Tank parlance ...

Discussion in 'General' started by Mikeo, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. Mikeo

    Mikeo Member

    In WW2, were men serving in tanks known as "tankies"?

    Is there a special term to describe the action of getting out of (getting down from) a tank? In German, the word "absitzen" is used: this means "to dismount from a horse". Presumably this goes back to the conversion from horses to tanks at the time when the latter were introduced. (There's a similar thing in the RN where they talk about "going ashore" from a shore establishment.)

    Thanks in advance ...

    M
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Mikeo -
    The term "Tankies" came up after the war - as I recall from - probably the US media - we were always called "Tank Crews" before then.

    The British also called it - "to dismount" with reference to the Cavalry days - the main difference was when the Tank was disabled - it was then "Bail out" - anyway you can....

    The other throwback to it's origins from the Royal Navy's involvement in calling it a Tank - was when they had to transport them to France in the early days of WW1 - to disguise them they were labelled 'Water Tanks"- and in our day it was that the left side was "Port" and the right side was "Starboard"
    Cheers
     
    von Poop likes this.
  3. Mikeo

    Mikeo Member

    Thanks, Tom.

    In WW2 was "dismount" the general term? Do you know whether it is still used today?

    M
     
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Mikeo -
    we always paraded in front of the Tank and the first order was to the Driver - " Driver Mount, -start engine" - then the other Tank crew - also "Mount"

    No idea what they do now as everyhing changes very rapidly to-day - my old mob of 16/5th is at Catterick almost permanently these days as a RECCE unit - and that from 1st Line battle regiment in the first Gulf war - a squadron is in Afghanistan at the moment.

    "Dismount" was the order to leave - unless it was "bail out "
    Cheers
     
  5. Mikeo

    Mikeo Member

    Thanks, Tom. All now clear.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.

    M
     
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Mikeo

    I can certainly confirm the naval terms we used.

    On a previous thread I mentioned:

    Only while I am still trying to remember what the Honey looked like :smile:

    For a very "light-weight" tank we were pretty well stocked with fire power.

    Fixed to the starboard side (looking forward) was a 2" Mortar.
    Fixed to the rear was a .50 Browning machine gun on a swivel mount (strictly reserved for anti-aircraft)
    Fixed to the front was a .30 Browning that I was only to use on one occasion.
    All the crew wore personal sidearms, in my case a Smith & Wesson.
    Stowed away we had 1 Thomson Sub-Machine Gun, a box of hand grenades, Verey Light cartidges, phosphorous shells and lots of Browning Ammo.

    Plus a reasonable supply of toilet paper :smile:


    I could also have mentioneed "aft" for the rear of the tank and the use of the word "alongside" on the odd occasion when our honey drew level with another tank.

    Ron
     
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  7. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Ron,
    Why was the .50 reserved for AA only?

    Best regards
    Kev
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Tell you what, I imagine there are very few places on the Internerd where one can ask such questions, and get such answers straight away.
    Good stuff.

    There were a fair few Naval officers that drifted landwards as the Tank developed from the Landships committee. Tanks (and maybe even armoured land warfare in general, with the RNAS cars) were an oddly naval project.
    Makes me wonder just how long their influence remained felt.
     
  9. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Kev
    Ron,
    Why was the .50 reserved for AA only?
    Best regards
    Kev


    Fairly simple, the .50 ammo was heavier than the .30 and therefore much likelier to inflict damage on a low flying/strafing aircraft.

    Thankfully, never got to try it out and only got to use the .30 once.

    Thursday 12th. April 1945
    Bit of stonking last night. Moved into area South side of Santerno river and waited for bridge to be slung across. After supper lined up with 2nd. Armoured Brigade column.

    Friday 13th. April 1945
    Moved over Santerno. Some M.G. nuisance and one H.E. about twenty yards away. Bags of prisoners, Kiss from Signora. "Liberatoris !". Chasing after tedeschis with 30 browning blazing!
    The Browning machine gun referred to was rarely fired in anger, the exception being on this one occasion when I nearly killed Hewie our Stuart Tank driver.
    We had been on the move all day and the Germans were surrendering left, right and centre. To our left, about two hundred yards away, German infantry were climbing out of slit trenches with their hands high and we were gesturing to them to get behind us and to make their way to the rear.
    Suddenly someone to our right opened light rifle fire at us and Busty (SSM ‘Busty’ Thomas) lost patience and yelled at me "Let the bastards have it!" Hewie swung the tank to the right so we could face the new threat and I started firing non-stop, without giving Hewie a chance to drop his adjustable seat down below the level of fire belching from the Browning. A horrified Busty yelled: "Get down you stupid bastard!" and to my immediate relief Hewie disappeared from view before I could hit him.
    Within seconds the rifle fire was replaced by more hand-raising, and we were able to proceed without further incident.


