M36 Gun Motor Carriage in Bitburg, February 1945

M36 Gun Motor Carriage in Bitburg, February 1945

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M36 Gun Motor Carriage in Bitburg, February 1945

The crew of this US M36 90mm Gun Motor Carriage are rolling up a Swastika flag they have found in the German town of Bitburg. The town was captured in February 1945. The M36 was a more powerful version of the M10 GMC, with a 90mm gun but the same chassis and superstructure as the M10. The 90mm gun often carried a muzzle brake, but could also be used with a cover that protected the screw attachment.

10 American Self-Propelled Artillery Guns of WWII

During the Second World War, self-propelled artillery played a vital role in bringing heavy firepower to bear, with greater mobility than drawn artillery and at a lower cost than building tanks. The United States fielded a wide range of self-propelled guns.

M3 Gun Motor Carriage

In June 1941, American engineers were given the task of mounting a 75 mm field gun on a half-track carriage to provide a mobile weapon for tank destroyer battalions. The war in Europe was well underway and while America was still at peace, it was clear that tanks would be critical for any future war.

A U.S. Army M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage manned by US soldiers, 1943.

The result was a gun fitted on a pedestal mount in the cargo space of a half-track. It fired forward over the cab and was protected by a metal shield.

M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage, Special Weapons Company, 2nd Marine Division, Tinian, July 30, 1944.

The first American self-propelled gun to fight in the war–the M3–proved effective during the fall of the Philippines, but it was much less successful against the Germans in North Africa since the gun design was over 40 years old and not up to penetrating modern armor. The M3 was retired in 1944.

M3 GMCs used for indirect fire in Italy, February 18, 1945.

M6 Gun Motor Carriage

Combining existing guns and vehicles was a quick and cost-effective way of creating self-propelled artillery, and was therefore appealing early in the war. Another result of this approach was the M6, which combined a 37mm anti-tank gun with a Dodge ¾-ton weapons carrier.

Unfortunately, the 37 mm gun was already out of date, and was only able to penetrate the armor of increasingly rare light tanks, while the Dodge truck body offered too little protection. Of over 5,000 M6s produced, all but 100 were dismantled by late 1943, with the trucks returning to cargo work.

Dodge WC55 M6 37 mm Gun Motor Carriage M6.

M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage (Priest)

A far more effective weapon, the M7 consisted of a 105 mm howitzer mounted in a raised super-structure on the chassis of an M3 medium tank. An anti-aircraft gun mount on the front right of the vehicle gave it extra defensive firepower.

M7 Priest passes by a Humber Scout Car as it moves into position to support an attack on Caen, July 8, 1944.

Three thousand four hundred and ninety M7s were produced over the course of the war and they saw extensive service. Their pulpit-like structure earned them the nickname “Priest” from British troops. Variants of the M7 were later used in Korea.

Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 in Korea (1951).

M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage

Designed for close support of medium tank formations, the M8 was created in 1942 by installing a 75 mm field howitzer on the body of an M5 tank. Early versions used a similar superstructure to the M7 before this was replaced by a turret for better defense and easier production.

The M8 had poor internal ammunition capacity so it had a towing hook for an ammunition trailer.

One thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight M8s were built and were used in Europe and the Pacific.

75 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M8 on display at the Musée des Blindés. Photo: Fat yankey CC BY-SA 2.5

M10 Gun Motor Carriage

Early in the war American tacticians recommended the creation of a specialist anti-tank force to take on enemy armor and free up American tanks to exploit breakthroughs. A mobile vehicle with a powerful gun was needed for this work, and following the failure of the M9 design, the Tank Destroyer Board instead commissioned the M10.

M10 shown in mass production at General Motors tank arsenal.

Standardized in June 1942, the M10 had sloping armor, a 3-inch gun, and a turret with a 360° firing arc. Additionally, counterweights at the rear of the turret balanced the gun and created a distinctive shape.

Two American M10 tank destroyers in France during World War II.

The M10 was used by both the Americans and the British, who called it the Achilles.

M10 of the 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion advances along a mountain road in Italy, March 3, 1945.

M12 Gun Motor Carriage

The M12 was made from an M3 tank chassis with the engine moved forward and a powerful 155 mm gun fitted to the rear. A spade like a bulldozer blade at the rear could be sunk into the ground for stability while firing and it was also accompanied by a cargo carrier.

A hundred of these vehicles were completed in early 1943, but no-one knew what to do with them. Seventy-four were dug out of storage at the end of 1943 for the planned invasion of Europe, where they proved valuable medium artillery support for fast-moving armor.

M12 firing across the Moselle River in France, 1944.

