Between October 1944 and March 1945, 640 M18s earmarked for production were modified for this purpose. 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 Christie suspension requirement was also dropped, and replaced with a torsion bar suspension. 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. All work on the three amphibious models was canceled after the end of the war. The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. 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. By numbers alone, the M18 might have claimed success as a tank destroyer. [2], 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. 2,507 had been produced by that time, at a unit cost of $57,500. 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. 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. 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. It would also be easier for an opposing armored force to achieve a local breakthrough against an American unit which would not have all of its anti-tank assets at the front during the beginning of any attack. In fact, the only variant to catch on would be the M39 Armored Utility Vehicle. During the development process, the design was further upgraded to a utilize a 75 mm gun, and then finally to the 76 mm gun. Complaints about the open turret configuration and exposed .50 caliber machine gun were common, while the lack of a coaxial machine gun afforded little protection to the exposed heads of the tank driver and assistant driver. 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. [ About online shopping pre-order sales ] Releases … By the end of the day, nineteen German tanks lay burning at the hands of the Hellcats. The M18 Hellcat's first prototype was the T49 GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) and it featured a 57mm main gun. 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. The platoon continued to fire and destroyed ten more German tanks while losing another two M18s. 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. Over 2,500 were built from July 1943 to October 1944. Similarly, American armored attacks would be delivered at a time and place of friendly forces choosing against an enemy defense. 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. The M18 Hellcat was an American tank destroyer of World War II. 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. With only thirteen millimeters on the front hull, the M18’s armor was less than that of the M8 armored car, and much less than the two inches of frontal armor on the M4A1 Sherman or 1.5-inch armor plate on the M10. An unknown number of these vehicles were modernized by a Yugoslavian firm in 1991. 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. 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. [citation needed]. "M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer 1943-97" by Steven J Zaloga P14.ISBN 1-84176-687-9. The fact that only seven Hellcats were destroyed or disabled speaks not only to the tactical flaws of German armor advancing without proper reconnaissance, but also to the proficiency and adaptability of the M18 crews. 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. [2] The Hellcat would have one more opportunity to prove itself against the heavy panzers of the Wehrmacht when the Germans launched their last-ditch offensive through the Ardennes in December 1944. In truth, M18 crews quickly learned that frontal fire at ranges beyond 300 yards would have little effect on the heavy German tanks; at the same time, the Hellcat provided no protection against the high velocity 75mm and 88mm guns of the Panther and Tiger, respectively. The project was so secretive that a story about the “new” tank destroyer ran in newspapers just a month before production The design was standardized in February 1943 and production began in July 1943. 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… When the fighting ended a few days later, the victorious American Hellcats accounted for thirty-nine panzers destroyed or disabled. 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. The 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage M18 was an United States tank destroyer of World War II. Even the Hellcat logo on the M18’s front corner and patches worn by its crew was designed by Earl’s staff. 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. Once developed, the Hellcat was tested in the same manner as millions of Buick passenger cars before and after it, at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground. “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. Though all tank destroyer units were disbanded by the U.S. after the war, surplus M18s continued to see limited service. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 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 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. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As a result it was smaller, lighter, and significantly faster, but carried the same gun as the Sherman 76 mm models. In practice a tank destroyer battalion was assigned nearly permanently to a division and would move toward an enemy penetration from local assembly areas. The next prototype was the T67 GMC and it featured a 75 mm main 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. 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. 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. 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. Favoring a vehicle with greater speed, cost effectiveness, and mobility, while at the same time not sacrificing firepower, Bruce secured the test models for his ideal panzer hunter with the T70 prototype. The tank destroyer played a key role in the battlefields of France, Belgium, and Germany in 1944. The M18 GMC was a response to the problem to provide the tank destroyer force with a very fast tank destroyer. The speed was attained by keeping armor to a minimum, no more than 1" thick. 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. 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. 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. One of the users was Yugoslavia, which kept them in reserve until the early 1990s. 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. 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. Top speed testing was done on a paved, banked oval and ride quality tests were done over specially developed stretches of bumps. F, M10 Tank Destroyer and SU-85 share an HP value of 1700. AFV Club 1/35 scale M18 Hellcat tank destroyer 0 FROM THE March 1998 ISSUE AFV Club 1/35 scale M18 Hellcat tank destroyer By Ron Poniatowski | March 1, 1998 Kit: No. The average combat range noted by the Americans for tank vs. tank action was around 800m to 900m. High quality Hellcat Tank Destroyer gifts and merchandise. With just four[2] 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. [2] 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 Hellcat's 76mm gun often could not penetrate the thick sloped front armor of German Panther tanks. 