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Re: [G104] Re: Thin belly armour

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  • bobskat@aol.com
    Kurt... Thank you for that note re; the Japanese burying bombs as mines. You are absolutely right, and I had forgotten that....(how could anyone forget
    Message 1 of 26 , Nov 6, 2001
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      Kurt...
      Thank you for that note re; the Japanese burying bombs as mines. You are
      absolutely right, and I had forgotten that....(how could anyone forget
      something like that...dumb dumb me).
      That could very well account for the tremendous damage to those
      tanks...and, yes, some were turned on their side from the explosion.
      Now that you've jogged my weak mind, I would bet that that was what was used
      in that particular instance.

      Bob & Linda May
      Eight Dollar Mountain,
      Southern Oregon
    • Jon Woods
      How does one go about in finding morning reports? My father was killed April 1st, 1945 while assigned to Co A of the 35th Tank Bn. He was killed at Crezberg
      Message 2 of 26 , Nov 6, 2001
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        How does one go about in finding morning reports? My father was killed April
        1st, 1945 while assigned to Co A of the 35th Tank Bn. He was killed at
        Crezberg (not sure of the spelling) , I have no clue on where to look, all I
        have been given is that the records were burnt at St. Louis fire, of
        military records.
        Jon
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <Dlbbarrel@...>
        To: <G104@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 3:13 PM
        Subject: Re: [G104] Re: Thin belly armour


        > Bob and Ken,
        >
        > I have just located the daily company reports for the 70th Tank Bn in
        > Maryland. Since I live a short distance away in New Jersey I plan on
        taking a
        > ride down and making copies.
        >
        > Hopefully they will have enough detail in them or names of crew members
        that
        > I may be able to locate to get the real story on what happened that day.
        >
        > Thanks for all your ideas and your imput. I'll keep you posted as to what
        I
        > find out.
        >
        > As far as schrapnel wounds, I would assume that his body was in some state
        of
        > advanced decomposition since the autopsey was down two years following his
        > death as they prepared him for the trip home. Open wounds may not have
        been
        > evident at that time, although metal fragments should have been.
        >
        > Thanks again,
        >
        > Ken
        >
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      • mykef2@aol.com
        Gentlemen, While assigned to the Center for Army Lessons Learned, I was tasked with conducting a research project that incorporated wounds suffered by AFV
        Message 3 of 26 , Nov 7, 2001
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          Gentlemen,
          While assigned to the Center for Army Lessons Learned, I was tasked
          with conducting a research project that incorporated "wounds suffered by AFV
          crewmen in upper mid-intensity conflict". (In English, that means large tank
          on tank battles without nukes.)

          I had access to Ft Leavenworth's extensive record library, as well as
          support from the US Army Medical Corps records. Information was incorporated
          from US and British WW2 studies, what Soviet records were available from the
          Kursk battles, and the Middle East wars. Third Infantry Division was,
          thankfully, almost anal retentive in their casualty reporting and statistical
          breakdown of wounds and causes during the Italian Campaign.

          Basic findings were that injuries varied depending on crew position.

          For instance, Tank Commanders suffered severely from shrapnel wounds
          which accounted for more casualties than any other source, including snipers.
          This was accounted for by the almost universal trend for TC's to fight their
          vehicles with the hatches open.

          Ironically TC's were also the ones anecdotally (Not enough hard
          information to quantify) most often blown out of the hatch without major
          injury. This was due to the fact that they were the ones who most often had
          their hatches open. The hatches are fairly large and more often than not the
          TC was already partially out of them. The explosion therefore catapulted
          them out and after which it was shear luck that they didn't get crushed or
          their necks broke from the fall.

          Driver's and BOG's because of their body placement (bent and deeper in
          the tank) did not have so clean an exit, even if the hatch was open and are
          less often reported to have "miraculous" escapes.

          Driver's (and BOG's on the tanks that had them) had a slight majority
          of wounds resulting from the concussion caused by mines. Even if the mine
          did not penetrate, if the SM's feet were in direct contact with the floor the
          force of the concussion was often enough to break the foot and drive the leg
          bones up, causing them to fracture.

