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The FReeper Foxhole's TreadHead Tuesday - The U.S. Tank Destroyer Forces - Feb. 10th, 2004 ^

Posted on 02/10/2004 12:00:11 AM PST by SAMWolf


Keep our Troops forever in Your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.

...................................................................................... ...........................................

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U.S. Tank Destroyers
M3, M10, M18, M36 and M56

In summer 1940, fast, hard-hitting German Panzer forces caused the quick collapse of France and demonstrated the offensive capabilities of the tank. This caused a sense of urgency, and stopping of tanks became one of the most serious problems facing the United States Army.

In November 1941, the War Department ordered activation of a Tank Destroyer Center and Board at Fort Meade, MD.

By the end of 1942, 80 Tank Destroyer Battalions were active and 64 more planned. Known as TD units, these forces were taught to fight tanks with lightly armored vehicles, with mounted cannon, with towed anti-tank guns and as dismounted tank hunting parties using anti tank grenades.

Initially, a TD battalion was armed with half-tracks with 75 mm guns. Combat experience in North Africa, however, was unfavorable. The high silhouette of the halftrack led to the preference of towed guns that could be more easily hidden. As a result, many self propelled TD units in the US were then converted to towed gun units. Following requests from combat theater commanders, half the battalions were converted back to self propelled units. They were armed with the full track M-10 "Wolverine" Tank Destroyer carrying a three inch cannon. As enemy armor increased, tank destroyers also improved. The M-18 "Hellcat", carrying a higher velocity 76 mm gun, was developed, and later the M-36 "Jackson", mounting a 90 mm gun was used. Some versions of the M-36 consisted of the M-36 turret, mounted on the M-4 Sherman tank chassis, known as the M-36B1.

Tank Destroyer units were fast, hard hitting units and were among the most heavily armed and mechanized units in the Army. A Tank Destroyer Gun company consisted of a command post, maintenance section and three gun platoons. The gun platoon was divided into two sections of two tank destroyers and a security section in an M-20 armored car.

Tank Destroyers were extremely vulnerable due to their open topped turrets which provided no crew protection from snipers or air burst artillery. In addition, tank destroyers, unlike tanks, had no machine gun-mounted coaxial with the main gun for defense. Tank Destroyers, although resembling tanks, were very lightly armored and not suited for a tank vs. tank battle. The basic concept and design of the tank destroyer sacrificed armor for speed and agility.

Tank Destroyer units were individual, specialized units attached to larger units for tank defense and had no direct commander. Many losses and casualties suffered by TD units were the result of commanders using tank destroyers as tanks.

Nevertheless, Tank Destroyer units with their "Seek, Strike, Destroy" motto became powerful formations strong in firepower and mobility, and the TD men were renowned for their courage and tenacity.

Initially, 222 TD units were mobilized in 1942. Since massed armor used in early 1940, was rarely used after 1943, the number was reduced. Due to personnel shortages, additional battalions were inactivated and re-designated self-propelled artillery, tank, and quartermaster, or used as infantry replacements. In 1944, only 78 tank destroyer battalions remained.

In late 1945, it was determined that the best defense against a tank was another tank and the Tank Destroyer Force was disbanded. Tank Destroyer units were converted to tank or towed artillery units.

Reloading 90mm ammunition in an M36

Tank Destroyer units hold a high place in military history. Although out-gunned, under-armored, and misused in many ways, they took a high toll of enemy tanks and many other combat vehicles on all fronts. After action reports from most tank destroyer units at the end of World War II indicated over 2,600 enemy tanks and other armored vehicles were destroyed by TD units. An impressive tally of enemy anti tank guns, armored cars and half tracks, pill boxes, machine guns and aircraft shot down by tank destroyer forces showed that in spite of their severe limitations, tank destroyer forces performed their primary mission well.

With the advent of World War II, and as a result of the successes of the German Blitzkrieg, it was special units with tank-hunting and killing capabilities. Leaders decided early on that towed anti-tank guns would not get the job done. A more mobile force was needed. Originally anti-tank units, the name was soon changed to "tank destroyer." This gave the unit an aggressive nature and not a defensive one. Their role would often be a defensive one, however, lying in wait for approaching enemy tanks.