M13 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage

With aerial attacks a vital part of the war, designs were sought for a fast-moving anti-aircraft weapon to protect other vehicles. The first substantial result was the M13 which carried two .50 caliber Browning heavy machine guns on a mounting at the back of a half-track. The vehicle’s engine was used to power the mounting.

The M13 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage.

The M13 was standardized in September 1942, but work continued to create a more sophisticated version.

Restored M13 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage.

M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage

Of the various improvements to the M13, the M16 was the most successful. It used the same components but carried four machine guns instead of two. It became the standard US vehicle in this role and continued to serve into the Korean War where it was used for infantry ground support as well as anti-aircraft work.

The M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage, the successor to the M13.

M18 Gun Motor Carriage (Hellcat)

The M18 emerged from a messy design process to create a tank destroyer, during which the US General Staff repeatedly changed their specifications, sometimes on the advice of the Ordnance Department. The eventual result was a demand for a 76 mm gun in an open-topped rotating turret to be mounted on a chassis using tracks and Buick’s new torsion-bar suspension system.

M18 Hellcat of the 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion in action at Wiesloch, Germany, April 1945.

By the time the commissioning process was complete, the need to get the weapon into the field outstripped the need for cautious development, and the vehicles were ordered without first constructing a pilot vehicle.

The M18 never lived up to its optimistic nickname, the Hellcat. Used in Europe in the final year of the war, it lacked the punch to seriously threaten German tanks. In the post-war period they were donated to other countries as military aid, and some even saw service into the 1980s.

M18 Hellcat (center) in comparison to M10 (top) and M36 (bottom) turreted tank destroyers in United States Service during the Second World War.

M36 Gun Motor Carriage

Early in the war the Germans realized the need for heavier firepower against tanks, prompting them to turn 88 mm anti-aircraft guns into a field weapon. As tank armor became tougher, the Americans learned the same lesson and decided to turn 90 mm anti-aircraft guns into anti-tank weapons. Combined with a new turret from the Ford Motor Company and an M10A1 chassis, this became the M36.

90 mm Gun Motor Carriage M36.

Five hundred M36s were built by the end of 1944 and proved invaluable in Europe, as they were the only American vehicle with the firepower to take out Tiger and Panther tanks. Hundreds more were hastily commissioned, using whatever suitable chassis could be obtained.

M36s continued in service during the Cold War, including in the Korean War and they were also distributed as military aid.


The 37 mm Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) M6 was a modified 3/4-ton 4x4 Dodge WC52 truck with a rear-facing 37 mm M3 gun mounted in its bed (portee) and designated WC55. The gun was normally fired to the rear — it could not be fully depressed when pointed to the front of the vehicle due to blast effects on the crew and vehicle windshield. The gun fired M74 Armor Piercing (AP) Shot that could penetrate 1.4 in (3.6 cm) of armor at 500 yd (460 m). Other ammunition carried throughout its service life included the Armor Piercing Capped (APC) M51 Projectile (which could penetrate 2.4 in (6.1 cm) of armor at 500 yd), and the High Explosive (HE) M63 Projectile. Eighty rounds of 37 mm ammunition were carried aboard. [1]

The crew-members were equipped with personal weapons for self-defense.

With the design standardized in February 1942, 5,380 GMC 37 mm M6 GMC were built between April and October, 1942, at a cost of $4,265 per unit. [2] American doctrine planned for tank destroyers to defend against enemy tank attacks while tanks were used principally to support infantry. The 37 mm GMC M6 saw limited employment with U.S. forces (the 601st and 701st Tank Destroyer Battalions) during the campaign in Tunisia in late 1942 and early 1943. The vehicle was not well liked because it lacked armor and carried an anti-tank gun that was largely ineffective against German tanks of the period. The 37 mm GMC M6 also saw limited use in the Pacific Theater in 1943 and 1944. [3] They equipped some Marine units, but were withdrawn before seeing combat. The 37 mm GMC M6 was soon classified as "limited standard" in September 1943, because of the availability of more powerful tank destroyers mounting 75 mm (2.95 in) and 3 in (76 mm) guns. In January 1945, the GMC M6 was declared obsolete.

After the Tunisian campaign, many M6 Fargos had their 37 mm gun removed and reverted to a cargo truck role as the (WC52). Some of these 37 mm guns were mounted onto halftracks to provide the armored infantry with a gun halftrack. [4] Other 37 mm GMC M6 vehicles found their way into service with the French Army, and were later provided to French Forces of the Interior units after the liberation of France. [5] Despite the vehicle's obvious limitations on the battlefields of Northwest Europe 1944–1945, the FFI used practically any vehicle they could obtain because of equipment shortages of all kinds.


