When the Korean War began, the US military had no medium tanks in production. The M47 appeared as an interim measure but work immediately began on the M48. The first 'Pattons' were completed in July 1952. Unfortunately, the speed of development resulted in numerous teething troubles for the early Pattons, including poor reliability and a short operating range. The A3 was a highly modified version designed to rectify these failings, and the M48 has been used as the basis for flame-thrower tanks, recovery vehicles, and an AVLB. The A5 was an upgraded version produced in the mid-1970s, which extended the M48's shelf life considerably.
Without question, the centerpiece of the "Unsung Heroes" collection is this striking 1:50 scale diecast replica of a US Marine Corps M48 A3 'Patton' main battle tank. Landing at Da Nang on March 9th, 1965, the M48 A3 was the first American tank to enter the War. A derivative of the M48, which had entered production back in April 1952, the A3 was designed to bring older versions up to the standard of the newer M60. This baby features a hull- and cupola-mounted machine gun, a huge 90mm main gun with laser rangefinder, and pennants attached to twin aerial antennas. Like the other vehicles in this series, this USMC M48 A3 has been 'muddied' to give it a more weathered appearance. Sold Out!
Release Date: November 2004
Historical Account: "Caves and Canyons" - Operation Pipestone Canyon was a major land clearing operation centered around Dodge City and the Go Noi Island area some 10-20 kilometers south of Da Nang. Taking part in the campaign were units of the 1st Marine Division (primarily the 1st Marines Regiment), plus SLF Alpha, the 51st ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) Regiment, and the 2nd Korean Marine Brigade. Prior to the war, about 27,000 people lived in this region but by 1969 it had become a heavily tunneled, cave infested haven for the Viet Cong. Most of the island's residents had fled to other areas in Quang Nam Province. It came as no surprise then that this operation was undertaken in the same areas as Operation Allen Brook in May 1968, and later again that December in Operation Meade River. This time around, however, the objective was to clear the estimated seven to nine enemy battalions operating in the area in an effort to re-open Route 4, which ran from Dai Loc to Dien Ban.
The operation consisted of many phases with numerous infantry units moving to phase lines and blocking positions. Units from the Army and Marines cleared 250 acres at a time, completely destroying the area for military use by the enemy. In all, 852 enemy soldiers were killed, a further 58 captured, and some 410 weapons and food caches were seized. USMC losses amounted to 71 KIA and 498 WIA; mostly due to land mines. Afterwards, the South Vietnamese government embarked upon a huge resettlement program aimed at re-populating the newly conquered area.