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A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

Posted March 27, 2017 11:48 AM by dstrohl

Today, the name “Hellcat” is associated with the supercharged variant of the fourth-generation Dodge Challenger, but 74 years ago it belonged to a very special Buick. Technically the “76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18,” Buick’s Hellcat was built with a deadly purpose in mind: hunting the tanks of the Axis powers. On May 12, military vehicle collectors will have a rare opportunity to purchase a 1944 Buick M18 Hellcat tank destroyer, set to cross the block during the Auctions America Auburn Spring sale.

As war again erupted in Europe at the close of the 1930s, the U.S. Army realized it was ill-equipped to counter the “Blitzkrieg” (“Lightning War”) tactic employed by German forces attacking Poland and, later, Western Europe. Stopping a rapidly advancing mechanized army required not only armor, but a unique variant known as a “tank destroyer,” capable of out-maneuvering enemy tanks on the battlefield. Military strategists assumed, correctly, that enemy armor would eventually penetrate a front line, and when it did, the job of the tank destroyer was to prevent a significant breakthrough.

Step right this way if you're interested in (or maybe interested in buying) this classic Buick warfighter.

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#1

Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/27/2017 6:17 PM

Did you forget the "other" WWII HELLCAT, the famous Navy F6F fighter made by Grumman?

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#2

Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/27/2017 11:31 PM

This time Dodge gets to be in the limelight.

Grumman's turn will be next.

They promise.

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#3

Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 8:16 AM

And this replaced the Chevrolet Cavalier tank killer.

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#4
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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 10:04 AM

You're just trying to increase the CR4 total count of references to that classic Chevy, aren't you?

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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 10:06 AM

No, I do it because its a standard.

see

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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 1:45 PM

Did you miss the report where in Italy, a unit of Hellcats took out over a dozen Panzer tanks (not Panther, not Tiger I or Tiger II), while only suffering a loss of three vehicles? That is a testament to the shoot and scoot philosophy. M4 Shermans did not have enough armor either, although better, but they are decidedly slower. The suspension on the Hellcat made it possible to fire (not necessarily hit) on the move.

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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 3:12 PM

"The dated but official German term is Panzerkampfwagen, 'tank' or literally 'armoured combat vehicle' (the modern commonly used synonym is Kampfpanzer, or just Panzer)."

plus the hellcats had the 75mm cannon,... it may not be an 88, but it had some punch.

What offset the light armor of the Sherman against the German panzers, was the speed and numbers.

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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 3:17 PM

Agreed, good topic. I enjoy learning more about these machines of WWII, each and every time they come up.

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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 3:26 PM

The original ones came with US 75's, later versions mounted the British 76 (which was a better anti-tank gun). Of course, Big Brother came out later with the 90 and ruined everyone's day.

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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 3:44 PM

I am thoroughly surprised the 90mm gun did not tip the entire thing on its nose. I bet they had to watch the brakes, or point the gun rearward when hauling eggs.

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#5

Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 10:06 AM

Looks like I'm going to have to sell one of my Cavaliers...

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Re: A Hellcat of a Different Sort: Buick’s 1944 76-mm Gun Motor Carriage M18

03/28/2017 1:46 PM

Doh...sell the ones on the left in the picture.

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