Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

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schutzearsch
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Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by schutzearsch » 14 Nov 2022 20:40

Hello,

I have a few quick questions mainly regarding the personal carried weapons of the Soldiers crewing self propelled tank destroyers in the US Army.
I was once told that the crew of a tank destroyer was referred to as a gun team and not a crew (as a crew of a tank was referred too) but while this makes sense to me I'm not sure if this is correct.

Anyways
I've seen and heard that tank destroyer crews would carry M1 carbines for personal protection for some time I've thought that the driver would be armed with an SMG (mostly M3 from 1944 on) like most other US Army vehicles but it seems this is not the case.

Wikipedia says:
A .50 caliber (12.7 mm) Browning M2HB machine gun could be mounted on the top rear of the turret for use against enemy infantry and for anti-aircraft use, along with 300 rounds of ammunition stowed in 50-round boxes under the vehicle subfloor. The crew also had their personal weapons for self-defense. A Thompson submachine gun with 460 rounds of ammunition was stowed on brackets in the right rear of the turret for use by the vehicle commander. The other four crew members were armed with M1 carbines, each carrying as much ammunition on their person as they saw fit. An M1903 Springfield rifle with 60 rounds of ammunition was stowed next to the assistant driver, and an adapter for the rifle and ten M9 rifle grenades for use against tanks were stowed under the left front vehicle subfloor. Storage boxes in the turret held five Mk 2 grenade, five M18 smoke grenade, and two thermite grenades.
Unfortunately they don't refer to any source.
So it seems that the commander would've carried a Thompson while the rest (including the driver) would've carried M1 carbines. I've seen the interior of an M8 Greyhound once with the brackets to stow the carbine and scince the M8 was designed as a tank destroyer I figured it would be similar with the M10 and the other 2 tank destroyers used.
I also figured that the commander probably carried 3-5 20 round mags (with 30 round mags being not very aviable) for the Thompson and the rest of the ammo would be stored in boxes.

It seems so that on the M18.
Each crew member was provided with an M1 carbine with 90 rounds for self-defense, and six Mk 2 grenades, six M50 white phosphorus smoke grenades, and six smoke pots were also carried in the vehicle.
This time wikipedia offers a very specific source TM 9-755, 1945, page 10.

The wikipedia description of the M36 is somewhat vague and just mentions that the crew had their personal weapons for protection.

Scince M18 and M36 entered service after the M10 the M10 had his combat debut in Tunisia in March 1943 so he arrived there in early 43 or late 42 while the M18 did not arrive in Eurpe until summer 1944 and the M36 not until autum 1944 my conclusion would be the M36 crews like M18 crews would entirely be armed with carbines.

My most important question now.
Did the M10 commander keep an SMG or was this as well switched to a carbine?
Did he keep a Thompson or did some receive M3s later?

I'm also interssted about the M1903 springfield. I know that the M7 grenade launcher for the rifle M1 became aviable late in the war. Infantry squads had a grenadier carrying an M1903 with an M1 greade launcher well into 1944. But by the time of D Day there where enough M7 aviable to re equip all the desigated grenadiers of the rifle squads (at least in NW Europe I'm not sure about italy) it seems to me however that M7s became aviable in high numbers scince by August 1944 most Infantry squads hat 2 grenade launchers assigend per and by October most had 3.

So this makes me thinking was the M1903 kept? Or was it replaced by an M1 with an M7 scince enough M1 and M7 where aviable?
With the M8 grenade launcher for the M1 Carbine aviable it also seems possible that the rifle was no longer necesarry scince the Carbine could do the same job? But I'm not entirley sure here scince the rifle blank might have more power and a higher velocity might be desireable when shooting at a moving target?

Thanks for all the answers in adance and kind regards.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Nov 2022 20:53

Neither the Gun, submachine, cal. .45, M1 or M3 was authorized in the Tank Destroyer Company (SP) under T/O&E 18-27 of 15 March 1944. The two Guns Sections each had eight Carbine cal. .30 and two Rifle, US, cal. .30, M1. It was irrelevant which type of GMC was issued to the company. Curiously though, seven Gun, submachine, cal. .45, M3 were authorized for the Tank Destroyer Company (Towed) under T/O&E 18-37 of 1 September 1944, assigned to the Platoon Headquarters and Security Section.
"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

LineDoggie
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by LineDoggie » 14 Nov 2022 23:43

Well for what it's worth, here a Official Army image showing the interior stowage of the M10.

Clearly a rack for TSMG Magazines with a M1918A1 also stowed


http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/MG ... re_5a.jpeg
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Richard Anderson
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Nov 2022 01:48

LineDoggie wrote:
14 Nov 2022 23:43
Well for what it's worth, here a Official Army image showing the interior stowage of the M10.

