Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

American Thunder

Discussion in 'The Tanks of World War 2' started by RichTO90, Apr 17, 2023.

  1. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,584
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    My fourteen-plus-year book project For Purpose of Service Test has been re-titled as American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II.

    Currently it is 672 pages in draft form with c. 420 photos, so should be close to 700 pages when published.

    It is listed for publication by Stackpole 12/16/2023 with expected availability in warehouse on 11/16/2023.

    Table of Contents:
    Introduction 1
    Acknowledgements 4
    U.S. Army World War II Procurement and Nomenclature 6
    Part One: Organization, Development, and Production from Armistice Day to VJ Day 13
    Chapter 1 Stagnation and Rebirth: The Lean Years from the End of the Great War to 1 September 1939 14
    Chapter 2 State of the Art: The View Looking in, Sereno Brett and Arthur Hadsell 62
    Chapter 3 Learning to Walk: 1 September 1939 to 30 June 1940 73
    Chapter 4 State of the Art: The View Looking Out, the Spanish Civil War 94
    Chapter 5 The Sleeping Giant Stirs: 1 July to 31 December 1940 107
    Chapter 6 The Threat Perceived 129
    Chapter 7 Explosive Growth…and Growing Pains: 1 January to 7 December 1941 137
    Chapter 8 First Blood in the Pacific: The Fall of the Philippines, 1941-1942 161
    Chapter 9 Giant Steps…and Stumbles: the First Year of the War, 1942 174
    Chapter 10 Hard Knocks: The Battle of Happy Valley 223
    Chapter 11 Learning Curve: the Second Year of the War, 1943 244
    Chapter 12 More Hard Knocks: Early Lessons Learned 291
    Chapter 13 Maturity: the Third Year of the War, 1944 303
    Chapter 14 Europe: the Normandy Breakout 366
    Chapter 15 Endgame, the Last Year of the War, 1945 383
    Chapter 16 Europe: The Winter of Discontent 426
    Chapter 17 Firestorm in the Pacific 456
    Part Two: Controversies 484
    Chapter 18 Death Traps? Myths of U.S. Tank Development in World War II 485
    Chapter 19 The Great Tank Scandal? “It is said that it takes three of our Shermans to knock out a Tiger.” 494
    Chapter 20 Bigger Guns? 506
    Chapter 21 Where are the Tanks? The Real Tank Scandal 524
    Chapter 22 What’s in a Name? 546
    Conclusion 552
    Appendix I: Other Ordnance Combat Vehicles 556
    Appendix II: Lend-Lease 578
    Appendix III: Tank ‘T’ Numbers Assigned by Ordnance, 1926-1945 590
    Appendix IV: Tank Model Year, ‘Mark’, and ‘M’ Numbers Assigned by Ordnance, 1928-1945 591
    Appendix V: The Cost of Ordnance 592
    Appendix VI: The Cost of War: U.S. Army Armored Personnel and Tank Losses in World War II 596
    Appendix VII: Firing Tests 625
    Bibliography 638

    Tables
    Table 1: Organization of the Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized) 1935. 25
    Table 2: Tank Production 1921-1933 60
    Table 3: Tank Production 1934-1 September 1939 61
    Table 4: Tank Production 1 September 1939-30 June 1940 93
    Table 5: Armored Force General Staff, June 1940. 107
    Table 6: Organization of the Armored Force, July 1940. 108
    Table 7: The National Guard Tank Battalions 112
    Table 8: Organization of the Armored Division, 1940. 114
    Table 9: Tank Production 1 July-31 December 1940 128
    Table 10: Medium Tank M3/Grant I Production 146
    Table 11: Medium Tank M3A1 Production 146
    Table 12: Medium Tank M3A2 Production 147
    Table 13: Medium Tank M3A3 Production 147
    Table 14: Medium Tank M3A4 Production 148
    Table 15: Medium Tank M3A5 Production 148
    Table 16: Medium Tank M3-Series Production 148
    Table 17: British Designations for the Medium Tank M3 Series 149
    Table 18: Light Tank M3-Series Production 151
    Table 19: Tank Production 1 January-31 December 1941 160
    Table 20: Organization of the Armored Division, 1942. 182
    Table 21:Medium Tank M4 (75mm) Production 191
    Table 22: Medium Tank M4A1 (75mm) Production 192
    Table 23: Medium Tank M4A3 (75mm) Production 194
    Table 24: Medium Tank M4A4 (75mm) Production 195
    Table 25: Medium Tank M4A5 (RAM) Production 198
    Table 26: Medium Tank M4A6 (75mm) Production 198
    Table 27: British Designations for the Medium Tank M4-series 199
    Table 28: Light Tank M5-series Production 202
    Table 29: British Designations for Light Tanks M3 and M5 203
    Table 30: Tank Production 1 January-31 December 1942 222
    Table 31: Production of the T10 Shop Tractor (CDL) 248
    Table 32: The Armored Group Headquarters 251
    Table 33: Unit Assignments to the Armored Divisions before the 1943 Reorganization 252
    Table 34: Organization of the Armored Division, 1943. 253
    Table 35: Reorganization of the Armored Regiments, 1943 253
    Table 36: Unit Assignments to the Reorganized Armored Divisions 255
    Table 37: Tank Loading Capacity of Allied Landing Craft and Ships 1945 278
    Table 38: Light Tank T9E1 Production 279
    Table 39: Tank Production 1 January-31 December 1943 290
    Table 40: Organization of the 741st Tank Battalion for D-Day, 6 June 1944. 314
    Table 41: Availability of Dozer Blades in the ETOUSA 316
    Table 42: Allocation of 76mm and 105mm Armed Medium Tanks January- May 1944 328
    Table 43: ‘Ultimate Design’ Medium Tank M4A3 (75mm) Wet Production 340
    Table 44: ‘Ultimate Design’ Medium Tank M4-Series (76mm) Wet Production 341
    Table 45: ‘Ultimate Design’ Medium Tank M4-Series (105mm) Production 342
    Table 46: Status of ETOUSA Medium Tanks, 20 October – 20 December 1944 342
    Table 47: Medium Tank T23 Production 344
    Table 48: Light Tank M24 Production 345
    Table 49: Medium Tank T25 and T25E1 Production 346
    Table 50: Assault Tank M4A3E2 Production 355
    Table 51: Losses of the Medium (Assault) Tank M4A3E2 358
    Table 52: Heavy Tank T1-Series Production 361
    Table 53: Tank Production 1 January – 31 December 1944 365
    Table 54: Operational Tank Strength of VII Corps on the eve of Operation COBRA. 370
    Table 55: Wartime Deployment and Inactivation of the Tank Battalions 384
    Table 56: Organization of the Armored Division, 1945. 388
    Table 57: Heavy Tanks T26E3 issued to 3d Armored Division 20 February 1944 396
    Table 58: Status of T26E3 as of 14 April 1945 402
    Table 59: Heavy Tank T26E3 allocations and on hand, April 1945 402
    Table 60: Status of Heavy Tanks T26, 5 May 1945 403
    Table 61: Light Tanks M24 “on hand” with 12th Army Group, 3 March – 11 April 1945 409
    Table 62: Allocation of Light Tanks M24 to the 12th Army Group, 12 November 1944-213 April 1945 409
    Table 63: Light Tanks M24 with 12th Army Group Units, 28 April 1945 410
    Table 64: American 17-pdr Tank Conversions 412
    Table 65: Medium Tank M4-Series Production by Manufacturer 417
    Table 66: Total OCO-D and OMP Medium Tank M4-series Production 417
    Table 67: Heavy Tank T26-Series Production 420
    Table 68: Tank Production 1 January – 31 August 1945 424
    Table 69: Tank Production 1 July 1940-31 August 1945 424
    Table 70: Change in Tank Strength, 5th Armored Division, 2200 24 November-8 December 1944. 436
    Table 71: Status of HVAP as of 14 February 1945 516
    Table 72: Special Projectiles Manufactured for the 3-inch, 76mm, and 90mm guns (1,000’s). 516
    Table 73: Principal Ordnance Tank Periscope Systems. 520
    Table 74: Principal Ordnance Tank and GMC Telescopes. 521
    Table 75: Known Medium Tank Deliveries to the ETOUSA, June-September 1944 531
    Table 76: 12th Army Group Monthly Medium Tank Status 540
    Table 77: Average Daily Medium Tank Strength in 12th Army Group 541
    Table 78: First U.S. Army Tank Allocations Oct 44-Apr 45 543
    Table 79: Third U.S. Army Tank Allocations Oct 44-Apr 45 543
    Table 80: Ninth U.S. Army Tank Allocations Oct 44-Apr 45 543
    Table 81: Fifteenth U.S. Army Tank Allocations Jan-Apr 45 543
    Table 82: 12th Army Group Tank Allocations Nov 44-Jan 45 544
    Table 83: Total Tank Allocations to 12th Army Group Oct 44-Apr 45 544
    Table 84: On Hand and Redeployment of ETOUSA Tank Stocks 31 May-31 August 1945. 545
    Table 86: Tank Recovery Vehicle Production 557
    Table 87: Mechanized and Main Armament Flamethrower Production 572
    Table 88: Medium Tank M4-series Remanufactured Production 576
    Table 89: Light Tank M5, M5A1, and M3A3 Remanufactured Production 577
    Table 90: Medium Tank M3 Allocation to the British Empire as of July 1942 579
    Table 91: 21st Army Group Sherman Tank Holdings, 21 January 1945 581
    Table 92: Lend-Lease Tank Deliveries to Britain according to Hunnicutt. 582
    Table 93: Lend-Lease Tanks Deliveries to the UK according to ASF 583
    Table 94: Canadian Tank Situation in Northwest Europe, May and December 1944 585
    Table 95: Lend-Lease Tanks Shipped to the USSR 586
    Table 96: Lend-Lease Tanks Shipped to the French 588
    Table 97: Lend-Lease Tank Shipments by Type and Recipient as Recorded by the War Department 588
    Table 98: Estimated Value of Army Ordnance Procurement of Combat Vehicles ($-thousands) 594
    Table 99: Armored Division Total Personnel Losses 598
    Table 100: U.S. Tank Casualties by Theater and Year as Calculated by ORO 599
    Table 101: 5th Echelon Maintenance Awaiting Completion at ETOUSA Depots 600
    Table 102: Total Work Orders by First U.S. Army Ordnance Maintenance 600
    Table 103: 12th Army Group Tank Losses by Armies 601
    Table 104: 12th Army Group Medium Tank Losses 601
    Table 105: Armored Division and Tank Battalion Tank Losses 602
    Table 106: Mechanized Cavalry Tank and Armored car Losses ETOUSA 604
    Table 107: First U.S. Army Tank Loss by Type, 6 June 1944 – 8 May 1945 604
    Table 108: First U.S. Army Strength and Losses, June-July 1944 605
    Table 109: First French Army Medium Tank Losses 606
    Table 110: U.S. Army Tank Losses in North Africa and Sicily 606
    Table 111: U.S. Army Tank Losses in the Pacific 607
    Table 112: U.S. Marine Corps Tank Losses in the Pacific 608
    Table 113: U.S. Army Tank and Armored Vehicle Losses in the European Theater of Operations 609
    Table 114: First Army Operational Tanks and Losses 615
    Table 115: Third Army Operational Tanks and Losses 618
    Table 116: Ninth Army Operational Tanks and Losses 620
    Table 117: Fifth Army Tank Losses, Italian Campaign 623
     
