M24 Chaffee in the Ardennes?

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Geoffrey Cooke
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Location: Illinois

M24 Chaffee in the Ardennes?

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 30 Jan 2021 23:57

According to Wikipedia it was distributed to light tank units starting in December 1944. I’ve checked the numbers for several units (such as the 14th Cavalry Group) and so far they were all still equipped with Stuart’s throughout the battle. Anyone know which units received Chaffee’s in time for (or during) the Bulge?

Richard Anderson
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Re: M24 Chaffee in the Ardennes?

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Jan 2021 02:20

Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
30 Jan 2021 23:57
According to Wikipedia it was distributed to light tank units starting in December 1944. I’ve checked the numbers for several units (such as the 14th Cavalry Group) and so far they were all still equipped with Stuart’s throughout the battle. Anyone know which units received Chaffee’s in time for (or during) the Bulge?
From my manuscript For Purpose of Service Test. Sources available upon request. Please cite For Purpose of Service Test if you repost elsewhere. Thank you.

"One of the odder aspects of the ZEBRA Mission was that one of the items of equipment it was supposed to introduce to the ETOUSA, the Light Tank M24, was already in theater and in fact had already been in combat. In early November 1944, 128 of the M24 tanks had been manifested and allocated to the 12th Army Group. The intent, expressed by Major General Leven C. Allen, Chief of Staff, 12th Army Group, on 12 November was to use them to replace the Light Tank M5A1 in the 744th and 759th Tank Battalion (Light), followed by those in the 2d and 3d Armored Division. Sixty-eight each would go to the First and Ninth U.S. Army for the purpose. By mid-December, the first 20 arrived at a First U.S. Army Ordnance depot near Sprimont, Belgium, intended for the 759th Tank Battalion (Light) and 20 arrived at a Ninth U.S. Army Ordnance depot intended for the 744th Tank Battalion (Light). However, the beginning of the Ardennes Offensive abruptly changed General Allen’s plan.

Two of the tanks grabbed by the 740th Tank Battalion at Sprimont on 19 December (see Chapter 13) were Light Tanks M24 intended for the 744th Tank Battalion, which had been shipped to Sprimont by mistake. The two tanks soldiered on with the battalion until early February. The remaining 18 Light Tanks M24 meant for the 744th Tank Battalion were issued on 24 December by the 536th Ordnance Maintenance Company of the Ninth U.S. Army. However, the hurried transfer of the 2d Armored Division from Ninth to First U.S. Army and the commitment of the 3d Armored Division to blunt the German attack delayed the plan to equip the two divisions with the M24 until February.

The Light Tank M24 was heartily endorsed by the theater in a conference on 10 January between General Eisenhower and ranking officers of SHAEF and the ETOUSA on one side, and General Somervell on the other. All parties agreed it was “absolutely essential to raise the replacement factor for the light tank M24 for the ETO to 14 per cent a month and to raise the reserve level to [of the] on hand in RTO for this tank to 70 per cent.” It was understood that all the remaining Light Tanks M5 would remain in theater as assets until they were worn out or destroyed. Four days later the decision was endorsed by General Marshall.

The next unit to actually receive the new tank was the First U.S. Army’s 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech) at the end of January, which got eight, while the Ninth U.S. Army’s 744th Tank Battalion received ten more. By the end of January, a total of 288 of the tanks were allocated to the armies, although only 211 to 214 had actually arrived at army depots and even fewer – about 38 – had actually reached units. The problem was lack of transport to get the tanks forward from the ports to the armies. Of 5,634 tanks reported on hand with the First, Third, and Ninth U.S. Army on 31 January, just over 10 percent, 589, were actually still at the ports waiting to be moved to the forward army depots.

On 2 February, the two hijacked Light Tanks M24 with the 740th Tank Battalion were detached from the battalion and sent on a tour of First U.S. Army units. They never returned to the battalion and were probably eventually assigned to other units. One possibly went to the 18th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech), which recorded one on hand on 5 February. Also on the same day, the 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech) reported 17 M24 on hand, of which 3 were in repair (an increase of 9) and the 38th Cavalry reported 12 on hand. All told, on 5 February First U.S. Army reported 30, while Ninth U.S. Army still had 28, and Third U.S. Army none except 83 with the 8th Armored Division."
"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

Geoffrey Cooke
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Posts: 12
Joined: 11 Dec 2020 07:08
Location: Illinois

Re: M24 Chaffee in the Ardennes?

Post by Geoffrey Cooke » 31 Jan 2021 05:20

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Jan 2021 02:20
Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
30 Jan 2021 23:57
According to Wikipedia it was distributed to light tank units starting in December 1944. I’ve checked the numbers for several units (such as the 14th Cavalry Group) and so far they were all still equipped with Stuart’s throughout the battle. Anyone know which units received Chaffee’s in time for (or during) the Bulge?
From my manuscript For Purpose of Service Test. Sources available upon request. Please cite For Purpose of Service Test if you repost elsewhere. Thank you.

"One of the odder aspects of the ZEBRA Mission was that one of the items of equipment it was supposed to introduce to the ETOUSA, the Light Tank M24, was already in theater and in fact had already been in combat. In early November 1944, 128 of the M24 tanks had been manifested and allocated to the 12th Army Group. The intent, expressed by Major General Leven C. Allen, Chief of Staff, 12th Army Group, on 12 November was to use them to replace the Light Tank M5A1 in the 744th and 759th Tank Battalion (Light), followed by those in the 2d and 3d Armored Division. Sixty-eight each would go to the First and Ninth U.S. Army for the purpose. By mid-December, the first 20 arrived at a First U.S. Army Ordnance depot near Sprimont, Belgium, intended for the 759th Tank Battalion (Light) and 20 arrived at a Ninth U.S. Army Ordnance depot intended for the 744th Tank Battalion (Light). However, the beginning of the Ardennes Offensive abruptly changed General Allen’s plan.

