Amphibious tanks

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Susan Smethurst, May 22, 2010.

  1. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/north-africa-med/24494-j-b-smethurst-rtr.html


    My fathers background is in the link. Over our home mantelpiece was a Terence Cuneo signed print of his regiment crossing the Rhine in an amphibeous tank with the sides coming down and guns shooting. Now my daddy said on more than one occasion this is rubbish as the sides could not come down whilst in water. Good pic bad history

    Any info gentleman gratefully received
     
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Susan, the answer is yes: they could fire while in the water, but only when wading, not swimming. The screens could be - and were - dropped once the tank had grounded and got into the shallows. Indeed, there are accounts of Duplex Drive (DD) Shermans on D-Day sitting in the surf and shooting, either by accident (drowned engines) or design ('better' cover than sitting on the beach).

    The screens were held up by a combination of metal struts and pneumatic tubes allowing it to be dropped quite quickly.
     
  3. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    Thanks but have you any idea what this operation with amphib tanks over Rhine would be? I have no current access to painting and as you know my general knowledge about JB Smthursts movement is a learning curve. Starting from basics here! 41st RTR rings bell. Hate my ignorance on all this-he just didn't want to bore us (what an irony!)
     
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Operation Plunder - the Rhine Crossing. 44 R Tks and the Staffordshire Yeomanry were the British DD regiments involved. It wasn't an assault crossing in the same sense as D-Day as exits had been prepared; it was more an exercise in reinforcement before bridges could be established.
     
  5. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Having seen several documentaries and some footage of DDs (including a DD restoration swimming - almost sunk before reaching river bank) I wouldn't like to try a river crossing in one, let alone a shore landing. The freeboard was very small and in any kind of swell shipped loads of water, often leading to their loss (eg US DDs for Omaha). Respect to your Father Susan.
    There is a (salvage diving) museum in Normandy that has several of the American DDs recovered after the war along with some other 'wading' vehicles that clearly didn't! Some amazing stories of crews being reunited with lost equipment many years after the war ended when their vehicles were recovered.

    Mike
     
  6. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Susan, forgot to ask - did you find the tiny mouse in the Terence Cuneo print? As far as I know every picture has one included somewhere.
     
  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Some reasonable shots of the struts and compressed air tubes of the screens on a surviving M4 DD:
    D Day Tanks and countdown to 60th anniversary of D-Day from the Tank Museum Bovington

    'The Tanks', Regimental history of the RTR, has c.120 DDs crossing the Rhine with them in the first move. Some had a brief fight from bogged positions on the banks, or in the River, before their immobility made them targets. I suppose these could be the ones in the Cuneo picture.
     
  8. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    Susan, forgot to ask - did you find the tiny mouse in the Terence Cuneo print? As far as I know every picture has one included somewhere.


    Yes it was one of our party tricks as children to play "find the mouse\"-lets face it we had to try to be a bit entertaining living in an isolated country vicarage with a very disabled ex Tank Commander father who had become an Anglican priest.......
     
  9. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    Operation Plunder - the Rhine Crossing. 44 R Tks and the Staffordshire Yeomanry were the British DD regiments involved. It wasn't an assault crossing in the same sense as D-Day as exits had been prepared; it was more an exercise in reinforcement before bridges could be established.


    I have to say a huge thank you to you for this-I have struggled to remember the name of the operation. I am very touched to learn about it now and explains my earlier reference in my very early posts to recollecting my father being in 44th RTR.

    Cheers as ever Idler!
     
  10. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    Some reasonable shots of the struts and compressed air tubes of the screens on a surviving M4 DD:
    D Day Tanks and countdown to 60th anniversary of D-Day from the Tank Museum Bovington

    'The Tanks', Regimental history of the RTR, has c.120 DDs crossing the Rhine with them in the first move. Some had a brief fight from bogged positions on the banks, or in the River, before their immobility made them targets. I suppose these could be the ones in the Cuneo picture.


    Its Operation plunder for certain-thats what was written on the picture=just couldnt remember it ...ho hum.
    What great photos. Am meant to be going to Bovington in the next few months. A big thing for me actually.
     
  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Dave55 likes this.
  13. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I think you're right. I've never seen one before. Not much info on the web about them.

    Thanks.
     
  14. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Member

    The New Vanguard title "US Amphibious Tanks of WWII" devotes some 7 pages to their development & use from late 1943 first for the M18 Hellcat as the T7 and then the Sherman as the T6 (later M19) Flotation Device, on the M24 (seemingly unsuccessfully) and finally on the T26/M26 as the T8. Pluses & minuses of the T6 v the DD tank? The tank could use its gun on the run in to the beach but it took up the space of 2 DD tanks so a US LCT(5) could only carry 2 and an LST only 6. Its first and only operational use (on a test basis) was at Okinawa with the 6th Marine Tank Battalion (12*M4A3), 1st Marine Tank Battalion (6*M4A2) and the 711th Army Tank Battalion (12 tanks). Results were mixed. The 1st experienced a cock up with the T6s being launched 1 hour late from 10 miles off the beach and not the departure line. It took them 5 hours to swim ashore with one lost after accidentally ramming a destroyer that got in its way! Given the low freeboard, hardly the best way to spend your morning. Greater use was planned for Olympic in November 1945.
     
    Chris C and Dave55 like this.
  15. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    AKA “BB”.

    This post D-day feedback for General Marshall from WO 229/52 describes both the weaknesses experienced with the DD and the pros & cons of detachable floats, especially the hazard that they represented on a rising tide.
     

    Attached Files:

    Ewen Scott likes this.
  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    There was a limitation on the use of swimming and submersible (the German solution) tanks in many mainland European rivers. This was that many of the rivers had been partly canalised by the banks on many reaches being engineered which meant that they had a very steep submerged face. Thus whilst tanks could get in, getting out on the other side was often very difficult unless engineers had pre prepared the landing site. A very different situation to a beach slope. It would make sense (as already suggested) that the purpose of swimming tanks in a river crossing would be to get armoured support across sooner than waiting for a bridge to the thrown over the river rather than being part of the initial assault.
     
  18. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    There is a 10 seconds patch in this video clip showing Soviet light T-40 amphibious tanks "attacking" on dry land. Time 2:33 - 2:43
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019

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