Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Sep 2021 11:28

AETIUS 1980 wrote:
20 Sep 2021 15:52
We must admit that the use of the TM.10 in the first phase of the landing remains a mystery to me. Certainly versatile machines, designed for the "hunt" of armored vehicles, there are only a few fragilities left making it unsuitable for this type of direct engagement on the beach. Its lack of superior protection is a real vulnerability to mortars, not to mention its armor. The armament deployed on the points of support does not guarantee him any chance of survival (even against a gun of 2.5 cm Pak 113 (f), then against a 5 cm KwK L/60 ......). Should we see a desire to possess at all costs a means of fighting in ambush against the German armored vehicles? The closest are also equivalents (platoon of Marder I/Sdk.fz.135 of the 1./Pz.Jg.Kp.716 (Sf) on Crésserons) and will not be deployed in direct confrontation. Then comes the question of those owned by the 21.Pz.Div and then in the Falaise sector.The Allied chain of command had probably estimated the minimum time required to respond to this threat, which must be diluted in view of Allied coverage and maritime support. It can be suggested that the fear of seeing a Salerno or Anzio-Nettuno renewed has fueled the need to have anti-tank training from the first wave, although it is a tactical counter-use! We can clearly see the traffic jam caused on the beach in the middle of the weak corridors drawn between mines. These bottlenecks of strangeness will limit the deployment of entities in constituted level which will have repercussions on the means available in the hands of the management of the 3rd Inf.Div to succeed in its various missions.

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AETIUS
AETIUS my friend, put aside the tankie propaganda "the best anti-tank weapon is another tank."

British army doctrine was to kill tanks with anti tank guns - as at El Alamein, Medennine pass, and as would come to pass in Normandy at Bretteville and Op Epsom.

The British anticipated strong counter attacks by German armour on D Day and their infantry would need their anti tank guns. The establishment of the anti tank regiments of infantry divisions was for a mix of towed equipments: 17 pounder, towed by Field Artillery Tractors and 6 pounders towed by universal carriers.

Universal carriers were seriously underpowered, its engine had about the same power output of the economy versions of a small family car. Their across country performance was described by a senior gunner as paralytic. Bogged infantry 6 pounders was one of the causes of traffic jams on the pre D Day exercises. The FAT was un-armoured and unsuited to operations in the battle area.

The M10 was chosen to equip the anti-tank regiments of the assault divisions on D Day. It could be used in the surf and mounted on tracks was less likely to bog down. Its armour was enough to protect the detachment from bullets, and from splinters from mortar bombs and artillery rounds.

The RA liked the M10 and had confidence in its capabilties. SP anti tank guns were not supposed to be used as tanks, but to engage enemy armour from ambush positions. The Gunners did not seem to suffer as much from from the Tiger phobia that afflicted British and American armour. One regimental history notes that "The 3 inch SP was a good anti-tank gun. The 17 pounder SP was a terror. There was no enemy tank that could not be penetrated by a 17 pounder" B troop of 41 Anti tank battery's M10s accounted for two of the ten tanks lost by KG v Oppeln to B Squadron Staffordshire Yeomanry on Periers Ridge. One M10 was knocked out, killing the No1 Sgt Mitchley. In practice the M10 was also used as an assault gun when no other armour was available - as shown in the photograph.

Besides the eight M10s, from I troop 45 and G troop 67 anti tank batteries, three more troops of artillery AFVs also landed at 08.10 - just before the Sword Beaches were considered suppressed. These were A and C Troops of 218 Light AA Battery, each equipped with three 40mm bofors SP crusaders, and G Troop 322 battery, equipped with three triple 20mm cannon mounted on crusader tanks. These were unarmoured mountings. It may be significant that German defensive fire dropped shortly after the landing of an additional fifteen well armed AFVs on Sword beach.

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 21 Sep 2021 12:17

Hello, I understand your point of view and i respect it, yet two points;
_ Coming from the infantry and specialized in the field of anti-tank for nearly 20 years (with some operational deployments to confirm my claims), the greatest threat to an armored vehicle whatever its tonnage remains the infantry and its composantes.That's a fact although I am aware that times are changing and that the context of 1944 is not similar to those I have encountered!
_ Then comes the use of anti-tank means from or attached to the 3rd Inf.Div on June 6. If I concede that the towed guns have been efficient in their jobs, there is a real gap onthe use of these means (TM 10) during the day, see over the rest of the week until the front line stabilizes.

