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Posted (edited)

Hello everybody... Im posting an M3a1 Lee. A type that my Grandfather trained on. The Tank i will build is from the Armored Fighting School at Ft.Knox Kentucky in 1942. I have a familial connection to these tanks. My Grandfather, this photo is from his wedding day. 

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He trained in them in 1941-42. He was originally part of the 4th Armored Division Headquarters company, under Creighton Abrams.

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I did not build his specific tank, at least im not sure i did. Currently i have no records of serial #’s to go by. However the tank i am building was used at the school he was stationed at, during the same time period. Theres room for hope that he was in this vehicle at some point. He ultimately went on to serve in the Pacific with the 706th Tank Battalion in 44-45.

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      The model i used is Takoms Excellent cast hulled M3a1 Lee. 

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The WIP from the Trainers group build. Ironically i realized after the fact. That i started the build just two days, after what would have been his 100th birthday.

Questions, comments, jokes, or good stories ? 

 

Dennis

Edited by Corsairfoxfouruncle

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Looks fantastic Dennis, a nice tribute.

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That's a fantastic looking Lee, Dennis, and a fitting tribute to your Grandad.

 

Andy:cat:

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Great looking Lee, Dennis. Grandpa would have been proud.

 

John.

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Great build! That's a fantastic tribute to your Granddad!

 

Have a nice day!

Nick

 

 

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Neat work Dennis

 

My main suggestion is some shots against a more flattering background than your paint rack! 

 

cheers

T

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Great, a fantastic tribute.

Cheers

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Very convincing result Dennis, if would look fantastic on a little base or dio.

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Posted (edited)

:clap2:Wonderful model and tribute, well done sir. I have a question, why did they only use the cast Lee for training?Surely cast armour is better than riveted armour?

mohawk

Edited by Mohawk

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4 hours ago, Gorby said:

Very convincing result Dennis, if would look fantastic on a little base or dio.

He drove a total of four types between 41 & 45. The M3, M3a1 Lee’s, the M4 and the M4(105). Once the last of the four which will be the M4(105) are built. I will make a base to display all of them Chronologically. 

53 minutes ago, Mohawk said:

why did they only use the cast Lee for training?Surely cast armour is better than riveted armour?

Truthfully I'm not 100% sure. I believe that the cast hulls were later off the assembly lines than the riveted hulls. The British had already been issued riveted hulled Grants. The British found them to be a poor match for German tanks. I think also this is why the very earliest M4’s were diverted to the British in North Africa. The U.S.Army needed to see if they were better suited to fight the Germans.

     In the end only the riveted hulls seemed to find there way into combat. The cast hulled M3a1’s did eventually wind up as Channel Defense Light Tanks in Panama. On the other side of the coin the M3 Lee’s fought to the end of the war in the CBI Theater as tanks. As well as in Europe as M31 Armored recovery/engineer vehicles.  

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Hi Dennis.

Lovely to see the photos of your Grandad, and associated regalia, especially the 'Blazonry'

Your Lee is fantastic, and will look even better on a base, and what with the model, the WIPs and the RFI's.... a fine tribute indeed. 

 

 

Rearguards,

Badder

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Hi Dennis. Great looking M3a1 and lovely tribute to your Grandfather.

Kind regards,

Stix

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The A1s were indeed only used for training.  I believe the cast shape significantly reduced interior space compared to the fabricated hull and they were not considered combat-worthy as a result - depite being ballistically better.  Some M3A1-based CDLs, or Shop Tractors as the US called them, were deployed operationally.  I'm thinking that all US CDLs were on A1s, where the drawbacks mattered less.

 

28 of them were fitted with the Guiberson radial diesel engine, but this proved insifficiently reliable - although powerful and torquey - and the remaining 100 or so engines were stored and disappeared.  That was the end of the single-row radial diesel idea, although it later came back with the double-row 14-cyl radial diesel in the short-run M4A6.  I've been unable to determine if the diesel versions were any different externally (noting that the production diesel M3s with the GM engines had differences at the rear), but the radial-engined M3 and M4 variants were originally supposed to be able to take either engine so it seems unlikely.

 

Casting was very much slower to manufacture as the castings had to be face-hardened for days at several hundred degrees in an oven packed with charcoal around the outside and sand within.  And there were not enough foundries able to produce such large castings.  The M4 was intended to be fully cast-hulled but ran into the same problem and the fabricated-hull versions eventually became by far the majority as the parts could be manufactured more quickly by a much wider supply base.

 

If your Grandpa trained on the A1, he presumably served operationally on other variants of the M3 and/or M4.  If you have that history it would be nice to cover all the types he served in.

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9 minutes ago, Das Abteilung said:

If your Grandpa trained on the A1, he presumably served operationally on other variants of the M3 and/or M4.  If you have that history it would be nice to cover all the types he served in.