The very first TD battalions were nothing more than modified halftracks, carrying 37mm anti-tank guns or old French 75mm guns. They were used first in the Tunisian campaign with varying degrees of success, but their lack of protective armor made them easy targets. Some were sent to the Pacific, where they enjoyed better results. By 1943, they were discontinued and for that year, the army went back to the idea of towed antitank guns, imitating the German practice. Then someone had the foresight to realize that Germany used this type of weapon out of necessity.

The preference of the Wehrmacht was for self-propelled antitank weapons. The experience of the United States proved that the day of towed weapons such as these had indeed passed. They were totally unsuitable in a modern mobile environment. They served best in fixed defenses and were of little use in tank vs. tank battles, where they were needed the most.

M18 in the ruins of Brest, france, 12 September 1944

So it was that in 1944, the TD battalions in Europe were being converted back to mobile tank destroyers, or SP guns. This time however, technology and innovation had produced some formidable weapons. One was the M-10 Wolverine tank destroyer. Built on a Sherman chassis, it had an open-topped turret (nearly all US tank destroyers had this feature. Its purpose was increased ability to see the enemy) and a top-notch 75mm or 76mm gun. Its success prompted the manufacture of the M-18 Hellcat, a much lighter tank, with a minimum of armor protection, but great speed and agility. It sported a powerful 76mm gun that was an equivalent of the 75mm gun on the Panther.

M10 and M36

Then came the M-36, which would be the most powerful of all the tank destroyers. Utilizing the M-10 and M-18 as the basis, the M-36 had speed, armor and power. It also carried a 90mm gun, which with the introduction of the HVAP anti-tank round, could kill anything the Germans had, with the exception of frontal hits on a few of the later monsters.

Strangely, perhaps due to the lack of German armor toward the end of the war, these tank destroyers were never used in mass for that for which they were created. In some instance, TD battalions were disbanded, their troops sent to other armored units, or converted to infantry status.

Wild Bill Wilder

KEYWORDS: armor; freeperfoxhole; hellcat; jackson; m10; m18; m3; m36; m56; scorpion; tankdestroyers; tanks; treadhead; usarmy; veterans; wolverine; wwii
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On July 10, 1940, the War Department issued an order to establish the Armored Force, at Fort Knox, Ky. The Armored Division, as the main fighting unit, was organized to engage in fast moving offensive warfare: breakthrough to the enemy-rear… using the combined arms concept. Implemented expertly by General George Patton.

The mission to destroy enemy tanks was left to anti-tank units, the Field Artillery and the U.S. Army Air Corp. The M4 Sherman, the basic tank battalion weapon in 1943-45 was armed with the short-barreled 75MM field gun. The M4 was no match against the German tanks thick armor, high velocity, flat trajectory, long barreled 75MM and 88MM guns.

Call to Arms.

On November 27, 1941 the War Department activated The ‘Tank Destroyer Force to carry out the mission to SEEK, STRIKE AND DESTROY enemy tanks in defensive and offensive action. Tank Destroyer Battalions entered combat in the Tunisian Campaign in November 1942 equipped with the expedient 75MM Gun Motor Carriage M3 (Half­track). The M3 was phased out as the campaign ended in Tunisia, North Africa, in 1943.

In the Homeric Battle of El Guettar, Tunisia, March 1943, the new full-tracked M10 Tank Destroyer saw baptism of fire, with an open turret, armed with a high powered, long barrel 3 inch gun to challenge the German panzers.

A new full tracked vehicle, the M18 “Hellcat”, designed from the ground up as a Tank Destroyer, armed with a high velocity 76MM gun was the fastest armored fighting vehicle in World War II. The “Hellcat” first saw action in Italy in June 1944,. and was in combat until the end of the war.

The M6 3” AT Gun with Prime Mover M3A1 Halftrack, a high velocity anti-tank gun was mounted on a split trailed carriage (modified from the 105 howitzer), with a sloped armor shield. Weighing in at 5,850 lb. the 3” gun required careful coordination and teamwork to operate and maneuver. It’s gun crew consisted of a Gun Commander, a Gunner, a Driver, and seven Cannoneers. 27 Towed Battalions were employed in the ETO. All but four were converted to Self-Propelled TD Battalions by March/April 1945.

