The last and final prototype was the T70 GMC and it featured a 76.2 mm main gun. Lt. Edwin Leiper led one M18 platoon of C Company to Rechicourt-la-Petite, on the way to Moncourt. After World War II, many M18s were sold to other countries. In December 1941, the Ordnance Corps issued a requirement for the design of a fast tank destroyer using a Christie suspension, the Wright/Continental R-975 engine, and a 37 mm gun. M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer's national animal is the Hellcat. A number of these vehicles were later used by the Military of Serbian Krajina and Army of Republika Srpska during the Yugoslav wars. M-18 Hellcat tank destroyer The fastest tracked vehicle of the war, the M-18 was a fresh design, not a modification of any tank in service. On 19 September, Company C , 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion, attached to the 4th Armored Division’s Combat Command A, helped defend the town of Arracourt when attacked by elements of the 113th Panzer Brigade. By numbers alone, the M18 might have claimed success as a tank destroyer. The Venezuelan military still operates M18s, with 75 still in reserve service. 650 early production M18s were converted into M39s by removing the turret and fitting seats for up to eight men in the open fighting space. Like in Europe, however, tactical use of M18s in the Pacific deviated from the original tank destroyer concept, with the Hellcat used more in infantry support and bunker-busting operations. Needing a rugged but fast moving vehicle to close with enemy armored attacks from the likes of the Panzer III and Panzer IV, the AGF Board moved to standardize the M10 Wolverine tank destroyer, armed with a 3-inch gun, by the spring of 1943. The project was so secretive that a story about the “new” tank destroyer ran in newspapers just a month before production This version was armed with a single M2 machine gun on a flexible mount. The functional durability of each tank varies in combat, depending on its component layout and armor thickness[note]. The M10 tank destroyer was an American tank destroyer of World War II. The Hellcat was not intended to engage in protracted combat but to quickly respond to breakthroughs in the line by enemy armor. Our funding helps to acquire and conserve Army historical art and artifacts, support Army history educational programs, research, and publication of historical materials on the American Soldier, and provide support and counsel to private and governmental organizations committed to the same goals. M18 “Hellcat” Tank Destroyer 76mm Gun Motor Carriage (T70) Production General Motors, Buick Division July 1943 to October 1944 2507 produced $55,230 production cost Power Train R975 Continental Radial Engine M18 or the M18 Hellcat is a reward vehicle for Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, replacing the M10 Tank Destroyer. Very fast at 55 … The main disadvantages of the M18 were its very light armor, and the inconsistent performance of its 76 mm gun against the frontal armor of later German designs such as the Tiger and Panther. U.S. tanks were expected to fight any hostile tanks they encountered in their attack, but the mission of destroying massed enemy armored thrustswas assigned to a new branc… Complaints about the open turret configuration and exposed .50 caliber machine gun were common, while the lack of a coaxial machine gun afforded little protection to the exposed heads of the tank driver and assistant driver. Flanked by the words “Seek, Strike, Destroy,” it depicts a wildcat biting down on crushed treads, signifying the Hellcat’s mission of targeting enemy tanks. The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. The Hellcat’s speed and ability to get into firing position were admired by M18 crews, but the lack of killing power of the 76mm gun and minimal protection offered to the crew made commanders tread carefully in converting whole battalions over from the M10. The 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage M18 was an United States tank destroyer of World War II. Taking advantage of the fog to sneak up on the more heavily armed and armored Panthers, four Hellcats engaged a company of tanks from the 113th around Bezange-la-Petite, firing from a slight depression and knocking out seven Panthers before dawn. During the development process, the design was further upgraded to a utilize a 75 mm gun, and then finally to the 76 mm gun. While Panthers in defense were formidable, Panthers in the attack had great difficulty not exposing their vulnerable large side profiles. Although by 1945, the preference was to reequip units with the newer M36, which packed a 90mm gun capable of destroying a Panther at longer ranges than the 76mm gun of the M18. Of the nineteen tank destroyer battalions allocated for the invasion of. Utilizing the M18 chassis and doing away with the turret, the M39 was designed and built in limited quantities for use as a command and control vehicle, as well as a prime