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M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?
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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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:45 am
Post subject: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

Hi Folks!

I was looking through the Webshots Dot Com site for a pair of colored photos of that US M4A1 that was recovered off Omaha beach.

While using the site SEARCH function, I ran acossed this vehicle. Have no idea who took or posted these photo to the site.
Warning: pictures are a bit large which is why I didn't post them to this DG, sorry Folks.

i41.photobucket.com/al...murm-1.jpg

i41.photobucket.com/al...urRRcl.jpg

i41.photobucket.com/al...urmayb.jpg

i41.photobucket.com/al...urFLlo.jpg

Not sure, but I think it is at Samur.

Niel has posted pictures of a M4A2 76 mm DD with the HVSS (E8) suspension. But a M4A1 76 mm with VVSS is a new version of the DD to me.

Speaking of Webshots Dot Com, while using the SEARCH function using "France" and "Tank", I found 24 pages with 1,669 photos. Now there are some that have nothing to do with tanks in France, but there are a lot of military related pictures. There is about five pages of a photos titled "Barbarossa" which has a lot of Eastern Front WWII black and white shots along with a few WW II photos from all over the globe.

If you have some time to kill, check it out.

Spot Report!
Sgt, Scouts Out!

P.S.
Don't try searching with "DD" and "Tank". You get a large number of pictures of someone's friend called DD along with a few destoryer (as in ship) pictures.

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TrevorLarkum
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:38 pm
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

That is at Saumur, it's PTIF#114 from my book on Preserved Tanks in France:



In the book I wrote:

"This is a Mark IIAY, modified from an M4A1 (76)W. It is in poor condition and is missing its flotation screen, muzzle brake and both propellers."

I don't have any other information on it, but it's certainly an unusual beast.

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binder001
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:42 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

THere has GOT to be an interesting story on this fellow! Clearly a DD hull, but what's that 76mm turret doing on it?

It defies "conventional wisdom" on the DD tanks and the 76mm tanks. It would be interesting to know more about the sinking and the exact date.

Gary
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TrevorLarkum
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:17 pm
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

Though unusual, it is of course not entirely unique:


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bsmart
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:20 pm
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

That is a very old picture of the M4A2 HVSS 76mm DD test tank at Aberdeen. The picture was taken on the old 'Mile of Tanks' but it has been sitting in the Belair street storage yard for at least 8 years but probably more than 10 years. Neil has much more recent pictures that were taken during one the tour I led of the Belair Street yard during AMPs this spring (The first time enthusiasts have been able to get into that yard in years) There are probably a bunch of other pictures of it from that tour. It was one of the most popular items in that yard (But everything in the yard was popular that day!)

The tanks was tested for possible use during the Invasion of Japan. I suspect that if it was deployed it would have been deployed in the M4A3 version and that the M4A2 was used for test purposes because it was more available without impacting issue of the more desired A3 version

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TrevorLarkum
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:12 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

The picture is pretty old - I probably took it in the 1982 or 1983.

OT, while looking up Sherman DDs I found this very interesting link:

www.strijdbewijs.nl/ta...araeng.htm

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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:55 pm
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

Hi Trevor! Hi Folks!

- TrevorLarkum

.....while looking up Sherman DDs I found this very interesting link:


Very interesting link! Thank You Trevor!

Those DD Tank photos by Robert Capa has puzzled me for years. Some time back I started collecting photos and information about the DD system with the hope that someday I would be able to build a 1/35 scale model of one with the screen up. So far, it's still in the planning stages.

Those "chimney" or "rectangle shapes" are a problem.

By chimney, I wonder if the writer MIGHT have been talking about the rerouted air flow at the the rear of the tank. The M4A1's, and M4A4's had an air exhaust under the upper rear hull which over hung the lower rear hull. On the DD's this exhaust was below the bottom edge of the screens. There was something like the lower section of a wading truck that redirected the airflow from it normal downward flow and diverted it upward and into the inside rear area of the of the screen.

