Hobby Master HG3405 British Achilles IIC Tank Destroyer - 1st Army Corps, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Quo fas et gloria ducunt." ("Where Right and Glory Lead.")
- Motto of the Royal Artillery
The M10 were, numerically, the most important US tank destroyer of World War II. In its combat debut in the North African campaign, the M10 was successful as its M7 3-inch gun could penetrate most German tanks then in service at long range. The heavy chassis did not conform to the tank destroyer doctrine of employing very light, high-speed vehicles, thus it began to be supplemented by the 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage M18 early in 1944. Later in the Battle of Normandy the M10's gun proved to be ineffective against the frontal armor of the numerous German Panther tanks encountered and by the fall of 1944 the improved 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 was beginning to replace it, though it remained in service until the end of the war. In the Pacific, US Army M10s were used for traditional infantry-support missions and were unpopular due to their open topped turrets. The Japanese tactic of very close-in infantry attacks against US AFVs made the M10 much more vulnerable than a fully-enclosed tank.
Approximately 54 M10s were supplied to the USSR though their usage in Red Army service is largely unrecorded. The M10 also equipped units of the Free French Army; one M10 named "Sirocco", crewed by a regiment composed of French sailors, famously knocked out a German Panther tank on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. British M10s were designated 3 in SP, Wolverine and saw action in Italy and France, including some re-armed with the much more effective 17-pounder guns which gained the designation 17 pdr SP. Achilles.
The M10 had an open-topped turret that left it vulnerable to artillery and mortar fire and infantry assault especially in urban combat and forest areas, where a simple hand grenade could be tossed inside. By the end of the war its armor was too thin to provide protection from the new German tanks and anti-tank guns. The other main disadvantage of the M10 was its very slow turret traverse, the M10 did not have powered traverse and so the crew had to hand-crank the turret to traverse it, taking approximately two minutes to traverse 360 degrees. US tank destroyers fired much more HE than anti-tank ammunition, indicating that they were employed much like the tanks they were supposed to support.
A British variant, designated the "Achilles", was developed to mount the successful 17-pounder anti-tank gun in a modified turret. It was used by the British, Canadian and Polish armies in Italy and northwest Europe.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a British Achilles IIC Tank Destroyer that served with the British 1st Army Corps, then deployed to Normandy during 1944.
Release Date: November 2008
Historical Account: "For King & Country" - The Guards Armoured Division was formed on June 17th, 1941. The division remained in the United Kingdom for training purposes until June 26th, 1944, when it landed in Normandy as part of VIII Corps.
Its first major engagement was Operation Goodwood, the attack by three armoured divisions towards Bourguebus Ridge in an attempt to break out of the Normandy beachhead. That was followed by Operation Bluecoat, the advance east of Caen as the Falaise pocket formed.
Transferred to XXX Corps, the division liberated Brussels. It led the XXX Corps attack in Operation Market Garden, the ground forces' advance to relieve airborne troops aiming to seize the bridges up to Arnhem, capturing Nijmegen bridge in conjunction with American paratroopers.
During the Battle of the Bulge, it was sent to the Meuse as a reserve in case the Germans broke through the American lines. It endured hard fighting in Operation Veritable, the advance towards the Rhine through the Reichswald, and again in the advance through Germany.
The division existed until June 12th, 1945, when it was reorganized as an infantry division, the Guards Division.