70th tank battalion 1944/45

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yantaylor
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70th tank battalion 1944/45

Post by yantaylor » 06 Dec 2020 21:59

Hi everyone.
An American friend of mine from Colorado springs has asked me what types of Sherman M4s the 70th Tank Battalion had around the time of the battle of the bulge. Well I couldnt think of a better place to ask then here.
Does anyone know?
Ian

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dgfred
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Re: 70th tank battalion 1944/45

Post by dgfred » 07 Dec 2020 21:57

I recall reading they had the M4 Shermans and Stuarts... with some of the newer Shermans with 76 Gun coming in earlier. At the Bulge only a few of the tanks were operating IIRC but their actions were a great help.

yantaylor
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Re: 70th tank battalion 1944/45

Post by yantaylor » 08 Dec 2020 12:31

Thanks DG, I thought that being an Indepenent battalion, they would have not recieved any 76mm M4s till well after the Bulge, one site said that Ind Tank Btn's were at the back of the que for the latests tanks.
Didn't they lose their Stuarts later and have every company equipped with M4s?

Regards
Ian

Richard Anderson
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Re: 70th tank battalion 1944/45

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 Dec 2020 18:15

yantaylor wrote:
08 Dec 2020 12:31
Thanks DG, I thought that being an Indepenent battalion, they would have not recieved any 76mm M4s till well after the Bulge, one site said that Ind Tank Btn's were at the back of the que for the latests tanks.
Didn't they lose their Stuarts later and have every company equipped with M4s?

Regards
Ian
Hi Ian, most "sites" are talking through their collective hats. :lol:

The 70th Tank Battalion received its first M4 (76mm) 10/11 August 1944, 17 of them. They were either M4A1 (76) or M4A3 (76). It basically is impossible to tell, since battalions rarely made any distinction between the various types of M4 and they were not reported as such in tank status reports to the 12th Army Group.

On 16 December 1944, the battalion reported (operational/in repair less than 24 hours/in repair more than 24 hours and evacuated or written off):

M4 (75) 13/3/0
M4 (76) 18/0/0
M4 (105) 5/1/0
M5 16/1/0
M4 Dozer 3/0/0
TRV 4/1/0

However, even though the report showed that they had 39 medium tanks operational on 16 December, the report was as of 2200 hours. The report for 2200 on 15 December 1944 was:

M4 (75) 16/0/0
M4 (76) 18/0/0
M4 (105) 6/0/0
M5 16/1/0
M4 Dozer 3/0/0
TRV 5/0/0

So it would appear that almost all were operational the morning of 16 December, except they weren't. :lol: Apparently most of the M4 (75mm) held by the battalion were original issue from December 1943/January 1944 in Britain that participated in the invasion, pursuit, and Westwall battles of fall 1944 and were in desperate need of major overhauls. Coincidentally, the battalion was taking advantage of its "quiet time" in the Ardennes to do a considerable amount of backlogged maintenance. Early that morning Company A had all 17 of its tanks undergoing maintenance, Company B had 5 of its 8 in maintenance, and only Company C had all 8 of its mediums operational. So when the German offensive began the three companies had 11 medium tanks operational. Another ten tanks were with the battalion, likely six with the HQ Tank Section and Assault Gun Platoon, but the other four were apparently newly delivered replacements (possibly M4A3E2). Company A managed to get three tanks operational by late morning, which participated in the defense of Lauterborn later in the morning and by late evening the frantic maintenance teams had managed to get most back into operation.

None of those are identified as to M4, M4A1, M4A3, or M4A4 in the records. To get an idea of what types a battalion fielded, you pretty much have to rely on photographic evidence.

Hope that helps.
"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

yantaylor
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Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: 70th tank battalion 1944/45

Post by yantaylor » 08 Dec 2020 21:07

Thank you Richard, on the money as usual.
I hope you are safe and well.
Regards
Ian

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