The Haunted Tank

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The Haunted Tank – “Jigsaw Tank”

Within the World War 2 gaming community it is not uncommon to see a tank on the table that never actually saw service in the conflict – e.g. the Maus, an E-100, or the JS III – or a tank that is based on a fictional entity – think “Kelly’s Heroes” Oddball M4A3E4 Sherman.

I have gone one step further and reached back into the 1960-70s comic series “G.I. Combat”. Those of who aren’t old fossils growing up in North America may not be aware of this comic series and the various backstories of the characters. One of the primary themes was the progress of Sgt. Jeb Stuart, a descendant of the Confederate General of the same name (yes, a Confederate General, but this was a different time). This ghost provides guidance and advice to Sgt. Stuart, but only in a rather cryptic manner. With this apparition watching over him, Stuart’s crew are both reassured at their survivability in combat while also certain their commander is slightly mad, as Sgt. Stuart alone can see and talk to the General. Hence the tank was titled “The Haunted Tank”.

A good overview of the back story is found in wiki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haunted_Tank

In Issue #114, the original “Haunted Tank” – an M3 Stuart – entered the war in North Africa and quickly wrought havoc upon the Axis. The tank progressed bashing the Fritz into Europe when in the November 1971 issue #150 their last M3 based “Haunted Tank” was knocked out by a German anti-tank gun while fording a stream.

https://readcomicsfree.com/comic/g-i-combat-1952/issue-150/13

The crew survive but are told to go find their next steed by visiting the “tank graveyard”. There the crew skillfully assembled a tank from various discarded parts of German, Russian and American tanks.

https://readcomicsfree.com/comic/g-i-combat-1952/issue-150/15

This tank, titled the “Jigsaw Tank” due its various parts, is initially drawn to resemble an M24, but its appearance varies over the next several issues. Perhaps to address these discrepancies, in issue #158 Sgt. Stuart gives the reader a run down of the tank’s origins and provides a blueprint of it.

https://readcomicsfree.com/comic/g-i-combat-1952/issue-158/20

There is ample argument that this tank would be essentially unworkable; it is spelled out well in this “Cursed by Design” video, by “Cone of Arc”,

https://youtu.be/nV76ioyF-kM

I thought it might be fun to create an .stl for this AFV. I worked from the blueprints from issue #158. Even after scaling it down a bit my first test print showed it to a be vastly oversized. Using the “5 feet” ruler marker on the drawing, the Jigsaw Tank in the diagram would be over 22’ long and over 12’6” wide. As a point of comparison, an M26 Pershing was 20’10” long, and 11’ 6” wide.

I scaled the model down to be consistent with the size of the T-34 road wheels (only four wheels are used per side, therefore the Jig Saw tank must be shorter in length than the T-34), which formed the Jig Saw tank’s Christie style suspension. The model shows a mid-barrel fume extractor, a post-war development, but obviously these comic tankers knew what they needed. There is no coaxial MG shown nor referred to. A 20 mm cannon is mounted in the front hull, obviously from a source other than an American AFV.

There are several articles on scratch-built models of the JigSaw tank online, and each shows their author’s interpretation of the tank; given the variety of the artist rendered designs, there can’t really be any turf for rivet counters. It’s all fiction folks. I followed the issue #158 blueprints are accurately as possible.

The end result is a package of .stls for both FDM and resin printing. It was entirely whimsical effort , but may be considered if you ever want to recreate one of those epic engagements the Haunted Tank was involved in.

As for point value, I would suggest

  • They use the front hull of a T-34, so
    • + 110 points for 9+ armour
  • They use a 76.2mm gun, so
    • + 110 points for Heavy ATG
  • There is no mention of a coaxial MMG, so there isn’t one on this model.
  • There is a hull mounted light auto- cannon, 30 point – 5 for being “fixed mount”
    • + 25 points
  • A pintle HMG is a given, as the Haunted Tank is largely responsible for sweeping the Luftwaffe from the skies,
    • + 25 points for pintle HMG
  • Experimental (as it is certainly a ‘one of a kind’)
    • – 10 points

This leaves the basic vehicle at 260 points but given the length of service of the crew (well, most of them, as some crew ** spoiler alert ** are lost and replaced during their long war) This vehicle should only be taken as Veteran. The 260 points x 20 % veteran premium = 312 points.

This comes with the gyro-stabilized main gun. As well, as a bit of personalization, this tank gets a modified “Recce” rule for free; as General Stuart’s warnings were obscure and not always heeded. Thus Sgt. Stuart has to roll a 3+ to use Recce; this needs to be done each opportunity for Recce, not just once in the game.

There are two turrets included, one with the main hatch closed and one with it open. In the photo of the open hatch turret there is a crewman with a Thompson SMG (the Haunted Tank’s crew are often seen firing small arms at enemy planes). The figure shown is a complication I created from other designers and my own .stls, so I can’t include it, but there are no shortage of tank crew miniatures and .stls available.

This is package is offered for personal use as a free download. That said, if you do download it and like the results, please consider making a small donation to a local animal shelter/feral rescue and/ or food bank. Those agencies do a great job is adding some kindness to our communities.

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