By 1942 the U.S. Army Ordnance Bureau took action to strengthen the firepower of the Tank Destroyers to meet the challenge of the expected mass employment of the superior German tanks, which the Americans would encounter after the Normandy invasion. Toward the end of the M10 production, a new, more potent 90MM cannon was developed to mount on the hulls of the M10 TD. In September 1944, the M36 Tank Destroyer reached the front and proved to be the only American armored fighting vehicle that could match the heavier German tanks in firepower. (1400 of the famous M36 Jacksons fought in Europe.)

The Tank Destroyer Force of WWII was organized into Groups, Brigades and Battalions. Each battalion was composed of 36 Tank Destroyers. A total of 70 battalions were deployed overseas. The basic combat operations concept was to support each Infantry and each Armored Division with one TD Bn. Wartime strength was about 100,000 TD men.

The Tank Destroyers knocked out approximately 2,600 German Armored Track Vehicles, including 300 in the Battle of the Bulge.. with an estimated sacrifice of 5,000 Tank Destroyer Men killed in action. The key Tank Destroyer contribution was helping the United States Army conquer the fear of the panzer and gain confidence to meet the challenge of the German blitzkrieg

1 posted on 02/10/2004 12:00:12 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo; Johnny Gage; Victoria Delsoul; Darksheare; Valin; bentfeather; radu; ..
75 MM Gun Motor Carriage M3

M3 - Gun Motor Carriage

As a result of the German armored offensive against the French, the U.S. Army became concerned as to the lack of mobile weapons to counter the Blitzkrieg. Development of tank destroyers and other self-propelled artillery was essentially nonexistent. Consequently a field expedient utilizing a modernized French 75 mm gun mounted on a M3 Half-track was adopted. During the landings in North Africa in November of 1942, many 75mm Gun Motor Carriage M3 Half-tracks came ashore for artillery support and tank destroyer duty. The 75 mm gun was somewhat effective against enemy armor but was found to be very useful as mobile artillery. The 75mm Gun Motor Carriage was used throughout North Africa, Sicily and Italy. It was also used extensively in the pacific theatre but was declared obsolete in the European theater and replaced by other tank destroyers such as the M18 "Hellcat".

M3 Self-Propelled Gun. Nothing more than a half-track with a WWI-vintage 75mm field gun welded to the back deck, this was nevertheless an improvement over the truck-drawn 75s first issued to the 776th upon formation. (US Army Military History Institute)

The M3 75mm GMC was based on the M3 half-track, and essentially stuck a 75mm gun behind the driving compartment. A low, sloping gun shield was provided for the gun crew, and the armored windshield cover had a notch cut in the middle to allow room for the gun. The glass was removed from the windshield cover, and it folded down onto the hood instead of upwards as on the M3 half-track, since the GMC lacked a roof over the driving compartment. The fuel tanks were relocated to the rear, and stowage boxes were attached to the rear of the vehicle on either side of the rear door. The M3 gun mount consisted of the upper portion of the standard M2A3 gun carriage resting on a steel base. Modifications to the M3 half-track were also applied to the M3 GMCs.

The M3A1 featured a new gun mount since there were not enough M2A3 gun carriages on hand to produce the desired number of 75mm GMCs. The new M5 mount used parts from the earlier M2A2 gun carriage.

3" Gun Motor Carriage M10 - Wolverine

M10 - Wolverine

U.S. Army intelligence reports in April 1942 led to a specification for a more powerful tank destroyer. The need was urgent so the design and development was rushed and the design was accepted in September 1942 and put into production.

A normal turret crew is 3, the driver and co-driver normally sit in the front section of the hull.

The 3" GMC M10 tank destroyer, known unofficially as Wolverine, was based on the medium tank M4A2, and had the same main gun as the heavy tank M6. M10s were built with single-piece final drive and differential covers, and the turret only had a partial roof over its front third. This allowed better visibility and easier servicing of the weapon, at an obvious cost of increased vulnerability. The hull and turret on the M10 both took advantage of armor sloping, and both were fitted with bosses to which additional armor could be attached should the need have arisen. The turret of the M10 was five-sided, including the gun shield in front. Two triangular counterweights totaling 3600lb (1600kg) were added to the rear of the turret to balance the heavy 3" gun in the front. These greatly eased turret traverse. On late production M10s, the applique armor bosses were deleted from the turret and hull sides, but remained on the hull glacis, and the turret counterweights were changed to a "duckbill" cross-section. The shape of the turret rear was altered in late-production vehicles to improve working space.