Two of the tanks grabbed by the 740th Tank Battalion at Sprimont on 19 December (see Chapter 13) were Light Tanks M24 intended for the 744th Tank Battalion, which had been shipped to Sprimont by mistake. The two tanks soldiered on with the battalion until early February. The remaining 18 Light Tanks M24 meant for the 744th Tank Battalion were issued on 24 December by the 536th Ordnance Maintenance Company of the Ninth U.S. Army. However, the hurried transfer of the 2d Armored Division from Ninth to First U.S. Army and the commitment of the 3d Armored Division to blunt the German attack delayed the plan to equip the two divisions with the M24 until February.

The Light Tank M24 was heartily endorsed by the theater in a conference on 10 January between General Eisenhower and ranking officers of SHAEF and the ETOUSA on one side, and General Somervell on the other. All parties agreed it was “absolutely essential to raise the replacement factor for the light tank M24 for the ETO to 14 per cent a month and to raise the reserve level to [of the] on hand in RTO for this tank to 70 per cent.” It was understood that all the remaining Light Tanks M5 would remain in theater as assets until they were worn out or destroyed. Four days later the decision was endorsed by General Marshall.

The next unit to actually receive the new tank was the First U.S. Army’s 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech) at the end of January, which got eight, while the Ninth U.S. Army’s 744th Tank Battalion received ten more. By the end of January, a total of 288 of the tanks were allocated to the armies, although only 211 to 214 had actually arrived at army depots and even fewer – about 38 – had actually reached units. The problem was lack of transport to get the tanks forward from the ports to the armies. Of 5,634 tanks reported on hand with the First, Third, and Ninth U.S. Army on 31 January, just over 10 percent, 589, were actually still at the ports waiting to be moved to the forward army depots.

On 2 February, the two hijacked Light Tanks M24 with the 740th Tank Battalion were detached from the battalion and sent on a tour of First U.S. Army units. They never returned to the battalion and were probably eventually assigned to other units. One possibly went to the 18th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech), which recorded one on hand on 5 February. Also on the same day, the 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech) reported 17 M24 on hand, of which 3 were in repair (an increase of 9) and the 38th Cavalry reported 12 on hand. All told, on 5 February First U.S. Army reported 30, while Ninth U.S. Army still had 28, and Third U.S. Army none except 83 with the 8th Armored Division."
Thank you Richard. On “By mid-December, the first 20 arrived at a First U.S. Army Ordnance depot near Sprimont, Belgium, intended for the 759th Tank Battalion (Light)...Two of the tanks grabbed by the 740th Tank Battalion at Sprimont on 19 December (see Chapter 13) were Light Tanks M24 intended for the 744th Tank Battalion” it’s a little unclear from this, did the 740th Tank Battalion also take the M24s intended for the 759th at Sprimont?

Richard Anderson
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Re: M24 Chaffee in the Ardennes?

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Jan 2021 06:38

Geoffrey Cooke wrote:
31 Jan 2021 05:20
Thank you Richard. On “By mid-December, the first 20 arrived at a First U.S. Army Ordnance depot near Sprimont, Belgium, intended for the 759th Tank Battalion (Light)...Two of the tanks grabbed by the 740th Tank Battalion at Sprimont on 19 December (see Chapter 13) were Light Tanks M24 intended for the 744th Tank Battalion” it’s a little unclear from this, did the 740th Tank Battalion also take the M24s intended for the 759th at Sprimont?
Essentially, the original plan consigned two equal sets of 20 M24 to each depot, one for First Army and the 759th Tk Bn, and one for Ninth Army and the 744th Tk Bn. They were supposed to be then issued for familiarization and training by each battalion. It is unclear exactly how it happened, but two of the tanks consigned to Ninth Army and the 744th Tk Bn, ended up in Sprimont at the First Army depot and in the emergency during the Bulge the 740th Tk Bn, which was ready to fight...except it had received few tanks...appropriated the two miss-delivered tanks. :lol: They made good use of them until they were made to give them back. So those two are the most likely candidates for "first in combat", against KG Peiper around La Gleize, since those issued to the 744th and 759th Tk Bn did not see action until January.
"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

Yoozername
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Re: M24 Chaffee in the Ardennes?

Post by Yoozername » 01 Feb 2021 17:25


Richard Anderson
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Re: M24 Chaffee in the Ardennes?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Feb 2021 17:56

Yoozername wrote:
01 Feb 2021 17:25
This is a very interesting website devoted to M24 and related AFV.
From my manuscript of For Purpose of Service Test:

Table 66: Light Tanks M24 with 12th Army Group Units, 28 April 1945
First Army
3d Armored Division 42
6th Armored Division 20
7th Armored Division 51
9th Armored Division 32
749th Tank Battalion 1
4th Cavalry Group 33
6th Cavalry Group 32
102d Cavalry Group 34
Third Army
4th Armored Division 17
11th Armored Division 17
13th Armored Division 79
14th Armored Division 14
16th Armored Division 83
748th Tank Battalion 5
2d Cavalry Group 25
3d Cavalry Group 32
14th Cavalry Group 31
Ninth Army
2d Armored Division 33
5th Armored Division 17
8th Armored Division 82
736th Tank Battalion 17
744th Tank Battalion 34
11th Cavalry Group 28
15th Cavalry Group 34
113th Cavalry Group 34
Total 817
"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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