Sherman T10 Mine Exploder (M4A2 T10) - under construction

Tankers!!!
      Back to my bench!
      Let's meet a rare girl: the Sherman M4A2 - T10 Mine Exploder (M4A2 T10).

History:
      Land mines are explosive apparatus installed concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or cripple enemy targets ( animals, men,vehicles or tanks...), as they pass over or near them. They typically explode automatically by pressure when a target walk or drive on them, although other detonation triggers are also sometimes used. 
      The land mines may cause damage by direct blast effect, by shrapnel or by both. To increase their effectiveness, landmines (personal and/or anti-tank) are generally installed in large numbers in an area called minefield. In military science, minefields are considered a defensive or desabling weapon, used to slow the enemy advance, to interdict certain terrain to the enemy, to direct the enemy into kill zones, or to reduce the morale, affecting randomly equipment and personnel. In some battles during World War II, anti-tank mines accounted for half of all vehicles disabled.
      Since combat engineers with mine-clearing equipment can clear a path through a minefield relatively quickly, mines are usually considered effective only if covered by fire.
German minefield
      During the planning for D-day, a rapid means of clearing the extensive minefields expected in Normandy was considered essential for the success of the Invasion. As for the other types of specialized armor, the development of such equipment and its associated tactical doctrine was assigned by the British to their 79th Armoured Division. 
       One early mine clearing device was the rotary flail consisting of a cylindrical rotor with chains attached. When rotated, the chains beat the ground ahead of the vehicle in the hope of detonating any mines at a safe distance. The early flails (Scorpion devices) fitted to the British tanks Matilda and Valentine were unreliable, but they were improved with further development. The Sherman Crab can be considered the apex of this development.
Matilda Scorpion mine flail tank

Valentine Scorpion mine flail tank prototype
Sherman Crab mine flail tank
      In United States, the early work of the Ordnance Department on mechanical exploders concentrated on roller type equipment. The first of these was the mine exploder TI fitted to the M3 medium tank. It consisted of two large rollers pushed in front of the tank with one ahead of each track. Each roller was assembled from four heavy steel discs 1 meter in diameter spaced apart on a central shaft. A third roller of five such discs was towed at the center rear of the tank to give complete path coverage. 
TI mine exploder fitted to the M3 tank

TI mine exploder fitted to the M3 tank - side view
American Mine Exploders/Excavator "T" series:
  • Mine Exploder T1E1 (Earthworm): Disks made of armor plate. Saw limited use. 
  • Mine Exploder T1E2: Disc roller being reduced to 2 forward units each with 7 discs. Experimental only.
  • Mine Exploder T1E3 (M1) "Aunt Jemima": Two roller units each of 5 10' steel discs. 75 built. Used in Normandy and Italy. Most widely used mine exploder. Sometimes a 2nd tank was used to push it.
  • Mine Exploder T1E4: Developed in 1944 with 16 discs pushed in front.
  • Mine Exploder T1E5: Developed in July 1944 based on T1E3 but with smaller wheels. Experimental only.
  • Mine Exploder T1E6: As T1E3 but with serrated edges to discs. Experimental only.
  • Mine Exploder T2E1: Similar to T2 used on M3. Developed for US Marine Corps. For use with Tank Recovery Vehicle M32 utilizing the boom. Proved impractical and abandoned in Oct 1944.
  • Mine Exploder T2 Flail: American designation for British Crab I equipment. Small number used by US Army in NW Europe.
  • Mine Exploder T3: Based on British Scorpion. Proved unsatisfactory and development stopped in 1943.
  • Mine Exploder T3E1: T3 rebuilt with longer arms and sand filled rotor. Proved unsatisfactory and cancelled.
  • Mine Exploder T3E2: T3E1 with rotor replaced by steel drum of larger diameter. Terminated at wars end.
  • Mine Exploder T4: British Crab II.
  • Mine Excavator T4: Plough device developed in 1942. Impractical and was abandoned.
  • Mine Excavator T5: Like T4 but plough was v shaped. Modified version of this was designated T5E1.
  • Mine Excavator T2E2: Late 1943 was modified T5E1 with arms and hydraulic lift gear from the M1 dozer so plough could be raised or lowered.
  • Mine Excavator T6: Design based on v shaped plough. Unsatisfactory due to inability to control depth.
  • Mine Excavator T5E3: Angled plough was mounted on front of M1 dozer assembly.
  • Mine Exploder T7: Late 1943, consisted of frame carrying small rollers each made of 2 discs. Unsatisfactory and abandoned.
  • Mine Exploder T8: Steel plungers carried on a pivoted frame. Beat up and down on the ground as vehicle moved forward. Steering was adversely affect. "Johnnie Walker"
  • Mine Exploder T9: Six foot roller. Difficult to maneuver.
  • Mine Exploder T9E1: Lighter T9 but unsatisfactory as sometimes failed to explode mines.
  • Mine Exploder T10: Remote controlled mine exploder vehicle based in M4A2 chassis with a tricycle unit placed under tank and controlled by following tank. Unwieldy and cancelled.
  • Mine Exploder T11: With 6 mortars to fire forward. Experimental only.
  • Mine Exploder T12: 23 mortars. Proved effective but was cancelled.
  • Mine Exploder T14: M4 tank with added belly armor and heavy duty tracks. Cancelled at war end.
The Sherman T10 Mine Exploder:

