US Armoured vehicles on the beach at Okinawa

US Armoured vehicles on the beach at Okinawa

US Armoured vehicles on the beach at Okinawa

US Armoured vehicles on the beach at Okinawa



Battle of Okinawa

The Battle of Okinawa (April 1, 1945-June 22, 1945) was the last major battle of World War II, and one of the bloodiest. On April 1, 1945�ster Sunday—the Navy’s Fifth Fleet and more than 180,000 U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps troops descended on the Pacific island of Okinawa for a final push towards Japan. The invasion was part of Operation Iceberg, a complex plan to invade and occupy the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa. Though it resulted in an Allied victory, kamikaze fighters, rainy weather and fierce fighting on land, sea and air led to a large death toll on both sides.


US Armoured vehicles on the beach at Okinawa - History

Marine Corps Vietnam-era Tankers and Ontos Crewmen Have Made History.


Your Historical Foundation is Making it Known.

The Evolution of Marine Tanks.

Thus with the reluctant blessings of the Great White Fathers of the Navy Department in Washington, the first of a long line of Marine Corps tank units was formed. It was officially designated "Light Tank Platoon USMC" at Quantico, Virginia, on December 5th 1923. The Platoon consisted of twenty-two enlisted men and two officers. The Commanding Officer was Captain Leslie G. Wayt, and the Executive Officer was Second Lieutenant Charles S. Finch.

The Platoon was issued three, six-ton light tanks. These tanks had been built in the United States during 1918 under license from the French Government. They were copies of the famous French Renault FT-17 of the First World War. Built to U.S. specifications, they had an ACF Buda Marine Engine, and two of them mounted Browning .30 cal. machine guns. The other one mounted a French 37mm Puteaux one-pounder infantry cannon. One of the reasons that this tank was so famous, was that it was the first tank to successfully mount a weapon in a fully 360 degree traversing turret. Even though it was called the Six-Ton Light Tank, its total weight was 7.8 tons. With that weight powered by the four-cylinder engine, it could really gallop along at a fast 5 1/2 miles per hour. The Tank Commander/gunner sat in a hammock-like affair hung from the turret walls and just sort of bounced around amongst all the ammunition in the fighting compartment, which was 4,800 rounds for the machine guns or 237 rounds for the cannon. The driver was a little better off in that he had a seat, but both men suffered considerably from the exhaust and gasoline fumes of the engine.

During the rest of that winter and all through the next summer the Platoon became familiar with their tanks. Most of the men had never even seen a tank before, but being Marines they went at the job in the typical Marine fashion, head on. Every one in the platoon became familiar with all aspects of the job of an Iron Horse Marine, driving, gunnery and preventive Maintenance They learned what the tanks could do and usually, by trial and error, what they could not do. The platoon also participated in many of the publicity maneuvers and parades, which were a hallmark of the times

During the winter of 1924, the platoon participated in the "Winter Maneuvers" with the East Coast Expeditionary Force from Quantico. These maneuvers were held on the island of Culebra, off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. The maneuvers were designed to test and perfect amphibious landing techniques. They were of the trial and error type, at least as far as the "Tankers" were concerned. It was defiantly learned that this type of tank was not suited for amphibious operations. The lessons learned during maneuvers such as these would be a tremendous help later on during World War II, when the Marines perfected their amphibious assault techniques in the Pacific.

Upon the platoon's return from Culebra, they received two more tanks, one machine gun and one cannon. It was now a full-fledged tank platoon with five tanks. There was even an experimental tank to try out. It was a standard Six-Ton with the turret removed and fitted out as a communications tank. The platoon was in tank heaven and the haggling over who would drive what was cut to a minimum.

For the next three years the platoon performed peacetime garrison type duties. Going on limited maneuvers and exercises, performing in publicity parades and run of the mill Marine duties, but constantly learning more and more about their tanks. For the Marines it was almost too dull, but, as for all those who wait, an exciting change was in store for these "Iron Horse Marines". The political crisis in China was getting worse and the Third Marine Brigade was asking for reinforcements.

Early in 1927 the platoon was Far East Bound. The "Old Salts" were again telling the "Boots" sea stories about the wonders of the Orient, and some of the boots were looking forward to getting tattooed like the old salts. But they had to wait, for at that time it was an unwritten law that no one got a tattoo until he had served overseas.

The platoon, now under the command of Captain Nathen E. Landon, lashed down their tanks on flat cars and left Quantico by rail on April 6, 1927. Arriving in San Diego on April 12, the platoon didn't take any time out for liberty. In typical Marine fashion the tanks and all the platoon's gear was derailed, moved dockside, embarked, and lashed down aboard the USS President Grant, all in one day. The platoon then had a few days to pull liberty before the ship sailed. The trip from San Diego to Olongapo, Philippine Islands was as usual, uneventful, except for the Marine who were seasick and thought the trip would never end. Upon arrival at Olongapo, it was back to work again for the tankers, as they had to change ships. On May 4th they set to work unlashing their tanks and transferring them to the USS Chaumont, where they were again tied down. After the troops were settled in and the card games resumed the ship set sail for Shanghai, China.

Arriving at Taku Bar, Shanghai, China on the 21st of May the platoon again disembarked and began getting ready for what they hoped would be an exciting tour of duty in China. After the tanks were put back in a ready condition, some of the men went on their first liberty. While some got their firs tattoos, others began to explore the wonders of the Orient. All agreed that Shanghai liberty was all or more than it was said to be. But such a good life is not for Marines and after about two weeks the platoon was on the move again. It was sent up river by barge to Tientsin on the 6th of June. The platoon was assigned the job of protecting the Peking-Tientsin railway. At least that was its official job during the balance of its tour of duty in China. Even though these were troubled times in China, and some of the Marines were looking for excitement the job was considered as dull garrison duty.

With the exception of being a show of force, the platoon's duties were much the same as it was earlier in Quantico. They went on limited maneuvers, performed in good-will shows and publicity parades, stood inspections and kept their tank well maintained. It was almost like the occupation duty that the Marines would again be assigned to do in the same area in 1945. While not on duty the Marines of the platoon could be found on liberty in Tientsin, which they discovered was just as good a liberty town as was Shanghai. This was their life for the next fifteen months until the crisis was lifted and the Marine Corps could no longer afford a tank platoon.

On September 15, 1928, the platoon was administratively detached and transferred to the Light Tank Platoon, Composite regiment, San Diego. The Marines again loaded their tanks aboard barges and left for Shanghai, where they were loaded aboard ship and lashed down for the trip home. When the ship left Shanghai on September 18th, besides their tanks, the platoon took with them lots of wonderful memories of their tour of duty in China.

The platoon debarked in San Diego on November 1st and joined the Composite Regiment. After everyone was settled in they had time to enjoy some of San Diego's nightspots. Then on November 10, (the Marine Corps birthday) the platoon was disbanded. Some of the men were transferred to other units while others were discharged. But once again history leaves something out and we don't know what happened to the tanks.

Many more stories may be written about Marine Tankers, but these were the pioneers of a brand new arm of the Marine Ground-Sea-Air team. During their brief five years of existence they set the trend for the "Iron Horse Marines" of today.

By Lloyd G. Reynolds
Aug. 11 1998

Photo credits, USMC, National Archives, Department of Defence, Imperial War Museum unless otherwise noted.


FT 17 in China. USMC Photo.

Inspection in China. USMC Photo.

The author helped restore this FT 17. Authors photo.

Owned by Dr. Frank Haigler. Authors photo.


Tank Landings/Operations in WW II.

Date Location Tk Bn's/Units Tanks Used
Aug.7,1942
Guadalcanal 1st Tk. Bn. M2A4,M3, M3A1
Mar.6,1943
Talasea 1st Plt. Co. "C" & Co. "A" 1st Tk. Bn. M3A1, M4A1
Apr.22,1943
Hollandia Co "A" 1st Tk. Bn. M4A1
Jun.30,1943 Munda,New Georga 9th,10th & 11th Defence Bn. Tks. M3, M3A1
Nov.1, 1943 Bouganville 3rd Tk. Bn. M3A1
Nov.20,1943 Tarawa 2nd Tk. Bn. Co. "C" I Marine Amphibious Corps Tk. Bn. M3A1, M4A2
Dec.26,1943 Cape Glouster, New Britian 1st Tk. Bn. M3A1, M4A1
Jan.31,1944 Roi-Namur 4th Tk. Bn. M5A1, M4A2
Feb.18,1944 Eniwetok 2nd Separate Tk. Co. M4A2
Feb.18,1944 Engebi 2nd Separate Tk. Co. M4A2
Feb.22,1944 Perry 2nd Separate Tk. Co. M4A2
Mar.20,1944 Emirau Co. "A"3rd Tk. Bn. M4A2
Jun.15,1944 Saipan 2nd & 4th Tk. Bn. M4A2,M5A1, M3A1 (Satan), M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Jul. 21,1944 Guam 3rd Tk. Bn., Tk. Co., 4th Mar., Tk. Co. 22 Mar. M4A2, M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Jul.24, 1944 Tinian 2nd & 4th Tk. Bn. M4A2,M5A1, M3A1 (Satan), M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Sep.15,1944 Pelilu 1st Tk. Bn. M4A2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Feb.19,1945 Iwo Jima 3rd, 4th & 5th Tk. Bn. M4A2, M4A3, M4A3POA H1 Flame Tank, M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit., M4A2 w/M1A1 Flame kit, M4A3 Flail.
Apr. 1, 1945 Okinawa 1st & 6th Tk. Bn. M4A2, M4A3, M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.

The WW II years 1941-1945. (Light Tanks)

M2A4= 1 37mm Gun, 5 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine.
M3= 1 37mm Gun, (later w/a gyrostabilizer) 5 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine. (some w/Guiberson Radial Diesel). (Early production M3s had riveted turrets, Later changed to welded.)
M3A1= 1 37mm Gun, (the 1st light tank to have a turret basket, stabilized gun and power traverse) (Welded turret with out copula.) 3 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine. (some w/Guiberson Radial Diesel).
M3A3= 1 37mm Gun, 3 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine. Welded hull and turret, A new turret incorporating a radio bustle and larger hatches wit no copula. Angled armor.
M5A1= 1 37mm Gun, 3 .30 Cal. MG, Engine, Twin Cadillac V-8's with Hydra-Matic transmission, All welded construction, no copula, large turret hatches. Angled armor.

An M2A4 of the 1st Tank Battalion on Guadalcanal.

An M2A4 leading two M3 Light Tanks on Guadalcanal.

An M3A1 Light Tank on Guadalcanal.

