Hobby Master HG3802 US M20 Greyhound Light Armored Car - 1st Platoon, C Company, 82nd Armored Recon Battalion, 2nd Armored Division, France, August 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 M8 Light Armored Car was a 6x6 armored car produced by the Ford Motor Company during the Second World War. It was used by the U.S. and British troops in Europe and the Far East until the end of the war. The vehicle was widely exported and as of 2006 still remains in service in some third world countries. In British service the M8 was known as Greyhound.
In July 1941, the Ordnance department initiated a development of a new fast tank destroyer to replace the M6 37 mm Gun Motor Carriage, which was essentially a 3/4 ton truck with a 37 mm gun installed in the rear bed. The requirement was for a 6x4 wheeled vehicle armed with a 37 mm gun and a coaxial machine gun mounted in a turret. Its glacis armor was supposed to withstand a .50 cal. machine gun fire and side armor a .30 cal. machine gun fire. Prototypes were submitted by Studebaker (T21), Ford (T22) and Chrysler (T23), all of them similar in design and appearance. In April 1942 a modified version of the T22 was selected. By then it was clear that the 37 mm gun would not be effective against the front armour of German tanks so the new armored car, designated M8 Light Armored Car and named Greyhound by the British due to its high speed but thin armor, took on reconnaissance role instead. Contract issues and minor design improvements delayed serial production until March 1943. Production ended in June 1945. A total of 8,523 units were built, not including the M20 Armored Utility Car.
The M20 Armored Utility Car, also known as the M20 Scout Car, was a Greyhound with the turret removed. This was replaced with a low, armored open-topped superstructure and an AA ring mount for a .50 caliber M2 heavy machinegun AA. A bazooka was provided for the crew to compensate for its lack of anti-armor weaponry. The M20 was primarily used as a command vehicle and for forward reconnaissance, but many vehicles also served as APCs and cargo carriers. It offered high speed and excellent mobility, along with a degree of protection against small arms fire and shrapnel. When employed in the command and control role, the M20 was fitted with additional radio equipment. Originally designated the M10 Armored Utility Car, it was redesignated M20 to avoid confusion with the M10 Wolverine tank destroyer. 3,680 M20s were built by Ford during its two years in production (1943-1944).
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a M20 Greyhound light armored car that was attached to an unidentified unit then fighting in the Ardennes Forest during December 1944.
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Historical Account: "Watch on the Rhine" - The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, took place from December 16th, 1944, to January 25th, 1945, and was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg, towards the end of the war in Europe. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers' favor.
The Germans achieved a total surprise attack on the morning of December 16th, 1944, due to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, and poor aerial reconnaissance. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany's armored forces, and they were largely unable to replace them. German personnel and, later, Luftwaffe aircraft (in the concluding stages of the engagement) also sustained heavy losses. The Germans had attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions that grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive, around Elsenborn Ridge, and in the south, around Bastogne, blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This, and terrain that favored the defenders, threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops. The furthest west the offensive reached was the village of Foy-Notre-Dame, south east of Dinant, being stopped by the British 21st Army Group on December 24th, 1944. Improved weather conditions permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed the failure of the offensive. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line.