More on the “Houston-Kid II”

sandstone255.jpgA few days ago we had posted about “Houston-Kid II”, a composite hull M4 105mm gun tank that appeared in some ads for World of Tanks during the Superbowl.  We had asked if anyone knew any details regarding this particular tank.  Thanks to a tip from Wargaming’s North American tank expert Nick Moran, we now know that this tank is from South Africa.  This tank originally came from the South African Defense Force School of Armour in Bloemfontein.  By 2007, it had been handed over to the Sandstone Heritage Trust who went to work making the tank mobile again.  By 2008 the tank was up and running, although with a modern engine not original to any M4 variant.  For details of the restoration, go to the Sandstone Estates website here.  Below is a excerpt from the site explaining the changes made to the vehicle.  The picture below shows the alterations made to the rear deck to accommodate the new cooling fans.

06This example has been modified locally, by fitting a large V8 Mercedes Benz / Atlantis Diesel Engine 442 twin-turbo diesel engine, rated at 400 hp @ 2100 rpm. Max torque is 1600 nm @ 1100-1500 rpm. Fitted directly to the engine is an Allison AC740 CR (close ratio) 4-speed automatic gearbox with the prop-shaft running into the original gearbox which now acts as a transfer box. This in effect gives the vehicle a total of 24 forward and 6 reverse gears.

Top speed is 45 kmh. Fuel consumption is now +/- 2.5 litres per km compared with 9 litres per km with the Continental engine!

Further modifications to this vehicle include the fitment of electronically operated turret turning motors (which were not standard on this specific type) and the fitment of modern optical equipment and sights.

The other major modification on the vehicle was the fitment of twin radiators with accompanying cooling fans. These radiators are fitted in such a way that the complete radiator pack swivels open in less than a minute for easy engine access.

WoT Superbowl ads featuring “Houston-Kid II”

This past weekend World of Tanks video game released a number of somewhat amusing advertisements.  These short ads all follow the same format, starting out as a parody of an unrelated commercial which is rudely interrupted by a Sherman tank.  Normally we don’t post about video game stuff, but these ads did bring one question to mind.  Namely, whose Sherman tank did they use in the ads and how did it get the name “Houston-Kid II”?  By looking at a still shot from one of the ads, we can see that this vehicle is a composite hull M4 armed with a 105mm howitzer.  It also has an unusually long machine gun barrel protruding from the gun mantlet.  The tank has “Houston-Kid II” painted on the side.  From what we can tell, there actually was a Sherman tank used in World War two with that nickname, although it was a M4A3, not a composite hull M4.  A tank named Houston-Kid II is pictured on page 316 of Hunnicutt’s book Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank.  According to various internet sources this particular tank belonged to the 756th Tank Battalion which was part of the Seventh US Army .  If anyone knows any details about the particular Sherman tank used in the ads, we would be interested to know where this vehicle is located and to whom it belongs.

Ad Screenshot:


Hunnicutt Picture:


The World of Tanks ads can be viewed below.

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