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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.

M6 37mm Gun Motor Carriage (Dodge WC-55) - case report


    The M6 37mm Gun Motor Carriage can be considered as the first American tank destroyer of WWII. Practically a gap filler, it was the result of an adaptation of a high-speed gun of only 37mm (obsolete, even in its time ...) on the chassis of a Dodge WC-52 4x4 light truck. He was employed for the first time in Tunisia, in 1942, where his shortcomings were blatantly evident. Today we are going to meet this pioneer of the American tank destroyer formations: the M6 37mm Gun Motor Carriage.

M6  37mm Gun Motor Carriage (Dodge WC-55) preserved.
Picture: 2014 MVPA Louisville Convention
    In June 1941, the Fargo Motor Corporation, a subsidiary of Chrysler Corporation, proposed to US Military the design of a 37mm gun motor carriage, using the 3/4 ton, 4x4 Dodge WC-52. This vehicle had the great advantage of being in full production, simplifying the logistics and the supply of spare parts.
Restored Dodge WC-52 4x4 - 3/4 ton 

    A wooden mock-up in full-scale of the proposed vehicle was delivered to Aberdeen Proving Ground in August 1941 for evaluation, designated as 37mm gun motor carriage T21.
  The 37mm gun M3 was mounted on the mock-up facing toward the front and toward the rear to determine the best arrangement. The weapon aimed toward the front produced worst weight distribution and several disadvantages, such as: the necessity to eliminate the wind-shield and the effect of the gun blast in the driver. This arrangement also required a higher mount to provide adequate clearance over the engine hood.
    With the gun aimed toward the rear, many of the flaws were eliminated, with the advantage the vehicle could move rapidly once it had fired without the necessity of turning around. A full 360 degrees of traverse also was available with a limited amount of depression to the front. The "rear installation" also permitted the use of the standard gun shield from the M4 towed carriage, but during tests in Aberdeen, the standard shield of the M4 carriage proved to be totally inadequate.
A rare (and poor...) picture of
T21 37mm GMC, with M4 small shield in the gun.

    A new version of the gun shield was designed to provide more protection for gunners, but was only effective against ammunition up to .30 caliber. Although the T21 had many flaws, it was accepted for standardization due only to the rapid availability of Dodge vehicles to perform this task. This measure demonstrates the desperation to fill the gap while an armored anti-tank vehicle is not yet available.
The T21 37mm GMC with the gun facing toward the front.
The gunners are positioned almost outside the vehicle,
on the opened rear door of the cargo area.

M6 37mm Gun Motor Carriage in the mud...
The gun facing toward the rear allows a better space for the gunners.
     Standardization of the T21 as the "37mm gun motor carriage M4" was approved on 26 December 1941. To avoid confusion with other M4 such as the Sherman tank, a new designation as the 37mm gun motor carriage M6 was assigned in February 1942. At Fargo, its name was Dodge WC-55. Production began in April 1942 and continued until October of the same year. A total of 5.380 vehicles were produced. 
M6 37mm GMC - bird view

A brand new M6 37mm GMC - WC-55.
Fully equiped

M6 37mm GMC - right view

M6 37mm GMC - left view
Checkered image for measurements

M6 37mm GMC - top view

M6 37mm GMC - rear view
Notice the large gun shield

M6 37mm GMC - front view
Notice the gun

M6  37mm Gun Motor Carriage (Dodge WC-55) preserved.
Notice the gun and ammo bin open
Picture: 2014 MVPA Louisville Convention

M6  37mm Gun Motor Carriage (Dodge WC-55) preserved.
Rear view
Picture: 2014 MVPA Louisville Convention

M6  37mm Gun Motor Carriage (Dodge WC-55) preserved.
Notice the identification plate.
Picture: 2014 MVPA Louisville Convention

  The 37mm gun fired M74 Armor Piercing (AP) Shot that could penetrate only 36mm of armor at 460 m. Other ammunition carried throughout its service life included the Armor Piercing Capped (APC) M51 Projectile (which could penetrate 61mm of armor at 400m, and the High Explosive (HE) M63 Projectile. Eighty rounds of 37mm ammunition were carried aboard. The crew-members were equipped with personal weapons for self-defense.

Typical positioning of the crew during the fire with the M6 37mm GMC.
Notice the gunner and the loader just behind the gun shield,
with the Commander directing the action and
the driver ready to flee after the fire.
Maneuvers in Arkansas - November 1942.