Best regards
AETIUS

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by EKB » 22 Sep 2021 19:04

...

Newsreel film showing Generals Thomas Rennie and John Crocker visiting troops from the 20th Anti-Tank Regiment and 13th/18th Hussars. The LCTs were docked at Gosport.
Generals Crocker Rennie Gosport .png
IWM A70 25-4

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Last edited by EKB on 23 Sep 2021 08:49, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 23 Sep 2021 01:58

AETIUS 1980 wrote:
21 Sep 2021 12:17
Hello, I understand your point of view and i respect it, yet two points;
_ Coming from the infantry and specialized in the field of anti-tank for nearly 20 years (with some operational deployments to confirm my claims), the greatest threat to an armored vehicle whatever its tonnage remains the infantry and its composantes.That's a fact although I am aware that times are changing and that the context of 1944 is not similar to those I have encountered!
_ Then comes the use of anti-tank means from or attached to the 3rd Inf.Div on June 6. If I concede that the towed guns have been efficient in their jobs, there is a real gap onthe use of these means (TM 10) during the day, see over the rest of the week until the front line stabilizes.

Best regards
AETIUS
The British concept for dealing with German armoured attacks was anti tank artillery sited in depth, but the Germans never were able to mount a serious armoured attack in any stength, largely because gthe Germans were forced to respond to British and Canadian attacks. There was an attack of sorts on D Day, a couple by 12 SS on Bretteville and the counter attack against Op Epsom. Instead the most common type of acivity was an assault by British or Canadian troops supported by artillery and tanks, followed by preparation against the inevitable counter attack, which might be supported by tanks. The 6 pounders were useful, small and easy to deploy and capable of KO's most German armour at bocage ranges. Only the 17 pounders could deal with Tigers, but ]17 pounders took about twelve hours to dig in. The SP Anti tank guns could provide instant anti tank support.

You can find a lot more in my book Gunners in Normandy...

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by EKB » 24 Sep 2021 09:20

Michael Kenny wrote:
19 Sep 2021 14:46
EKB wrote:
19 Sep 2021 10:49
To the right is an M10 self-propelled gun of the 20th Anti-Tank Regiment RA.”
2 M10, the browning is clearly visible on the 2nd vehicle.

View from the opposite side of the M10s …
Two M10s on Sword Beach (IWM B 5093) copy.jpg
IWM / B5093

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Sep 2021 16:04

Sheldrake wrote:
21 Sep 2021 11:28

AETIUS my friend, put aside the tankie propaganda "the best anti-tank weapon is another tank."
This was not inclusive...American experience was anti- AT gun especially, after the Ardennes with statistics claiming that several AT guns were lost for every German tank knocked out. The 57mm gun was considered to be clumsy by the tank destroyer troops. The AT gun was core to Soviet Anti-tank strategy but they were lost in the tens of thousands, clearly armor was better but sealing off the Eastern front required a massive Anti-tank gun force and the Soviets were not rich enough to have armor everywhere.

German experience on the Eastern Front was also very favorable to armor (particularly the Stug arm) in the anti-tank role. I have seen a document analyzing a sizable sample of towed, open-topped AT (Marder) and Stug, they rated the Stug the most successful, Marder in between, towed the least.

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 24 Sep 2021 19:01

Good evening,
first of all sorry to EKB for "polluting" its subject on matters concerning the best possibilities of guarding against an armored vehicle. I understand everyone's point of view, accept it on certain but cannot validate all aspects. However, I will not go into conflict, everyone is free to reason in their own way. Small point of attention, the famous StuG come from the Artillery (an idea of Erich Von MANSTEIN) and therefore had no initial vocation to the anti-tank fight, this threat having to be stopped by the parts of 3.7 cm Pak 36/37.
To come back to the original subject, the beach of Hermanville-sur-Mer had a relatively reduced depth on June 6 (phenomenon of the tides in particular), which like St Aubin and Bernières-sur-Mer will lead to an accumulation of troops. and materials in a small space (as the photo shows). As I had said, these monster traffic jams will have a perverse effect, while seeing as much more than the German resistance, by preventing the opening of the means dedicated to the breakthrough and exploitation.
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AETIUS

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by EKB » 24 Sep 2021 19:25

...

The best case for the M10 is that it made the gun mobile. A towed gun with short lines of sight often turned into a one-shot, disposable weapon.

