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Hardboiled M4A3

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  • Michael Lembo
    I must be tired or not thinking right now,  Hardboiled could also just be an HQ tank, but I have not seen very many with H names.
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 9, 2012
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      I must be tired or not thinking right now,  Hardboiled could also just be an HQ tank, but I have not seen very many with "H" names.

      From: Joe DeMarco <snick13@...>
      To: G104@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, July 9, 2012 6:47 PM
      Subject: Re: [G104] Pilsen Zoo Sherman

      >Its hard to say where the Pilsen M4A1 was before.
      I think those two in Czech might be "new" ones to the guys who keep lists of surviving Shermans?
      >It would be too late to have seen combat service, or is that still in question?
      It wouldn't surprise me if a WW II "combat shot" of an M4A1(76)HVSS turns up eventually. It would probably have to be shortly before VE Day.
      I think the serial number of a tank like that would have to be between 67900 & 68000.  
      They are specifically listed as having been allocated to the various Armies around the middle of April 1945, about the same time as the non-Zebra Mission T26E3s.
      However, there is a difference between "allocated" & "in the hands of troops."
      On the other hand, a photo of an M4A3(75)HVSS, has been seen in a book published in Czech in the recent past.
      There is some doubt about the accuracy of the book's caption for the photo, & I think it was Leife Hulbert who labeled the scan attached with his educated guesses.
      To my mind, the last two digits of the Registration Number are obscured by motion blur, but if it is actually 30115711, it would have been made a few units before Cutie, which has VVSS.
      My "educated guess" was (& still may be) that the first M4A3(75)W with HVSS was accepted in January 1945, & would have been 30115768.
      Don't want to load you down with tasks, Michael, but maybe you could keep a look out for a clearer shot of "Hardboiled" at the Czech Archives, since it is so rare?
      Note that "Hardboiled" has a recycled low bustle turret that would have originally been on a Sherman made in mid 1943 or earlier.
      The casting marks on the side suggest a Union Steel turret.
      The last mention of 75mm Sherman allocations was in early Feb, 1945.
      They were trying to make up BoB losses, but at that point all ETOUSA was "requiring" was T26E3s.
      I don't think anyone has collected any info from "Thunderbolt."
      I doubt the fact that Gen Abrams posed with the tank would increase the historic value.
      Hope the authorities realize that they could get far more than scrap value if they offered any unwanted WW II AFVs to collectors...

      Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2012 9:31 AM
      Subject: Re: [G104] Pilsen Zoo Sherman

      Hi Joe,
         Its hard to say where the Pilsen M4A1 was before. There are several versions of all the stories circulating about the vehicles here. As far as I can tell, a few of the Shermans that were up for DRMO disposal in Baumholder were just being collected there from other places. I beleive 37903 was actually part of the 1AD museum there, but the others could have come from any other post that had recently shut down.  CMH data sheets that I have seen so far don't give any previous locations either. (I am trying to track the Graf Dozer's movements, since it was somewhere else between Vilseck 1949 and Graf today, but there is nothing on this one either).  I just thought it was odd that the bogie assemblies were in numerical order from front to back, had not seen that before, but I guess it is just a coincidence.  The attached photo is the best one I have been able to get of the M4A1 at the Lesany Armor Museum (South of Prague).  It looks like turret no. 2289 to me.  It is on my list of planned visits, but low priority since it is already safe from scrapping or DRMO disposal. 
        The M4A1(76)HVSS that was marked "Thunderbolt" and sat next to CK for years is still on Vilseck, at the front gate now.  Did anyone ever record data from it before?  If not I can go get numbers off it.  I put that one low on the priority list too, since being an HVSS It would be too late to have seen combat service, or is that still in question?

