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Old 08-18-2004, 06:08 PM
dharper dharper is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Little Elm, Texas
Posts: 469
Fellow USMC tank enthusiast, and also son of a WWII Marine veteran, Barrie Malcolm is a good friend of mine. I met Barrie 25 years ago when I was living in Portland, Oregon. Barrie is a top knotch modeler and a high school teacher of history, (he had Tonya Harding as a student!!).

He and I have shared an interest in researching the USMC in WWII. Last year Barrie sent me a copy of the First Tank Battalion's after action report from April 14, 1945 through June 22, 1945, during their action on Okinawa. This report is a day by day account of all of the FTB's engagements in great detail. It tells how many rounds of all types of ammo expended, damage to vehicles and personel, vehicle maintenance details, tank losses and replacements. It even gives the details of the particular vehicle (M4A2, M4A3, M32B2, M32B3, etc.).

I have read the document in detail numerous times to glean details or answer questions from what appears in photos of tanks on Okinawa. Which brings me to my discovery. On page 67 (lower photo) of the Concord book on "Tank Battles of the Pacific War", is a photo of several tanks of the FTB, loaded with bundles of small logs tied with rope to their front hull. Detnation cord has been rigged to the rope so that these logs can be dumped off of the tank and into Japanese anti-tank ditches without anyone having to be exposed to enemy fire.

If you look closely at the tank in the foreground, clearly marked as tank no. 1, you will notice that it is a welded hull Sherman with the front protrusions for the driver and hull gunner. The caption says it's an M4A2 (W) but I don't think that it is.. There are no vision blocks in the hull forward of the crew hatches like on Tamiya's M4 kit, and it has a travel lock for the gun. It appears to have the right front turret cheek armor welded on. The tool storage resembles that of the M4A3. Anyone have any constructive input on just which Sherman this is?

The official caption for this photo is: A welder from the maintenance department welding on extra armor on a new tank just recieved. The photo is dated May 1945.

This second photo is from June, 1945. Its caption reads:Group of five Marine tanks at staging area ready to leave.
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