In July 1941, the U.S. Army Ordnance Department initiated the development of a new fast tank destroyer to replace the M6 37 mm gun motor carriage, which was essentially a ¾-ton truck with a 37 mm gun installed in the rear bed. [1] The requirement was for a 6×4 wheeled vehicle armed with a 37 mm gun, a coaxial machine gun mounted in a turret, and a machine gun in the front hull. [1] Its glacis armor was supposed to withstand fire from a .50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun and side armor from a .30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun. Prototypes were submitted by Studebaker (designated T21), Ford (T22) and Chrysler (T23), all of them quite similar in design and appearance.

In April 1942, the T22 was selected, despite complaints about deficiencies, due to the need for vehicles. By then, it was clear that the 37 mm gun would not be effective against the front armor of German tanks so, the new armored car, now designated the M8, took on a reconnaissance role instead. [1] Contract issues and minor design improvements delayed serial production until March 1943. Production ended in June 1945. [1] A total of 8,523 M8 and 3,791 M20 armored cars were built, [2] The M8 and M20 were manufactured at Ford Motor Company plants in Chicago, Illinois and Saint Paul, Minnesota the St Paul plant built 6,397 M8s to Chicago's 2,126 the 3,791 M20s were produced at the Chicago plant only.

In May 1942, having viewed the prototype, the British Tank Mission turned down the offer to acquire the M8 through Lend-Lease. [1] It was named "Greyhound" in keeping with other U.S. armored cars already ordered by the British, such as the (cancelled) T18 Boarhound, the T17 Deerhound, the T17E1 Staghound and the (also cancelled) M38 Wolfhound.

Production of M8 and M20 armored car [1] [2]
Month M8 M20
March 1943 15
April 1943 31
May 1943 110
June 1943 169
July 1943 512 126
August 1943 314 205
September 1943 803 275
October 1943 545 293
November 1943 1,000 400
December 1943 800 325
January 1944 562 214
February 1944 468 193
March 1944 241 53
April 1944 223 48
May 1944 241 53
June 1944 234 32
July 1944 256 29
August 1944 243 83
September 1944 232 158
October 1944 234 160
November 1944 234 159
December 1944 215 155
January 1945 232 97
February 1945 144 153
March 1945 162 163
April 1945 150 150
May 1945 153 156
June 1945 111
Total 8,523 3,791

The cavalry reconnaissance troops (equivalent to companies and assigned to infantry divisions) and squadrons (equivalent to battalions and assigned to armored divisions or independent and used at the direction of a division or corps commander) used by the US Army served as advance "eyes and ears." This mission demanded an emphasis on speed and agility, rather than firepower and armor. When on the march, the cavalry's mission was to make contact with enemy forces at the earliest practical moment and maintain it thereafter. In this role, the recon troops identified hostile units and reported their strength, composition, disposition and movement. During withdrawals, the cavalry often served as a screening force for the main units.

The M8 performed this function with distinction. Each M8 armored car was equipped with a long-range radio set to assist in the exercise of command, or for the purpose of relaying information received from subordinate elements to higher headquarters. Another short-range radio set served to communicate within a cavalry reconnaissance platoon, reconnaissance team, or with headquarters. The M8 weighed 17,400 lb (7,900 kg) fully loaded with equipment and crew, and was capable of cruising 100–200 mi (160–320 km) cross country or 200–400 mi (320–640 km) on highways without refueling. On normal roads, it was capable of a sustained speed of 55 mph (89 km/h), hence its nickname.

The M8 was not designed for offensive combat, and its firepower was adequate only against similar lightly armored enemy vehicles and infantry. The vehicle's armor provided a fair degree of protection against small-arms fire but nothing more. With a meager .25 in (6 mm) of floor armor, the M8 was particularly vulnerable to German mines.

The vehicle's other drawback was limited mobility in heavily wooded areas and on broken terrain armored cavalry units preferred using the ¼-ton reconnaissance car (Jeep) in these environments. A large turning radius, limited wheel travel, and open differentials limited its cross-country mobility and made the M8 susceptible to immobilization off-road in off-camber terrain and defiles. This led operators to using the vehicle mostly on existing roads and paths, where it became vulnerable to ambush. The use of wheels, rather than continuous tracks like a tank, gave it a higher ground pressure which hampered its off-road performance in soft or loose terrain such as mud and snow. Conversely, the performance of the M8 on hard surfaces was exceptional, with the vehicle having a long range and able to consistently maintain its top speed of 55 mph. Also, as a wheeled vehicle, the M8 was generally more reliable than tracked vehicles of similar size, requiring far less maintenance and logistics support.

