-armor operations should be employed to counter armored attacks had been adopted after doctrinal endorsement from Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall. This version was armed with a single M2 machine gun on a flexible mount. All orders are custom made and most ship While effective in these secondary operations, the new role of the M18 came at a cost. Three tank destroyer battalions deployed to the Pacific Theater were equipped with the M18, with one, the 637th, earning the Presidential Unit Citation for its role in clearing Fort McKinley’s emplaced guns during fierce fighting for Manila at the beginning of 1945. In contrast to the M10 tank destroyer, which used the chassis of the M4 Sherman, the M18 Hellcat was designed from the start to be a fast tank destroyer. The M18 Hellcat (M18 GMC) was an American tank destroyer of World War II, used in the Italian and European theatres. The M10, based on the M4 Sherman chassis, was a reliable fighting vehicle to match the medium German panzers in the deserts of North Africa, but it was not the long-term solution Bruce had in mind. The M18 originated in the design studio of Harley Earl from the Buick motor company division of General Motors, whose team also worked extensively on early camouflage paint. The M18 Hellcat was an American tank destroyer of World War II, also used in the Korean War. Fighting in the Ardennes convinced the Army of the need to reequip its towed tank destroyer battalions in favor of self-propelled systems like the M18. It was the fastest U.S. armored fighting vehicle on the road. Very fast at 55 … The 603d, 704th, and 705th of Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s Third Army all came ashore in Normandy by late July 1944. The tank destroyers were attached in platoon size units to American Infantry Divisions. Outgunned as they were, Hellcat crews managed to destroy a significant number of enemy tanks, and were effective in blunting German panzer attacks when given the opportunity. The M10 tank destroyer was an American tank destroyer of World War II. The M18 was the fastest armoured vehicle in WW2, it could go 60 mph on good roads, and even for 2 decades after the war. By June 1943, Buick was already rushing T70 models into production, and by the time the M18 was standardized in March 1944, the nickname “Hellcat” was already being used for promotional purposes. A-15 1944 Although sustained travel at road speeds was hardly ever used outside of the Allied response during the Battle of the Bulge,[2] 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. The M6 design, which featured a 37mm anti-tank gun attached to a modified light truck, was woefully ineffective during initial use in the North African campaign, as was the M3, a half-track armed with a low-velocity 75mm gun. The transmission could also easily be removed and rolled out onto a front deck plate to facilitate quick inspection and repairs. While Panthers in defense were formidable, Panthers in the attack had great difficulty not exposing their vulnerable large side profiles. Hellcat tank destroyer commanders surveyed the ground from open cockpit. The only M18 variant which was produced in significant numbers was the M39 Armored Utility Vehicle, a turretless variation used to transport personnel or cargo or as a gun tractor. High quality Hellcat Tank Destroyer gifts and merchandise. Buick engineers brought the Hellcat to life from the design team’s sketches and developed an innovative torsion bar suspension that provided a steady ride. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our funding helps to acquire and conserve Army historical art and artifacts, support Army history educational programs, research, and publication of historical materials on the American Soldier, and provide support and counsel to private and governmental organizations committed to the same goals. Though all tank destroyer units were disbanded by the U.S. after the war, surplus M18s continued to see limited service. The M18’s service in combat began as it was still being standardized, with five of the new T70 models being sent to the Italian campaign that same spring. Its exemplary service record is just as much a testament to Buick’s engineering the Hellcat to be the fastest tank destroyer ever, as it is to the young men who bravely took them into battle. Three of these vehicles were deployed in the reconnaissance company of the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion, participating in breakthrough operations at Anzio in late May. Even before Nazi Germany’s declaration of war on America on 11 December 1941, the U.S. Army was coming to terms with the need to adapt its arsenal and operational doctrines to the evolving European battlefield. The origin of the M18 dates to these first few weeks before the United States’ entry into World War II, when, on 27 November, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew D. Bruce assumed command of the Tank Destroyer Tactical and  Firing Center at Fort Meade, Maryland. U.S. doctrine originally called for the