THE BEST TANK DESTROYER IN THE US ARMY

THE BEST TANK DESTROYER IN THE US ARMYBattles in Normandy in summer 1944 was discouraged by the command of tank units of the allies, including the us. The fact that it is hoped for their means of combating tanks of the Wehrmacht: anti-tank guns, self-propelled artillery installations, including on the American M10. M10 Gun Motor Carriage is self-propelled artillery, which had the informal name of Wolverine (“Wolverine” – “Wolverine”), was the most numerous tank destroyer in U.S. army during world war II. She belonged to the class of fighters and tanks had to destroy on the battlefield armored vehicles, while their own tanks was to support infantry in battle – such was the doctrine of military command of the U.S. army.

 
So, acting on the North African front, M10, armed with 76.2-mm gun M7, successfully dealt with the machinery of the Wehrmacht, hitting them at long range. Her armor-piercing shells M62 and M79 at range 1500 m pierced the armor thickness of about 80 mm. the Main tanks of the German Afrika Korps was the Pz.Kpfw III, which had a frontal armor is only 50 mm. to hit a tank, the M10 self-propelled gun could fire even from a distance of 2000 m.
 
It was believed that it can also show itself in Western Europe, on the German front. But it happened very sudden. At the beginning of the fighting in Normandy it turned out – setting is ineffective against the frontal armor of heavy German tanks. In addition, following the American doctrine, the M10 as a tank destroyer, was a light armored car, making it quite vulnerable on the battlefield.
 
Came to the aid of the self-propelled 90-mm gun 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 Slugger or Jackson (“Slugger” – “Jackson”).
 
The beginning of development of ACS M36 refers to the April 1942 By this time the US military command, concerned about the strengthening of the protection of German vehicles, concluded on the need to arm the troops of the more powerful tank destroyer than the M10. The bet is placed on 90-mm antiaircraft gun M1, adopted into service with the us army in March 1940 On the choice of such instruments was influenced by the experience of using the Germans 88 mm anti-aircraft guns as anti-tank, which proved very successful.
At first, it was necessary to explore the possibility of placing guns M1 self-propelled chassis, which used the existing ACS M10. However, the barrel was too long, and she is too heavy for the installed on self-propelled towers. In the spring of 1943 in the company Chevrolet started creating layouts of the new tower. Then its developments at the company Ford produced two pilot sample, in which the problems of balancing the guns have solved by means of the counterweight is a steel box mounted on the rear wall of the tower and fitted at the same time laying part of the ammunition. At the same time and upgraded the gun by changing the recoil device by manual shutter mechanism, etc. Now it has changed to M3.
 
In September 1943, made prototypes sent for testing at the Aberdeen proving ground and at Fort Knox. They received the designation 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage T71 – 90-mm self-propelled gun the T71.
 
American tank destroyer M36B2
 
American tank destroyer M36B2
 
M36 tank destroyer on patrol at the edge of a snowy forest. The Ardennes, Belgium. December 1944
 
The M36 tank destroyer on patrol at the edge of a snowy forest. The Ardennes, Belgium. December 1944
 
ACS M36
 
ACS M36 “Slugger”:
 
1 -90-mm gun M3; 2 – open tower; 3-turret machine gun; 4 – 12.7 mm machine gun М2НВ; 5 – niche of the tower; 6 — output gear; 7 — cart double track rollers; 8 – support roller: 9 — driving wheel; 10 – the Luke helper driver; 11 – breech guns; 12 – armored visor of the tower; 13 — driver’s hatch; 14 – the upper front hull plates; 15 – ammunition box machine gun; 16 – lower front hull plates; 17 – stern hull

 
ACS M36 on the streets of the German city. The 3rd army of General George. Patton. Western Germany, spring 1945.
 
ACS M36 on the streets of the German city. The 3rd army of General George. Patton. Western Germany, spring 1945.
 
According to test results in the design of cars has made some changes. In particular the gun barrel is mounted muzzle brake, redid the ammo rack in the hull and turret, improved the equipment of the tower, put a pin machine gun turret instead of a ring,
 
In October of the same year, an army of arms Committee recommended the adoption of the self-propelled to immediate production, although officially it was accepted into service on 1 June 1944 under the designation GMS M36 with case M10.
 