    Ron
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    KFZ
    one of our gunners in North Africa one day was cleaning his Besa .303 on top of the turret when a German 109 strafed the squadron - knowing he would be back Paddy Quinn then inserted an ammo belt into the gun - leaned back against the turret- when the 109 did another strafing run he gave it half a belt -damaged the tail and it came down - killing the Pilot - Paddy wore the MM.ribbon ever after - but can't find the citation anywhere ...
    Cheers
     
  11. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    The other throwback to it's origins from the Royal Navy's involvement in calling it a Tank - was when they had to transport them to France in the early days of WW1 - to disguise them they were labelled 'Water Tanks"- and in our day it was that the left side was "Port" and the right side was "Starboard"
    Cheers

    I thought this was as much to do with the fact that the tank was developed by the Admiralty's Landships Committee, rather than the army.

    Can anyone confirm?
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I thought this was as much to do with the fact that the tank was developed by the Admiralty's Landships Committee, rather than the army.
    I'm doubtless misunderstanding your query, but Why would the word 'tank' be a specifically naval term?

    Big metal box, cover name needed, Swinton & Dally-jones thought of multiple 'boxy' names. 'Water Carrier' was favoured until Stern pointed out the initials... Water Tank/Tank was settled on.
    How much the 'Water Carrier' to 'Tank' origin springs from the workers at Foster's remains somewhat debatable, and likely impossible to prove. But the term was officially settled on largely by the Landships chaps, during the 'Inter-Departmental Conference On Caterpillar Machine-gun Destroyers Or Land-cruisers'. (snappy title...)
    That meeting was the first to publish the word 'Tank' as the name of the new machine.

    They were mostly described as water tanks, or tanks, from that point on.

    And I still think they should have chosen 'armouredillo'...
     
  13. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    I thought this was as much to do with the fact that the tank was developed by the Admiralty's Landships Committee, rather than the army.
    You'll have William Tritton spinning in his grave.

    Peter :)
     
  14. John Lawson

    John Lawson Arte et Marte

    I have served both with cavalry and Royal Tank Regiments from 1975 to 1995 and it's always MOUNT (get on) and DISMOUNT (get off), along with BAIL OUT(get out F'QUICK) all below the rank of L/Cpl are called troopers (even the REME when you score a try in the Cavalry Cup) and whether cavalry or RTR they are known as "tankies", never "tankers" as that's American!

    Staff Sgts in the cavalry were always addressed as Sgt Major. Apparently this goes back to when cavalrymen, of the same rank as infantry, were considered to be superior (and paid a bit more)!! The Horse Guards are all corporals (e.g. L/Cpl of Horse, Cpl of Horse, Sqn Cpl Maj, Regt Cpl Maj etc etc).

    It certainly makes serving in the British army interesting as you never know who you're speaking to, until you transgress and then you find a Cpl bollocking a Sgt!!! (How strange)
     
  15. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    I was referring to the naval-esque parlance - hull, sponson, port, starboard etc.
     
  16. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Fruitcake -
    ................and I was referring to the name "Tank" - which apparently came from the Naval end of things not necessarily the Naval committee....might have been suggested by a dockyard hand to get away from the WC connotation..we shall probably never know - so we go with the legend ...
    Cheers
     
  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Reminds me of the old tale of the Irish woman - Mrs Dunn - who met a chap in the street who was off to the Uk and she asked him to look up her son- who had not written for some time - but he lived in London WC2

    On arrival in London he asked a policeman where he could find WC2 and he was directed to the lavatories - on finding WC2 - he hammered on the door and asked if the occupant was Dunn - "yus, mate was the reply" - then why don't you write to your mother !
    well it's raining
    Cheers
     
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Tom, do you have any idea of how hard is to clean the keyboard and monitor of a notebook when all smeared and infiltrated in splattered tea?
     
  19. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    Fruitcake -
    ................and I was referring to the name "Tank" - which apparently came from the Naval end of things not necessarily the Naval committee....might have been suggested by a dockyard hand to get away from the WC connotation..we shall probably never know - so we go with the legend ...
    Cheers

    Ahh.

    Ignore me :rolleyes:
     
  20. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Fuitcake
    we don't ignore anyone unless he is way off topic - you weren't so come on back - we all have bits to contribute
    Cheers
     

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