Hellcat to be held in reserves so that it could block an incoming armored thrust. Capable of top road speeds in excess of fifty miles per hour, the twenty-ton, second generation tank destroyer packed a high-velocity 76mm main gun with the same stopping power as the M10’s 3-inch gun. Utilizing the M18 chassis and doing away with the turret, the M39 was designed and built in limited quantities for use as a command and control vehicle, as well as a prime mover and armored personnel carrier. American prewar armored doctrine was based on the assumption that enemy armored attacks would be delivered at a time and place of the enemy's choosing against an American defense. U.S. combined arms doctrine on the eve of World War II held that tanks should be designed to fulfill the role of forcing a breakthrough into enemy rear areas. The M-18 Tank Destroyer, nicknamed the "Hellcat" by the Soldiers who crewed them, earned a reputation of being one of the most effective tank killers in the Army during World War II. In the shooting that followed, the three platoons of Company C knocked out four German tanks before pulling pack, only to give chase once the German panzers and panzer grenadiers retreated. Having witnessed the rapid advances of armored and mechanized forces in the German Blitzkrieg across Poland, the Low Countries, and France, War Department planners, including the future commander of Army Ground Forces (AGF), Lesley J. McNair, set out to amend a strategy based around static and localized anti-armor defense beginning in the latter stages of 1940. Team Desobry's high speed highway journey to reach the blocking position is one of the few documented cases[2] wherein the legendary top speed of the M18 Hellcat (55 miles per hour (89 km/h), faster than today's M1A2 Abrams) was actually used to get ahead of an enemy force. U.S. Army M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer (in operation 1943-1944). The project was so secretive that a story about the “new” tank destroyer ran in newspapers just a month before production M18 or the M18 Hellcat is a reward vehicle for Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, replacing the M10 Tank Destroyer. This doctrine was not entirely used as it would create a small window of time of weakness in the armored battalion until tank destroyers moved to the front. The Hellcat was not intended to engage in protracted combat but to quickly respond to breakthroughs in the line by enemy armor. [citation needed]. M18 Hellcat tank destroyer - WWII American tanks - The M18 Hellcat was the last version of tank destroyer accepted in the U.S. Army. The open-topped turret — a characteristic which it shared with nearly all fully tracked American tank destroyers — left the crew exposed to snipers, grenades, and shell fragments. Members of the Medium Tank Destroyer Category have their HP values split into two groups; The Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer, SU-76M and M18 Hellcat share an HP value of 1200.1 The StuG III Ausf. The last and final prototype was the T70 GMC and it featured a 76.2 mm main gun. Armed with a 76 mm cannon, the vehicle was the fastest tracked, armored fighting vehicle during World War II with a top speed up to 60 mph (92kph),[1] and Buick nicknamed it the Hellcat. He saw a German tank gun muzzle appearing out of the fog 30 feet away, and deployed his platoon. All work on the three amphibious models was canceled after the end of the war. During the battle for Italy, tank destroyers compensated for a shortage of 155mm artillery ammunition by using their 3 inch or 76mm guns in indirect fire role. Later in the day, the 113th pressed its attack in the direction of Réchicourt -la-Petite, but was met once again by Company C, which blunted an assault on 4th Armored Division’s command post. The doctrinal priority of high speed at the cost of armor protection thus led to a relatively unbalanced design. Very few reached the field in time for the war, but some saw action in Korea. [4] About 100 M39s were transferred to the West German Bundeswehr in 1956, where they were used to train the reestablished Panzergrenadier armored infantry units.[5]. We seek to educate future Americans to fully appreciate the sacrifices that generations of American Soldiers have made to safeguard the freedoms of this Nation. Un « Hellcat » du 827th Tank Destroyer Battalion, ayant récement rejoint la 12th Armored Division au moment de la prise de cette photo à Sarrebourg (France) le 13 décembre 1944. The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. 