Initially, the military ordered the firm Fisher party installations of 500. Starting production in April 1944, she managed to produce by August, only 300 units. Then to expedite the proceedings put another firm – the Massey Harris Company, which until the end of the year put the troops yet 500 self-propelled guns, then locomotive American Locomotive Works and Montréal LW, Contracting them on 413 and 85 units, respectively.
However, the command of the troops, all required to increase production, so M36 was popular at the front. But the number of chassis under them was not enough, then manufacturers have offered to go on a Cabinet base model М4АЗ. This variant was designated М36В1. From October to December 1944, the firm Fisher released the 187 vehicles of this variant.
 
In April – may 1945 is the same firm American LW issued to the troops 237 machines option 36В2 again with the M10 case. All in all, the war was made 2324 units of ACS M36.
 
Semi-automatic rifled 90-mm gun M3, which armed the M36 tank destroyer was created based on the anti-aircraft gun M1A1.
 
M3 was a powerful long-barreled gun with a long barrel, amounting to approximately 50 caliber, with a high rate, amounting to 8 RDS./min. It had a semi-automatic vertical wedge bolt, supplied with single-chamber muzzle brake, to ensure a smooth aiming and shooting accuracy were the spring type compensator. The length of the rollback was about 0,25 m, that was a very important parameter when you install the guns in the tower. The barrel had a right hand thread 32. Total weight of guns – more than 1100 kg.
 
ACS M36 and modification М36В1
 
ACS M36 and modification М36В1
 
M36 production schedule
 
 
Column ACS M36 advances in the area of concentration. 703 St battalion of tank destroyers of the 2nd Panzer division. Werbomont, Belgium, 1944
 
Column ACS M36 advances in the area of concentration. 703 St battalion of tank destroyers of the 2nd Panzer division. Werbomont, Belgium, 1944
 
ACS M36 in area of firing positions
 
ACS M36 in area of firing positions
 
Vertical guidance from -10° to + 20° were carried out manually, the horizontal – turret electro-hydraulic actuator or manually backup drive. Direct fire was conducted through the telescopic sight hingeless M76D a threefold increase. For firing from the closed position had the bearing pointer and M18 quadrant elevation M9.
 
Nomenclature of ammunition gun M3 consisted of several different types of shells. This armor-piercing ka-libernyh:
 
a hard – boiled solid with a ballistic tip, tracer AP-T T33 Shot (muzzle velocity -853 m/s, mass of the shot – 19,88 kg projectile weight – of 10.91 kg);
 
sharp head with protective and ballistic tips, tracer APC-T M82 Projectile (808 m/s, 19,39 kg of 10.94 kg);
 
pointed toe contrast solid, tracer AR-T Т77 Shot (821 m/s of 19.04 kg 10,9 kg);
 
and also:
 
tracer armor-piercing HVAP-T М304 Shot (1021 m/s, 16,82 kg of 7.61 kg);
 
steel selinocarpus high-explosive grenades NOT М71 Shell (823 m/s of 18.99 kg 10,55 kg).
 
Using armor-piercing shells gun M3 was capable of at ranges of 500 meters to hit the target, which had sloping armor thickness up to 120 mm, and a distance of 1500 meters armor to 110 mm (meet angle 60° from the vertical).
 
Optical sight M76D had a reticle for direct fire armor-piercing projectile M82 at a distance of up to 4600 m, although the fire would be in the range up to 600 m. 18 high-explosive grenade had the opportunity to fire at targets at a distance up to 18 000 m.
 
In gun ammunition consisted of 47 shots.
 
The auxiliary armament of the M36 consisted of heavy 12.7 mm machine gun М2НВ, who was in the turret on the roof of the turret rear bin. With it, you can effectively hit targets at maximum range 1500 m Combat rate of fire was 75 RDS./minutes, although the rate of fire was up to 450 – 500 RDS./min Ammunition gun was 1000 rounds placed on the 20 tapes in the stores-boxes.
 
Staff weapons were also five 7.62 mm carbines M1, accompanied 450 rounds in 30 stores. Had on self-propelled and hand grenades.
 