Gunners 20th ATk Rgt haul gun uphill c. 1941 (IWM H8379).png
Members of No. 41 Battery, 20th Anti-Tank Regiment, during a training exercise in the U.K. March 22, 1941. IWM / H8379.
https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item ... /205197411

17 pdr gun © IWM NA 6685.jpg
Pheasant-mod 17-pounder gun of No. 267 Battery, 67th Anti-Tank Regiment at Naples, Italy. September 10, 1943. IWM / NA 6685.
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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Sep 2021 20:50

Cult Icon wrote:
24 Sep 2021 16:04
Sheldrake wrote:
21 Sep 2021 11:28

AETIUS my friend, put aside the tankie propaganda "the best anti-tank weapon is another tank."
This was not inclusive...American experience was anti- AT gun especially, after the Ardennes with statistics claiming that several AT guns were lost for every German tank knocked out. The 57mm gun was considered to be clumsy by the tank destroyer troops. The AT gun was core to Soviet Anti-tank strategy but they were lost in the tens of thousands, clearly armor was better but sealing off the Eastern front required a massive Anti-tank gun force and the Soviets were not rich enough to have armor everywhere.

German experience on the Eastern Front was also very favorable to armor (particularly the Stug arm) in the anti-tank role. I have seen a document analyzing a sizable sample of towed, open-topped AT (Marder) and Stug, they rated the Stug the most successful, Marder in between, towed the least.
The claim that "the best anti tank weapon is another tank" was one of those assertions that deserved challenge.

One of the key points made by Heinz Guderian in Panzer Leader was that armour was only effective in certain kinds of terrain., So in a city or thick forest the best anti tank weapon might be an infantryman with an anti tank grenade or short ranged hand held anti tank weapon. In mountains ? An anti-tank mine or demolition programme. in a desert? A long ranged gun or anti tank missile.

The true answer is that it all depends on the situation. Tanks have a good balance of firepower, armour and mobility, but they were and are not invincible.

It is true that 21 Army Group Operations Research analysis of several engagements in the northern half of the Ardennes concluded that towed anti tank equipment was less survivable than SP equipment - which is one big reason why Gunner antitank units liked the M10.

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Sep 2021 21:06

EKB wrote:
24 Sep 2021 19:25
The best case for the M10 is that it made the gun mobile. A towed gun with short lines of sight often turned into a one-shot, disposable weapon.
This grossly under estimates the capabilities of the M10. It had a gun that could KO most tanks it would meet and if armed with the 17 pounder the crew had confidence that they could kill any Germany tank. It also protected the detachment from random battlefield missiles. It also had the confidence of its users. There is a paradox. RAC crews thought the M4 Sherman to be a death trap. Yet RA anti tank gunners thought that the M10 SP gun, with inferior armour was brilliant.

Well sited anti-tank guns could be a death trap for tanks. Well sited guns engaged the enemy from a flank and may not be spotted.

2nd Army ORS calculated that on D Day each anti-tank gun knocked out an average of three vehicles before being knocked out themselves. On this occasion the attackers had pinpoint information about the location of the anti tank guns.

The enemy of towed anti tank guns was the splinters from HE shells from tanks or artillery, and mortars or aircraft bombs. If the gunners could be neutralised, the guns could neither fire nor move.

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by Art » 25 Sep 2021 09:51

Cult Icon wrote:
24 Sep 2021 16:04
German experience on the Eastern Front was also very favorable to armor (particularly the Stug arm) in the anti-tank role.
That was what German official instructions said. "By the present moment assault guns proved themselves as the best anti-tank weapon" (from May 1944)

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by EKB » 26 Sep 2021 01:35

...
M10 S.P. loading on LCT 853 (216) A copy.jpg
M10 S.P. loading on LCT 853 (216) B copy.jpg
M10 S.P. loading on LCT 853 (216) C copy.jpg
M10 S.P. loading on LCT 853 (216) F copy.jpg
AVRE and Two M-10s ZOOM copy.jpg

IWM Cinefilm A70 23-3 taken at Gosport, showing an M10 Tank Destroyer from 20th Anti-Tank Regiment loading on LCT 853 (216). The TD carries the number 31678 on the front fender. One of the M10s later seen on the beach has the fender marked as 36350. What is the significance of these numbers?

Also wondering why the disc-shaped marker displaying a 29-ton load rating is missing on M10/31678. The M5 light tank is marked with a number 64, for reasons unknown to me.