M10 with an open turret, and a Rear mounted .50 caliber M2 machine gun

Over 6000 were built in the USA. The British version was called the Wolverine. The basis was the M2A3/4 tank chasis. The hull was sloped and the turrent was partially counter-balanced. The M7 gun had a flat trajectory and was extremely accurate. This exceptional fighting vechicle saw action throughout the ETO.

76mm Gun Motor Carriage M18 - Hellcat

M18 - Hellcat

The M18 tank destroyer, known unofficially as Hellcat, was armed with the same 76mm gun series as the 76mm-gun medium tanks M4. The M18 was very fast, and its torsion bar suspension ensured a smooth ride over rough terrain. The drivers were provided with split hatches in the hull roof, and the turret was open-topped except for a small plate welded to the front right of the turret, which also supported with 76mm ammunition ready rack. The hull front featured a large service hatch for access to the vehicle's transmission and final drives.

M18 supporting the 91st Division entering Italy, 11 September 1944

The 76mm guns themselves differ in the following ways: the M1A1C had the end of the barrel threaded for a muzzle brake, and the rifling of the M1A2 was one turn in 32 calibers versus one turn in forty for the other weapons. All M1A2s were equipped with muzzle brakes.

The M18 Hellcat was, unlike all other American tank destroyers of the war, a completely new design unto itself. It mounted the same 76 L/54 gun of the later M4 Sherman tanks which had comparable performance to the guns of the Panzer-IVtanks which it encountered. It saw action shortly after the Normandy landings and fought on through the rest of the war. It was a rugged vehicle that was very reliable. It can also lay claim to being the fastest armored vehicle of the entire war, with an amazing top speed of just under 50 mph. This speed didn't come without a price, however. It was very thinly armored to allow for a high power to weight ratio giving it its speed.

A heavily marked M18 of the 824th TD Bn, Germany, 1 April 1945

Many students of armor consider the "Hellcat" to be one of the finest AFV's developed during WWII. With an exceptional power-to-weight ratio it was extremely fast and manuverable. It was the 1st USA armor to use the torsion bar suspension with road wheels. Production started in 1943 and 2500 were built.

90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 - Jackson

M36 - Jackson

The 90mm GMC M36 was completed by installing a new turret on the hull of the 3" GMC M10A1; both new production hulls and M10A1s returning from the field were converted. Muzzle brakes were able to be fitted to all M36s except the first 600, since these early vehicles lacked the new equilibrator, stronger elevation mechanism, and stronger gun travel lock that were prerequisites for muzzle brake installation. Like other US tank destroyers, the M36 was open-topped, but a folding armored roof kit was developed to protect the crew from artillery airbursts. The kit still allowed 360° visibility, however, since it was elevated a short distance from the top of the turret.

The M36 had a large bustle on the turret rear that acted both as a counterweight to the 90mm gun as well as holding eleven 90mm ready rounds. The gun shield on the M36 was rounded, compared to the more pointed appearance of the M10's gun shield. Due to the high ground pressure, later M36s were fitted with the spaced-out suspension that was tested in the -E9 series of M4 Sherman which allowed extended end connectors to be attached to both the inside and outside of each track.

M36 Slugger of the 776th TD Battalion parked near a badly damaged Maginot Line casemate, December 1944.
Another tank destroyer based on the proven M4 Sherman tank chassis. The M36 Jackson came into its own in mid-late-1944 when it was introduced into combat. Its arrival marked the end of the German's 88mm gun reigning supreme on the battlefield on the Western Front. The reason: the M36 Jackson had a redesigned turret which allowed it to mount the best American anti-tank gun of the war; the 90mm L/50 gun. It was able to deal with Tigers and Panthers in much the same manner that they could deal with American tanks; at long ranges with a high-velocity main gun.

It was a great boost to the ability of the Americans to destroy German tanks. It had sufficient speed for its job. The M36 Jackson improved on the M10 and M18 in armor protection, but was still not on par with German heavies.

This AFV was developed to stop the German Panther and Tiger tanks at long range. Basically it was a beefed-up M10 with a new turrent and more powerful gun. The "Slugger" was first used in late 1944 in NW Europe, it notched up impressive scores. Only about 1500 of these were built. M36's were also used in Korea.

90mm Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun M56 - Scorpion

M56 - Scorpion

In 1948 a requirement was established for a air-portable self-propelled antitank gun that could be utilized by airborne forces. Following several years of development, the Cadillac Division of General Motors was awarded the contract for the vehicle which became known as the "Scorpion." The first vehicle appeared in 1953 and became a primary piece of equipment for the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. The Scorpion was operated by a crew of four and was armed with a M54 90mm gun.

The M56, also known as SPAT for Self-Propelled Anti-Tank, was designed as an airborne anti-tank gun. The 90mm gun M54 was ballistically identical to and used the same ammunition as the M36 90mm gun in the M47 tank, and it was fitted with a blast deflector. The M56 was unarmored, and consisted of little more than a gun mounted on a tracked aluminum alloy carrier. There was a small blast shield fitted to the weapon, and this had a windscreen in the left side for the driver to look through. Creature comforts were nonexistent as the vehicle was completely open. The commander sat on top of the radio, and the loader's seat was on top of the right fender stowage box, leaving the gunner and driver as the only crewmen "in" the vehicle. The tires on the M56 could run flat up to 15mi (24km) at up to 15mph (24kph). The ammunition rack was located in the lower rear hull, and the loader was provided with a folding platform from which to feed the gun.

The very basic design of the M56 can be seen. Creature comforts, or even weather protection, were nonexistent. The driver's position and steering wheel are to the left of the 90mm gun, and his windshield in the blast shield has been painted over. The box to the left of the driver held the vehicle's radio, and the commander had a seat on top of the radio mount. The other two members of the crew were shoehorned into the right side of the vehicle. The exhaust pipe is visible on the top right side of the hull. Some other unique features of the M56 include its running gear: continuous band tracks and pneumatic tires. (Picture courtesy Armor Foto.)

Additional Sources:

2 posted on 02/10/2004 12:01:24 AM PST by SAMWolf (Circular Definition: see Definition, Circular.)
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To: SAMWolf
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia For the Tank Destroyer Forces


On a disc of golden orange 2 13/16 inches in diameter, a full faced cougar's face in black with markings in red, eyes, whiskers, and teeth in white, crunching a black tank with wheels of golden orange, all within a black border 3/32 of a inch in width.

O.Q.M.G. Nov. 5, 1942
Arthur E. Du Bois

Farewell to Arms.

A turning point in the future role of the Tank Destroyers occurred at the Remagen Bridgehead on March 7, 1945. The M26 Pershing Tank Platoon, 14th Tank Bn, 9th Armored Division, armed with the 90MM gun, burst into combat action. A group of high ranking general officers, including General Patton, had been advocating the abolishment of the Tank Destroyer Force as far back as 1943. The main argument was that the Tank Destroyer Force had not accomplished the mission of massing to defeat the German panzers, except at the Battle of El Guettar, Tunisia when the 899th TD Bn joined the 601St TD Bn and stopped Gen Rommel’s 10th Panzer Division.

The Germans failed to mount a blitzkrieg due to the heavy tank losses in Russia and Allied control of the air space over the battle field, until the Battle of the Bulge. Hitler assembled 2,100 tanks and assault guns for the Ardennes blitzkrieg. The 25 Tank Destroyer Battalions were too spread out over the 80-mile front to mass according to Tank Destroyer doctrine of defense of the blitzkrieg.

The demilitarization of the Tank Destroyer Battalions began in the fall of 1945, without fanfare. Tank Destroyers were no more.

3 posted on 02/10/2004 12:01:43 AM PST by SAMWolf (Circular Definition: see Definition, Circular.)
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To: All

Veterans for Constitution Restoration is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and grassroots activist organization. The primary area of concern to all VetsCoR members is that our national and local educational systems fall short in teaching students and all American citizens the history and underlying principles on which our Constitutional republic-based system of self-government was founded. VetsCoR members are also very concerned that the Federal government long ago over-stepped its limited authority as clearly specified in the United States Constitution, as well as the Founding Fathers' supporting letters, essays, and other public documents.

