Taking on the Tanks

David Fletcher, curator of the Tank Museum at Bovington, outlines the history of the M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer

T49 was the first step in the process that resulted in the Hellcat. It was armed with a 57mm gun and two machine guns, it also had coil-spring suspension but not Christie. It was powered by a pair of Buick series 60 engines. The first one was ready by July 1942
pictures archive
M39 was the turretless cargo carrier version of M18. It was used in a variety of roles including reconnaissance and saw active service during the Korean War
Hellcat in action, at a road junction in France. The turret is aimed to the right and the Browning has been dismounted. Otherwise the street appears to be empty, so might this be a posed shot
Hellcats off to war. Note that these two also carry a.50 calibre browning at the back of the turret

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the tank destroyer, virtually every nation had them. The British classed them as self-propelled anti-tank guns and formed them into batteries of anti-tank regiments of the Royal Artillery. To the Germans they were tank hunters and served with tank hunter detachments attached to infantry and armoured divisions.

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