  2. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,584
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    It is available to pre-order now on Amazon. Amazon.com
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,302
    Likes Received:
    1,919
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    I don't want to blow smoke, but I can definitely tell any passers-by that Rich rites rly gud abt tankz.
    Once I've got some new specs and can actually read again I may have to order this.

    AMERICAN THUNDER!
    Presumably a publisher-pushed title? :D I know they like to do such things. Doesn't sound terribly... you.

    MV5BNDE5NjQzMDkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODI3ODI3MQ@@._V1_.jpg
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,584
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    Yeah, I guess they didn't like For Purpose of Service Test. If you search for it on Amazon you are as likely to get the biography of Garth Brooks...
     
    von Poop likes this.
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    9,765
    Likes Received:
    3,227
    Australian Thunder Birds...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Australian God of Thunder...

    [​IMG]

    One for the Ladies...Australian Thunder down under...

    upload_2023-4-19_9-3-40.jpeg

    The Northern Territory's AFL Team the Territory Thunder...

    [​IMG]

    Australian Thunder Box...

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    RichTO90 likes this.
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,302
    Likes Received:
    1,919
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    Volume II.
    Ch.1 The Sentinel 17pdr pp 5-263
    Ch.2 Dual 25pdr trials. pp 264-512
     
    Ricky and CAC like this.
  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    9,765
    Likes Received:
    3,227
    Hey didn't know that one!

    Australian Thunderbolt...
    upload_2023-4-19_9-22-20.jpeg
     
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Location:
    God's Country
    Order placed, shipping Dec. 19th, woohoo. I might order two more, one for each of the boys for Christmas.
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,584
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    A little more info.

    The structure of Part One juxtaposes a chapter on Organization, Doctrinal Development, and Development and Production with a following chapter on the actual experience, usually from someone that was there, writing at the time. So Chapter 8: First Blood in the Pacific, is Thomas Dooley's account of the First Provisional Tank Brigade in the Philippines.

    However, Chapter 16 and 17 are slightly different.

    Chapter 16 looks at the last year of armored operations in Europe and includes a firsthand account by Kenneth Peters of the 5th Armd Div experience in the Hürtgen, a compendium of experience reports from the Ordnance officers of the 12th Army Group Armored Section, and a detailed account of the "Duel at Cologne Cathedral". For the last I was lucky enough to have the leading experts on that action, Danny Fong and Dierk Lürbke, read and corrected my account. I think it is possibly the most accurate account of that fight out there.

    Chapter 17 looks exclusively at the armored experience in the Pacific, with a short account of Army and Marine developments including a compendium of the various island battles but I also take a detailed look at the experience of Company C. I Corps Medium Tank Battalion USMC on Tarawa. Again, I was lucky enough to enjoy the support of some of the most knowledgeable historians on the subject, Ken Estes and Romain Cansiere.
     
