Ask Paul

Status
Not open for further replies.

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,732
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
Maybe the turrets had sizeable holes in them? A partly burnt out Sherman would have it's armour quality drastically reduced by the heat and not suitable for rebuilding but be good enough for a tractor.

Maybe having a 17lbr that could be towed up hilly Italy might be more valuable than a 75mm armed Sherman.
 

von Marwitz

Forum Guru
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
14,376
Reaction score
10,268
Location
Kraut Corner
Country
llUkraine
Why would you remove the turret from a tank to make a gun tow vehicle?
Would this be done to use those turrets elsewhere?
I reckon sometimes turrets might have been missing an rather than having excess chassis idly standing around, you could put them to other uses. A towed battery of 203mm guns in range of the enemy might be considered more valuable than three extra tanks.

Or you might have as much stuff at hand that it doesn't matter. Thinking of Kangaroos as APCs for example.

von Marwitz
 

Gordon

Forum Guru
Joined
Apr 6, 2017
Messages
2,491
Reaction score
2,942
Country
llUnited States
I always thought they they simply removed the turret as it were "dead weight" for a towing vehicle and therefore increased the towing capacity of the (now) turret-less vehicle.
 

Barking Monkey

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
246
Reaction score
329
Location
Virginia
First name
John
Country
llUnited States
My impression was the same as Gordon's - reduce weight. Not only to improve tow capacity but also the strain on the drive system and possibly vehicle range. I suppose there might have been other reasons as well; presumably if the tow vehicle was also the ammo vehicle then loading and unloading ammo would be much easier without a turret in the way.
 

T34

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2020
Messages
144
Reaction score
204
Location
Nans Sous Sainte Anne, Doubs
First name
Tim
Country
llFrance
M4A2: Diesel twin engines. Starting with 75mm and 56° hull, they progressively went to 47° hull and finally 76mm. Used by the US for training, saw US combat service only with the USMC. Most LL to the USSR, Britain and France, in order of priority, indeed one of the USMC batches was "stolen" from a USSR allocation. Only the USSR used the 76mm versions.
The reason the M4A2 was used by the Marines is because they could use the same fuel as landing craft, so it wasn't such a logistical problem.
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,732
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
The reason the M4A2 was used by the Marines is because they could use the same fuel as landing craft, so it wasn't such a logistical problem.
Agreed. Also the USMC was the poor cousin of the USA with regard to equipment for quite some time, the M4A2 being regarded as undesirable by the USA.

Why the US produced both petrol and diesel engined vehicles in the first place is a little less obvious. That was mainly a mix of to use up diesel engine manufacturing capability and diesel fuel production capacity. In wartime petrol was a scarce-ish commodity, diesel less so, for the US anyway. That diesel matched the fuel usage of a potential Lend Lease customer, the USSR, in its medium and heavy tanks was a bonus.

Because the rest of USMC vehicles used petrol meant that petrol would still have to be supplied. So diesel engines for USMC tanks was less a bonus and more a "not a problem" thing. Having said that, "if it works, it works".

What amuses me is that the US Army used the M10 TD with its diesel engines. They also produced the petrol engined M10A1 which had a slightly more powerful engine (though with less torque), but they were left in the US for training. Some M10A1 were de-turreted and shipped as the M35 artillery tractor. The M10 used the chassis and engine of the M4A2 whilst the M10A1 was based on the M4A3. Sometimes the military does not make the optimum choices.
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,732
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
Thanks -- I stand corrected. With your permission I would like to post this in the ASL Facebook group.
My apologies. With the run up to Xmas and some niggling joint problems, I completely forgot your request. Of course you may repost. Again Sorry!
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,732
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
The 501 SS sPz Abt lose another six Tiger IIs in combat from Bastogne until mid January, correct?
Some may have been KOed in the initial advance or the attempts to re-establish contact with KGP but not pocketed with KGP. It's just that when KGP bugged out on foot the US only found 7 in the pocket. Again as like with Bob, Xmas and stuff distracted me, sorry for the late reply.
 

