Hobby Master HG3401 US M10 Tank Destroyer - 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Aachen, Germany, October 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Seek, strike and destroy."
- Motto of the Tank Destroyer Command during World War II
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.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a mid-production M10 Wolverine tank destroyer that served with the 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, then laying siege to Aachen, Germany, during October 1944.
Length: 4 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: April 2008
Historical Account: "US Doctrine" - One of the first Tank Destroyer Battalions to be organized in the United States Army, the 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion less the Pioneer Company, was activated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana on December 16th, 1941, from the Anti-Tank Batteries and Anti-tank Platoons of the 59th Field Artillery Brigade of the 34th Infantry Division. All the personnel were members of National Guard Regiments from Iowa, the 185th Field Artillery, and from Minnesota, the 151st Field Artillery and the 125th Field Artillery. The unit was formed as the 34th Provisional Anti-tank Battalion in August 1941 and participated as such in the 1941 Louisiana Maneuvers. In January 1942, the Headquarters Battery, 151st Field Artillery Regiment at Camp Dix, New Jersey was redesignated the Pioneer Company, 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion and in May 1942 joined the Battalion at Camp Claiborne.
When first organized, the Battalion was equipped with towed 37 mm guns, but at Camp Hood, Texas, where the unit was sent for training early in June 1942, it was reequipped with 75 mm guns mounted on half-track vehicles, and 37 mm guns mounted on 3/4 ton weapons carriers. At this time the Pioneer Company was redesignated the Reconnaissance Company. The Battalion returned to Camp Claiborne in November 1942 after participating in the fall Maneuvers in Louisiana. During 1943, the Battalion was re-equipped with the now well-known M-10 Tank Destroyer.