An M3A1 landing on Emirau Island.

Marines of the 7th Defense Battalion, one of the "Rainbow Five," give their new M3 Stuart light tank a trial run at Tutuila, American Samoa, in the summer of 1942.

M5A1 on Boganville.

US Marines sitting atop a M5A1 light tank, Cape Gloucester, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, late Dec 1943

M3A1 at Tarawa.

Light tank bogged down in shell hole on Tarawa.

M3A1 Light Flame Tank "Satan".


Early experiments M3A1 with portable M1A1 Flame Thrower in the bow MG position. According to one Marine of this era interviewed, "The flame ginner held the tanks between his knees".

An M3A1 "Satan" Flame Tank with the Ronson Flame Thrower system on Saipan.

A "Satan" on Saipan.

On Saipan a "Satan" with two M5A1's.

Front view of a M3A1 "Satan" Flame Tank.
The Light Flame tanks were not ready in time for Tarawa. As far as the author knows they were only used at Saipan and Tinian by the 2nd and 4th Tank Battalions.

The WW II years 1941-1945. (Medium Tanks)

The M4 Medium Tank went through a lot of variations.
M4A1= 1 75mm Gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30 Cal. MGs. Continental Radial Air Cooled Gasoline Engine. Only used by 1st Tks at Cape Gloucester.
M4A2= 1 75mm Gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30 Cal. MGs. Twin G.M. Diesel Engines. The first combat use of M4 series tanks by the USMC was at Tarawa. Also used at Kwajelein, Roi-Namur, Perry Island, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
M4A3= 1 75mm Gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30 Cal. MGs. Ford V-8 Gasoline Engine. Used by 5th Tk. Bn. on Iwo Jima and 6th Tk. Bn. on Okinawa.
M4A3E8=

A 1st Tk. Bn. M4A1 landing at Cape Gloucester.

M4A1s of the 1st Tk. Bn. on New Georgia.

M4A1s of the 1st Tk. Bn. on New Georgia.

An M4A2 of "C" Co. 1st Corps Tk. Bn. attached to the 2nd Mar. Div. for Tarawa fell into a shell hole and drowned out. No tanks (Light or Medium) had any fording kits at Tarawa.

Of the 14 tanks of Co. "C" 1st Corps Medium Tank Bn. Ten made it to the beach.
See= Marine Armor on Tarawa

Colorado on the beach at Tarawa. See= Tanks on Tarawa

M4A2 with improvised fording stacks. Perry Island, 2nd separate Tk. Co.

M4A2 with improvised fording stacks made from 55 Gal. drums. Improvise, adapt and overcome. 3rd Tk. Bn., Guam.

By Siapan fording stacks were standardized.

Ill Wind on Tinian. C. B. Ash the driver of this tank says note the TCs pericope. They welded two together to get 6" more elevation.

1st Tank coming ashore at Pelilu.

Peliliu was tough on tanks.

Sand bags on the rear deck. Pelilu.

So was Iwo Jima.

An M4A3 of the 4th Tk. Bn. on Iwo Jima.

An M4A2 of the 5th Tk. Bn. on Iwo Jima.

Note the nails welded on the hatches to keep the Japs off.

An M4A3 of "C" Co. 4th Tk. Bn. Note, inprovised water tank with a spigot for the grunts, improvised Tank Infantery phone and clock for infantry to give directions, extended track grousers. C. B. Ash there is 4" of cement between hull and 1" planks on side of the tank.

For Okinawa this M4A2 tank has added extra track blocks for protection.

This one has some added protection and still has some of the fording kit attached.

These tanks have added a lot of added track blocks as added armor.

M4 series Flame Tanks and other varients.


An M4A2 with the M1A1 bow Flame Gun. It was used on Iwo Jima.

An M4A3 POA H1 Flame Tank on Iwo Jima. The Flame Gun was mounted in worn out 75mm gun tubes.

U.S. Army Flame Tank on Okinawa fron the 713th Tk. Bn. The Marines had no Flame Tanks on Okinawa.

Another M4A3 POA H1 Flame Tank on Iwo Jima.

The M32B2 Tank Retriver made its first apperance with the Marines on Saipan.

This M32B2 is getting a souvenir on Guam.

Dozer kits added to tanks were as welcome as Flame Tanks to the Tk. Bn.

M4A2s on Guam with a Dozer Tank.

Rockets (7.2 In.) were expermented with in Europe and the Pacific, but it is not known if they were used in the Pacific by the Marines.

4th Tk. Bn. Flail Tank (home made by GySgt. Sam Johnson and Sgt. Ray Shaw) photographed on Maui. It landed on Iwo Jima but was destroyed on the beach, (C. B. Ash)

Another view of the 4th Tks Flail,

Tanks used
M4A3E8= M4A3,with upgraded horizontal Volute suspension, with 105mm Howitzer & M4A1 Dozer Kit.
M4A3E8 with POA-CWS-H5 Flame Thrower & 105mm Howitzer.
M32B3= M4A3E8 Tank Recovery Vehicle.
M-26= 1 90mm M3 Gun, w/.30 Cal. Co-ax, 1 .50 Cal. on top of turret, 1 .30 Cal. in bow. Used the same engine as the M4A3 series tanks, Ford GAF V-8 500 hp. (very under powered). Torsion Bar suspension.
M26A1= Up graded with Continental AV-1790-5A, V-12, 810 hp. Replaced during July-November by the M-46.
M-46= 1 90mm M3A1 Gun, w/.30 Cal. Co-ax, 1 .50 Cal. on top of turret, 1 .30 Cal. in bow. Engine Continental AV-1790-5A, V-12, 810 hp.
Note it's very hard to tell the difference between the M-26 & M-46 just from photos.

An M-26 during the fighting in the Pusan Perimeter.


M-26 can take a hit.

M-26 with 18 inch searchlight.

A pair of T-34/85s knocked out.

An M-26 during the fighting in the Pusan Perimeter. (Balls'ey T.C.)

An M4A3E8 105mm Dozer tank

Loading up for Inchon.

Street fighting in Seoul.

Moving North on narrow roads.

Winter's coming.

Winter and mountains.

A knocked or abandond SU 76.

An M-46 on the firing line.

M-46 with searchlight bracket.

M-26 or 46 indirect firing at night.

A replacement M-46.

M-46 Dozer tank with anti-tank rocket cage.

The "Porcupine" an M4A3E8 with a fake gun & welded turret.

The "Porcupine" it was all communications inside, to communicate with Air, Infantry, Navy & Artilery.

An M4A3E8 POA CWA H5 Flame Tank. Jack Carty Photo.

Flame Tank Platoon.

Flame tanks at Chosin.

M47= Last tank to have a bow gunner, 1st tank to have a range finder, Stereoscopic M12, Continental AV-17905B gasoline engine, 90mm M36 gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30Cal. MG. 1951 to 1959, 3rd Tk. Bn. last unit to have the M47. Not used in Korea by Marines. See Tank Data.
M48= Continental AVI-1790-5B gasoline engine, 90mm M41 gun, 1 .50 Cal. (sky mounted), 1 .30 Cal. MG., Stereoscopic T46E1 Rangefinder. See Tank Data.
M48A1= Continental AVI-1790-5B to 7C gasoline engine, 90mm M41 gun, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, 1 .30 Cal. MG., Stereoscopic T46E1 Rangefinder.
M67= Flame Tank version of M48A1.
M48A2= Continental AVI-1790-8 gasoline engine, Stereoscopic M13A1 Rangefinder, 90mm M41 gun, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, 1 .30 Cal. MG.
M51 VTR= Continental AVSI-1790-6 gasoline engine, 1 .50 Cal. HBM2 MG. Built from the M103 chassi. See Tank Data.
M103A1= Continental AVI-1790-7B to 7C gasoline engine, 1 20mm M58 gun, 1 .50 Cal., 1 .30 Cal. MG. See Tank Data.
M103A2= Continental AVDS-1790-2A gasoline engine, 1 20mm M58 gun, 1 .50 Cal., 1 .30 Cal. MG. See Tank Data.
Dozer kits were used for the M47, M48A1 & A2.

M47 on the gun range.

Army M47 in Germany.

M47

M48 w/sky mount .50 Cal. MG. Photo ?

M48 note track tension idler wheel & engineck deck. Photo ?

M48 note engine deck & large box which was a Tank/Infantry phone. Photo ?

Platoon of M48A1 tanks of 2nd Tk. Bn.

M48A1

M67A1 Flame Tank

M48A2 (the track tension idler wheel was cut off of these) Peter Saussy.

M103A1 120mm Gun.

M103A2 on the range at Camp Pendelton, 1967.

M48A2 Rear Photo ?

M51 VTR.

M51 Retriver.

M51

M48A3 Dozer tank. "C" Co. 5th Tk. Bn. 1968. Authors photo.

M48A3= Continental AVDS-1790-2A supercharged diesel, 90mm Gun M-41, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, and 1 .30 Cal. MG, Coincidence Rangefinder M17A1, 4 man crew. 1 Dozer Tank per Company. See Tank Data. All M48A3 were upgrades from the M48A1s and A2s.
M67A2= Continental AVDS-1790-2A supercharged diesel, Flame Thrower M7-6, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, and 1 .30 Cal. MG, 3 man crew. See Tank Data.
Mod B= Vision Blocks inserted below the copula, armored fraiming above exhaust louvers and around tail lights, improved copula hatch, TI phone moved and other changes.
M51= Continental AVSI-1790-6 gasoline engine, 1 .50 Cal. HBM2 MG. Built from the M103 chassi. See Tank Data.
The 1st Tank Platoon to land in Vietnam was 3rd Plt. "B" Co. 3rd Tks. on Mar. 9, 1965. See Map.

3rd Plt. tanks from Bravo Co. 3rd Tk. Bn. aboard LCU 1476 leaving the USS Vancouver heading for "Red Beach". March 8, 1965

Bravo 31 landing at Red Beach with Joe Tyson driving Mar. 8th 1965. From the Military Channel video. This was the 2nd tank to land, S/Sgt. John Downey was TC of the 1st tank to come ashore.

The first large scale operation (Starlight).

M48A3 Drivers Compartment. Authors photo.

M48A3 Loaders area. Authors photo.

M48A3 Gunners area. Authors photo.

M48A3 Tank Commanders area. Authors photo.

M48A3 Turret rear (Bustle). Authors photo.

View through the gunners pericope. Authors photo.

River Crossing Bob Haller photo.

River Crossing Bob Haller photo.


Keeping every thing clean. Bob Haller photo.

Alpha Co. Blade Tank. James Sausoman photo.

Bravo Co. 1st Tks. Carol Lemmon photo.

