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T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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Jens_O_Mehner
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Location: Giessen, Germany
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:06 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

Mark,

did some quick checking and indeed, while 1-33 Armor was part of 3AD from 10/01/57, 2-33 only joined the Spearhead on 10/01/63 and 3-33 on 07/01/63, when they were redesignated from 3rd and 2nd MTB, 1st Cav respectively (although another source states that 2-33 was already reflagged 02/03/62)- guess they could have been 7 Army assets before that, methinks some more digging is needed.

Cheers,

Jens O.
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:29 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

Hi Neil! Hi Folks!

- Neil_Baumgardner

Accurate Armour is supposed to have an M103A2 kit this year - although their kits are usually pretty expensive!:
www.accurate-armour.co...navlevel=2
Neil


That M103A2 has been on their list for a few years. I think I waited for four or five years (it could have been longer) for their current M114.
I picked up a resin (U.S. Marine M103) kit for my birthday back in 2000 from a little outfit called Commander Series Models, Inc out of Rochester, NY. Sadly, it is still one of my many kits that is still waiting to get build. Here is a scan of a review I pulled out of the AMPS Boresight back in May of 2000.



I have to agree that most of AA's kits (along with all of the other resin companies) are a bit costly, but stop and think about the price of many of the 1/35 scale kits coming out now days. For the price of two or three of those plastic kits, you can cover one of those resin models.

Some of my old history.
Sgt, Scouts Out!

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General G.S. Patton Jr.
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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:12 pm
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

Hello to all, Lil-J, (my son) got the engine bay picture through a bottom belly plate that was missing if I remember correctly. Comparing the rear area of the hull, I would say this is an A1 model. Those fenders do appear to be modified but I really wouldn't know. The roadwheel was up in the air on it's own, not supported by a jack. The shock was broken and just hanging there. I spoke with the SFC that works at the museum about what would happen the the collection when 4th ID moves to Ft Carson permanently. He said that Carsons museum is very small and can in no way accomadate the collection. He said he heard that 2009 was when the museum would move but believes thats very optimistic and thinks 2011 is more likely.

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KenEstes
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:53 pm
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

Re: the Q on how long the army operated them:


The Marine Corps alone would participate in the M103A1 upgrade of turret controls, sights, rangefinder and ballistic computer. These new heavies finally reached the troops during 1958-59. Had the Army assigned the tank a higher priority in its materiel system, the deliveries might have happened sooner. Ironically, the M103A1 proved so impressive that the Army took 72 of them on temporary loan from the Corps to outfit its sole heavy tank battalion in Europe during 1959-62.

The USMC discarded them in 1972, having modified 160 of their 219 to the diesel A2.
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:06 pm
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

- KenEstes
Re: the Q on how long the army operated them:


The Marine Corps alone would participate in the M103A1 upgrade of turret controls, sights, rangefinder and ballistic computer. These new heavies finally reached the troops during 1958-59. Had the Army assigned the tank a higher priority in its materiel system, the deliveries might have happened sooner. Ironically, the M103A1 proved so impressive that the Army took 72 of them on temporary loan from the Corps to outfit its sole heavy tank battalion in Europe during 1959-62.

The USMC discarded them in 1972, having modified 160 of their 219 to the diesel A2.


Thanks for the info Ken. It's always nice to get some concrete information from an SME.

Regards
Don
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CaptCav
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:19 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

I found this thread while Googling the 899th Heavy Tank Bn. I joined this site so I could specifically respond to this thread. Wow - you've taken me back to my childhood, lol. The 899th was somewhat of a mystery unit, and I've spent most of my adult life trying to figure out who they were and where they came from.

In 1957, my dad was CO of A Co, 709th Tank Bn, an element of CCA, 3d Armored Div, at Kirch Gons, Germany. During '57, the 709th Tk Bn returned from Graf to discover that huge beasts had occupied their hard stands in their absence, unannounced. Long story short, it was a company of the 899th Heavy Tk Bn, equipped with brand new M103 heavy tanks. I specifically remember it was October, because while this happened, the Russians launched Sputnik I. The company was commanded by my father's friend, Capt (later COL) Don Valeska.

The arrival of the M103s created quite a stir - no one had ever seen them; and there was a continuous arrival of VIPS and the curious to The Rock to "look" at the beasts. The 899th was an odd ball unit. It belonged to the 4th Armor Group in Frankfurt. Headquarters for both the battalion and 4th Group was at Gibbs Kaserne. Shortly there after, the 899th was redesignated 2/33 Armor (Hvy Tk). I might add that another unit of the 4th Armd Group was attached to the 3AD at KG - the 746th AIB.

As I remember my dad explaining, the 899th Hvy Tk was parceled out across 7th Army. Each of the four divisions received a company of M103s. The thinking was that the M103s would be used as long-range "sniper tanks" (for lack of a better term); to engage the oncoming Russians before they were in range of the M48A1s. THe M103s turned out to be an albatross. They were so heavy, that they were restricted to just a few roads and bridges. As we tankers all remember - late winter and early spring in Germany are muck season & tanks bog down. The M103 did not bog down..... it played submarine. And lastly, the M103 utilized a 2 piece main gun round, which was not well received by the heavy tankers. It was cumbersome and took time to assemble before firing. Seems I remember there was a crane inside the turret, to facilitate moving the round.

BTW - when CARS was implemented in the fall of 1958 - it was a little screwy. The 4 tank bns in 3AD were re-designated as follows:

7th Tk Bn - 2/1 Cav (MTB)
709th Tk Bn - 2/13 Cav (MTB)
32d Tk Bn - 1/32 Tk Bn (MTB)
33 Tk Bn - 1/33 Tk Bn (MTB)
83d Recon Bn - 3/12 Cav (DivCav)

In the early 1960s, 2/1 Cav and 2/13 cav were redesignated battalions of the 32d & 33d Armor.

