Topics

tanks under wraps

gary laakso
 

A variety of flat cars with US Army tanks covered in wraps and each flat car appears to have a white sign in front of the tank:
 
 
gary “I can’t identify items in pictures” laakso
south of Mike Brock

Bruce Smith
 

Gary, Folks,

I have a much higher resolution scan of the left side of that photo than the web site does apparently.  The lead tank tarp is stenciled “M4 FRONT”.  I do not think that the tank underneath is an M4 Sherman. 

I can’t really read the placard, but the first line appears to say “NOTICE” and interestingly, it faces forward.  The tarps are fastened to the flat car deck with strips of wood, presumably nailed through the tarp.  The flat car lettering is not visible, but the repack stencil under the placard is dated 1942 and lettered “L&HRR”.  Note that this does NOT mean that the flat is an L&HRR flat.

The view really points out the variety in flat cars, and so, just as you should have the classic “stair step” boxcar fleet, you should have mix of side sill styles in the flat car fleet!

Regards
Bruce

Bruce F. Smith            
Auburn, AL
"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."



A variety of flat cars with US Army tanks covered in wraps and each flat car appears to have a white sign in front of the tank:
 
 
gary “I can’t identify items in pictures” laakso
south of Mike Brock

John Riba
 

Hello Everybody,

It probably says "do not hump".

John


On Monday, March 14, 2016 11:34 AM, "'gary laakso' vasa0vasa@... [STMFC]"


 
A variety of flat cars with US Army tanks covered in wraps and each flat car appears to have a white sign in front of the tank:
 
 
gary “I can’t identify items in pictures” laakso
south of Mike Brock


James Evans
 

 Looking at the shot Could be a ( Grant / Lee ) with the large 75 mounted on the right side or maybe a ( Sherman M 4 ) ?? If the picture had a date that could narrow it down a bit.
 But I am giving a good guess at that.
 
 Jim Evans
 

In a message dated 3/14/2016 8:34:49 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, STMFC@... writes:
 

A variety of flat cars with US Army tanks covered in wraps and each flat car appears to have a white sign in front of the tank:
 
 
gary “I can’t identify items in pictures” laakso
south of Mike Brock

M SKRZETUSZEWSKI <martinskrz@...>
 

The shot was created/published in March 1943.
Best regards,
Martin Skrzetuszewski



From: "NHJJ4@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, 15 March 2016, 1:12
Subject: Re: [STMFC] tanks under wraps

 
 Looking at the shot Could be a ( Grant / Lee ) with the large 75 mounted on the right side or maybe a ( Sherman M 4 ) ?? If the picture had a date that could narrow it down a bit.
 But I am giving a good guess at that.
 
 Jim Evans
 
In a message dated 3/14/2016 8:34:49 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, STMFC@... writes:
 
A variety of flat cars with US Army tanks covered in wraps and each flat car appears to have a white sign in front of the tank:
 
 
gary “I can’t identify items in pictures” laakso
south of Mike Brock


Bruce Smith
 

Jim,

As I noted in my response, I doubt that this is a (normal) M4.  Looking at the shape, whatever the vehicle is, it has prominent fenders and what looks to be a sharply pointed front “glacis”.  I don’t think that  this would be the case for any normal M3 (Grant/Lee) or M4 (Sherman).  It is possible that it could be the back end of an M3, or that the tanks have some sort of special equipment (and hence the tarps… since most tanks were shipped untarped).

Regards

Bruce


Bruce F. Smith            

Auburn, AL

https://www5.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."



On Mar 14, 2016, at 8:12 PM, STMFC@... wrote:



 Looking at the shot Could be a ( Grant / Lee ) with the large 75 mounted on the right side or maybe a ( Sherman M 4 ) ?? If the picture had a date that could narrow it down a bit.
 But I am giving a good guess at that.
 