The M8's armor was thin, but it provided protection for the crew from small-arms fire and shrapnel, enough so that the vehicle could carry out its main mission of reconnaissance. The frontal, sloped hull armor varied in thickness from 0.5 inches to 0.75 inches (12.7 to 19 mm) The side and rear hull armor, also sloped but slightly less so than the front, was 0.375 inches (9.5 mm) thick. The top armor was 0.25 inches (6.4 mm) thick, as was the floor. The turret was comparatively better protected than the hull, being 0.75 inches (19 mm) thick all around, with an 0.25-inch (6.4 mm) partial roof. The cast, rounded gun shield was uniformly 1 inch (25.4 mm) thick. [3]

The M8 was fitted with a 37 mm M6 gun (aimed by an M70D telescopic sight) and a coaxially mounted .30 in (7.62 mm) Browning machine gun in a one-piece, cast mantlet, mounted in an open-topped, welded turret. The M8 was initially fitted without any kind of anti-aircraft defense as a stopgap solution, a .50 caliber Browning M2HB machine gun on a ring mount was retrofitted to nearly all vehicles already in service. A purposefully-designed pintle was mounted on all late-production vehicles, but it saw comparatively little action due to a troubled development process.

The crew of four comprised a commander (who doubled as the loader), gunner, driver, and radio operator (who could also act as a driver). The driver and radio operator were seated in the forward section of the hull, while the commander and gunner sat in the turret, with the commander seated on the right, and the gunner on the left,

The vehicle carried 80 37 mm rounds (16 in the turret and 64 in an ammunition rack in the right sponson) when fitted with a single radio. Vehicles with a second radio installed only carried 16 main gun rounds. Some units solved this problem by cutting up the removed main ammunition rack and stowing 18 rounds in each sponson, under the radios. This raised the number of main gun rounds able to be carried to 52. Another modification (the most common one) involved fabricating (again from the discarded main ammunition rack) a 43-round bin to be placed behind the driver's seat, and a 20-round bin attached to the framing of the turret basket. This raised the ammunition capacity up to 79 rounds. [1] Machine gun ammunition consisted of 1,500 .30 caliber rounds and 400 .50 caliber rounds. In addition, the vehicle carried a mix of 16 smoke and hand grenades, four smoke pots, six M1 anti-tank mines and four M1 carbines for the crew.

The M8 was powered by a Hercules Model JXD in-line six-cylinder 320 in³ gasoline engine giving it a top speed of 55 mph (88 km/h) on-road, and 30 mph (48 km/h) off-road. With a 59 U.S. gallon (210 litre) fuel tank and an average fuel consumption of 7.5 mpg, it could manage an average road range of 200–400 miles (320–640 km) The Hercules JXD ran more quietly than other engines of comparable power, which helped the M8 maintain an element of surprise and reduce the chance of being heard by the enemy. Because of this, the M8 armored cars in Patton's Third Army were known as "Patton's ghosts", since they were difficult to detect.

World War II Edit

The M8 light armored car, the "Greyhound", entered combat service with the Allies in 1943. It was purpose designed to serve as the primary basic command and communication combat vehicle of the U.S. Cavalry Reconnaissance Troops.

The M8 first saw action in Sicily in 1943 and was subsequently used by the US Army in Italy, North West Europe and the Pacific. In the latter theater, it was used mostly on Okinawa and the Philippines, and was even employed in its original tank destroyer role as most Japanese tanks had armor that was vulnerable to its 37 mm gun.

Over 1,000 were supplied via lend-lease channels to US allies United Kingdom, Free France and Brazil.

The vehicle was considered fast, sufficiently reliable (after some technical problems were solved) and armed and armored well enough for reconnaissance missions. However, cavalry units criticized its off-road performance, which was even worse than the M3A1 scout car it replaced [ citation needed ] . In the mountainous terrain of Italy and in the deep mud and snow of North European winter, the M8 was more or less restricted to roads, which greatly reduced its value as a reconnaissance vehicle. It was also very vulnerable to landmines. An add-on armor kit was designed to provide an extra quarter-inch of belly armor to reduce landmine vulnerability. Some crews placed sandbags on the floor to make up for the thin belly armor.

Another problem was that commanders often used their reconnaissance squadrons for fire support missions, for which the thinly-armored M8 was ill-suited. When it encountered German armored reconnaissance units, the M8 could easily penetrate their armor with its 37 mm gun. Conversely, its own thin armor was vulnerable to the 20 mm autocannons that German scout cars were equipped with.