          This was one factor that led to the development of the post war
          "Tanker's Boot" which incorporated straps instead of laces. The straps
          allowed easier removal with less pain to the crewman, along with quicker
          escape if the boot was trapped.

          Gunner's were the least likely to survive a hit by an another tank or
          AT weapon. Burns were listed as the leading cause of death/casualties for
          them.

          Loaders shared this fate until the advent of the loaders hatch,
          whereupon shrapnel became their primary nemesis.

          Crude figuring for the loser in a tank on tank engagement (four man
          crew) is one killed outright, one heavily or mortally wounded, one lightly
          wounded and one "Returned to Duty".

          Broken bones were a common phenomenon simply from being slammed
          against the armor...or the armor being slammed against them. A mine
          explosion or close artillery strike could lift the tank up and slam it down,
          without turning it over.

          The driver and BOG do not have a lot of room, so the effect is like
          shaking an object in a can...it gets hit top and bottom and side to side.

          A Sherman BOG, riding with the hatch open, and only their head
          exposed in the very narrow hatch opening, could very well have had his legs
          and his collar bone broken at the same time, along with mortal internal
          injuries.

          As I have experienced first hand, in less eventful circumstances,
          flesh and bone give way long before rolled homogeneous steel does.

          Hope this helps,
          Mike
        • Dlbbarrel@aol.com
          Ken, I sent Jon some addresses to his e-mail so that he can hopefully fiind some information on his father. Thanks. Ken
          Message 4 of 26 , Nov 7, 2001
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            Ken,

            I sent Jon some addresses to his e-mail so that he can hopefully fiind some
            information on his father.

            Thanks.

            Ken
          • Dlbbarrel@aol.com
            Mike, Thanks, that explaination seems to be more lodgical as to how my uncle fatal wounds were incurred. It would make sense that they had the hatches open so
            Message 5 of 26 , Nov 7, 2001
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              Mike,

              Thanks, that explaination seems to be more lodgical as to how my uncle fatal
              wounds were incurred. It would make sense that they had the hatches open so
              that they could more easily see what was on the other side of the hedgerow as
              they passed through. I don't imagine the periscopes where that helpful under
              those circumstances.

              Ken
            • mykef2@aol.com
              Bob, Can t argue with that. Close encounters and open crew hatches are never a good mix. From Ken s description of the location and time period, his uncle was
              Message 6 of 26 , Nov 8, 2001
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                Bob,
                Can't argue with that. Close encounters and open crew hatches are never
                a good mix.

                From Ken's description of the location and time period, his uncle was
                most likely in an earlier model remanufactured M4 with the narrow hatches
                that folded flat, allowing the gun a clear traverse (assuming the Driver and
                BOG got enough warning to duck).
                Also, from what I've read about the Bocage fight, the tactics were
                dependent upon immediate location of the German ambush teams as the tanks
                broke through the hedgerows. One of the methods developed was to have the
                driver check the left front quadrant, the BOG check the right front quadrant
                and the TC covering the front 180. In order to do this quickly, the crew had
                to expose themselves as the periscopes were pointing at the sky or the ground
                during the critical period before the tank plopped back onto flat terrain.

                Ideally, multiple tanks would bull through at the same time, with
                sufficient gun tubes to cover right, left and front; but eyes were still
                critical to get the gunner on target.

                HTH
                Mike
              • Dlbbarrel@aol.com
                Bob, Ken, Mike and all that have had imput on what could have caused my uncles injuries. After reading Mike s report on tank crew injuries I decided to go back
                Message 7 of 26 , Nov 8, 2001
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                  Bob, Ken, Mike and

                  all that have had imput on what could have caused my uncles injuries. After
                  reading Mike's report on tank crew injuries I decided to go back through all
                  the papers and records that I have accumlated since I started this research.

                  Lo and behold I found in the quartermasters report (who was in charge of
                  handling the deceased) one short line, "direct shell hit".

                  Now if I take Mike's report and apply it to a direct hit on my uncle's tank
                  plus the fact that perhaps the hatch was open this could explain the type of
                  injuries he suffered.

