where does the ronson nickname come from?

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
aurelien wolff
Member
Posts: 347
Joined: 12 Aug 2018 00:31
Location: france,alsace

where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by aurelien wolff » 05 Aug 2020 07:05

I got to wonder if these deregatory name for the sherman come from death trap (wich honestly shouldn't be use as a source for the sherman) or the narrative that sherman was a bad tank(wich seem to be quite a lot in documentary/pôp history article)

User avatar
R Leonard
Member
Posts: 361
Joined: 16 Oct 2003 02:48
Location: The Old Dominion

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by R Leonard » 05 Aug 2020 13:39

Ronson lighter fluid for your Zippo lighter

ROLAND1369
Member
Posts: 1076
Joined: 26 May 2007 15:22
Location: USA

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by ROLAND1369 » 06 Aug 2020 14:45

The explanation I have always heard is that it came from a prewar advertisement by the Ronson company which said that their cigarette lighter" always lights the first time".

User avatar
Hans1906
Member
Posts: 515
Joined: 06 Jan 2020 23:13
Location: Germany

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Hans1906 » 06 Aug 2020 14:54

Read more...

The "Tommy Cooker": https://www.legerbattlefields.co.uk/his ... erman-tank


Hans1906

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2585
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Sheldrake » 06 Aug 2020 20:20

It is anachronistic. http://www.theshermantank.com/category/ronsons/
No one so far has found a Ronson advert from WW2 with light every time.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6477
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Michael Kenny » 06 Aug 2020 21:48

From the same place as Rotbart der Hauchdünne?

paulrward
Member
Posts: 439
Joined: 10 Dec 2008 20:14

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by paulrward » 07 Aug 2020 06:13

Hello All :

Below I am posting two images from Ronson print advertisements. The one on the left is from the 1930s,
and has the Ronson corporate motto, " World's Greatest Lighter ". The one on the right is from WW2, and
shows how Ronson continued to use this slogan through the war. I feel it is likely that men serving in the
M4's might have picked up on the slogan and applied it to their tanks, as, when they were hit and penetrated
by a German 88mm gun, the Shermans indeed became the " World's Greatest Lighters " .

It should be noted: Compared with the Zippo, the Ronson was a more ' high end ' lighter, made from better
materials to a higher standard. Thus, while the average enlisted man would have a Zippo, if he could afford
one, the Ronsons tended to be in the hands of the officers.



Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Ronson.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices banned, are voices who cannot share information....

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6477
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Aug 2020 07:07

paulrward wrote:
07 Aug 2020 06:13
the Shermans indeed became the " World's Greatest Lighters " .
As opposed to the 'World's Greatest self-igniting Lighter"?

Bayerlein:

While the PzKpfw IV could still be used
to advantage, the PzKpfw V [Panther] proved
ill adapted to the terrain. The Sherman
because of its maneuverability and height was
good . . . [the Panther was] poorly suited for
hedgerow terrain because of its width. Long
gun barrel and width of tank reduce maneuverability
in village and forest fighting. It is
very front-heavy and therefore quickly wears
out the front final drives, made of low-grade
steel. High silhouette. Very sensitive power-
train requiring well-trained drivers. Weak side
armor; tank top vulnerable to fighter-
bombers. Fuel-lines of porous material that
allow gasoline fumes to escape into the tank
causing a grave fire Hazard.
Absence of vision
slits make defense against close attacks impossible


If they do a remake of Kelly's Heroes perhaps it would be more realistic to use a Panther instead of the Tiger?
https://youtu.be/Csv1wXOr5tY?t=187

User avatar
Waleed Y. Majeed
Member
Posts: 3217
Joined: 13 Nov 2004 11:37
Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Waleed Y. Majeed » 07 Aug 2020 09:09

Image

Waleed

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2585
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Sheldrake » 07 Aug 2020 16:04

paulrward wrote:
07 Aug 2020 06:13
I feel it is likely that men serving in the
M4's might have picked up on the slogan and applied it to their tanks, as, when they were hit and penetrated
by a German 88mm gun, the Shermans indeed became the " World's Greatest Lighters " .
That would be fine if there were contemporary wartime references to the term in contemporary letters, diaries or newspaper reports. But the "Ronson light first time" seems to have been concocted post war and seemed into the memories of veterans.

Does anyone have any contemporary references?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3181
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 Aug 2020 16:40

Sheldrake wrote:
07 Aug 2020 16:04
That would be fine if there were contemporary wartime references to the term in contemporary letters, diaries or newspaper reports. But the "Ronson light first time" seems to have been concocted post war and seemed into the memories of veterans.