1st Plt Alpha Co. 1st Tks. Larry Sterling photo.

Removing the coupla for the Mod B upgrade. Rick Langley.

Coupla with old TC hatch. Rick Langley.

New vision ring inserted and replacing copula thit new TC hatch. Rick Langley.

A few minor adjustment and it' ready to go. Rick Langley.

Lt. Horner’s platoon, from F/2/5 take cover behind an M67A2 Flame Tank and a M48A3 during the battle for Hue. Photo ?

An M48A3 supports grunts in Hue. Photo ?

Highway 9, the road to Khe Sanh. Photo ?

Khe Sanh Tank. Photo ?

Tank as artilery at Khe Sanh. Jack Butcher.

Tank as artilery at Khe Sanh. Jack Butcher.

If you've gotten this far you may be interested in some of the sources I used.


Combat history [ edit | edit source ]

This LVT-1 was put out of action by enemy fire on Beach RED 1, Tarawa.

The LVT were mainly used for logistical support at Guadalcanal, up until the development of the LVT-4 version which allowed for embarkation and disembarkation from a rear ramp, greatly improving combat utility by allowing troops to dismount from the vehicle much more quickly. Previous versions had no such means of entry or exit.

The first usage of the LVT in combat was during the amphibious assault on Tarawa. Of 125 vehicles used, only 35 remained operational by the end of the day. Still, a number managed to successfully ferry men across the coral reef and through the shallows to the beach. Marines who arrived in LCVP Higgins boats, on the other hand, could not cross the reef and had to wade through chest-deep or higher water while under enemy fire casualties were horrific and many who did make it to the beach alive had lost their rifles and other essential gear. Despite their apparent utility however, the LVT-4 was too lightly armored for combat, and the open crew and passenger compartment resulted in serious injuries from both machine gun fire and shrapnel. The operation also revealed the need for close-in fire support, which the Amtracs lacked.

As a result of Tarawa experience, standardized armor kits were provided for the LVTs employed in contested landings, and the gun-armed "amtanks" LVT(A)-1 and LVT(A)-4 were developed to provide fire support. Armed with a 75 mm howitzer, the latter was especially effective in this role as it was capable of destroying Japanese fortifications as it came ashore. However the LVT(A)-4 had an open-topped turret which left the crew vulnerable to artillery and infantry attack, especially to the latter as it lacked any sort of machine gun armament. The lack of machine gun armament was eventually rectified, though the open-topped turret remained in order to save weight. Although usually used during landings only, in the Marianas campaign "amtanks" were employed inland, much like regular tanks.

The largest use of the LVTs was in the Leyte landing, with nine amtrac and two amtank battalions deployed. As there was no fighting on the beaches, this is also one of the least famous LVTs operations. Over 1000 LVTs took part in the Battle of Okinawa.

Although usually associated with the Pacific theatre, toward the end of the war LVTs were employed in Europe as well. The U.S., British and Canadian Armies used the Buffalo in the Battle of the Scheldt, during Operation Plunder, along the Po River in Italy, across the river Elbe, and in a number of other river crossing operations.

Some LVT-3s, LVT-3Cs, and modified LVT(A)-5s saw action in the Korean War. The French Army used the U.S.-supplied LVT-4s and LVT(A)-4s in the Indochina War and in the Suez Crisis.


Okinawa Sherman – possible US premium tank

Of all the tanks in WW2 few could rivalry the sheer numbers produced, the number of front served in or the vast number of modifications carried out. Many of these modifications were on a very small scale so are not necessarily distinct or common enough to warrant a special vehicle. There is of course the battle for Okinawa for which modifications were extensive in both numbers and appearance.

Most people will have seen Shermans covered with sandbags in books or footage of the war. To cover an entire Sherman it was found to take about 170 full sandbags to cover an M4 adequately although up to 200 were used on occasion. Initially secured with wire mesh and later with welded steel brackets and was often done on a wide scale. The 14th Armored Division in Europe “systematically sandbagged their tanks prior to entering combat”. Estimate a sandbag at approximately 10kg and this adds a considerable 1.7 to 2 tonnes to the vehicle.

How effective were they? Well on the 28th July 1944 3rd Armored Group tested the effectiveness of this armour on an M4 using a Panzerfaust. As a result of the test a truck drove back to the landing beach to get more sand. (11)
In the pacific sandbags were sometimes placed on the rear deck to protect against antitank mines or satchel charges thrown onto the rear deck but overall the use of sandbags was found to improve the overall effectiveness of the vehicle armour against shaped charge warhead based weapons such as the panzerfaust but not make any noticeable difference against anti-tank guns.

Concrete was widely employed in some units often on the glacis and also in the Pacific as a layer against the sides of the tank cast against a layer of planks on the side of the tank. This was done by the Marine Corps where the planks left a void about 100mm wide against the sides which was then filled in as both a measure to improve the armour against the Japanese antitank guns but also to prevent the sticking of magnetic mines to the sides by Japanese infantry.

Other measures to protect against these mines included wire cages over the hatches and the US 750th Tank Battalion went so far as to put up to 150mm of concrete on their M4 tanks and even nails welded on.

Spare track sections were widely used in all theatres of the war by crews and provided some additional protection against kinetic energy weapons and a slightly greater stand-off distance for HEAT type weapons. In the Pacific the addition of steel track sections welded to the turret and sides was found to “reduce the effectiveness of the Japanese 47mm high velocity antitank guns”. These guns were a very real danger to the M4 where for example we have an account from the 193rd Tank Battalion in April 1945 where a single Japanese 47mm antitank gun knocked out 4 of the battalions medium tanks in a single day. (9)

This is ‘Agony’ still with its wading system knocked out and repeatedly penetrated by Japanese 47mm antitank rounds.

Side skirts for the M4 were at least trialled formally back in the US in 1943 copying the side skirts from the T14 Assault Tank and found to be of “dubious value in detonating APHE type shells, but that they will reduce track damage due to explosions of HE shells where those shells detonate against the skirting plates”.

Side skirts were also used on Okinawa either as fabricated steel panels like this:

Or as wooden planks fastened to welded-on steel frames. The goal was not so much protection against anti-tank rounds but as a measure to counter the insane bravery of the Japanese soldiers who could throw or place satchel charges or Type 99 magnetic mines against the hull.

Japanese Model 99 Magnetic Mine

Davy Jones was knocked out and burned after being hit by 3 Japanese 77mm shells. The crew survived that incident.

This vehicle also has two panels on either side of the glacis as well:

‘Cloudhopper’ was knocked out by a 47mm AT round through the side. (8)

“Track blocks had been welded on turrets and front slope plates in the staging area. However, during the operation it became necessary to weld track on all sponsons.“ (6)
“The planking on the sides is considered to have been effective against shaped-charges thrown at several tank so equipped….the planking was splintered or blown off entirely, but the armor plate was not affected” (7)
“No case is recorded in which the wooden skirts for the suspension system saved a tank. But inasmuch as the [Japanese] have shown considerable reliance on satchel charges thrown under the tank” (7)
“The practice of welding spare track blocks on the outside of the turret and on the front slope-plate….and on at least one occasion prevented a 47mm projectile, which hit a track block on a tank turret, from penetrating the armor” (7) In this account a second vehicle hit in approximately the same place by the same type of round but without track blocks added was penetrated and exploded inside the tank. (7)

The scale and scope of modifications

Armour modifications by the 4th battalion to their M4A3 tanks were: (8)

- Additional armour plate was affixed to the front part of the right sponson on 24 tanks mounting flamethrowers.
- Forty one tanks had spare track sections welded around the turret and to the front.
- Forty seven tanks mounted a spare bogie wheel welded to the front slope plate
- Fifteen tanks has a 2 piece sections of channeled steel sheet weleded to the sponsons and a 35mm section cut to shape and bolted to the channel irons.
- Three tanks had three sections of plywood installed on their sponsons filled with about 40mm on concrete bolted to brackets welded on to the sponsons and were also considered effective.
- Six tanks had 50mm thick timber planking bolted to brackets welded to the hull sides creating a

75mm thick gap.
- Three further tanks used 12mm thick plywood in the same manner.
- Fifty four tanks carried the wire mesh cages around all of their hatches.
- Forty five tanks had the 76mm ammunition ready box on the floor of the turret basket removed and the 76mm ready racks installed permitting the carrying of 25 more rounds of 76mm ammunition.
- Ten tanks had their commandeers cupolas rotated 45 degrees clockwise so that the hatch opened to the rear instead of to the right hand side and thus prevented branches and wires etc was becoming snagged. Report recommended this be incorporated on all tanks.
- Thirty four tanks had 25mm diameter 225mm long rods welded to the front of the hull to make towing easier.
- Fifteen tanks has wooden plugs inserted into the M3 2 inch mortar barrel to prevent grenades being put in there.
- Sixteen tanks had the commanders periscope lengthened by about 50% to give increased vision.
- Eighteen tanks had their deck escape hatches cut in two hinging it to the deck armour and secured from the inside.

The improvisations were effective.

The 5th Battalion also modified their M4’s. Sheet metal was cut into plates welded to the sides of the sponsons. Angle iron was welded to the sponsons projecting 100mm from the sides and sheet metal was bolted onto this to create a false side. Other tanks used wooden planks for the same purpose. Some tanks used planks for side skirts and other had track blocks welded to the sides of the turret. Welding nails to hatches to prevent climbing, prying open hatches and magnetic mines from sticking or creating an air gap. Aircraft matting was also rigged over hatches in the same manner. Wire mesh stretched over flat surfaces of the tanks to make grenades roll off. Filled sandbags placed on top of the engine compartment “and saved several engines during the operation”. Spare bogies carried on bustles on racks on each side. Water tanks were fastened onto the rear decks to provide drinking water for accompanying infantry. Radiators were frequently damaged so armour was welded to cover the radiator section:

Once this additional armour was welded on the deep wading equipment was attached which was sheet metal. Removal once on land was facilitated by means of cutting torch and sledgehammer:

Overall combat performance for the M4A3 “was exceptionally good” with “little engine trouble …in 35 days of operation, and the much publicized fire hazard did not materialize” (8)

So what about putting it into the game?

Well this is my impression of what it shoud look like:

Statistics wise I would have the turret armour increased at the front (to account for the appliqué panels) by 20mm with a reduction in turret traverse of 1 deg/sec. Rear mounted water tank on hull rear is just visual with no armour value. If it is modelled as spaced armour it would prevent rearward gun depression and also allow the tank to shoot itself. It’s just as reasonable for this to be omitted completely. Also on the rear deck should be visual models of sandbags.