Tribute to a Generation - The memorial will be dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004.

Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.

Iraq Homecoming Tips

I'm an NCO in the USAF (deployed to Iraq) and wanted to pass on a few hints for those family members who's soldiers, airmen, marines, seamen will be rotating out of the AOR as the major rotation has started. This time of transition will not be picture perfect or easy for most, as everyone over here changes a bit, as they have to. If you could pass these homecoming tips on, I'd appreciate it.

First of all, don't push your loved one for information. If they want to talk about it, they will, if not, they won't. Some things are hard to talk about and some things are not to be talked about. You can ask questions, but don't push. If they say they don't want to talk about it, leave it at that. They have probably seen some things they'll never forget that they probably rather wish they could. There are also things they are not allowed to talk about.

Next, expect him or her to have changed. Necessity forces it... they will not be exactly as they were when they left. They've had a rough time and the most recent part of their lives have been filled with more than they could probably describe.

Watch their intake of beer, wine, etc... Most have not drank anything in several months (if not over a year) and their tolerance is not what they think it is, it's ALOT lower. Many will try to keep up with everyone else or think they can still "handle it". It doesn't work that way.

Don't be surprised if they are quieter than normal. Don't worry about it unless it's excessive. Alot of people can't explain it but it's been a long time since they've been around anyone but other military members. They're not used to being touched and not used to being very close to someone. Don't be afraid to show them you love them, but make sure you don't over do it.

Finally, don't overwhelm them with everything at once... You should know if they are getting overloaded. These guys are coming back from a completely different world into what is normal for you. There are so many things taken for granted, that they've had to deal without. There are no shopping malls, there are no 25 isle department stores, there are no convenience shops, there are major choices... Many things will seem brand new to them as they've not seen it in so long. Give them time to adjust to the "Culture Shock".

Finally, don't forget to tell them that you love them and you're happy that they are home. Those words can mean so much to them. Many expect grand welcomings and many have no idea what to expect. Some expect everything to be just as they left it and things won't be. Things have changed in the time that you've been gone.

Homecoming is the event they've waited all this time for. It is seldom what they expect. Give them time and give them room when they need it. On the same note, there will be times when they want lots of attention, be sure to share it with them.

4 posted on 02/10/2004 12:02:19 AM PST by SAMWolf (Circular Definition: see Definition, Circular.)
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To: Wolver; Wumpus Hunter; StayAt HomeMother; Ragtime Cowgirl; bulldogs; baltodog; Aeronaut; ...

FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

It's TreadHead Tuesday! Good Morning Everyone

If you would like added to our ping list let us know.

5 posted on 02/10/2004 3:14:29 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper Foxhole.
6 posted on 02/10/2004 3:34:31 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning Snippy.

Boeing B204L (1929)

7 posted on 02/10/2004 3:53:16 AM PST by Aeronaut (In my humble opinion, the new expression for backing down from a fight should be called 'frenching')
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To: E.G.C.
Just to update everyone on the fight that happened Friday night at the Great Plains Coleseum during the Lawton High- Lawton Eisenhower basketball doubleheader, some parents are expressing concern that Lawton Public Schools are not doing enough to address this problem. There is some concern for the safety of those attending sporting events.

Apparently, according to LPS the fracas was initiated by those who were not loyal supporters of LPS athletics and were here just to cause trouble. It'll be interesting to see where everyone goes from there.

Weather's been nice here in SW Oklahoma. Temps in the lower 50's.

8 posted on 02/10/2004 3:54:52 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: SAMWolf
Finally, the story of the Tank Destroyers! I've been waiting because I didn't understand the concept.

I wondered, why didn't they just use tanks to destroy tanks? Now I see I wasn't alone in my questioning and yet I can understand what the theory was. TD's were faster, just get there and kill!

After reading this I can imagine the controversy and arguments that must have carried on throughout the war behind the scenes regarding the concept. You had the vulnerability and the resulting losses (...with an estimated sacrifice of 5,000 Tank Destroyer Men killed in action) while at the same time the job was getting done.

Thank you Sam, this was very interesting and educational!

9 posted on 02/10/2004 4:11:26 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: E.G.C.
Good morning EGC. The high school fights here are usually determined to be from "outsiders" coming in just to cause trouble, too.
10 posted on 02/10/2004 4:12:48 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Aeronaut
LOL. A gondola with wings and an engine! Good morning Aeronaut.
11 posted on 02/10/2004 4:13:51 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Aeronaut
I should have said their water busses or water taxi's. ;-)

12 posted on 02/10/2004 4:31:30 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf
It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good.

Read 1 Peter 2:20-23. How did Jesus respond 
to words spoken against Him? What did He do and not do?
In what situations can you follow His example?

We can endure life's wrongs because we know that God will make all things right.

13 posted on 02/10/2004 4:38:56 AM PST by The Mayor (Be steadfast, immovable, . . . knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Matthew Paul; radu; All

Good Tuesday morning FOXHOLE Threadheads!!

14 posted on 02/10/2004 5:31:38 AM PST by Soaring Feather (~ I do Poetry and Party among the stars~)
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To: bentfeather
Good morning feather. Treadheads we are today!!!
15 posted on 02/10/2004 5:34:22 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: The Mayor
Good morning Mayor.
16 posted on 02/10/2004 5:34:56 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf
There was at least one infantryman who found having a tank destroyer around could be a handy thing:

17 posted on 02/10/2004 6:20:52 AM PST by archy (I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold. We'd fire no guns-shed no tears....)
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To: snippy_about_it; Ragtime Cowgirl; Darksheare; Cannoneer No. 4
After reading this I can imagine the controversy and arguments that must have carried on throughout the war behind the scenes regarding the concept. You had the vulnerability and the resulting losses (...with an estimated sacrifice of 5,000 Tank Destroyer Men killed in action) while at the same time the job was getting done.

Start with them one at a time....

Sgt. Dwight A. Hieke

(Lt. Col. Charles W. GOODWIN), in September 1944 operating as an organic unit of 113th Cavalry Group (Mechanized).

STATEMENT NUMBER ONE - Sgt. Dwight A. HIEKE was born in Sioux City on 5 March 1918. He joined the army from Nebraska. His name is listed on the 'Tablet of the Missing' at the Henri- Chapelle (Belgium) American Cemetery and Memorial. Coming from the beaches of Normandy, where they had landed almost three months earlier, - on 3 September 1944 803rd TD Bn entered Belgium, a country they had never heard of. On 4 September 1944, "C" Company under the command of Cpt. Robert F. SINCLAIR, a Company of which HIEKE was a member, was attached to 113th Cavalry Group (Mechanized). HIEKE, together with Cpl. Joseph E. KITTO (+ Hasselt), was the only M- 10 Tank Destroyer casualty (WD serial number not available) on 7 September 1944. "Sergeant HIEKE was the commander of the vehicle. The company was moving in convoi with 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Group in an easterly direction towards the town of St. Truiden. The forward elements of the convoy consisting of light tanks had proceeded into the town but when the first M-10' s got within 300 yards, they were placed under fire by a self- propelled enemy 7,5cm (75mm) gun. Two M-10' s were hit and burned. When the enemy gun was silenced and the company prepared, Sergeant HIEKE could not be located. A report from 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, dated 11 June 1945 states that the vehicle was searched and remains were found, however they were completely burned except for four vertebrae, six ribs and other small bone splinters. The bones powdered when touched. No remains were evacuated. The vehicle was removed approximately three weeks after fighting had ceased in that area. It is believed that Sergeant HIEKE was killed in his tank destroyer and his remains completely cremated by fire." (Lt. Col. E. D. MULVANITY, CMC).

