M18 Hellcat

M18 Hellcat

M18 Hellcat

The M18 Hellcat (also known as the M18 Gun Motor Carriage , M18 GMC) was an American tank destroyer of World War II, used in the Italian and European theatres. It was the fastest armored vehicle in the American defense inventory of the 20th century, until the turboshaft-powered M1 Abrams heavy main battle tank appeared decades later. The speed was attained by keeping armor to a minimum, no more than one inch thick and roofless, open-top turrets, and by powering the relatively small vehicle with a radial engine originally designed for aircraft usage. The Hellcat, along with the M4 Sherman-based M10 Wolverine and M36 tank destroyer, provided American and Allied forces with a respectable mobile anti-tank capability against the newer German armored types. Despite being armed with an only partially effective 76 mm cannon, it performed well.

The Hellcat holds the record for most effective American tank destroyer during World War II. It has a higher kill to loss ratio than any tank or tank destroyer fielded by American forces in World War II.

Type Tank destroyer
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1944–57 (United States)
Production history
Manufacturer Buick division of General Motors
Produced July 1943–October 1944
Number built 2,507
Specifications
Weight 17.7 metric tons (39,000 lb)
Length 6.68 m (21.9 ft) with gun
5.28 m (17.3 ft) without gun
Width 2.87 m (9.4 ft)
Height 2.57 m (8.4 ft)
Crew 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver)
Armor 5 to 25 mm (0.2 to 1.0 in)
Main
armament
1× 76 mm AT M1A2 gun
45 rounds
Secondary
armament
1 .50 caliber (12.7 mm) Browning M2HB machine gun
800 rounds
Engine Continental R-975-C4, 9-cylinder, radial piston gasoline engine
400 hp (298 kW)
Power/weight 22.6 hp/t
Suspension Torsion bar
Operational
range
168 km (105 mi)
Speed up to 88 km/h (55 mph)