Now for Robert Capa's photo. I don't think those "rectangle shapes" are on those tanks. I think they are something that is on the beach on the other side of those DD's.

Look at the left DD. The one that is sideways. I think we are looking at an opened splite type of TC hatch. If that rectangle is on that tank, it's mounted on the rear of the turret and not the hull. It's front edge is in line with the back edge of the TC hatch.

Look at the right DD. The one were we can see the props. Again we can see an open splite type of TC hatch. In that photo, the rectangle is to the left of the TC's hatch and centered on the vehicle.

If those "chimneys" are mounted on those two DD's, then they are sticking up from the bustle area of the turrets. The TC stood on a metal platform that was welded onto the top rear edge of the bustle area and behind the TC hatch area. He had a pipe to hold onto with one hand and the tiller for the props with his other hand. A LARGE "chimney" that would be mounted on the center rear area of the turrret's bustle would be a massive blind spot for the TC when he was standing outside the turret and driving the tank.

For a long time I wonder what those things where that look like they are mounted on those two DD's. After collecting a folder full of limited info on DD's and the screen system, I think that those things are on the other side of those two vehicles and are NOT mounted on them.

If I understand the story correctly, the author is Dutch. The crews he interviewed would be Americans (?). Maybe the term chimney is something that got lost in the translatation to Dutch and then back to English?

A note about the number 10 on that tank with the wading trunks.
That vehicle should be a bulldozer tank. The 10 stands for landing craft gap number 10. That dozer was detailed to the Special Engineer Task Force (SETF) Gap Team number 10. It's mission was to support the Navy engineers below the water line as they opened up their area of the gap. After that, the dozers were to support the Army engineers as they cleared the gap above the water line. After the gaps were opened up, most of the bulldozers would return to control of their assigned tank battalions.

Gap 10 was planned for the right (looking at the beach from the sea) edge of Easy Red Beach. Robert Capa's photos were taken in the area between Easy-Red and Fox-Green. That would be at the left (again, looking at the beach from the sea) end of Easy-Red and in the area of Gap 15. About 1,400 yards left of where it should have landed.

My 2 cents on DD chimneys and a little info on what I have learned about D-Day bulldozer tanks.
Sgt, Scouts Out!

P.S.
The info about the bulldozer tanks comes from "Spearheading D-Day, American Special Units in Normandy" by Jonathan Gawne, Histoire @ Collections, Paris, 1998, ISBN 2 908 182 793. For anyone who is interested in the stories of D-Day, that book is HIGHLY Recommended by Stephen "Cookie" Sewell in a review he wrote for Armor Magazine in the January-February 2000 issue, page 51. It corrects and explains a number of facts that Cornelius Ryan got wrong in his book, "The Longest Day".

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binder001
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:31 pm
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

The Dutch poster is quoting from the novel "Hell Has No Heroes", originally published as "Barbara" ca. 1951. A great read on an American tank crew in Europe by Wayne Robinson who actually served with the 743rd Tank Battalion. A number of incidents in the novel parallel those in the 743rd's published history. While Mr. Robinson DID actually serve with the tank battalion, I have found a number of minor "flaws" in his work. In the novel, Robinson implies tyhat Barbara is a welded hull tank. He refers to the "new" turtle-hulled tanks arriving later. Any DD nut knows that the US DD's were based on M4A1s with cast upper hulls. I am also wondering if his memory confused the "chimneys" or wading stacks to us, of the deep-water equipped Shermans with the DD tanks.

Until these photos, I only knew of the M4A2 DD prototype, which was the only 76mm DD tank I ever heard of (except for the French M4A1E8's mocked up as DD tanks for movie "The Longest Day"). I remember seeing some photos of that M4A2 under test.

Minor trivia - the M4A1 76W DD tank used the complete sprocket for the rear idlers. The US DD's (that I have seen in photos) dropped the toothed sprocket and used a modified version of the regular idler.

Gary B
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tanker2010
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:30 pm
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

I think what has happened here, is the same problem with a couple other threads. People are way over thinking this. It's a tank at a museum. Museums are notorious for cobbling together tanks. They proably just droped a T-23 turret on a M4A1DD.
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:25 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

Hi Gary! Hi Folks!