In action:
     The American doctrine planned for tank destroyers to defend against enemy tank attacks while tanks were used principally to support infantry. The 37mm GMC M6 saw limited employment with U.S. forces (the 601st and 701st Tank Destroyer Battalions) during the campaign in Tunisia in late 1942 and early 1943. The vehicle was not well liked because it lacked armor and carried an anti-tank gun that was largely ineffective against German tanks of the period.
Perhaps the most famous photo of the M6 37mm GMC. 
The vehicle shows a .50 adapted in the front bumper, 
with the gunner in, we can say, acrobatic anti-aircraft position!!
Second Army Tennessee Maneuvers - June 1943.

Interesting pic of M6 37mm GMC with anti-decapitation bar
(or MG pedestal, like above?) on the front bumper.
Notice the chains in the wheels.

    The 37 mm GMC M6 also saw limited use in the Pacific Theater in 1943 and 1944. They equipped some Marine units, but were withdrawn before seeing combat.
A M6 37mm GMC in Marine hands, firing through the jungle
Samoa Island - Pacific Theatre - 1943.

A very nice shot (rear view ) of M6 37mm GMC.

M6 37mm GMC in Guadalcanal, January - 1944.
Notice the breech of the guns covered with tarp, for protection.

A M6 37mm GMC with a .50 Browning between the
driver and commander's seats.

M6 37mm GMC in action, shooting angrily, in Tunisia - 1943.
Look at the .30 Browning MG added right next to the Commander's seat,
the fuel rack built in the rear, the cammo with mud (and cactus)
and the crew rollbags attached to the gun shield.

Same M6 37mm GMC  above, in other angle
Notice the details...
Tunisia - 1943
    After the Tunisian campaign, many M6 37mm GMC had their gun removed and reverted to a cargo truck role as the standards WC-52. Some of these 37mm guns were mounted onto M2 halftracks to provide more firepower to the infantry, but not in the anti-tank function.
A 37mm gun dismounted from M6 GMC, after Tunisia.
Notice details of the gun mount.

A M2 Halftrack with 37mm removed from M6 GMC.
 2nd Armored Division - 41st Armored Infantry
Notice the .50 and .30 MG guns.

    Other 37mm GMC M6 vehicles found their way into service with the French Army, and were later provided to French Forces of the Interior units after the liberation of France. Despite the vehicle's obvious limitations on the battlefields of Northwest Europe 1944–1945, the FFI used practically any vehicle they could obtain because of equipment shortages of all kinds.
M6 37mm Gun Motor Carriage Dodge WC-55
   The 37mm GMC M6 was classified as "limited standard" in September 1943, because of the availability of more powerful tank destroyers mounting 75 mm and 76 mm (3inches) guns. In January 1945, the M6 GMC was declared obsolete.


M6 37mm Gun Motor Carriage
TypeTank destroyer
Place of origin                                United States
Service history
In service1942–1945
Used byUnited States, Free France, 
Philippine Commonwealth
WarsWorld War II
Mass3,330 kg
Length5.548mm (gun reversed)
Crew4 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver)

ArmorGun shield: .25 in - 6.4mm
Main armament
37 mm Gun M3
80 rounds
EngineDodge T-214 6 cylinder 4-cycle inline gasoline engine
99 hp (74 kW)
Power/weight29.7 hp/metric ton
SuspensionSemi-elliptic leaf spring
Operational range
290 km on road
Maximum speed89 km/h on road

The kit:
    For this project, my chosen is this classic Lady, which I have in my secret cabinets: A Peerless M6 37mm Gun Carriage (#3504), from 1974:
An old girl, from another century...
Peerless M6 37mm Gun Carriage (#3504)
    You must ask yourself: how does this guy dig up so many old kits like that ?? Easy answer: old, very old stocks! 
    And I would NEVER throw away an older gal, just because she is not as well detailed or as well injected as a new model. After all, these girls populated our youth dreams (a long time ago ...) and deserve to be treated with respect, care and affection... So, let's bring them to life in the most beautiful (and fun ...) way possible !!!
Kojak seems concerned about the
contents of the plastic bag ...

The kit is very, very old ...
Instructions in hieroglyphs, written on a papyrus ....
Oh Great Anubis... Get the evil spirits away from my workbench !!!!

Chassis being built ... Due to its age, plastic is extremely brittle.
It makes the MiniArt plastic look good !!!

Construction continues to advance,
under the eyes (and protection ...) of the Guardian of the Dead !!!

The girl on her own feet ...
Still a dry-run for alignment test ...
So far, so good !!!

The girl's nose...

Preparing to join the subsets ...

Done...the M6 just born...

Really, this kit is worthy of being built by an archaeologist !!!

Continue your vigilance and protection,
Oh Great Guardian of the Dead !!
Praise be to Anubis !!!

