Wednesday, January 19

Preview: ICM reloads with a bigger gun bigger gun - the 10.5cm leFH 16(Sf) auf Geschutzwagen FCM36 (f).

Already having made the 7.5cm gunned FCM 36 based tank destroyer, ICM now goes for the heavier-gunned 10.5cm leFH 16(Sf) Auf Geschutzwagen FCM36 (f) tank in 35th scale. See what we know about the kit and the real thing in our preview... 

Preview: ICM reloads with a bigger gun bigger gun - the 10.5cm leFH 16(Sf) auf Geschutzwagen FCM36 (f).

10.5cm leFH 16(Sf) auf Geschutzwagen FCM36 (f)
WWII German self-propelled howitzer
Kit No #35340
1:35th scale
The Subject: 10.5cm leFH 16(Sf) auf Geschutzwagen FCM36 (f).
One hundred FCM 36 tanks were built and finished by France in May 1940, and by the Fall of France, it is commonly thought that only about 50 of them remained operational, so the German army decided to use some of them to strengthen their forces around France, using their 37 new FCM 36 tanks under the designation Panzerkampfwagen FCM 737(f), (F, designates France). 
Ten were equipped with the 7.5cm PaK 40 anti-tank gun, and were designated as a Marder I, much like both other types of Marder I. It is not clear, however, whether or not the FCM 737(f) tanks that were converted were withdrawn from security patrols, and converted into SPGs and Tank Destroyers, or if the chassis of the 22 FCMs were made from knocked out or abandoned vehicles that were recovered and captured. 
The operational history of the 10.5 FCM 36 vehicles starts with their issuing to the gepanzer Artillerie-Abteilung (SFL.) z.b.V (Armored Artillery Battalion) on the Western Front from an order dated 31 October 1942. They were divided between two SPG batteries called 1.Batterie and 2. Batterie. 4 SPGS were in each battery. Four more were built and issued into 3.Batterie in early 1943, and this gives to the argument that 12 10.5cm leFH 16 (Sf) auf GW FCM 36 (f) were in fact built. 
In March 1943 the unit had its name changed to the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 931, also known as the Stu.Gesch.Abt 931, which was equipped with the other FCM 36 vehicles with 75mm guns, as well as an AA battery of 2cm Flak auf gep.Zgkw P 107 vehicles for defence. On the 6th of May 1943, they were merged with Pz.JG.Kp 931, and were renamed to the verst.Pz.Jg.Abt, and were part of Schnell Division West.

Fully loaded 10.5cm leFH 16 auf Geschützwagen FCM 36(f) with high explosive shells and charge canisters. The machine gun was mounted to the right of the gun.
The unit had been once again renamed several more times over the course of May, June, and July 1943, ending up as the 200th Assault gun Battalion, as part of the 21st panzer division. and finally, their stories ended in February 1943, being equipped with 10.5cm leFH 18 (sf.) Auf Geschutzwagen 39H(f) SPGs, of which they had the leFH 18, a better gun made for longer ranges, as well as 4 versions of the same tank equipped with the Pak 40, and in the decision of maintenance of parts that were more available, for the 39H, or the maintenance of the FCM 36, which had many fewer parts, it was chosen to replace them with the Hotchkiss tank SPGs, and by the first of January, 1944, there were none of the FCM 36's left in German Service, as shown by a battle report. It appears their stories ended where they did, and it is not currently known what happened to them, and as such, there is no surviving example of this oddity of war.

Most sources say that these rare tanks were never used in combat.
One of the easiest ways of telling the difference between a 10.5cm leFH 16 (Sf.) auf Geschutzwagen FCM 36H(f) self-propelled gun and a 7.5cm PaK 40 (Sf.) auf PzKpfw FCM 36(f) anti-tank gun SPG is to look at the armoured housing that surrounds the gun’s recoil recuperator mechanisms. A recuperator on an artillery gun is a device employing springs or pneumatic power to return a gun to the firing position after the recoil. On the 10.5cm leFH 16 is long and is half the length of the gun. It is situated below the gun. The armoured housing covering the 7.5cm Pak 40 gun’s recoil recuperator mechanisms is small and the gun barrel is thinner and much longer.

The kit:
We have precious little so far on this kit apart from the box art, that states the kit name, number and scale, but nothing on colour schemes and options (such as photo-etch or not) as of yet.
We can easily see a few things though, the bigger gun and recuperator of the 10.5, with different mantlet and the inclusion of the Mg-34 for self-defence. The casemate full of two-part shells and spare tracks for the sides of the tank are included.
From the rear, you can see the engine deck with cooling grilles, the exhaust and tool layout and the self-defence MG-34 canister drums for the gun. The gun is replicated in full, as one would expect on an open-topped vehicle.
You can see the primer parts of the base of the shells stored on the right-hand side of the casemate open-topped hull and the FCM 36 based running gear and tracks. 
 That is all we have on this kit for now - You can see more about their range on the ICM plastic model kits website