Side hull armour has two steel sections welded onto the sides (see ‘Agony’) adding 20mm in those two sections outside of which is the concrete and wood. The hull is now 300 mm wider (100mm of concrete + 50mm of wood on each side). How to model this is complicated along with the sandbags on the rear I would simply see the sides being modeled as spaced armour 10mm thick, 140mm* from the original hull side which basically would have no effect on AP shells but a modest effect on HE shells. The wooden planking under the tracks is visualy distinctive and would show camouflage colours but only count as 10mm spaced armour. again this would have virtually no effect on AP shells but provide a very small benefit against HE rounds. I wouldn’t propose to add the full steel side skirts on the Sherman as this was not a widespread modification.
(* except over those appliqué armour panels where they would be only 120mm from the hull)

For the rear mounted sandbags I would like them ignored as ‘armour’ and simply see them adding some hitpoints to the engine module. On the front the wide pieces of sheet metal spaced on the outer edges of the hull front should be just 10mm spaced about 50mm from the hull. Also changed would be addition of wire mesh only the hatches and the 45 degree rotation of the commanders hatch. Under the rear (you should not be getting shot here but none-the-less) added armour as shown in the photo providing 10mm of spaced armour underneath.

A final visual change would be the use of the wide grouser tracks to reflect their real use on the vehicles in these battles without additional benefits unless the owner selects that equipment for the tank. Also an increase in the ammunition capacity by 25 rounds but with the newer ammo rack to have a quite low hit point rating making it more vulnerable and a commensurate reduction in the rate of fire to account for the tighter crew space.

All told I see the Okinawa Sherman as being a good looking medium tank which would appeal to American players in particular carrying a little more armour, stronger engine, and a lot more ammunition at a price of mobility and a delicate ammo rack.


The Odd Looking German Light Armored Cars in 19 Images

The Treaty of Versailles, which limited Germany’s military production and strength, made no specific mention of armored cars, allowing Germany to design them at will. They started this early in the 1930s, giving them an advantage in during the first half of the war in terms of armored car quality.

One group of cars made were the Leichter Panzerspähwagen series light-armored vehicles intended primarily for reconnaissance missions. The need for reliable and adaptable vehicles meant they could run on a various amount of different fuel grades, and worked well on many types of terrain.

The first of these four wheeled vehicles, the Sd Kfz 221, entered production in 1935.

A Leichter Panzerspähwagen Sd. Kfz. 221 lies knocked out in Bredevad on April 9th, 1940

This version deemed insufficient, both offensively and defensively. This realisation led to a new variant with a rear mounted 3.5 L 75 hp V8 engine. This vehicle was designated the Sd Kfz 222.

This would go on as Germany’s standard light armored car during the war, all the way up until their defeat in 1945.

The Sd Kfz 221

As mentioned previously, this vehicle was the first variant to be made, and was built with the Einheits-PKW chassis. Frontal armour was only around 14.5 mm on the front, which provided just enough protection to resist small arms fire and shrapnel. A turret housed a 7.92 mm MG 13 machine gun to begin with, which was later swapped with an MG 34.

The 221 had a crew of two, meaning the commander had a rather intense job of operating the gun while commanding the driver. About 340 were built in total between 1935 and 1940, where its lacklustre offroad performance and light armament meant an upgraded was needed, based on the chassis of the Sd Kfs 221.

German armored cars Sd Kfz 221 during the battle in Tuchola Forest.

German armored cars enter the city of Aussig in the Sudeten. 9.10.1938 Aussig. Sudetenland.Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1976-033-20 CC-BY-SA 3.0

German troops and fleet in the newly joined to the Reich Memele, March 1939. In the foreground are German light armored cars Sd.Kfz.222

Panzer Division in movement on unpaved road, in the front Spähpanzer (Sd.Kfz. 221). Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-216-0401-25 Dieck CC-BY-SA 3.0

SdKfz. 222 Leichter Panzerspähwagen light armored car

British soldiers inspecting a captured German SdKfz 222 armoured car, 24 June 1941.

Motorized troops of the Panzergrenadierdivision “Greater Germany”, u.a. light armored infantry fighting vehicle (Sd.Kfz. 250/1, Sd.Kfz. 250/3 radio armored car, Spähpanzer Sd.Kfz. 222, Sd.Kfz. 263).Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-748-0100A-16 / Kempe / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Sd Kfz 222

The idea of improving the 221 came in 1936, and resulted in the Sd Kfz 222.

This vehicle abandoned the Einheits-PKW chassis of the 221, and instead used the chassis of the Horch 108 heavy off road car. The armored body was well sloped, and ranged from 5-14.5 mm in thickness.

The armament was significantly improved, with a 20 mm KwK 30 L/55 cannon placed next to the 7.92 machine gun. With this, vehicle gained a dedicated gunner, relieving the commander of some responsibility.

About 990 units of this vehicle were produced.

Russia, SS-Kavallerie-Divisison, Panzerspähwagen 222. Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 101III-Bueschel-022-05 Büschel CC-BY-SA 3.0

Sd.Kfz. 222 light armored car.

Turret of SdKfz 222, near Yad Mordechai battlefield reconstruction. Photo Bukvoed CC BY 2.5

Turret of SdKfz 222, near Yad Mordechai battlefield reconstruction. Photo Bukvoed CC BY 2.5

Italy, Spähpanzer 222 in the city. Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-304-0634-30A Funke CC-BY-SA 3.0

Liberated Sudetenland, concrete bunker of the Schöber line with German Strassenpanzerwagen at Karlsbad. Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H13396 CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Sd Kfz 223

The Sd Kfz 223 was essentially a Sd Kfz 221, that came with a frame antenna and a 30-watt FuG 10 medium-range radio set. An extra crewman was included to operate the radio. Production of these vehicles
The Sd Kfz 223 was basically the Sd Kfz 221 with some extra features like a frame antenna and a medium range radio. Like the 221, it only carried a 7.92 mm machine gun. 560 units were built between 1936 and 1944.

Russia, motorized Troops Division Großdeutschland. Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-748-0100A-19 Kempe CC-BY-SA 3.0

Russia, motorized unit of SS Totenkopf Division Recolored. Photo Wiegand CC BY-SA 4.0

An abandoned German SdKfz 223, Leichter Panzerspähwagen (light armoured car) which has been captured by advancing allied troops in North Africa. The vehicle has been fitted with a folding frame antenna for use with a long range wireless set which is fitted inside the vehicle.

North Afrika, Spähpanzer 223. Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-424-0269-17 Böcker CC-BY-SA 3.0


US Armoured vehicles on the beach at Okinawa - History

Assault on Shuri

The Tenth Army's Action Report for the battle of Okinawa paid this understated compliment to the Thirty-second Army's defensive efforts: "The continued development and improvement of cave warfare was the most outstanding feature of the enemy's tactics on Okinawa." In their decision to defend the Shuri highlands across the southern neck of the island, General Ushijima and his staff had selected the terrain that would best dominate two of the island's strategic features: the port of Naha to the west, and the sheltered anchorage of Nakagusuku Bay (later Buckner Bay) to the east. As a consequence, the Americans would have to force their way into Ushijima's preregistered killing zones to achieve their primary objectives.

Everything about the terrain favored the defenders. The convoluted topography of ridges, draws, and escarpments served to compartment the battlefield into scores of small firefights, while the general absence of dense vegetation permitted the defenders full observation and interlocking supporting fires from intermediate strongpoints. As at Iwo Jima, the Japanese Army fought largely from underground positions to offset American dominance in supporting arms. And even in the more accessible terrain, the Japanese took advantage of the thousands of concrete, lyre-shaped Okinawan tombs to provide combat outposts. There were blind spots in the defenses, to be sure, but finding and exploiting them took the Americans an inordinate amount of time and cost them dearly.


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The bitterest fighting of the campaign took place within an extremely compressed battlefield. The linear distance from Yonabaru on the east coast to the bridge over the Asa River above Naha on the opposite side of the island is barely 9,000 yards. General Buckner initially pushed south with two Army divisions abreast. By 8 May he had doubled this commitment: two Army divisions of the XXIV Corps on the east, two Marine divisions of IIIAC on the west. Yet each division would fight its own desperate, costly battles against disciplined Japanese soldiers defending elaborately fortified terrain features. There was no easy route south.

By eschewing the amphibious flanking attack in late April, General Buckner had fresh divisions to employ in the general offensive towards Shuri. Thus, the 77th Division relieved the 96th in the center, and the 1st Marine Division began relieving the 27th Division on the west. Colonel Kenneth B. Chappell's 1st Marines entered the lines on the last day of April and drew heavy fire from the moment they approached. By the time the 5th Marines arrived to complete the relief of 27th Division elements on 1 May, Japanese gunners supporting the veteran 62d Infantry Division were pounding anything that moved. "It's hell in there, Marine," a dispirited soldier remarked to Private First Class Sledge as 3/5 entered the lines. "I know," replied Sledge with false bravado, "I fought at Peleliu." But soon Sledge was running for his life:

As we raced across an open field, Japanese shells of all types whizzed, screamed, and roared around us with increasing frequency. The crash and thunder of explosions was a nightmare . . . . It was an appalling chaos. I was terribly afraid.

General del Valle assumed command of the western zone at 1400 on 1 May and issued orders for a major attack the next morning. That evening a staff officer brought the general a captured Japanese map, fully annotated with American positions. With growing uneasiness, del Valle realized his opponents already knew the 1st Marine Division had entered the fight.

An Okinawan civilian is flushed from a cave into which a smoke grenade had been thrown. Many Okinawans sought the refuge of caves in which they could hide while the tide of battle passed over them. Unfortunately, a large number of caves were sealed when Marines suspected that they were harboring the enemy. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 125697

The division attacked south the next day into broken country there after known as the Awacha Pocket. For all their combat prowess, however, the Marines proved to be no more immune to the unrelenting storm of shells and bullets than the soldiers they had relieved. The disappointing day also included several harbingers of future conditions. First, it rained hard all day. Second, as soon as the 5th Marines seized the nearest high ground they came under such intense fire from adjacent strongpoints and from higher ground within the 77th Division's zone to the immediate southeast they had to withdraw. Third, the Marines spent much of the night engaged in violent hand-to-hand fighting with scores of Japanese infiltrators. "This," said one survivor, "is going to be a bitch."