T34

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2020
Messages
144
Reaction score
204
Location
Nans Sous Sainte Anne, Doubs
First name
Tim
Country
llFrance
Why the US produced both petrol and diesel engined vehicles in the first place is a little less obvious. That was mainly a mix of to use up diesel engine manufacturing capability and diesel fuel production capacity. In wartime petrol was a scarce-ish commodity, diesel less so, for the US anyway. That diesel matched the fuel usage of a potential Lend Lease customer, the USSR, in its medium and heavy tanks was a bonus.
Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.

The Soviets, too, produced petrol and diesels...the BT's were petrol and crews were not happy because the burned so easily.

Further, the US had to supply aviation fuel for lend lease fighters because Soviet fuel lacked the octane for them.
 

Eagle4ty

Forum Guru
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
6,917
Reaction score
5,100
Location
Eau Claire, Wi
Country
llUnited States
Agreed. Also the USMC was the poor cousin of the USA with regard to equipment for quite some time, the M4A2 being regarded as undesirable by the USA.

Why the US produced both petrol and diesel engined vehicles in the first place is a little less obvious. That was mainly a mix of to use up diesel engine manufacturing capability and diesel fuel production capacity. In wartime petrol was a scarce-ish commodity, diesel less so, for the US anyway. That diesel matched the fuel usage of a potential Lend Lease customer, the USSR, in its medium and heavy tanks was a bonus.

Because the rest of USMC vehicles used petrol meant that petrol would still have to be supplied. So diesel engines for USMC tanks was less a bonus and more a "not a problem" thing. Having said that, "if it works, it works".

What amuses me is that the US Army used the M10 TD with its diesel engines. They also produced the petrol engined M10A1 which had a slightly more powerful engine (though with less torque), but they were left in the US for training. Some M10A1 were de-turreted and shipped as the M35 artillery tractor. The M10 used the chassis and engine of the M4A2 whilst the M10A1 was based on the M4A3. Sometimes the military does not make the optimum choices.
From what I was able to discern is that the factories contracted to build the M4A2 model, Pullman-Standard Car Company,
American Locomotive Co., Baldwin Locomotive Works and the Federal Machine and Welder Co. under the auspices of the Fisher Tank Arsenal (a company started from scratch in 1942 to specifically build tanks for lend lease), was tasked to rapidly design, build and ship M4 series tanks overseas. They simply opted for a two stroke in-line diesel engine rather than the usual V-style gasoline engine because they were easier to install (thus quicker installation) and the availability of that type of engine from existing tractor (read that dozer) manufactures that were not being overly tasked as were manufactures of gasoline driven engines by larger manufactures such as GMC, Ford and others. Another factor that may have impacted their decision was the relative ease of maintenance and durability of the engine (being diesel it is somewhat self lubricating and generally less temperamental maintenance wise than a gasoline engine (read that as easier to train crews and maintenance sections to work on-fewer operating mechanisms). Finally another factor was that Europeans used diesel engines more than Americans both because of availability/distilling of higher octane fuel as well as cost. Though slightly less powerful of an engine (375HP as opposed to 400-450HP radial or V-style gasoline engines), they were deemed sufficient for the need in both speed of production/installation and battlefield performance. Some of the aforementioned is conjecture on my part but I think can be borne out somewhat if one looks at the numbers requested, built and shipped and the necessity of the need for tanks at the time by all Allied nations.
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,732
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
I found some loss figures for 501ss sPz Abt in Wacht an Rhein.

Around La Gleize and environs: 204, 213, 221, 334 & 3 others.
Stavelot, Trois-Ponts, Coos, Petit Spa: 008, 105, 111, 133, 222, 312, 332.
Likely some others lost elsewhere.

