Zvezda 1/35 QF-6 Mk II British Anti-Tank gun
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Limitations of the existing 2 pounders were apparent even as the gun was first entering service, and an effort was made to replace it with a much more capable weapon starting as early as 1938. The Woolwich Arsenal was entrusted with the development. The 57 mm calibre was chosen for the new gun. Guns of this calibre were employed by the Royal Navy from late 19th century, and therefore manufacturing equipment was available. The design was complete by 1940, but the carriage design was not completed until 1941. The production was further delayed by the defeat in the Battle of France. The loss of equipment and the prospect of a German invasion made re-equipping the army with anti-tank weapons an urgent task, so a decision was made to carry on the production of the 2 pounder, avoiding the period of adaptation to production, and also of re-training and acclimatization with the new weapon. It was estimated that 100 6-pounders would displace the production of 600 2-pounders. This had the effect of delaying production of the 6 pounder until November 1941 and its entry into service until May 1942.
Unlike the 2-pounder, the new gun was mounted on a conventional two-wheeled split trail carriage. The first mass production variant—the Mk II—differed from the pre-production Mk I in having a shorter L/43 barrel, because of shortage of suitable lathes. The subsequent Mk IV was fitted with a L/50 barrel, with muzzle brake. Optional side shields were issued to give the crew better protection, but were apparently rarely used.
The 6 pounder was used where possible to replace the 2 pounder in current British tanks, requiring work on the turrets, pending the introduction of new tanks designed to take the 6 pounder from the outset. The Churchill Marks III and IV, Valentine Mark IX and Crusader Mark III all began to enter service during 1942. The Valentine and Crusader both needed to lose a crew member from the turret. Those tanks designed to take the 6 pounder from the outset were the problematic Cavalier and the Cromwell and Centaur. When the Cromwell went into combat in 1944 it was with the Ordnance QF 75 mm gun, which was a redesign of the 6 pounder to take US 75 mm ammunition. The 6 pounder was fitted to armoured cars in British service; the AEC Armoured Car and the US-supplied Staghound armoured cars.
Although the 6 pounder was kept at least somewhat competitive through the war, the Army nevertheless started development of a more powerful weapon in 1942. Their aim was to produce a gun with the same general dimensions and weight as the 6 pounder, but with improved performance. The first attempt was an 8 pounder of 59 calibre length, but this version proved too heavy to be used in the same role as the 6 pounder. A second attempt was made with a shorter 48 calibre barrel, but this proved to have only marginally better performance than the 6 pounder. The program was eventually cancelled in January 1943.
Instead the 6 pounder was followed into production and service by the next generation British anti-tank gun, the 17 pounder which came into use from February 1943. As a smaller and more manoeuvrable gun, the 6 pounder continued to be used by the British Army not only for the rest of World War II, but also for some 20 years after the war.
A 57/42.6 mm squeeze bore adaptor was developed for the gun but was never adopted.
In addition to the UK, the gun was produced in Canada.
The Combined Ordnance Factories (COFAC) of South Africa produced three hundred examples as well.
The idea of manufacturing the 6 pounder in the U.S. was expressed by the U.S. Army Ordnance in February 1941. At that time the U.S. Army still favored the 37mm Gun M3 and production was planned solely for lend lease. The U.S. version, classified as substitute standard under the designation 57 mm Gun M1, was based on the 6 pounder Mk 2, two units of which were received from the UK. However since there was sufficient lathe capacity the longer barrel could be produced from the start. Production started early in 1942 and continued until 1945. The M1A1 variant used US "Combat" tyres and wheels. The M1A2 introduced the British practice of free traverse, i.e., the gun could be traversed by the crew pushing and pulling on the breech, instead of solely geared traverse, from September 1942.
A more stable carriage was developed but not introduced. Once the 57 mm entered US service a modified towing point design was introduced (the M1A3) but only for US use.
About one-third of production was delivered to the UK.
Like the British Army, the U.S. Army also experimented with a squeeze bore adaptor (57/40 mm T10), but the program was abandoned.
American shell designs and production lagged behind the introduction of the gun once it was accepted for service and so at first only AP shot was available. The HE shell was not available until after the Normandy landings and UK stocks were procured to cover its absence.
According to the box, this is a limited reissue, so I take it that it is an older kit. Looking at the sprues, I can agree with that. I found quite a few ejector pin marks on even small parts and several of the thicker bits had sink areas on them. While I wouldn't categorize it as bad as the ejector pin mark infested Italeri 105mm gun, it is getting there. The kit also suffers from being yanked out of the mold before the plastic has fully cooled as the two barrel halves are warped to varying degrees.
Getting past that, the kit is not a very difficult looking build. There is a nicely detailed sight and elevation mechanism with a fairly well molded gun carriage. The trails are separate and can be moved. It does n't seem to have a separate towed or ready mode. The lower section of the gun shield can be modeled raised or lowered and there are hooks provided for the raised position. Tires are nicely done and have six small pieces on both the inside and outside of the wheel. These small pieces (shown on the lower left of the parts image) all have a large ejector pin mark on them that is on the side of the piece that will be visible. Good luck filling all those without going nuts!
The instructions are a single folded sheet that have the nine construction steps on one side, with the painting diagram and usual history/warnings on the other. Humbrol is the paint of choice.
I am not sure how many other kits there are of this gun in this scale, but I have to say that this one, despite its relative simplicity will need to be treated as a short run kit thanks to all the molding issues.
Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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