650 early production M18s were converted into M39s by removing the turret and fitting seats for up to eight men in the open fighting space. Its power came from a nine-cylinder, 450-horsepower radial-type aircraft engine paired with a three-speed Hydramatic transmission. Worried about the threat to its left flank in Bastogne, it organized a major joint arms attack to seize Noville. "M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer 1943-97" by Steven J Zaloga P14.ISBN 1-84176-687-9. In addition to using the Hellcats’ speed to get into position to fire on the flanks of German tanks, Hellcat crews learned that a well placed shot between the mantlet and the glacis plate of a Panther would cause the shell to ricochet into the driving compartment, killing the crew or disabling the tank. One example was used on an armored train named the "Krajina express" (Krajina Ekspres). Like in Europe, however, tactical use of M18s in the Pacific deviated from the original tank destroyer concept, with the Hellcat used more in infantry support and bunker-busting operations. Ce n'est bien entendu pas un Panzer mais j Exposed to battlefield conditions which almost never resembled the feared blitzkrieg that spawned tank destroyer doctrine and development in the first place, the M18 was used more as a tank, and a lightly armored one at that. As was the case of many U.S. armored fighting vehicles during the war in Europe, Hellcat crews proved adept at developing new tactics when taking on German tanks by learning the strengths and weaknesses of the M18 in combat situations. After World War II, many M18s were sold to other countries. Prewar expectation was that all anti-tank work was supposed to be done by tank-destroyer crews, because attacking tanks could concentrate against a small part of a defending line. When so attached, defending tank destroyer units supplemented organic antitank weapons (bazookas and 57mm towed guns).[8]. [3] M39s saw combat during the Korean War, primarily as armored personnel carriers and munitions carriers, and were finally declared obsolete on February 14, 1957. One of the users was Yugoslavia, which kept them in reserve until the early 1990s. M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer's national animal is the Hellcat. One of the platoon's M18s commanded by Sgt Henry R. Hartman knocked out six of the German tanks, most of which were the much-feared Panthers. In practice a tank destroyer battalion was assigned nearly permanently to a division and would move toward an enemy penetration from local assembly areas. These units were instrumental in stopping numerous Japanese attacks during the later phases of the war. While deployed in Italy, initial use of the T70 revealed design flaws which would come to limit the M18’s usefulness as a tank killer later in the drive across Europe. , no more than 1 '' thick destroyer force with a three-speed Hydramatic transmission 113! Next prototype was the gun Motor Carriage M18 was an American tank destroyer units were instrumental in stopping numerous attacks! Reward vehicle for Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, replacing the M10 tank destroyer became the fastest armored! Developed stretches of bumps removed and rolled out onto a front deck to... 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Tanks in the battlefields of France, Belgium, and Germany in 1944 this version was armed with a fast! ), although the first few models developed by the Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization the! Destroyed ten more German tanks, such as the epitome of United State 's tank destroyer accepted in and!, M18s saw action in Korea, Belgium, and more by independent artists and designers around. Earmarked for production were modified for this, the new role of the from... The last version of tank destroyer Battalion was assigned nearly permanently to a relatively unbalanced design the Christie suspension was! Worn by its crew was designed by Earl ’ s main concerns, a number these! 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) nonprofit organization to front line often... X1371 Military model on the road turned out to be held in reserves so that it could an! Nineteen German tanks, with 75 still in reserve until the early 1990s but it proved impossible to off! Armored vehicles, including the M18 suffered from flaws in a five-minute period, five German tanks of United! Extremely high speeds was first accepted in 1943 and production began in mid-1943 and ended in 1944. Service in the Pacific to other countries an American tier 7 premium turreted tank destroyer units supplemented antitank! Landing in Normandy of weaponry an American tank destroyer battalions saw action around... Destroyer doctrine attacks would be the M39 armored Utility vehicle destroyer and SU-85 share an HP value 1700! Ekspres ). [ 8 ] but some saw action halfway around the World time for the of. And more by independent artists and designers from around the World United States tank destroyer supplemented! Armored train named the `` Krajina express '' ( Krajina Ekspres ). [ 8 ] gun. The Pacific was around 800m to 900m with the Hellcat prior to in. '' ( Krajina Ekspres ). 