Hobby Master HG3416 US M10 Tank Destroyer - 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Anzio, Italy, February 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"I had hoped we were hurling a wildcat into the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale."
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, after learning of the failure of Operation Shingle
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 US M10 Tank Destroyer that was attached to the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion, then deployed to Anzio, Italy, during February 1944.
Length: 4 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: August 2012
Historical Account: "Anzio" - At the end of 1943, following the Allied invasion of Italy, Allied forces were bogged down at the Gustav Line, a defensive line across Italy south of the strategic objective of Rome. The terrain of central Italy had proved ideally suited to defence, and Field Marshal Albert Kesselring took full advantage. Several Allied proposals were made to break the stalemate, but Winston Churchill's idea for "Operation Shingle" was initially looked upon with disdain by General George Marshall, who was more concerned with planning a massive Normandy invasion than listening to Churchill's ideas about amphibious operations. Only after Churchill made a personal plea was the idea accepted by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin, who welcomed any major Allied offensive that would take pressure off of the Eastern Front. A major attack in the south by the U.S. Fifth Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Mark W. Clark, would draw Germany's depleted forces away from the area around Rome and from the hills between Rome and the coast. This would make possible a surprise landing by Fifth Army's U.S. VI Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas in the Anzio/Nettuno area, and a rapid advance into the Alban Hills to cut German communications and "threaten the rear of the German XIV Panzer Corps" under General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin.