Chinese Assault Gun Battery

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keith A
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Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by keith A » 12 Jun 2013 17:46

I read on another forum about the a possible "1st Assault Gun Battery" equipped with Priests or M8 howitzers. Does anyone know if this unit was in action in Burma 1944-45?

regards


Keith

zoboe
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by zoboe » 14 Jun 2013 03:57

keith A wrote:I read on another forum about the a possible "1st Assault Gun Battery" equipped with Priests or M8 howitzers. Does anyone know if this unit was in action in Burma 1944-45?

regards


Keith
Hi Keith, according to the official armored troop history published in Taiwan, Priests only arrived after 1953. M8 was earlier, in 1948 to Shanghai as part of "scrap materials" with M5A1 and Sherman.

Nowadays there are many online rumors in Chinese language about Chinese force in Burma in particular.

keith A
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by keith A » 14 Jun 2013 08:42

thanks chum,

I am beginning to realise that there's a lot I need to learn about the Chinese in WW2, but then that's why I am on the forum ;-)

I think the main trouble is there's very little in English to look at.

all the best

Keith

Edward Chen
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by Edward Chen » 15 Jun 2013 19:45

Hi Keith,

The 1st Assault Gun Battery (AGB) did exist, as the support artillery company of the 1st Tank Battalion, Provisional Tank Group. It even says so, within the online article on the American-crewed Shermans of the PTG:

http://cbi-theater-6.home.comcast.net/~ ... /1ptg.html

There was also a 2nd AGB, with the PTG's 2nd Tank Battalion.

Their Chinese personnel were drawn from both the NRA Artillery Academy Demonstration Unit [砲兵學校練習團] in Duyun, Guizhou [貴州都勻], and the 2nd Driver Training Regiment [駕駛兵教育第2團] in Bijie, Guizhou [貴州畢節],
and sent to Ramgarh to train with the Chinese Army in India (X Force). On paper, an Assault Gun Battery had a TO&E strength of 9 officers and 107 enlisted men, organized into one command section, two artillery platoons, one scout section, two spotting sections, one signals section and one maintenance section.

The Chinese sources I consulted cite that, because they did not have purpose-built self-propelled artillery vehicles, they built their own, mounting M1 75mm pack howitzers onto M3A3 "Stuart" light tank chasses. As many as eight (four for each battery) were modified.
I have yet to see a photo of one of these ad-hoc self-propelled howitzers, and would appreciate it if anyone can provide one.

From the same sources, 1st AGB did not reach the front until October 1944, and saw their first action providing artillery support in the siege of Bhamo, but without further specific details.

It should also be noted that when WW2 ended and the Chinese Army in India returned home, the personnel of the seven battalions of the Provisional Tank Group trained at Ramgarh were ordered by the British to leave their vehicles behind in India or Burma. These personnel were then redeployed within the NRA Armored Force which was reorganizing and expanding their force structure at the onset of the Chinese Civil War (1945-46), but they had to be re-equipped from scratch, initially using leftover WW2 vehicles within China (both Chinese and Japanese) and surplus American AFVs no heavier than the M3A3 Stuart provided via US aid.
Heavier American AFV's only began to arrive in China beginning in late 1948, such as the 1948 US aid package including dozens of demilitarized vehicles such as the M5A1 "Stuart", LVT-4 amphibious landing vehicle, and weaponless M-10 tank destroyers sent straight to Shanghai, requiring extensive refurbishing before they could be put to use. These vehicles saw almost no action on the mainland, not even in the May 1949 Shanghai Campaign, before being evacuated to Taiwan. However they did see extensive action during the coastal island campaigns between 1949-58, such as the M5A1 "Stuarts" who particularly distinguished themselves during the October 1949 Battle of Guningtou on Kinmen Island.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1&t=186119

After January 1949, US vehicles such as the M4 Sherman, M7 "Priest", M8 "Scott" and M18 "Hellcat" were sent straight to Taiwan to re-equip the Republic of China Armored Force.

Hope this helps,

Sources:
"Tanke Mao," Ching-shih Ch'iang-chia, and T'ien Li-jen: "The Evolution of the Republic of China Army Armored Artillery." Illustrated Guide of Weapons & Tactics [兵器戰術圖解], v20 May 2005, p78-82.

The Developmental History of the Nationalist Armored Force [國軍裝甲兵發展史] by Said Mohamed [孫建中; Sun Chien-chung (Chinese of Muslim descent)]. Published October 2005.


keith A wrote:I am beginning to realise that there's a lot I need to learn about the Chinese in WW2, but then that's why I am on the forum ;-)

I think the main trouble is there's very little in English to look at.
You're certainly right about that.
Hopefully there will be more fluent bi-lingual history enthusiasts to make the leap into both the Chinese (ROC or PRC) or US national archives and "go back to the source."

keith A
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by keith A » 18 Jun 2013 16:28

superb! Edward thanks again. I just found a massive photographic site (in Chinese) that has given me more photos to look at, especially of Chinese armour (M3A3). Lots of uniform detail too. I am trying to decipher iit by comparing letter characters with familiar faces such as Sun Li-Jen, and where numbers appear I can work out division, regiment etc.

very best regards

Keith

keith A
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by keith A » 19 Jun 2013 17:58

Hi,

I have seen a photo of a turret less Chinese M3A3 in India in 1945.. I can't see a gun, apart from a 50 cal. but the tank has been altered in a way that seems to expose an area that could accommodate a small howitzer. The entire front seems to be hinged to open outwards which is odd. If it's a command tank then the occupants don't have a lot of defence...

regards


Keith

Edward Chen
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by Edward Chen » 19 Jun 2013 19:34

keith A wrote:Hi,

I have seen a photo of a turret less Chinese M3A3 in India in 1945.. I can't see a gun, apart from a 50 cal. but the tank has been altered in a way that seems to expose an area that could accommodate a small howitzer. The entire front seems to be hinged to open outwards which is odd. If it's a command tank then the occupants don't have a lot of defence...

regards


Keith
Keith, are you referring to this one?

