U.S. Army doctrine for tanks in the Second World War was rather
different from the German blitzkrieg techniques. The Germans viewed
the tank as an integral part of a force, which had to be independent,
self-providing, and capable of fighting enemy tanks by itself. The
U.S. Army had a different approach: tanks were mainly used as infanty
support. Large scale enemy tank attacks were to be fought back with
anti-tank guns. In the early stages, these should be emplaced in
defensive positions, and after the initial attack had been blunted,
the infantry, in cooperation with tanks, would drive the enemy back.
military tacticians soon realised that static AT defense alone wasn't
sufficient. The Army needed mobile AT weapons. There were various
experiments and tests, and the first vehicle to emerge was the M6
37mm GMC. While effective against lighter armor and softskins, this
was barely adequate to fight enemy armor, even though the 37mm remained
in service until the end of the war. Heavier guns were warranted
and the "ideal weapon," as envisaged by Army Ground Forces,
who led the programs for new weapons. An expedient stopgap weapon
was the 75mm gun mounted on an M3 halftrack. This was later followed
by the subject of this review, the M10 Gun Motor Carriage.
was an open topped vehicle, based on the M4A2 Sherman chassis. The
crew consisted of five: the driver and assistant driver/radio operator
in the hull, and gunner, loader, and commander in the turret. Armament
was a 3" main gun, with a .50 cal M2 machine gun on a pintle
at the rear of the turret. The M10 as a fighting vehicle itself
wasn't the best of its day. The open top turret made it vulnerable
to small arms fire, grenades, and overhead artillery bursts. Because
the doctrine was to strike quick and get out even more quickly,
the armour was rather light. This made the M10 vulnerable to just
about any German anti-tank gun in the field. The M10 was not very
well suited to infantry support, because the turret was exposed
to sniper fire.
the main gun was up to the task of knocking out a Panzer IV, it
could not frontally pierce the armor of a Panther or Tiger-a major
flaw for an offensive weapon.
the other hand, until July 1944 the M10 had a better gun than most
Shermans. Its support fire was more accurate than indirect artillery
fire, and the larger gun was better suited to bunker-busting than
the Sherman's 75mm gun. The M10 remained in use until the end of
the war. It also served with the Frence, British, Canadian, and
other Allied forces. The AFV even saw action in the 1990s in the
kit offers nearly 600 parts, many of which will resupply your spares
box. The M10 suspension is quite comprehensive and is in my opinion
the nicest suspension available from a plastic kit. You're provided
with several options. Drive sprockets are the simple plate sprockets,
or the revised fancy sprockets. Road wheels are either the stamped
or spoked versions, both with excellent details and the stamped
wheels come with rear inserts for detail on both sides. The idlers
again give you the choice between stamped and spoked. Suspension
bogies are the heavy duty VVSS with flat return roller arm and spacer,
and casting numbers are included. You have a choice of the earliest,
half-moon track skid or the more familiar later oblong skid that
leans toward the front of the vehicle. For a late vehicle like the
M10, the later skid seems the best option. If you decide to model
an African campaign vehicle, the early skid might be appropriate.
(If building an early M10, remember that the turret counter weights
need to be replaced by simple steel blocks.) The skids are moulded
separately, thus making clean up and filling of the joint on the
top of the bogie quite easy, and some thinning will improve their
appearance. More detail can be included by adding the bolts to the
skids, and drilling four mounting holes on the front of the bogie.
These bogies were interchangeable and the return roller arm could
be mounted on either side of the bogie. There are two choices for
the one-piece tranmission cover, one sharp nosed and the other more
lower hull includes such major interior features as the gearbox,
crew seats, steering levers, foot pedals, radio, and instrument
panel. The fighting compartment has the lower floor included, together
with a fire wall and the sponson-mounted ammunition in cardboard
tubes. The rounds do not line up with the pegs on the walls as they
actually should. Nevertheless, it would be hard to notice and at
least there's something down there to look at. The engine compartment
gets side walls and fuel tanks, but no engine. That's a pity because
the engine doors are separate parts. Overall, the interior looks
crowded, and it would be sufficient to view through the hatches
and open turret. Purists can spend quite some time detailing the
lot, but Academy has given enough in the kit to satisfy most tastes.
hull construction is fairly typical for U.S. vehicles. The rear
plate of the hull has the correct M4A2 details. The upper hull is
one piece, including the glacis. Hull features are finely detailed,
including separate tools (which would benefit from straps), fuel
filler caps, and grab handles. The headlight guards could use some
thinning down with a file, or can be replaced with photo etched
parts. The crew hatches in the kit are quite nice, with separate
periscopes and handles.
turret goes together rather well. The seams at the front might be
a bit tricky and dry fitting is recommended here. The turret is
quite busy and has major details included. The most prominent feature
is the gun itself, and its impressive breech looks quite good compared
to photographs. At the rear of the turret, you get an ammunition
rack for ready rounds. There are also some stowage boxes provided,
plus a Thompson for the crew. If this level of detailing is not
sufficient for your purposes, you could install additional elements,
such as wiring and stowage.
are of the continuous vinyl type, and represent the T49 steel track.
They are quite nicely defined, with the end connectors connecting
the link, and the retaining bolt included on the end connectors.
are numerous other accessories, including musette bags, jerry cans,
nylon string for the towing cable, and an assortment of raised numbers,
letters, foundry marks, bolts, and tie-downs to further detail your
for two U.S. and two French vehicles, however, are rather generic.
They seem to be based on photos seen in several books, but it's
a pity Academy doesn't give more information than just "U.S.
Army, France 1944."
this is a good kit. The quality of detail and molding is good, and
there are a lot of extra parts, resulting in a nicely filled Sherman
bits box. Of course, there's room for improvement, but OOTB you
get a nice model of the M10.
an overview of upgrades and accessories for both the Academy and
AFV Club M10s, read my article Aftermarket
Sets for the M10 Tank Destroyer.
question often comes up as to whether Academy or AFV Club has the
better M10 kit. Generally, most modelers appreciate Academy's more
extensive interior, sharper detailing, and ample amount of extra
parts for the spares box. Some reviewers have pointed out that AVF
Club's hatches are the wrong shape, and more accurate in the Academy
kit. The AFV Club also has a more complicated suspension assembly
and a spring-loaded breech/barrel scheme that is more for toy effect
that serious modeling. On the other hand, Steve Zaloga points out
in "Modelling US Army Tank Destroyers of WWII" that the
turrets on both kits are off: Academy's is too narrow and long from
front to back, while AFV Club's is too wide and short. He gives
the nod to AFV Club for better overall dimensional look.