      In the beginning of 1944, the NDRC (National Defense Research Committee) designed a self-propelled mine exploder using two large (244cm in diameter) power driven wheels  mounted on a common shaft, that was to be wire-guided from an armored vehicle following in the cleared path.            Heavy steel discs were loosely mounted on the shaft allowing articulation when moving over rough ground. Thus they would explode any mines between the two wheels. A long trail extended behind the exploder assembly to a third wheel in the rear. Referred to as the Tricycle, plans called for the installation of an engine in each large wheel. Tests were run at Aberdeen in late 1943 using just the wheel and trail assembly without the engines or the loose center discs.

     The exploder proved effective, but an operational perspective, field-changing an expendable wheel would be much easier, faster, and less expensive than replacing a far more complex self-powered wheel. This unorthodox complication was fortunately dropped in favor of a more practical approach when the Tricycle concept evolved into the T10 Mine Exploder. Prototyped by the Fisher Body Division of General Motors in Grand Blanc, M1, the pilot vehicle was an adaptation of the Sherman M4A2 large hatch/ high bustle turret.
font: http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia

font: http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia
      The tank body was stripped of its tracks and running gear so that its front-mounted differential could be coupled (through a projecting pinion gear) to the oversize slotted wheels. The M4A2 high bustle turret with its 75mm gun was operationally retained, though presumably of no tactical use when the vehicle was remotely operated.
M4A2 T10 mine exploder - side view
M4A2 T10 under transport with normal VVSS suspensions
Notice the mine exploder wheel in the rear (red arrow)
font: http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia
     The tank armor was cut back at the front of the sponsons and the rear floor thickness was increased to 25mm.
M4A2 T10 under transport with normal suspensions - rear view
Notice the high bustle turret (green arrow) and rear wheel  T10 support (red arrow)
font: http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia
      Two 2.438mm diameter rollers were mounted at the front of the tank driven by additional gearing from the final drive. Each of the front rollers was 93cm wide and the gap between them was covered by a 1.828mm diameter double roller trailing at the rear of the tank. This arrangement moved the bottom of the hull up to 1.410mm above the ground. A path 3.810mm wide was covered and the overall weight was 52.800Kg. The T10 moved at 3,2 Km/h when exploding mines and could reach a maximum of 11 Km/h on roads.
      Several types of wheels and various accessories were tested ... In the initial tests, the wheels accumulated mud in the void spaces between them, preventing them from penetrating the ground, reducing their effectiveness of mine mines:
T10 "early version: Notice the absence of the "cleaning stars" acting on the rear wheels gaps.
The mud turns the discs into a large cylindrical wheel.
The front wheels shows transverse claws to increase traction, but the mud fills everything...
Compare a photo above with an improved version below

T10 "late version" - Rear left view - Notice the "stars" which removed the mud
from the spaces between the wheels ...

