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Armored divisions

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by GunSlinger86, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I've posted a similar thread, but I've been doing some reading, and according to the articles I read the light and heavy US armored divisions included no tank destroyers, just light and medium tanks, 105mm M4, M7 and M8 assault guns, but no M10, M18, or M36. That seemed kind of odd to me, does anyone know if the Tank destroyers were separate from all armored divisions with their own independent battalions, or were they incorporated into the armored divisions?
     
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Just off the top of my head, and I may be wrong, but I think they were in independent battalions. That would not preclude them from being attached to an armored division but wouldn't be listed in their TO&E.
     
  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Harolds is correct. The TD battalions were attached to Infantry Divisions and were mostly towed guns until mid/late in 1944. They changed them out as various SP Tank Destroyers came on line.
    Were they attached to Armored Divisions? I don't know, but I kind of doubt it because of the lack of mobility until SPs came rolling out, and those would have gone to Infantry Divisions as a priority.
     
  4. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I think they would be attached to armored divisions because they are armor, and they destroy armor. I know during one of the battles after the breakout of Normandy, there was a tank destroyer battalion attached to the 4th armored division that they called in during Arracourt, so maybe they were independent but attached.
     
  5. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    They were M18s that came in.
     
  6. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Here's some info regarding AD's landing on the continent during June-August, 44:

    2nd AD 9 June w/702nd TD Bn (M10's)
    3rd AD 24 June w/703rd TD Bn (M10's)
    5th AD 25 July w/628th TD Bn (M10's)
    6th AD 18 July w/603rd TD Bn (M18's)
    7th AD 10 Aug w/814th TD Bn (M10's)

    To my knowledge, TD Battalions were always attached, not assigned or integrated, to whatever type of unit they were with.

    From the book "Tank Destroyer Forces/WWII" by Lonnie Gill, Chapter Five: Normandy: "Eleven towed and 19 self-propelled Tank Destroyer battalions were readied for the invasion. It was planned to assign the towed battalions to the infantry divisions and retain the self-propelled units with higher echelons to act as reserves in accordance with Tank Destroyer doctrine. But, practice amphibious maneuvers in England soon showed how vulnerable the towed guns and prime movers would be while unloading and deploying for action."
     
    TD-Tommy776 and belasar like this.
  7. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    According to Harry Yeides, attached self-propelled tank destroyer battalions had been a fixture with armored divisions since Sicily. There was the belief at US Army headquarters that perhaps towed guns were the future and plans were made accordingly, but Normandy disabused all of that illusion and the planned conversion of SP units to towed units were scrapped, while converted units were re-converted.

    Referencing tank destroyer battalions mentioned in the US Army green book series show that TD battalions attached to armored divisions were almost always self-propelled, while infantry divisions received mostly towed gun units, but depending on the assignment an infantry outfit may receive SP tank destroyers. In the Battle of Aachen the 1st ID got a tank battalion and an SP tank destroyer battalion, if memory serves in addition to their towed 3-in. guns.
     
  8. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    M36 didn't come in til the late fall of 1944?
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    First things first, there was no such thing as a "light" and a "heavy" armored division. Those are postwar terms.The 1st, 2d, and 3d AD retained the March 1942 TO&E after a new TO&E was adopted in July 1943, partly because they were already deployed outside CONUS. The 1st AD then converted to the new TO&E in Italy in July 1944, while the 2d and 3d retained the old TO&E, with modifications, until the end of the war because of the desires of the ETOUSA.

    The second commanding generals of the Armored Force, Jake Devers, wanted the TD battalion as an assigned part of the armored division, but was overruled. With the elimination of the office of the Chief of Infantry there was no advocate for the same for the infantry division, but they likely would have been overruled as well.

    All of the TD battalions were originally intended to be self-propelled, although some formed for the old FA AT batteries and experimental infantry AT companies used towed guns - 37mm and 75mm. It wasn't until observer reports from Tunisia indicated the supposed virtue of towed guns that they were revived, with plans for about half the battalions be converted. Experience in the ETO in June and July indicated the advantages were illusory, so with War Department agreement a program was begun in the fall to use excess M10 GMC generated by the introduction of the M36 in theater to outfit more TD battalions as SP. By VE Day many had been converted, but by then the whole concept of the separate TD was in question and it was abolished as a separate command postwar.

    All armored divisions in the ETO routinely had an SP TD battalion more or less permanently attached. Often in First Army and Ninth Army they were the M36-equipped battalions, but in Third Army they were usually M18-equipped.

    "Assault" divisions in NEPTUNE were originally all intended to have SP TD battalions attached as were the two assault corps, because of the decision to avoid wheeled tactical vehicles in the assault echelon. Towed battalions came in fairly early nonetheless and were usually attached to infantry divisions...until more TD battalions were found.
     
  10. Natman

    Natman Member

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    The 703rd was issued eighteen M36's on Sept 30, 44, fourteen more on Oct 17 and the final 4 on the 20th. The 610th left the line on Sept 30, and spent most of October re-equipping with the M36, conducting test firing on the 21st.
     
  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Early fall. The first were operational c. 21 September 1944 in the ETO. By 20 October 170 were on hand.
     
  12. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    On a US Army Armored History website I was on, they described the divisions as "Light" and "Heavy" armored divisions, I think based on the number of tanks and guns per division. I didn't think that either.
     
  13. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    What was the average size of US Army tank divisions/battalions and TD battalions?
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Personnel? Equipment? Armored division (there were no US Army "Tank" divisions) or Tank Battalion or TD Battalion?
     
  15. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Sorry, I meant what was the average number of tanks and tank destroyers in their respective battalions?
     
  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    54 for tank battalions and 36 for TD battalions.
     
  17. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Thanks Rich, appreciate the response.
     
  18. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Even though the US had a superior materiel advantage, were they ever short of supplies in the ETO due to shipping or supplying tanks to England through lend-lease?
     
  19. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
  20. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    So there were times when German tanks outnumbered Allied tanks in the field? I always read that stat there were always ten Shermans lurking for one tiger, one panther, etc. in the ETO
     

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