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Maresal
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The Vânătorul de Care Mareșal (Romanian for Tank Destroyer Marshal) was a Romanian tank destroyer also called Carul M (Tank M). It never left the stage of prototype and a very few numbers was produced during WWII.

History

The program started when the Romanian Army noticed the lack of effective AT weaponry during Operation Barbarossa, especially after meeting the T-34 and the KV-1 in 1942. This urged Romanian High Command to undergo the development of a Romanian-built tank destroyer, with engineers Captain Sîmbotin and Major Anghel at the head of the project.

Due to the capture of significant number of Soviet T-60 tanks and 122m howitzers from the Red Army, their idea was to adapt the howitzer to the T-60 by removing the turret and adding four thick steel plates to form a completely enclosed quadrangular casemate onto the hull. The initial prototype M-00 christened Mareşal (shorten to M- for all prototypes) was built by Rofiger Works, with the assistance of the TACAM R-2 designer Constantin Ghiulai and Rofiger Director Radu Veres, and was tested on July 1943. Despite some problems with the gun mounting the testing was successful enough to launch the production of three more prototypes.

The three prototypes, labelled M-01, M-02 and M-03 still used the the same T-60 chassis but were welded instead of riveted and were slightly wider and longer that the M-00, were tested on October 1943 in front of Marshall Antonescu. Tested during the same day, the 75mm Resița AT gun will be chosen to be later prototypes main gun, dropping the 122mm hotwitzer, due to its exceptional performances.

Another prototype, the M-04, was completed on January 1944, several changes were incorporated such as an half-hexagon armor shape instead of the turtle shape of the four previous prototypes, the new 75mm Reșița gun and a new Hotchkiss engine. Marshall Antonescu presented the M-04 prototype to Hitler in December 1943.

The two last prototypes M-05 and M-06 dropped the T-60 hull in favor of a Romanian built-one. The M-05 was completed and tested in March-May 1944, helped by Alkett and Vomag specialists the new prototype was equipped with Czech tracks and German optics and radio. The M-06 remained incomplete as its testing occurs at the same time as King Michael's Coup on August-September 1944. After the armistice between Romania and the Allies, Soviet Union confiscated all Mareșal prototypes and related materials on October 1944. After this point the Mareșal's fate remain unknown.

1000 Maresal (200 M-05 and 800 M-06 models) were ordered in May 1944, however due massive bombing from the allies the production plan was disrupted and was supposed to be delayed to November 1944 but that never happen because of the project being terminated by Soviets on October.

On May 1944 a training batallion called "M Battalion" for training future crew and testing new vehicles models was created as part of the 2nd Armored Regiment. As no mentions of the other prototypes being tested it can be assumed that only the M-05 was tested, probably due to previous prototypes being technologically too different.

Girls Und Panzer

Gekkan Senshado Magazine

At the time of the 63rd Sensha-dō Tournament, Count High School owned an inoperative Mareșal.

Witch with Wings of Fire and Iron

Count High School fielded their newly operational Mareșal during a training match against Saunders University High School. In the match it was paired with a T-38, tasked to draw attention on it and luring their opponent in the Mareșal line of fire which was lying in ambush in the forest, it fires once on Alisa's M4A1(76) but as the angle wasn't optimal the shot ricochet on the turret, but it unknowning to Count revealed the Maresal position to Kay. She ordered her tanks to fire HE shells on the nearby forest blowing up the tank destroyer's cover and camouflage. It vainly tried to retreat but was intercepted by the Firefly.

Trivia

  • The Mareşal was named in honor of Marshall Ion Antonescu, Romania's dictator from 1940 to 1944.
  • It is assumed that the model used by Count High School is the M-05, as the only pictures of the Mareşal that survived are from the M-05.
  • As only front pictures of the Mareşal exist, the rear of the tank can be considered as artistical license.
  • There is some rumors about the Mareşal to be the inspiration of the succesful German tank destroyer Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer. British historian Mark Axworthy claimed in his book "Third Axis Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War" that a delegate of the Waffenamt said the Hetzer followed the Mareşal's design and American historian Steven Zaloga wrote in his book "Tanks of Hitler’s Eastern Allies 1941–45" that the Germans were impressed with the overall layout of the Mareşal, and it is credited with being the inspiration for the German Jagdpanzer 38(t) tank destroyer. But none of these statements are based on reliable sources only heresays.

Gallery

Main article: Maresal/Gallery
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