Gaso.Line Gas48028M US T1E3 "Aunt Jemima" Sherman Medium Tank with Mine Roller (1:50 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
One of the many hazards faced by both man and machine in WWII was the landmine. Various means were designed to counter it, and while none were more effective than clearing an area by sheer manpower, there were some mechanical devices designed to be fitted to the front of tanks that came into being. The US developed a mine clearing device known as the T1E3 exploder (a.k.a. "Aunt Jemima"), which was mated to the front of a standard Sherman tank. It took this rather curious name from a popular pan cake mix logo, after somebody thought the big exploder wheels resembled gigantic pancakes.
The "Aunt Jemima" consisted of nothing more than two massive steel rollers that were pushed along the ground in front of a tank, with each roller placed in line with the tank's track. Each roller was divided into five discs, each of which was about 4" thick and 11' in diameter. The Sherman, itself, was about 9' high and the whole setup weighed in at around 59,000 lbs. The roller chains from the Sherman sprockets drove the loosely mounted discs, while the spacers were arranged and grooved to allow the discs to move. The T1E3 worked well in tests, but proved difficult to maneuver in actual combat service. In fact, one account claims that the vehicle had to cross the length of 2-3 football fields to complete a U-turn! The "Aunt Jemima" detonated mines through sheer weight, but this, in turn, caused severe mobility problems since it would often sink into soft terrain, requiring other Sherman tanks to push it to safety. The few US units that used this device disliked it intensely, so it quickly lost favor with military officials. The British 'Crab' tank, which placed flailed chains in front of a Sherman tank, proved much better at clearing minefields. Sold Out!