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Re: Cosmoline

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  • Hanno Spoelstra
    ... Hi Bill, I ve sent your question on to the Sherman Register mailing list. As far as I know cosmoline is brownish, sticky and very stubborn to remove.
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 7, 1999
      At 12:24 06-09-1999 PDT, you wrote:
      >I'm curious about the rust inhibitor cosmoline and its application to
      >armored vehicles. In November 1943 the 741st Tk Bn received new light and
      >medium tanks from the Ordnance depot at Tidworth, Wiltshire. Cosmoline was
      >present on all the vehicles. It was supposedly a stubborn task to remove
      >it. Do you know how it was applied to tanks? Was it only on certain
      >components? How was it removed? Gasoline?
      >
      >I've seen cosmoline on rifles, pistols, etc. As I recall, it was yellowish
      >in color with a rubbery texture. It appeared to be petroleum based.
      >
      >Thanks,
      >
      >Bill


      Hi Bill,

      I've sent your question on to the Sherman Register mailing list.
      As far as I know cosmoline is brownish, sticky and very stubborn to remove.
      Gasoline sounds like a good solvent, although I have never removed it myself.
      Before overseas shipping, tanks were sealed to minimise the ingress of salt
      seawater. Early in the war it was quickly learned that shipping vehicles
      unprepared meant a lot of work (sometimes a rebuild) to make them fit for
      service again. The extra time and money spent on preservative and removing
      it on the receiving end seemed worth the trouble.
      Photos I've seen show every aperture sealed with tape and what must be
      cosmoline. Road wheel bearing caps and other nooks and crannies in which
      salt water can wreak havoc seem to have been covered as well.

      Best regards,
      Hanno Spoelstra
    • AMPSOne@xxx.xxx
      Hello Hanno! Most of the cosmoline used on US Army vehicles depended upon what the purpose of things was. They generally used it only on bare metal parts which
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 7, 1999
        Hello Hanno!

        Most of the cosmoline used on US Army vehicles depended upon what the purpose
        of things was. They generally used it only on bare metal parts which would be
        exposed to the elements for a given length of time. The Loza book on the Red
        Army's Shermans cites the muzzles and breeches being sealed with cosmoline
        and grease in the bore, along with a convention bottle or two of whiskey for
        the Lend-Leazu boys!

        Once it has been on for several years, it is the very devil to get off, and
        most places use airplane dope thinner as a stripper to get rid of it. That,
        steel wool, and elbow grease in great amounts are needed to get it off. Not
        sure about those which were only sealed for a short period of time.

        Cookie Sewell
        AMPS
      • Joseph DeMarco
        Here s page 24 of the M74 manual, I assume the rust-preventive compound is cosmoline: c. Clean armament parts coated with rust-preventive com- pound. (1) These
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 7, 1999
          Here's page 24 of the M74 manual, I assume the rust-preventive compound is
          cosmoline:

          c. Clean armament parts coated with rust-preventive com-
          pound.
          (1) These parts, when received from storage coated with
          rust-preventive compound, should be thoroughly cleaned
          with waste, wiping cloths, or a brush saturated with
          mineral spirits, paint thinner or one part of grease-
          cleaning compound to four parts mineral spirits paint
          thinner. After complete removal of the compound, lubri-
          cate as specified in the lubrication order LO 9 - 7402.
          (2) Component parts of each weapon should be cleaned
          separately where practicable. Although like parts are
          interchangeable, the parts originally assembled work
          best together.
          d. Whenever practicable, the vehicle crew will assist in the
          performance of these services.

          Joe DeMarco
        • RSLARCH@xxx.xxx
          Hanno, I have only removed cosmoline from carbine and M1 rifle parts and it is difficult and time consuming to remove. Many pipe cleaners, cotton swabs, and
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 7, 1999
            Hanno,
            I have only removed cosmoline from carbine and M1 rifle parts and it is
            difficult and time consuming to remove. Many pipe cleaners, cotton swabs,
            and old tooth brushes were used up trying to get the stuff off.

            However, I was reminded I heard a cosmoline/tank story back in 1961 from
            Captain Bill Cotton, US Army, Corps of Engineers when hes was in charge of
            the 557th Technical Intelligence Collection Detachment. He told me that when
            he was stationed in Germany in the early 1950's his base received a shipment
            of brand new tanks on rail flat cars. There were 25 tanks on the flat cars
            but only documents for 24. The person in charge took the tank with no papers
            out into the forest dug a deep hole with a bulldozer and buried the "lost"
            tank. The military thinking was it would cause the person in charge too much
            paperwork to clear up the problem. Today, 47 years later, if anyone could
            find the buried tank it would be good test of cosmoline. I ran into Captain
            Cotton again at Ft. Lewis, Washington, (4th Division) in 1963 in the
            officer's club and he was telling the same story to a bunch new Engineer 2nd
            Lts. I never knew if it was an urban legend or a real event.

            Rich Lowry
            San Francisco
          • Hanno Spoelstra
            Cookie, Joe and Rich, thank for your replies on this matter! I have passed them on to Bill Warnock. He s writing a book on the 741st Tk Bn. The Sherman DDs
            Message 5 of 5 , Sep 8, 1999
              Cookie, Joe and Rich,

              thank for your replies on this matter! I have passed them on to Bill
              Warnock. He's writing a book on the 741st Tk Bn.
              The Sherman DDs they lost off the Normandy beaches were not well enough
              covered in cosmolene, since a couple of them are now rusted (but beautiful!)
              hulks in a French museum. Guess I'll have to go to Germany to see find out
              if cosmolene is really a durable preservative...

              Regards,
              Hanno
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