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Aberdeen Museum
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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mdc1
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:11 am
Post subject: Aberdeen Museum

Hello

I am new to your forums and wanted to say you have some very nice information here and some great pictures.

I am interested in knowing if Aberdeen allows measurements to be done on armor thickness or are all the tanks completely welded shut.
I am interested in armor thickness measurements of the S35 Somua and the Renault R35.

Regards

Mark
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:48 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

Hello, I'm a volunteer at Aberdeen so can proibably answer your question as well as anyone.

Most of the tanks are either welded or bolted shut. Some that haven't been through the refurb shop still have hatches or doors that are open (The Italian M13/40 comes to mind, I had several Webloes scouts looking inside it last Sunday through the open side door).

The Renault is displayed inside the Museum, TheSouma just went through 'refurb' and is sitting back in the tank park behind the Museum in a new paint job.

I'm curious as to how you were planning to measure the thickness. On some tanks youcan deduce the thickness by looking at the weld joints and on some that have been cut open you can get a direct measurement, but the Souma is a cast hull and except in a few locations where you might be able to use calipers I'm not sure how you could measure anything accuratley without some kind of advanced equipment. I don't have any sources directly at hand but can't believe the tanks at Aberdeen haven't been pretty well measured over the years and items like basic armor thickness published. Or have you found discrepencies in published sources you are trying to resolve?

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mdc1
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:26 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

Thank you for your reply.
Yes getting complete measurements would be quite difficult.
The S35 has several openings that I believe could be measured with calipers or a micrometer, rear turret hatch opens, front driver hatch opens and side panels open.
The R35 has several openings also, with a large opening in the lower front hull I believe for driver access.

I do believe Jentz in his book Panzertruppen has made some mistakes in some of his armor thicknesses for the French tanks.
He gives the same armor thickness for the turret on the S35 as he does for the B1 BIS.
These two tanks used different turrets, the B1 BIS used the APX4 and the S35 used the APX1.CE

For the R35 he lists 32mm for the front hull.
An article in a Russian magazine about a captured Polish R35 shows it at 40mm for the front.
forum.axishistory.com/...b0d5574c68


For the H39 he lists
Front hull 22 - 34
Hull side 34mm
I believe he is mistakenly listing the H35 hull thickness for the H39 since from what I have read the H39 was up armored and equipped with a larger engine.
Unfortunately I don't think there are any H39's located in the U.S. to look at.

Regards

Mark
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:34 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

There is an GW 39H(f) Marder I at the WWII Victory Museum in Auburn Indiana.

Neil
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:39 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

Well Jentz and Doyle have meade regular trips to Aberdeen to measure vehicles. When i have seen them do it they were mainly working on outside dimensions, etc.

I don't think any of the hatches you are interested in using would be working. I can look next time I'm up there (may be in mid February) but suspect that all execpt one or two hatches per vehicle would be sealed.

Just curious - do you leave anywhere close to Aberdeen or would you be talking about a major trip?

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mdc1
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:01 pm
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

- Neil_Baumgardner
There is an GW 39H(f) Marder I at the WWII Victory Museum in Auburn Indiana.

Neil


I contacted them last week, unfortunately they are without a curator at this time and are unable to offer any measurements.

Regards

Mark
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mdc1
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:24 pm
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

- bsmart
Well Jentz and Doyle have meade regular trips to Aberdeen to measure vehicles. When i have seen them do it they were mainly working on outside dimensions, etc.

I don't think any of the hatches you are interested in using would be working. I can look next time I'm up there (may be in mid February) but suspect that all except one or two hatches per vehicle would be sealed.

Just curious - do you leave anywhere close to Aberdeen or would you be talking about a major trip?


Thats a shame they are not working Sad

The S35 at Aberdeen is probably the only existing S35 that hasnt been modified by the Germans, so they have an exceptional piece of equipment there.
I would love to see this tank become a runner, but I doubt that will ever happen.
Not many probably know this but there is a man who lives here in the states that actually fought in an S35 in the BOF.
His name is Robert Gerard, he wrote an interesting book called Tank Fighter Team.

I do have quite a few German manuals coming in next week from the National Archives and one of them happens to be for the S35 so I am hoping there will be some mention of the armor thickness in there.

