M10 Wolverine file photo [6248]

M10 Wolverine

CountryUnited States
Primary RoleTank Destroyer


ww2dbaseThe German Army doctrine of concentrating tanks to rapidly penetrate enemy defensive lines led to the US Army's request for a new weapon dedicated to counter such offensives. In Jun 1942, prototype tank destroyer T35E1 was finalized into the 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage M10 and was ordered into full production. A variant design was developed for British use, which was designated as (Gun) 3 inch Self Propelled Wolverine by the British Army. They were built upon the M4 Sherman medium tank chassis and had open-topped turrets, and the 3-inch M7 guns were rated to penetrate 3 inches of armor at the distance of 1,000 yards at 30 degrees from vertical. Some of the British Wolverine vehicles were later upgraded with Ordnance QF 17 pounder Mark V guns (and redesignated 17pdr SP Achilles), which improved armor penetration capabilities. M10 tank destroyers first saw action in 1943 in Tunisia, where their guns could penetrate the armor of any Axis armored vehicle in North Africa. It was not until the Normandy campaign in mid-1944 when they began encountering tanks, namely Tiger and Panther tanks, which were immune to the 3-inch and 17-pounder guns. Additionally, by this time the US Army generals were beginning to see that the massed tank assaults that they studied in 1940 which led to the M10 design no longer took place with significant frequency, thus concentrating numbers of M10 tank destroyers in the rear to counter possible enemy tank assaults was actually not effective. Thus, some M10 tank destroyers began to be assigned to front line infantry units for use as infantry support guns, sometimes fighting alongside their successors 90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36. A number of them were also used in the Pacific War where crews reported that the open-top design made them vulnerable to tactics employed by Japanese troops, which brought the enemy much closer to the vehicles. Another complaint, made by M10 crews in all theaters, was that the unpowered turrets required hand cranks to turn, which was very slow especially in combat conditions.

ww2dbaseAbout 54 M10 tank destroyers made their way to the Soviet Union during the war, while a few of them were also used by the Free French. After the war in 1949, 17 (1 prototype and 16 production) M10 tank destroyers without working guns, with thicker armor, and each with an additional bow gun port were sold to the Republic of China; the Chinese troops equipped them with captured Japanese 150-millimeter infantry howitzers just prior to withdrawing to Taiwan.

Steven Zaloga, M10 Tank Destroyer vs. StuG III Assault Gun

Last Major Revision: Mar 2010


MachineryOne General Motors 6046 Twin Diesel 6-71 engine rated at 375hp
SuspensionVertical Volute Spring Suspension
Armament1x3in (76.2mm) Gun M7 (54 rounds), 1x12.7mm .50cal Browning M2HB machine gun
Armor57mm gun shield, 25mm turret, 38mm glacis, 51mm bow, 19mm upper hull side, 19mm upper hull rear, 25mm lower hull rear
Length6.83 m
Width3.05 m
Height2.57 m
Weight29.6 t
Speed51 km/h
Range300 km


M10 tank destroyer on a training maneuver in the United States, Mar 1943M10 tank destroyer under construction in a General Motors factory in the United States, Mar 1943An US Army soldier practicing throwing a grenade from a foxhole toward a M10 tank destroyer, Camp Carson, Colorado, United States, 24 Apr 1943American tank destroyers at the Colosseum, Rome, Italy, Jun 1944
See all 13 photographs of M10 Wolverine Tank Destroyer

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
31 Oct 2009 11:15:22 AM

The M-10 Wolverine first saw service,at the end of 1942 in North Africa. It was armed with the 3 inch M-7 cannon and the .50 cal machine gun. Many were supplied to the British and Free French Forces, the main weakness, of most U.S. tank destroyers, was the open turret, that left the crew exposed to enemy fire and air attack, so armored roofs were often improvised in the field.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
31 Oct 2009 12:22:24 PM

Another U.S. tank destroyer was the M-18 Hellcat,this vehicle had the fastest top speed of any tank destroyer over 50 mph on the road and 25 mph cross-country. The Hellcat used the tactic of shoot & scoot the vehicle was fast enough to get into a firing position,or break-off when necessary and fall back to another position. M-18 units achieved astonishing numbers of tank and other armored vehicle kills. During one battle, the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion reported knocking out 53 Tigers, Panthers and 15 StuG III Assault Guns, with a loss of 17 M-18's. Total production was 2,507 unlike other tank destroyers, the M-18 was powered by a 9-cylinder radial engine. At the end of W.W.II,all tank destroyer units were disbanded. During the post-war years, the U.S. Army continued to use the vehicle in lmited roles. Surplus M-18's were given or sold to Allied or Neutral States. Yugoslavia kept them into the 1990's, the Serb Army used them during the Yugoslav Wars. During W.W.II,my late Uncle Raymond De Nomie served in tank destroyers. I have a patch he gave me, a Black Panther bitting into a tank He would talk little about his experiences during the war, he passed away in 1975. When I told him, I was going to Vietnam in 1967, I could see the tears in his eyes, but he kept his composure, he gave me a hug and a handshake,"And told me to be careful" what more could he say. After my second tour, and discharge in 1970 I wore my uniform stopping to visit, on my way home. I could see a look of pride in his eyes looking at the eight ribbions, for medals won for service,made Sergeant. My two tours of service in Vietnam,showed after all that I had become,an experienced and capable soldier, who like my Uncle saw war, and it would forever be apart of him.

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M10 Wolverine Tank Destroyer Photo Gallery
M10 tank destroyer on a training maneuver in the United States, Mar 1943
See all 13 photographs of M10 Wolverine Tank Destroyer

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