 Jim Evans
 
In a message dated 3/14/2016 8:34:49 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, STMFC@... writes:

A variety of flat cars with US Army tanks covered in wraps and each flat car appears to have a white sign in front of the tank:
 
 
gary “I can’t identify items in pictures” laakso
south of Mike Brock




Dennis Storzek
 




---In STMFC@..., <smithbf@...> wrote :

Jim,

As I noted in my response, I doubt that this is a (normal) M4.  Looking at the shape, whatever the vehicle is, it has prominent fenders and what looks to be a sharply pointed front “glacis”.  I don’t think that  this would be the case for any normal M3 (Grant/Lee) or M4 (Sherman).  It is possible that it could be the back end of an M3, or that the tanks have some sort of special equipment (and hence the tarps… since most tanks were shipped untarped).

Regards

Bruce

===============


That struck me as odd also. The signs remind me of the "THE BASE COMMANDER HAS AUTHORIZED THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE..." signs still occasionally used. They didn't want anyone looking at these.

I'm not much of an armor expert, but the German Panzer III had those prominent flat angled fenders. The US didn't ship any captured German armor back home for desert war games, did they?

Dennis Storzek

Bruce Smith
 

Dennis,

They did indeed ship captured weapons home for testing, with much of it going to Aberdeen Proving Grounds (once home to our illustrious leader!).  However, I’m used to seeing those “prizes of war” prominently displayed for the public to view “the enemy”.  I’ll probably have a load or two of foreign armor being sent for evaluation.

Regards

Bruce


Bruce F. Smith            

Auburn, AL

https://www5.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."




That struck me as odd also. The signs remind me of the "THE BASE COMMANDER HAS AUTHORIZED THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE..." signs still occasionally used. They didn't want anyone looking at these.

I'm not much of an armor expert, but the German Panzer III had those prominent flat angled fenders. The US didn't ship any captured German armor back home for desert war games, did they?

Dennis Storzek

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Dennis,

Yes, they did ship tanks home, at least for evaluation. Examples of a number of captured WWII tanks and other vehicles are on display at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Take a look at page 60 of PRC 20 for views of Japanese and British tanks on American flat cars.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 3/15/16 3:21 PM, destorzek@... [STMFC] wrote:
 




---In STMFC@..., wrote :

Jim,

As I noted in my response, I doubt that this is a (normal) M4.  Looking at the shape, whatever the vehicle is, it has prominent fenders and what looks to be a sharply pointed front “glacis”.  I don’t think that  this would be the case for any normal M3 (Grant/Lee) or M4 (Sherman).  It is possible that it could be the back end of an M3, or that the tanks have some sort of special equipment (and hence the tarps… since most tanks were shipped untarped).

Regards

Bruce

===============


That struck me as odd also. The signs remind me of the "THE BASE COMMANDER HAS AUTHORIZED THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE..." signs still occasionally used. They didn't want anyone looking at these.

I'm not much of an armor expert, but the German Panzer III had those prominent flat angled fenders. The US didn't ship any captured German armor back home for desert war games, did they?

Dennis Storzek

spsalso
 

To me, the first three tanks look very much like they're Shermans, or based thereon.  They're tall and broad like Shermans.  And there's a break line in the tarp right where the sides meet the top for the welded-up Sherms.  


It's 

Dennis Storzek
 




---In STMFC@..., <smithbf@...> wrote :

Dennis,

They did indeed ship captured weapons home for testing, with much of it going to Aberdeen Proving Grounds (once home to our illustrious leader!).  However, I’m used to seeing those “prizes of war” prominently displayed for the public to view “the enemy”.  I’ll probably have a load or two of foreign armor being sent for evaluation.

Regards

Bruce

=============

Maybe not this early, however. It seems November - December 1942 would have been the first chance for the US to get it's hands on German armor, after the landings in Algeria, and early 1943 it could still be in transit and considered a secret. It would be cool if Delano had noted what the movement he photographed actually was, but he may well not have known.


