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Vehicle Specifications

Focke-Wulf FW 190

The small Fw 190 was one of the greatest fighters of WWII. Designed by Dr. Kurt Tank, the Fw 190 was built as a sturdy all-round fighter, rather than a lightweight interceptor; but the early Fw 190A's nevertheless proved clearly superior to the Spitfire Mk.V. The Fw 190 was a better fighter than the Bf 109, except at high altitude. The radial-engine Fw 190 was also succesfully developed into a series of fighter-bombers.

The Fw 190D-series used a liquid-cooled Junkers engine instead of the radial BMW, and had increased span and length. The Fw 190D was a very good high-altitude interceptor, equal to the P-51D or Spitfire XIV and without the altitude limitations of the Fw 190A. It was the stepping-stone to the Ta 152. Total Fw 190 production was 20001.

King Tiger Tank

Armaments Minister Albert Speer began thinking about an even more powerful tank than the Tiger and Panzer. In January 1943 a specification was issued to Porsche and Henschel for a new heavy tank carrying an 88mm high-velocity gun. The two prototypes, VK.4502 (P) and VK.4503(H) were available by October. Porsche were so confident in their turret design that they put it in production. However, Henschel won the competition again and entered production at the end of December. The first 50 vehicles had the Porsche turret to avoid waste.
The PzKpfw VI Ausf B, also called Tiger II or Königstiger (King or Royal Tiger) was the most formidable tank in service until the introduction of the Soviet JS-3 just before the war's end. It was, however, miserably underpowered because it used the same Maybach HL 230 P45 engine as that in the Tiger I, which was 11 tons lighter! The power-to-weight ration was extremely poor. Although a maximum road speed of 41.5km/h was achieved during trials, it was almost certain that the vehicle would break down if it tried to sustain this. However, by the time the Tiger II entered combat in February 1944 Germany was defending, and heavy armor and a powerful gun were much more important than mobility.

The Tiger II had extremely thick armor that were also well-sloped, and a long-barrelled high-velocity 88mm KwK 43 L/71. It was the most powerful German tank of the war, and its gun enabled it to engage Allied tanks at long ranges. However, its poor maneuverability made it susceptible to attacks in the flanks or rear. In addition, the Tiger II was just as vulnerable to aerial attacks by fighter-bombers, and its size made it hard to hide. Only 487 were produced, and, like many other German weapons in the latter part of the war, they were too little, too late.

M4A4 Sherman Tank

The M4A4 Sherman Tank is a medium size tank and can go up to 30 miles an hour. Although no match for German medium tanks in the way of power, caliber and armor thickness, the Sherman proved a real winner of the war because of numerical superiority.

Weighing in at 35 tons, the Sherman is armed with a 75mm, 40 caliber cannon capable of punching through 3.7 inches of armor at 500 yards. On the defensive side, the tank had an effective armor thickness of 2.8 inches in the front, 1.6 inches in the sides, and 1.4 inches in the rear. It carried a crew of five and had three machine guns.

The Sherman was a poor match for any of the German tanks against which it fought. Even the Panzer IV, the weakest of its opponents, had a more powerful gun. Against the Panther and the Tiger, the Sherman was hopelessly outclassed. The Panther and the Tiger had frontal armors of 4.8 and 4.0 inches respectively; thus, the Sherman's gun could not kill either tank in a head-to-head encounter, even at close range. The German guns were more powerful than the Sherman's; they could easily penetrate the Sherman's frontal armor even at great ranges.

The only chance a Sherman had against a Panther or a Tiger was to shoot it in the side or rear, where the armor was thinner. This required that the Sherman lay in wait and shoot its victims from hiding.

But the Sherman possessed two less obvious advantages: reliability and simplicity. These may not be very exciting traits, but in the heat of combat a little thing like a sticky clutch can be disastrous. A minor breakdown during a retreat can result in the complete loss of the tank. Such problems were rare with Shermans. And their simplicity made it possible to manufacture them in astounding numbers. Over 49,000 Sherman tanks were built during World War Two -- more than all the tank production of the Third Reich for the entire war.