The Peleliu veterans in the ranks of the 1st Marine Division were no strangers to cave warfare. Clearly, no other division in the campaign could claim such a wealth of practical experience. And while nothing on Okinawa could match the Umurbrogol's steep cliffs, heavy vegetation, and endless array of fortified ridges, the "Old Breed" in this battle faced a smarter, more numerous foe who had more artfully prepared each wrinkle in the moonscape. In overcoming the sequential barriers of Awacha, Dakeshi, and Wana, the 1st Marine Division faced four straight weeks of hell. The funneling effects of the cliffs and draws reduced most attacks to brutal frontal assaults by fully-exposed tank-infantry-engineer teams. General del Valle characterized this small unit fighting as "a slugging match with but temporary and limited opportunity to maneuver."

A "Ronson" tank, mounting a flame thrower, lays down a stream of fire against a position located in one of the many Okinawan tombs set in the island's hillsides. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 122153

General Buckner captured the fancy of the media with his metaphor about the "blowtorch and corkscrew" tactics needed for effective cave warfare, but this was simply stating the obvious to the Army veterans of Biak and the Marine veterans of Peleliu and Iwo Jima. Flamethrowers were represented by the blow torch, demolitions, by the cork screw — but both weapons had to be delivered from close range by tanks and the exposed riflemen covering them.

On 3 May the rains slowed and the 5th Marines resumed its assault, this time taking and holding the first tier of key terrain in the Awacha Pocket. But the systematic reduction of this strongpoint would take another full week of extremely heavy fighting. Fire support proved excellent. Now it was the Army's time to return the favor of interservice artillery support. In this case, the 27th Division's field artillery regiment stayed on the lines, and with its forward observers and linemen intimately familiar with the terrain in that sector, rendered yeoman service.

Marine Artillery at Okinawa

The nature of the enemy defenses and the tactics selected by the Tenth Army commander made Okinawa the biggest battle of the war for Marine artillery units. General Geiger landed with 14 firing battalions within IIIAC the total rose to 15 in June when Lieutenant Colonel Richard G. Weede's 2/10 came ashore in support of the 8th Marines.

Brigadier General David R. Nimmer commanded III Corps Artillery, and Lieutenant Colonel Curtis Burton, Jr., commanded the 2d Provisional Field Artillery Group, which contained three batteries of 155mm howitzers and three of 155mm "Long Tom" guns. Colonel Wilburt S. ("Big Foot") Brown commanded the 11th Marines and Colonel Robert B. Luckey, the 15th Marines. The Marine divisions had greatly enhanced their firepower since the initial campaigns in the Pacific. While one 75mm pack howitzer battalion remained (1/11), the 105mm howitzer had become the norm for division artillery. Front-line infantry units also were supported by the 75mm fire of medium tanks and LVT-As, 105mm fire from the new M-7 self-propelled "siege guns," 4.5-inch multiple rocket launchers fired by the "Buck Rogers Men," and the attached Army 4.2-inch mortar platoons.

Lieutenant Colonel Frederick R. Henderson described this combination of fire support: "Not many people realize that the artillery in Tenth Army, plus the LVT-As and naval gun fire equivalent gave us a guns/mile of front ratio on Okinawa that was probably higher than any U.S. effort in World War II."

General Buckner urged his corps commanders to integrate field artillery support early in the campaign. With his corps artillery and the 11th Marines not fully committed during the opening weeks, General Geiger quickly agreed for these units to help the XXIV Army Corps in their initial assaults against the outer Shuri defenses. In the period of 7 April-6 May, these artillery units fired more than 54,000 rounds in support of XXIV Corps. This was only the beginning. Once both Marine divisions of IIIAC entered the lines, they immediately benefited from Army artillery support as well as their own organic fire support. As one example, prior to the 5th Marines launching a morning attack on the Awacha Pocket on 6 May, the regiment received a preliminary bombardment of the objective from four battalions — two Army, two Marine.

By the end of the battle, the Tenth Army artillery units would fire 2,046,930 rounds down range, all in addition to 707,500 rockets, mortars, and shells of five-inch or larger from naval gunfire ships offshore. Half of the artillery rounds would be 105mm shells from howitzers and the M-7 self-propelled guns. Compared to the bigger guns, the old, expeditionary 75mm pack howitzers of 1/11 were the "Tiny Tims" of the battlefield. Their versatility and relative mobility, however, proved to be assets in the long haul. Colonel Brown augmented the battalion with LVT-As, which fired similar ammunition. According to Brown, "75mm ammo was plentiful, as contrasted with the heavier calibers, so 1/11 (Reinforced) was used to fire interdiction, harassing, and 'appeasement' missions across the front."

Generals Geiger and del Valle expressed interest in the larger weapons of the Army. Geiger particularly admired the Army's eight-inch howitzer, whose 200-pound shell possessed much more penetrating and destroying power than the 95-pound shell of the 155mm guns, the largest weapon in the Marines' inventory. Geiger recommended that the Marine Corps form eight-inch howitzer battalions for the forthcoming attack on of Japan. For his part, del Valle prized the accuracy, range, and power of the Army's 4.2-inch mortars and recommended their inclusion in the Marine division.

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 12446

On some occasions, artillery commanders became tempted to orchestrate all of this killing power in one mighty concentration. "Time on target" (TOT) missions occurred frequently in the early weeks, but their high consumption rate proved disadvantageous. Late in the campaign Colonel Brown decided to originate a gargantuan TOT by 22 battalions on Japanese positions in the southern Okinawan town of Makabe. The sudden concentration worked beautifully, he recalled, but "I neglected to tell the generals, woke everyone out of a sound sleep, and caught hell from all sides."

General Geiger insisted that his LVT-As be trained in advance as field artillery. This was done, but the opportunity for direct fire support to the assault waves fizzled on L-Day when the Japanese chose not to defend the Hagushi beaches. Lieutenant Colonel Louis Metzger commanded the 1st Armored Amphibian Battalion and supported the 6th Marine Division up and down the length of the island. Metzger's LVT-As fired 19,000 rounds of 75mm shells in an artillery support role after L-Day.

The Marines made great strides towards refining supporting arms coordination during the battle for Okinawa. Commanders established Target Information Centers (TICs) at every level from Tenth Army down to battalion. The TICs functioned to provide a centralized target information and weapons assignment system responsive to both assigned targets and targets of opportunity. Finally, all three component liaison officers — artillery, air, and naval gunfire — were aligned with target intelligence information officers. As described by Colonel Henderson, the TIC at IIIAC consisted of the corps artillery S-2 section "expanded to meet the needs of artillery, NGF, and CAS on a 24-hour basis . . . . The Corps Arty Fire Direction Center and the Corps Fire Support Operations Center were one and the same facility — with NGF and air added."

Such a commitment to innovation led to greatly improved support to the foot-slogging infantry. As one rifle battalion commander remarked, "It was not uncommon for a battleship, tanks, artillery, and aircraft to be supporting the efforts of a platoon of infantry during the reduction of the Shuri position."

At this point an odd thing happened, an almost predictable chink in the Japanese defensive discipline. The genial General Ushijima permitted full discourse from his staff regarding tactical courses of action. Typically, these debates occurred between the impetuous chief of staff, Lieutenant General Isamu Cho, and the conservative operations officer, Colonel Hiromichi Yahara. To this point, Yahara's strategy of a protracted holding action had prevailed. The Thirty-second Army had resisted the enormous American invasion successfully for more than a month. The army, still intact, could continue to inflict high casualties on the enemy for months to come, fulfilling its mission of bleeding the ground forces while the "Divine Wind" wreaked havoc on the fleet. But maintaining a sustained defense was anathema to a warrior like Cho, and he argued stridently for a massive counterattack. Against Yahara's protests, Ushijima sided with his chief of staff.

Marines of the 1st Division move carefully toward the crest of a hill on their way to Dakeshi. The forwardmost Marines stay low, off of the skyline. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 120412

The greatest Japanese counterattack of 4-5 May proved ill-advised and exorbitant. To man the assault forces, Ushijima had to forfeit his coverage of the Minatoga sector and bring those troops forward into unfamiliar territory. To provide the massing of fires necessary to cover the assault he had to bring most of his artillery pieces and mortars out into the open. And his concept of using the 26th Shipping Engineer Regiment and other special assault forces in a frontal attack, and, at the same time, a waterborne, double envelopment would alert the Americans to the general counteroffensive. Yahara cringed in despair.

In the end, victory was achieved at Okinawa by well-trained assault troops on the ground, like this Marine flamethrower operator and his watchful rifleman. Marine Corps Historical Center

The events of 4-5 May proved the extent of Cho's folly. Navy "Flycatcher patrols on both coasts interdicted the first flanking attacks conducted by Japanese raiders in slow-moving barges and native canoes. Near Kusan, on the west coast, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, and the LVT-As of the 3d Armored Amphibian Battalion greeted the invaders trying to come ashore with a deadly fire, killing 700. Further along the coast, 2/1 intercepted and killed 75 more, while the 1st Reconnaissance Company and the war dog platoon tracked down the last 65 hiding in the brush. Meanwhile the XXIV Corps received the brunt of the overland thrust and contained it effectively, scattering the attackers into small groups, hunting them down ruthlessly. The 1st Marine Division, instead of being surrounded and annihilated in accordance with the Japanese plan, launched its own attack instead, advancing several hundred yards. The Thirty-second Army lost more than 6,000 first-line troops and 59 pieces of artillery in the futile counterattack. Ushijima, in tears, promised Yahara he would never again disregard his advice. Yahara, the only senior officer to survive the battle, described the disaster as "the decisive action of the campaign."

Men of the 7th Marines wait until the exploding white phosphorous shells throw up a thick-enough smoke screen to enable them to advance in their drive towards Shuri. The smoke often concealed the relentlessly attacking troops. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 120182

At this point General Buckner decided to make it a four-division front and ordered General Geiger to redeploy the 6th Marine Division south from the Motobu Peninsula. General Shepherd quickly asked Geiger to assign his division to the seaward flank to continue the benefit of direct naval gunfire support. "My G-3, Brute Krulak, was a naval gun fire expert," Shepherd said, noting the division's favorable experience with fleet support throughout the northern campaign. Unspoken was an additional benefit: Shepherd would have only one adjacent unit with which to coordinate fire and maneuver, and a good one at that, the veteran 1st Marine Division.

On the morning of 7 May General Geiger regained control of the 1st Marine Division and his Corps Artillery from XXIV Corps and established his forward CP. The next day the 22d Marines relieved the 7th Marines in the lines north of the Asa River. The 1st Marine Division, which had suffered more than 1,400 casualties in its first six days on the lines while trying to cover a very wide front, adjusted its boundaries gratefully to make room for the newcomers.