Unfortunately I live in Kansas so I am pretty far and flying is not one of my favorite things to do.


Regards

Mark
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:50 pm
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

Mark,
I am surprised to hear that the Aberdeen S35 wasnt modified - considering it was captured at Hillerslieben Proving Ground!

While the hatches arent open now, I did take some pictures before its restoration - when the hatches were left open - while it was sitting out behind the restoration facility. Here you go.



The S35 does interest me somewhat. What do you think of the oft-repeated French claim that the Sherman was based on the S35?

Neil
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mdc1
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:48 pm
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

Hi Neil

Yes I remember seeing those pictures awhile back, I forget what forum the link was posted on about these pictures but I remember being very excited to see them and hearing of the news of the new paint it was getting.
If I remember correctly I called Aberdeen soon after to ask about the work.
Thank you for posting them.

I guess I should have said the Germans didn't cut off the top of the copula on this one.
They may have done other things to it that I am unaware of.

I really haven't looked into the idea of the Sherman being modeled after the S35, its a possibility though.
I do have a photo that was sent to me by my friend in France that shows the S35 being modeled at what was said to be Ft. Knox.
I don't know if this is his photo or someone elses photo but I will post it here and if its not allowed please have a moderator remove the link.
I%20also%20have%20a%20document%20that%20was%20retrieved%20from%20the%20National%20Archives%20that%20shows%20the%20blueprints%20for%20the%20S40%20and%20the%20B1%20BIS%20were%20sent%20to%20the%20United%20States%20right%20before%20the%20evacuation%20of%20Paris,%20it%20was%20found%20by%20Leland%20Ness. There%20was%20also%20allot%20of%20Brandt%20ordnance%20documents%20sent%20over%20along%20with%20the%20tank%20blueprints.
%20%20
Lot%20XII Nomenclature%20of%20S40%20Tanks%20AC5%20and%208%20Cylinder%20Motor Package%20A (1)%20Somua%20prints%20of%208%20cylinder%20motor,%20V%20type%2060°%20125x140.%20Prints%20Nos.%20102-104; 106;%20113-114;%20118-123;%20126-128;%20130;%20132;%20140;%20150-150;%20156;%20158-162;%20164- 169;%20171-181;%20183,%20185;p%20187-190;%20192-196;%20198 (2)%20Somua%20prints%20of%20S40%20Tanks,%20Type%20AC5.%20Print%20Nos.%201-32;%20101;%20105;%20111;%20113; 118,%20121;%20126;%20130;%20140;%20150;%20158;%20164;%20166;%20171,%20173-174;%20176-179;%20187- 188;%20192;%20198-199;%20201-206;%20221-223;%20230-231;%20234-235;%20237-238;%20240;%20242- 244;%20246;%20248;%20250-252;%20255-257;%20260-264;%20301-308;%20311-312;%20315-317;%20319- 320;%20325-326;%20330;%20333;%20335;%20338;%20340;%20342;%20344-346;%20406;%20408;%20410;%20421- 422;%20425;%20451;%20456;%20460-561;%20471;%20475;%20481-482;%20484;%20486;%20501;%20504;%20507; 510;%20512;%20514,%20516;%20519;%20521;%20526;%20529;%20543;%20545;%20547-548;%20552;%20558-562; 570-573;%20601;%20603;%20605;%20607-608;%20621-627;%20630;%20650-652;%20671-673;%20675;%20680- 681;%20683;%20686-688;%20703;%20708-709;%20751-755;%20757;%20760-761;%20770;%20780;%20783;%20786; 789-791;%20794-795;%20801-802;%20805;%20808-809;%20811;%20814;%20816;%20821-824;%20831-833; 841-846;%20851-852;%20855-857;%20859-864;%20871-872;%20881-882;%20901-905;%20916-918; 921-922;%20924-932;%20936-940;%20942-959;%20961;%20971-973;%201001-1003;%201005;%201010; 1035-1038;%201043;%201047;%201051;%201055;%201060-1061;%201063-1065;%201068;%201071- 1073;%201075;%201224-1227;%201241;%201251-1252;%201254-1255;%201258;%201260;%201262- 1264;%201266-1269;%201301-1034. Package%20B (1)%20Somua%20prints%20of%20parts%20for%20S40%20–%20AC5%20Tanks Package%20C (1)%20Somua%20prints%20of%20parts%20for,%20and%20functioning%20of,%20S40%20–%20AC5%20Tanks Lot%20XIII (Tank;%20Motor;%20Parts%20Therefore) Package%20A (1)%20Somua%20prints%20of%20the%20AC5%20–%20S40%20Tanks.