T10 "late version" - Rear right view

T10 "late version" - Notice the "stars" which removed the mud from the spaces between the wheels ...
      Tested at Aberdeen in May-June 1944, the T10 was considered unsatisfactory. Captain Merritt D. Elliott reported "The vehicle, to date, has not been too successful due to the fact that only the front two rollers are powered, and the rolling resistance of the rear roller, which is unpowered, tends to cause the vehicle to get stuck." Perhaps with his tongue in cheek regarding the outlandish appearance of the tank, Elliott wrote, "From all indications, it seems the Ordnance Department is making any and every kind of device to remove mines."

      Even if the usual development problems had been solved, its great weight and slow speed would have limited its value in combat.

Specs:
M4A2 T10 Mine Exploder
Type
Mine exploder tank
Place of origin                                                                                                  
USA 
Service history
In service
prototype (1944) 
War
World War II
Production history
Designed
1940
Manufacturer
Fisher Body- Division of General Motors
No. built
1
Specifications
Weight
52.800 Kg
Length
8,74 m 
Width
3,81 m
Height
Ground clareance
3,58 m
1.410mm
Crew
remoted controled or 5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver)

Armor
93 mm (3.7 in) effective against 7.5 cm APCBC with cast glacis
118 mm (4.6 in) effective against 7.5 cm APCBC with 47° RHA glacis
Main armament
75 mm M3 L/40 gun (90 rounds)
Sec. armament
.50 cal Browning M2HB machine gun (300 rounds),
2×.30-06 Browning M1919A4machine guns (4,750 rounds)
Engine
G.M. 6046 twin inline diesel; 375 hp @ 2,100 rpm
Power/weight
6,6 hp  / metric ton
Suspension

Fuel capacity
2 front wheels and 1 rear wheel
560 liters
Operational range
241 km at 560 L; Diesel
Speed
11 km/h 

The kits:
      For this project, I'll use the Sherman T10 Mine Exploder from Bolddivision ...
Bolddivision box kit
a very strong cardbox
      The Bolddivision recommends using a Tamiya M4A3 (#35250) as a kit donor parts, but I will use an M4A2 Sherman US Marines from Academy (#13203).
Academy's M4A2 Sherman US Marines (#13203)
      As the original vehicle was derived from a late M4A2, I will follow the Fisher Arsenal specifications !!
      Resin parts are finely cast and there are still laser cut styrene parts. All nicely packaged in a thermo-nuclear explosion proof box ... 185 parts in total... No PE or decals.
All parts in styrene plastic and resin

In my workbench...

      The instruction booklet is 4 sheets of A4 paper with spartan instructions in German and English, with 10 steps. The strange thing is that the instructions "end" before the kit is finished. There is no drawing showing the positioning of the chassis with the upper hull ... Odd ...






      Well...Let's start...
Stay tunned!!

Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 - case report

Achtung!! Taifun!!!
      Let's look at some vehicles that were built to deal with the growing air threat on the battlefields. We can see these girls as the forerunners of today's modern self-propelled antiaircraft systems. Let's talk about the Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7 cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3...  I built these girls a long time ago... Sorry by the pics...

History:
      The 3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) (Sd.Kfz. 161/3), nicknamed Möbelwagen ("Moving Van") because of its boxy shape, was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun built from the chassis of the Panzer IV tank. It was used by the Wehrmacht in the European Theatre of World War II.
3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Pz.Kpfw IV (sf) (Sd.Kfz. 161/3) Möbelwagen - late
Note the armored plates with flat profile - late version
      In 1943, due to the waning ability of the Luftwaffe to combat enemy ground-attack aircraft, ground-based anti-aircraft weaponry was becoming increasingly important to the Wehrmacht. After many experiments with the installation of anti-aircraft guns of various calibers on the existing chassi tanks, the High German Command decided to use the Pz.Kpfw.IV. In early 1943, Krupp developed a simple and technological version of the AA tank with four 20mm automatic anti-aircraft guns. The machine received the designation of 2cm Flakvierling auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV .

  
      The prototype displayed to Hitler on December 7, 1943, used the 2,0cm Flakvierling 38, which was deemed too weak for the latest aircraft, which were constantly being improved to fly higher and faster. Only a single prototype with this gun was produced before the design was rejected. 
 2cm Flakvierling auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV prototype
with the shields lowered
      A second design with an upgraded single 3.7cm Flak 43 L/89 was approved as a temporary stopgap until better Flakpanzers could be created. 240 Möbelwagens were built, and the first production models were put into service on the Western Front in April 1944.
3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV - early
Note the armored plates with bevelled edge - early version
      The Möbelwagen was built on Panzer IV chassis that had been damaged on the Eastern Front and returned to the factory for repair. These were fitted with an open-top superstructure that provided the gun mount. Around this, four hinged 20mm armored plates were placed. These plates had two operating positions: they could be lowered for full 360 degree traverse, allowing flat or low-level firing...
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7 cm - early
Arnor plates full lowered position
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7 cm - late
Arnor plates full lowered position
... or they could be half-closed, being pinned together to hang slightly open. In this position, they had notches that allowed the gun full rotation, but only for firing at airborne targets.
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm
Arnor plates in half-closed position
    Still, both of these positions left the crew extremely exposed and vulnerable. The fully closed position was only used for transport or transit, when the plates would give the crew some protection from small arms fire and shrapnel.
Two Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm
Arnor plates in closed position -  transit condition
Notice the 
different types of exhausts...
Brand new Möbelwagens (early), on factory yards, awaiting transportation
Arnor plates in closed position -  transport condition

Brand new Möbelwagens (early), on factory yards, awaiting transportation
Arnor plates in closed position -  transport condition
      Though the Möbelwagen was intended to be a stopgap, it served the anti-aircraft platoons of the Panzer Divisions on the Western Front. Only 240 were produced, and it was eventually succeeded by the first true Flakpanzers: Wirbelwind and Ostwind, both of which provided the crew with improved armored protection and full rotation when firing at either ground or air targets.
Flakpanzer IV "Wirbelwind" - 4 x 2,0cm Flakvierling 38

Flakpanzer IV "Ostwind" - 1 x 3.7cm Flak 43 L/89
      The assembly of the first 20 self-propelled guns began in March and already on April 7, 1944 they were shipped to the troops. In most cases, the Möbelwagen came into service with the air defense platoons (Flugabwehrzug) of tank divisions deployed on the Western Front. After the completion of the training period and a brief lull, on July 15 the "Möbelwagen" entered in battle operations, just in time to help repel allied air attacks in Normandy.
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm
France, Normandy - 1944.
      In total, 240 (according to other data 250) self-propelled units Möbelwagen were built. 
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm - late
Musée Saumur - under restoration
Specs:

Flakpanzer IV "Möbelwagen"
TypeSelf-propelled anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin                      Nazi Germany
Production history
ManufacturerDeutsche Eisenwerke
ProducedMarch 1944 — March 1945
No. built240
Specifications
Weight24 tonnes
Length5.92 m 
Width2.95 m
Height2.73 m
Crew6

Armor10 - 80 mm
Main
armament
1 × 3.7 cm Flak 43 L/89
416 rounds
Secondary
armament
1 × 7.92mm MG 34
600 rounds
Engine12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM - 300 hp
Power/weight  12.5 PS/tonne
SuspensionLeaf spring
Operational range
200 km
Speed38 km/h

The kits:
     I had in my catacombs two completely different kits of these vehicles: The Tamiya Kit Nr. 35237 (1999) Möbelwagen Sd.Kfz.161/3 - 3,7cm Flak auf Fgst Pz.Kpfw.IV (Sf)...
Tamiya box art