    George Patton and USMCPrice like this.
  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,584
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    Update - moving to production. Currently at c. 592 pages, 118 tables, and 396 photos and figures. Still slated for a release on the 79th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Bulge.
     
  11. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    9,026
    Likes Received:
    1,819
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    upload_2023-5-4_12-47-13.jpeg

    Dang, you can make a lotta gumbo with that bird eh!
     
    CAC likes this.
  12. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    9,765
    Likes Received:
    3,227
    We have two other big arse birds...
    EMU
    [​IMG]

    Cassowary! - "The cassowary is usually considered to be the world's most dangerous bird, at least where humans are concerned, although ostriches and emus can also be dangerous."
    [​IMG]
     
    A-58 likes this.
  13. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    9,200
    Likes Received:
    2,547
    Wow, and I thought we wrecked A58's "cool pix" thread real good?

    Sorry Rich ! Although, each post does keep the thread front and center.
    I thought you were joking about the Garth Brooks Google search but like the show "Cheers" everybody here knows your name.
    Best of luck.
     
    A-58 likes this.
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,584
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    [​IMG]

    Maybe get back on track with one of the images from the book? Chapter 13, Maturity: the Third Year of the War, 1944.

    The second and third losses [of the Medium "Assault" Tank M4A3E2 by the 743d Tank Battalion on 22 November 1944] were in the same engagement [as the first loss on 16 November], an attack from Fronhoven towards Lohn, and were probably knocked out by the same gun or guns. One was the tank of Lt. Clyde S. Thorwell, the 2d Platoon leader, and the other was the tank of Lt. Clifford H. Disbrow, the 3d Platoon leader, both of Company C. The two platoons were supporting two companies from the 120th Infantry in the attack, which jumped off at 0800, with the tanks moving on the roads, since “the battleground off the roads is so muddy that there seems no bottom to it.”

    Lt. Thorwell’s tank was hit first at 0850 at a range of 800 yards, by eight of eleven rounds reportedly from an “88mm” gun located south of Lohn, firing directly at the front of the tank. One round bounced off the mantlet, leaving a two-inch dent that did not penetrate. Another bounced off the differential housing armor and a third put a hole in the gun tube. However, another round struck the mantlet as well, by chance hitting the aperture for the telescopic site, which allowed it to penetrate. The tank burned and then exploded, tossing the turret upside down a few feet to the right of the hull. Perhaps surprisingly given the damage, only one crewman was killed, the co-driver, Pvt. Carl E. Nielson, while two were wounded, Pfc. Edward S. Phipps and T/4 [illegible] Lester.

    Figure 231: Lieutenant Thorwell's tank. The fluke hit that struck the sight aperture was marked with a "9" by the inspection team investigating the action. These photographs were attached to Colonel Rau’s report.
     
    USMCPrice, George Patton and Biak like this.
  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    3,306
    Likes Received:
    860
    Interesting. I've always tended to think of knockouts being inflicted by single shots from sufficiently powerful weapons; this account of a somewhat prolonged engagement and multiple hits provides a different perspective.
    Apparently the platoon commanders were leading from the front.
     
  16. Maddog71

    Maddog71 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2022
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    43
    I will have to have it. Could you give us some hints about chapters 18 and 19?

    For instance was Oddball right? ;)
     
  17. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,584
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    Belton Cooper was wrong.

    So was Oddball.
     
    von Poop and Maddog71 like this.
  18. Maddog71

    Maddog71 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2022
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    43
    You knew exactly where I was heading with the Cooper comment. One of my teachers was a tanker driver for Patton at the Battle of the Bulge, he had a very low opinion of the Sherman as a weapon, and of Patton as a general. I am really looking forward to reading your book.
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,302
    Likes Received:
    1,919
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    UK Delivery est. at April '24.
    I'm mostly in this for a proper Fisking of Cooper/Ambrose, in print over pixel. :pipesmoke:

    Screenshot 2023-06-28 221425.jpg
     
    George Patton likes this.
  20. Maddog71

    Maddog71 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2022
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    43

    Fair enough.

    So what was Cooper's problem; poor judgement or untruthfulness or something else? He was on the ground during the fight, certainly he must have some insight into how things were working out in practice. As I recall, from D-day to the end of the war, the loss of tanks and the loss of their crew members we about even. (one tank one man) so, something like 80% of the crew survived a disabled or destroyed, on average, so perhaps "Death Traps" was not appropriate?"

    With Oddball, his comment was something like. 'the only way that he could keep a tiger busy was by letting it shoot holes in him.' Would that have been grossly in error on a one on one Tiger/Sherman confrontation? I of course know that it was fiction, but did it reflect how an average crew may have felt?

    I do look forward to your book release, in the meantime I will re-read Death Traps.
     

Share This Page