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Re: [G104] M4A3 Grafenwohr

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  • Andy Oertig
    Hi Michael   IF it is possible for you can get inside the Vehicle, there is a Vehicle Data Plate (which I believe is located) in the Driver s Compartment of
    Message 1 of 58 , May 23 9:05 AM
      Hi Michael
      IF it is possible for you can get inside the Vehicle, there is a Vehicle Data Plate (which I believe is located) in the
      Driver's Compartment of the Sherman & Pershing tanks. IF it isn't, then check on the Radio Operator / Bow Machine Gunner's
      side. I've seen them before, but the exact location wasn't something that stuck in mind. These Data Plates should be ribbed to the
      Hull. This Data Plate should have the Vehicle Nomenclature, the National Stock Number, Year of Manufacture, and most importantly
      the Vehicle Serial Number and USA Registration Number.
      These Data Plates are used to keep track of the Vehicles for the Supply & Maintenance. They are Gospel! I have seen were the
      outside Hull Serial Number did not match the Vehicle Data Plate! The Maintenance Personnel had to over-strick the outside Hull
      Number & re-stamp the correct Serial Number! The Pershing should have the Serial Number stamped on top (I believe) the Driver's
      Side (Left Side) of the Tow Hook mount. As far as the Sherman, I am not sure of because the entire front Transmission / Final Drive
      Housing can be removed & replaced.
      I hope this useless tid-bit of info is helpful.

      From: Michael Lembo <opfor2nd@...>
      To: "G104@yahoogroups.com" <G104@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 10:15 AM
      Subject: Re: [G104] M4A3 Grafenwohr

      Hello Brian,
          I am working with the Reed Museum (2nd Cav) on Vilseck with this, they are my contact to CMH.  I have talked to Ms.Torony before, back when I was starting the restoration of the M24 in Hohenfels.  Unfortunately I am finding out that CMH's files leave alot to be desired on these tanks.  The M4A3(76) Dozer No.44220 was not added to their files until 1993. They have the serial number listed as D70676A which is just a part number for something.  I already have the 2nd Cav. Museum requesting any further info available on 44220 and the T26E3 Pershing serial no.94 that is also in Graf. just in case they do have something useful recorded. CMH's files claim that the T26E3 is actually an "M26A2E1"
         It looks like the shipping code I found on the side of 44220 last weekend may have finally gotten some attention. The Reed Museum is having me put together a summary with photographic support of all the evidence pointing to 44220 being a combat vet/combat loss to send off the CMH as soon as possible. The T26E3 also was never sandblasted and still has traces of its original paint under decades of repainting. The problem with it is finding a way to remove the top layers from the rough cast surface without destroying what is underneath. It is not peeling as bad as 44220 and wet-sanding/razor blade picking are not going to work as well with that one. Anyone have any suggestions?  I was able to pick away enough paint from the lower edge of the glacis (T26) to uncover what may be part of a white armored unit triangle on the right front and the curve of either a number 3 or 5 on the left.
        It would really be helpful if anyone has any records of maintenance down or combat loss M4A3(76) dozers or T26E3's from units in the Graf/Vilseck/Wieden/Flossenburg/etc, etc. area during April or early May '45. But I know that is doubtful.

      From: brian stig <orngboss302@...>
      To: "G104@yahoogroups.com" <G104@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 11:49 AM
      Subject: Re: [G104] M4A3 Grafenwohr

        I just saw this email traffic and was woundering if you have been in contact with Ms Torony from the
      Center for military history in Hieldelberg.  She works for USAREUR.  i have her POC if you need it.  She may have some history in her files to help you. 

      From: Michael Lembo <opfor2nd@...>
      To: "G104@yahoogroups.com" <G104@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, May 18, 2012 9:15 PM
      Subject: Re: [G104] M4A3 Grafenwohr