Heading south toward Shuri Castle, a 1st Marine Division patrol passes through a small village which had been unsuccessfully defended by Japanese troops. Department or Defense Photo (USMC) 119485

Yet the going got no easier, even with two full Marine divisions now shoulder-to-shoulder in the west. Heavy rains and fierce fire greeted the 6th Marine Division as its regiments entered the Shuri lines. The situation remained as grim and deadly all along the front. On 9 May, 1/1 made a spirited attack on Hill 60 but lost its commander, Lieutenant Colonel James C. Murray, Jr., to a sniper. Nearby that night, 1/5 engaged in desperate hand-to-hand fighting with a force of 60 Japanese soldiers who appeared like phantoms out of the rocks.

The heavy rains caused problems for the 22d Marines in its efforts to cross the Asa River. The 6th Engineers fabricated a narrow foot bridge under intermittent fire one night. Hundreds of infantry raced across before two Japanese soldiers wearing satchel charges strapped to their chests dashed into the stream and blew themselves and the bridge to kingdom come. The engineers then spent the next night building a more substantial Bailey Bridge. Across it poured reinforcements and vehicles, but the tanks played hell traversing the soft mud along both banks — each attempt was an adventure. Yet the 22d Marines were now south of the river in force, an encouraging bit of progress on an otherwise stalemated front.


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The 5th Marines finally fought clear of the devilish Awacha Pocket on the 10th, ending a week of frustration and point-blank casualties. Now it became the turn of the 7th Marines to engage its own nightmare terrain. Due south of their position lay Dakeshi Ridge. Coincidentally, General Buckner prodded his commanders on the 11th, announcing a renewed general offensive along the entire front. This proclamation may well have been in response to the growing criticism Buckner had been receiving from the Navy and some of the media for his time-consuming attrition strategy. But the riflemen's war had progressed beyond high-level exhortation. The assault troops knew fully what to expect — and what it would likely cost.

Marine Tanks at Okinawa

The Sherman M-4 medium tank employed by the seven Army and Marine Corps tank battalions on Okinawa would prove to be a decisive weapon — but only when closely coordinated with accompanying infantry. The Japanese intended to separate the two components by fire and audacity. "The enemy's strength lies in his tanks," declared Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima before the invasion. Anti-tank training received the highest priority within his Thirty-second Army. These urgent preparations proved successful on 19 April when the Japanese knocked out 22 of 30 Sherman tanks of the 27th Division, many by suicide demolitionists.

The Marines fared better in this regard, having learned in earlier campaigns to integrate infantry and artillery as a close, protective overwatch to their accompanying tanks, keeping the "human bullet" suicide squads at bay. Although enemy guns and mines took their tool of the Shermans, only a single Marine tank sustained damage from a Japanese suicide foray.

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur J. Stuart commanded the 1st Tank Battalion during the Okinawa campaign. The unit had fought with distinction at Peleliu a half-year earlier, despite shipping shortfalls which kept a third of its tanks out of the fight. Stuart insisted on retaining the battalion's older M-4A2 Shermans because he believed the twin General Motors diesel engines were safer in combat. General del Valle agreed: "The tanks were not so easily set on fire and blown up under enemy fire."

By contrast, Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Denig's 6th Tank Battalion preferred the newer M-4A3 model Shermans. Denig's tankers liked the greater horsepower provided by the water-cooled Ford V-8 engine and considered the reversion to gasoline from diesel an acceptable risk. The 6th Tank Battalion would face its greatest challenge against Admiral Minoru Ota's mines and naval guns on Oroku Peninsula.

The Sherman tank, much maligned in the European theater for its shortcomings against the heavier German Tigers, seemed ideal for island fighting in the Pacific. By Okinawa, however, the Sherman's limitations became evident. The 75mm gun proved too light against some of Ushijima's fortifications on these occasions the new M-7 self-propelled 105mm gun worked better. And the Sherman was never known for its armor protection. At 33 tons, its strength lay more in mobility and reliability. But as Japanese anti-tank weapons and mines reached the height of lethality at Okinawa, the Sherman's thin-skinned weak points (1.5-inch armor on the sides and rear, for example) became a cause for concern. Marine tank crews had resorted to sheathing the sides of their vehicles with lumber as a foil to hand-lobbed Japanese magnetic mines as early as the Marshalls campaign. By the time of Okinawa, Marine Shermans were festooned with spot-welded track blocks, wire mesh, sandbags, and clusters of large nails — all designed to enhance armor protection.

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 123166

Both tank battalions fielded Shermans configured with dozer blades, invaluable assets in the cave fighting to come, but — surprisingly — neither outfit deployed with flame tanks. Despite rave reports of the success of the USN Mark I turret-mounted flame system installed in eight Shermans in the battle of Iwo Jima, there would be no massive retrofit program for the Okinawa-bound Marine tank units. Instead, all flame tanks on Okinawa were provided courtesy of the U.S. Army's 713th Armored Flamethrower Battalion. Company B of that unit supported the IIIAC, with brand-new H-1 flame tanks. Each carried 290 gallons of napalm-thickened fuel, good for two-and-a-half minutes of flame at ranges out to 80 yards. The Marines received consistently outstanding support from this Army company throughout the battle.

The Marines employed the newly developed T-6 "Tank Flotation Devices" to get the initial assault waves of Shermans ashore on L-Day. The T-6 featured a series of flotation tanks welded all around the hull, a provisional steering device making use of the tracks, and electric bilge pumps. Once ashore, the crew hoped to jettison the ungainly rig with built-in explosive charges, a scary proposition.

The invasion landing on 1 April for the 1st Tank Battalion was truly "April Fools Day." The captain of an LST carrying six Shermans equipped with the T-6 launched the vehicles an hour late and 10 miles at sea. It took this irate contingent five hours to reach the beach, losing two vehicles on the reef at ebb tide. Most of Colonel Stuart's other Shermans made it ashore before noon, but some of his reserves could not cross the reef for 48 hours. The 6th Tank Battalion had better luck. Their LST skippers launched the T-6 tanks on time and in close. Two tanks were lost — one sank when its main engine failed, another broke a track and veered into an unseen hole — but the other Shermans surged ashore, detonated their float tanks successfully, and were ready to roll by H plus 29.

Japanese gunners and mine warfare experts knocked out 51 Marine Corps Shermans in the battle. Many more tanks sustained damage in the fighting but were recovered and restored by hard-working maintenance crews, the unsung heroes. As a result of their ingenuity, the assault infantry battalions never lacked for armored firepower, mobility, and shock action. The concept of Marine combined-arms task forces was now well underway.


Okinawa Marines resume waterborne AAV drills nearly a year after fatal accident

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Marine Corps has resumed waterborne assault amphibious vehicle operations on Okinawa, nearly a year after nine service members died while training in one of the vehicles off the California coast.

A “demanding” training began last week and was completed Tuesday by Marines from Company B, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion following a “thorough” review of safety, maintenance and operating processes and procedures, a III Marine Expeditionary Force statement said.

The maneuvers were conducted in compliance with updated policies and procedures following the fatal accident on July 30, 2020, according to the statement.

The incident took the lives of eight Marines and one sailor from Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4 of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Marine Corps called it the deadliest AAV training accident in its history.

III MEF heralded the “return” of an “important capability,” its statement said. “Everything possible” is being done to ensure safety.

“We completed a rigorous review to ensure we can operate our [amphibious assault vehicles] safely, protect our Marines and Sailors, and complete our mission responsibly,” the III MEF commander, Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, said in the statement. “We will continue to mitigate risk while employing a ready and capable force to deter aggression and respond to crisis in the region in support of our nation’s interests and our allies and partners.”

The AAV now in use was first fielded in 1983 to ferry Marines from ship to shore for both combat and humanitarian operations, according to the Marine Corps. It resembles an armored tank that can traverse both land and sea. It was designed to carry 21 combat-equipped troops and a crew of three at a maximum speed of 8 mph at sea. The 26-ton vehicles are much faster on land at a maximum of 45 mph.

The vehicles have been at the heart of Marine operations in the Pacific in recent years, often seen during exercises plunging into the surf off the back of one of the Navy’s amphibious assault ships and heading toward shore for a beach raid.

The platform came under intense scrutiny after last year’s accident, about 70 miles off California's southern coast. The AAV began taking on water while returning to the USS Somerset.

After the incident, waterborne use of the vehicles was suspended by Commandant Gen. David Berger while a review of equipment, procedures and training was conducted. The AAVs were inspected to ensure watertightness, bilge pump function and emergency lighting.

An investigation found proper maintenance had been disregarded, Marines had not been properly trained and leadership had failed to evacuate personnel in a timely manner. The Corps also determined there was a lack of safety boats in the water that day, high waves and deficient personal flotation devices.

Commanders of the I Marine Expeditionary Force in California and III MEF on Okinawa were directed to review safety practices and procedures and ensure commanders were directly responsible for safety. They were also ordered to improve training for exiting AAVs in an emergency and communications between vehicles during a mishap.

The service told a subpanel of the House Armed Services Committee last month that 11 Marine leaders had been disciplined so far for their roles in the sinking.

Maj. Gen. Robert Castellvi, who commanded the 1st Marine Division at the time of the sinking, was fired Wednesday from his position as Marine Corps inspector general after it was determined he was at least partially responsible.

Review boards are still considering separation for some of the disciplined Marine officials, Gen. Gary Thomas, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said at the May 3 hearing.

The service is in the process of replacing its fleet of AAVs with the next-generation amphibious combat vehicle by BAE Systems after abandoning plans to modernize the AAV fleet.


US Armoured vehicles on the beach at Okinawa - History

Marine Corps Vietnam-era Tankers and Ontos Crewmen Have Made History.


Your Historical Foundation is Making it Known.

The Evolution of Marine Tanks.

Thus with the reluctant blessings of the Great White Fathers of the Navy Department in Washington, the first of a long line of Marine Corps tank units was formed. It was officially designated "Light Tank Platoon USMC" at Quantico, Virginia, on December 5th 1923. The Platoon consisted of twenty-two enlisted men and two officers. The Commanding Officer was Captain Leslie G. Wayt, and the Executive Officer was Second Lieutenant Charles S. Finch.

The Platoon was issued three, six-ton light tanks. These tanks had been built in the United States during 1918 under license from the French Government. They were copies of the famous French Renault FT-17 of the First World War. Built to U.S. specifications, they had an ACF Buda Marine Engine, and two of them mounted Browning .30 cal. machine guns. The other one mounted a French 37mm Puteaux one-pounder infantry cannon. One of the reasons that this tank was so famous, was that it was the first tank to successfully mount a weapon in a fully 360 degree traversing turret. Even though it was called the Six-Ton Light Tank, its total weight was 7.8 tons. With that weight powered by the four-cylinder engine, it could really gallop along at a fast 5 1/2 miles per hour. The Tank Commander/gunner sat in a hammock-like affair hung from the turret walls and just sort of bounced around amongst all the ammunition in the fighting compartment, which was 4,800 rounds for the machine guns or 237 rounds for the cannon. The driver was a little better off in that he had a seat, but both men suffered considerably from the exhaust and gasoline fumes of the engine.