mover and armored personnel carrier. The M18 Hellcat's first prototype was the T49 GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) and it featured a 57mm main gun. The problem of the main gun performance was remedied with High Velocity Armor Piercing (HVAP) ammunition late in the war, which allowed the 76 mm gun to achieve greater frontal armor penetration, but this was never available in quantity. Military Channel, Program "Tank Overhaul" 22:51, Wednesday 13 August 2008 (UTC) "Current hour EDST," mixed documentary with interviews of WW-II veterans. All orders are custom made and most ship The M18 originated in the design studio of Harley Earl from the Buick motor company division of General Motors, whose team also worked extensively on early camouflage paint. The M18 GMC was a response to the problem to provide the tank destroyer force with a very fast tank destroyer. [2] By the end of the day, nineteen German tanks lay burning at the hands of the Hellcats. The 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage (G.M.C.) M18 Hellcat Esercito Italiano (Italian Army 1946-now) Italy Military Academy 18 VIII 29526 EI: 107102 Italy Military Academy olive drab US Army (1784-now) 1944 World War 2 - Pacific olive drab 643 Tank Destroyer Bn. The introduction of heavier German tanks, such as the Mk V Panther and Mk VI Tiger, presented additional problems. We seek to educate future Americans to fully appreciate the sacrifices that generations of American Soldiers have made to safeguard the freedoms of this Nation. The tank destroyer played a key role in the battlefields of France, Belgium, and Germany in 1944. A-15 1944 When the 15th Panzer Division attacked positions held by the 101st Airborne Division on Christmas Day, the 705th and its M18s helped hold the Germans at bay. However, as German panzers tracked further into Eastern Europe, refinement of the tactics and development of the vehicles with which to blunt the new method of warfare still lagged. Worried about the threat to its left flank in Bastogne, it organized a major joint arms attack to seize Noville. Within a year, the conclusion that mobile, massed anti-armor operations should be employed to counter armored attacks had been adopted after doctrinal endorsement from Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall. We seek to educate future Americans to fully appreciate the sacrifices that generations of American Soldiers have made to safeguard the freedoms of this Nation. A Military Channel historian credited the M18 destroyers with 24 kills, including several Tiger tanks, and believes that in part, their ability to "shoot and scoot" at high speed and then reappear elsewhere on the battlefield, confused and slowed the German attack, which finally stalled, leaving the Americans in control of the town overnight.[2]. M18 Hellcat of the 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion in action at Wiesloch, Germany, April 1945. Capable of top road speeds in excess of fifty miles per hour, the twenty-ton, second generation tank destroyer packed a high-velocity 76mm main gun with the same stopping power as the M10’s 3-inch gun. F, M10 Tank Destroyer and SU-85 share an HP value of 1700. A total of 2,507 vehicles were produced from July 1943 through October 1944. The M18s of the 705th were integral in the defense of Bastogne. It was first accepted in 1943 and it appeared on the battlefield in 1944. Prewar expectation was that all anti-tank work was supposed to be done by tank-destroyer crews, because attacking tanks could concentrate against a small part of a defending line. He saw a German tank gun muzzle appearing out of the fog 30 feet away, and deployed his platoon. [2], The attack of 1st Battalion and the M18 Hellcat tank destroyers of the 705th TD Battalion near Noville together destroyed at least 30 German tanks and inflicted 500 to 1000 casualties on the attacking forces, in what amounted to a spoiling attack. Its power came from a nine-cylinder, 450-horsepower radial-type aircraft engine paired with a three-speed Hydramatic transmission. Even the Hellcat logo on the M18’s front corner and patches worn by its crew was designed by Earl’s staff. Tank destroyers, such as the Hellcat, were to be used against tanks that had already penetrated the front lines. The only M18 variant which was produced in significant numbers was the M39 Armored Utility Vehicle, a turretless variation used to transport personnel or cargo or as a gun tractor. Even the Hellcat logo on the M18’s front corner and patches worn by its crew was designed by Earl’s staff. In practice a tank destroyer battalion was assigned nearly permanently to a division and would move toward an enemy penetration from local assembly areas. The speed was attained by keeping armor to a minimum, no more than 1" thick. Like all self-propelled tank destroyer battalions, those fitted with the M18 were composed of a headquarters company, reconnaissance company, three gun companies, and a medical detachment. It was not