Military Vehicle Spotlight: WWII M18 Tank Destroyer

WWII M18 Tank Destroyer
Restored by Brent Mullins
Photographed by David Doyle


Carriage, Motor, 76mm Gun, M18

  • Weight (combat): 37,557 lbs.
  • Crew: 5
  • Armament: 76mm M1A1C or M1A2 main gun, .50-caliber M2 machine gun
  • Engine: Continental R975C4 4-cycle radial 9-cylinder
  • Displacement: 973 cu. in.
  • Horsepower: 400 at 2,400 rpm
  • Maximum speed: 45 mph
  • Maximum range: 150 miles
  • Fuel: Gasoline


Built by Buick, the production model of the T70 Gun Motor Carriage was designated the “M18” and nicknamed the “Hellcat.” Carrying 45 rounds for its 76mm gun, the small but lethal Hellcat could travel 150 miles on 160 gallons of gasoline, cross a 74-inch trench, ford a 48-inch deep stream and climb a 36-inch obstacle or a 60% grade. Though the U.S. Army had planned to acquire nearly 9,000 M18s during WWII, the 76mm gun’s decline in effectiveness against German armor led to only 2,507 Hellcats being fielded.

Despite the perceived shortcoming of the M18 and quick obsolescence in the U.S. Army, the tank destroyers continued to serve as front-line vehicles for other nations for decades. As late as the 1990s, M18s could still be found serving in the Bosnia and Kosovo Wars.


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