the US Army allocated direct support howitzer weapons at the rate of three per
tank battalion in the form of either halftracks or M7 Priest HMC vehicles.
But as the war progressed and units were called on to carry out direct support
at small arms ranges, the decision was made to switch to mounting a small 105mm
howitzer in the M4 chassis.
these tanks looked just like a normal Sherman with the exception of the different
mantelet and rotor assembly and of course the thick, stubby gun barrel. Internally
the tanks were rearranged, and while initial production models with the VVSS suspension
did not have power traverse it was quickly reintroduced after complaints from
the field. Also, early tanks had the old split-cover hatch for the commander with
the new oval loaders hatch. Due to priority for the so-called vision
cupola to go to the gun tanks, it was not until the summer of 1944
that the howitzer tanks began to receive them. Photographic evidence is hard to
evaluate, as it appears in some cases either an early tank was updated or a later
one swapped out the vision cupola for the split-hatch version as tanks with a
variety of features can be seen in photos.
production tanks had the new HVSS suspension, and the last group to be built also
added fittings for a canvas mantelet cover along with that cover. The Marine Corps
in the Pacific also had a modified version that added a flamethrower, dubbed the
POA-CWS-H5. In Korea, the USMC used both that vehicle and a regular M4A3 (105mm)
but also fitted with an M1A1 dozer blade.
U.S. Army took delivery of 1,641 M4 (105mm) (800 with VVSS and 841 with HVSS)
tanks and the UK received 593 M4 (105mm) tanks.
earlier DML M4A3 (105) kit came with HVSS (No. 6354) but was noted as having a
mantlet which copied the 1/72 scale kits too narrow mantlet, which was a
shame as it threw off the proportions of the turret. This kit of the earlier variant
now comes with a correctly scaled mantlet (e.g. 29.4 mm wide), so the older option
of either buying an after-market item or borrowing one from the elderly DML POW-H5
flamethrower tank is no longer needed.
kit comes with a new mold upper hull and parts from the M4 Pacific Theater of
Operations and M4 Direct Vision kits as appropriate. New equipment rails and first-aid
kit come with the turret. The turret has the bulge on the right front
but there is a small seam which will need to be addressed. All of the periscopes
and their mounts are separate parts as well.
the split hatch and vision hatch commanders cupolas are provided as is the
nicely done DML M2HB AA machine gun with Slide Molded muzzle. All
viewers are clear styrene, as are all lights.
kit now comes with a relatively complete selection of suspension components, offering
both the flat top/riser and lifted return roller mountings,
separate track skids with bolt details, and a choice of either spoke
or cast style welded wheels. It also offered both machined
and smooth types of driver tooth rings. Single-piece T48 track with
extended end connectors are also provided as DS Plastic parts.
assistance was provided by Pawel Krupowicz.
kit provides markings for three tanks: 8th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division,
Normandy 1944 (tactical markings with two-tone camouflage); 31st Armored Regiment,
7th Armored Division, Normandy 1944 (OD with white stars, B-19); and (whitewash
over OD). A number jungle and set of targeted decals from Cartograf
this is a nice kit, and in this case it is reassuring that DML does listen to
complaints and suggestions to improve their kits.
95 M4A2/A3 late details
B 80 High bustle 75/105 turret
C 34 M4 DV hull rear,
C 22 clear styrene
D 16x2 M4 late VVS suspension with spoke
F 12 M4 DV engine deck - accessories
G 7 M4 (105) hull and details
12 M2HB machine gun and accessories
R 27 M4 PTO - transmission cover, final
drives and details
S 1 Twisted steel wire
V 95x2 M4 VVSS suspension system
1 Lower hull pan
Y 2 DS plastic track runs
MA 69 Etched brass details and
to Freddie Leung for the review sample.