Images of War:  M36/M36B1 Tank Destroyer

Images of War: M36/M36B1 Tank Destroyer

Author
David Doyle
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
The eternal trinity of manoeuvrability / armour /armament has long been acknowledged in the AFV design progress. Currently the main MBT scene is dominated by a small number of nations and design costs of a new MBT run into lots of noughts !

During the second world war rapid improvements to AFV technology proved a challenge to designers and production facilities. Road bridges were usually of a far lower classification to the post war years and rail loading gauges were more significant than in the era of heavy transporters and motorway networks.

A solution was to place heavier armament in a chassis lighter than a standard MBT ,either with thinner armour or a simplified turret . The Tank Destroyer Force was organised in 1941 with tank destroyer battalions. The M10 Wolverine and the M18 Hellcat were two other designs.

The M36 /M36B1 were primarily o Sherman chassis with lighter upper armour and a 90mm main armament and an open topped turret to save weight. The engine was a 450hp gasoline V8.

The book is a selection of excellent photographs with accompanying text. It has no bibliography or index and is probably a useful reference for the military modeller . Printing is to Pen & Sword’s usual high standard. The book runs to 121 pages and has a cover price of £14.99 but there are new copies from £7.84 on Amazon.

For those wishing to read further on the subject of Tank Destroyers try the history of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion at the Siege of Bastogne , where it supported the 101st Airborne Division.

As an interesting foot note the M36 and variants soldiered on in a number of theatres after 1945.The design proved effective against T34/85 in the Korean War , Taiwan withdrew the last vehicles in 2001 and the M36 saw substantial combat in 1995-99 in Croatia ,albeit in modified form.

Perhaps the German Kanonen Jagdpanzer might be seen as the last of the tank destroyers with the role passing to a plethora of lightly armoured ATGW carriers around the world

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MoleBath
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