By the middle of the war the US Army could field legions of tanks and support vehicles, backed by the industrial might of the USA. Using their reliable M3 Half-track as a basis, they created the M21, a mobile mortar carrier that could keep up with advancing tanks and armoured infantry.This useful vehicle carried the simple but effective 81mm mortar, with 97 ready-use rounds, and crewed by a team of six men.
The M10’s M7 3-inch (76.2mm) anti-tank gun was a considerable improvement over the 75mm carried by the Sherman. The M10’s relatively thin 37mm of armour (and open-topped five-sided welded turret) on the other hand made it vulnerable to anti-tank weapons, so its main role became defensive, often firing from concealed positions.
The Sherman Tank was the main stay of the American army. The Break out from the Normandy beaches and the bocage could never been achieved without the armoured support. Although they had their weaknesses their impressive adaptability, firepower and large production numbers enabled the Allies to over power the Germans.
The M8 Greyhound was originally designed to replace the US military’s portee gun in an anti-tank role, but was quickly repurposed once it was realised that its performance against German armour was lacking. It found use as a popular and successful armoured car that served American and British armies well throughout the war.
The Hellcat’s prodigious speed was attained by keeping it’s armour to no more than 1″ thick. Hellcat crews quickly took advantage of the vehicle’s speed to minimise the enemy’s ability to pierce its thin armour. Hellcats used their speed to outflank and penetrate the side and back of the heavily armoured German Tiger and Panther tanks.
During 1942, the British Army decided to keep their Stuarts away from tank-versus-tank combat and instead use them for reconnaissance. A number of Stuart variations arose, including the Stuart Recce, the Stuart Kangaroo and the Stuart Command. Making a conversion of these is easy with the new plastic Stuart. The Recce had the turret removed in order to achieve an improved speed and range, while the Kangaroo had been converted into an armoured personnel carrier.
Based on the ubiquitous M5 Stuart light tank hull, the M8 75mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (HMC) provided much needed mobile artillery support to US assault forces. Replacing the M5 Stuart turret with a more spacious open-topped turret to house a short-barrelled M2 (and later the M3) 75mm howitzer and a mix of smoke and high explosive ammunition. A pintle-mounted .50 Cal heavy machine gun provided additional defensive firepower.