Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Making sense of WWII Activities (767th Tank Batallion)

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by wolves69, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    13
    I'm trying to make sense of what units/locations my Grandfather served. Unfortunately he is deceased but I do have some of his documents, and/or possessions that may lead to clues. I'm especially interested in what units he served and/or how did he get campaign credits when his unit did not receive them. Here is some of his information:
    1. Inducted: 27 Mar 1940 (From Honorable Discharge Report)
    2. Arrived Hawaii (Schofield Barracks): 27 May 1940 (Possibly with the 24th Inf Div) (Oral through wife)
    3. Survived the attack and went inland to shore up defenses (oral history) (Oral)
    4. Campaign Credits (From Honorable Discharge Report):
    Central Pacific, Eastern Mandates (Kwajalein - Oral account), Southern Philippines, Ryukus
    5. Medals on Discharge Papers: Good Conduct Medal (no devices), Asiatic Pacific (4 B.S. with Arrowhead), Philippine Liberation (2 B.S.), American Defense Service Medal (1 B.S.) (From Honorable Discharge Report)
    6. Date of Return to US: 16 Aug 1945, Date of Discharge 22 Aug 1945, ASR Score 125, 73 Days Lost under AW 107 (for driving through the Dole Plantation-Oral History)
    6a. After Ryukus, he returned briefly to Hawaii, and was heading for Japan for the "Big Invasion" and troop ship was turned around for dis-embarkment to the US (Oral History)
    7. Organization Co B, 767th Tank Battalion (From Honorable Discharge Report and Discharge Certificate)
    8. Army Qualification Separation Record (22 Aug 1945): 746 Autorifleman (9 months/Pvt), 745 Rifleman (1 year/Pvt), 531 Cannoner (5 months/PFC), 1736 Lt Tank Crewman (2 months/Sgt), Med Tank Crewman (1 yr-6 mths) Sgt (Later PANG paperwork says he was a Rifleman III throughout the war)

    Here are the glowing problems I'm having that someone might shed some light:
    Assuming he stayed with the 767th Tank Batallion when he converted from Rifleman to Tanks, how did he get credit for other campaigns while his unit did not? Transfer? I'm thinking his 1736 Lt Tank Crewman of 2 months was with another unit? What units had Light Tanks?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,808
    Likes Received:
    1,669
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    wolves69 likes this.
  3. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2018
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    30
    wolves69,

    The 767th Tank Battalion was originally organized as a Light Tank Battalion (Provisional). At some point prior to the landings on Leyte it was converted to a standard independent tank battalion with three companies (A, B, and C) of medium tanks and one company (D) of light tanks. This explains how your grandfather came to serve in both light and medium tanks.

    Infantrymen were sometimes used as replacements for independent tank battalions. This was the result of shortages of trained replacements. The 716th Tank Battalion, for example, received a number of infantrymen as replacements during the fighting on Luzon. The battalion set up a school of sorts to give the infantrymen a bit of training before sending them into combat. This explains how a man like your grandfather could go from infantryman to tanker.

    If you can post an image of his DD214 "Report of Separation" it may help us sort out some of the other details of his service.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
    wolves69 likes this.
  4. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,435
    Likes Received:
    203
    "Ryukus" to me would mean the Okinawa battle in which tanks were used extensively.
     
    wolves69 likes this.
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,808
    Likes Received:
    1,669
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Except, to the best of my knowledge, the 767th did not participate in that operation...Unless his grandfather was on detached service
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    634
    No, it didn't, but that may not be a big deal. The Hawaiian Provisional Tank Battalion (Light) was activated and organized 7 September 1942, at Schofield Barracks, from the assets of the Antitank Company, 25th Infantry Division, which in turn was formed from the old 11th Tank Company of the Hawaiian Division. Remember, the 24th and 25th ID did not exist before October 1941, before that it was the Hawaiian Division. On 8 February 1943, the Provisional Battalion was discontinued and its assets used to form the 766th and 767th Tank Battalions.

    If he was inducted in March 1940, and arrived in May, he was in the Hawaiian Division. Probably originally as a rifleman or automatic rifleman. After 21 months of service, so c. February-March 1942 (prior to his arrival in Hawaii he was a Basic Private I suspect), he became a Cannoneer, so likely was assigned to the AT Company, 25th ID. Five months after that, probably around July-August he qualified as a tanker and transitioned to the new Provisional organization. The question is, was he later assigned to the 766th or the 767th Tank Battalion? As we know, the unit he was discharged with was not necessarily the one he served in.