designed to do so, but it proved impossible to seal off the crew compartment entirely from engine induced drafts. The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. While FM 18-5 called for an aggressive spirit of action aimed against the flanks of advancing enemy armored formations with the entire battalion force, the initial breakout from Normandy during Operation COBRA saw the M18 serving less as a tank hunter and more in convoy protection and infantry support roles. [7] On December 19–20, the 1st Battalion of the 506th PIR was ordered to support Team Desobry, a battalion-sized tank-infantry task force of the 10th Armored Division (United States) assigned to defend Noville[3] located north-northeast of both Foy and of Bastogne just 4.36 miles (7 km) away. Very few reached the field in time for the war, but some saw action in Korea. A number of panzers were knocked out by these means when Hitler finally ordered an armored counteroffensive against Patton’s Third Army in September 1944. As a curious note, the M-18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer was the fastest American armored vehicle until the turbine-powered M1 Abrams main battle tank appeared decades later. Under the fearless direction of Captain Tom Evans, the lead platoon of Company C served as an attractive target for the German tanks, which failed to notice the other two platoons of Hellcats advancing on their flanks. “The Hellcat was considered the hot rod of World War II,” said Bill Gross, a historian who restored an M18 now on display at the Sloan Museum in Flint, Mich. “To give perspective, most German tanks of the day were capable of just 20 mph and even today’s M1 Abrams tank is outpaced by the Hellcat.”. A handful of tank destroyer battalions saw action halfway around the world against the Japanese. The doctrine of the time had Shermans acting in support of infantry to break enemy defenses (Infantry leads, tanks follow or support by fire), and then exploiting the attack (Tanks lead, infantry follows) with infantry in support during exploitation. The Christie suspension requirement was also dropped, and replaced with a torsion bar suspension. The M18 served primarily in Western Europe, but was also present in the Pacific. Three tank destroyer battalions deployed to the Pacific Theater were equipped with the M18, with one, the 637th, earning the Presidential Unit Citation for its role in clearing Fort McKinley’s emplaced guns during fierce fighting for Manila at the beginning of 1945. The M-18 Hellcat, formally known as the “76mm Gun Motor Carriage M18” was an American tank destroyer used in World War II, in Italian, European and Pacific theaters, and in the Korean War. Ce n'est bien entendu pas un Panzer mais j Hellcat tank destroyer commanders surveyed the ground from open cockpit. This doctrine failed on the battlefield where attacking Sherman tanks ran into defending German tanks far more often than intended and the tank destroyers were called in to assist. The M10, based on the M4 Sherman chassis, was a reliable fighting vehicle to match the medium German panzers in the deserts of North Africa, but it was not the long-term solution Bruce had in mind. An unknown number of these vehicles were modernized by a Yugoslavian firm in 1991. These were rebuilt and refurbished by Brown & Root in northern Italy in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and bear data plates that indicate those rebuilds. [4] About 100 M39s were transferred to the West German Bundeswehr in 1956, where they were used to train the reestablished Panzergrenadier armored infantry units.[5]. As defined by revised Field Manual (FM) 18-5 issued in July 1944, the three gun companies each contained three platoons of four guns, giving the entire battalion a total of thirty-six tank destroyers. Despite flaws in its doctrine and weapons developed to counter the panzer threat, the Army was well on its way toward developing its Tank Destroyer Force and several tank destroyer systems, including the M18 Hellcat, by the time the United States entered World War II. The solution was the Gun Motor Carriage (GMC), although the first few models developed by the Army were anything but effective. The M18’s service in combat began as it was still being standardized, with five of the new T70 models being sent to the Italian campaign that same spring. On that day, M18s were credited with destroying  twenty-seven German tanks, with only six M18s lost. An M18 from the 603d Tank Destroyer Battalion, Combat Command B, 6th Armored Division, guards an intersection in Luneville, France, 22 September 1944. Members of the Medium Tank Destroyer Category have their HP values split into two groups; The Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer, SU-76M and M18 Hellcat share an HP value of 1200.1 The StuG III Ausf. Armed with a 76 mm gun, the Hellcat wasn’t quite adequate for all enemy armor, especially late-war German designs, but it held on bravely and managed to become one of the