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M42B1 flame thrower tank

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  • Hanno Spoelstra
    ... Ledon, The Sherman M4A1E9 in question was fitted with the flame thrower M5-4 (previously known as E12-7R1). The combination was designated M42B1 flame
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2000
    • 0 Attachment
      >Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2000 02:27:52 -0500
      >From: lecook <inkblot@...>
      >Reply-To: inkblot@...
      >To: HL.Spoelstra@...
      >Subject: Sherman Register Subjects
      >
      >
      > Hi,
      >
      > With your contacts and experience I was wondering if you might
      >be able to help me with something.
      >
      > In Motorbooks International's M4 Sherman book by Michael Green,
      >on page 54 it has a photo of a very interesting M4A1 Flamethrower
      >tank, IMHO. I've scanned in the image and uploaded it to photopoint:
      >
      > http://albums.photopoint.com/j/ViewPhoto?u=949338&a=6993617&p=23588617
      >
      > Here's the caption of the photo from the book:
      >
      > "This old rusted M4A1 Sherman was saved from a Marine Corps firing
      > range. Besides being a rare flame-thrower version, this vehicle
      > has extended end connectors (nicknamed duckbills) fitted on both
      > sides of the tracks, giving it improved mobility over soft ground.
      > The vehicle also features the early-style 3-piece steel casting
      > that formed the differential & final drive casing." - M. Green
      >
      > 1. Does any of your contacts know where this tank is, and/or who it
      >is owned by?
      >
      > 2. If it is knowned to be owned by some particular individual, can I
      >get contact info for that person? (Reason: I want to see if they have
      >research it's provenance/history.)
      >
      > 3. It was a range target on a Marine Corps range, but was it definately
      >a WWII Marine Corps tank? (I think it was (duckbills on both sides of the
      >tracks suggest better flotation on beaches; the Marines more frequent use
      >of flamethrower shermans especially in the Pacific campaign, and it would
      >be easier at hand to be a "RT" for the marines if it came from their own
      >war stock.), but the sherman guys on Track-Link suggested caution, so...)
      >
      > 4. Do any of the shermanphiles in your network of contacts know of any
      >photos that look to be a "very" similiar sherman flamethrower specimen,
      >which might even be the same tank in action? could they email me scans
      >of them, or citations of where they can be found?
      >
      > 5. Can anyone amongst your contacts suggest/advise or help on digging up
      >the history of this particular vehicle?
      >
      > 6. Does anyone have more photos of this particular vehicle in its
      >current state? of the back deck? rear? turret top? sides?
      >
      > Thanks for your time and any help on this one,
      >
      > Ledon Cook


      Ledon,

      The Sherman M4A1E9 in question was fitted with the flame thrower M5-4
      (previously known as E12-7R1). The combination was designated M42B1 flame
      thrower tank. In April 1945 an initial order of 20 of these were completed.
      In January '45, another 300 had been ordered, but with the end of the war,
      production was limited to 151 M42B1 flame thrower tanks. Seventeen of these
      were shipped to the pacific, but none were in combat prior to the end of the
      war.

      The fact that this Sherman was found on an USMC range, does not necessarily
      mean it was in USMC service. The extended end connectors (E9 modification)
      were fitted to about 1,000 Shermans being rebuilt at the end of the war,
      while another 1,000 kits were issued for installation by field workshops.
      The flame thrower M5-4 was only installed on M4A1E9's because they were
      available for conversion at the end of the war. The extended end connectors
      were not a special requirement for the flame thrower tanks.

      I have the following surviving ex maples registered in the Sherman Register
      database:
      * M42B1 Flamethrower Tank (M4A1) , Fred Corbin , u/k, USA
      * M42B1 Flamethrower Tank (M4A1) , Anniston Army Depot , ANNISTON, AL, USA
      (http://www.inter.nl.net/users/spoelstra/g104/anad.htm)
      * M42B1 Flamethrower Tank (M4A1) , Harry McCauly , GASDEN, AL, USA
      * M42B1 Flamethrower Tank (M4A1) , Randy Whithrow , GASDEN, AL, USA
      * M42B1 Flamethrower Tank (M4A1) , Fred Ropkey , INDIANAPOLIS, IN, USA
      * M42B1 Flamethrower Tank (M4A1) , Fort Benjamin Harrison , OAKLANDON, IN, USA
      * M42B1 Flamethrower tank (M4A1) , u/k (Ordnance Museum) , u/k (ABERDEEN
      PROVING GROUND, MD), USA
      The example shown in your picture could very well be the example owned by
      Fred Ropkey.

      I hope this helps in answering your questions. Please let us know if you
      find out more.

      Best regards,
      Hanno Spoelstra
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