    So both battalions went to the Marshall Islands. B Company, 766th was at Kwajalein, but did not land, C Company only landed on Eniwetok. Later, D Company served on Saipan, and then the battalion returned to Hawaii and were inactivated there 4 April 1945. The 767th went to the Marshall Islands, then the Philippines, and from there went back to Hawaii and were slated for the invasion of Japan, but instead went there as Army of occupation and were inactivated there 31 March 1946. I suspect with his long service he was instead discharged and sent home. The only oddity is the credit for Okinawa. He may have been transferred as a filler to one of the battalions in the invasion, the 706th, 711th, or 763d.
     
    wolves69 and WILD DUKW like this.
  7. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    13
    I'll post his orders later today or tomorrow. I understand most of the information on it, but was having trouble understanding the WWII tank deployments as it relates to campaigns. Thank you Rich (and everyone else!). Yes, I've read the AAR. very interesting. Here are a few "follow-on" questions:
    1. Light Tank designator: what vehicles would they have been? I'm assuming M4s were designated Medium.
    2. Cannoneer MOS designator of 531 doesn't appear in any of my research. Could this be an error in the number on the form?
    3. How accurate were the discharge papers during this timeframe? I know each unit had a personnel folder, but how common was it for a serviceman to get or not get credit for campaigns or training?
    4. How common was it to be temporary transferred from say the 766 to 767? The AAR doesn't mention names for the enlisted. Go figure.
    5. On some research, it mentions some Tank Battalions were converted to amphibious units. Would there be additional training for the crewman? In my grandfather's case, could this be possible?
    6. He later served in a local PANG unit and was discharged later. I have his paperwork from them, but they really don't mention anything prior to his entry into the Guard. Would there be more information through the PANG, especially concerning his WWII information?

    Unfortunately, I cannot do a FOIA request (probably not prudent) because he requested his records in the 80s and got a notice that most of his files were destroyed. His discharge and certificate were the only things he got.
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    634
    The tanks in common use were:

    Light Tank M2A2, AKA the "Mae West" tank. Prewar and early war use by the 11th Tank Company.
    Light Tank M3 (and M3A1, M3A2, M3A3...the original "Stuart" light tank. Note there was also a Medium Tank M3, M3A1, M3A2, M3A3, M3A4, and M3A5. They are not the same.
    Light Tank M5 (and M5A1)...the improved "Stuart" light tank.
    Medium Tank M4 (and M4A1 and M4A3, the M4A2 and M4A4 were probably not used by either battalion).

    I suspect it was "1531", which was the general designator for cannoneers, ammunition handlers, and NCOs for "pack artillery", which was probably the one used for much of the "beach gun" artillery in the Hawaiian Division.

    Paperwork was paperwork. The old rule of thumb was if you got a copy of a personnel document, keep it in a folder for yourself and don't depend on the Army to keep track of it for you. Such were - and still are - very important for recognition, awards, decorations, and most critically, pay and allowances. :)

    Trained Armored crewmen were always in short supply. Replacement Depots liked to send them to the infantry for some unknown reason. Given both the 766th and 767th originated from the Provisional Battalion, it is even more possible. And yes, Historical Reports and AAR's typically only mention officer names if they mention names at all. :D You need a Morning Report.

    Yes, that is also a possibility, but given the large number of them in Hawaii and California at the end of the war, it would be expected he would have been discharged from one of them if his last assignment was with them. Still a possibility though.

    The 28th ID PANG Museum is an excellent resource. Contact them, you never know what they might have.

    Yep, all too common. I only have my Dad's 201 File because he kept a separate copy himself and served in the RA postwar, otherwise it likely would have gone up in smoke too (and his file copy did I'm sure).
     
    wolves69 likes this.
  9. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2018
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    30
    wolves69 likes this.
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,291
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Location:
    Michigan
    It has been mentioned that county courthouses sometimes kept copies of at least some of the records. You might try checking there.
     
    wolves69 likes this.
  11. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    13
    Often forgotten is checking the courthouse. Normally, I think only the discharge papers (DD214) may have been filed there. I may be wrong. I do have his discharge papers though....might not hurt to look anyway.

