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World War 2 In Review No. 49: Fighting Vehicles

World War 2 In Review No. 49: Fighting Vehicles

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World War 2 In Review No. 49: Fighting Vehicles

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441 pagine
1 ora
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 23, 2018
ISBN:
9780359110322
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Merriam Press World War 2 In Review Series. The following articles on fighting vehicles (AFV) are in this issue: (1) The Tank Between Wars (2) American 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage T32 (M7 and M7B1) “Priest” (3) American 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M37 (4) American Cargo Carrier M29 “Weasel” (5) U.S. Army Medium Tank Battalion, Table of Organization and Equipment 17-25, 15 September 1943 (6) “I Am a Tank Destroyer Commander” (7) German PzKpfw. VI “Tiger I” Heavy Tank (8) Flame-throwing “Tiger” (9) Flame-throwing Carriers (10) American IHC M-5-6 6x6 2½-ton Trucks (11) Soviet Self-Propelled Artillery Development: A Personal Commentary (12) Soviet Self-propelled Gun SU-85. 423 B&W/color photos/illustrations.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 23, 2018
ISBN:
9780359110322
Formato:
Libro

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World War 2 In Review No. 49 - Merriam Press

World War 2 In Review No. 49: Fighting Vehicles

World War 2 In Review No. 49: Fighting Vehicles

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Hoosick Falls, New York

2018

First eBook Edition

Copyright © 2018 by Merriam Press

Additional material copyright of named contributors.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

The views expressed are solely those of the author.

ISBN 978-0-359-11032-2

This work was designed, produced, and published in the United States of America by the Merriam Press, 489 South Street, Hoosick Falls NY 12090.

Notice

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Mission Statement

This series presents articles and pictorials on topics covering many aspects of the weapons used by the military forces of the world. In addition to new articles and pictorials on topics not previously covered, future volumes may include additional material on the subjects covered in previous volumes. The volumes in this series will comprise a single source for innumerable articles and tens of thousands of images of interest to anyone interested in the history and study of the weapons of war.

The Images

Many of these photos were taken under less than ideal conditions, and some were taken by individuals who were neither professional photographers nor using professional equipment. Thus, the quality of the original image may be less than perfect. While Merriam Press tries to obtain the best quality images possible, the quality of the images in this publication will no doubt vary greatly.

This series of publications utilizes the editor’s collection of tens of thousands of photographs and other illustrative material acquired since 1968. Hundreds of sources over the years have been searched for material on every subject.

Photographs Needed

Merriam Press welcomes any contributions of photographs

of this or any subject for future volumes in this series.

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Welcome to No. 49 of the World War 2 In Review Series

The following articles are in this issue of World War 2 In Review:

(1) The Tank Between Wars

(2) American 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage T32 (M7 and M7B1) Priest

(3) American 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M37

(4) American Cargo Carrier M29 Weasel

(5) U.S. Army Medium Tank Battalion, Table of Organization and Equipment 17-25, 15 September 1943

(6) I Am a Tank Destroyer Commander

(7) German PzKpfw. VI Tiger I Heavy Tank

(8) Flame-throwing Tiger

(9) Flame-throwing Carriers

(10) American IHC M-5-6 6x6 2½-ton Trucks

(11) Soviet Self-Propelled Artillery Development: A Personal Commentary

(12) Soviet Self-propelled Gun SU-85

with 423 B&W and color photographs, maps and illustrations.

Watch for future issues of this series with more articles on the history of Fighting Vehicles.

The Tank Between Wars

by Arch Whitehouse

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Colonel J.F.C. Fuller, the acknowledged father of tank doctrine.

A review of war-tank history from the vehicle’s inception until the close of World War I, discloses that this dramatic war machine had brought back movement and mobility denied by trench warfare. It reinstated this movement with a merciful cut in casualties. At Messines, for example, on a front of 16,500 yards, twelve divisions suffered 16,000 casualties in forty-eight hours and advanced only 4,000 yards. At Cambrai seven divisions, supported by tanks on a 13,000-yard front, advanced 9,000 yards in the same space of time, with but 9,500 killed and wounded, and in addition 80,000 less tons of ammunition were used.

The tank was exclusively the product of the 1914-18 war. As a new weapon its role was fairly well understood and, as far as possible, its powers and impact were employed to the utmost. It had been assigned to break up the stalemate imposed by trench warfare, but when it eventually forced the Germans into full flight during the last weeks of 1918, it was obvious that this tough, but sluggish, vehicle would have to be reconsidered and improved to fill the part of mechanized cavalry.

Unfortunately, many generals took a more conservative view of the machine. A few grudgingly admitted that tanks might continue to play a secondary part in future actions, that they would be used in support of infantry to batter down the strongest points of resistance and enable the foot-slogger to move forward with as little loss as possible. It was insisted that the infantry was still the queen of battle and the tank commanders must never forget their subordinate role.

