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US M18 Hellcat Light Tank Destroyer - "Black Cat", 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 5th Armored Division, Italy, 1944 (1:43 Scale)
US M18 Hellcat Light Tank Destroyer - "Black Cat", 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 5th Armored Division, Italy, 1944

AFV US M18 Hellcat Light Tank Destroyer - "Black Cat", 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 5th Armored Division, Italy, 1944

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Product Code: AFV009

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AFV AFV009 US M18 Hellcat Light Tank Destroyer - "Black Cat", 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 5th Armored Division, Italy, 1944 (1:43 Scale) "Seek, strike and destroy."
- Motto of the US Tank Destroyer Forces during World War II

In December 1941, the War Ordnance Department issued a requirement for the design of a fast tank destroyer which used the Christie suspension, the Wright Continental R-975 engine, and a 37mm gun.

After observing events in North Africa, it was decided that the 37mm gun was inadequate and the design changed to accommodate a 57mm gun instead. During a series of prototypes and tests, the design was further upgunned to a 75mm gun, and then to the 76mm gun. The Christie suspension was also dropped and replaced with a torsion bar suspension. The design was eventually standardized in February 1943 and production began in July.

The M18 first saw combat in northwest Europe and Italy during the summer of 1944. It excelled at ambush and hit-and-run tactics. Its low silhouette, high firepower and great speed gave it the capability of destroying all but the heaviest of German armor, although it was too lightly armored to stand and fight. One notable instance was that of the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion. In July 1944, they reported the destruction of 53 Panthers and Tigers, along with 15 self-propelled guns for a loss of only 17 M18's.

In contrast to the M10 Wolverine, which used the chassis of the M4 Sherman, the M18 Hellcat was designed from the start to be a tank destroyer. As a result it was smaller, half the weight, and significantly faster yet still carried a powerful gun. There was also more internal stowage capacity, able to accommodate a five-man crew as well as 45 rounds of ammunition and a M2 machine gun.

There was only one variant of the M18 which saw any real production, the Armored Utility Vehicle M39. It was a turretless variation of the M18 that was used to transport personnel and cargo or act as a gun tractor.

The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. At that time, some 2,500 vehicles had been produced.

Pictured here is a 1:43 scale replica of a US M18 Hellcat light tank destroyer that was nicknamed "Black Cat", and attached to the 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 5th Armored Division, then deployed to Italy during 1944. Now in stock!

Length: 6-inches
Width: 2-3/4-inches

Release Date: June 2022

Historical Account: "The Anti-Tank Force" - The tank destroyer battalion was a type of military unit used by the United States Army during World War II. The unit was organized in one of two different forms - a towed battalion equipped with anti-tank guns, or a mechanized battalion equipped with armored self-propelled guns. The tank destroyer units were formed in response to the German use of massed formations of armored vehicles units early in WWII. The tank destroyer concept envisioned the battalions acting as independent units that would respond at high speed to large enemy tank attacks. In this role, they would be attached in groups or brigades to corps or armies. In practice, they were usually individually attached to infantry divisions. Over one hundred battalions were formed, of which more than half saw combat service. The force was disbanded shortly after the end of the war when the concept had been shown to be militarily unsound.

The 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion was formed from the 105th Anti-tank Battalion on December 15th, 1941, in line with the reorganization of the anti-tank force. It was shipped to the United Kingdom in August 1942, and then deployed for the North African Campaign in January 1943, equipped with M3 GMC tank destroyers. It was attached briefly to the 34th Infantry Division, then attached to the 1st Armored Division on February 20th, just in time to see action at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, where it took heavy losses. On March 23rd, equipped with the new M10 tank destroyer, it fought at the Battle of El Guettar.

In October 1943, it converted to a towed battalion equipped with 3" anti-tank guns, and was shipped to Italy, arriving in the Naples area on October 25th - the first 3" towed battalion to see combat. It was attached to the 34th Infantry Division in January 1944, and supported the division in fighting on the Bernhardt Line and at Monte Cassino, before being shipped to the Anzio beachhead in mid-March and attached to the 36th Infantry Division. In June, it was attached to the 1st Armored Division.

It re-equipped with M18 Hellcats in the summer of 1944, but continue to be used mainly for indirect-fire missions through the remainder of the war, attached to a variety of different units during the drive north. On April 21st, 1945, they were attached to the 34th Infantry Division when it captured Bologna, and with the 88th Infantry Division when it reached the Brenner Pass in early May.

  • Diecast metal and plastic construction
  • Static tracks
  • Rotating turret
  • Elevating gun
  • Accurate markings and insignia
  • Comes with acrylic display case
  • Comes with numbered collector card
  • Comes with a leaflet describing the vehicle and the battle it was involved in
  • Only 1,002 pieces produced

Average Customer Review: Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 1 Write a review.

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 US M18 Hellcat Light Tank Destroyer September 15, 2022
Reviewer: Steven Dake from Jackson, MI United States  
So great to see a built kit of the M18 tank destroyer, which seldom is available  for the hobby community. An excellent kit, with a radio antenna, a well modelled  .50 caliber machine gun, and loaded with decals. Hobbyists should be pleased with this much needed offering.

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