%20Prints%20are%20of%20various%20tank%20parts including: a.%20Armor b.%20Box-gear;%20boxes-ammunition;%20various%20capacities;%20brake c.%20Coupling-%20gearing;%20clutch;%20case-crank;%20case-motor d.%20Doors-side%20motor e.%20Exhaust;%20episcope%20and%20shutter f.%20Flooring-rear;%20floor-crank%20hanger;%20frame-chassis g.%20Fire%20proof%20partition%20and%20doors h.%20Packing-gear%20case i.%20Reduction%20gearing;%20gasket-cylinder j.%20Line-%20gas;%20location-M.G.;%20lever-hand%20brake k.%20Motor-details%20thereof;%20motor%20box;%20manhole-safety l.%20Support-tool%20box;%20seat%20and%20support-driver;%20spring%20supports;%20side%20frame supports-%20intermediary;%20suspension;%20strap-lower%20hinge m.%20Tank-gas;%20tank-oil;%20tube-water;%20tubes-air%20intake;%20tube-cylinder;%20tubes-oil filter;%20treads;%20tank%20water Package%20B (1)%20Somua%20prints%20of%20Assembly%20Plans%20of%20the%20AC5-S40%20tank.%20Prints%20are%20of%20various parts,%20including%20the%20following: a.%20Axle%20and%20reduction%20gearing;%20assembly%20of%20frame%20elements%20and%20location%20of bolts;%20hydraulic%20steering%20clutch%20control;%20control-driver’s;%20control-pedals; control-%20faucet%20for%20gas%20tanks. b.%20Circulation-oil%20for%20foot%20brake%20(Diagram);%20Circuit-oil%20for%20hydraulic%20steering (Diagram);%20circulation-gasoline%20(diagram);%20cross%20section%20of%20gasoline%20and oil%20pump;%20clutch%20(sketch%20of) c.%20Episcope-mobile d.%20Filter-oil;%20faucet%20for%20water%20drainage. e.%20Lubrication%20diagram f.%20Intermediate%20ring%20for%20APX-1-C.E.%20turret%20for%20S40%20tank. g.%20Mount%20for%20elastic%20front%20roller;%20mount-%20foot%20brake%20control;%20motor%208%20cylinder V%20–%20123x140%20(diagram);%20motor%20(cover%20removed%20–%20sketch) h.%20Plan%20of%20closing%20aperture%20for%20evacuation%20of%20M.G.%20cartridge%20shells i.%20Shaft-drive,%20secondary%20and%20fan%20control;%20suspens%20ion-elastic%20tension%20pulley; suspension-elastic%20tension%20pulley%20and%20rollers%20for%20treads;%20suspension-spring; seat-driver;%20seat-tank%20commander;%20slits-%20vision;%20setting%20of%20gas,%20water%20and%20oil tanks. Package%20C (1)%20Somua%20prints%20of%20motor%20for%20S40%20Tank.%20Prints%20are%20of%20the%20motor%20parts.%20Included therein%20are%20those%20covering: a.%20Block-cylinder;%20box-%20gear,%20and%20gasket;%20casing-motor;%20casing-pan,%20motor, and%20cover;%20case-crank;%20case-dam;%20cover-distributor;%20cylinder%20for%20the 125x140%20motor b.%20Filter-air;%20filter-oil,%20and%20filter%20support. c.%20Gasket-%20motor%20casing;%20gasket-cylinder%20head d.%20Parts%20–%20small,%20motor;%20plate-inspection;%20pipes-exhaust%20and%20intake e.%20Shaft-crank
I%20would%20love%20to%20have%20those%20blueprints%20but%20I%20imagine%20they%20are%20long%20gone%20probably%20thrown%20in%20the%20trash%20at%20some%20point. I%20also%20know%20that%20Robert%20Gerard%20after%20escaping%20the%20Germans%20and%20making%20his%20long%20journey%20back%20to%20the%20U.S.%20finished%20his%20schooling%20at%20Harvard%20and%20then%20went%20to%20work%20at%20Ft.%20Knox,%20If%20I%20remember%20correctly%20he%20said%20that%20was%20in%201942 I%20don't%20know%20if%20all%20this%20means%20anything,%20could%20be%20just%20a%20coincidence,%20its%20hard%20to%20say. I%20do%20think%20that%20some%20French%20ideas%20were%20used%20by%20the%20U.S.%20but%20to%20what%20extent%20I%20do%20not%20know. I%20have%20a%20Brandt%20document%20that%20was%20retrieved%20at%20the%20National%20Archives%20for%20me%20by%20a%20researcher. Brandt%20sent%20this%20for%20testing%20which%20was%20done%20at%20Aberdeen%20by%20the%20way,%20why%20it%20was%20sent%20I%20do%20not%20know%20since%20he%20had%20the%20ability%20to%20test%20these%20himself. According%20to%20the%20document%20the%20core%20is%20tungsten,%20carbon,%20iron%20and%20cobalt.

