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SANDBAGGED SHERMAN M4A3

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Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
American tankers devised their own way of protecting their AFVs as they pushed into Germany. They turned to sandbags.

As the Americans rolled into the Reich, the threat came not so much from tanks, but from handheld infantry weapons like the Panzerfaust - which appeared more & more often. Sandbags were seen as a way of combating these weapons.

As the throwaway anti-tank rockets used a hollow shaped-charge warhead, the sandbags were supposed to pre-detonate the charge before it hit the main armour. It’s the same principle seen on today’s stand-off or slat armour.

The effectiveness of sandbags is questionable, in fact some units expressly forbade it as it strained a tank’s running gear. However, some units, like the 14th Armored Division used sandbag armour widely. If nothing else, it gave the crews some psychological reassurance.

Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3

We decided to sandbag our M4A3/76 Sherman model kit. It was “cross-kitted” using a Tamiya running gear & hull & an Italeri turret with the circular loader’s hatch. It's a pretty simple conversion to make an as yet unreleased version of the M4 Sherman.

The sandbags were made using Milliput putty. We precut & pre-glued the components for the sandbag rails using plasticard. Then we added the lower elements, again in plasticard & started applying the sandbags. Before they dried we pressed the rails into place over the sandbags & glued up all the plastic parts. Additional sandbags can be layered on top here & there once the others have dried. This helps to fill gaps or add visual interest. Texture on the bags was added by pressing a fabric cloth into the putty just before it dried fully.

At a later date, we will do a sandbagging tutorial, but for now you can enjoy these shots of the finished model kit decked out in a “protective” layer of sandbags. Even if they didn’t work, they’d make you feel better having them!

Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
Sandbagged Sherman M4A3
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