Clearly a rack for TSMG Magazines with a M1918A1 also stowed


http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/MG ... re_5a.jpeg
Yep, pre-15 March 1944. Typically, the Submachine Gun M1 was replaced by the .30 Caliber Carbine in most T/O&E changes from 1943-1944.
"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

Richard Anderson
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Nov 2022 02:23

Just checked LineDoggie. That is from TM9-731G dated 28 July 1943. They also included provisions for storing an M1903 cal. .30 aboard. All that was changed under the revisions ending with the March 1944 T/O&E.
"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

ROLAND1369
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by ROLAND1369 » 15 Nov 2022 02:58

The carbines were stored on racks on each sponson located inside the hull just below the turret ring traversing rack. Pic sourceTM 9-752A, 1943 p 452a.
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by ROLAND1369 » 15 Nov 2022 16:06

Here is the storage location of the M1903 rifle. Pic is from same TM as previous message.
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by ROLAND1369 » 15 Nov 2022 19:01

This is the armament list from the TM. Note that it omits the 30 M1903 even though it pictures it and lists it in the ammo section of the TM.
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Gary Kennedy
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Gary Kennedy » 15 Nov 2022 19:34

The T/O of 15 March 1944 lists, for each Destroyer Section of two guns, 2 M1 rifles and 8 Carbines, with the Sergeant (gun commander) of each vehicle being shown with the rifle. The T/O does not differentiate between the types of TD.

The earlier 27 January 1943 T/O shows a Destroyer Section, again two guns, with 10 carbines, plus a note against all carbines saying 'substitute: gun, submachine, .45-cal'. The associated Table of Equipment for Jan 1943 does indicate that the SMG, or the M1903 or M1917 rifles, could be issued in lieu of the Carbine.

Gary

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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Nov 2022 23:38

Gary Kennedy wrote:
15 Nov 2022 19:34
The T/O of 15 March 1944 lists, for each Destroyer Section of two guns, 2 M1 rifles and 8 Carbines, with the Sergeant (gun commander) of each vehicle being shown with the rifle. The T/O does not differentiate between the types of TD.

The earlier 27 January 1943 T/O shows a Destroyer Section, again two guns, with 10 carbines, plus a note against all carbines saying 'substitute: gun, submachine, .45-cal'. The associated Table of Equipment for Jan 1943 does indicate that the SMG, or the M1903 or M1917 rifles, could be issued in lieu of the Carbine.

Gary
This well illustrates the early improvisational nature of some U.S. Army organizations as it took considerable time for the supply of preferred weapons and equipment to catch up with desired T/O&E...plus, the T/O&E changed frequently, especially for the Tank Destroyers. They, in fact, did not have a T/O&E when they were originally organized from the provisional antitank units on 3 December 1941. The first organization was not a T/O&E but was a description of preferred organizations found in the provisional FM 18-5 dated 18 December 1941.

The first set of T/O&E was 18-25, dated 24 December 1941 for the Heavy Battalion, which was then revised 14 February 1942, again on 8 June 1942, then 27 January 1943 (when it was redesignated a Tank Destroyer Battalion, Self-Propelled), and finally 15 March 1944. There was also T/O&E 18-5 dated 29 December 1941, which was for the Light Towed Battalion, all of which were reorganized as Heavy Battalions in 1942. Then there was the Light Battalion, Self-Propelled under T/O&E 18-15 dated 29 December 1941 and revised 6 April 1942, which also were eventually converted to Heavy Self-Propelled or inactivated.

In the same way the various TM changed as new items like .30 cal. carbines and M1 Rifles became available to replace older and less desirable items like Thompson guns and M1903 rifles.
"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

schutzearsch
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by schutzearsch » 22 Nov 2022 20:53

Thank you very much for all the answers! Very interessting, I've learned quite a lot.
Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Nov 2022 20:53
Neither the Gun, submachine, cal. .45, M1 or M3 was authorized in the Tank Destroyer Company (SP) under T/O&E 18-27 of 15 March 1944. The two Guns Sections each had eight Carbine cal. .30 and two Rifle, US, cal. .30, M1. It was irrelevant which type of GMC was issued to the company. Curiously though, seven Gun, submachine, cal. .45, M3 were authorized for the Tank Destroyer Company (Towed) under T/O&E 18-37 of 1 September 1944, assigned to the Platoon Headquarters and Security Section.
Thank you a lot.

This answers all the questions. Interessting point with the rifle M1.

I managaed to find the 15 March T/O&E online 18-25 of the Tank Destroyer Btl. SP.
Interesting to me no M7 or M8 grenade launchers where shown so it seems to me the anti tank rifle grenades where also dropped.

Do you have any link to that mentioned T/O&E 18-37 of 1st September 1944. If only managed to find a T/O&E 18-35 it mentoiens 49 SMGs M3 for the Tank Destroyer Company. However it also has the M3 Halftracks repalced with M39 Armored Utlity Vehicles. This change was propably never made (I'D doubt any M39 made it to Europe before the War ended) and Afaik towed Tank Destroyer Units where discontinued in 1945 and units in Europe switched to the M36s or M10s and M18s that became aviable from units that changed to M36s.