         This one is Sherman specific so I am sending it to the entire group.  I got back up to Graf today and started the Archaeology on 44220.  The paint is peeling so badly that I just started breaking the peels off first and found that tank is covered in older markings. Just about anywhere you scratch off some paint there is something underneath.  I was hoping to find some trace of the Constabulary Tank Training Center markings. I started seeing a lot of yellow paint under the green on the hull sides.  I called someone who could pull up that 1949 Vilseck photo right away who said the writing on the hull sides looks the same shade as the Constab. insignias in the BW photo, so its possible the writing was in yellow and that could explain the yellow paint on the hull sides.  I could not get the yellow to spell anything out, It is flaking off badly and kinda mixed in to the layers of green that are peeling.  Under several layers of different shades of green with yellow paint mixed in I found older white stars on the hull. They are in two places, toward the front and further back about centered on the hull. There is also an older star on the turret under the worst of the peeled paint (photo.3845) I found the registration number on the rear hull sides but I did not uncover it completely because I kept getting distracted by other things showing through the paint. Photo number 3847 is what showed through after I flaked off a few chunks of loose paint.  You told me earlier the proper number for that tank is 30100454. There is probably a "5" there. I found more white paint about a foot further back on the hull side and chipped some there and got a "004" but it is stenciled in a different style with larger numbers (forgot to get a photo of that, but I will be back up there Sunday).  So the USA number was painted on twice in two different locations, styles and sizes.  There is no number painted on in the 1949 photo so unless someone painted a fake one later and coincidently got a 004 and a 5 in it, I think those numbers would have to pre-date the Constabulary markings.  I will eventually uncover as much as possible to confirm.  The really strange thing is in photo No.3857.  I knocked off another loose paint chip and there were black letters "DV". I thought I had found a tank name so I started carefully flaking off paint around those letters. More letters started coming out of the paint and it became obvious it is not a name.  About 4 hours later I had what you see in the photo.  I think I uncovered all of it, but there could be more. What is uncovered up to now is:  E-UM-I-ORDII-ADV-50341LD.  The first letter could also be a blocked letter C and the 50 could be SO.  Any idea what that is?  It is on the lowest layer of paint on the tank, below the black letters is one more layer of OD green then red primer and bare metal.  There is a layer of red primer over top of the black letters and a few layers of green, It also looks like a layer of white paint there, but I think this might be grey primer. You can also see the yellow spots in the photo (this is on the left hull side, right about where the Constab. writing is in the 1949 photo). The traces of the white star that was at about the center of the hull side partially covers the "41" in that long number. I can send a photo of that but will do it in another email so this is not too big. There is also alot of yellow paint under the white star on the glacis, but it looks like a triangle rather than the Circle-C patch.  I did not have time to start looking for unit numbers on the front and back of the hull, but at least I think it is safe to say that tank never got sandblasted.  I had an MP approach me and ask what the hell I am doing to the tank, I told him "Research", so he said OK and walked away. So at least they know to leave me alone.

      From: Joe DeMarco <snick13@...>
      To: G104@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 4:33 AM
      Subject: Re: [G104] M4A3 Grafenwohr

      Hi Michael,
      I figured it would be some time before you got to look at that tank, so it's a pleasure to hear of your findings so soon. I'm afraid I don't have a historical listing for S/N 44220. Anybody else? It would have been accepted in June, 1944, & would have been assigned USA 30100454. Attached is a photo of 44018, which would have been built about the same time, so would have the same look. It has the M1 Dozer with a scarifier attached for mine ploughing in soft sand.  You can see why the right head light guard & even the welded on head light socket might be missing from 44220. Possibly might even explain the missing fenders. Of the so called "Funny Tanks," the dozer, flame thrower & retriever were the ones that actually worked on a consistent basis & were worth the effort. The docs do mention that the dozer made the tank front heavy like the Jumbo, which would cause the blade to dig in unless the operator was properly trained.  It would be hard on the front bogies in particular. The dozer set up should have left some scuffs or gouges in the middle of the diff & glacis below the travel lock. Nothing?
      >if there is something that would be useful to see
      It's been hard to "count heads" on the intro of the two-piece rear most engine deck panel, simply because it doesn't show up in period pix.  I think that one would still have the one piece. Could you look at your pix?
      Also, I like to record the turret casting info, & the E8020 info from the casting that includes the driver's hatches. Actually any pix you would care to share would be most welcome, Michael. Time appears to have stopped in 1945 on that tank. Sometimes there are dates on the sidewalls. I suspect it might have had rubber chevron tracks & EECs when whatever happened happened. Don, IIRC, those Constabulary pix were from the Library at the Patton Museum. They were probably donated by a soldier who was stationed at Graf? Wonder if there was a dedication ceremony or souvenir yearbooks that might have a photo or two?
      Hope we can learn more about it.
      Thanks Michael!


