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Grant British Command Tank - case report

Lads !!!
     The problem of the command in a battlefield between tanks is very complex. The speed of the vehicles in movement and fluidity of the front conditions require that the Commander have to be very close to the action, to avoid errors and mistakes.

Monty thinking about...
     But somehow , he must be protected, because if the enemy identify the Commander, he becomes a priority target.
Battle between tanks ... a very complicated thing!!
       A Command Vehicle must be robust, reliable, spacious (maps and extra radios) and not call attention to themselves. The specialized command vehicles normally are very characteristic and therefore, a true magnet for the enemy fire. As examples among the British, we can mention the AEC Dorchester and Guy Lizard.
AEC Dorchester command vehicle
Guy Lizard command vehicle
      But these vehicles, although excellent, comfortable and spacious, were easily identifiable. One option was to disguise the appearance of the vehicle, to confuse him with another "anonymous" vehicle...
AEC Dorchester disguised as a cargo truck
...but nonetheless, because they are not armored, the Commander was exposed to enemy fire. A tank would be the ideal option, but the problem was the lack of the internal space.
      But the British had a very spacious tank: the Grant Cruiser Tank Mk I: The "Iron Cathedral":
Grant Mk I Cruiser tank
      The Grant was one of the most roomy tanks, but it was still tight for a command vehicle.
Monty thinking about...
      Its 75mm gun (plus ammo shells) in the hull and its turret cramped with gun and machine guns turned the large on the tight.
M3 Lee cutaway - The Grant was almost the same...
      The solution: Remove the armament of a Grant. The resulting tank would be extremely spacious: Grant Command Tank:

Two views of the same Grant Command Tank in Sicily.
Notice the absence of 75mm gun in the hull and the
dummy gun (75mm fake)  in the turret.
      Wow !!! That´s great !!! But I found another Gran Command Tank, with field adaptations in its hull to confuse the profile of the Grant with a Sherman (British worshiped disguises and tricks ...). This is the beast:
Brand new Grant Command tank without markings...
Notice the steel plates in the front hull, as a Shermie (in long distance...)
The tank above is not the same as the photo below...
Grant Command Tank in field...Notice the details, like
front glacis, the ventilator bulge (fake) ...
everything to be similar to a Shermie
      The British disguised many tanks as trucks and also building "false" tanks to attract enemy fire ... The Jerrys were extremely inventive!!
Matilda II with "sunshield" like a truck.
Crusader dressing a truck sunshield...
A "Crusader" in a 15 CWT light truck
Other examples of disguises...
     Ok !!!  But what was written on the side of the Grant, in this photo?? The British love put names of famous hotels on their Command Cars (Dorchester, the English name of AEC Command Vehicle is the name a famous hotel in London, famous for space and comfort ...).
       There is a famous hotel with a name beginning with CLARI... and ending with ES ...
       Googling and bingo: CLARIDGES HOTEL!!!!
Grant Command Tank "CLARIDGES" in field
      Solved the historical problem, go to the specifications of the best:


Grant Command Tank "CLARIDGES"

Place of origin                                 United States
Service history
WarsWorld War II
Weight26 t
Length5.64 m
Width2.72 m
Height2,98 m
Crew2 + 1 Senior Office

Armorup to 51 mm Steel
.303 Bren Gun
EngineWright (Continental) R975 EC2
400 hp (300 kW)/340 hp (250 kW)
TransmissionSynchromesh, 5 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Suspensionvertical volute spring
Ground clearance0.46 m
Fuel capacity662 liters
193 km 
Speed42 km/h (road)
26 km/h (off-road)
Controlled differential

The kit:
      To do this project (in 2010),  I used many parts of my box of scraps: hull from Tamiya, turret and fenders from Academy.
Tamiya and Academy Grants
      The tracks are "double I" or "waffles" pattern (WE 210) type exchanged for Dragon M4 Sherman II, wheels from my scrap box (Dragon too) . Tamiya´s wheels are wrong and the Academy are early type..
Suspension's recipe...What a mess!!!
The bogies were Tamiya. A real Frankenstein !!!
      The drive sprockets were Tamiya, but narrow for Dragon´s tracks: time for a little surgery:
increasing the width of the Tamiya's drive sprockets
      Building the steel plates for disguise:
Starting the plastic surgery...
      Improving the Grant´s rear because the Tamiya´s kit was all wrong: Parts of the scraps box ...

The new front glacis was done..
Building a ladder for easier access;
Some metal work...



      I redrew the blueprint with colors now, as guide for the markings of the tank:
Using a clear sheet of decal+ laser print:
   And the decals from Bison Decals (#35086)
Claridges was bonr....

Making the crew's stuff on the rear deck ...
Tracing paper + PVA glue diluted in water...

     Alan McNeilly, a very good friend, warned me that I had forgotten to do the driver's periscope. Thanks, Alan.
Driver's periscope...It's easy to build one...
      And the CLARIDGES was done, ready for battle:
Grant Command Tank "CLARIDGES". 3rd Royal Tank Regiment - 7th Armoured Division - Senior regiment - head-quarters - North Africa, 1942.

Grant Command Tank "CLARIDGES". 3rd Royal Tank Regiment
7th Armoured Division - Senior regiment - head-quarters
 North Africa, 1942.

Grant Command Tank - left side

Grant Command Tank - rear view

Grant Command Tank - right side

Grant Command Tank with Kojak and Rover, the dog...

Two desert girls:
Sherman II DV (2nd New Zealand Division)  with
Grant Command Tank (7th Armoured Division)
size comparison
Sherman II DV (2nd New Zealand Division)  with
Grant Command Tank (7th Armoured Division)
size comparison - front view
Sherman II DV (2nd New Zealand Division)  with
Grant Command Tank (7th Armoured Division)
size comparison

      See you soon, Lads !!!

7 comentários:

  1. That's new to me! Very interesting vehicle. My thanks and admiration.

  2. @Sergei: Thanks, Sergei. Take care !!!

    @Jeroen: Thanks, my friend ...

  3. Never seen this kind of Grant before ! I always learn many thinks when I come in your bunker :-)
    Very nice and interesting model, an amaizing realisation, It's huge, a real command bunker with tracks !
    I send you many friendly thoughts from France where I take some vacations. Cheers.

  4. Indeed, Alain...you perfectly described the vehicle: a Command Bunker on tracks!!!

    Enjoy the ride in France, mon ami !!!!

    I envy you ... (in a good way ...)

    Big hug !!!

  5. Moi.
    New and strange model version is also for me.
    I am starting to suspect that maybe you have a surgeon's hand skills, when you create so many new versions, we the viewers never to heard of ...

  6. Indeed, Maximex !!!
    Ouir hobby, besides distract the mind of the daily problems, help me in my profession, because my manual skills are stimulated by the kits and scratchs ...
    Take care and all the best to you in your beautiful Finland !!!