The publication of any images or informations related to nazism, fascism or any other totalitarian regimes must be understood as the reproduction of historical accuracy and not as apology to these regimes, leaders or symbols.
A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

M4 Sherman with T1E3 mine exploder Aunt Jemima - case report

      Fellow Modelers!!!
   This is my project (from 2008) on this weird equipment used by the Americans in the reconquest of Europe. The M4 Sherman with mine exploder T1E3 "Aunt Jemima".

M4 Sherman fitted with T1E3 Aunt Jemima mine exploder
Beggendorf, Germany -  December, 1944.
      Experience in the North African Theater coupled with intelligence reports on German coastal and national boundary fortifications on the European Continent, established the fact that the Allied offensive in Northern Europe would have to overcome numerous land mine fields layed by the Germans as an integral part of their defense installations. In addition, it was anticipated scattered mines and small, hastily prepared mine fields would be encountered during the advance between main lines of defense, particularly when the battle line was permitted to stabilize. Therefore, emphasis was placed upon developing an assault technique in combat training that would facilitate rapid passage of mine infested areas; with particular emphasis being placed upon the development in the Zone of Interior of specialized mine exploder equipment that could effectively clean a safe path by detonating mines, and at the same time withstand attack from enemy gunfire. Two basic types of mine exploders were developed for detonating unlocated land mines:

1-"Pressure Type" Mine Exploder: activates the mine fuse with pressure applied by a mechanical device, e.g., a roller, plunger, disc, or flail, that is relatively indestructable. In addition, this type mine exploder should be effective, maneuverable, and easy to maintain and operate. Examples:
  • Mine Exploder T1E1 Earthworm:
Mine exploder T1E1 (Earthworm) attached in a M32 ARV
  • Mine Exploder T1E3 Aunt Jemima: The Aunt Jemima T1E3 was named after a popular pan cake mix logo, because somebody thought the big exploder wheels resembled gigantic pancakes.
Mine exploder T1E3 (Aunt Jemima) attached in a M4A1 Sherman.
The image insert is the famous pancake. Notice the paint in the M4A1 side
The "hull-art" in the Jemima's side . art: Bison Decals
  • Mine Exploder Flail Crab: Performed the most favorable when mine exploders were first carefully examined by American officers on the Continent in November 1944.
British Sherman V Crab
2-"Concussion Type" Mine Exploder: activates the mine fuse or sympathetically detonates the mine charge with the force of concussion or blast obtained by detonating a nearby charge of explosives. This explosive force may also displace mines from the ground without detonating them. Examples:
  • Snake M2 demolition device: Is a linear charge of explosive encased in shaped metal plates providing sufficient rigidity to permit the charge to be pushed over rough terrain. It is assembled to a maximum length of 120m by combining a series of W-shaped channel plates, 35,5cms wide and 2,74 m long. It has a pear shaped nose to deflect it from obstacles, a detonating assembly and a towing hook at the front end, and a pushing hook at the rear to receive tank towing or pushing assemblies. In average soil, a Snake will detonate, throw out, or break up all anti-tank and anti-personnel mines within a path 3,5 m to 4,5 m wide.
Snake M2 device
  • Conger: Is a British device which projects a five inch rocket pulling an empty canvas hose (5 cm diameter, 300 ms long) over a minefield. The hose is than filled with a liquid explosive which is detonated to clear a lane approximately 6 ms wide. All the equipment is carried in a towed Bren gun carrier from which the engine and other components have been removed to make room for the unit.

Conger attached in the rear of Churchill tank

  • Wurlitzer: Is a British Churchill 3-inch Gun Carrier (without the gun) tank equipped with 25 modified long bangalore torpedo tubes (Snake) on each side of the tank above the track, that project bangalores approximately 3,6 m long to a position 45 to 90 ms in front of the tank. This device was never employed in combat, but is listed here merely as an experimental device that was viewed in the European Theater, and is considered to show promise.

font: http://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/armored-special-equipment/index.html#ch2

Churchill Wurlitzer
      But since the topic is about Aunt Jemima, we focus on this huge apparatus. The 'Jemima' consisted of nothing more than two massive steels rollers pushed in front of a tank, with one roller ahead of each tank track. Each roller was divided into five discs. Each disc was about 10 cm thick and 2,46 m in diameter. The Sherman, itself, was about 2,74 m high and the whole setup weighed in at around 26.000 Kgs. The roller chains from the Sherman sprockets drove the loosely mounted discs; the spacers were arranged and grooved to allow the discs to move. 