A few far-sighted warriors believed that the most important part played by the tank in its first engagements was that of bolstering morale. The shock action—its ability to stun the enemy soldier until his mind was ruled by the emotion of fear and self-preservation instead of sound judgment and reason—was a weapon which commanders should use to attack the nerves of an army and spread terror through its organization. With its nerves thus outraged, the enemy’s will to resist would soon be replaced by a desire to live. In this respect the tank became the most important weapon in the hands of the ground forces.

With this intelligent appraisal of the tank, we now realize that few warriors of that day perceived the true future of this armored landship. Certainly no one saw or predicted how it would be used by Generals Rommel, Montgomery and Patton a quarter of a century later. During the period of 1919-1939 most professional officers believed that the tank was destined only for support of the infantry, and this near-sighted doctrine greatly affected the postwar development of the vehicles; nothing much was done toward increasing their speed and maneuverability until this problem was confronted in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The war tank was still geared to the speed of a man on foot who carried a rifle with a fixed bayonet. Just as long as the tank stayed with the infantry, crushed the barbed wire and strong points and was capable of withstanding enemy weapons of the day, it was fulfilling the limited duty required by the infantry generals.

If anyone sensed that one day armor would become high-speed mechanized cavalry, operating exactly as cavalry had performed in the classic campaigns of the American Civil War, he kept the prediction to himself.

Between 1900 and 1925 cavalry was nothing more than an awkward force of mounted rifles; the sword and lance were simply the impedimenta of tradition. So long as the infantryman marched on foot, there may have been a minor patrol role for mounted men, but once the foot soldier was provided with motor transport, wheeled or tractored, the classic role of the cavalryman was over.

It was not until about 1918 that the embryo of a new military concept was conceived. To whom should go the credit for this idea is a matter of opinion, but we do know that the concept was in the minds of several visionary soldiers all over the world, just as the basic idea of the war tank stirred in the imaginations of several men in various military forces. In the late 1920s the U.S. Secretary of War, Dwight F. Davis, had visited Great Britain and had been a guest at a tank demonstration staged at Aldershot; the British were still far ahead of the rest of the world in tank construction and operations. Mr. Davis was impressed by the massed employment of armor and on his return to the United States instructed that steps be taken to develop an adequate tank force for the U.S. Army.

After two years of desultory experimentation the U.S. Army eventually assembled at Fort Eustis, Virginia, the first unit of what was to become a permanent mechanized force. Although valuable in later years, this 1930 experiment was quickly abandoned, and the various arms of the service were directed to carry on their own experiments in mechanization. At that time U.S. Infantry was the only combat arm that had any tanks, since the National Defense Act of 1920 had stated most definitely that tanks were weapons to be used only by infantry.

In order to allow cavalry to develop armor along lines independent of the infantry, the mechanized cavalry was formed under the Chief of Cavalry. This unit was not equipped with tanks, but with so-called combat cars which were very similar to what the infantry was listing as tanks. The cavalry took over the role of developing the re-organized nucleus of a Fort Eustis contingent with Lieutenant Colonel Adna R. Chaffee as executive officer. Fort Knox, Kentucky, was selected as the new base for mechanized cavalry, and in 1931 the 1st Cavalry Regiment, then stationed in Texas, was moved up to Fort Knox. Five years later the 13th Cavalry regiment was transferred from Fort Riley to Fort Knox and was mechanized. Out of this union came the 7th Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized).

These pioneers at Fort Knox developed what appeared to be a new idea; they visualized a mechanical force which would carry out its missions, combining speed, fire power and shock action, over a wide activity zone. The available combat cars of that day had speeds in excess of forty miles per hour, an operating radius of well over 125 miles, and mounted .50 and .30 caliber machine guns, which were potent weapons at the time. As cavalry-reconnaissance vehicles they were a long stride from the British Whippets of 1918.

The duties of this force were to include exploitation of a breakthrough, the seizing of distant key points, and making wide flanking movements to strike the enemy deep in his rear areas. Such a force, skillfully handled, might possibly become an ideal means of counterattack.

Lieutenant Colonel Chaffee (later General) said: If fast tanks can operate in this manner, we will greatly aid in restoring mobility to warfare, in keeping with the doctrine of operating on the flanks and rear and through the gap. In forcing the enemy to make detachments to guard his lines of communication, important bridges, airdromes and bases, we would so weaken his main forces in battle that a quicker decision will be reached.

In the meantime, the War Department revised the 1931 policy and decentralized the development of mechanization (as distinguished from motorization) to all arms and services. It was decided that the infantry and cavalry would both get tanks, since they were the two arms that could best exploit their potentialities.

And so the United States approached the cloudy period prior to World War II by using the tank in two basic roles. The separate tank battalions were organized and trained to support the infantry divisions, and the armored divisions were

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