Does anyone have any contemporary references?
I did a pretty extensive newspaper search just for references to the "name" controversy regarding American tanks and SP...was it "General" Stuart, Sherman, Grant, Lee, and et cetera? Where did the names come from? Were they authorized? Were they commonly used other than by newspapers?

As part of that search I also looked for derogatory references and it all - repeat, all - appears to stem from the series of articles written by Hanson Baldwin in the New York Times in December 1944 and January 1945 and a few other anonymous editorial articles in the same time frame. It is obvious that the opinion of the tankers shifted from the high expectations of June 1944 to the low exemplified by the attitude of the 2d AD after the battles on the Roer plain in November that were expressed by I.D. White in March. However, no such derogatory term appears. Instead, it is a simple declaration that while there were very good features in the Medium Tank M4, it was inferior in too many ways for the good to outweigh the bad...and invariably it seemed to come down to gun power, not flammability.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Gooner1
Member
Posts: 1823
Joined: 06 Jan 2006 12:24
Location: London

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Gooner1 » 07 Aug 2020 18:25

Were there any tests done to show if the Ronson lighter lit up first time as often as the Sherman tank did?

paulrward
Member
Posts: 439
Joined: 10 Dec 2008 20:14

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by paulrward » 07 Aug 2020 22:38

Hello All ;

Mr. Sheldrake wrote :
That would be fine if there were contemporary wartime references to
the term in contemporary letters, diaries or newspaper reports.
Mr. Anderson wrote :
I did a pretty extensive newspaper........
...............As part of that search I also looked for derogatory references and it
all - repeat, all - appears to stem from the series of articles written by Hanson Baldwin
in the New York Times in December 1944 and January 1945

These are two very telling quotes, as they seem, at least to me, to display a certain lack of understanding of
the historical situation that existed in the United States Armed Forces during WW2. To put it simply, serving
officers and enlisted men were under discipline, that is to say, they had to obey orders, and not express any
opinions or make any statements that could be considered either contrary to good military discipline and order,
or could in any way be construed as interfering with the prosecution of the war of the war effort as a whole.

In other words, officers and enlisted men were to keep their mouths shut, under pain of demotion or court
martial.

The lack of contemporary descriptions of the M4 Sherman as a ' Zippo ' or a ' Ronson ' are thus not strange. We
must remember, EVERY single letter written by an officer or enlisted man serving overseas was reviewed by
a superior officer, and any offending passage was censored out. If the reviewing officer felt that the tone of
the entire letter was contrary to good military order, that letter was destroyed, and the author was reprimanded,
with instructions not to repeat his actions. If he continued to write letters in a similar vein, he would, if an
enlisted man, be given a summary court martial, and either demoted, fined, or both. If he was an officer, he
would be transferred back to the Z.o.I., and would lose any brevet or spot promotions he had gained in either
the ETO or PTO.

The same applied to any conversations that a serving military officer or enlisted man might have with either
civilian or military members of the Press. Any statement that was considered to be contrary to policy or
doctrine was forbidden, and any such statements that could be traced back to a given individual would result
in disciplinary actions, as I have outlined above.

In addition, members of the Press learned that, if they wrote any articles or news items that were deemed to
by contrary to the wishes of the Government, they would have their Press Credentials revoked, and would be
required to leave the Zone of Operations and return to the United States, and would NOT be allowed to serve
as War Correspondents for the duration of the fighting.


I am sure that the members of this Forum will quickly realize that, in such an environment, it is unlikely, if
not impossible, for there to be ANY sort of surviving contemporary descriptions by serving members of the
U.S. Army that would call the M4 Sherman a ' Zippo ' or a ' Ronson '. Any such letter almost certainly ended
up being burned, and the author reprimanded.


The fact that Hanson W. Baldwin was able to write his series of Articles in January, 1945, for the New York
Times, is simply because, among War Correspondents and members of the Press, he held something of a
privileged status. Baldwin was a graduate of the Naval Academy, a former serving Naval Officer, who,
after leaving the Navy, had embarked on a career in journalism. He had, on occasion, accompanied the
U.S. Navy on Fleet Problems in the Pacific, had been in the field with the U.S. Army in the 1930s when they
went on Maneuvers, and he had written a number of well informed, thoughtful articles and books that had
both encouraged a strong military for the United States, as well as promoting the development of what were,
at the time, state of the art technological developments that would make the U.S. Military more effective.

In short, he was seen as a ' friendly voice ' among the War Correspondents, and was thus given a bit more
rope to express his views than would many other journalists who lacked his pro-military credentials.

