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Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...
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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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:19 am
Post subject: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

I went to the III Corp HQ's parade field today and shot some pics of this Sherman there. This makes three M4's with the T66 metal track here at Ft Hood. Most of the numbers are readable in the pictures, but the rear tow lugs had 61587 stamped into them. The front top hull had 264, 1062958, CP8950, stamped into it. I believe this to be a Chrysler built Sherman due to the guidance of Joe DeMarco and where to find certain markings, such as the B3229 stamped into the side edge of the hull armor. As more information becomes known, I will keep you posted. I will soon post an information sheet of all the known Shermans here at Ft Hood once I get all the data compiled.

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:06 am
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

Here is what I have on this particular Sherman per Joe DeMarco. This is a Chrysler built M4A3 (76)HVSS, built in January 1945. Corresponding reg number would have been 30114609. This would have been about the 3242 built tank (ballpark number).
The reg number stamped into the lower hull (30114359), below the white star, was the first time Joe had seen one in this location. He assumes it came from another Sherman. That Shermans serial number would have been 61337.
The stamped number above the pistol port on the turret (18041090) tells us the turret was cast by Continental Steel (H in a C). 1804 is the heat treat number of the turret while 1090 should be the turrets serial number.
Joe explains all the other markings but I'll save those for the museum staff. Joe makes me look pretty darn smart, but I have to give him all the credit. But at the same time, I'm learning and am putting together my own guide on research of Shermans. Who knows, I may become the next "Joe DeMarco" for the next generation of Sherman enthusists. I still have a long way to go though!

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binder001
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:52 am
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

The turret top detail is interesting. When they filled the smoke mortar port, they sure did a sloppy job. Some of them were done so neatly that you can hardly tell that it was there.
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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:56 am
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

Is that the area right above the mantlet? What exactly is a smoke Mortar port?

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toadmanstankpictures
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:47 am
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

- SFC_Jeff_Button
Is that the area right above the mantlet? What exactly is a smoke Mortar port?


Starting in mid to late 1943, Shermans were produced with a British designed, two inch smoke mortar in the turret. It was mounted in the left side of the turret and protruded through an opening in the roof. Post war, they were removed and the openings were filled in.


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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:54 am
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

This will sound stupid, but to me, a Mortar fires a projectile. Am I to understand that this was an early smoke devise or merely an exit tube for smoke and gases to escape the inside when "buttoned-up"?

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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:12 pm
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

Jeff, I believe the mortar launched smoke grenades.

Neil
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:33 pm
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

Hi Jeff! Hi Folks!

Here are two photos cropped from Hunnicutt's Sherman book. Top one is from page 263 and bottom one is from page 152
In the data sheets, Hunnicutt calls it: "2 inch Mortar M3 (smoke) fixed in turret"





This is Jeff's photo of the M-4 105 How tank. That big hole in the turret roof to the right of and down in front of the loader's periscope is the openning for the 2 inch smoke mortar.


Spot Report!
Sgt, Scouts out!

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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:53 pm
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

Perhaps a dumb question, but wouldnt that let shrapnel, even the odd MG round perhaps in? A really audacious infantryman might try to drop a grenade in...

Neil
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:11 pm
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

Hi Neil! Hi Folks!

- Neil_Baumgardner

Perhaps a dumb question, but wouldnt that let shrapnel, even the odd MG round perhaps in? A really audacious infantryman might try to drop a grenade in...
Neil


Shrapnel - Yes, but back when the smoke mortar was added, air burst artillery shells had not been fielded yet. Look at that cover for the openning for the loader's periscope, it does more to keep out rain that it does to keep out shrapnel.

The odd MG round - Possibly, but not very likely. I would think that a round going in the opennings for the direct sights and the co-ax machine gun holes would have a better chance.

The audacious infantryman - that is why tanks DON'T work alone.
If they do, then that audacious infantryman is going to get them.

My 2 cents.
Sgt, Scouts Out!

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clausb
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:23 pm
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

The Brits called it the "2-inch Bombthrower" and were still mounting it in Centurions in the 1950ies. The Germans came up with something similar (perhaps from British inspiration?), the Nahverteidigungswaffe, mounted in the roof of most German tanks from 1944 onwards.

The Germans tried smoke grenade dischargers mounted on the side of the turret, but they tended to go off when hit by enemy fire, smoke getting sucked into the tank creating a miserably enviroment form the crew. They were also impossible to reload from the inside.
The Brits also used such dischargers mounted on the side of the turret early in the war (inspiring the Germans?), then they apperently went out of fashion in favour of the 2-inch Bombthrower only to be re-introduced on British tanks after the war, early Centurions having both smoke devices.

Not really sure what the Americans did? AFAIK they didn't use the exterior smoke grenade dischargers in WWII and while they did adopt the British 2-inch weapon, they apparently got rid of it soon after the war. What did they use before and until they began to use the exterior smoke grenade dischargers long after WWII (1960ies?)?

Niel, the hole is only about 2", so a handgrenade wouldn't fit, I think. Also, whatever went into the hole would be stopped by the weapon mounted there, so it seems highly unlikely that anything entering the hole would actually make it into the turret proper.

Claus B
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:08 pm
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

Hi Claus! Hi Folks!

- clausb

Not really sure what the Americans did? AFAIK they didn't use the exterior smoke grenade dischargers in WWII and while they did adopt the British 2-inch weapon, they apparently got rid of it soon after the war. What did they use before and until they began to use the exterior smoke grenade dischargers long after WWII (1960ies?)?


1. Tank Battalion 4.2 inch Mortar platoon of four tubes.
2. Any available division artillery support.
3. Smoke pots inplaced by Smoke Engineers units or Battalion Scouts. I did that during a couple of FTXs in Germany.

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Sgt, Scouts Out! Smile

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binder001
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:08 pm
Post subject: Re: Ft Hood III Corp M4A3 w/ T66 track...

I think the US tankers relied more on smoke ammo from the 75 or 76mm guns than the 2" smoke mortar. One source reported that when the smoke mortar was used the Germans tended to fire into the smoke and the infantry around the tank didn't appreciate that one bit! I'm not sure how effective the mortar was at creating an effective screen, maybe the US crews weren't using it as designed?

The US tank battalion organized under the 1943 TO&Es also gave the battalion commander an additional asset - the battalion mortar platoon. There were three M4/M4A1 (later M21) halftrack 81mm mortar carriers authorized to each battalion and the FM mentions that the primary mission was to fire smoke rounds for screeening.

I have a xerox of an Ordnance Techical Bulletin dated right after VE day that mentions that the 2" smoke mortar was considered obsolete. The weapons and ammo were to be discarded. The mounts and ammo boxes were to be removed from the tanks (M4-series, M24, etc.). The holes in the turret were to be filled by either a) welding in a plug cut to fit, or b) be filled by welding. Some depots did it so cleanly that one can't tell there was ever a hole, others did "good enough".

The smoke mortars ports were seen on the later 75mm turrets (starting in 1943), all the 105mm turrets, and all (?) of the 76mm turrets. Some castings had a small lip around the opening.

With all this talk of THOUSANDS of baby mortars for each US tank, plus the battalions 81mm mortars, I can almost hear Jeff Button drooling with excitement!

Gary
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