iconic Allied tank destroyer… The following tank battalions used the M18 during part or all of their service: 602nd battalion 9\1944, 603rd 8\1944, 609th 9\1944, 612th 1\1945, 637th 1\1945 (Pacific), 638th 11\1… The 603d, 704th, and 705th of Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s Third Army all came ashore in Normandy by late July 1944. Our shop retails 1/35 M18 Hellcat GMC Tank Destroyer (Plastic model) Airfix X1371 Military Model on the Web. Though it weighed about 20 tons – the same as almost nine modern day Buick Enclaves – the Hellcat was designed to be one of fastest tanks on the battlefield and was capable of traveling upwards of 60 mph. It was the fastest U.S. armored fighting vehicle on the road. "M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer 1943-97" by Steven J Zaloga P14.ISBN 1-84176-687-9. Nevertheless, in a war won through the training and adaptability of U.S. service members, the M18 proved it could fill a variety of tasks on the battlefield, and lives on as one of the vehicles used in the Allies’ victory in World War II. The Super Hellcat is an American tier 7 premium turreted tank destroyer. "M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer 1943-97" by Steven J Zaloga PP11-12.ISBN 1-84176-687-9, "M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer 1943-97" by Steven J Zaloga P43.ISBN 1-84176-687-9, Tankograd Militarfahrzeug Spezial No 5002 "Die Anfangsjahre des Heeres 1956-1966 (The Early Years of the Modern German Army)" by Peter Blume PP48-49. However, due to the comparative rarity and poor quality of Japanese armor the M18 was often used in a fire support role instead of as a tank destroyer. The next prototype was the T67 GMC and it featured a 75 mm main gun. M18 Hellcat tank destroyer - WWII American tanks - The M18 Hellcat was the last version of tank destroyer accepted in the U.S. Army. Evans himself manned the gun of a disabled M18 and was able to knock out two panzers, earning the Distinguished Service Cross in the process. One of the platoon's M18s commanded by Sgt Henry R. Hartman knocked out six of the German tanks, most of which were the much-feared Panthers. Though all tank destroyer units were disbanded by the U.S. after the war, surplus M18s continued to see limited service. Buick engineers brought the Hellcat to life from the design team’s sketches and developed an innovative torsion bar suspension that provided a steady ride. The origin of the M18 dates to these first few weeks before the United States’ entry into World War II, when, on 27 November, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew D. Bruce assumed command of the Tank Destroyer Tactical and  Firing Center at Fort Meade, Maryland. Independent tank destroyer groups were to counter concentrate, to stop enemy tanks from penetrating deeply. By June 1943, Buick was already rushing T70 models into production, and by the time the M18 was standardized in March 1944, the nickname “Hellcat” was already being used for promotional purposes. M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer is ranked 52,323 rd in the world and 49 th in Resuscitation for Most Extreme, scoring 26.67 on the Paul-Nader Subjective Decentrality Index. With only thirteen millimeters on the front hull, the M18’s armor was less than that of the M8 armored car, and much less than the two inches of frontal armor on the M4A1 Sherman or 1.5-inch armor plate on the M10. When the fighting ended a few days later, the victorious American Hellcats accounted for thirty-nine panzers destroyed or disabled. The majority of Hellcats may have been used like their cousin the Sherman, but unlike the venerable M4, the Hellcat did not undergo substantial changes throughout the war, although designers did experiment with variants and mission-specific designs. Obviously this would make it harder for an armored force to achieve a deep breakthrough, a main objective of armor, if the enemy had tanks. The M18 Hellcat was an American tank destroyer of World War II. Tank destroyers were often deployed to attack enemy armor at long range from an ambush position, taking on the role of self-propelled anti-tank guns. Due at least somewhat to a lack of a concerted German panzer counteroffensive immediately after D-Day, the delay in the M18’s meeting with the Panther and Tiger tanks of the Wehrmacht may have been for the best. While the M18 was capable of high road speeds this attribute was difficult to use successfully in combat, but along with the high top speed was a commensurate ability to accelerate rapidly and change direction rather quickly. During fighting in North Africa, the vehicle's original 37 mm gun was inadequate and the design was upgraded with a British 57 mm gun. Team Desobry's high speed highway journey to reach the blocking position is one of the few documented cases[2] wherein the legendary top speed of the M18 Hellcat (55 miles per hour (89 km/h), faster than today's M1A2 Abrams) was actually used to get ahead of an enemy force. By this