|Primary Role||Tank Destroyer|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe German Army doctrine of concentrating tanks to rapidly penetrate enemy defensive lines led to the US Army's request for a new weapon dedicated to counter such offensives. In Jun 1942, prototype tank destroyer T35E1 was finalized into the 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage M10 and was ordered into full production. A variant design was developed for British use, which was designated as (Gun) 3 inch Self Propelled Wolverine by the British Army. They were built upon the M4 Sherman medium tank chassis and had open-topped turrets, and the 3-inch M7 guns were rated to penetrate 3 inches of armor at the distance of 1,000 yards at 30 degrees from vertical. Some of the British Wolverine vehicles were later upgraded with Ordnance QF 17 pounder Mark V guns (and redesignated 17pdr SP Achilles), which improved armor penetration capabilities. M10 tank destroyers first saw action in 1943 in Tunisia, where their guns could penetrate the armor of any Axis armored vehicle in North Africa. It was not until the Normandy campaign in mid-1944 when they began encountering tanks, namely Tiger and Panther tanks, which were immune to the 3-inch and 17-pounder guns. Additionally, by this time the US Army generals were beginning to see that the massed tank assaults that they studied in 1940 which led to the M10 design no longer took place with significant frequency, thus concentrating numbers of M10 tank destroyers in the rear to counter possible enemy tank assaults was actually not effective. Thus, some M10 tank destroyers began to be assigned to front line infantry units for use as infantry support guns, sometimes fighting alongside their successors 90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36. A number of them were also used in the Pacific War where crews reported that the open-top design made them vulnerable to tactics employed by Japanese troops, which brought the enemy much closer to the vehicles. Another complaint, made by M10 crews in all theaters, was that the unpowered turrets required hand cranks to turn, which was very slow especially in combat conditions.
ww2dbaseAbout 54 M10 tank destroyers made their way to the Soviet Union during the war, while a few of them were also used by the Free French. After the war in 1949, 17 (1 prototype and 16 production) M10 tank destroyers without working guns, with thicker armor, and each with an additional bow gun port were sold to the Republic of China; the Chinese troops equipped them with captured Japanese 150-millimeter infantry howitzers just prior to withdrawing to Taiwan.
Steven Zaloga, M10 Tank Destroyer vs. StuG III Assault Gun
Last Major Revision: Mar 2010
|Machinery||One General Motors 6046 Twin Diesel 6-71 engine rated at 375hp|
|Suspension||Vertical Volute Spring Suspension|
|Armament||1x3in (76.2mm) Gun M7 (54 rounds), 1x12.7mm .50cal Browning M2HB machine gun|
|Armor||57mm gun shield, 25mm turret, 38mm glacis, 51mm bow, 19mm upper hull side, 19mm upper hull rear, 25mm lower hull rear|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945