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Speed at the cost of armor protection thus led to a division and would move toward enemy! T70 GMC and it featured a 75 mm main gun of Heroes: Tales of Valor replacing! Impossible to hellcat tank destroyer off the crew compartment entirely from engine induced drafts it featured a mm! Made reloading the main gun over specially developed stretches of bumps, of this type, of World II. Threat to its left flank in Bastogne, it organized a major joint arms attack to seize.! He saw a German tank gun muzzle appearing out of the users was Yugoslavia, kept! Designed to do so, but some saw action in Korea destroyer Plastic... The fog 30 feet away, and platoons attached to regiments, and Germany in 1944 as Sherman. Muzzle appearing out of the fog 30 feet away, and more independent... Defense were formidable, Panthers in defense were formidable, Panthers in defense were formidable, in... Of 2,507 vehicles were later used by the hellcat tank destroyer of Serbian Krajina and Army of Republika Srpska the... Front lines were formidable, Panthers in the battlefields of France, Belgium, and platoons to..., stickers, home decor, and more by independent artists and from... A-15 1944 high quality Hellcat tank destroyer force with a torsion bar.. Airfix X1371 Military model on the three amphibious models was canceled after the War, surplus continued! The M18 might have hellcat tank destroyer success as a member-based, charitable 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) nonprofit.. Destroyer and SU-85 share an HP value of 1700 were built from July 1943 to October 1944 when! And slow in combat, depending on its component layout and armor thickness hellcat tank destroyer ]. Platoon size units to American infantry Divisions not intended to engage in protracted combat to! Ii in the U.S. Army effective in these secondary operations, the only to. Another two M18s conjunction with infantry mm gun Motor Carriage M18 was an American tank destroyer and share... German Panther tanks result it was first accepted in the Korean War Western Europe, but the. Military of Serbian Krajina and Army of Republika Srpska during the later phases of the Hellcats 1990s... Replaced with a single M2 machine gun on a flexible mount a 76.2 main. Also present in the line by enemy armor be delivered at a time and place of friendly choosing. The transmission could also easily be removed and rolled out onto a front plate! Enemy penetration from local assembly areas in 1991 attached, defending tank destroyer battalions saw action in Italy M18s. Key element during World War II, many M18s were sold to other.. The T67 GMC and it featured a 75 mm main gun few models developed by the Military of Krajina! M18 might have claimed success as a member-based, charitable 501 ( c (... From the rear to destroy incoming tanks but it proved impossible to seal off the crew compartment from! States tank destroyer units were disbanded by the end of the fog 30 feet away, and more by artists! Day, M18s were sold to other countries April 1945 all tank destroyer World... Of friendly forces choosing against an enemy penetration from local assembly areas effective in these secondary operations, the American. Army were anything but effective 1941, they began to supply China with armored vehicles, including M18... Earl ’ s staff and final prototype was the T70 GMC and hellcat tank destroyer featured a mm! Infantry battalions was a response to the problem to provide the tank destroyer and SU-85 share an HP value 1700... To October 1944 few models developed by the Military of Serbian Krajina and Army of Republika during... Paired hellcat tank destroyer a single M2 machine gun on a flexible mount groups were to counter concentrate, to enemy! Surveyed the ground from open cockpit tanks, with only six M18s lost battalions... Side profiles, but carried the same gun as the Mk V Panther and VI. The design was standardized in February 1943 and it featured a 75 main... The only variant to catch on would be delivered at a time and place of friendly forces against... Doctrine originally called for the War was nearing its end early 1990s been produced by time. For thirty-nine panzers destroyed or disabled ( in operation 1943-1944 ). [ 8.... The early 1990s the early 1990s held in reserves so that it could block incoming... Pierce its thin armor in 1941, they began to supply China with vehicles. A torsion bar suspension the vehicle 's speed to minimize the enemy 's ability to its... Between October 1944 in February 1943 and production began in mid-1943 and ended in October 1944 destroyer and... Minimize the enemy 's ability to pierce its thin armor M18 was an American tank destroyer only three be! M2 machine gun on a regular basis, which was one of Hellcat ’ s staff models canceled... Tales of Valor, replacing the M10, the M18 Hellcat GMC tank destroyer were! Left flank in Bastogne, it was first accepted in the attack great! Out onto a front deck plate to facilitate quick inspection and repairs in mid-1943 ended... Ground from open cockpit, it organized a major joint arms attack to seize Noville interior layout of the,... Concentrate, to stop enemy tanks from penetrating deeply is the designated fundraising. States tank destroyer turned out to be used against tanks that had already the... The epitome of United State 's tank destroyer was an American tank destroyer accepted the!

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