Due to mobility problems with the M8, namely with regards to its suspension, the US Army's Special Armored Vehicle Board recommended the development of a new six-wheeled armored car which matched the M8's dimensions and size but was equipped with articulated, independently sprung suspension system. [4] Two prototypes, the Studebaker T27 and Chevrolet T28 were trialled by the US and also reviewed by the British Armed Forces. [4] The new armored car program was shelved and then permanently cancelled due to the end of the war, as impetus and funding for new military development projects had plummeted. [4] The fleet of preexisting M8 and M20 armored cars was then considered more than adequate for the postwar US Army, which was demobilizing thousands of personnel and already had large stockpiles of equipment surplus to its requirements. [4]

Post-war Edit

After the war, many of the US Army's M8 and M20 armored cars were marked off as surplus and donated or sold to various countries, especially under the Foreign Military Assistance Program (MAP). [1] Most of the remaining vehicles remained in service with the United States Constabulary in various Western European nations. [1] M8s were also used by American occupation forces in Korea, which later donated them to the fledgling Republic of Korea Army's first armored cavalry regiment. [1]

Most M8s and M20s remaining in US service had been allocated to one of five reorganized armored cavalry regiments by the early 1950s. [1] The others were utilized by the Military Police Corps, which deployed them during the Korean War for guarding static installations and escorting prisoners. [4] A small number of M20s were modified by US or South Korean forces as assault vehicles equipped with ring-mounted flamethrowers during that conflict. [4] All the US Army M8s and M20s were retired from active duty due to age and increasing obsolescence shortly after the Korean War. The majority of decommissioned vehicles were then shipped abroad as aid to various armies, especially the French Far East Expeditionary Corps, save for a small number which were retained by Army National Guard units. [1] When the Army National Guard retired its own armored cars a few years later, an undisclosed number were purchased by domestic police departments and modified for riot control purposes. [1]

France was the largest postwar operator of the M8/M20 series after the United States, having received hundreds of the vehicles as American aid between 1945 and 1954. [1] During the First Indochina War, many second-hand examples were shipped directly from the US to French Indochina, where they were deployed for rural patrols and road reconnaissance. [1] These remained in service in Indochina until the end of the war, when they were donated to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). [4] The French Foreign Legion also utilized the M8 during the Algerian War, where it was superseded first by the Panhard EBR and subsequently by the Panhard AML in counter-insurgency operations. [5] The EBR was accepted as a generic replacement for all remaining M8s by the French military in 1956. [6] Between 1956 and 1964 the remaining M8s and M20s were donated to the Mobile Gendarmerie, as well as the armies of several former French colonies. [1]

ARVN M8s and M20s saw considerable action during the Vietnam War however, by 1962 the US noted the attrition rate of the fleet was becoming high due to age. [4] This resulted in a proposal to fund the design and production of a new purpose built armored car for the South Vietnamese government: the Cadillac Gage Commando. The Commando series began to replace the M8 and M20 in ARVN service from the mid-1960s onward. [4] A small number of the older armored cars were still held by the ARVN reserves as late as 1975 these were inherited by the People's Army of Vietnam after the war. [7]

Another country which received a substantial number of ex-American M8s following the war was Belgium, which presumably received them as part of a NATO military assistance program. [1] These M8s were adopted primarily by the Belgian Air Component, which issued them to base security units, and the Force Publique in the Belgian Congo. [1] Following Congolese independence several of the Force Publique M8s fell into the hands of Katangese separatists, while others were repurposed for peacekeeping operations by the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC). [8]

The continued proliferation of M8s and M20s during the late 1960s and 1970s resulted in American and French defense contractors offering several commercial upgrade kits to extend their service life. At least ten countries, Cameroon, Cyprus, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Morocco, Venezuela, and Zaire, modernized their M8/M20 fleets with diesel engines and new transmissions during this time. [1] The National Army of Colombia also invested heavily in upgrading the M8's turret armament, having it replaced by a single .50 caliber machine gun and a launcher for BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles. [4] In the late 1960s Brazil developed an upgraded M8 with an articulated suspension, new gearbox, and new engine built with parts that could be sourced locally. [9] [10] [11] This project spawned a series of indigenous prototypes, including a bizarre four-wheeled variant of the M8 chassis known as the VBB, and another more conventional six-wheeled design known as the VBR-2. The latter subsequently evolved into the first Brazilian manufactured armored car, the EE-9 Cascavel. [9] [10] [11]

See also

The AEC Mk I Gun Carrier, known as Deacon, was a British armoured fighting vehicle of the Second World War. It was an attempt to make the QF 6 pounder anti-tank gun into a self-propelled artillery piece. It was employed only during the North African Campaign from 1942 to 1943.