    Continuing the madness ... Time to build the M6's main weapon: the 37mm anti-tank gun. This is where the age of the kit is most evident: the details are poor and the injection is very bad ... But enough to complain and let's make lemonade from our sour lemons ...
The 37mm cannon ... Man, the thing is rough !!!

Thanks to the Gods that the 37mm did not come bent
(Anubis once again helping ...). Let's open the gun orifice carefully ...

Surgery done...ufff...

Speaking of opening holes, how about doing that 29 times

Speaking of opening holes, how about plugging some holes ....
Oh, Anubis !! curse the spirit of the engineer who designed this ...

Using my orbital sander, made with an electric toothbrush ...

Replacing some really bad parts with something a little better ...

Plastruct made things a lot better ...
Mary Jane is satisfied, now !!!

The damn cannon came without the sighting device !!!
Scratch time (red arrows)
In the blue arrows, the rack for the rifles...
Notice the perfored plate in green....

Put more claws on our girl, based on a real photo:
 .30 Browning for the Commander of the car ...
In green arrow, a jerry-can rack from Tamiya...
The kit parts make the strongest cry ...
    But the rifles scabbards are really horrible ... Using the (terrible) parts of the kit as jigs, I will make new pieces with very thin plasticard. The metal rod is to help bend the plastic (I will use boiling water to soften the plastic ...)
The icing on the cake in terms of grotesque !!!

The plasticard already folded and cold ... Time to glue the edges ...

Mary Jane inspecting the new scabbards ... the thing is taking shape ...

Mary Jane is totally happy, now !!!
The old parts were used as forms to allow sanding and finishing ...

And the girl with his subassemblies going to primer...
White like a virgin!!!

     Well, after the primer, it's time for painting ... And with painting, historical markings. As always, I like to place my girls at specific times and places, as accurate as possible. And for a change, I like to put my girls in situations of real danger. In this case, we will place our M6 37mm GMC in the "Valley of Death" of El Guettar, in the final days of March, 1942, in Tunisia. Our dirty girl belongs to Company B of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, vehicle number 2, which fought the 10th Panzer Division in these burning sands.

Shades of Olive-drab...
After Pledge, time to apply the decals ...
Thanks to Anubis for my decal spare box 

601st Tank Destroyer Battalion -Company B
vehicle number 2 - El Guettar, 1942 - Tunisia

Testing the canvas windshield cover,
made with tracing paper ...

M6 rear view...
    When I reach this stage of beginning finishing and installing accessories, things evolve fast. Camouflage, in the case of this vehicle, was applied in the field, after the vehicle had already been characterized with the unit markings. I will do as the soldiers did at that time: mask the important markings ... A great option to use as a mask are the modeling clay ....
Please, use the correct mask!!!

The Play-Doh it's great for that ...
Warning: this is a spontaneous testimony.
Play-Doh does not sponsor this channel!
Painting the WC-55's instrument panel ...
It's great to see that the old hand remains steady and obeying the brain ...
Adding details and acessories...
I loved the windshield tarp!!!

Old school painting...

Tools, jerry-cans, bucket, roll-bags,
rifle scabbard, .30 ammo box...

back-packs, roll-bags, jerry-cans...

The 37mm gun in position. Notice the .30 in position, too...
Applying leather straps that keep tools, backpacks and jerry-cans in place ...

With a little care and almost zero cost it is possible to transform
an old and discredited kit into a beautiful model ...

Details in place...

The girl is still very clean ... She needs to get
a little dirty to get a little hotter !!!

Rear view

Since my girl has an additional .30, it's only fair
that she carries the tripod for that gun. Notice in the gun's shield...

Adding lenses in the headlights
    And finally our old, very old lady was ready. I loved this project, which I built for pure fun. It is very gratifying to bring these Old Ladies into the sunlight. Meet the M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55who fought bravely in  the "Valley of Death" of El Guettar, in the final days of March, 1942, in Tunisia. Our proud girl belonged to Company B of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, with the  number 2.
M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
601st Tank Destroyer Battalion -
Company B
vehicle number 2 - El Guettar, 1942 - Tunisia

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
601st Tank Destroyer Battalion -
Company B
vehicle number 2 - El Guettar, 1942 - Tunisia

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
left side

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
right side

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
cabin details

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
front right view

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
front left view

M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
with Kojak and Rover, the dog.

The bald one is very happy with his new toy!!

Two generations of American Destroyers:
M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55 and
M6 37mm GMC Dodge WC-55
601st Tank Destroyer Battalion -
Company B
vehicle number 2 - El Guettar, 1942 - Tunisia

See you in the next project, soon!!!