Forces of Valor FOV801071A US M4(105) Sherman Flame Throwing Medium Tank with VVSS Suspension - 713th Flame Throwing Tank Battalion, 11th Armored Division, Okinawa, April-June 1945 [Bonus Continental (Wright) R-975, Radial 9 Engine] (1:32 Scale)
"Japanese squads of three-to-nine men attacked individual tanks. Each man in the squad filled a role. One man threw smoke grenades to blind a targeted tank. The next man threw fragmentation grenades to force the tank's crew to close their hatches. Another man placed a mine on the tank's track to immobilize it. A final man placed a mine or explosive charge directly on the tank to attempt to destroy the tank."
- Records from the United States Army's 193rd Tank Battalion
The M4 Medium with an M4 105mm Howitzer was a solution for a problem the US war planners didn't know they had until the Italian Campaign. It turned out the M7 Priest did not work well in the direct fire role it was sometimes called to fill. The mount was not very accurate for direct fire, and there was no fixing it. It was also poorly suited to direct firework with its light armor.
The solution was mounting the 105mm gun in the M4 series. This required a rework of the gun and mount, but it was ready before the Normandy landings, and once in use, were well liked, replacing the M7 in Tank Company and Battalion 105 support roles.
All 105 Shermans were either M4s or M4A3, and all were built by Chrysler.
This particular 1:32 scale diecast replica of the famed US M4(105) Sherman flame throwing medium tank with a VVSS suspension that was attached to the 713th Flame Throwing Tank Battalion, 11th Armored Division, then deployed to Okinawa between April-June 1945. Comes with bonus Continental (Wright) R-975, Radial 9 engine.
Pre-order! Ship Date: 2020.
Release Date: ?
Historical Account: "Zippo" - On April 19th, 1945, the 713th Flame Throwing Tank Battalion supported infantry and standard tanks in attacks on Japanese positions near Hill 178 and Kakazu on Okinawa. On April 23rd, a battalion of flamethrowing tanks went into action against ridges and woods. Four days later, 713th tanks turned their flamethrowers on caves and pillboxes near Onaga and Machinato Airfield.
The tankers continued forward with the infantry, working over caves and other enemy strong points. Japanese soldiers who fled the flames were shot down by infantry. Few surrendered. Steadily, the 713th moved up with the infantry. On May 11th, the flamethrowers operated with infantry and standard tanks near Zebra Hill. The operation was highly successful.
The next day, the flame throwing tanks moved through the standard tanks to burn the town of Gaja and nearby high ground. One tank was credited with killing 75 to 100 enemy soldiers. On May 15th, the First Platoon of Company A helped standard tanks and infantry assault another Japanese strong point. The attacking armor blasted away with 75millimeter guns and flame-throwers. Three Japanese soldiers tried to reach the tanks with satchel charges but were killed. Tanks from Company B and C were busy supporting infantry and burning out caves.
Throughout May and June, the battalion worked closely with Army and Marine infantry and armor. By May 20th, the 713th had killed 1,288 enemy soldiers while losing 22 tanks to enemy action and 50 to accidents and other reasons. In burning Japanese troops out of caves and other strong points, the battalion used up more than 76,000 gallons of napalm.
By the time Okinawa was in American hands, the 713th battalion killed 4.788 Japanese soldiers and captured 49 among the few who surrendered to U.S. forces. Battalion losses were comparatively light: 8 killed, 111 wounded or injured in action and one listed as missing in action. Enemy anti-tank fire and mines claimed 16 of the battalion's flame-throwing Shermans. Another 25 were listed as operational losses.
Okinawa was the largest battle in the Pacific Theater, ultimately involving 584,000 American soldiers. sailors, airmen and Marines and 1,300 ships. In desperation, the Japanese launched suicide attacks against the Americans. It was to no avail. In mid-May, Naha, the island capital, fell to the Americans. On May 29th, Shuri Castle, the linchpin of the Japanese defense line was taken by Marines. On June 18th, Army and Marine forces launched their final offensive. Four days later, the Japanese Island commander killed himself. That same day military historian Robert M. Leckie wrote, "the Japanese soldiers began to surrender for the first time in the war." The American brass said the Okinawa campaign was over. Among the heroes of the long hard fight were the men of the 713th battalion, which earned a naval Presidential Unit Citation.