17-pounder Achilles self-propelled gun

17-pounder Achilles self-propelled gun

M10C Tank Destroyer

17-pounder Achilles self-propelled gun, (M10C Tank Destroyer) and the American Gun Motor Carriage M10 (3-inch Gun), were used by the British, Canadian and Polish armies in Italy and northwest Europe. During operation Totalize, the Canadian 6th Anti-Tank regiment were ordered to add armoured roofs to their 3-inch M10s. 2 Canadian Corps included the 6th Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (It was not equipped with 17-pdr M10s until September 1944, but had two batteries of 3-inch M10’s and two batteries of towed 17-pounder anti-tank guns prior to this).

Between March-April 1945, the 1st Canadian Corps transferred from Italy to North West Europe. The only two units that would have used 17-pounder M10s were the 4th Anti-Tank Regiment RCA of the 5th Canadian Armoured Regiment; and the 7th Anti-Tank Regt. RCA of the 1st Canadian Corps Artillery. Both Regiments would have had two batteries of towed 17-pounders and two SP batteries with 17-pounder M10s. The 4th Anti-Tank Regiment was using 3 inch M10s in Italy which were replaced by 17-pounder M10s after the move to NWE. The 7th Anti-Tank Regiment was using 17-pounder Valentines (Archers) in Italy. These were returned to the British in Italy and the Regiment received 17-pounder M10s in NWE. (John McGillivray)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224275)

General Guy Simonds taking the salute of the 2nd Canadian Corps, flanked by a a pair of 17-pounder Achilles self-propelled guns, 31 May 1945.

(Author Photos)

17-pounder Achilles self-propelled gun, (M10C Tank Destroyer), British, 3rd Cavalry Museum, Fort Hood, Texas.

(Ken Bell, Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3208270)

Canadian artillery crews removing water-proofing from their Achilles self-propelled guns, with a Centaur forward and off to the right, on the Normandy beachhead, 6 June 1944.  The metalwork items at the bottom of the image are deep wading ducts that were fitted to Shermans and other tanks to allow them to get ashore.  (Philip Moor).  These were 3-inch M10s of the 3rd Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment. They did land on Juno but some were in support of the Royal Marines as they moved East to connect with the British forces on Sword beach. The Marines did have their own Centaur armored vehicles but the M10s seem to have been tasked as anti-tank support.  (Ron Volstad).

The 17 pounder modification for the M10 was not yet available in sufficient numbers so the RCA anti-tank units made do with the US mounted gun.  (Benjamin Moogk)

Mark Milner's Book, "Stopping the Panzers. The Untold Story of D-Day" has a very interesting NEW analysis of the Canadian contribution to Operation Overlord. In it, he describes in great detail the Allied invasion plan, including the intended dispositions of forces landing at each beach on 6 June 1944. and over the next several days. The Canadians were given the role of defending the broad plain lying between Caen and points south, which allied planners anticipated would be the means the Germans used to mount an overwhelming armoured thrust to throw "the little fish (as an SS Commander termed the Allies) back into the sea." As such, they were allotted the highest number of field and antitank artillery of any of the respective landing forces. Mobile artillery was considered essential as German counterattacks were expected to be immediate and fierce. As it happened, much of that artillery was either late or arrived incomplete as the result of beach congestion, high tides and the unforeseen storm surge following gales on June 5. The artillery seen above included M10 mobile antitank guns and Royal Marine Artillery Centaurs (whose mission was to defeat enemy strongpoints along the beach and immediately inland). The intended artillery support took several days to arrive in place and the whole timetable for British forces to capture Caen on June 6 was disrupted.....Despite serious setbacks Canadian forces were able to withstand fierce attacks by 12 SS, Panzer Lehr and the 21st Panzer Division but were severely limited by the serious shortage of artillery support in those first several critical days of the invasion.  (John Albert Seim)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524536)

17-pounder Achilles self-propelled gunsr moving up through the forest to protect the advance of the 2 Canadian Infantry Division in the vicinity of Xanten, Germany, 9 March 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3520748)

Infantrymen of Le Régiment de la Chaudière riding on a 17-pounder Achilles self-propelled gun of the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) during the attack on Elbeuf, France, 26 August 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225559)

Sargeant G.S. Aikinson and crew on top of an American Gun Motor Carriage M10 (3-inch Gun) self-propelledTanti-tank gun, which has taken cover between the iron gates of a French Barracks in Normandy, 23 July 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224761)

American Gun Motor Carriage M10 (3-inch Gun) anti-tank gun, pursuing units of the Herman Goering Panzer Division, Italy, 18 July 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233767)

M10 (3-inch Gun) anti-tank gun, Courselles, Normandy, June 1944.

(IWM Photo, NA1975)

17-pounder Achilles self-propelled gun crossing the River Savio on a Churchill ARK which was driven into the river, Italy, 24 Oct 1944.

105th Anti-tank Battery, 3rd Anti-tank Regiment, RCA.

On D-Day, the 6th of June 1944, the 3rd Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment R.C.A. landed on Juno Beach in Normandy, France as part of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.  The regiment consisted of four batteries: the 4th from Peterborough, Ontario, the 52nd from Weymouth, Nova Scotia, the 94th from Quebec City and the 105th from St. George, New Brunswick, along with a headquarters from Toronto.

Originally trained as field artillery, the regiment had been converted to anti-tank.  Each battery had two troops of four 6-pounder anti-tank guns and one of four M10 Achilles anti-tank guns, the latter being Sherman tanks with a 17-pounder gun and an open turret with a 50-calibre machine gun mounted on the side.  The troops were identified in the batteries as follows: 4th Battery, ABC; 52nd Battery, DEF; 94th Battery, GHI, 105th Battery, JKL; with C, F, I and L being the M10 troops.

(Jean-Pol Grandmont Photo)

17-pounder Achilles self-propelled anti-tank gun preserved as a Battle of the Bulge memorial in La Roche-en-Ardenne, France.

On 5 August 1948, 127 Anti-tank Battery had two 17-pounder M10s on strength. This is from a list of locations of the M10. We also had the towed 17-pounder AT gun in service and in Canada, but it is not certain that the battery also had any towed guns. The towed version was not highly regarded because of its weight, but we did take them to Korea in the Infantry battalions and then promptly put them into reserve. I have attached a copy of the page from my notes - the source file is LAC RG 24 Accession 83-84/048 Box 3154 File 6401-17-PR (5 volumes). The LAC have changed their system and the current file ref is RG24-C-1-c, Volume number: 31716, File number: 6401-17-PR.I believe the RCAC took over the anti-tank role in 1952. (Doug Knight, 29 Aug 2023)

As of 5 August 1948, there were 3 M10 17-pounders with the RCSA, 2 with 127 AT Bty at Shilo, Manitoba, 6 with the Reserve Force Pool at Shilo, 1 at 16 ROD, Saskatchewan, 2 with 48 AT Bty, Winnipeg, all under Prairie Command. Unknown number with 89 AT Bty, Woodstock and 4 with 9 AT Bty in Belleville, Ontario, 1 with RCEME, 1 with LETE, 6 at Petawawa, 1 with 100AT Bty, Listowel, 1 with 99 AT Bty at Wingham, 3 with 45 AT Bty at Barrie, all with Central Command. 4 were with Western Command: 1 with 62 AT Bty at Courtenay, 1 with 108 AT Bty at Kimberly, BC, and 2 with 41 AT Regt at Calgary. (Doug Knight)

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