The Dodge WC series was a prolific range of light 4WD and medium 6WD military utility trucks, produced by Dodge / Fargo during World War II . Together with the ​ 1 ⁄4 -ton jeeps produced by Willys and Ford, the Dodge ​ 1 ⁄2 -tons and ​ 3 ⁄4 -tons made up nearly all of the light 4WD trucks supplied to the U.S. military in WWII – with Dodge contributing some 337,500 4WD units – over half as many of these as the jeep. Contrary to the versatility of the highly standardized jeep, which was mostly achieved through field modification, the Dodge WC-series came in many different, purpose-built, but mechanically uniform variants from the factory, much akin to the later family of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. The WC series evolved out of, and was part of a more extended family of trucks, with great mechanical parts commonality, that included open- and closed-cab cargo trucks and weapons carriers, (radio) command cars, reconnaissance vehicles, ambulances, carryalls, panel vans, and telephone installation and mobile emergency / field workshop trucks.

Postwar operators

The M36’s main gun was still a match for the first modern MBTs. However, as most US WWII tanks, it was used in the Korean War and proved well capable of destroying the T-34/85s fielded by the North Koreans. They were judged as faster and more agile than the M26 but still much better armed than lighter tanks like the M24 and, some years after, the M41. The hull ball-mounted machine gun on the co-driver’s side was a postwar addition to all surviving M36s, and later an M3A1 90 mm gun (shared with the M46 Patton) was mounted instead of the 90 mm M3. This new gun can be recognized by its muzzle brake and bore evacuator. M36s were prioritized for the Military Assistance Program transfer towards South Korea over the more modern but similarly armed M26/M46. 110 M36s along with a few M10 TDs were transferred to the South Korean Army, serving until 1959. Many also found their way into other armies, although in limited numbers.
In Asia, after South Korea, the Army of the Republic of China acquired just 8 ex-French M36s in 1955, stationed on Kinmen Island until April 2001. At that time, two were still registered for training in Lieyu. The French also acquired some postwar, which were found in action in the 1st Indo-China war. Indeed, against the threat of a possible Chinese intervention and use of the IS-2 heavy tank, a Panther was first tested without success, and M36B2s were sent instead with the RBCEO and custom modifications (roof plates and additional .30 cal) in 1951. As the threat never materialized, these were used for infantry support until 1956.
Italy also received some postwar, deactivated in the 1960s. Another European operator was Yugoslavia (postwar). By the 1970s, these were modernized with a T-55 Soviet-made 500 hp diesel. After the partition of the country, existing M36s were passed to the successor states and saw heavy action, in particular in the Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995, withdrawn in 1995) but also with the Serbian forces in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo War as decoys for NATO air strikes.
M36s were also purchased after the partition of India, seeing action on both sides in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. The Indian 25th and 11th cavalry units used these as mediums due to their mobility. However, the Indians claimed 12 Pakistani M36B2s in the battle of Asal Uttar alone, and the remainder were decommissioned before the battle of 1971.

ROCA (Republic of China Army) M36 on display at the Chengkungling museum.
Iran was also provided M36s before the revolution of 1979, and saw action in the Iran-Iraq war. The Iraqis managed to capture a few M36s and M36B1s which also were deployed in the 1991 Gulf War. Other operators included the Philippine Army (until the 1960s) and Turkey (222 donated, now long deactivated). Many surviving vehicles were maintained in running conditions and some found their ways into museums and private collections around the world.

South Korean M36B2 or modernized M36, South Korean Army (Seoul Museum, Flickr)

Description [ edit | edit source ]

The 75 mm GMC M3 was an M3 Halftrack with an M1897A4 75 mm gun mounted in the rear of the halftrack. The gun had an indirect fire range of 9,200 yd (8,400 m), Α] and fired the AP M72 (Armor Piercing) shell that could penetrate 3.2 in (8.1 cm) of armor at 500 yd (460 m), the APC M61 (Armor Piercing Capped) shell that could penetrate 2.8 in (7.1 cm) of armor at 500 yd, and the HE M48 (High Explosive) shell for use against infantry and other non-armored targets. The GMC M3 carried 59 rounds of 75 mm ammunition on board. Β] The crewmen were equipped with a rifle and four carbines for self-defense.

The M10 was a tank destroyer mounting a 3-inch anti-tank gun. It used the M4A2 chassis with the GM 6046 to power it. These tanks only had an M2 .50 caliber machine gun other than their main gun. The turret lacked a power traverse. It had a five-man crew and was generally liked by its crew. The American TD force was deemed a failure, but not because the men or vehicles performed badly, it was the doctrine that failed to pan out, the battalions themselves performed well overall. It was used until the end of the war, and many TD battalions preferred it over the faster M18. The TDs lacked a co-ax machine gun, this and their open-top made them more vulnerable to infantry than a tank. Even so, these units were often given tank missions. The open-top did offer a big advantage in finding any enemy tanks to shoot, and spotting close infantry.

