GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

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Manuferey
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GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Manuferey » 04 Nov 2011 22:10

Here are two pictures (from an expired ebay auction of D-Day pictures) of a GMC M3 tank destroyer destroyed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. I think that the location is Exit D3 – Les Moulins (Wn 66) as we can see the “les Sables d’Or” house in the background.

I am wondering what unit was still equiped with this TD on D-Day. I understand that the independent TD battalions had received M10 TD or towed AT guns prior to D-Day. I found a mention of “small numbers [of GMC M3 TDs] used for specialized tasks, such as assault guns with the Rangers of Task Force Sugar in Brittany.” So, I wonder if this M3 TD could have been attached to 5th Rangers for example.

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kgbudge
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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by kgbudge » 04 Nov 2011 22:43

A sizable fraction of TD battalions at Normandy were towed battalions. Perhaps one of the towed battalions got their hands on a few M3s, in the great American tradition of scrounging unauthorized equipment?

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 05 Nov 2011 03:32

Manuferey wrote:Here are two pictures (from an expired ebay auction of D-Day pictures) of a GMC M3 tank destroyer destroyed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. I think that the location is Exit D3 – Les Moulins (Wn 66) as we can see the “les Sables d’Or” house in the background.

I am wondering what unit was still equiped with this TD on D-Day. I understand that the independent TD battalions had received M10 TD or towed AT guns prior to D-Day. I found a mention of “small numbers [of GMC M3 TDs] used for specialized tasks, such as assault guns with the Rangers of Task Force Sugar in Brittany.” So, I wonder if this M3 TD could have been attached to 5th Rangers for example.
Emmanuel
Interesting! I have never run into any examples in any of the landing tables for the 1st or 29th Division. I can only think they may have been...wow, I have no idea! This is going to take some series digging to ferret out. It looks like everyone in the photo is Navy, possibly from one of the Naval Beach Battalions? The Rangers in Italy did use them, but that was Italy, neither the 2nd or 5th had served there. Assault Force O-4 did have an LCT with them, 413. I'll see what I can find out.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Kingfish
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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Kingfish » 05 Nov 2011 13:42

Just curious, has it been confirmed this was taken at Omaha?
The house on the bluffs would be a good reference point.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 05 Nov 2011 13:48

Kingfish wrote:Just curious, has it been confirmed this was taken at Omaha?
The house on the bluffs would be a good reference point.
Yes, Emmanuel did in his original post. The house is known as les Sables d’Or and was at Les Moulins. It was the most recognizable landmark on OMAHA.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 05 Nov 2011 21:00

My first thought is this was from one of the regimental cannon companies. I know these were suposed to be using other equipment like the T30 HMC, but it is not impossible a few of the M3 GMC found their way to the cannon companies of the 29th Div.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 05 Nov 2011 21:33

Carl Schwamberger wrote:My first thought is this was from one of the regimental cannon companies. I know these were suposed to be using other equipment like the T30 HMC, but it is not impossible a few of the M3 GMC found their way to the cannon companies of the 29th Div.
Hi Carl,

Yes...except that the Cannon Companies of both the 16th and 116th Infantry are well covered in the loading documents and in the accounts. They were equipped with M3 Howitzers loaded on DUKWs.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 06 Nov 2011 15:34

I've seen enough erroneous (or faked) loading docs to know they are not the absolute last word. Beyond the cannon companys what are the other units that would have dragged along some sort of light SP. Did the independant tank battalions have a support platoon?

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 06 Nov 2011 15:50

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I've seen enough erroneous (or faked) loading docs to know they are not the absolute last word. Beyond the cannon companys what are the other units that would have dragged along some sort of light SP. Did the independant tank battalions have a support platoon?
Carl, the validity of these has been examined pretty closely over the years. :wink: Personnel varied a bit from plan, but not vehicles - there were simply too many of them and not enough craft, so they were pretty well regulated. Instead I think that these must appear simply as 'M3 Halftrack' somewhere and nobody ever made the connection that what was being referred to was an M3 SP. So its a matter of figuring out who the culprit must be.

But its not the tank battalions. The halftracks for the mortar platoons would have been M4 or M22 in the loading plan and in reality and anyway they came in much later with the battaalion residuals. The assault gun platoon is the only other "support platoon" that existed and again they are well accounted for. Right now I tend to suspect that they were a support platoon for the Provisional Ranger Group, but I haven't been able tolocate the loading plan for LST-413.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Aber » 13 Nov 2011 12:34

It's fascinating to see that we're still learning about such a well-known event.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Nov 2011 22:12

Occured to me the search ought to go in both directions. Checking the post 6th June records of the suspect owner/s might reveal some clues.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Manuferey » 15 Nov 2011 01:58

Carl,

That 's a good idea. We could check out for instance if any unit composing Task Force Sugar in Brittany landed on June 6 at Omaha, assuming of course that the mention of “small numbers [of GMC M3 TDs] used for specialized tasks, such as assault guns with the Rangers of Task Force Sugar in Brittany.” is true. I found it in Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M3_GMC#cite_note-5
with a reference:
"Turning Tide" by Wayne Turner, Battlefront Miniatures.

Here is the composition of Task Force Sugar in Brittany:
Source: http://www.39-45.org/viewtopic.php?f=99&t=5153

- 2nd Ranger Bat.
- A & E Troops of 86th Recon Squadron
- one section of Co. A of 121st Engineer Bat.
- one section of 709th Tank Bat.
- A/86th chemical Mortar Bat.
- 3/116th Infantry Regt.
- A/644th Tank Destroyer Bat.
- C/227th Field Artillery Bat.
- 224th Field Artillery Bat.

On September 1st, 1944, this Task Force will be reinforced by 5ths Ranger Battalion

Emmanuel

Emmanuel

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Nov 2011 06:05

Another possibility occured to me. The photograph may be misidentified as from 6th June. The German long range artillery fired on Omaha Beach for several days. The mystery vehical may have been nailed on the 7th/8th or whatever. Thus complicating the potiential owners to check.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by searay » 08 Dec 2012 16:56

The M3 75mm GMC on Omaha Beach were from the Cannon Platoon of the 2nd Rangers HQ Company. There were four of these, and at least one was lost on the beach. They were landed from LCT and later took part in the relief column to Pointe-du-Hoc. There was an interview with one of the crewmen on a TV documentary on Omaha Beach. The half-tracks can also be seen in one of the aerial views of the Les Moulins area (though rather tiny!) The Cannon Platoon was a late addition to the Provisional Ranger Group, sometime in early 1944, and it was patterned on the similar Ranger use of GMC in the assault gun role in Italy.

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Re: GMC M3 TD at Omaha Beach

Post by Trackhead M2 » 08 Dec 2012 18:42

Manuferey wrote:Here are two pictures (from an expired ebay auction of D-Day pictures) of a GMC M3 tank destroyer destroyed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. I think that the location is Exit D3 – Les Moulins (Wn 66) as we can see the “les Sables d’Or” house in the background.

I am wondering what unit was still equiped with this TD on D-Day. I understand that the independent TD battalions had received M10 TD or towed AT guns prior to D-Day. I found a mention of “small numbers [of GMC M3 TDs] used for specialized tasks, such as assault guns with the Rangers of Task Force Sugar in Brittany.” So, I wonder if this M3 TD could have been attached to 5th Rangers for example.

Image

Image

Emmanuel
Dear all,
Are you sure it isnt' a White Half-Track? They made a lot of the M-3 Motor Gun Carriage units.
Strike Swiftly,
TH-M2

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