Vehicles of the 640th Part 3

While it’s not actually a vehicle, it was a significant piece of equipment of the 640th so I’m including it in the series.

In 1940, the US Army Artillery and Ordnance foresaw a need for a more powerful anti-tank gun. This led to a number of expedient designs, such as the 3 inch Gun M5 which was based on the 3 inch anti-aircraft gun T9. The barrel of the T9 was combined with breech, recoil system and carriage, all adapted from the 105 mm howitzer M2.
Despite the performance advantages over anti-tank guns then in use, it turned out that no branch of the US Army wanted the new gun. The Infantry considered it too large and heavy. The other possible user, the Tank Destroyer Corps, preferred more mobile self-propelled weapons. Finally, a pressure from the head of Army Ground Forces, Gen. Lesley McNair, resulted in the gun being adopted by the TD Center.
The 640th was issued M5s in 1941 upon it’s organization in California. They took them with to the South Pacific and were still on the 640th property books when they saw action in New Georgia in 1943. No evidence that they were used in combat exists however. When the 640th left the South Pacific to participate in the campaign to take the islands of the Eastern Mandates they left the M5s behind. Subsequent to this all companies of the 640th except the Reconnaissance and Headquarters companies were equipped with M-10 tank destroyers.
The Kit:
The AFV Club M5 3 inch Gun is an excellent kit. I built the kit straight from the box, no alterations. The only thing I changed was to pose the gun shield folded down to match a photo taken of a 640th M5 on Guadalcanal in 1944 There really isn’t any need to change anything anyway. The kit is superb and goes together without any problems.

That being said, artillery models are always tricky and I believe a true test of the model makers skill. They blend all sorts of delicate and fiddly interconnected parts which need be assembled with exacting precision otherwise the whole thing turns our askew. This kit was no exception.
I painted the base color using Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab lightened to scale with XF-60 Dark Yellow. I then post shaded with diluted XF-57 Buff. I followed this with a wash of black artist oils cut with mineral spirits. The final weathering touch was a very light dry brush with ground pastel chalk to bring out the fine detail. I left the weathering somewhat subdued and understated on this piece since there is no evidence they were used in active service by the 640th.

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