He drove the Lee’s (M3 & M3a1) in training. Then went onto the M4 as his standard ride until 1945. In ‘45 his unit also operated M4 assault guns as the unit history calls them. From the records I've been able to dig up records showing that the “M4 assault gun” is the M4(105). His unit operated these not as self propelled artillery, but as Bunker busters. These were used during the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa campaigns. Ive built his M3, M3a1, and M4. Next and last will be the M4(105). 

 

Dennis

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Nice work. It's always nice to see a connection & some history with a build, a family connection is even better.

 

Pete

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It would be nice to complete the set.

 

M4 "Assault Gun" would be the 105mm.  Ideal for dealing with bunkers with the heavier shell.  Used only on Okinawa and in the Philippines, in relatively small numbers.  There were 105mm versions of both the M4 and the M4A3, and both came in VVSS and HVSS configurations.  But IIRC only M4(105)s went to PTO, with both suspension types: no A3(105)s. 

 

There's a selection of assorted 105mm versions from Academy, Dragon, and Tamiya.  But only Dragon offer the M4(105) you most likely want: the rest are all A3s.  That Dragon kit remains stubbornly expensive.  The Tamiya kit is generally regarded as being poor and the worst of the bunch, but IIRC is the only VVSS A3 105 show in town OOB.  There has been much debate as to whether any of them accurately capture the 105mm turret, especially the mantlet.  TMD do replacement 105mm turret parts.

 

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Yes the Dragon is the one i was aiming for. I know its oop currently so i need to keep an lookout for one at swap-meets, ebay, and here if someone puts one up for sale. Its definitely the M4 with the VVSS suspension. My grandfather never even knew the M4a3 existed i showed him photo’s when he was alive, he showed me the various types he was familiar with. He also told me that his tanks always had the “airplane” engine it. Which nails it down to radial engined versions of the Sherman. Though that may only be for his standard Shermans. His primary training was as a Tank mechanic and his secondary duty was Bow gunner/Driver. Though his tank commander was insistent everyone be cross trained in all positions. So he could load and fire the 75mm as well. 

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Well that fits with only the M4 version being deployed in PTO.  Those Dragon kits do pop up on eBay but always £40+, which I suppose isn't too bad by comparison with Asuka and you seem to pay that sort of money for most Dragon Shermans.

 

Conversion is difficult as the M4 105 was the only late welded hull, large-hatch, radial-engined M4 variant, so there are no conversion donors for a TMD turret without cross-kitting hulls too.  But there is one other possibility.  The HVSS flamethrower version pops upon eBay: it also came in a Cyber Hobby boxing, and both seem to be somewhat cheaper.  You could backdate that by swapping the suspension to VVSS and not using the flamethrower parts (presuming that Dragon still give you all the normal parts).  But that's going to cost about the same, or more.  Early VVSS 105's did not all have the vision cupola and/or the bulged-out hatch location, which a turret from an HVSS 105 would (should) have.

 

Dragon are re-issuing kits that had DS tracks with new link and length or indy link tracks, so there is hope that the M4(105) might be re-issued.  I can't see anyone else doing it.

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Thanks @Das Abteilung you’ve given me a good piece of info regarding kits and Sherman info. Im going to add this to my file so when i do get my Sherman i can try to at least get it reasonably accurate. 

 

Dennis

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Great tribute to your grandfather Corsair!   The tank looks great, and the type is sure "growing" on me.  Now, I'm thinking my collection could use one too.  Well done all around dude! 🍺

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If you haven't come across this site before, pretty much everything you need to know about Sherman configurations is there.  http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/

 

This is the specific page on the M4(105).  http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/manufacturer/m4_105mm/m4_105mm.html.  Despite all being built by Chrysler - so not showing factory variations - and being very much a minority variant, there were a surprising number of variations.

 

Book-wise, the Son of Sherman book has eye-watering detail on the subject, the result of years of research.  Prices very variable.  I think I paid about £65 for my softback copy but I have seen them in the £hundreds.  You can pick up the "reprint" (actually PDF scans of the original) of the old Hunnicutt book for about £65 too.  Originals go for £hundreds.  But probably not worth investing in either book unless you plan to do more then the odd one or two M4s.  I have both books, but then unpacking my stash after moving house I counted 23 M4s of various configurations to build, only 1 of which will be a US vehicle and about 15 will be Israeli.  Do I have a problem that needs help?

 

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1 hour ago, Das Abteilung said:

This is the specific page on the M4(105).

Thank again for the links, i briefly ran across the site during the M4 group build. Lost the reference/link to it though. I also have direct access to an M4A3(105)HVSS. The town i grew up in in Northern Wisconsin has one as a veterans memorial. Not the same but will be useful for turret detail and other non M4 specific details. 

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the guys who run the Minutia site are always interested in survivor vehicles if you can get them a photo and any serial numbers, especially those stamped into parts or on data plates - painted numbers are not always original.  Sometimes they turn out to be unusual: one of the 105mm pilots on an M4 Hybrid hull still survives as a memorial.

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I will do that next time i am home. My data file for the tank was on my last laptop, which committed ritual suicide a while ago. I have several thousand photos lost because of that. I still have the original memory chip’s for my 35mm but nothing to upload them into. 

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