      The T1E3 worked well in tests, but in service use the device proved difficult to maneuver. One account says that it took the length of 2-3 football fields for it to make a U-turn!! The 'Aunt Jemima' detonated mines by its heavy weight, but this caused severe mobility problems, when it sank into soft terrain, and other Sherman tanks were often called in to push it.
T1E3 stuck...a common problem...
      The few U.S. Units that used this device highly disliked the mobility problems and quickly lost interest in the vehicle. The British 'Crab' which flailed chains in front of a Sherman was a much better device.

Based on a George Bradford drawing

T1E3 Mine Exploder Aunt jemima

Pressure type mine exploder
Place of origin
Service history
In service
Used by
Production history
Whiting Corporation
March - Dec. 1944
Number built
75 - 22 in action

each disc: 2 ton
all unit: 26 ton.
Overal length
(front sprocket to disc)
 3,6 m
Overal width of unit
3,3 m
Diameter of disks
2,4 m
Width of disk
7,5 cm

Minimum turning radius
31 ms
Maximum backing speed
4,8 Km/h
Maximum forward speed
16,1 Km/h

Maximum forward speed 

4,8 Km/h

Maximum grade ascending 

ability - approx.
15 percent
Max. trench crossing ability - approx.
1 m
The kits:
      For this project, I used an old Tamiya M4 early production (35190) and a Mineroller T1E3 conversion kit (827) from Verlinden , which I bought on eBay.

Old and honest M4 early Tamiya
Odd-ball resin kit from Verlinden.
      When I built this beast, I modified the bogies of my Sherman mine exploder for the version with straight arms of return rollers, spoked idler wheels and spoked wheels in the bogies.
      To do that, I used bogies and wheels from Academy and idler wheels from Dragon (from my spare parts box). I swapped the bogies of the Academy by Tamiya and vice versa, as was building a M4A2 Russian Academy, in parallel. The russian M4A2 Academy got the raised arms bogies (Tamiya). See the pics;
bogie from Academy to Tamiya's Sherman
M4A2 Academy with Tamiya suspension 

         And the two hulls: Tamiya with Academy shoes and Academy with Tamiya shoes. Notice the one piece transmission cover in the M4 Tamiya Shermie.

      The Tamiya M4 tank was easy to built...Let's see the Verlinden conversion kit:
Cleaning the resin and metal parts...

The disks and the spacers...

Getting together!!!
...and the T1E3 in the Shermie's snout !!!
      While the mine exploder device dried, I took the time scratching the coils in the hatches of Shermie
coils made with metal wire
Done !!
The tank is almost ready
Cano em metal da RB Models
The Shermie is almost ready...dry-run
Adapting the pushing-plate...
      Well, painting time...olive-drab in shades....

A huge girl....
         Well, the tank was almost ready when Roy Chow at Armorama, reminded me to a detail in the aft portion of the hull of the tank. Here are the words of our colleague:
      "From all photos I've seen, the T1E3s with M4s used the Baldwin manufactured M4s -- characterized by a vertical rear bulkhead.For the Tamiya kit, this shouldn't be that difficult to alter..."
        Wow..That was intense...
       Based in this alert (thanks a lot, Roy...), I did this:
Notice the M4 rear hull (red rectangle)
      I confess that my first reaction was: I'll make a tarp and cover the wrong rear of the tank... But this would be a lazy and wrong action ... I decided to fix the tail of my tank. See the picture below: the rear hull of the M4 Sherman is vertical.
M4 Sherman ( Baldwin hull) Notice the vertical real (red arrows) and the sandshield( blue arrow)
      Time of surgery:
Dremel and saw disk: Cutting the rear hull...
Tamiya hull transformed in Baldwin hull. Notice the rear portion of the sandshield...
Baldwin rear - right side above and left side below...

       Added a few more details on Verlinden disks:
Metal ...
Reinforcements and mud scrapers

Belly view...
       After this scare, it's time to relax, applying the decals ....

Hmmm...I don't like this step between the rear hull and the sandshield
The step...grrr...Awfull !!!

      As my father said: When the head does not work, the body suffers...Let's do the right thing!!
Fixing the defect !
The real and the kit...
       Final touchs in the disks;

       Doing crew stuff in the back of the tank:
Resin stuff...
Tarp made with silk-paper and white glue...
       And my medium tank M4 Sherman with T1E3 mine exploder "Aunt Jemima"  was done !!!

M4 mine exploder with M4A1 dozer
In good company !!!
 Thanks, my friends !!!
See you, soon !!!

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