    Morning reports: are these still available? If so, where does one find them? hmmmm

    On military accuracy on WWII discharge papers, with so many individuals mustering out at the same time, AND that this was a manual process, I'm wondering how accurate that information might actually be? I retired from the AF in '08 and my first review of the DD214 caught many errors and they had automated databases! When my Dad was discharged from Vietnam, he said the only thing he cared about was the time served in country. However, I think his records were pretty straight forward. My thinking, most vets wanted to make sure the basic campaigns were on their form and accurate, especially since they had the ASR.

    So in essence, he probably crewed an M3 version and not the M4 with the 767th?

    Lastly, is there any way or difference in training for an Amphibious Battalion vs a Tank Battalion, especially as it pertains to the discharge paperwork?

    Thanks everyone! I'll have to relook at all the paperwork and re-evaluate some of my thoughts after some more detailed research!
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    634
    Sorry, my shorthand was confusing. Yes, the battalions would have used the Medium Tank M4, M4A1, or M4A3. It was unlikely they would have used the M4A2 and M4A4. The latter two were almost exclusively Lend-Lease to Britain and the Soviet Union, although some Marine Corps tank battalions used the M4A2 (and some Army units used them in training, along with the M4A4 in the States).
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    634
    Morning Reports are on microfilm at the National Personnel Records Center, St Louis. Do a search for them in the topic names here and you will find lots of info. I suggest you start from his discharge from a known unit, B, 767th Tk BN, and work backwards.

    It's usually transcription errors for WW2 records, afterwards its crock databases in electronic formats that are no longer readable. :D

    A typical screw up in a discharge in WW2 is my Dad's, they missed the award of a second BS...and he forgot about it until going through his own records in 2003. :D

    You cannot simply say M3 or M4 without giving the nomenclature. There were dozens of each, including 105mm M3 Howitzers and .45 Caliber M3 Submachine Guns. As a light tank crewman he may have served in the Light Tank M2A2 initially, then M3, and possibly M5. As a medium tank crewman he almost certainly served in a variant of the Medium Tank M4 (M4, M4A1, and M4A3 are engineering and manufacturing varianst of the Medium Tank M4-series).

    Not to my knowledge.

    Good luck!
     
  14. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    13
    Thank you very much for the clarification! and guidance!

    One last question, and it should be easy. On the Discharge Paper, it has him earning Expert with the TSMG in Jun 44. I'm assuming that would be the Thompson Submachine Gun. So, what Qualification Clasp would be on his badge? That would be Submachine Gun correct? He also earned Expert on the 30 cal, so by Army Policy, he would have the submachine gun AND Machine Gun Qualification Clasps?
     
  15. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    13
     

    Attached Files:

  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    634
    My mistake, he was in transit from CONUS to Hawaii for 43 days! So I suspect he was a Basic Private c. July 1940 and all of his training and qualifications line up even more nicely now. Also, with two Philippines Campaign stars he served in both the major campaigns there, which should make it easier to determine if he was in the 767th or 766th for them. I also need to check the criteria for the Ryukyus Campaign credit...if he was part of the reinforcement convoy in route when the campaign ended he may have qualified, which would also explain the odd reference to being on the way to Japan then turning around when the war ended.
     
  17. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    13
    . Never picked up on that. I always assumed he completed basic in Hawaii. But you make sense. So, where was Basic?
     
  18. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2018
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    30
    According to Stanton's OOB the 766th did not serve in the Philippines. That seems to leave the 767th, but it did not serve in Luzon or Southern Philippines campaigns.
     
  19. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    13
    this tidbit didn’t mean much, but in his possession was a souvenir from Leyete.
     
  20. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2018
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    30
    The souvenir seems to confirm he was on Leyte with the 767th. It is also possible that Stanton is wrong and all or part of the unit served in the Southern Philippines campaign. For me, when there is an official document that shows a veteran served in a particular campaign and a post-war history disagrees the "tie" goes to the veteran. Hopefully the PANG museum should have more on the subject.

    I'll keep an eye out for more information (I am trying to locate my copy of Gen. Eichechelberger's history of Eight Army and will check it for references to the 767th when it resurfaces.)

    Please let us know what you learn from your research. It is always interesting to see how these things turn out.
     

Share This Page