As fast as deadly: The M18 Hellcat
The M18 Hellcat can be considered as one of the finest and most lethal tank destroyers built during WW2. It packs a powerful M1 Cannon with a capacity for 45 rounds, and can obliterate even the most powerful armoured vehicles in the hands of a skilled player. It’s has a fast top speed both on and off-road and is one of the fastest tanks in-game; its main advantage over the enemy being its speed.
This is only capable due to its thin armour design, as well as the installation of a high-performance aircraft engine which allowed it to have an excellent power to weight ratio and favourable handling characteristics. The use of the Wright R-975 engine not only allowed for favourable performance for a vehicle of this sort, but also easier servicing, as its installation included the use of steel rollers, allowing maintenance crews to easily disconnect it from the transmission. The M18 hellcat saw service in the Pacific, European, Korean and China-Burma-India Theaters. It is known in particular to have partaken in one of the most famous and important battles of the Second World War, the “Battle of the Bulge”.
The United States Of America Ordnance Department sent a proposal and required a new “Fast Tank Destroyer” to be developed. They outlined that it must: perform well, be produced in large quantities as well as be able to be deployed rapidly anywhere on the front. Its development resulted in it being smaller, lighter, more comfortable, and significantly faster in contrast to the M10, despite carrying the same gun as the 76 mm Sherman. Its primary goal would require it to destroy tanks, support infantry, assist in defence and help secure offensive positions. A total of 2,507 units were produced over its production lifespan.
When using the M18 Hellcat, be sure to use its speed to ambush unexpecting tankers with its high powered gun. An M18 can equip different types of rounds from APCBC to APCR, and are able to quickly destroy and disable tanks by aiming for critical components such as the crew or internal parts i.e. Engines, Ammo storage areas and cannon breach. The best way to take advantage of its ambush capabilities is to stay hidden and use the appropriate camouflage and terrain to your advantage. If you’re playing on a map with hilly terrain, the M18 will have no problem conquering even the steepest of hills, unlike the heavy or medium tanks which you are likely to face.
If you’re playing on semi-flat terrain, you will be able to target and score accurate hits on your enemy foe, from medium to long distances. However, you will need to compensate for the shell drop to get that hit. You could get up close and personal; stalk your enemy and pick them off one by one like a bird of prey, without them realising until it’s too late. Its light armour can be a problem due to incoming fire, and many may consider this to be the main disadvantage for the M18. Because of this, you’ll want to use its speed and maneuverability to dodge and escape the enemy when they see you.
Crew skills and tank qualifications are very important. The higher your crew skills and tank experience are, the better your crew will perform in that tank. Among the most important of these skills include the ability to repair at an increased rate, reload faster and drive with better stability.
During the Second World War and other conflicts for which it was deployed, the Hellcat went through multiple designs and variants in order to meet the requirements which were sought, including as an armoured personnel carrier, a howitzer, an amphibious variant and as the legendary super hellcat modification. The Hellcat would still be in service after the war in multiple nations, including: China, West Germany, Taiwan, and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was the last country to have them in service, until they were retired from front line service in the late 1990’s. They are, however, still used as reserve tanks.
Tell us about your experience with the M18 in the forums and exchange knowledge with fellow fans of the U.S. tank destroyers!
The War Thunder Team
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