Friday, 10 March 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm 1944 US Armoured Division - 1st Tank Battalion (75mm Shermans from ESCİ)

A M4 Sherman battalion joins the general advance of its Armoured Division started last week with the TD battalion.

I made this battalion around six nice Esci M4A1 I had for years. After building them I just added a few more Sherman from Airfix, Frontline Wargaming and Altaya, three Stuarts and a 81mm HT from Hasegawa to fill the unit. All medium tanks are 75mm gun equipped as I have other units armed with 76mm guns but as these last ones only arrived to the Normandy front in middle July they remain separated in the shelves. 76mm Shermans started to be included slowly from July 44 on and ended being the majority in many units only by the end of the war.

I still need to find some recovery vehicles. Probably I will use the hull of the Lee/Grant from Airfix or Hasegawa.

The Esci Shermans had their side skirts removed and plates of armour were glued to the sides for the protection of the ammunition (Plastic EverGreen  of course). Then the usual different figures and stowage were also used.

The closer Sherman is the old and useful one from Airfix with extra crew, side armour and Browning HMG. Most of the US armoured battalions were receiving other Sherman models as replacements. This one still sports the old M1 mantlet. The Shermans to the back (M4A1 and M4A3) are both Frontline Wargaming with the usual add-ons.

Somewhere I read that the Esci model of the M4A1 had some flaws particularly in the rear part. Fortunately the US tank crews had plenty of stowage attached to the rear and whatever flaws there were they now remain well hidden. Most of the stowage I use is my own plastic EverGreen boxes and bedrolls and backpacks are made out of plummer's two component paste and GreenStuff.

The Command Sherman (Esci again) with plenty of crew to be easily recognized on the table... sorry, shelve, and with Fujimi armour on the turret. The M4 Half Track with 81mm mortar is Hasegawa and the Sherman 105mm is an Altaya Die-cast.

This one with a too big turret is Fujimi. It has a hull close to 1/76th scale and a much bigger turret. With such a big head it will go to college for sure !!!

The last two pictures are pure nostalgia from the times the M5 were non existant in plastic and very expensive in resin. Many years ago I 'curved' the square lines of a few Hasegawa Stuarts with Milliput and changed the place of headlights and such for them to look like the later M5. This one also has a scratchbuilt Cullin Hedgerow device. Pretty hugly things but remind me when I was young...

Then some pieces of home made bush to hide the flaws and here they are after probably some 30 years of faithful service trying to kick Jerry out of Normandy!

Next: artillery.