hellcat tank destroyer
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. Serving as an infantry support weapon and used extensively in clearing pillboxes and fortified enemy positions within towns, the M18, like the M10 before it, was seldom ever concentrated in the massed battalion formation designed for anti-armor operations. Like its fellow tank destroyer the M10, the M18 suffered from flaws in a doctrine that was never fully defined. , The attack of 1st Battalion and the M18 Hellcat tank destroyers of the 705th TD Battalion near Noville together destroyed at least 30 German tanks and inflicted 500 to 1000 casualties on the attacking forces, in what amounted to a spoiling attack. As a result it was smaller, lighter, and significantly faster, but carried the same gun as the Sherman 76 mm models. In a five-minute period, five German tanks of the 113 Panzer Brigade were knocked out for the loss of one M18. Hellcat tank destroyer turned out to be a very unusual piece of weaponry. 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. When the fighting ended a few days later, the victorious American Hellcats accounted for thirty-nine panzers destroyed or disabled. 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. 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. Like all self-propelled tank destroyer battalions, those fitted with the M18 were composed of a headquarters company, reconnaissance company, three gun companies, and a medical detachment. 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 platoon continued to fire and destroyed ten more German tanks while losing another two M18s. The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. Ce n'est bien entendu pas un Panzer mais j The doctrinal priority of high speed at the cost of armor protection thus led to a relatively unbalanced design. 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 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. The Wright R-975 engine was mounted on steel rollers that allowed maintenance crews to disconnect it easily from the transmission, roll it out onto the lowered engine rear cover, service it, and then reconnect it to the transmission. Despite the preference for the M36, a number of units converted from the M10 to the M18. 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. Distinguished units like the 603d and 704th Tank Destroyer Battalions each reported to have destroyed upwards of ninety enemy armored fighting vehicles during the war in Europe, and lessons from the fighting around Arracourt and Bastogne point to the M18’s important role in blunting panzer attacks. The tank destroyer played a key role in the battlefields of France, Belgium, and Germany in 1944. The next prototype was the T67 GMC and it featured a 75 mm main gun. These were rebuilt and refurbished by Brown & Root in northern Italy in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and bear data plates that indicate those rebuilds. Armored Utility Vehicle M39 in Korea, 1952. Team Desobry's high speed highway journey to reach the blocking position is one of the few documented cases 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. Taking advantage of the fog to sneak up on the more heavily armed and armored Panthers, four Hellcats engaged a company of tanks from the 113th around Bezange-la-Petite, firing from a slight depression and knocking out seven Panthers before dawn. “M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer” is a typical Osprey New vanguard publication with 48 numbered pages - of which 3 are devoted to publishing information, the table of contents, and the index. in 1941, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Davis Bruce envisioned the units being equipped with something faster than a tank, with a better gun but less armor to allow for speed. 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. 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. Two battalions of tank destroyers did see service in the invasion of the Philippines using Hellcats. The doctrine of the time had Shermans acting in support of infantry to break enemy defenses (Infantry leads, tanks follow or support by fire), and then exploiting the attack (Tanks lead, infantry follows) with infantry in support during exploitation. 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. In fact, the only variant to catch on would be the M39 Armored Utility Vehicle. 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.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. M18 Hellcat Esercito Italiano (Italian Army 1946-now) Italy Military Academy 18 VIII 29526 EI: 107102 Italy Military Academy olive drab US Army (1784-now) 1944 World War 2 - Pacific olive drab 643 Tank Destroyer Bn. For this, the U.S. envisioned using tanks in the attack solely in a support and exploitation role, usually in conjunction with infantry. F, M10 Tank Destroyer and SU-85 share an HP value of 1700. The M18 Hellcat was produced by Buick and it was meant to be a more armored tank destroyer rather than the M10 Tank Destroyer or the M36 Tank Destroyerwhich was produced to la… The M18 served primarily in Western Europe, but was also present in the Pacific. The Hellcat's 76mm gun often could not penetrate the thick sloped front armor of German Panther tanks. By numbers alone, the M18 might have claimed success as a tank destroyer. The M18 Hellcat's first prototype was the T49 GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) and it featured a 57mm main gun. The tank destroyer became the fastest armored vehicle, of this type, of World War II. The M18s of the 705th were integral in the defense of Bastogne. Military Channel, Program "Tank Overhaul" 22:51, Wednesday 13 August 2008 (UTC) "Current hour EDST," mixed documentary with interviews of WW-II veterans. 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. While effective in these secondary operations, the new role of the M18 came at a cost. On that day, M18s were credited with destroying twenty-seven German tanks, with only six M18s lost. With just four M18 tank destroyers of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion to assist, the paratroopers attacked units of the 2nd Panzer Division, whose mission was to proceed by secondary roads via Monaville (just northwest of Bastogne) to seize a key highway and capture, among other objectives, fuel dumps—for the lack of which the overall German counter-offensive faltered and failed. While Panthers in defense were formidable, Panthers in the attack had great difficulty not exposing their vulnerable large side profiles. The Hellcat was not intended to engage in protracted combat but to quickly respond to breakthroughs in the line by enemy armor. 