Forces of Valor 85024 US T1E3 "Aunt Jemima" Sherman Medium Tank with Mine Roller - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 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
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.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a US T1E3 "Aunt Jemima" Sherman medium tank with mine roller that saw action in Normandy during 1944.
Length: 5 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: June 2005
Historical Account: "Hedgerows" - The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between Nazi Germany in Western Europe and the invading Allied forces as part of the larger conflict of World War II. Over sixty years later, the Normandy invasion, codenamed Operation Overlord, still remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, involving almost three million troops crossing the English Channel from England to Normandy in then German-occupied France. It is most commonly known by the name D-Day.
The primary Allied formations that saw combat in Normandy came from the United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada. Substantial Free French and Polish forces also participated in the battle after the assault phase, and there were also contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, and Norway.
The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks, naval bombardments, and an early morning amphibious phase began on June 6th. The "D-Day" forces deployed from bases along the south coast of England, the most important of these being Portsmouth. The battle for Normandy continued for more than two months, with campaigns to establish, expand, and eventually break out of the Allied beachheads, and concluded with the liberation of Paris and the fall of the Falaise pocket in late August 1944.