time, the Germans were already using Panthers on a regular basis, which was one of Hellcat’s main concerns. The M18 Hellcat was produced by Buick and it was meant to be a more armored tank destroyer rather than the M10 Tank Destroyer or the M36 Tank Destroyerwhich was produced to la… In contrast to the M10 tank destroyer, which used the chassis of the M4 Sherman, the M18 Hellcat was designed from the start to be a fast tank destroyer. The Hellcat had a gun that could penetrate roughly 88mm of armor at 2000 m. This was enough to penetrate a Panzer IV (a tank originally designed in the 1930s) frontally, but not enough to deal with the newer Panther or Tiger from the front. The Hellcat was an extremely deadly tank destroyer. These concerns were fresh in the minds of those in Lieutenant General Omar Bradley’s staff during the lead-up to Operation Overlord, so much so that the First Army commander resisted the option of converting tank destroyer battalions under his command to the M18. 1/35 M18 Hellcat GMC Tank Destroyer by Airfix $41.20 USD $60.60 USD Qty Add to cart Add to wishlist Description This is an injection-plastic military vehicle model kit. However the 76mm gun could knock out the Panther with relative ease from the flanks and rear as the turret and side armor was weak and the quality of German armor plate declined in the last two years of the war. [2] This problem was not helped by the fact that the air-cooled engine pulled a percentage of its cooling air through the crew compartment, creating in effect, a large armor-plated refrigerator. Having witnessed the rapid advances of armored and mechanized forces in the German Blitzkrieg across Poland, the Low Countries, and France, War Department planners, including the future commander of Army Ground Forces (AGF), Lesley J. McNair, set out to amend a strategy based around static and localized anti-armor defense beginning in the latter stages of 1940. The fact that only seven Hellcats were destroyed or disabled speaks not only to the tactical flaws of German armor advancing without proper reconnaissance, but also to the proficiency and adaptability of the M18 crews. “M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer” is a typical Osprey New vanguard publication with 48 numbered pages - of which 3 are devoted to publishing information, the table of contents, and the index. Speed was essential in order to bring the Hellcats from the rear to destroy incoming tanks. Of course, the M18 also required unique tests of its ability to ford six feet of water, climb small walls, and ram through structures. While ordnance tests back in the States concluded the 76mm gun could pierce the frontal armor of a Tiger at ranges up to 2,000 yards, the tests were marred by flaws which underscored the overmatched firepower of the M18. The M18 was the fastest armoured vehicle in WW2, it could go 60 mph on good roads, and even for 2 decades after the war. Tank destroyer battalions assigned to front line divisions often split up to companies attached to regiments, and platoons attached to infantry battalions. In addition to using the Hellcats’ speed to get into position to fire on the flanks of German tanks, Hellcat crews learned that a well placed shot between the mantlet and the glacis plate of a Panther would cause the shell to ricochet into the driving compartment, killing the crew or disabling the tank. Although sustained travel at road speeds was hardly ever used outside of the Allied response during the Battle of the Bulge,[2] most Hellcat crews found the higher speeds especially useful in a sprint to flank German tanks, which had relatively slow turret traverse speeds, and such maneuvering allowed the tank destroyer crew a shot instead into the enemy's thinner side or rear armor. In December 1941, the Ordnance Corps issued a requirement for the design of a fast tank destroyer using a Christie suspension, the Wright/Continental R-975 engine, and a 37 mm gun.The M18 originated in the design studio of Harley Earl from the Buick motor company division of General Motors, whose team also worked extensively on early camouflage paint. Armed with a 76 mm cannon, the vehicle was the fastest tracked, armored fighting vehicle during World War II with a top speed up to 60 mph (92kph),[1] and Buick nicknamed it the Hellcat. Once developed, the Hellcat was tested in the same manner as millions of Buick passenger cars before and after it, at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground. Hellcat crews took advantage of the vehicle's speed to minimize the enemy's ability to pierce its thin armor. As was the case of many U.S. armored fighting vehicles during the war in Europe, Hellcat crews proved adept at developing new tactics when taking on German tanks by learning the strengths and weaknesses of the M18 in combat situations. The platoon continued to fire and destroyed ten more German tanks while losing another two M18s. Even before the T70 had been standardized as the M18, the 76mm GMC was already serving