American Tanks On Iwo Jima

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Honza
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American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Honza » 21 Jun 2010 15:58

The 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions on Iwo Jima all seemed to have their own Tank Battalion. I've heard of the 3rd tank battalion and the 4th, and I presume there was a 5th too.

So how many tanks were there in total? I can't seem to find any information on how many tanks were in each battalion.

The type of Shermans used is also a puzzle. Some reports say the USMC used M4A2 Shermans while others report that the later M4A3 Sherman types were used. Perhaps it was a mixture of both?

Any enlighting information would be much appreciated! Thankyou.

JamesL
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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby JamesL » 21 Jun 2010 16:53

This may answer one of your questions. It is a snip from Hyperwar.

In earlier operations the Sherman M4A2 (medium) tanks had been landed from landing craft, mechanized (LCM's) or landing craft, tank (LCT's). When the M4A2's were replaced by the newer, heavier M4A3 tanks for this campaign, tests revealed that LCM's carrying them rode dangerously low at the bow. As a result, landing ships, medium (LSM's) were used in lieu of the LCM's.54 For the Iwo operation all tanks went ashore in LSM's except those of Company A, 5th Tank Battalion, which were carried from a landing ship, dock (LSD) to the beach in three tank landing craft (LCT's).

Marines in World War II Historical Monograph
Iwo Jima: Amphibious Epic

by Lt. Col. Whitman S. Bartley, USMC
Historical Section, Division of Public Information
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
1954
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/US ... index.html

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Honza
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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Honza » 21 Jun 2010 17:04

Hi,

Yes thanks. I've read that too. Is there any more info out there on the tanks at Iwo Jima?

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Honza
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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Honza » 21 Jun 2010 17:14

It is comment like this:

"Based on just a preliminary scan of references (such as "Tank Battles of the Pacific War 1941-1945" by Steve Zaloga) there is only one major goof in this kit. Photos of the Marine tanks in the Pacific, especially the late model M4A2 tanks used at Iwo Jima and Okinawa...."

Which lead me to believe that there is more to it than that.

That quote was taken from here: http://www.cybermodeler.com/hobby/kits/ ... 3203.shtml

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Ironmachine
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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Ironmachine » 21 Jun 2010 17:20

There were three Marine tank battalions: 3rd, 4th and 5th.
The 4th and 5th Tank Battalions had M4A3 tanks, including 4 in each battalion equipped with the modified Mark 1 flame thrower replacing the 75mm main gun.
The 3rd Tank Battalion still employed M4A2 tanks.
All three battalions employed Shermans equipped with the E4-5 flame thrower system mounted in the bow.
Hope this helps. Regards.

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Honza
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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Honza » 21 Jun 2010 19:00

Ironmachine wrote:There were three Marine tank battalions: 3rd, 4th and 5th.
The 4th and 5th Tank Battalions had M4A3 tanks, including 4 in each battalion equipped with the modified Mark 1 flame thrower replacing the 75mm main gun.
The 3rd Tank Battalion still employed M4A2 tanks.
All three battalions employed Shermans equipped with the E4-5 flame thrower system mounted in the bow.
Hope this helps. Regards.


Hey, that is excellent thankyou. May I ask where did you find this out? That is quite detailed info.

Regards.

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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Ironmachine » 21 Jun 2010 19:08

I checked Tank Warfare on Iwo Jima by David E. Harper and Closing in: Marines in the seizure of Iwo Jima by Colonel Joseph H. Alexander. Both books confirmed this data.
Regards.

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Honza
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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Honza » 21 Jun 2010 23:28

Thankyou very much.

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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby binder001 » 22 Jun 2010 15:50

Dave Harper's "Tank Warfare of Iwo Jima" is a must have if you want the intimate details on the various combat vehicles used on Iwo. Ed Gilbert's "Marine Tank Battles in the Pacific" is another good source of iformation.

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Takao
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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Takao » 23 Jun 2010 03:13

One 5th battalion tanker's recollections of Iwo.
http://www.iwojima-onemanremembers.com/ ... embers.htm

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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby sonofsamphm1c » 23 Jun 2010 23:25

Information from Robert Allen's history of the 1st Battalion, 28th Regiment:

C Company, 5th Tank Battalion:

at 1145 began landing tanks on Red Beach: 14 Shermans, 2 flamethrower tanks, 1 tank dozer, and 1 retriever tank. They lost 1 tank on the beach, and 4 more as they worked their way to the 1-28's positions.

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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Ironmachine » 24 Jun 2010 07:20

For comparison, here is the composition of C Company, 4th Tank Battalion:
We took the flail tank to Iwo and assigned it to the 2d Platoon. It was the only diesel tank we still had. Hank Bellmon thus had the flail tank and his five tanks on one LSM; Joe Dever's 1st Platoon had five plus me in "Ill Wind," on another; and G. M. English had his five 3d Platoon tanks and the tank retriever on the last one. We made the trip all way to Iwo on the three LSMs, plus a fourth one carrying the wheeled vehicles and the rest of my company headquarters. Each platoon had one of the new flame tanks and four gun tanks.

From Tanks on the Beaches: A Marine Tanker in the Pacific War by Robert M. Neiman.

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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby sonofsamphm1c » 25 Jun 2010 06:36

Just curious, does it mention what time they began landing, and on which beaches? Their - 4th MARDIV - beaches were especially difficult.

If the units were similarly configured with A,B, and C Companies, that would mean an Iwo tank battalion had 54 tanks:

42 Shermans
6 flamethrower tanks
3 tank retrievers
3 tank dozers

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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Ironmachine » 25 Jun 2010 07:30

The companies did have some differences. For example, as you can see from my previous posts, C Company of 4th Tank Battalion apparently had 13 gun tanks and 3 flamethrower tanks (instead of 14 and 2 as in the C Company of 5th Tank Battalion); and only the 4th and 5th Battalion had flamethrower tanks, and only 4 in each battalion. So the total count of vehicles may be about right, but the number of each model not so much.

sonofsamphm1c wrote:Just curious, does it mention what time they began landing, and on which beaches? Their - 4th MARDIV - beaches were especially difficult.

He states that
C Company would land in the center of the 23d Marines' sector, right on the boundary of the two assaulting battalions, ready to support either or both as necessary [...] We would go in after the third wave, but before the fourth [...]

But then the place was found by his reconnaissance parties to be unsuitable for tanks, and he had to wait and land in another spot. No time is given, but he mentions that the firth wave had passed them by while they waited.

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Re: American Tanks On Iwo Jima

Postby Mil-tech Bard » 23 Jul 2010 20:24

See the following PDF documents:


Annex Jig to Fourth Marine Division operations report, Iwo Jima : 4th Tank Battalion report.

http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll8&CISOPTR=660&CISOBOX=1&REC=1


Annex Mike to Fourth Marine Division operations report, Iwo Jima : 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion report.

http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll8&CISOPTR=651&CISOBOX=1&REC=10


Annex Oboe to Fourth Marine Division operations report Iwo Jima : 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion report.

http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll8&CISOPTR=907&REC=11


Armored operation on Iwo Jima (US Army observer).

http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll8&CISOPTR=1151&CISOBOX=1&REC=3


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