15 operational Tiger IIs were left to the ad-hoc Kampfgruppe Möbius after the end of KGP. Others would have been in various states of (dis)repair but salvageable. I have no information as to their subsequent WaR action near Bastogne.

I may have misinterpreted just 30 Tiger II available at start, it appears all or nearly all 45 were available, but 15 or so most likely fell behind due to breakdowns at various times leaving only about 30 available for combat at any one time.

4 Ostwind and 4 Wirbelwind were also part of 501ss sPz Abt along with possibly 7 recon h/t (SdKfz 250).
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,732
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
I should have explained the above vehicle numbers I quoted above.

501ss sPz Abteilung codes:

007-009: The Abt. HQ tanks.
The line company numbers start with the company number: XYZ belongs to Company X, platoon Y and tank Z.
X05, X06: The X Company HQ, replace "X" with "1", "2" or "3".
X11-X14: X 1st Platoon, X Company, similarly X21-X24 and X31-X34 for 2nd and 3rd Platoon.

In an earlier post I mentioned that all the SS Tiger Is in Normandy belonged to 101ss and 102ss sPz Abt. Due to losses the 1st Company 101ss Abt were issued their 14 Tiger II as replacements. As by that time (late August) the breakout had occurred they first saw combat on the 25th August near Troyes, north of Paris. Most were lost either to enemy action or destroyed by their crews after breaking down, unable to retreat.

A similar situation applied to the WaR Tiger II casualties. Quite a number were destroyed by their crews when unable to retreat.
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,732
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
A British built Centurion. Which mark it is can be hard to figure out as many were upgraded or practically rebuilt over their careers. Due to foliage the shape of the gun's bore evacuator is unclear but it looks more like the 105mm rather than the 20lbr (83mm).

As the poster is Swedish, I suspect the tank can only be one of the following 2:
Stridsvagn 81 later upgraded to Stridsvagn 102 standard with the 105mm. Originally 80 Mk 3 and 160 Mk 5 with 20lbr.
Stridsvagn 101, 110 Mk 10 that came with the 105mm and the flat resilient gun mantle.

There were further engine, fire control, etc upgrades that resulted in the Stridsvagn 104. Beyond my competence.

EDIT: I should have posted StrV 101 rather than 103, corrected. The StrV 103 is the S-Tank or what you get when you order a tank from your delicatessen. The Swedish designation is calibre in cm and the order when it came in service. So StrV 102 is the 2nd 10cm armed tank.
 
Last edited:

Michael Dorosh

der Spieß des Forums
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
15,733
Reaction score
2,765
Location
Calgary, AB
First name
Michael
Country
llCanada
That's the thing NCOs in the Canadian Army were referring to when they wanted to show how much "time in" they had.

I remember when Centurion was a rank, not a tank!

It was annoying when they kept saying it decades after the Centurion was phased out by the Leopard. It was only when new recruits, who had been born after the Centurion's demise, started getting in, and none of whom had ever even heard of the Centurion, that the crusty stalwarts knew it made no sense to keep saying it.
 

JRKrejsa

Elder Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
3,667
Reaction score
1,094
Location
USA
Country
llUnited States
Lees and Grants well past the "use by" date

I recently saw film footage of a Lee, with Free French insignia, driving up to a damaged Sherman. This was in a Simthsonian documentary about Normandy. (Not that the footage has anything to do with the topic- like most documentaries.) But the terrain was clearly not North Africa- tall lush grass with a large well leafed out tree in the background. I also have the Squadron/ Signal book on the M4 Sherman. The picture inside the front cover of the book shows a Lee, and a very old Sherman to boot, in a plaza in Northern Italy, April or May of '45. The rest of the unit was equipped with 76mm Shermans....

So, my question is, How often were these Lee's and or Grants still in use? Obviously not as a gun tank still, but what were they being used for? Command tank? Artillery spotter? Hack vehicle while yours was getting fixed at battalion?

I have not seen any scenarios depicting their use. But that could be interestering....
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top