Over 1,000 M10 tank destroyers were converted by the British by adding the deadly Ordnance QF 17 pounder anti-tank gun in place of the standard 3″ (76.2 mm) Gun M7. The British and Canadian forces now had another weapon to deal with the German heavy panzers.
The standard infantry anti-tank gun was the 6 pdr – a gun capable of taking out most German armour but one that struggled against the heavier Panthers, Tigers and their ilk. The much more potent 17 pdr was very effective but at the same time heavier and more unwieldy. The British knew from past experience that German forces would usually counterattack quickly and the 17 pdr would be unlikely to be able to be positioned in time. Thus the British saw the Achilles as a perfect way to put the lethal 17 pdr in position and to manoeuvre it to react to the situation at any one time – something the towed 17 pdr could not hope to achieve.
The Achilles went ashore on D-Day, equipping units of the Royal Artillery and Royal Canadian Artillery in Anti-tank Regiments.
One of the most memorable actions involving the Achilles was conducted by B troop, 245th Battery, 62nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery which was attached to the Hamilton Light Infantry during Operation Charnwood. A mixed German force of Panzer IVs and Panthers from the 12th SS Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjugend’ attempted to retake the town of Buron that had been captured earlier by the Canadians. The eight Achilles of B troop had set up in an orchard looking south towards Abbaye d’Ardenne, and were perfectly placed when the German armour began their counter-attack. In the brief action, 13 German tanks were knocked out and the attack was repulsed.
Our Achilles model comes with separate heads for the crew giving you lots of opportunity to convert them. Also included is a .50 cal machine gun for anti-personnel duties.