By Novemberthe Army requested a vehicle with a gun in a fully rotating turret after other interim models were criticized for being too poorly designed. The prototype of the M10 was conceived in earlybeing delivered in April of that year.
After appropriate changes to the hull and turret were made, the modified version was selected for production in June as the 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage M It mounted a 3-inch Production of the two models ran from September to December and October to Novemberrespectively. The M10 was numerically the most important U. It combined thin but sloped armor with the M4 Sherman's reliable drivetrain and a reasonably potent anti-tank weapon mounted in an open-topped turret.
Despite its obsolescence in the face of more powerful German tanks like the Panther and the introduction of more powerful and better-designed types as replacements, the M10 remained in service until the end of the war. Several dozen were also sent to the Soviet Union. Post-war, the M10 was given as military surplus to several countries, such as BelgiumDenmarkand the Netherlandsthrough the Mutual Defense Assistance Act or acquired through other means by countries like Israel and the Republic of China.
The M10 is often referred to by the nickname "Wolverine", but the origin of this nickname is unknown. It is possibly a postwar invention. Unlike other vehicles such as the M4 ShermanM5 Stuartor M7 Priestthe M10 was never assigned a nickname or referred to with one when used by American soldiers.
Separate GHQ tank battalions would support infantry in destroying fixed enemy defenses, and armored divisions would then exploit the breakthrough to rush into the enemy's vulnerable rear areas.
Tank destroyer units were meant to counter German blitzkrieg tactics. Tank destroyer units were to be held as a reserve at the corps or army level, and were to move quickly to the site of any massed enemy tank breakthrough, maneuvering aggressively and using ambush tactics charging or chasing enemy tanks was explicitly prohibited to destroy enemy tanks. This led to a requirement for very fast, well-armed vehicles.
Though equipped with turrets unlike most self-propelled anti-tank guns of the daythe typical American design was more heavily gunned, but more lightly armored, and thus more maneuverable, than a contemporary 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. Or more precisely, to use speed to deploy ahead of the attacking enemy, take up camouflaged and protected firing positions on their flanks if possible, and then open fire.
If unable to destroy the enemy force or to force them to retreat, then speed and agility would be used to avoid enemy fire until the TDs could withdraw, preferably to move up and deploy for another ambush. Direct combat in the open against tanks was to be avoided whenever possible.
After the formation of the Tank Destroyer Tactical and Firing Center at Camp HoodTexas in Novemberthe Army began testing to standardize on a configuration for the new tank destroyer battalions.
The Tank Destroyer board began to examine several hundred Ordnance Department prototype proposals for a tank destroyer mounting a 3-inch gun, initially focusing the most interest on two:.
Meanwhile, as the final design developments of these two tank destroyers were underway, the Ordnance Department became dissatisfied and by November had issued an additional specification for a tank destroyer with a 3-inch gun in a rotating turret. Design work began immediately.A tank destroyertank hunteror tank killer is a type of armoured fighting vehiclearmed with a direct-fire artillery gun or missile launcher, with limited operational capacities and designed specifically to engage enemy tanks.
Tanks are armoured fighting vehicles designed for front-line combat, combining operational mobility and tactical offensive and defensive capabilities; tanks perform all primary tasks of the armoured troops.
The tank destroyer on the other hand is specifically designed to take on enemy tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. Since World War IIgun-armed tank destroyers have fallen out of favor as armies have favored multirole main battle tanks. However, lightly armored anti-tank guided missile ATGM carriers are commonly used for supplementary long-range anti-tank work. The resurgence of expeditionary warfare in the first two decades of the 21st century has seen the emergence of gun-armed wheeled vehicles, sometimes called protected gun systemswhich may bear a superficial resemblance to tank destroyers, but are employed as direct fire support units typically providing support in low-intensity operations such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dedicated anti-tank vehicles made their first major appearance in the Second World War as combatants developed effective armored vehicles and tactics.The U.S. Army's WW2 M10 Tank Destroyer inside & out at Camp Hood TX (Restored 1944)
Some were little more than stopgap solutions, mounting an anti-tank gun on a tracked vehicle to give mobility, while others were more sophisticated designs.
An example of the development of tank destroyer technology throughout the war are the Marder III and Jagdpanzer 38 vehicle, that were very different in spite of being based on the same chassis: Marder was straightforwardly an anti-tank gun on tracks whereas the Jagdpanzer 38 traded some firepower its Pak 39designed to operate within the confines of a fully armored fighting compartment, fires the same projectiles from a reduced propellant charge compared to Marder's Pak 40 for better armor protection and ease of concealment on the battlefield.