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by MikeMeech » 26 Sep 2021 14:38

EKB wrote:
24 Sep 2021 19:25
...

The best case for the M10 is that it made the gun mobile. A towed gun with short lines of sight often turned into a one-shot, disposable weapon.


Gunners 20th ATk Rgt haul gun uphill c. 1941 (IWM H8379).png

Members of No. 41 Battery, 20th Anti-Tank Regiment, during a training exercise in the U.K. March 22, 1941. IWM / H8379.
https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item ... /205197411


17 pdr gun © IWM NA 6685.jpg

Pheasant-mod 17-pounder gun of No. 267 Battery, 67th Anti-Tank Regiment at Naples, Italy. September 10, 1943. IWM / NA 6685.
https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item ... /205194417
Hi
However, moving anti-tank guns by hand was second nature to many anti-tank gunners, a short passage from my father's memoirs reference handling the 6 pdr by hand over rough terrain for mobility trials in India during WW2:
WW1acdpec167.jpg
Mike
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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by EwenS » 27 Sep 2021 09:44

It is one thing to pull a 1.2 ton 6pdr gun across country by its crew of 6, but it is entirely another to try to pull the dimensionally physically larger 3 ton 17pdr with the same number.

Finding suitable towing vehicles for the 17pdr seems to have been an issue. The intended tow vehicles, Quads and Half tracks, seem to have struggled, leading to tank conversions based on the Ram, Crusader and Stuart before 1944 was out. Nicholas Straussler, inventor of the DD tank, produced a conversion for the 17pdr in an attempt to make the basic gun more mobile. In principle it was a strap on engine unit. It came to nothing more than a prototype. Photos here.
https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php? ... ee/page/4/

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Re: Photo ID: British M10 Tank Destroyer in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 27 Sep 2021 19:33

EwenS wrote:
27 Sep 2021 09:44
It is one thing to pull a 1.2 ton 6pdr gun across country by its crew of 6, but it is entirely another to try to pull the dimensionally physically larger 3 ton 17pdr with the same number.

Finding suitable towing vehicles for the 17pdr seems to have been an issue. The intended tow vehicles, Quads and Half tracks, seem to have struggled, leading to tank conversions based on the Ram, Crusader and Stuart before 1944 was out. Nicholas Straussler, inventor of the DD tank, produced a conversion for the 17pdr in an attempt to make the basic gun more mobile. In principle it was a strap on engine unit. It came to nothing more than a prototype. Photos here.
https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php? ... ee/page/4/
There is a trail of memoranda in the RA Training Memoranda between 1942 and 1945. A 1943 trial looked at M3 half tracks, but concluded that they lacked power to tow the Gun. However, later Lend Lease M14 half tracks had a more powerful engine and with the AA mounts removed became the tractor for 17 pounder guns in the British Armoured Divisions in N W Europe. Crusader gun tractors were issued to the two Corps Anti tank regiments that landed on D Day -m and maybe the other Corps anti tank regiments. However the combination of Crusader gun tractor, limber and 17 pounder was 60 foot long and tricky to manouvre around the lanes of Normandy. The gun still needed to be dug in - which took about 12 hours. Hence the popularity of the M10 SP Anti tank gun with 3 inch or 17 Pounder. Why tow a 17 poiunder with a tank when you can mount it on a tank.

The Field Artillery Tractor was the default tractor for Infantry Divisions. However, the unarmoured FAT with non self sealing petrol tank and laden with cordite propellent extremely vulnerable in forward areas, to shell and mortar fragments and small arms rounds. Ideally the 6 pounders were deployed forward, with the 17 pounders in depth coverign tank killing zones. That did not work in the battles in the Odon valley June-July 1944, as the Germans employed at least one battlaion of Tiger tanks impervious to 6 pounders. For one operation 17 Pounders were to be towed forwards by Churchill tanks at night and then dug in on the forward slopes of hill 113 (?) - its west of Hill 112. This did not work wel, with the 17 pounders picked off in the morning.

By the autumn 1944 the plannwas to introduce an 17 pounder SP on a British tank chassis (so it did not need to be handed back at the end of the War.) On and it would have no traverse and be mpounted facing the rear to ensure that no one would ever think of its as a tank.

The regimental history of 91st Anti tank Regiment (5th A & SH) says that the M10 batteries were constantly engaged while the 17 pounder batteries were hardlty ever in action.

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