Dragon DRA60259 Captured Sherman Firefly Mk. VC Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"The only way you can win a war is to attack and keep on attacking, and after you have done that, keep attacking some more."
- General George S. Patton Jr., January 1945
The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly". Eleven different US plants manufactured six basic models of the Sherman, and by June 1944 over 49,234 battle-ready vehicles had been produced. While it was no match for the German Panther or Tiger tanks, the Sherman soldiered on, using its weight in numbers to wrest control of Europe from the Wehrmacht.
Early Shermans mounted a 75mm medium-velocity general-purpose gun. Later M4A1, M4A2, and M4A3 models received the larger T23 turret with a high-velocity 76mm gun M1, which traded reduced HE and smoke performance for improved anti-tank performance. The British offered the QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) anti-tank gun with its significant armour penetration but a significant initial (later rectified) HE shortcoming to the Americans but the US Ordnance Department was working on a 90mm tank gun and declined. Later M4 and M4A3 were factory-produced with a 105mm howitzer and a new distinctive mantlet in the original turret. The first standard-production 76mm-gun Sherman was an M4A1 accepted in January 1944 and the first standard-production 105mm-howitzer Sherman was an M4 accepted in February 1944.
This title represents a Sherman Firefly VC seen in German service in 1944. As the war wore on and Germany's industrial might could no longer keep pace in terms of tank production, captured Russian and Allied tanks were sometimes put into service as a matter of desperation or expediency. It carries some special markings - white crosses on the turret, plus a series of G and W markings - with the original British markings all still in evidence. These new markings helped to identify the captured tank as friendly. Sold Out!
Length: 3.25 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: November 2006
Historical Account: "At Breakneck Speed" - The Sherman Firefly program was initially viewed as an insurance policy against the possible failure of the 17 pounder equipped Challenger design based on the Cromwell tank. However, the Challenger was significantly delayed and not particularly successful when it was completed so it was easier and cheaper to convert Shermans. As a result, the Firefly remained the only tank in the British inventory armed with the powerful 17 pounder gun.
To accomodate such a big gun, the turret had to be altered by moving the radio to a new bustle on the turret rear and by turning the long-recoiling AT gun on its side. A distinctive overhang at the back of the turret was added to give space for the recoiling weapon. The bow machine gun position was sacrificed for the storage of the longer shells.
The nickname Firefly quickly became synonymous with any Sherman fitted with this gun, and while plans were devised to modify the Sherman IV, only the Sherman I and V were used in the end. In British nomenclature, a C at the end of the Roman numeral indicated a tank that had been refitted with the 17 pounder gun. The resulting vehicles were called Sherman IC and VC Firefly.
Fireflies were introduced to British armored divisions in 1944 in preparation for the Normandy landings. After some discussion, it was decided to spread the Fireflies between every troop (platoon) of each tank batallion, rather than forming special troops or squadrons (companies) built solely around the Firefly.
Fireflies were among the few Allied tanks capable of taking on the German Panther and Tiger tanks. Though no more well-armored than most M4 versions, the 17 pounder anti-tank gun offered far better performance than the standard 75mm gun which had been chosen for the infantry support role. Even using the regular APC round it could penetrate the front armor of a Tiger I at over 1,000 meters; with the more advanced rounds that became common towards the end of war, the APCBC and then the APDS, it could penetrate at over 2,000 meters.
The effectiveness of the Firefly resulted in German tank crews being under instructions to eliminate Fireflies first before dealing with the regular M4 tanks. In an attempt to prevent the Fireflies from being identified, some had the end of their 17 pounder gun painted sky-blue on the top and brown on the bottom to give the illusion of a shorter gun barrel. The actual effectiveness of this tactic is questionable. A proposed alternative was to point the gun over the rear of the tank where it would be concealed under camouflage. A shorter wooden dummy gun would be mounted on the rear of the turret and point forward; this tactic does not appear to have been used in combat.
The conversion was carried out on M4, M4 Composite and M4A4 Shermans, some Canadian licence built M4A1s ("Grizzlies") were also converted to Firefly standard but were used only for training. The majority of Shermans converted were the M4A4 model; in British terminology the Sherman V of which the British had received about 1,600. Some 600 Fireflies were produced. (courtesy: Wikipedia)