- binder001

Minor trivia - the M4A1 76W DD tank used the complete sprocket for the rear idlers. The US DD's (that I have seen in photos) dropped the toothed sprocket and used a modified version of the regular idler.
Gary B


I'm not so sure of that Gary.
The idlers are NOT complete sprockets but "modified" idlers that have a ring mounted on the spokes on the outside edge of the idlers. There is no drive plate mounted on the inside of the idlers. There no center sprocket hub with holes to mount drive plates on both sides. Therefore it is not a "complete sprocket".

What we are seeing on the US DD's is the modified idlers were the drive plate has been removed and is exposing the mounting ring with the holes for the bolts.

My 2 cents,
Sgt, Scouts Out!

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bsmart
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:48 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

I'll have to check my copy of Barbara this weekend but I thought it came out much later than 1951. I picked up the paperbackHell Has No Heroes a long while back at a used book sale. I noticed that it had originally been titled Barbara but didn't think much about it. Then at a junk shop/antique store (more like a barn) on a side road outside Gettysburg there was a table of books and scanning the titles I saw Barbara on an old hardback. I picked it up and sure enough it was 'the one'. I'm pretty sure it has the author's bio in it. I'll pull it out and check teh copyright this weekend but I think it is late 50s or maybe even 1961 (That date sticks in my head)

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TrevorLarkum
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:58 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

- Roy_A_Lingle

If those "chimneys" are mounted on those two DD's, then they are sticking up from the bustle area of the turrets.


I think you may be right with your general conclusions, but it may be that this is a possible solution, that a simple 'chimney' was built up around the TC's position, for protection or some other reason. It fascinates me that after all this time there are still some things to learn and mysteries to resolve.


- binder001
Until these photos, I only knew of the M4A2 DD prototype, which was the only 76mm DD tank I ever heard of (except for the French M4A1E8's mocked up as DD tanks for movie "The Longest Day"). I remember seeing some photos of that M4A2 under test.

Minor trivia - the M4A1 76W DD tank used the complete sprocket for the rear idlers. The US DD's (that I have seen in photos) dropped the toothed sprocket and used


If I can find any more, close-up, pictures I'll post them here.


- tanker2010
I think what has happened here, is the same problem with a couple other threads. People are way over thinking this. It's a tank at a museum. Museums are notorious for cobbling together tanks. They proably just droped a T-23 turret on a M4A1DD.


Don't worry, I think that's the unspoken thought we all have in mind - no-one here is discussing how did a 76mm DD take part in D-Day.

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binder001
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:50 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

I'm not so sure of that Gary.
The idlers are NOT complete sprockets but "modified" idlers that have a ring mounted on the spokes on the outside edge of the idlers. There is no drive plate mounted on the inside of the idlers. There no center sprocket hub with holes to mount drive plates on both sides. Therefore it is not a "complete sprocket".

You are quite right - I misspoke (miswrote?). The US tanks lack the toothed sprocket drive ring. The idlers don't look like Sherman sprockets with the toothed ring removed. There is still a track contact surface, not unlike an idler wheel. I have not seen that on any Sherman sprocket that I have run across, hence my reference to a "modified idler". The sprockets support the track with the teeth on the end connectors, but a VVSS or HVSS idler contacts the track block surface. The DD idler SEEMS to combine the idler wheel with a mounting ring or such surface that allowed the use of the toothed sprocket.

Gary
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TrevorLarkum
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:31 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

Presumably the idea was just to give the idler sufficient extra grip so it could power the screws without slipping.

Here's a view on the one at Courseulles (PTIF#9):


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:28 am
Post subject: Re: M4A1 76 mm VVSS DD tank?

- TrevorLarkum


Don't worry, I think that's the unspoken thought we all have in mind - no-one here is discussing how did a 76mm DD take part in D-Day.


I understand that, that's not what I'm saying. I think it's just something they threw together at Samur.
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