STATMENT NUMBER TWO - "Sergeant Dwight A. HIEKE, ASN 37153412, was a commander of a M-10 Tank Destroyer of the 1st platoon of Company "C" 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The company was moving in convoy with the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Group in an easterly direction towards the town of St. Truiden, Belgium on 7 September 1944. The forward elements of the convoy consisting in light tanks, M-8' s and 1/ 4 tons ('jeeps') had proceeded into the town, but when the first M-10' s got within 300 yards of the town, they were placed under fire by an enemy self- propelled 7,5cm (75mm) gun. Two M-10' s and three 1/ 4 tons were hit and burned. As soon as the vehicles were hit, disabled personnel scattered in all directions, taking cover. When the enemy gun was silenced and the Company prepared to proceed, Sergeant HIEKE could not be located and has not been seen ever since. The undersigned has made a close inspection of the burned vehicles and found definite signs of someone having burned in one of the tanks. However, there was nothing upon which identity could be established. Some of the members of Sergeant HIEKE' s crew, believe that he got out of the tank, while others state that they do not know. The above is an accumulation of information gathered from interviews with enlisted men and officers of Company "C" and personal investigation of the vehicle." (Richard P. PETERSON, WCJG, USA, Personnel Officer).

STATEMENT NUMBER THREE - "201- HIEKE Dwight A. (Enl.) 2nd Ind. Headquarters, 803rd Tank Destroyer Bn, APO 230, US Army, 11 June 1945, To Commanding General, 5th Infantry Division, APO 5, US Army. No isolated burial was made in this case. and in compliance with paragraph 2b, basic communication, the following information is submitted. (1) Death occurred on main highway leading into St. Truiden, from the west, 300 yards from the first buildings at entrance to town (UTM co- ordinates = 180 491) ; (2) no other enlisted men or officers were killed in that vicinity (except Cpl. Joseph E. KITTO in Hasselt) ; (3) Remains were completely burned except for four vertebrae, six ribs, and other small bone splinters that were burned to the point where they powdered when touched. True statement of the undersigned who made the investigation following the incident, is attached ; (4) No remains evacuated ; (5) Killed in a M-10 Tank Destroyer of which WD serial number is not available ; (6) Following are names of crew members, Sgt. Dwight A. HIEKE, ASN 37153412, Tank Commander, KIA ; Cpl. Jack S. CAMPBELL, ASN 34601579, Gunner Duty ; Tec. 4 Ruben B. GREEN, ASN 37152842, Driver Duty ; Pfc. Justin B. PATTERSON, ASN 3439175, Driver Duty ; Sgt. Dale F. LEACH, ASN 37153406, Loader Duty ; 1st Lt. Keith D. BEVERAGE, ASN 0-1018515, Platoon leader ; All evacuated 7 October 1944 for battle exhaustion. (...)." (For the Commanding Officer, Richard P. PETERSON, CWO, USA, Personnel Officer).

STATEMENT NUMBER FOUR - "Belgium 3 2890, 2nd Ind, AMB / jc, Headquarters 603 QM Graves Registration Company, AGRC, APO 776, US Army, 1st April 1946, To : Commanding Officer 531 Group AGRC, APO 776, US Army, - (1) Basic communication complied with ; (2) Extensive investigation reveals that vehicle containing body of subject deceased was removed of the vicinity of St. Truiden, approximately three weeks after fighting ceased in that area. Apparently the body was never removed from the vehicle before it was evacuated. (3) This unit is unable to ascertain what unit performed the evacuation, nor to where it was taken." (For the Commanding Officer, Alfred H. BENNICK, 2nd Lt. QMC).

-"They shall not grow old as we who are left to grow old. Time will not weary them, nor age condemn. And at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them."

To those who gave "their all" the Honor and Glory is theirs.
They heard our country's call. They went forth and counted not their own life dear, but offered it gladly in humanity's name -- for God and for the right.
The greatest war in the history of the world closed August 14, 1945, when the warring nations laid down their arms. The Germans, Japanese, and all their allies lay prostrate, defeated. They who knew no mercy and who had violated every law of humanity and civilization,
Sgt. Dwight A. Hieke is a part of that history of keeping this nation free.
God Bless America

18 posted on 02/10/2004 6:29:55 AM PST by archy (I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold. We'd fire no guns-shed no tears....)
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To: archy
There was at least one infantryman who found having a tank destroyer around could be a handy thing:

I'm pretty sure Sam has a thread coming up on Audie!

Good morning Archy.

19 posted on 02/10/2004 6:32:38 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf
Good morning, SAM and snippy. And a fine Treadhead Tuesday it is, indeed.
20 posted on 02/10/2004 6:35:02 AM PST by CholeraJoe ("Talk tough and build Star Wars." Ronald Reagan)
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