One aspect of the design that shows how rushed it was, is the driver’s hatches. They were larger than the Shermans, but could not be opened or closed if the turret was forward. So the crew had to make a choice if the driver and co-driver were going to be able to see well or be buttoned, before the battle or movement. The M10 lacked a turret basket, so the driver and co-driver had an easier time getting out of the roofless turret. Like all American designs, it went through a series of upgrades through its service life. The turret was upgraded and balanced better, and the crews liked to add their own roofs. Extra machine gun mounts were a common modification. A power turret drive was never added to the tanks in US service.

The M10A1 version of this vehicle had a Ford GAA engine. There was no difference other than and minor improvements between an M10 and M10A1. Crews added on armored roofs to their turrets, often all hinged so they could open up to really see what was going on, in the field. It was not uncommon for TD units to be used as fixed artillery for several days. This was common practice in the MTO.

The M10 Turret went through several changes, the first versions were badly out of balance, and they tried to solve this by mounting the grousers for the tracks on the back of the turret. This didn’t work well and wedge-shaped counterweights were added. This helped, but eventually, the final production M10 turrets were widened, and even bigger counterweights were added with a distinct duckbill look to them. They came up with a full roof armor kit for the final turret, and a half cover for the early turrets that could be field retrofitted. In spite of these minor issues, the M10 started out popular with the troops, and never lost that affection.

The M10 and M10A1 had all the gear aboard to be used at artillery. A few TD battalions spent almost as much time as artillery as they did in their TD role. This capability was used often in Italy because the 3 inch gun on the M10 didn’t tear up the vital roads as much as the larger guns did. I would be surprised to find out the M36 didn’t have the same gear. They built 4993 M10s and 1713 M10A1s. At first, only M10 TDs were authorized for service overseas, and the M10A1, even though found to be automotively superior, was to be used in stateside training only. There was some doubt about the usefulness of the motorized TD before the Normandy landings, and production of the M10 was halted as many TD units were converted back to towed gun units or disbanded.

The M10 saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Northern Europe, and various Pacific Campaigns, the most notable being the retaking of the Philippines. It wasn’t really until the action started after the Allies went into Normandy that it really saw a lot of anti-armor use. In the MTO the TD units spent an awful lot of time being used as artillery units, to the point they had to learn how to swap barrels on their 3-inch guns after wearing the tubes out. The M10 in northern Europe saw lots of action but was also being replaced by the M18 and M36. The M36 was very popular, the M18 was mixed, some units love it, some units refused to give up their trusty M10s. The M10 was not popular in the Pacific, the thinner armor, lack of hull and co-ax machine guns and open top made for a much easier target destroy for Japanese troops.

An M0 on the move in St Fromond France. The M10 is with the 703 TDB attached to the 3rd Armored Division. A pair of M10 TDs supporting the 30th Infantry in Magdeburg Germany in 1945 A semi-early M10 with wedge-shaped counterweights on the way to the front in Tunisia, 1943 An M10 or M10A1 supporting the 77th Infantry Division on Leyte 1944 M36 GMC moving through Speicher in 1945 supporting the 76th ID(Good Eye Stephen Weaver) An early M10, maybe at the Ford plant. Another M10 supporting the 77th ID on Layte in 1944 M10 supporting the 32nd ID near At Aitape New Guinea An M10 with the 893rd TDB moving down a snow and mud covered road in the Hurtgen Forest Late production M10 supporting the 77th ID near Ormoc in the Philippines 1944 An early M10 with the 454th TDB knocked out during the fighting at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge This is an M10 entering Fresnes France in 1944, unit known. An M10 moves into Artena Italy in 1944, unit unknown. This image shows a repair crew fixing an M10 damaged by artillery or mortar fire near Anzio, Italy 1944 An Army M10 somewhere in the PTO probably in the Philipines. An M10 supporting US troops entering Fontainebleau France in August of 1944 An early M10 heading to the fighting near Bir Marbott past, east of El Guettar Tunisia, in 1943. M10 in the French town of Givenchy En Gohelle near Calais France, 1944 M10 tank destroyers rolling out of the Ford Factory in Detroit, 1943 M10 and M4A3 Shermans being built side by side at Fords plant in 1943 Another shot of the Ford M10 line in 1943 An M10 supporting the 2nd Armor Division near Tesey Sur Vire France, 1944 An M10 with the 803rd TDB in Ubach Germany late 44 An M10 with the 773rd TD Battalion, supporting the 90th ID near Mainz Germany in 1945 30th ID doughs ride on 823rd TDB M10 in Germany, 1945 This is an M10 in the Pacific, the crew is cleaning the gun, and the TD is with the 632 TDB on At Aitape M10 of A Company, 645th TDB, Supporting the 157th Infantry Regiments, in the Town Of NiederbronnFrance M10 in Percy France in 1944 M10 in Aachen 1944 M10 serving with the Algerian Free French 3rd Division in Omnia Italy in 1944 An M10 near Halloville France, November of 1944

