|M10 Tank Destroyer, U.S. Version. Photo by Herve Abrahms.
Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor during the Battle of the Colmar Pocket near Holtzwihr, France. During this battle, he climbed aboard a burning M10 "Wolverine" Tank Destroyer which was abandoned in a nearby ditch and began firing a .50 caliber machine gun at the enemy. He killed an estimated 50 German foot soldiers and turned back 6 Panzer tanks. As Audie fought this lone battle, the M10 he was on sustained an estimated three direct hits from either enemy tanks or artillery. Later, during the filming of TO HELL AND BACK, Audie Murphy, who wanted the movie to be accurate, became unhappy when there were no M10's available during the film's production. He reluctantly settled for a Sherman tank during the filming of the famous battle (see "Clearing Up Misconception" in the Newspaper section).
There are two M10 Tank Destroyers at the 4th Infantry Division Museum located at Fort Hood, Texas. These two vehicles are a few of just a handful that have survived the years since World War II. The one seen in this photo is the U.S. version. Production of this particular M10 began in September, 1942. The pentagonal welded turret, equipped with a 3-inch M7 gun in an M5 mount, was used with a Sherman chassis. To balance the weight of the 3" gun, counter weights weighing about 3600 lbs were added to the top rear of the turret. Total production of the M10 Tank Destroyers was 4,993.
The British version, known as the M10 "Achilles", which can also be seen at Fort Hood but isn't pictured here, had an improved 17-pounder Mark V Main Gun which gave it greater fire power. The most obvious difference between the two versions was that the British version had a prominent muzzle brake at the end of it's gun barrel. Audie Murphy, however, fought from atop the U.S. version.
The mission of the Tank Destroyers was to engage and destroy enemy armor permitting Allied tanks to concentrate on exploitation of break throughs and the destruction of enemy rear areas. Fort Hood was one of the main training facilities of tank destroying forces during World War II. The M10's technical information (U.S. version) is provided below:
Gun, Motor Carriage|
Tank Destroyer, M10, United States
||3-inch M7 Main Gun, .50 Caliber Machine Gun"|
||General Motors Engine, Twin Diesel 6-71|
||25 Miles Per Hour (Road)|
To visit the 4th Infantry Division, from Interstate 35 in Belton, Texas take the US Highway 190 exit and travel west toward Fort Hood, Texas. At Fort Hood, take the main entrance and drive past the baseball stadium one block to Battalion Headquarters Avenue. At Battalion Headquarters Avenue, turn right. Drive approximately 1 miles until you see the museum on the right side of the road next to the 4th Infantry Division's headquarters. The vehicle displays which are located outside the museum are available for viewing at any time.
In the last photograph, a .50 caliber machine gun and machine gun mount has been digitally added to the M10 Tank Destroyer. This particular machine gun is found on a Sherman Tank and is nearly identical to the one that Audie Murphy would have used during the Battle of the Colmar Pocket.