Hope this fills a few knowledge gaps!!
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:23 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

- CaptCav
I found this thread while Googling the 899th Heavy Tank Bn. I joined this site so I could specifically respond to this thread. Wow - you've taken me back to my childhood, lol. The 899th was somewhat of a mystery unit, and I've spent most of my adult life trying to figure out who they were and where they came from.

In 1957, my dad was CO of A Co, 709th Tank Bn, an element of CCA, 3d Armored Div, at Kirch Gons, Germany. During '57, the 709th Tk Bn returned from Graf to discover that huge beasts had occupied their hard stands in their absence, unannounced. Long story short, it was a company of the 899th Heavy Tk Bn, equipped with brand new M103 heavy tanks. I specifically remember it was October, because while this happened, the Russians launched Sputnik I. The company was commanded by my father's friend, Capt (later COL) Don Valeska.

The arrival of the M103s created quite a stir - no one had ever seen them; and there was a continuous arrival of VIPS and the curious to The Rock to "look" at the beasts. The 899th was an odd ball unit. It belonged to the 4th Armor Group in Frankfurt. Headquarters for both the battalion and 4th Group was at Gibbs Kaserne. Shortly there after, the 899th was redesignated 2/33 Armor (Hvy Tk). I might add that another unit of the 4th Armd Group was attached to the 3AD at KG - the 746th AIB.

As I remember my dad explaining, the 899th Hvy Tk was parceled out across 7th Army. Each of the four divisions received a company of M103s. The thinking was that the M103s would be used as long-range "sniper tanks" (for lack of a better term); to engage the oncoming Russians before they were in range of the M48A1s. THe M103s turned out to be an albatross. They were so heavy, that they were restricted to just a few roads and bridges. As we tankers all remember - late winter and early spring in Germany are muck season & tanks bog down. The M103 did not bog down..... it played submarine. And lastly, the M103 utilized a 2 piece main gun round, which was not well received by the heavy tankers. It was cumbersome and took time to assemble before firing. Seems I remember there was a crane inside the turret, to facilitate moving the round.

BTW - when CARS was implemented in the fall of 1958 - it was a little screwy. The 4 tank bns in 3AD were re-designated as follows:

7th Tk Bn - 2/1 Cav (MTB)
709th Tk Bn - 2/13 Cav (MTB)
32d Tk Bn - 1/32 Tk Bn (MTB)
33 Tk Bn - 1/33 Tk Bn (MTB)
83d Recon Bn - 3/12 Cav (DivCav)

In the early 1960s, 2/1 Cav and 2/13 cav were redesignated battalions of the 32d & 33d Armor.

Hope this fills a few knowledge gaps!!


WOW!! M103's at "'THE ROCK!!!" Never heard about that one......



1986-1989 Ready 1st Bde, Ayers Kaserne (2/5 CAV 'COHORT' & 4/32 AR)
Great Stuff!! Thanks
Don
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Jens_O_Mehner
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:14 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

- Dontos
WOW!! M103's at "'THE ROCK!!!" Never heard about that one......


How about "Atomic Annies" at Giessen? Mr. Green That was my big surprise when I discovered that fact... Yup, we were ready for them red hordes.

Geeze, I've been surrounded by you guys and I'm not even mentioning the 32nd Chief of Staff, who was actually a great guy. Cool
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MarkHolloway
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:19 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

Welcome CaptCav! Hope to see you around some more. Appreciate the info!

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CaptCav
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:14 pm
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

This trip down memory lane has motivated me to do a little digging. A search of station lists turned up the following, for HQ, 899th Hvy Tk & HQ, 2/33 Armor:

1956 - Fligerhorst, Hanau
1957 - Gibbs, Frankfurt
1959 - Fligerhorst, Hanau

That would fit. Oct '57, a company of 899th "appeared" at Kirch Gons. In May '58, my dad gave up his company at KG & became Asst G2, 3AD at Drake. Just before he gave up his company, the co of the 899th at KG disappeared (I never thought to ask my dad where it went). Funny - I never thought of Fligerhorst as tanker land.

The problem with station lists is that they often account only for the bn/regt/bde HQ. They seldom show where the individual companies are located. As an example, from 1949-1953 - my dad's tank company in the 1st ID was "permanently" located at Bamburg, Furth, Schweinfurt and Wurzburg.

You begin to get an idea why I say the 899th was/is a mystery unit. We can also safely say it seems to have been located near the Fulda Gap. Gosh - what a surprise!!!
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Kurt_Laughlin
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 6:52 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

- Neil_Baumgardner


There only appear to be 4 T43 pilots (aka prototypes) out there, and about 20 M103s - so not that common. Unfortunately I dont know where to look for SNs on them...

Neil


IIRC, they are stamped into the glacis and/or tow lugs. The one in Euclid OH (across from the Polka Museum. . .) was S/N 217, USMC 233037.

KL
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oldertop
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:09 am
Post subject: Re: T43 / M103 at Ft Hood from Lil-J...

The M103s in the "dueling tanks" picture are M103A1s, They are part of a group of 72 M103A1s that were "barrowed" from the re-fitted-debugged M103s Marine Corps stocks of which there were 218 on hand. The Marines brought 160 vehicles up to M103A2 requierments with up-grades in the range finders and by going to the diesel engines, the overall range (basicly doubling it) was also improved with new disigned fuel tanks. what few know is that a all up combat loaded M103A2 was faster than the Brit Centurion and that 120mm gun made her the Queen of the battlefield in her day. That guns 51 pound AP shot could punch a hole through 221mm of armor plate a 1,000 meters and 196mm at 2,000 meters. Mr. Green
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