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. Despite the preference for the M36, a number of units converted from the M10 to the M18. Under the fearless direction of Captain Tom Evans, the lead platoon of Company C served as an attractive target for the German tanks, which failed to notice the other two platoons of Hellcats advancing on their flanks. Very few reached the field in time for the war, but some saw action in Korea. 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. Armored Utility Vehicle M39 in Korea, 1952. This version was armed with a single M2 machine gun on a flexible mount. Hellcat crews took advantage of the vehicle's speed to minimize the enemy's ability to pierce its thin armor. 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. 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. 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. When the Americans entered the war in 1941, they began to supply China with armored vehicles, including the M18 Hellcat. 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. No ISBN number, "Tank Action" by George Forty P195.ISBN 0-7509-0479-8, "Tank Tactics: From Normandy to Lorraine" by Roman Jarymowycz, Ch. The M18 Hellcat was an American tank destroyer of World War II, also used in the Korean War. M18 Hellcat of the 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion in action at Wiesloch, Germany, April 1945. The M18 served primarily in Western Europe, but was also present in the Pacific. 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. 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… 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. M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer's national animal is the Hellcat. On 19 September, Company C , 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion, attached to the 4th Armored Division’s Combat Command A, helped defend the town of Arracourt when attacked by elements of the 113th Panzer Brigade. 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. 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. In a five-minute period, five German tanks of the 113 Panzer Brigade were knocked out for the loss of one M18. Our shop retails 1/35 M18 Hellcat GMC Tank Destroyer (Plastic model) Airfix X1371 Military Model on the Web. 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 The M18s of the 705th were integral in the defense of Bastogne. A handful of tank destroyer battalions saw action halfway around the world against the Japanese. While Panthers in defense were formidable, Panthers in the attack had great difficulty not exposing their vulnerable large side profiles. While ordnance tests back in the States concluded the 76mm gun could pierce the frontal armor of a Tiger at ranges up to 2,000 yards, the tests were marred by flaws which underscored the overmatched firepower of the M18. However, as German panzers tracked further into Eastern Europe, refinement of the tactics and development of the vehicles with which to blunt the new method of warfare still lagged. One example was used on an armored train named the "Krajina express" (Krajina Ekspres). A total of 2,507 vehicles were produced from July 1943 through October 1944. M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer is ranked 52,323 rd in the world and 49 th in Resuscitation for Most Extreme, scoring 26.67 on the Paul-Nader Subjective Decentrality Index. 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. The Hellcat was an extremely deadly tank destroyer. 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. While effective in these secondary operations, the new role of the M18 came at a cost. 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. Independent tank destroyer groups were to counter concentrate, to stop enemy tanks from penetrating deeply. It was the fastest U.S. armored fighting vehicle on the road. 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. Tank destroyers were often deployed to attack enemy armor at long range from an ambush position, taking on the role of self-propelled anti-tank guns. 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. 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. Tank destroyer battalions assigned to front line divisions often split up to companies attached to regiments, and platoons attached to infantry battalions. On that day, M18s were credited with destroying  twenty-seven German tanks, with only six M18s lost. 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. 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. 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. After World War II, many M18s were sold to other countries. The M18 Hellcat (M18 GMC) was an American tank destroyer of World War II, used in the Italian and European theatres. The introduction of heavier German tanks, such as the Mk V Panther and Mk VI Tiger, presented additional problems. Hellcat tank destroyer commanders surveyed the ground from open cockpit. 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. For this, the U.S. envisioned using tanks in the attack solely in a support and exploitation role, usually in conjunction with infantry. 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]. The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. Military Channel, Program "Tank Overhaul" 22:51, Wednesday 13 August 2008 (UTC) "Current hour EDST," mixed documentary with interviews of WW-II veterans. 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. Of course, the M18 also required unique tests of its ability to ford six feet of water, climb small walls, and ram through structures. When so attached, defending tank destroyer units supplemented organic antitank weapons (bazookas and 57mm towed guns).[8]. 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 functional durability of each tank varies in combat, depending on its component layout and armor thickness[note]. If facing a Panther, a Hellcat would be facing a tank with roughly 140mm of line-of-sight armor frontally that could not be pierced at any range, with a 100mm manlet that could be pierced at suicidally close range. M18 or the M18 Hellcat is a reward vehicle for Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, replacing the M10 Tank Destroyer. 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 for use against aircraft and infantry. M18 Hellcat tank destroyer - WWII American tanks - The M18 Hellcat was the last version of tank destroyer accepted in the U.S. Army. The majority of Hellcats may have been used like their cousin the Sherman, but unlike the venerable M4, the Hellcat did not undergo substantial changes throughout the war, although designers did experiment with variants and mission-specific designs. [6], The M18 Hellcat was a key element during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge. 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. The tank destroyers were attached in platoon size units to American Infantry Divisions. 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