as a prototype for an amphibious version that would eventually be designated the T-86. Like its fellow tank destroyer the M10, the M18 suffered from flaws in a doctrine that was never fully defined. For this, the U.S. envisioned using tanks in the attack solely in a support and exploitation role, usually in conjunction with infantry. M18 Hellcat tank destroyer - WWII American tanks - The M18 Hellcat was the last version of tank destroyer accepted in the U.S. Army. Production of the M18 Hellcat began in mid-1943 and ended in October 1944. The M-18 Tank Destroyer, nicknamed the "Hellcat" by the Soldiers who crewed them, earned a reputation of being one of the most effective tank killers in the Army during World War II. In a five-minute period, five German tanks of the 113 Panzer Brigade were knocked out for the loss of one M18. Top speed testing was done on a paved, banked oval and ride quality tests were done over specially developed stretches of bumps. The Hellcat's 76mm gun often could not penetrate the thick sloped front armor of German Panther tanks. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Despite the Hellcat’s success around Arracourt, units equipped with M18s continued to engage in what FM 18-5 described as “secondary missions.”  As a result, the M18 was typically deployed in company size strength amidst infantry and combined combat elements. [ About online shopping pre-order sales ] Releases … When the Americans entered the war in 1941, they began to supply China with armored vehicles, including the M18 Hellcat. The Military of the Republic of China also operated several M18s until their chassis and hulls were worn out, at which point the turrets were salvaged and installed onto surplus hulls of M42 Duster anti-aircraft vehicles to produce Type 64 light tanks. The M18's new design incorporated several innovative maintenance features. It would also be easier for an opposing armored force to achieve a local breakthrough against an American unit which would not have all of its anti-tank assets at the front during the beginning of any attack. M18 Hellcat of the 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion in action at Wiesloch, Germany, April 1945. Due to the differences in the doctrine of the use of armored vehicles by the Americans from Germany and the USSR, it does not look like its “classmates”. Although some Hellcats went to China to fight the Japanese army, they were primarily used in support of infantry, as Japanese armor was scarce and of poor quality. Even before Nazi Germany’s declaration of war on America on 11 December 1941, the U.S. Army was coming to terms with the need to adapt its arsenal and operational doctrines to the evolving European battlefield. The Wright R-975 engine was mounted on steel rollers that allowed maintenance crews to disconnect it easily from the transmission, roll it out onto the lowered engine rear cover, service it, and then reconnect it to the transmission. High quality Hellcat Tank Destroyer gifts and merchandise. These, along with M3 Stuarts and M4 Shermans, trickled in through Burma and formed part of the several well-equipped, well-trained armies that the Chinese Nationalists deployed. When so attached, defending tank destroyer units supplemented organic antitank weapons (bazookas and 57mm towed guns).[8]. Exposed to battlefield conditions which almost never resembled the feared blitzkrieg that spawned tank destroyer doctrine and development in the first place, the M18 was used more as a tank, and a lightly armored one at that. Like in Europe, however, tactical use of M18s in the Pacific deviated from the original tank destroyer concept, with the Hellcat used more in infantry support and bunker-busting operations. U.S. Army M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer (in operation 1943-1944). Three of these vehicles were deployed in the reconnaissance company of the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion, participating in breakthrough operations at Anzio in late May. A total of 2,507 vehicles were produced from July 1943 through October 1944. While deployed in Italy, initial use of the T70 revealed design flaws which would come to limit the M18’s usefulness as a tank killer later in the drive across Europe. Despite the preference for the M36, a number of units converted from the M10 to the M18. The tank destroyer became the fastest armored vehicle, of this type, of World War II. The Hellcat would have one more opportunity to prove itself against the heavy panzers of the Wehrmacht when the Germans launched their last-ditch offensive through the Ardennes in December 1944. Similarly, American armored attacks would be delivered at a time and place of friendly forces choosing against an enemy defense. Its exemplary service record is just as much a testament to Buick’s engineering the Hellcat to be the fastest tank destroyer ever, as it is to the young men who bravely took them into battle. 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