Dragon 1/6 M3 37mm Anti-Tank Gun
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
To say that the US was woefully unprepared for a major European war when war did break out in 1939 is a bit of an understatement. Though not so badly off as before WWII, the United States was 'lucky' in that it had several years to catch up before it entered hostilities. Not only was it not ready for war, but the equipment it was using was either inadequate, or non-existent. In one area this was especially true for anti-tank guns.
I should be somewhat fair about this. Prior to WWII, it was quite possible to penetrate tank armor with heavy machine guns, such as the .50 Cal that the US Army had available to it. So there really was felt to be no concern to get a decent gun into production. It was US observers in the Spanish Civil War that saw how effective the German 37mm Pak 36 gun was against Spanish tanks, and so it was decided to develop such a gun in the US.
Not surprisingly, the resultant gun was based on a Pak 36 that the US bought for evaluation in 1937. A development order was given and the result was the T3 Gun on the T1 Gun Carriage. 1938 trials showed many deficiencies and so several alternative designs were provided, the T10 Gun and T5 Carriage being approved for production as the 37mm M3 Gun and M4 Carriage.
The gun was built and issued to units. When the US entered the war in 1941/42, 37mm was no longer sufficient to penetrate the thicker armor of German tanks. While the Allies had moved forward with larger guns, the US had no such motivation and entered the war with an obsolescent gun. This was proven during US operations in Tunisia during 1942/43 where 37mm shells were unable to penetrate Panzer III and IV armor unless the ranges were very short. Few crews stuck around their guns at such ranges.
Though outclassed as an anti-tank gun, its light weight was perfect for some campaigns in the Italian mountains where it could be grunted around by its crew. In the Pacific, it was very effective as both an anti-tank and general support gun. Here the Japanese never did produce a well armored (or effective) tank so the 37mm was used right up to the end of the Pacific War. It was very effective against hardened points such as pill boxes and other defenses when using high explosive or canister ammunition.
By the end of the war, towed anti-tank guns were a thing of the past as the much more maneuverable GMC M10, M36 and M18s were much preferred.
It is great to see this addition to Dragon's 1/6 military models. Though they are really designed to be used in concert with their action figures, these kits make superb models in their own right. I've a fondness for this particular gun, despite its generally dismal operational history. Many years back, I paid nearly the retail price of this one for a 1/35 resin kit that was a true test of my abilities! Guaranteed, that this one will not fall into that category.
There are 140 parts on four sprues along with two rubber/vinyl tires and two wheels. Thanks to the size of the parts, I've shown a scan of the sprue layout, but you can be assured that the molding and detailing on the various parts is first-class, thanks to the extensive use of slide mold technology. As with the other items in their 1/6 inventory, this one is designed to be fully articulate along all the various axes. The gun is even able to be positioned in full recoil of that is what one desires. The lower armored shield can be displayed lowered or raised. One can also display the gun in the full firing position or in the travel position, ready to be hooked up to a jeep or truck. The kit even comes with a shell, ready to be shoved into the breech.
Instructions are the photo-realistic version that Dragon likes to use on these kits. Gunze and Model Master paint references are the norm. There are no decals included as generally, those used in combat were devoid of markings. However, some did have serials on the shield and for that you'll have to go to after market sources.
This is a superlative big scale gun and I'm sure this one will sell quite well. It is one that has been added to my 'to build' pile and I can highly recommend it to other artillery enthusiasts.
US Anti-Tank Artillery; 1941-45, by Steven Zaloga, Osprey, 2005 August 2010 Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors. Back to the Main Page Back to the Review Index Page Back to the Previews Index Page
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Review Index Page
Back to the Previews Index Page