Dennis Storzek

Andy Laurent
 

Gents,
These look like M4 Shermans...we are looking at the rear of the tanks, with the turrets turned rearwards for transit (appearing to be turned to the "7:30" position, at an angle - the tarp is slightly tented where the barrel would be).  If I'm seeing things on the barrel, it could be that these are M4 chassis headed for conversion to a M74 Recovery Vehicle.
Andy

devansprr
 

All,

I was just at Fort Bliss, TX three weeks ago, and they have a museum with a fair amount of WWII tanks and combat vehicles.

Two key observations - the top fender lines in the photos are more than half the height of the vehicle, yet all WWII tanks that were at Fort Bliss (several M3 and M4 variants, plus an M5 light tank and an M10 tank destroyer), have their top fenders well below half of the overall height.

In addition, none of the WWII tanks at Fort Bliss museum had the squared off fender fronts.

As for the front protuberance, some of the WWII tanks at the Fort Bliss museum did have triangular main gun barrel supports that folded down and might project in front of the hull when folded down, and others had small ball turrets for 30 cal machine guns on the front of the hull - in the case of the M5 they were to the right of the centerline.

You may want to check out this web site:

World War 2 U.S. Tanks (1939-1945)

 

I am inclined to bet on the M18 Hellcat tank destroyer - thousands built - was fielded in 1943, and possibly the highest fender height to overall height ratio of US armor produced in high volumes.


I am also wondering if, for train movements, the turrets were pointed to the rear to minimize main gun barrel overhang. That might explain the "tail" to the tarp. Even today the railroads are not crazy about shipping armor with long gun barrels pointing forward.


Note that the M18 was open top (a possible reason for a tarp). They were also the follow-on to the already fielded M10 tank destroyer (and an improvement too), and perhaps they were under tarp because the Germans were not yet aware of their existence?


I know of one Army depot that during WWII took some extensive measures to hide armor loading because the siding was visible from the outer perimeter fence and they were worried about German spies seeing equipment being loaded.


Dave Evans

Todd Schwenk
 

I speculate these vehicles are not tanks but most likely M7 tracked howitzers. This vehicle was built on the M4 carriage. It also had slanted fenders similar to the vehicles in the photo.It was open topped and would justify being covered with a tarp.

Todd Schwenk


From: destorzek@... [STMFC] ;
To: ;
Subject: Re: [STMFC] tanks under wraps
Sent: Tue, Mar 15, 2016 8:50:05 PM

 




---In STMFC@..., wrote :

Dennis,

They did indeed ship captured weapons home for testing, with much of it going to Aberdeen Proving Grounds (once home to our illustrious leader!).  However, I’m used to seeing those “prizes of war” prominently displayed for the public to view “the enemy”.  I’ll probably have a load or two of foreign armor being sent for evaluation.

Regards

Bruce

=============

Maybe not this early, however. It seems November - December 1942 would have been the first chance for the US to get it's hands on German armor, after the landings in Algeria, and early 1943 it could still be in transit and considered a secret. It would be cool if Delano had noted what the movement he photographed actually was, but he may well not have known.


Dennis Storzek

Bruce Smith
 

​Todd, Folks,


I find it unlikely that these vehicles are any of the vehicles built on the M3/M4 chassis, including the M7, M9, M10, M36, etc. The front glacis looks nothing like what the photo appears to show.


I honestly liked Dave Evan's guess of the M18, and with the March 1943 date of the photo and later release date of the M18, these could be T70s which was the preproduction version, however, the glacis on the M18 was above the bottom edge of the fenders, and the photo shows the opposite.


After extensive review of photos, the only US tank chassis that comes close is the M5A1 light tank.  A couple of things support this and couple argue against.  In support, the glacis and fender relationship is correct, the tread width is fairly narrow and the overall width of the vehicle is many inches narrower than the flat car.  The relatively short 37mm gun barrel could be the peak to left of center.  The bumps just to the inside of the fenders is in the correct position for the headlights.  Cons... why tarp an M5?  In addition the barrel really should be longer - nearly to the headlight.  And I'm not sure what the additional horizontal creases represent as the M5 had a uniformly sloped glacis.