During the rest of that winter and all through the next summer the Platoon became familiar with their tanks. Most of the men had never even seen a tank before, but being Marines they went at the job in the typical Marine fashion, head on. Every one in the platoon became familiar with all aspects of the job of an Iron Horse Marine, driving, gunnery and preventive Maintenance They learned what the tanks could do and usually, by trial and error, what they could not do. The platoon also participated in many of the publicity maneuvers and parades, which were a hallmark of the times

During the winter of 1924, the platoon participated in the "Winter Maneuvers" with the East Coast Expeditionary Force from Quantico. These maneuvers were held on the island of Culebra, off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. The maneuvers were designed to test and perfect amphibious landing techniques. They were of the trial and error type, at least as far as the "Tankers" were concerned. It was defiantly learned that this type of tank was not suited for amphibious operations. The lessons learned during maneuvers such as these would be a tremendous help later on during World War II, when the Marines perfected their amphibious assault techniques in the Pacific.

Upon the platoon's return from Culebra, they received two more tanks, one machine gun and one cannon. It was now a full-fledged tank platoon with five tanks. There was even an experimental tank to try out. It was a standard Six-Ton with the turret removed and fitted out as a communications tank. The platoon was in tank heaven and the haggling over who would drive what was cut to a minimum.

For the next three years the platoon performed peacetime garrison type duties. Going on limited maneuvers and exercises, performing in publicity parades and run of the mill Marine duties, but constantly learning more and more about their tanks. For the Marines it was almost too dull, but, as for all those who wait, an exciting change was in store for these "Iron Horse Marines". The political crisis in China was getting worse and the Third Marine Brigade was asking for reinforcements.

Early in 1927 the platoon was Far East Bound. The "Old Salts" were again telling the "Boots" sea stories about the wonders of the Orient, and some of the boots were looking forward to getting tattooed like the old salts. But they had to wait, for at that time it was an unwritten law that no one got a tattoo until he had served overseas.

The platoon, now under the command of Captain Nathen E. Landon, lashed down their tanks on flat cars and left Quantico by rail on April 6, 1927. Arriving in San Diego on April 12, the platoon didn't take any time out for liberty. In typical Marine fashion the tanks and all the platoon's gear was derailed, moved dockside, embarked, and lashed down aboard the USS President Grant, all in one day. The platoon then had a few days to pull liberty before the ship sailed. The trip from San Diego to Olongapo, Philippine Islands was as usual, uneventful, except for the Marine who were seasick and thought the trip would never end. Upon arrival at Olongapo, it was back to work again for the tankers, as they had to change ships. On May 4th they set to work unlashing their tanks and transferring them to the USS Chaumont, where they were again tied down. After the troops were settled in and the card games resumed the ship set sail for Shanghai, China.

Arriving at Taku Bar, Shanghai, China on the 21st of May the platoon again disembarked and began getting ready for what they hoped would be an exciting tour of duty in China. After the tanks were put back in a ready condition, some of the men went on their first liberty. While some got their firs tattoos, others began to explore the wonders of the Orient. All agreed that Shanghai liberty was all or more than it was said to be. But such a good life is not for Marines and after about two weeks the platoon was on the move again. It was sent up river by barge to Tientsin on the 6th of June. The platoon was assigned the job of protecting the Peking-Tientsin railway. At least that was its official job during the balance of its tour of duty in China. Even though these were troubled times in China, and some of the Marines were looking for excitement the job was considered as dull garrison duty.

With the exception of being a show of force, the platoon's duties were much the same as it was earlier in Quantico. They went on limited maneuvers, performed in good-will shows and publicity parades, stood inspections and kept their tank well maintained. It was almost like the occupation duty that the Marines would again be assigned to do in the same area in 1945. While not on duty the Marines of the platoon could be found on liberty in Tientsin, which they discovered was just as good a liberty town as was Shanghai. This was their life for the next fifteen months until the crisis was lifted and the Marine Corps could no longer afford a tank platoon.

On September 15, 1928, the platoon was administratively detached and transferred to the Light Tank Platoon, Composite regiment, San Diego. The Marines again loaded their tanks aboard barges and left for Shanghai, where they were loaded aboard ship and lashed down for the trip home. When the ship left Shanghai on September 18th, besides their tanks, the platoon took with them lots of wonderful memories of their tour of duty in China.

The platoon debarked in San Diego on November 1st and joined the Composite Regiment. After everyone was settled in they had time to enjoy some of San Diego's nightspots. Then on November 10, (the Marine Corps birthday) the platoon was disbanded. Some of the men were transferred to other units while others were discharged. But once again history leaves something out and we don't know what happened to the tanks.

Many more stories may be written about Marine Tankers, but these were the pioneers of a brand new arm of the Marine Ground-Sea-Air team. During their brief five years of existence they set the trend for the "Iron Horse Marines" of today.

By Lloyd G. Reynolds
Aug. 11 1998

Photo credits, USMC, National Archives, Department of Defence, Imperial War Museum unless otherwise noted.


FT 17 in China. USMC Photo.

Inspection in China. USMC Photo.

The author helped restore this FT 17. Authors photo.

Owned by Dr. Frank Haigler. Authors photo.


Tank Landings/Operations in WW II.

Date Location Tk Bn's/Units Tanks Used
Aug.7,1942
Guadalcanal 1st Tk. Bn. M2A4,M3, M3A1
Mar.6,1943
Talasea 1st Plt. Co. "C" & Co. "A" 1st Tk. Bn. M3A1, M4A1
Apr.22,1943
Hollandia Co "A" 1st Tk. Bn. M4A1
Jun.30,1943 Munda,New Georga 9th,10th & 11th Defence Bn. Tks. M3, M3A1
Nov.1, 1943 Bouganville 3rd Tk. Bn. M3A1
Nov.20,1943 Tarawa 2nd Tk. Bn. Co. "C" I Marine Amphibious Corps Tk. Bn. M3A1, M4A2
Dec.26,1943 Cape Glouster, New Britian 1st Tk. Bn. M3A1, M4A1
Jan.31,1944 Roi-Namur 4th Tk. Bn. M5A1, M4A2
Feb.18,1944 Eniwetok 2nd Separate Tk. Co. M4A2
Feb.18,1944 Engebi 2nd Separate Tk. Co. M4A2
Feb.22,1944 Perry 2nd Separate Tk. Co. M4A2
Mar.20,1944 Emirau Co. "A"3rd Tk. Bn. M4A2
Jun.15,1944 Saipan 2nd & 4th Tk. Bn. M4A2,M5A1, M3A1 (Satan), M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Jul. 21,1944 Guam 3rd Tk. Bn., Tk. Co., 4th Mar., Tk. Co. 22 Mar. M4A2, M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Jul.24, 1944 Tinian 2nd & 4th Tk. Bn. M4A2,M5A1, M3A1 (Satan), M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Sep.15,1944 Pelilu 1st Tk. Bn. M4A2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.
Feb.19,1945 Iwo Jima 3rd, 4th & 5th Tk. Bn. M4A2, M4A3, M4A3POA H1 Flame Tank, M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit., M4A2 w/M1A1 Flame kit, M4A3 Flail.
Apr. 1, 1945 Okinawa 1st & 6th Tk. Bn. M4A2, M4A3, M32B2, M4A2 w/M1A1 Dozer Kit.

The WW II years 1941-1945. (Light Tanks)

M2A4= 1 37mm Gun, 5 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine.
M3= 1 37mm Gun, (later w/a gyrostabilizer) 5 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine. (some w/Guiberson Radial Diesel). (Early production M3s had riveted turrets, Later changed to welded.)
M3A1= 1 37mm Gun, (the 1st light tank to have a turret basket, stabilized gun and power traverse) (Welded turret with out copula.) 3 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine. (some w/Guiberson Radial Diesel).
M3A3= 1 37mm Gun, 3 .30 Cal. MG, Continental Radial Air Cooled Engine. Welded hull and turret, A new turret incorporating a radio bustle and larger hatches wit no copula. Angled armor.
M5A1= 1 37mm Gun, 3 .30 Cal. MG, Engine, Twin Cadillac V-8's with Hydra-Matic transmission, All welded construction, no copula, large turret hatches. Angled armor.

An M2A4 of the 1st Tank Battalion on Guadalcanal.

An M2A4 leading two M3 Light Tanks on Guadalcanal.

An M3A1 Light Tank on Guadalcanal.

An M3A1 landing on Emirau Island.

Marines of the 7th Defense Battalion, one of the "Rainbow Five," give their new M3 Stuart light tank a trial run at Tutuila, American Samoa, in the summer of 1942.

M5A1 on Boganville.

US Marines sitting atop a M5A1 light tank, Cape Gloucester, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, late Dec 1943

M3A1 at Tarawa.

Light tank bogged down in shell hole on Tarawa.

M3A1 Light Flame Tank "Satan".


Early experiments M3A1 with portable M1A1 Flame Thrower in the bow MG position. According to one Marine of this era interviewed, "The flame ginner held the tanks between his knees".

An M3A1 "Satan" Flame Tank with the Ronson Flame Thrower system on Saipan.

A "Satan" on Saipan.

On Saipan a "Satan" with two M5A1's.

Front view of a M3A1 "Satan" Flame Tank.
The Light Flame tanks were not ready in time for Tarawa. As far as the author knows they were only used at Saipan and Tinian by the 2nd and 4th Tank Battalions.

The WW II years 1941-1945. (Medium Tanks)

The M4 Medium Tank went through a lot of variations.
M4A1= 1 75mm Gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30 Cal. MGs. Continental Radial Air Cooled Gasoline Engine. Only used by 1st Tks at Cape Gloucester.
M4A2= 1 75mm Gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30 Cal. MGs. Twin G.M. Diesel Engines. The first combat use of M4 series tanks by the USMC was at Tarawa. Also used at Kwajelein, Roi-Namur, Perry Island, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
M4A3= 1 75mm Gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30 Cal. MGs. Ford V-8 Gasoline Engine. Used by 5th Tk. Bn. on Iwo Jima and 6th Tk. Bn. on Okinawa.
M4A3E8=

A 1st Tk. Bn. M4A1 landing at Cape Gloucester.

M4A1s of the 1st Tk. Bn. on New Georgia.