Image

I'm inclined to believe this was a "Stuart Recon," a scouting vehicle adapted from M3A3 "Stuart" light tank chasses, and not a self-propelled howitzer of the 1st Assault Gun Battery.
But without access to the original source photo and document set, little more can be deduced from this.

The URL below where I found this has a few more of the more popular photos from the 1944-45 northern Burma Campaign that have appeared on Chinese-language websites, including vehicles of the 1st Provisional Tank Group (plus a couple of other photos showing Chinese Army armored vehicles that I suspect are not from this period).

http://history.dwnews.com/news/2013-03- ... 5.html#img

keith A
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by keith A » 20 Jun 2013 17:36

Yep that's the photo, although I got it from the yuanzhengjun.cn site. I have looked at all the recce Stuarts I can find but none of them has that superstructure built on (unless it's a local modification to provide protection, or a sort of hatch....). Equally I can't see the gun although I know the US Army tried to mount a M1A1 pak howitzer in a Stuart but gave it up in April 1942 after two prototypes were made.

Thnaks for pointing out the site, there are a lot of photos I hadn't seen before.

Regards

Keith

zoboe
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by zoboe » 21 Jun 2013 15:31

Edward Chen wrote:Hi Keith,

Heavier American AFV's only began to arrive in China beginning in late 1948, such as the 1948 US aid package including dozens of demilitarized vehicles such as the M5A1 "Stuart", LVT-4 amphibious landing vehicle, and weaponless M-10 tank destroyers sent straight to Shanghai, requiring extensive refurbishing before they could be put to use. These vehicles saw almost no action on the mainland, not even in the May 1949 Shanghai Campaign, before being evacuated to Taiwan. However they did see extensive action during the coastal island campaigns between 1949-58, such as the M5A1 "Stuarts" who particularly distinguished themselves during the October 1949 Battle of Guningtou on Kinmen Island.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1&t=186119

After January 1949, US vehicles such as the M4 Sherman, M7 "Priest", M8 "Scott" and M18 "Hellcat" were sent straight to Taiwan to re-equip the Republic of China Armored Force.

Hope this helps,

Sources:
"Tanke Mao," Ching-shih Ch'iang-chia, and T'ien Li-jen: "The Evolution of the Republic of China Army Armored Artillery." Illustrated Guide of Weapons & Tactics [兵器戰術圖解], v20 May 2005, p78-82.

The Developmental History of the Nationalist Armored Force [國軍裝甲兵發展史] by Said Mohamed [孫建中; Sun Chien-chung (Chinese of Muslim descent)]. Published October 2005.
Hi Edward, there was a fierce combat involving KMT M5A1 in Shanghai 1949, the fortified suburb area Yuepu 月浦. Do you remember the photos taken by LIFE, with one injured tank man, bandages on his head, right? Those were taken there, the only possible place.

Besides, in Shanghai Library, I saw a photo of KMT M8 howitzer motor carriage, abandoned near a bridge, with some PLA infantrymen passing by. Well who could know if this M8 had ever fired as a potent weapon :P

As for the combats later (excluding the "artillery dialogue" between Kinmen and Xiamen/Hsiamen), only two - M5A1 at Guningtou victorious, and LVT on Dongshan Island 東山島failed. The latter case did not belong to KMT Armore Troop, but probably KMT Marine Corps. The "Public Security Troop" volume in PLA Historical Material Series has the record, while regrettably, no specific type of LVT.

zoboe
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by zoboe » 21 Jun 2013 15:44

Edward Chen wrote: Hopefully there will be more fluent bi-lingual history enthusiasts to make the leap into both the Chinese (ROC or PRC) or US national archives and "go back to the source."
Two serious questions have troubled me for long, which you may help -

(a) Americans in Chinese India-Stationed Army 1st Tank Batallion - I have read the memoirs of KMT Armored Troop personnel, both the huge book published in Taiwan and a few articles in mainland historic journals, and of course the Armored Troop Development History book you mentioned above. But none of them ever mentioned American tank crews fought together with Chinese tank crews in Burma 1944-1945, only some American "consultants/advisers". So I wonder, was the Chinese side expressing too little, or the American side exaggerating too much?

(b) British against Chinese final movement in Burma 1945 - As you know, the memoir of Yue Tian (also quoted by the Armored Troop Development History book) said the final movement of Chinese armored force in Burma 1945 was forced to stop by British, for their fear of the effect of "Chinese Liberators". Well, this was certainly understandable, but for all armored equipment, the memoir said the British also prohibited the Chinese to take away their tanks back to China. However, I did not discover any other source mentioning this. Do you think this was real? Or you may know more about this issue?

forttravel
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Re: Chinese Assault Gun Battery

Post by forttravel » 29 May 2017 21:01

By Bhamo siege were used also 155 mm US (Schneider) howitzers.
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