      From: Joe DeMarco <snick13@...>
      To: G104@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2012 2:37 PM
      Subject: Re: [G104] Pilsen Zoo Sherman

      Hi Michael,
      >I found the build number on the left rear hull, it is 5755
      Going in strict sequential order, the last M4A1(76) from the second Production Order was S/N 52680 & it would have been about the 5725th cast hull Sherman made by PSC.
      As mentioned previously, the build numbers stampings are not sequential, but I would say the serial number of the Pilsen would be pretty close to 52680, which would have been accepted in Nov, 1944.
      If you can't find the tank's serial number, 52680 would have been 3085277, & I'm sure that would be in the ballpark of the real Registration Number for that tank.
      It's necessary to draw the line somewhere, so I don't record the data from most of the things you mentioned.
      FWIW, the 76mm gun mantlet was part number E6180, which can be seen cast on there upside down in your photo.  1221 is probably the serial number of the part. The stamped in number may be the heat treatment number.
      Anything that provides a date is always interesting. Without seeing the actual wheels, I would say 7-43 would be a replacement, but 7-44 could be original to a tank made 11-44.
      I do record the Union Steel turret serial numbers, since they are much more visible compared with other makers' turrets. 2010 is a new one to me.
      There would be a chronology to those. A modeler once asked, & the attached shows the highest US turret S/N I have seen in a WW II photo.
      Don't know what it is exactly, but 216x. 3rd AD with added frontal armor, crossing the Weser River.
      I would guess this tank is one of the very few from the last PSC Production Order that made it overseas during WW II.
      And the guys continue to search for a combat shot of one with HVSS...
      Earlier you said that the Pilsen came from Baumholder. Do you know if it was at the 1st AD Museum there, or was it a monument tank elsewhere?
      The ones that guys photo'd at the Museum before it was closed were 37903 now at Graf, which you recently reported on, & 52002 the runner which appears to have been moved to Ft Bliss with most of Baumholder's collection.

      Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 4:00 PM
      Subject: [G104] Pilsen Zoo Sherman

      Hello Joe,
          I was able to get a close look at the M4A1(76) that is displayed at the Zoo in Pilsen, CZ, earlier this week.  I found the build number on the left rear hull, it is 5755.   I could find no trace of a serial number on the glacis, so no French rebuild?   I did find a small number 115 stamped in the left front curve of the hull below the lifting eye.  I could not get inside, the escape hatch is in and there is a padlock on the loader's hatch.  I have made arrangements with the City of Pilsen to have it opened up so I can try to find a serial number. They are interested in getting a real mfg date and reg.no. if possible, since they know the Army put a made-up one on before sending it to Pilsen, they just could not reach the guy who has the keys by telephone at that moment.  I will set up an appointment to go inside later.  On the right side bogie assemblies, the first one has number 9500 stamped in on the angled section leading back toward the support roller arm. The second one has 9700 in the same location and the third has 10000, also in the same location. Is there any significance to that?  The readable bogie wheel rubber was dated 7-43 and one right side bogie assy. is 7-44. No unusual markings or readable dates were on the left side suspension.  The gun mantlet has 1221 cast in on top and stamped in the front to the right of the cannon, but the number 2610 is stamped in just below the 1221.  I assume 1221 to be the mantlet serial number, so what is the 2610?
        I got into the Pilsen Archives as well, dug through a few stacks of dusty photos and turned up a few good ones with readable registration numbers on Shermans, Chaffees, Stuarts, Halftracks, & Greyhounds.  Unfortunately no further photos of 8th AD Pershings yet, which was the main thing I was after there.  The problem with the City Archives is they have little stashes of photos, documents and negatives in different places all over town and nobody to sort them.  The place I was taken to on Wednesday was a crumbling apt. building a few blocks from the Skoda Factory with boxes full of fossils and dinosaur bones all over the floor and lining both sides of the stairway. On the third floor was a room full of boxes of photos and I could only get access to the two boxes already known to contain WW2 photos.  I pulled about 50 good ones (they are charging me for scanning them) and will pick up a CD from them in a few weeks. Some of the better photos I layed on the table and took photographs of them with my camera, in order to take a copy away now.  I will post them here in the next few days.

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