Hobby Master HG3406 US M10 Tank Destroyer - 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, Belgium, January 1945 (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.
This particular M10 Wolverine tank destroyer was attached to the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, then deployed to Belgium during January 1945.
Length: 4 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: January 2009
Historical Account: "Across the Rhine" - The 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion crossed the Saar outside Dillingen on December 10th, where a force of infantry from the 90th Division had established a hard-pressed bridgehead. It supported the push into the town on December 15th, but with the German offensive in the Ardennes the bridgehead was evacuated, and the 90th Division established defensive positions on the west bank. On January 6th it was ordered north to Luxembourg, on the southern flank of the German salient, and entered combat on the 9th.
On January 17th, holding positions at Oberwampach, east of Bastogne, the battalion destroyed a large number of vehicles from the 1. SS Panzer Division LSSAH; at the end of the day, the battalion's total number of tank kills for the war stood at 102, making them the first tank destroyer battalion to knock out more than a hundred tanks.
On January 26th, the battalion moved to Biwisch, crossing the Our River into Germany on the 30th and fighting through the Siegfried Line. It pushed east through February and March, and on March 14th crossed the Moselle for the fourth time, opening a bridgehead for the 4th Armored Division. On March 16th, the battalion reached the Rhine River at its confluence with the Moselle near Koblenz.
The battalion crossed the Rhine on March 23rd, near Oppenheim, and captured Darmstadt on the 25th. It pushed north-east towards the River Main, and followed behind the 4th Armored Division clearing up small pockets of resistance which had been bypassed. On 1st April, it arrived in Bad Hersfeld and moved east towards the Czech border; a company was left in Merkers to provide security for the salt mine there, which contained the German financial reserves - a hundred tons of gold, as well as a large amount of looted artwork.
Elements of the battalion entered Czechoslovakia on April 18th, the first American troops to reach the country, and the battalion pushed south along the border, protecting the left flank of XII Corps as it moved into southern Germany. The battalion ended the war just inside Czechoslovakia, and on May 14th withdrew to Tirschenreuth in Bavaria, to take up occupation duties.
By the end of hostilities, the battalion had seen 254 days of combat, and taken 356 casualties. It had destroyed 138 tanks and self-propelled guns, as well as over a hundred pillboxes, and taken almost 2,000 prisoners of war.