Regards

Mark
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:17 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

If it was in the National Archives in the U.S. it is probably still there. It is my understanding that their standard for retention is 'For the life of the Republic' Now whether they can find it or not may be another question. If you have the filing/cataloging data they should be able to retreive it

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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:26 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

The French claim is that they were working on agreement before the Fall of France for licensed production of the S35 in the US and that the US used this documentation (turret or hull casting in particular?) for the design of the Sherman...

Mark,
Do you have the trackstory book or CD on the S35? Is it good?

Neil


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mdc1
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:33 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

- bsmart
If it was in the National Archives in the U.S. it is probably still there. It is my understanding that their standard for retention is 'For the life of the Republic' Now whether they can find it or not may be another question. If you have the filing/cataloging data they should be able to retreive it


The question is whether or not these documents made it to the National Archives or not.
From my experience finding things at the National Archives can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Especially if they are out of place.


Reagrds

Mark
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:49 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

I've always had a hard time beleiving any of the 'Souma was the insperation for the Sherman' story or that license production was being negotiated.

Many of the features of the Sherman have direct links back to earlier American designs - The modified aircraft engine poserplant, the suspension, etc all are traceable to the M3 and M2 medium series

There may have been some 'technology transfer' of large casting technology. The French and the Soviets were the two other places where very large castings were used. However I've always believed that the use of large castings in American tank production can be traced to the involvement of heavy engineering firms that had been using large castings in railway equipment manufacturing (Lima Locomotive Works, Pressed Steel, etc) that were active in tank production.

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mdc1
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:25 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

- Neil_Baumgardner
The French claim is that they were working on agreement before the Fall of France for licensed production of the S35 in the US and that the US used this documentation (turret or hull casting in particular?) for the design of the Sherman... I believe the first part (licensed production plan) is correct, the second part is unconfirmed AFAIK.

Mark,
Do you have the trackstory book or CD on the S35? Is it good?

Neil


Some things we probably will never know for sure.
The Russians seemed to be impressed with the cast armor of the R35.

7. The Renault tank produced in 1939 is interesting for the mother industry only thinking about production of the moulded armour.

So I wouldn't think it would be a stretch to think the U.S. maybe thought the same thing.


I do know that several French military people were able to make their way back to the U.S.
I also know that some of these men were in the service of the U.S. government.
Some of these men wrote articles about their experience in The Field Artillery Journal, which I have obtained copies of.

An example of this would be Robert Gerard whom I had the honor of speaking with last year.
According to him he assisted in the training of over 2000 troops in tank combat at FT. Knox.
So I know there was influence.

I do not own a copy of the S35 Track Story, I do have the B1 BIS Track Story and its very good.
I would like to get all the Track Stories but I have been spending a large amount of money at the National Archives and they are not in my budget at the moment.



Regards

Mark
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:02 am
Post subject: Re: Aberdeen Museum

Yeah, unfortunately the S35 book is out of print, but they are still selling a CD version. I think I am going to try to find the book version somewhere (abebooks, Ebay, etc).

Neil
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