Except for most American designs, tank destroyers were all turretless and had fixed or casemate superstructures. When a tank destroyer was used against enemy tanks from a defensive position such as by ambush, the common lack of a rotating turret was not particularly critical, while the lower silhouette was highly desirable.
The turretless design allowed accommodation of a more powerful gun, typically a dedicated anti-tank gun in lieu of a regular tank's general-purpose main gun that fired both anti-tank and high explosive ammunition that had a longer barrel than could be mounted in a turreted tank on the same chassis. The lack of a turret increased the vehicle's internal volume, allowing for increased ammunition stowage and crew comfort. Sometimes there was no armored roof only a weather cover to keep the overall weight down to the limit that the chassis could bear.
The absence of a turret meant that tank destroyers could be manufactured significantly cheaper, faster, and more easily than the tanks on which they were based, and they found particular favor when production resources were lacking. After hard lessons early in the war, machine guns were mounted for use against infantry, but the limited traverse of the mounting meant that they were still less effective than those used on turreted tanks.
Due to the quick defeat of France, few French vehicles were built. Similarly, Panzer II tanks were used on the eastern front. Captured Soviet The Panzer 38 t chassis was also used to make the Jagdpanzer 38 casemate style tank destroyer.
German tank destroyers based on the Panzer III and later German tanks were unique in that they had more armor than their tank counterparts. Later, after encountering Soviet tanks, it was refitted with a comparatively short-barreled high-velocity anti-tank gun, usually with a muzzle brakeenabling it to function as a tank destroyer. It was employed in infantry support and offensive armored operations as well as in the defensive anti-tank role.
The German Army had more success with the Jagdpanther. Introduced in mid, the Jagdpanther, of which some examples were produced, was considered the best of the casemate-design Jagdpanzer designs.
Facing an increasingly defensive war, the German Army turned to larger and more powerfully armed Jagdpanzer designs, and in July the first Jagdtiger rolled off the production line; it was the heaviest German armored fighting vehicle to go into active service. They were first deployed to combat units in September The decision of German armored vehicle designers to use a casemate-style superstructure for all tank destroyers had the advantage of a reduced silhouette, allowing the crew to more frequently fire from defilade ambush positions.
Such designs were also easier and faster to manufacture and offered good crew protection from artillery fire and shell splinters. However, the lack of a rotating turret limited the gun's traverse to a few degrees. This meant that the driver normally had to turn the entire tank onto its target, a much slower process than simply rotating a powered turret. Even the largest and most powerful of German tank destroyers were found abandoned on the field after a battle, having been immobilized by one or more hits by high explosive HE or armor-piercing AP shells to the track or front drive sprocket.
The most famous Italian tank destroyer of the Second World War was technically not a tank destroyer, but self-propelled artillery. Only 11 of these were manufactured.Tank destroyera highly mobile lightly armoured tank-type vehicle that was used to fight tanks in World War II.
Tank destroyers tended to have relatively thin side and rear armour, and the gun was mounted in an open turret or in a casemate that had only a limited traverse. This made tank destroyers lighter, faster, and easier to manufacture, but it also rendered them more vulnerable to enemy fire. They compensated for this with thick frontal armour and a large long-barreled high-velocity gun that was capable of outranging enemy tanks.
The tank destroyer resembled the assault gun because both armoured tracked vehicles had large mounted guns, but the assault gun invariably had a limited traverse, was relatively slow moving, and was used primarily to attack fortifications or other targets at close range. The American types had fully traversable turrets and extremely light armour and were built for speed. The American M10 Wolverine model, for example, had a mm gun on a Sherman tank chassis, while the heavier M36 model had a mm gun.
German tank destroyers more closely resembled assault guns, since they mounted their guns in casemates and tended to be heavily armoured. German types culminated in the Panther tank destroyer, which mounted an mm gun on the panzer tank chassis of a Panther Pz. Vand the Tiger tank destroyer, with a mm gun on the panzer chassis of a Tiger Pz. The wartime Soviet equivalent of the tank destroyer was the self-propelled assault gun, which carried an extremely large-calibre gun in a casemate mounted on the chassis of a T or Joseph Stalin tank.
Tank destroyer. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. This article traces the development of armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and other armoured vehicles designed primarily as platforms for assault troops.
Tankany heavily armed and armoured combat vehicle that moves on two endless metal chains called tracks. Tanks are essentially weapons platforms that make the weapons mounted in them more effective by their cross-country mobility and by the protection they provide for their crews. Weapons mounted in tanks have ranged…. World War IIconflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years — The war was….
History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! Email address. By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice.It was the fastest U. The Hellcat was the most effective U. It had a higher kill to loss ratio than any other tank or tank destroyer fielded by U. When the Tank Destroyer Force was organized intheir commander, Lieutenant Colonel later General 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; a cruiser rather than a battleship.