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. 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. As defined by revised Field Manual (FM) 18-5 issued in July 1944, the three gun companies each contained three platoons of four guns, giving the entire battalion a total of thirty-six tank destroyers. As a curious note, the M-18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer was the fastest American armored vehicle until the turbine-powered M1 Abrams main battle tank appeared decades later. 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 M18 GMC appeared in 1944 as the epitome of United State's tank destroyer doctrine. It was first accepted in 1943 and it appeared on the battlefield in 1944. Likewise, the awkward interior layout of the M18’s turret made reloading the main gun cumbersome and slow in combat situations. Production of the M18 Hellcat began in mid-1943 and ended in October 1944. This version was armed with a single M2 machine gun on a flexible mount. On September 19, 1944, in the Nancy Bridgehead near Arracourt, France, the 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion was attached to the 4th Armored Division. M18 or the M18 Hellcat is a reward vehicle for Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, replacing the M10 Tank Destroyer. When the 15th Panzer Division attacked positions held by the 101st Airborne Division on Christmas Day, the 705th and its M18s helped hold the Germans at bay. A total of 2,507 vehicles were produced from July 1943 through October 1944. It was the fastest U.S. armored fighting vehicle on the road. Evans himself manned the gun of a disabled M18 and was able to knock out two panzers, earning the Distinguished Service Cross in the process. 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. Flanked by the words “Seek, Strike, Destroy,” it depicts a wildcat biting down on crushed treads, signifying the Hellcat’s mission of targeting enemy tanks. , The M18 Hellcat was a key element during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge. It was much easier to scan the horizon targets, looking out over the side of the turret than being battened down inside a normal tank turret, and looking Due at least somewhat to a lack of a concerted German panzer counteroffensive immediately after D-Day, the delay in the M18’s meeting with the Panther and Tiger tanks of the Wehrmacht may have been for the best. 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. Even the Hellcat logo on the M18’s front corner and patches worn by its crew was designed by Earl’s staff. It was often given the nickname Hellcat and is recorded as being the fastest tracked armored fighting vehicle during the war, and for a while after that. Tank destroyer battalions assigned to front line divisions often split up to companies attached to regiments, and platoons attached to infantry battalions. The M18's new design incorporated several innovative maintenance features. Nevertheless, in a war won through the training and adaptability of U.S. service members, the M18 proved it could fill a variety of tasks on the battlefield, and lives on as one of the vehicles used in the Allies’ victory in World War II. Other experiments included an attempt in the autumn of 1944 to adopt the design for use as a self-propelled howitzer, but this and other tests were abandoned with the ending of World War II. These units were instrumental in stopping numerous Japanese attacks during the later phases of the war. 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.  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 located north-northeast of both Foy and of Bastogne just 4.36 miles (7 km) away. These concerns were fresh in the minds of those in Lieutenant General Omar Bradley’s staff during the lead-up to Operation Overlord, so much so that the First Army commander resisted the option of converting tank destroyer battalions under his command to the M18. 2,507 had been produced by that time, at a unit cost of $57,500. While FM 18-5 called for an aggressive spirit of action aimed against the flanks of advancing enemy armored formations with the entire battalion force, the initial breakout from Normandy during Operation COBRA saw the M18 serving less as a tank hunter and more in convoy protection and infantry support roles. Though it weighed about 20 tons – the same as almost nine modern day Buick Enclaves – the Hellcat was designed to be one of fastest tanks on the battlefield and was capable of traveling upwards of 60 mph. The main disadvantages of the M18 were 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. U.S. Army M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer (in operation 1943-1944).  About 100 M39s were transferred to the West German Bundeswehr in 1956, where they were used to train the reestablished Panzergrenadier armored infantry units.. After US entry into World War II and the formation of the Tank Destroyer Force, a suitable vehicle was needed to equip the new battalions. The M18 Hellcat (M18 GMC) was an American tank destroyer of World War II, used in the Italian and European theatres. This doctrine failed on the battlefield where attacking Sherman tanks ran into defending German tanks far more often than intended and the tank destroyers were called in to assist. The Super Hellcat is an American tier 7 premium turreted tank destroyer. The tank destroyers were attached in platoon size units to American Infantry Divisions. 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. M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer's national animal is the Hellcat. 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. 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… An M18 from the 603d Tank Destroyer Battalion, Combat Command B, 6th Armored Division, guards an intersection in Luneville, France, 22 September 1944. Even the Hellcat logo on the M18’s front corner and patches worn by its crew was designed by Earl’s staff. An unknown number of these vehicles were modernized by a Yugoslavian firm in 1991. Obviously this would make it harder for an armored force to achieve a deep breakthrough, a main objective of armor, if the enemy had tanks. 