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9699Fw: Joe Re : [G104]

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  • Joe DeMarco
    Jun 3, 2014
      Trent asked me to forward this to G104...

      Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2014 3:11 PM
      Subject: Joe Re : [G104]

      I have been researching the cancelled invasion of Japan scheduled for November 1945 and I got a copy of the following document from the US Air Force history command that sheds light on the status of the Pacific Theater Sherman tank fleet in August 1945 --

      21 JUNE - 2 SEPTEMBER 1945

      It had the following passage about US Army tank stocks in Hawaii in
      the late summer of 1945:

      3. STANDARDIZATION OF ARMOR.  CinCAFPAC prescribed that tank
      battalions would be equipped with the Light Tank (M24), The medium
      Tank (M4A3), and the heavy Tank (M26).  This standardization of
      equipment enabled the return to the continental United States of all
      nonstandard tanks, including 177 light tanks (M5A1), and 255 medium
      tanks (75mm gun), M4 (105mm Howitzers), M4A1 (75mm gun), and M4A1
      (76mm gun).

      So, 177 M3 and M5 Stuarts and 255 M4 and M4A1 Sherman tanks with 75mm, 76mm and 105mm guns were repatriated to the USA between June and September 1945 in favor of M26 Chaffee's and M4A3 Shermans.
      MacArthur's GHQ was attempting to standardize on the M4A3, which worked in Hawaiim but it wasn't working out that way in the Philippines due to the 150 to 180 day requsition cycle in the SWPA for replacement tanks.
      Case in point was the 44th Tank battalion. It was a M4 composite tank unit. During the Janurary through June Luzon campaign it had lost a total of 15 tanks through May 1945.  According to Ken Bradstreet's12th Armored Division book HELLCATS, Vol II, it's first new replacement canks came in May 1945 -- after the majority of fighting -- a total of five Sherman tanks.  On 28 July 1945 it got six 105mm armed tanks.   After Japan surrendered, it was issued 26 new Shermans, six new light tanks, and new trucks for occupation duty in Japan.
      Joe DeMarco's photos of the 44th Tank Battalion's occupation duty deployment to Japan shows M4 composites, not M4A3's.
      Other points of interest from PARTICIPATION IN THE FINAL PHASE OF THE PACIFIC WAR include the following:
         1. The surviving 39 M4 sherman flame tanks of the 713th Flame tank battalion were
      being reconditioned for the invasion of Japan,
         2. That the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th Infantry divisions were all getting 12 M-18
      Hellcat tank destroyers for their infantry regiment anti-tank company in lieu of
      nine 57mm AT-guns (AKA 36 M-18 for each division),
        3. That the 27th infantry Division on Okinawa was being readied to
      participate in the invasion of Japan as a strategic reserve Division along
      with the 7th ID,
        4.  That 12 ea. M-40 SP 155mm guns were sent to Okinawa anong with
      ammunition for them, and finally,
        5. That the 98th ID was given 10 ea. USMC M4A3 co-axial flame
      thrower tanks (without replacement from the 72 built by the Chemical
      Warfare Service for the USMC in Hawaii) along with 20 ea.
      57mm recoilless rifles.