Combat history

The M24 Chaffee was intended to replace the aging and obsolete Light Tank M5 (Stuart), which was used in supplementary roles. The first thirty-four M24s reached Europe in November 1944 and were issued to the U.S. 2nd Cavalry Group (Mechanized) in France. These were then issued to Troop F, 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron [ 1 ] and Troop F, 42nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, [ 2 ] which each received seventeen M24s. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, these units and their new tanks were rushed to the southern sector two of the M24s were detached to serve with the 740th Tank Battalion of the U.S. First Army .

The M24 started to enter widespread issue in December 1944, but they were slow in reaching the front-line combat units. By the end of the war, many armored divisions were still mainly equipped with the M5. Some armored divisions did not receive their first M24s until the war was over.

Reports from the armored divisions that received them prior to the end of hostilities were generally positive. Crews liked the improved off-road performance and reliability, but were most appreciative of the 75 mm main gun, which was a vast improvement over the 37 mm. The M24 was not up to the challenge of fighting German tanks, but the bigger gun at least gave its crews a chance to fight back when it was required. The M24's light armor made it vulnerable to virtually all German tanks, anti-tank guns, and hand-held anti-tank weapons. The contribution of the M24 to winning the war in Europe was insignificant, as too few arrived too late to replace the worn-out M5s of the armored divisions.

In the Korean War, M24s were the initial U.S. tanks directed to combat the North Korean T-34-85s. The occupation troops in Japan from which the tanks were drawn were inexperienced and under-equipped due to rapid demobilization after World War II. The M24 fared poorly against these better armed, better armored, and better crewed medium tanks. Managing a fighting withdrawal, they ended up as artillery in the Pusan Perimeter in August reinforcements from the US and the Commonwealth brought heavier tanks. M24s were more successful later in the war in their reconnaissance role, supported by heavier tanks such as the M4 Sherman, M26 Pershing, and M46 Patton.

Like other successful World War II designs, the M24 was supplied to many armies around the globe and was used in local conflicts long after it had been replaced in the U.S. Army by the M41 Walker Bulldog. France employed its M24s in Indo-China in infantry support missions, with good results. They employed ten M24s in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. In December 1953, ten disassembled Chaffees were transported by air to provide fire support to the garrison. They fired about 15,000 shells in the long siege that followed before the Viet Minh forces finally overcame the camp in May 1954. France also deployed the M24 in Algeria. The last time the M24 is known to have been in action was in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where some 66 Pakistani Chaffees stationed in Bangladesh were easy prey for Indian Army T-55s, PT-76s, and anti-tank teams. Although both Iran and Iraq had M24s prior to the Iran–Iraq War, there is no report of their use in that conflict.

Service [ edit | edit source ]

With the design standardized in February 1942, 5,380 GMC 37 mm M6 GMC were built between April and October, 1942, at a cost of $4,265 per unit. ΐ] American doctrine planned for tank destroyers to engage enemy tanks while tanks were used principally to support infantry. The 37 mm GMC M6 saw limited employment with U.S. forces (the 601st and 701st Tank Destroyer Battalions) during the campaign in Tunisia in late 1942 and early 1943. The vehicle was not well liked because it lacked armor and carried an anti-tank gun that was largely ineffective against German tanks of the period. The 37 mm GMC M6 also saw limited use in the Pacific Theater in 1943 and 1944. Α] The 37 mm GMC M6 was soon classified as "limited standard" in September 1943, because of the availability of more powerful tank destroyers mounting 75 mm (2.95 in) and 3 in (76 mm) guns. In January 1945, the GMC M6 was declared obsolete.

After the Tunisian campaign, many M6 Fargos had their 37 mm gun removed and reverted to a cargo truck role as the (WC-52). Some of these 37 mm guns were mounted onto halftracks to provide the armored infantry with a gun halftrack. Β] Other 37 mm GMC M6 vehicles found their way into service with the French Army, and were later provided to French Forces of the Interior units after the liberation of France. Γ] Despite the vehicle's obvious limitations on the battlefields of Northwest Europe 1944–1945, the FFI used practically any vehicle they could obtain because of equipment shortages of all kinds.

Watch the video: General History Talks, Episode 2: 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage, M36 (July 2022).


  1. Shatilar

    What words ... Super, brilliant sentence

  2. Waldo

    Well ... and such a judgment is permissible. Although, I think other options are possible, so do not be upset.

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