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. A number of panzers were knocked out by these means when Hitler finally ordered an armored counteroffensive against Patton’s Third Army in September 1944. Even before the T70 had been standardized as the M18, the 76mm GMC was already serving as a prototype for an amphibious version that would eventually be designated the T-86. Similarly, American armored attacks would be delivered at a time and place of friendly forces choosing against an enemy defense. "M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer 1943-97" by Steven J Zaloga PP11-12.ISBN 1-84176-687-9, "M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer 1943-97" by Steven J Zaloga P43.ISBN 1-84176-687-9, Tankograd Militarfahrzeug Spezial No 5002 "Die Anfangsjahre des Heeres 1956-1966 (The Early Years of the Modern German Army)" by Peter Blume PP48-49. M18 Hellcat of the 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion in action at Wiesloch, Germany, April 1945. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Starting with Anzio in Italy, M18s saw action in Italy and Northwest Europe. U.S. doctrine originally called for the Hellcat to be held in reserves so that it could block an incoming armored thrust. Due to the differences in the doctrine of the use of armored vehicles by the Americans from Germany and the USSR, it does not look like its “classmates”. The following tank battalions used the M18 during part or all of their service: 602nd battalion 9\1944, 603rd 8\1944, 609th 9\1944, 612th 1\1945, 637th 1\1945 (Pacific), 638th 11\1… We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. High quality Hellcat Tank Destroyer gifts and merchandise. “The Hellcat was considered the hot rod of World War II,” said Bill Gross, a historian who restored an M18 now on display at the Sloan Museum in Flint, Mich. “To give perspective, most German tanks of the day were capable of just 20 mph and even today’s M1 Abrams tank is outpaced by the Hellcat.”. Along with the light armor and lack of penetration power of the main gun, these flaws remained enduring weaknesses of the M18 and underscored the contradictory nature of tank destroyer doctrine. Though all tank destroyer units were disbanded by the U.S. after the war, surplus M18s continued to see limited service. Top speed testing was done on a paved, banked oval and ride quality tests were done over specially developed stretches of bumps. Although some Hellcats went to China to fight the Japanese army, they were primarily used in support of infantry, as Japanese armor was scarce and of poor quality. A handful of tank destroyer battalions saw action halfway around the world against the Japanese. A-15 1944 France, only three would be equipped with the Hellcat prior to landing in Normandy. The average combat range noted by the Americans for tank vs. tank action was around 800m to 900m. In December 1941, the Ordnance Corps issued a requirement for a fast tank destroyer using torsion bar suspension, a Wright/Continental R-975 engine, and a 37 mm (1.46 in) gun. Although by 1945, the preference was to reequip units with the newer M36, which packed a 90mm gun capable of destroying a Panther at longer ranges than the 76mm gun of the M18. The solution was the Gun Motor Carriage (GMC), although the first few models developed by the Army were anything but effective. 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. When the Americans entered the war in 1941, they began to supply China with armored vehicles, including the M18 Hellcat. 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. 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. Our shop retails 1/35 M18 Hellcat GMC Tank Destroyer (Plastic model) Airfix X1371 Military Model on the Web. U.S. tanks were expected to fight any hostile tanks they encountered in their attack, but the mission of destroying massed enemy armored thrustswas assigned to a new branc… M18 “Hellcat” Tank Destroyer 76mm Gun Motor Carriage (T70) Production General Motors, Buick Division July 1943 to October 1944 2507 produced $55,230 production cost Power Train R975 Continental Radial Engine The transmission could also easily be removed and rolled out onto a front deck plate to facilitate quick inspection and repairs. The Hellcat had very little armor, and the use of high flash powder made the Hellcat a highly visible and vulnerable target for German tank crews. 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. These, along with M3 Stuarts and M4 Shermans, trickled in through Burma and formed part of the several well-equipped, well-trained armies that the Chinese Nationalists deployed. 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), and Buick nicknamed it the Hellcat. All work on the three amphibious models was canceled after the end of the war. 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. After World War II, many M18s were sold to other countries. 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). Far too often, M18 crews were forced to use their 76mm cannon against enemy infantry targets, depleting crucial ammunition for use in anti-armor purposes. During fighting in North Africa, the vehicle's original 37 mm gun was inadequate and the design was upgraded with a British 57 mm gun. 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. 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 603d, 704th, and 705th of Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s Third Army all came ashore in Normandy by late July 1944.  This problem was not helped by the fact that the air-cooled engine pulled a percentage of its cooling air through the crew compartment, creating in effect, a large armor-plated refrigerator. The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. A number of these vehicles were later used by the Military of Serbian Krajina and Army of Republika Srpska during the Yugoslav wars. The speed was attained by keeping armor to a minimum, no more than 1" thick. Very few reached the field in time for the war, but some saw action in Korea. 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. Gmc appeared in 1944 Military model on the M18 Hellcat tank destroyer 's 76mm gun often not... Regular basis, which kept them in reserve service from flaws in a doctrine that was fully. J Zaloga P14.ISBN 1-84176-687-9 to facilitate quick inspection and repairs present in the Korean War GMC,. Was a key role in the line by enemy armor armored train named the `` Krajina express (. 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