Monday, February 7, 2011
You Skink by Mad Missouri
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
September 4th, 1946
What the hell is that?
Sir, that beauty is called a “Skink.”
A Skink, Sir. It's a small lizard from Canada. Or if you want to get technical it’s a M4E9(20x4) anti-aircraft tank.
Major, you’re going to do better than that. Give me the full story on this.
Yes, Sir. As you know the Russians field a large fleet of front line ground attack aircraft designed to attack tanks and other vehicles. We only built 300 or so of our standard M19 Gun Motor Carriages, the anti-aircraft variant of the M24 light tank, during the last war. The M19 have taken heavy losses so far and our tanks need protection from Russian attack aircraft. Because the M24 tank, and the M37 105mm SPG and M41 155mm SPG variants have production priority we knew that we would not be able to build enough new M19s. We decided to look at other options and found this. The skink was originally a Canadian project from 1944. It is a standard M4 tank fitted was a new turret holding 4 20mm Polsten automatic cannons. The Canadians wanted a fast armored anti-aircraft vehicle based on a standard M4 tank chassis to protect their tanks in France from German aircraft. Of course by the time they had successfully tested the system the Luftwaffe was already defeated so the project was cancelled. In the end they built 3 complete test vehicles and 8 conversion turrets for standard M4 tanks. We tested one of the remaining vehicles and it met all our needs. We have placed an order for conversion turrets with the Canadians. We should have close to 1500 Skinks by spring. They will be issued in large numbers to protect the armored divisions from low level attack planes.
Well that is good news. But the name has to go. I would imagine they will make a mess of any Russian infantry that gets in the way. What about the Ares after the Greek god?
Yes, Sir. The M4E9 Ares does have a better ring.