The layout of the M36 tank destroyer was a classic tank. Front – office transmission and control, then, in the center of the body combat with the tower, in the rear – engine compartment. The case itself consists of a rigid support structure with differentiated cannon-proof armor with the use of rational angles. Rolled sheets of armor steel Cabinet boxes were connected by welding.
The upper front of the machine sheet had a thickness of 51 mm and was mounted at an angle of 55°, and the lower glacis of the same thickness were cast and were at the same time the housing cover of the transmission. In the front of the case, under the tower were the drivers hatches welded to their covers-dash hatches. Side of the artillery consisted of sheets: in the lower part thickness of 25 mm and the upper is inclined at an angle of 38° 19 mm sheets. Feed – in the upper part had the form of a wedge at the bottom standing vertical sheets, all for 19 mm top of the hull consisted of two parts: the turret armor thickness of 19 mm and 10 mm above the engine compartment. At 13 mm the bottom there was an escape hatch, designed for crew egress in an emergency.
 
Modification М36В2 with Cabinet base М4АЗ differed mainly a more powerful armor. Thus, the thickness of the upper front part increased up to 64 mm, sides and stern – to 38 mm. the Roof had a 19-mm thickness, the bottom is in front of 25-mm, under the engine compartment 13.
 
Tower “Slugger” was set the same for all three models. She was solid, cylindrical shape of the feed housing. Massive niche played the role of counterweight to balance the weapon, the armor of her stern was thick and 127 mm Forehead tower was covered by a cast 76-mm mask; sides and stern had a thickness of 32 mm. Tower had no roof and was open on top, only a small front part and the niche was covered with light armor. Was considered that thus it was possible to reduce the gas content of the fighting compartment, in addition, to improve visibility and reduce some of the weight. However, on machines later releases tower top still covered steel flaps.
 
Engines self-propelled gun was equipped with two types. On modifications M36 and М36В1 installed 8-cylinder gasoline engine Ford GAA liquid cooling volume of 18.03 l; its power at 2600 rpm was equal to 450 HP At the time, the eponymous firm has created this motor for aviation, and initially it existed as a 12-cylinder. However, the US air force moved on to star motors of air cooling and the engine was unclaimed. And then it was offered for installation on tanks, which was altered in 8-cylinder variant.
 
Fuel tanks in the model M36 with a total capacity of 727 l were located in the sponsons engine compartment: two – 150 and l – 208 l 219 l. In the self-propelled gun variant М36В1 tanks have a capacity of 636 liters (659 l): two of them were located in the sponsons of the hull and two on both sides of the engine. Fuel was the gasoline of octane number not lower than 80.
 
On the modification М36В2 based on the chassis of the M10, put the spark of two engines. It was a diesel 6-cylinder General Motors 6046 Mod 71 liquid cooling with a total volume of 13.93 l, develops a total power of 410 HP at 2900 rpm Capacity of fuel tanks on such a machine – 625 L.
 
Self-propelled with troops onboard ready for the nomination. Belgium, 1944
 
Self-propelled with troops onboard ready for the nomination. Belgium, 1944
 
Tower M36. In the center of the breech part of the cannon to the left of her is gunner's station, on the right - charging
 
Tower M36. In the center of the breech part of the cannon to the left of her is gunner’s station, on the right – charging
 
Scheme equipment of ACS M36
 
The scheme of equipment ACS M36
 
 
“Self-propelled” M36 at the Assembly point tank division
 
Maintenance crew chassis
 
Service crew chassis
 
Transmission self-propelled guns were placed in front of the housing, the torque from the engine that was in the aft compartment, is transmitted to the propeller shaft it held in the box on the floor of the fighting compartment. On M36 and М36В1 the group included double-disk main friction clutch of the type D78123, double differential, single row side gears with herringbone gears. On М36В2 with the spark of two engines, there were two main clutch and connecting the reducer with herringbone gears.
 
Transmission installation – mechanical five-speed, synchronized. Side of the brake – band. The suspension had three anchor trolley on each side, which included two rubber carrier roller, single support roller on the rear side, and two vertical buffer springs. Drive sprocket rear.
 
The crew of the SAU “Slugger” consisted of five people: a driver, assistant driver, commander, gunner and loader. The driver and his assistant in the front office for port and starboard. The rest of the crew was housed in the tower: on the left front, the gunner, right from the gun loader, commander.
 
In the us army M36 was armed with samootverzhennyj separate anti-tank battalions, which were attached to the divisions. A group of several such battalions were in military or army command. The staffing in each battalion there were 36 vehicles, 35 officers and 738 enlisted men.
 
M36 for the first time took part in the fighting in Western Europe in October 1944 while In the us army, they were the only effective shutter means of dealing with heavy German tanks, firing from close to medium distances.
 
Military experts believe the tank destroyer, tank destroyer M36 “Slugger” the most powerful anti-tank installation of the U.S. army.

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