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Grizzly I cruiser tank (Canadian M4A1 Sherman) - case report

      Hello, Tankers!! 
      Let's know a girl who was not very famous, but it was very important in the formation and training of the Canadian Armoured Divisions: The Grizzly I cruiser tank:

Grizzly I cruiser tank
      The Grizzly I was a Canadian-built M4A1 Sherman tank with some modifications, it had thicker,armour (applique armour welded or extra-casting in the sides of upper hull and casting armour in the right cheek of the turret), had a longer range, and, most notably was fitted with Canadian Dry Pin (CDP) tracks, which did not require rubber, a scarce wartime material.
Grizzly I - drills in Camp Meaford, Ontario - Canada, 1944.
Notice the extra-armour welded in the sides
and  thicker armour in the right cheek of the turret
Grizzly I cruiser tank - notice the
extra-armour casting in the hull side and
in the turret's right cheek.
    After the fall of France, it was decided the nascent Canadian armoured divisions would be equipped by tanks produced in Canada. The result was the Ram cruiser tank, based on the chassis and running gear of the US M3 Lee; Rams were produced by the Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW) from 1941 to 1943. The M3 was succeeded by the superior M4 Sherman.
Ram Mk II tank
    In September 1942, specifications were issued in Canada for the production of the Sherman modified to meet Canadian requirements. It was intended to replace the Ram Mk II on the assembly lines at the Montreal Locomotive Works. The change over was delayed until August 1943 to minimize any disruption of the production effort. The model of the Sherman selected was the M4A1 designated by the Canadians as the Grizzly 1.
M4A1 Sherman medium tank
      It was essentially identical to the U.S. version except for British stowage and the installation of a Number 19 radio set and a 2 inch bomb thrower (smoke mortar) in the turret.
Grizzly I in parade. Notice the sandshields...
      The latter item was subsequently adopted as standard on U.S. tanks. Some of the Grizzlies were fitted with the short pitch Canadian Dry Pin (CDP) track requiring special 17 tooth sprockets. In comparison, the M4 used 13 tooth drive sprockets. The CDP track was lighter and simpler than the standard US tracks and did not require rubber, which was scarce since the Japanese advance into Southeast Asia.
Canadian dry pin tracks and drive sprocket
    By December 1943, 188 Grizzlies had been built. Production stopped with the end of the year since adequate supplies of tanks were available from U.S. sources. The Grizzly I Cruiser tank program was officially completed in January of 1944.
Grizzlies and Sextons under construction
Montreal Locomotive Works plant
Grizzly WD numbers:
CT160194 - CT16027986 Vehicles with plain hulls later fitted with welded applique armour.
CT163911 - CT163930
CT163949 - CT163955
28 vehicles all with cast extra armour. All from a batch which was originally to be 102 vehicles but was reduced.

    Instead, MLW produced the Sexton self-propelled gun Mk II. The Sexton Mk II used the Grizzly chassis, with the upper hull modified to carry the Commonwealth standard QF 25 pounder gun. The Sexton was the Commonwealth counterpart to the US M7 Priest. A small batch of Grizzly medium tank was fitted with an Ordnance QF 17-pounder for training but none saw action.
Grizzly I cruiser Firefly with 17 pdr. gun
    Some of the Grizzlies were shipped to the United Kingdom and the remainder were assigned to training units in Canada.
Grizzly training in Canada, 1944.
     Some were converted into the Skink anti-aircraft tank with a turret mounting four 20 mm Polsten guns . The Skinks had hulls without extra armor.
Skink AA tank - right side
Skink AA tank - left side
     In the post-war years, some 55 Grizzlies were shipped off to Portugal as part of the NATO military assistance program and many thereafter became collector's items. The Grizzly was also spawned into a makeshift armored personnel carrier noted with the Grizzly APC designation. Portugal also received approximately 40 of these systems and used a handful in driver training exercises. The fate of the armored personnel carriers found them sold for scrap at the end of their useful run. They were retired in the 1980s.
Grizzly in Portuguese Army
      Amazingly, the Grizzly class of Sherman tanks represent some of the more numerous types of Shermans still running today.

Grizzly I
TypeMedium tank
Place of origin                                      Canada
Service history
In service1943-45 (Canada)
1954-1980s (Portugal)
Used by Canada
WarsSecond World War
Production history
ManufacturerMontreal Locomotive Works
Number built188
Weight29.91 t (30 tonnes)
Length5.816 mm
Width2.626 mm
Height2.997 mm
Crew5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/hull gunner)

Armour75 mm
High Velocity 75 mm M3 L/40 gun
2 x .30-Browning machine gun
EngineContinental R-975 9-cyl radial gas
400/340 hp (298/254 kW)
SuspensionVertical volute spring
193 km
Speed40 km/h

      To build the Grizzly, I'll use the old Sherman M4A1 75mm early version (#6048) Dragon (the kit was crippled, without suspensions, which bought for pennies in the good times of eBay). To replace the missing bogies, I'll use Academy's ones...again, from my scrap-box.
Sherman M4A1 Dragon #6048
      Strarting the project by the Academy's bogies...As Canadians bogies were more prominent strengthening ribs vertically in the suspensions of the Grizzlies,..
Notice the canadian bogie...
       ...I decided to make this detail with plasticard: Plastruct!!
Academy's bogies with Plastruct...

Academy's bogies in Dragon chassi...OK !!

         While the suspensions dry, we will take care of extra armour on the cheek turret. The real thing:
Note the increased thickness in the area...
Marking the bottom edge...
Using spare part...
Done...The hull is almost ready...
      I'll use the CDP tracks from Friulmodels. Awesome tracks kit:

Putty plus cetone to do the casting surface of turret

And already preparing the painting and markings:

Notice the absence of tools in the rear deck.
The Grizzlies at this time and place not carried tools on the hull.
Weird, huh ???
Next step: decals and weathering...
      And the girl was ready ( sorry about pics; my camera is in agony...): Grizzly I cruiser tank - Camp Borden - Meaford Ranges, Canada, 1944.
Grizzly I cruiser tank - "X" tank - Camp Borden - Meaford Ranges
Canada, 1944.

Grizzly I cruiser tank - left side

Grizzly I cruiser tank - right side

Grizzly I cruiser tank with Kojak and Rover, the dog.
      Thanks for follow, Gents !!!

6 comentários:

  1. Hi.
    Great to see; a real big grizzly bear has finally woken up,
    ;) But there is middle of summer, and soon here is the middle of summer festivities

  2. Hi, Maximex...glad to see you here, again !!! Big hug, my friend...and stay alert !!!

  3. Again an interesting build ! There are more differences between standard US M4 and the Canadian Grizzly that I've tought.
    It willl be a very nice model from a great modeler. Very good job my friend. I suppose the painting will comes soon ...

  4. Indeed, Alain... I'll try start the painting in this Sunday !! Stay tunned, my friend...and all the best!!!

  5. Very nice Canadian bear my friend. Again a nice model for your collection.