Two pilot vehicles were to be built. Previously, basic designs for other kinds of vehicles had mostly originated from within the Ordnance Department.
Buick's engineers used a torsion bar suspension that provided a steady ride. Its power came from Wright Ra nine-cylinder, tohorsepower radial aircraft engine, paired to a three-speed T Torqmatic automatic transmission.
This met approval, but in early the army requested a more powerful gun — the 76 mm gun M1 under development for the Sherman. The trials of these models led to a new turret and changes to the hull front, but the design was otherwise accepted for production, which began in July Once developed, the Hellcat was tested in the same manner as passenger cars before and after it, at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground. Top speed testing was done on a paved, banked oval and ride quality tests were done over specially developed stretches of bumps.
The M18 also required tests of its ability to ford six feet of water, climb small walls, and ram through structures. Despite its T70 prototypes requiring several improvements, the th had a "superlative" testing record, and the unit was later issued production Hellcats after many of their suggestions were integrated into the vehicle. The testing phase of the Hellcat proved that teamwork was an essential element of the new light tank destroyer units [ citation needed ]and replaced the fixed, rigid structure of other units with a much more flexible command structure that allowed adapting to more complicated tasks.
The M18's new design incorporated several labor saving and innovative maintenance features. It used the same Wright R engine as the Sherman tank, but turned 90 degrees in order to have a lower profile. The fully unitized drivetrain was much easier to maintain, as it was mounted on rails equipped with steel rollers that allowed maintenance crews to disconnect it easily from the transmissionroll it out onto the lowered engine rear cover using rails, service it, and then reconnect it to the transmission.
The transmission could also be removed easily and rolled out onto a front deck plate to facilitate quick inspection and repairs. In contrast to the M10 and M36tank destroyers, which used the heavy chassis of the M4 Shermanthe M18 Hellcat was designed from the start to be a fast tank destroyer.
The M18 carried a five-man crew, consisting of a commander, gunner, loader, driver, and assistant driver. An M2 Browning machine gun with rounds of ammunition was provided on a flexible ring mount for use against enemy aircraft and infantry.The earlier Ts were based on imported Vickers tracked vehicles that were outfitted with armament and armor in Belgium by the Miesse company; later versions, from the B3 version on, were fully license-produced in Belgium by the Familleheureux factory.
Total production numbers are unclear and have been underestimated for political reasons, both before and after World War II, but are generally estimated at vehicles, although not all were available or fully outfitted on 10 Maythe start of the Battle of Belgium. Nazi Germany used the vehicles after the occupation of Belgium, but to what extent remains unclear. In general - keeping a close watch on German political and military developments - the need for armored tracked vehicles or tanks was widely accepted by the Belgian military establishment.
The political view on the matter however was slightly more complex: the Belgian government tried frantically, keeping in mind the total destruction of the small country in the First World War, to keep Belgium neutral from on and therefore out of the upcoming European conflict. Since the Belgian armed forces realized the need for further mechanization of the army in the s, a number of foreign platforms were looked at.
Impressed with the vehicle's performance on both hilly and flat terrain, the Belgian Armed Forces decided to take the concept a little further and experimentally outfitted the tractor with the F. Not much is known about the basic model Vickers artillery tractor, apart from the fact that the Belgian Army seems to have been the sole user of the type.
In its basic configuration, the Vickers artillery tractor was unarmored and could generally be described as an open, tracked light truck. However, given its successful use with the Chasseurs Ardennais mountain troops, the Belgian Armed Forces decided to order another 32 vehicles, which became the basis for the T B1. Pleased with the performance of the Vickers artillery truck, the Belgian Army started to equip the newly ordered 32 vehicles with the FRC Herstal built 47 mm Model anti-tank gun.
Since this was a fairly heavy piece of equipment, and because of the general lay-out of the Vickers artillery tractor, with its center of gravity being well halfway the vehicle, the decision was taken to simply install the gun and its turret backwards on the vehicle, so as to keep enough space for crew and ammunition.
The general lay out of the vehicle mimicked that of the Vickers vehicle it was based on. The suspension was made out of Horstmann suspensions resting on bogies with two rubber-lined wheel sets per bogie.
Apart from being relatively easy to build, compact and lightweight, it had the advantage of having a long traveland of being easy to replace when damaged in the field. The traverse of the turret was man powered by the three man crew.