... and the CMK  kit Nr. 35008 (1997) Flakpanzer IV "Mobelwagen" 3,7cm Flak.
CMK box art
       The two kits were completely different from each other: The Tamiya kit was a simple, clean kit, characteristically Tamiya. Already the CMK was a blend of an old Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind Tamiya  (#MM185) (1976) hull / suspension with a superstructure and a 37mm cannon injected into a different (gray) plastic. The CMK kit also featured an excellent photo-etched sheet, but even with this accessory, the Tamiya kit was significantly better injected and finished. The two kits represent the late-type Möbelwagens, that is, with flat edge shields.
      I regret today that I did not downgrade one of them to early version, but the idea was to build two different models because most of them were built with severe damaged tank. In general, they did not present a standardization in their details. When I built these girls, I cared about making a vehicle different from the other, only. And that's what you'll see in the next steps.
The sturdy CMK kit box...

The CMK kit was multimedia: casted metal parts, but with poor castings..

The amazing PE sheet

The "new" gray plastic parts...  Hmmm ...poor injection

Starting by the wheels. Two "Tamiya" buildings steps...


      See the pic below: The Tamiya kit is in background and CMK in foreground. The Tamiya's show a different and late Pz IV exhaust while the CMK one the early type, with field modification... Notice the idler wheel from my spare parts box in the CMK kit...
The Tamiya in background and CMK in foreground
scratch in the CMK kit...
       The CMK shovels are horrible... Time to surgery
some metal work...

Tools in CMK kit: a discret upgrade...
       Comparing the plastic part of the tamiya with the metal ones I had to do for the CMK kit... As the metal ones got much better, it replaces the plastic ones of the kit Tamiya, also ...
The casted white metal parts was awful: changing by cooper wire...
       The Tamiya hull (late Pz IV hull) I built in half-closed position... Ready for action.
Tamiya kit with new metal hooks.
(37mm gun barrel - replacement- in portuguese)
Metal hooks: much better!!

sins in Tamiya injection...

The Tamiya's 37mm gun is very well injected!!

Tamiya 37mm gun: right side.
       The CMK kit was very crude. Much more work in this girl...
1- cooper wire details; 2- closing gaps with plasticard; 3- PE parts

The CMK gun was much less detailed and poor than Tamiya's.
This was one of the reasons I chose the transport closed-position for this version.

1- metal in scratch; 2- spare part from Tamiya kit



subtitles for portuguese: scratch: wire+bijoux ; 37mm Tamiya barrel

Indeed, the CMK kit was a nightmare!!!


The two late girls: The work in the Tamiya kit was more easier!!

front view

rear view: notice the exhausts...

scratch, PE CMK; spring of the fender; Tamiya idler wheel in the CMK kit.
      The CMK kit did not have the collector frame of fired capsules of the 37mm gun, such as the Tamiya kit. I used the Tamiya parts as a template for making parts for the CMK kit

Starting the puzzle...

Tamiya as template for the metal work...

almost there...

Done!!!

chicken wire made of  nylon veil, glued with CA glue.

The Tamiya shield gun in position. 

the collector rack in position


The Tamiya girl in closed view

The Tamiya collector rack...

Ready for primer!!

Yellows!!  Notice the KV-1C Beutepanzer in the left...
I love buildings in parallel!!

Cammo time!!  Stripes and Banners !!!

Decals...



Again, Otto in position...

KV-1C Beutepanzer and Möbelwagens in my (old) workbench...
Enamel times!!!
       And the girls was ready: 3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagens - unknow unit - France, Normandy - 1944.
3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagens
unknow unit - France, Normandy - 1944

3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagen
transport/transit position








3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagen
half-closed fire position








3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagen
with Otto, the German engineer...

Has anyone seen a Typhoon around ???

3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagens
unknow unit - France, Normandy - 1944.
    Well, Gentlemen ... This double building was quite old, with old-school techniques and alternative materials. It's like a time travel to me ... 
      But it was a really great time, too. And that is what is important in our hobby: pleasure and fun !!!
See you, soon!!