                  Since the day he was KIA was the first dad out of St. Lo after three days of
                  rest and the Germans in the area had reportedly retreated following the
                  intense three days of heavy bombing by the allies and Patten had roared
                  through the break in the German lines that the 4th Infantry and the 70th Tank
                  Bn had been instrumental in opening.

                  Just maybe they were riding with the hatch open not expecting to run into too
                  much resistance. I know the one surviving tank commander told me he was
                  riding with his hatch open when his tank was hit that day.

                  According to the information I have, the 4th and the 70th were headed for
                  Mortain via Villiedu to support another infantry unit that had bogged down in
                  that area.

                  I'll keep digging and perhaps we will all be educated a little more when I
                  get the daily reports.

                  Thanks to all,

                  Ken
                • Dlbbarrel@aol.com
                  Mike, In talking with the surviving tank commander, he remembered that a dozer tank was next to his tank as they were going through the hedgerow, thus the
                  Message 8 of 26 , Nov 8, 2001
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                    Mike,

                    In talking with the surviving tank commander, he remembered that a "dozer
                    tank" was next to his tank as they were going through the hedgerow, thus the
                    multiple tank theory may very well apply.

                    Also in reading the book, "Strike Swiftly", written about the 70th by a
                    member of "B" Co., he talks about how on one occasion before my uncle's
                    death, several Shermans had crossed a hedgerow into an open field that was
                    occupied by a German Tiger Tank. I believe that the Tiger (without digging
                    out the book) hit two or three of the Shermans before they could get back
                    through the hedgerow. Here again the mulitple tank theory applies.

                    Another incident talks about a similiar incident with a field being covered
                    by a pair of German tanks set up on opposite corners of a field as multiple
                    Shermans entered it, again the Shermans caught hell before some other tanks
                    got behing the German tanks and took them out from the rear. I believe he
                    mentions the 75mm rounds bouncing off the German tanks.

                    I also know that the 70th did not recieve the upgraded Shermans with the 76mm
                    guns until late in August of 44. the 70th was the first Tank Bn. to recieve
                    them.

                    Ken
                  • bobskat@aol.com
                    Mike, and all.. A couple of quick comments.... The open hatch in a shooting area was a definite no-no in my own experience. Whenever we came into contact
                    Message 9 of 26 , Nov 8, 2001
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                      Mike, and all..
                      A couple of quick comments....
                      The open hatch in a 'shooting area' was a definite no-no in my own
                      experience. Whenever we came into contact with the Japanese, there was always
                      the very real possibility that we'd be swarmed, and satchel charges thrown
                      under, alongside of, and inside any openings they could find. Those tactics
                      included but were not limited to the aforementioned satchel charges, small
                      mines, grenades, rifles and pistols, and even on one occasion an officer
                      hacking away at a .30 mg with his sword. On another occasion, an enemy
                      soldier had a satchel charge so heavy he couldn't lift it (no kidding). We
                      were alongside a small ridge, and he was trying to drag the explosive over
                      and drop it on top of us! To make that one even more interesting, my tank had
                      been knocked out a few minutes before, and I had gotten a lift in this
                      tank...sitting on the turret floor staring at the breech end of the 75 mm.
                      Having my tank knocked out and having to run through some small arms fire was
                      enough for me...for the day. But, then, thinking I was safe and to have the
                      TC yell out about this guy with the satchel charge...well, need I say more
                      (smile).
                      I believe I've learned more about the Sherman by being on this list than I
                      ever knew before. When we received out new M4A1's, there was no tech manual,
                      no nothing. It was equipped with everything needed (except ammo and the
                      manuals). We sort of learned as we went along.
                      Oh, yes...we did have a brand new 2nd. Lieutenant killed in his first day
                      in action. He was a TC, and had his hatch open. We were a bit behind our
                      "lines," and it seemed a fairly safe situation (if there is such a thing in
                      combat). A mortar round landed close enough to inflict fatal wounds. So, you
                      never know.
                      Thank you, again, for such a fine, in depth report.

                      Bob & Linda May
                      Eight Dollar Mountain,
                      Southern Oregon
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