GMC Truck

The GMC 2 ½ ton 6 x 6 truck was known as the 'Deuce and a half' or more affectionately as 'Jimmy'. A vast number of these ubiquitous load carriers were built - over 562,000 by GMC alone, and 250,000+ by other manufacturers. They were also fitted with a wide variety of other bodies - tankers, operating theatres, dump trucks, & mobile workshops.

P-47 Thunderbolt Airplane

In the entire history of military aviation, there has never been an airplane that could match the P-47 Thunderbolt for ruggedness and dependability. The pilots who flew it into combat called it "The Unbreakable" and "The plane that can do anything." They were not far from wrong. P-47's often came back from combat shot full of holes, their wings and control surfaces in tatters.

On one occasion a Thunderbolt pilot, Lieutenant Chetwood, hit a steel pole after strafing a train over Occupied France. The collision sliced four feet off one of his wings--yet he was able to fly back safely to his base in England.

The P-47's nickname, the Jug, is a commentary about its bloated, pug nosed appearance. The British, however, believed it to be an abbreviation for Juggernaut. Both monikers, in their own way, are true. While hardly an attractive aircraft, it was nonetheless formidable and difficult to bring down.

The Thunderbolt was the largest single engine fighter of World War II, and its appearance led many - particularly in the RAF - to dismiss the design as ungainly and ill-suited for a fighter role against nimble Luftwaffe aircraft, such as the Me109 and FW 190. What the Jug had, however, that the RAF fighters lacked at the time was range. It served as an able bomber escort until late '43 when the Merlin powered Mustangs arrived.

M3 Half Track

The halftrack personnel carrier T14 which was produced in the late 1930's was the prototype for all the wide variety of halftracks produced by the USA during the war years; it soon became standardized as the M2. There were many variations [which included] carriers of the 81mm and 4.2in mortars, 75mm and 105mm howitzers, the 57mm gun and various AA mounts including the 40mm Bofors and multiples - twin .50cal MGs, four .50cal MGs and a 37mm cannon plus twin .50cal MGs.

The halftrack was originally conceived as a recce vehicle, with adequate protection against small arms and a good cross-country performance. It was widely used throughout the army for a variety of jobs. The basic M2 model was intended as an artillery gun tower for the 105mm howitzer. The M3 model was produced concurrently with the M2 and was the basic personnel carrier. It was armed with a .50cal MG on a pedestal mount and had seats for 10 men, so it could carry a rifle squad in the rear, and had a crew of three.

Higgins Boat (LCVP)

"The second class consisted of various types of Higgins landing craft (LCPs, LCPLs, LCVPs, LCMs) constructed of wood and steel that were used in transporting fully armed troops, light tanks, field artillery, and other mechanized equipment and supplies essential to amphibious operations.

It was these boats that made the D-Day landings at Normandy, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Leyte and Guam and hundreds of lesser-known assaults possible. Without Higgins' uniquely designed craft there could not have been a mass landing of troops and material on European shores or on the beaches of the Pacific islands, at least not without a tremendously higher rate of Allied casualties."

Pz. Kpfw. VI 'Tiger' Tank

This tank, originally the Pz. Kpfw. VI, first was encountered by the Russians in the last half of 1942, and by the Western Allies in Tunisia early in 1943. It's colloquial name, Tiger, was adopted officially in February 1944. The current version is Model E.

Unlike the Panther, the Tiger is designed on familiar German lines, but all the dimensions are increased. The main armament is the 8.8cm Kw.K. 36, which is essentially the 8.8cm Flak 36 adapted for turret mounting. The mounting of such a heavy gun has raised considerable problems of rigidity, and consequently the hull is constructed of large plates entirely welded together.

The superstructure is made up in one unit, and welded to the hull. The turret wall is made from a single large piece of armor, 82mm thick, bent into a horseshoe shape. Further, all the armor plates are interlocked, in addition to being welded. The armor of the Tiger, at the time of its appearance, was the thickest ever to be fitted on any German tank, the front vertical plate being 102mm thick, and the hull sides 62mm.

The suspension, which employs interleaved, Christie-type bogie wheels with a very wide track, is reasonably simple and is an effective solution of the suspension problem for such a large and heavy vehicle.

The Tiger engine requires very skilled driving and maintenance to get the best performance, and in the hands of insufficiently trained crews mechanical troubles are apt to appear. This characteristic has been the tank's principal disadvantage.

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