The M10 had a crew of five and a top speed of about 48.2 km/h. It was powered by a water cooled, 375 hp, GMC 6046 twin diesel 6-71 engine with a 620-liter carrying capacity for fuel. The transmission was a 5 speed forward and 1 speed backward type while operational range was limited to around 322 kilometers on roadways. Being based on the M4 Sherman, spare parts were generally easy to acquire and repair was straightforward. The M10 was around six meters long and weighed 29,937 kilograms.
For crew protection, the M10 generally had armor plating ranging in thickness from 20 to 25 millimeters in the front and sides of the hull. The gun mantlet meanwhile had up to 50 millimeters of armor, though this was hardly enough to protect against much. In general, the M10's armor was designed to protect against small arms fire and possibly larger caliber fire if the situation required it. The M10 after all was not intended to be an infantry support vehicle, but instead a vehicle that would support larger armored forces by quickly defeating enemy armor and removing itself from combat. However, in practice, the M10 ended up fulfilling both roles. It was also notable that the open turret made the gun crew vulnerable to grenades, shrapnel, and the effects of the weather.
For armament, the M10 used a single 76.2mm M7 gun to engage armor and a 12.7 mm Browning M2HB for defense against low-flying aircraft, infantry, and light vehicles. Notably, the M10 lacked a hull-mounted Browning M1919A3 machine gun despite using the same chassis as the M4A2 Sherman.
The M10A1 was the first and primary American variant of the M10 and differed by using an M4A3 Sherman chassis as its base. This also made the vehicle about 907 kilograms lighter than the original and propulsion was now provided by a 500 hp, gasoline-powered, Ford GAA engine. The M10A1 was also fitted with additional armor in its rear and carried an additional 100 liters of fuel for added range. The Achilles self-propelled gun was a British modified M10. They mounted the Ordnance QF 17-pounder as a main gun. They fought alongside American M10s in Europe.
American tank destroyer doctrine placed a great deal of emphasis upon armament and mobility in its vehicles. To satisfy this requirement, it was only natural to US Army leaders that a mechanically easy-to-fix chassis such as that of the M4 Sherman be chosen as the base for a future tank destroyer. It was expected that American tank destroyers would need their mobility to keep up with and effectively engage German armor during Blitzkrieg assaults.
Being rushed by the increasing urgency of the US Army's request for a more powerful tank destroyer, the first prototype of the M10, the 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage T35 was produced. Eventually, the T35 was further refined into the T35E1 which introduced the pentagonal turret design and was based on the M4A2 Sherman chassis. To generate a smaller silhouette, the T35E1 also had thinner, but sloped side armor. Through a final overview, the end design of the M10 Tank Destroyer was created and accepted for service in September 1942.
The M10 was put into production immediately after being accepted in September 1942 with the M10A1 starting production a month later in October. The M10 was first brought into service in North Africa where it faced Italian and German tanks for the first time. It did respectively well, earning its place among the American tank destroyers and replacing the earlier M3 Half-Track conversion. From North Africa, the M10 and its variants served throughout Europe and even to a far lesser degree in the Pacific Theater on Kwajalein, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima.
Notably, in the Battle of the Bulge, several Panzer V Panthers were dressed up to look like M10 tank destroyers in a deception campaign demonstrating how common the M10s were. In an effort to up-gun the M10, the last 300 examples produced were fitted with the 76mm M1 gun, the same used on 76mm Shermans and the M18 Hellcat. Armor penetration was improved marginally, though there were relatively few German tanks left to actually fight. In efforts to protect themselves, turret crews also sometimes improvised makeshift turret coverings or roofs out of scrap metal salvaged from other armored vehicles. In total, around 5,000 examples were produced during the war, though M10s were still used far after the conflict in countries such as China.
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