Was the Security Section attatched to the Platoon or the Company HQ?
I'd said Company HQ scince it is significantly larger with the towed units but I'm not sure about this.
LineDoggie wrote:
14 Nov 2022 23:43
Well for what it's worth, here a Official Army image showing the interior stowage of the M10.

Clearly a rack for TSMG Magazines with a M1918A1 also stowed


http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/MG ... re_5a.jpeg
Thanks a lot for that Picture.
It's a bit mind boggling to me that all the ammo actually was already put into magazines.
ROLAND1369 wrote:
15 Nov 2022 02:58
The carbines were stored on racks on each sponson located inside the hull just below the turret ring traversing rack. Pic sourceTM 9-752A, 1943 p 452a.
Also very intersseting Photo, thank you so much for this.
Was this standard that the Canteens where stowed on the right side of the vehicle? What was stowed on the other side.
Gary Kennedy wrote:
15 Nov 2022 19:34
The T/O of 15 March 1944 lists, for each Destroyer Section of two guns, 2 M1 rifles and 8 Carbines, with the Sergeant (gun commander) of each vehicle being shown with the rifle. The T/O does not differentiate between the types of TD.

The earlier 27 January 1943 T/O shows a Destroyer Section, again two guns, with 10 carbines, plus a note against all carbines saying 'substitute: gun, submachine, .45-cal'. The associated Table of Equipment for Jan 1943 does indicate that the SMG, or the M1903 or M1917 rifles, could be issued in lieu of the Carbine.

Gary
Thank you Gary!

This explains a lot I've seen a color picture of a Tank Destroyer Unit (I only remember it was a unit with an 800 number) and some of the Crewman carried M1 rifles while others carried Carbines now this makes much more sense.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Nov 2022 23:41

schutzearsch wrote:
22 Nov 2022 20:53
I managaed to find the 15 March T/O&E online 18-25 of the Tank Destroyer Btl. SP.
Interesting to me no M7 or M8 grenade launchers where shown so it seems to me the anti tank rifle grenades where also dropped.

Do you have any link to that mentioned T/O&E 18-37 of 1st September 1944. If only managed to find a T/O&E 18-35 it mentoiens 49 SMGs M3 for the Tank Destroyer Company. However it also has the M3 Halftracks repalced with M39 Armored Utlity Vehicles.
http://www.militaryresearch.org/18-37%201Sep44.pdf
This change was propably never made (I'D doubt any M39 made it to Europe before the War ended) and Afaik towed Tank Destroyer Units where discontinued in 1945 and units in Europe switched to the M36s or M10s and M18s that became aviable from units that changed to M36s.
I don't think it did get there before the end of hostilities.
"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

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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Olustee64 » 22 Nov 2022 23:56

schutzearsch wrote:
22 Nov 2022 20:53
I managaed to find the 15 March T/O&E online 18-25 of the Tank Destroyer Btl. SP.
Interesting to me no M7 or M8 grenade launchers where shown so it seems to me the anti tank rifle grenades where also dropped.
Battalion level T/O&Es are summaries and don't show GLs. You have to look at ones at company level.

T/O&E 18-27, c2, 6 January 1944, for the TD Co was published to make the switch from M1903 to M1 Rifles (among other changes). Of course it also replaced M1 GLs with M7. c2 also added 15 M8 GLs where none were authorized before. Neither type was available when the Jan '43 T/E was written.

To add further confusion, T/Os and T/Es were combined starting around Spring '43, but mixing the terms doesn't offend me all that much.

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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Gary Kennedy » 24 Nov 2022 14:24

And to make it even more complicated, when Tables of Organization and Tables of Equipment were combined to make Tables of Organization and Equipment (T/O & Es), grenade launchers were detailed in Section II (Equipment), and not among the Ordnance items in Section I (Organization), which were themselves recapitulated in Section II.

I think there was a query above about the availability of grenade launchers in 1944, with seeming reference to the Rifle Squad/Platoon? The July 1943 T/O & E authorised three M7 launchers per Rifle Squad, one for the assistant leader and two for riflemen, with one for the Sergeant Guide in Platoon HQ. There was a note in the July 1943 table that M1903 rifles with M1 launchers could be issued in lieu on the same scale, which was deleted in the superseding Feb 1944 and June 1945 tables.

I can't pretend to know whether there was a significant shortfall in terms of M7 and M8 launchers until late 1944, I would have most likely assumed there was a sufficient supply for the Infantry at least by June 1944.

Gary

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Re: Tank Destroyer Crews personal weapons M10, M18, M36

Post by Olustee64 » 28 Nov 2022 18:59

A 5 Jun 44 ETO shortage report shows both M1 and M7 GLs right at 90% of authorized levels. M8 GLs do not appear on the shortage report and, thus, were at or above 100% at that moment.

The focus on the rifle squad is a bit misdirected, as per the Jul 43 infantry regiment T/O&Es, about two thirds of GLs were for a regiment's companies outside the infantry battalions. And this ignores GLs authorized for pretty much any unit type expected to get near the combat zone.

With the extremely high operational losses for M7s in the ETO, were M7s scrounged from units less likely to need them? I dunno.

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