    • Kurt Laughlin
      Remember, it was *intended* to be shipped in May. It may not have been shipped until 1945 . . . As a dozer, it could’ve been used for rubble clearance and
      Message 58 of 58 , Jul 7, 2012

        Remember, it was *intended* to be shipped in May.


        It may not have been shipped until 1945 . . . As a dozer, it could’ve been used for rubble clearance and might have hit some UXO . . . Just guessing.


        Ah, 1952 – When kids were encouraged to climb all over tanks and original Wehrmacht field caps were a dime a dozen J




        From: G104@yahoogroups.com [mailto:G104@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Lembo
        Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 11:50 PM
        To: G104@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [G104] Shipping codes



        Thanks Kurt,

           The M47's code does have something after the LD, just like the Dozer M4A3, it just is not readable. The time priority code probably is H, I was thinking Roman numerals were being used there, since the ORDII is using Roman numerals.  Attached is the 1952 photo.  Now I have to wonder how a tank built in June has a May delivery code?  Is there any way to figure a year out of that code? I don't see how it could be May 45, If that was the case then who blew up the front end of the tank and wore all the rubber off the front bogie wheels then discarded it as a monument by 1949? 

          Another odd thing about that tank, the brake access covers in the driver/BOG compartment are removed and left laying in the dvr compartment. The steering brakes behind the covers are drenched in oil.  The only explanation I have for that is the tank was probably sitting in a depot after the incident that caused all the damage with the brakes locked up.  Someone may have gone into the transmission to unlock the brakes to move the tank and poured oil on them to keep them from locking up again. No way of knowing when it happened though, could have been as recently as when the tank was moved to Graf from Vilseck, though I have not been able to find out when that was either.




        From: Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...>
        To: G104@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, July 7, 2012 2:35 AM
        Subject: RE: [G104] Shipping codes





        “I” meant May 1 – 15; the code was alphabetic.  For example, Jan 1-15 was “A”, Dec 16 – 31 was “Z”.  (“O” and “V” weren’t used.)


        On the CLAY code, there should be something after the LD, unless there was only item on the requisition.  There was  no “II” time designator, but as an alternative (when shipments left more frequently than twice per month) “two digits” could be used, which I take to mean Arabic numerals.  The indicators were doubled “for all shipments the importance of which necessitates positive shipment in the requested period.”  So, that could be May 1 -15 “and we’re serious” or maybe a blurry H . . .




        From: G104@yahoogroups.com [mailto:G104@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Lembo
        Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 3:21 PM
        To: G104@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [G104] Shipping codes



        Thanks Kurt,

           Every shred of info helps with this one.  The time priority indicator "I", means only May 1-15 or is it 1-15 of any month with May given as an example?  That tank was built in June 44, so it was looking like late summer 44 as the likely time of arrival in the ETO.  In reference to the question about post-war use of those codes, I found an Oct.52 photo showing the same type of code on the back of an M47 in Germany with 4th ID.  It looks like CLAY-II-ORDII-ATC 329 LD 






        From: Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...>
        To: G104@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 4:54 PM
        Subject: [G104] Shipping codes



        From: G104@yahoogroups.com [mailto:G104@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Lembo

        . . .  So the complete code is: GLUE-I-ORDII-ADV-SD341LD92 with the 9 questionable. . . .



        I finally found my Army Marking Directive (TM 38-414, May 45) that explains (in general) what this code means.


        GLUE – a coded destination.  Always four letters, either a word or pronounceable combination.


        I – Time priority indicator.  This indicates the expected half-month period when the shipment is expected to be forwarded overseas.  I means May 1 to 15.


        ORDII – Shipping service and class of supply; Ordnance class II.


        ADV- Consignee combination.  Indicates special receipt handling or disposition.  No info except that it was assigned by the theatre rather than CONUS because it doesn’t start with an S.


        SD341LD92 – Identification of Separate Shipment.  Three parts, actually:

        ·         SD341 – The 41st requisition in series D, initiated by the Chief of Ordnance.

        ·         LD – Depot making direct shipment overseas, in this case Lima Ordnance Depot, aka Lima Tank Depot.

        ·         92 – Transportation unit number.  Probably indicates the 92nd vehicle shipped under the requisition, but could be the 92nd railroad car carrying vehicles.


        Hope that helps,




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