When, in January 1945, he published in the New York Times a three part article, entitled, " The German Blow'
which was highly critical of the U.S. Army in the actions in the Ardennes, it was greeted by the Army, not
as any form of disloyalty, but rather as a form of advice being given to them by a friendly outsider, who had
only their best interests at heart. Neither Baldwin nor the New York Times suffered any form of retaliation,
and Baldwin remained on good terms with the Military to the end of his career, which went all the way to
VietNam.

Baldwins' description of the M4 Sherman was damning. And, it had results. On March 18th, Eisenhower sent
letters to Generals White and Rose of the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions, asking for their feedback on the
relative merits of the M4 w/r to the German Panthers and Tigers. He also requested the opinions of their
tank commanders, drivers, and gunners. In other words, Ike was trying to bypass the Army Public Relations
Department, and get the true feelings of how the front line U.S. Army Tankers felt about the Sherman.

And, both White and Rose gave him an earfull ! General Rose stated, “It is my personal conviction that
the present M4 and M4A3 tank is inferior to the German Mark V.” One of Rose's officers wrote, “In a tank
versus tank action, our M4 tank is woefully lacking in armor and armament when pitted against the super
velocity 75mm or 88mm gun of the German tank.” and went on to say, “Crews recognized the deficiencies
of American tanks and that success was attributable to our superiority in numbers of tanks, and resolve to
sustain heavy casualties in men and tanks in order to gain objectives.


The opinion of the M4 Sherman by the enlisted men was no better. Sgt Robert Earley stated “I haven’t any
confidence in the M4. Jerry armament will knock out an M4 as far as they can see it...."

Anyone who wishes a bit more on this subject can read the following dissertation, written in 2012, by John
Michael Muller, entitled, RONSONS, ZIPPOS, BREW-UPS, AND TOMMYCOOKERS: THE M4 SHERMAN TANK AND AMERICAN ARMORED DEVELOPMENT DURING WORLD WAR II

It can be found here :


http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf


It is quite informative, and worth reading.

One final note: The posting by Mr. Waleed Y. Majeed of the image from an advertisement by Ronson showing
an M4 Sherman with a Ronson lighter superimposed over it might have been the source, during WW2, of the
nick-name ' Ronson' for a Sherman. After all, for the Tankers on the Front line, seeing this advertisment in
a magazine sent from home would have a certain element of ' gallows humour ' to it.

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward



Ronson 2.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices banned, are voices who cannot share information....

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6477
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Aug 2020 23:07

paulrward wrote:
07 Aug 2020 22:38


I am sure that the members of this Forum will quickly realize that, in such an environment, it is unlikely, if
not impossible, for there to be ANY sort of surviving contemporary descriptions by serving members of the
U.S. Army that would call the M4 Sherman a ' Zippo ' or a ' Ronson '. Any such letter almost certainly ended
up being burned, and the author reprimanded.
There we finally have it. The evidence for the Ronson quote is the fact no one was ever recorded using it.
Everyone knows it was used, its common knowledge innit, and thus the fact that no evidence survived is proof of a vast conspiracy to erase all such evidence.





paulrward wrote:
07 Aug 2020 22:38

He also requested the opinions of their
tank commanders, drivers, and gunners........... Sgt Robert Earley stated “I haven’t any
confidence in the M4. Jerry armament will knock out an M4 as far as they can see it...."
Strange booklet. It would appear every US tanker fought a Tiger tank . Given that Tigers were rare beasts this must be an account of EVERY Tiger engagement of the period.
I also like the contradictions. For example in the 'Our sights were crap' section the crews complain that they could not engage and hit targets at long range .
However in the 'Our Ammo was crap' section crews complain of coming under fire at long range, firing back and watching the shells bounce of the inevitable Tiger.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6477
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: where does the ronson nickname come from?

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Aug 2020 23:21

paulrward wrote:
07 Aug 2020 22:38


Anyone who wishes a bit more on this subject can read the following dissertation, written in 2012, by John
Michael Muller, entitled, RONSONS, ZIPPOS, BREW-UPS, AND TOMMYCOOKERS: THE M4 SHERMAN TANK AND AMERICAN ARMORED DEVELOPMENT DURING WORLD WAR II

It can be found here :


http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf


It is quite informative, and worth reading.

It is neither.
To start with this is what he considers a 'reference':
Screenshot_305.jpg


The account of Villers Bocage is just plain wrong. Its the 25 year-old version that is long discredited.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Return to “USA 1919-1945”