Tank Destroyers were specialized units designed to engage and destroy enemy armor, opening the way for Allied tanks to exploit the gaps. During WW II, tanks did not have sufficient firepower for this task leading to the concept of a separate tank destroyer platform. The M-10 (standard nomenclature 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage, M10) was built on the chassis of the M4A1 Sherman diesel tank with an M7 3-in. gun in an M5 mount placed in the pentagonal welded turret. To balance the turret for the weight of the gun, 3,600 pounds of counterweights were attached to the top, rear of the turret. 4,993 M-10 Tank Destroyers were produced at the General Motors tank arsenal during WW II, beginning in September 1942.
The M-10 Tank Destroyer was also equipped with a .50 cal. machine gun. The 30 ton vehicle was powered by twin General Motors 6-71 diesel engines, reaching a road speed of 25 mph.
The M10A1 Tank Destroyer used the chassis of the M4A3 Sherman medium tank, powered by the Ford GAA gasoline engine. The M10A1 was the base vehicle for the M-36 Tank Destroyer, standardized in June 1944. The M10A1 Tank Destroyer without a turret was equipped and used as an artillery tractor, designated Full-track Prime Mover, M35 in this configuration.
A British modification of some of their late-model M10s, equipped with a heavier gun, the Mark 5 17-pounder, was designated the Achilles IIC by the British and was used during the later months of World War II in Europe.