I will also remind you that there were at least 3 different "M4"s, the obvious M4 Sherman, the M4 high Speed Tractor and the M4 half-track.  I really don't see this as any of those.


In the end, we will have to wonder instead of know.  But honestly, given the huge variety of model military vehicles and hardware, I'm content to have my loads in the open, without tarps, for everyone to see ;)


Regards,

Bruce Smith

Auburn, AL



From: STMFC@... on behalf of Todd Schwenk tccows@... [STMFC]
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 5:46 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] tanks under wraps
 


I speculate these vehicles are not tanks but most likely M7 tracked howitzers. This vehicle was built on the M4 carriage. It also had slanted fenders similar to the vehicles in the photo.It was open topped and would justify being covered with a tarp.

Todd Schwenk


From: destorzek@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...>;
To: ;
Subject: Re: [STMFC] tanks under wraps
Sent: Tue, Mar 15, 2016 8:50:05 PM 

Bruce Smith
 

Andy,


No, these are not M4 chassis.  not backwards, not forwards.  Period.  They are too narrow and the rear of a sherman (or any other M3 or M4 derivative) does not look like that!


If people insist on believing that these are a specific vehicle please provide a link to a photo that supports you opinion. Here is the early M5A1

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1f/Stuart_m5a1_cfb_borden.jpg

Additional features supporting the M5 include the machine gun blister, and the horizontal creases may be welded on angles such as those seen in the photo above...


Regards

Bruce Smith

Auburn, AL



From: STMFC@... <STMFC@...> on behalf of andy.laurent@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...>
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 3:55 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] tanks under wraps
 


Gents,
These look like M4 Shermans...we are looking at the rear of the tanks, with the turrets turned rearwards for transit (appearing to be turned to the "7:30" position, at an angle - the tarp is slightly tented where the barrel would be).  If I'm seeing things on the barrel, it could be that these are M4 chassis headed for conversion to a M74 Recovery Vehicle.
Andy

spsalso
 

I believe we are looking at the rear of the vehicles, not the front.



Ed


Edward Sutorik

Benjamin Hom
 

Bruce Smith wrote:
"But honestly, given the huge variety of model military vehicles and hardware, I'm content to have my loads in the open, without tarps, for everyone to see ;)"

Consider tarps a way to use those extra trashed Roco Minitanks from that lot you bought on eBay, or those Airfix Shermans with their mishmash of variants and shrinky-dink turret.


Ben Hom 

Denny Anspach
 

During a period in the mid sixties during the heart of the Viet Name war, I was Chief of Radiology at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, and as noted, they had a large number of very interesting exotic tracked vehicles and tanks on display from WWI, II, and the Korean conflict in the public area. They also had an unspecified number of then-current captured , stolen, and purchased Russian tanks undergoing intensive testing and reverse engineering. This was all behind the fence in the vast Secure Area that constituted the major portion of this large base along the west shore of the upper Chesapeake. I never saw any of them, but because I held a low level Security Clearance that once allowed me behind the fence, I was told of them often enough. How did they arrive? Flat car, and tarp covered, and rolled behind the fence before being unloaded.

Why did I go behind the fence? To see for myself a whole bunch of grounded former PE Red Cars left over from WWII Aberdeen (PRR)-APG commuting duties. They were without trucks but still had their markers and class lights.

The APG railroad had two EMD switchers, one of which was given to the California State Railroad Museum about five years ago (transported gratis by N&W and UP), just after being completely overhauled. It is used regularly.

The Proving Ground has been virtually closed to visitors since 7/11, although I understand visiting may now be easier. I also understand that the vast collection of rolling armor that was on display has been removed to Ft. Belvoir, VA, including the “Anzio Annie” - type German railway gun.

Denny

Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento, CA 95864

Benjamin Hom
 

Denny Anspach wrote:
" I also understand that the vast collection of rolling armor that was on display has been removed to Ft. Belvoir, VA, including the 'Anzio Annie' - type German railway gun." 

Not Ft. Belvoir, but Ft. Lee near Petersburg.

Ben Hom