Armor protection was limited, but still better than that of the under armored T light tank. This meant that the T crew was only fully protected against indirect blast and splinter damage, adequately protected against small arms fire from the frontal aspect but not from the sides, and most importantly was not protected at all against most light anti-tank rounds, such as the. Armament was fairly heavy for this lightweight vehicle, giving the T tank destroyer a very nasty bite.
Main armament was the 47 mm Model anti-tank gunwhich fired 1. The machine gun could fire — rounds per minute. After the prototype T B1 passed all the tests of the Belgian Army, in production on the tank destroyer was authorized to proceed: the Miesse company near Buizingen close to Brussels delivered 32 T B1s, all based on imported British built Vickers artillery tractors.
T B2 assembly ended by Although the Belgian armed forces were generally very pleased with the capabilities of the existing T B1 and B2s, there were obvious issues with both models of the tank destroyer. Since the original Vickers artillery tractor was not designed for the tank destroyer mission, it was faced with a common vehicle design problem called 'weight creep', which in essence is the gradual accumulation of weight every time a new feature or capability is added to the design. This led to the first model Ts being underpowered, somewhat unstable as a gunnery platform, and prone to mechanical malfunctions because of overloading and wear and tear.The unit was organized in one of two different forms—a towed battalion equipped with anti-tank gunsor a mechanized battalion equipped with armored self-propelled guns.
The tank destroyer units were formed in response to the German use of massed formations of armored vehicles units early in WWII. The tank destroyer concept envisioned the battalions acting as independent units that would respond at high speed to large enemy tank attacks. In this role, they would be attached in groups or brigades to corps or armies. In practice, they were usually individually attached to infantry divisions. Over one hundred battalions were formed, of which more than half saw combat service.
The force was disbanded shortly after the end of the war when the concept had been shown to be militarily unsound. Tanks developed out the experiences of World War Iwhereby the internal combustion engine was combined with steel armor platecaterpillar trackscannonsand machine guns to produce a vehicle that could defeat the stalemate of trench warfare. Military doctrine in the interwar period was dominated by the possibility of using masses of armored vehicles on the battlefield.
The original idea was that tanks would operate on a broad front with infantry, using their cannons and machine guns to knock out enemy positions. In response to the threat of mobile armor, many countries had developed anti-tank guns, a form of towed, high-velocity artillery.
These cannons fired armor-piercing rounds capable of penetrating the steel armor of tanks and incapacitating the crew inside. Further thinking focused on the possibility that tanks could also be used to fight enemy tanks.
This resulted in a divergence of design in some countries, in which tanks were designed with either long-barreled small-caliber cannons capable of destroying other tanks, or with short-barreled, high-caliber howitzers used for direct fire infantry support. These two pre-war classes of tank were designated as Cruiser tanks and Infantry tanks in the United Kingdom and France, and were also present in early German panzers and assault guns.
Some tanks, like the M3 Leewere designed to fulfill both roles and were armed with two cannons. Nevertheless for many armies there was a divide between those in control of tanks and their doctrine, and those in control of anti-tank units and their doctrine.
Since the first anti-tank guns were a form of towed artillery, it was the artillery branches which generally controlled these units, especially in Britain and Germany. The armored branches of these armies were still dominated by the influence of cavalry-based thinking, and were focused more on offense than the defensive need of anti-tank guns.
But in the opening offensives of the Second World War, the German success of armored forces concentrated and used in a fast-moving offensive shocked military observers.
Even to armies which had previously experimented with large-scale mechanized warfare, the effects were remarkable; the collapse of Poland infollowed by the defeat of the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force in France ingave rise to an impression that massed tank forces were effectively invincible when used against unprepared defenders.
Mobile armor was, however, an expensive investment. Towed anti-tank guns were cheaper and dominated most armies as a default solution for enemy tanks and became organic parts of large units like corps, divisions and regiments. Standard practice was to place these anti-tank guns at the front line, spread out to ensure full coverage. Nevertheless, experience showed that neither infantry, anti-tank guns, or tanks, when used statically [notes 1] could withstand the deep envelopment maneuvers of armored "spearheads".
While some anti-tank guns or tanks could help defend the area the enemy chose to attack en massethey could never be enough to prevent the inevitable breakthrough. Moreover, anti-tank guns were vulnerable to infantry and artillery attacks, and even attacks from the tanks they were targeting. As the war progressed, so did engine and armor technology, creating faster and more heavily armored tanks.
WW2 Tank Destroyers (1939-1945)
Small caliber anti-tank guns like the 3. This forced designers in all participating countries to create larger caliber cannons capable of firing both anti-tank rounds and high explosive rounds. Nevertheless the problem of massed attacks remained.By default, only the 20 most recent libraries will be returned.
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Category:World War II tank destroyers of the United States
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Tank destroyer battalion (United States)
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