M4A1s of the 1st Tk. Bn. on New Georgia.

An M4A2 of "C" Co. 1st Corps Tk. Bn. attached to the 2nd Mar. Div. for Tarawa fell into a shell hole and drowned out. No tanks (Light or Medium) had any fording kits at Tarawa.

Of the 14 tanks of Co. "C" 1st Corps Medium Tank Bn. Ten made it to the beach.
See= Marine Armor on Tarawa

Colorado on the beach at Tarawa. See= Tanks on Tarawa

M4A2 with improvised fording stacks. Perry Island, 2nd separate Tk. Co.

M4A2 with improvised fording stacks made from 55 Gal. drums. Improvise, adapt and overcome. 3rd Tk. Bn., Guam.

By Siapan fording stacks were standardized.

Ill Wind on Tinian. C. B. Ash the driver of this tank says note the TCs pericope. They welded two together to get 6" more elevation.

1st Tank coming ashore at Pelilu.

Peliliu was tough on tanks.

Sand bags on the rear deck. Pelilu.

So was Iwo Jima.

An M4A3 of the 4th Tk. Bn. on Iwo Jima.

An M4A2 of the 5th Tk. Bn. on Iwo Jima.

Note the nails welded on the hatches to keep the Japs off.

An M4A3 of "C" Co. 4th Tk. Bn. Note, inprovised water tank with a spigot for the grunts, improvised Tank Infantery phone and clock for infantry to give directions, extended track grousers. C. B. Ash there is 4" of cement between hull and 1" planks on side of the tank.

For Okinawa this M4A2 tank has added extra track blocks for protection.

This one has some added protection and still has some of the fording kit attached.

These tanks have added a lot of added track blocks as added armor.

M4 series Flame Tanks and other varients.


An M4A2 with the M1A1 bow Flame Gun. It was used on Iwo Jima.

An M4A3 POA H1 Flame Tank on Iwo Jima. The Flame Gun was mounted in worn out 75mm gun tubes.

U.S. Army Flame Tank on Okinawa fron the 713th Tk. Bn. The Marines had no Flame Tanks on Okinawa.

Another M4A3 POA H1 Flame Tank on Iwo Jima.

The M32B2 Tank Retriver made its first apperance with the Marines on Saipan.

This M32B2 is getting a souvenir on Guam.

Dozer kits added to tanks were as welcome as Flame Tanks to the Tk. Bn.

M4A2s on Guam with a Dozer Tank.

Rockets (7.2 In.) were expermented with in Europe and the Pacific, but it is not known if they were used in the Pacific by the Marines.

4th Tk. Bn. Flail Tank (home made by GySgt. Sam Johnson and Sgt. Ray Shaw) photographed on Maui. It landed on Iwo Jima but was destroyed on the beach, (C. B. Ash)

Another view of the 4th Tks Flail,

Tanks used
M4A3E8= M4A3,with upgraded horizontal Volute suspension, with 105mm Howitzer & M4A1 Dozer Kit.
M4A3E8 with POA-CWS-H5 Flame Thrower & 105mm Howitzer.
M32B3= M4A3E8 Tank Recovery Vehicle.
M-26= 1 90mm M3 Gun, w/.30 Cal. Co-ax, 1 .50 Cal. on top of turret, 1 .30 Cal. in bow. Used the same engine as the M4A3 series tanks, Ford GAF V-8 500 hp. (very under powered). Torsion Bar suspension.
M26A1= Up graded with Continental AV-1790-5A, V-12, 810 hp. Replaced during July-November by the M-46.
M-46= 1 90mm M3A1 Gun, w/.30 Cal. Co-ax, 1 .50 Cal. on top of turret, 1 .30 Cal. in bow. Engine Continental AV-1790-5A, V-12, 810 hp.
Note it's very hard to tell the difference between the M-26 & M-46 just from photos.

An M-26 during the fighting in the Pusan Perimeter.


M-26 can take a hit.

M-26 with 18 inch searchlight.

A pair of T-34/85s knocked out.

An M-26 during the fighting in the Pusan Perimeter. (Balls'ey T.C.)

An M4A3E8 105mm Dozer tank

Loading up for Inchon.

Street fighting in Seoul.

Moving North on narrow roads.

Winter's coming.

Winter and mountains.

A knocked or abandond SU 76.

An M-46 on the firing line.

M-46 with searchlight bracket.

M-26 or 46 indirect firing at night.

A replacement M-46.

M-46 Dozer tank with anti-tank rocket cage.

The "Porcupine" an M4A3E8 with a fake gun & welded turret.

The "Porcupine" it was all communications inside, to communicate with Air, Infantry, Navy & Artilery.

An M4A3E8 POA CWA H5 Flame Tank. Jack Carty Photo.

Flame Tank Platoon.

Flame tanks at Chosin.

M47= Last tank to have a bow gunner, 1st tank to have a range finder, Stereoscopic M12, Continental AV-17905B gasoline engine, 90mm M36 gun, 1 .50 Cal. 2 .30Cal. MG. 1951 to 1959, 3rd Tk. Bn. last unit to have the M47. Not used in Korea by Marines. See Tank Data.
M48= Continental AVI-1790-5B gasoline engine, 90mm M41 gun, 1 .50 Cal. (sky mounted), 1 .30 Cal. MG., Stereoscopic T46E1 Rangefinder. See Tank Data.
M48A1= Continental AVI-1790-5B to 7C gasoline engine, 90mm M41 gun, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, 1 .30 Cal. MG., Stereoscopic T46E1 Rangefinder.
M67= Flame Tank version of M48A1.
M48A2= Continental AVI-1790-8 gasoline engine, Stereoscopic M13A1 Rangefinder, 90mm M41 gun, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, 1 .30 Cal. MG.
M51 VTR= Continental AVSI-1790-6 gasoline engine, 1 .50 Cal. HBM2 MG. Built from the M103 chassi. See Tank Data.
M103A1= Continental AVI-1790-7B to 7C gasoline engine, 1 20mm M58 gun, 1 .50 Cal., 1 .30 Cal. MG. See Tank Data.
M103A2= Continental AVDS-1790-2A gasoline engine, 1 20mm M58 gun, 1 .50 Cal., 1 .30 Cal. MG. See Tank Data.
Dozer kits were used for the M47, M48A1 & A2.

M47 on the gun range.

Army M47 in Germany.

M47

M48 w/sky mount .50 Cal. MG. Photo ?

M48 note track tension idler wheel & engineck deck. Photo ?

M48 note engine deck & large box which was a Tank/Infantry phone. Photo ?

Platoon of M48A1 tanks of 2nd Tk. Bn.

M48A1

M67A1 Flame Tank

M48A2 (the track tension idler wheel was cut off of these) Peter Saussy.

M103A1 120mm Gun.

M103A2 on the range at Camp Pendelton, 1967.

M48A2 Rear Photo ?

M51 VTR.

M51 Retriver.

M51

M48A3 Dozer tank. "C" Co. 5th Tk. Bn. 1968. Authors photo.

M48A3= Continental AVDS-1790-2A supercharged diesel, 90mm Gun M-41, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, and 1 .30 Cal. MG, Coincidence Rangefinder M17A1, 4 man crew. 1 Dozer Tank per Company. See Tank Data. All M48A3 were upgrades from the M48A1s and A2s.
M67A2= Continental AVDS-1790-2A supercharged diesel, Flame Thrower M7-6, 1 .50 Cal. in turret copula, and 1 .30 Cal. MG, 3 man crew. See Tank Data.
Mod B= Vision Blocks inserted below the copula, armored fraiming above exhaust louvers and around tail lights, improved copula hatch, TI phone moved and other changes.
M51= Continental AVSI-1790-6 gasoline engine, 1 .50 Cal. HBM2 MG. Built from the M103 chassi. See Tank Data.
The 1st Tank Platoon to land in Vietnam was 3rd Plt. "B" Co. 3rd Tks. on Mar. 9, 1965. See Map.

3rd Plt. tanks from Bravo Co. 3rd Tk. Bn. aboard LCU 1476 leaving the USS Vancouver heading for "Red Beach". March 8, 1965

Bravo 31 landing at Red Beach with Joe Tyson driving Mar. 8th 1965. From the Military Channel video. This was the 2nd tank to land, S/Sgt. John Downey was TC of the 1st tank to come ashore.

The first large scale operation (Starlight).

M48A3 Drivers Compartment. Authors photo.

M48A3 Loaders area. Authors photo.

M48A3 Gunners area. Authors photo.

M48A3 Tank Commanders area. Authors photo.

M48A3 Turret rear (Bustle). Authors photo.

View through the gunners pericope. Authors photo.

River Crossing Bob Haller photo.

River Crossing Bob Haller photo.


Keeping every thing clean. Bob Haller photo.

Alpha Co. Blade Tank. James Sausoman photo.

Bravo Co. 1st Tks. Carol Lemmon photo.

1st Plt Alpha Co. 1st Tks. Larry Sterling photo.

Removing the coupla for the Mod B upgrade. Rick Langley.

Coupla with old TC hatch. Rick Langley.

New vision ring inserted and replacing copula thit new TC hatch. Rick Langley.

A few minor adjustment and it' ready to go. Rick Langley.

Lt. Horner’s platoon, from F/2/5 take cover behind an M67A2 Flame Tank and a M48A3 during the battle for Hue. Photo ?

An M48A3 supports grunts in Hue. Photo ?

Highway 9, the road to Khe Sanh. Photo ?

Khe Sanh Tank. Photo ?

Tank as artilery at Khe Sanh. Jack Butcher.

Tank as artilery at Khe Sanh. Jack Butcher.

If you've gotten this far you may be interested in some of the sources I used.


Sources


M8 Greyhound “Austin”, low profile early type turret, 1st US Division reconnaissance unit, Operation Husky, Sicily, August 1943.


M8 Greyhound of the FFL, 2nd D.B., Gen. Leclerc, one of the first units in Paris, August 1944.

M8 Greyhound during operation Baytown, Italy, September-October 1943.

Greyhound of the 3rd Armored Division, Normandy, June 1944.

Free French 1st Army, Provence, Southern France, August 1944

M8 during the battle of the Bulge, Ardennes forest, December 1944.

Panzerspähwagen Ford M8/M20(a) of Panzerbrigade 111, captured from the 42nd Cavalry Squadron, Lunéville area (Lorraine, eastern France), July 1944.

M20 Utility Car, Normandy, 1944.


Watch the video: Τεθωρακισμένα Οχήματα Αμφιβίου Εφόδου AAV7A1 για την 32η Ταξιαρχία Πεζοναυτών - Χαρακτηριστικά