Welcome to the world where military geeks, genius mechanics and eccentric millionaires are living the dream with blowtorches, industrial lathes and hi-tech electronics, restoring four notable battle tanks from WWII. Each episode follows one tank's story: the rebuild; the innovations that made each machine great, and the engineering flaws that proved fatal. Unique serial numbers lead us to re-trace each tank's forged-in-war history: discovering where it was made, the battles it fought and the often tragic end of its fighting career.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Tank Overhaul - M18 Hellcat - Netflix
The M18 Hellcat (officially designated the 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage M18 or M18 GMC) was an American tank destroyer of World War II, used in the Italian, European, and Pacific theatres, and in the Korean War. It is the fastest U.S. tank on the road. The speed was attained by keeping armor to a minimum, and by equipping the relatively small vehicle with the same radial engine used on the much larger Sherman tank. The Hellcat was the most effective U.S. tank destroyer of World War II. It had a higher kill to loss ratio than any tank or tank destroyer fielded by U.S. forces in World War II.
Tank Overhaul - Armor - Netflix
The armor of the M18 Hellcat was quite light to facilitate its high speed, and provided very little protection from the most commonly used German antitank weapons. At the time, even thickly armored Allied tanks were unable to withstand most German antitank weapons, so reduction of armor had little negative effect on survival compared to most other Allied tanks of the period. The lower hull armor was 12.7 mm (0.50 in) thick all around, vertical on the sides, but sloped at 35 degrees from the vertical at the lower rear. The lower front hull was also 12.7 mm (0.50 in) thick, being angled twice to form a nearly rounded shape; 53 degrees from the vertical and then 24 degrees from the vertical. The hull floor was only 4.8 mm (0.19 in) The upper hull armor was also 12.7 mm (0.50 in) thick, being angled at 23 degrees from the vertical on the sides and 13 degrees from the vertical at the rear. The lower front hull's angled construction was also used to form the Hellcat's sloping glacis; two plates were angled at 38 and 24 degrees from the vertical, respectively. The hull roof was 7.9 mm (0.31 in) The cast turret of the Hellcat was 25.4 mm (1.00 in) thick on the front (at a 23 degree angle from the vertical) and 12.7 mm (0.50 in) thick on the sides (angled at 23 degrees from the vertical) and rear (angled at 9 degrees from the vertical) The front of the turret was further protected by a rounded cast gun mantlet which was 19 mm (0.75 in) thick. The main disadvantages of the M18 were its very light armor protection and open-topped turret, and the inconsistent performance of its 76 mm gun against the frontal armor of later German designs such as the Tiger and Panther. The open-topped turret—a characteristic which it shared with all American tank destroyers—left the crew exposed to snipers, grenades, and shell fragments. The doctrinal priority of high speed at the cost of armor protection thus led to a relatively unbalanced design. The problem of the main gun performance was remedied with High Velocity Armor Piercing (HVAP) ammunition late in the war, which allowed the 76 mm gun to achieve greater armor penetration, but this was never available in quantity. The 76 mm gun with standard ammunition could penetrate the frontal turret armor of Panther tanks only at very close ranges, whereas the HVAP ammunition gave it a possibility of effectively engaging some of the heavier German tanks and allowing to penetrate the Panther turret at ranges of about 1,000 m (1,100 yd).
Tank Overhaul - References - Netflix