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The 'Ronson' Legend

Discussion in 'The Tanks of World War 2' started by Ricky, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Here is a question; everybody knows that the Sherman had the nicknames 'Ronson' and 'Tommy Cooker' - but did it?

    Did Allied troops really ever refer to the Sherman this way? I have read quite a few books written by British troopers who served in the Sherman during the war, and none of them mention it. If I remember correctly (Simon can hopefully confirm this) even Belton Y 'I hate the Sherman' Cooper does not refer to these nicknames.

    Did German troops really ever refer to the Sherman this way? They did in Sven Hassel's books, but I'm not convinced of their credibility as a source... :wink: I have not really read much by German tankers, so cannot really comment here.

    So, my challenge is to prove the truth of these nicknames.
     
  2. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    I can't recall Belton specifically mentioning either, I think it may be fair to suggest that this could well be a post-war nickname in the same kind of way that we all know (Or at least those who are into planes) how the P-47 was called the Jug, it just wasn't at the time by...
     
  3. Gunter_Viezenz

    Gunter_Viezenz New Member

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    Actually a few WWII veterans are coming to my school, if I meet em should I ask em if they ever heard the Sherman being refered to as "Tommy Cooker, or Ronson?
     
  4. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Yes please!

    Although unfortunately even if they say 'yes' it is not a guarentee that it happened. To use Simon's example many P-47 pilots will state that it was called the 'Jug', when 'Jug' was post-WW2 - WW2 nickname was 'Juggernaught'
     
  5. Oli

    Oli New Member

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    About 15-20 years ago Air Enthusiast did an article on P-47s. Apparently one of the less flattering names used upon first seeing it was "thunderjug" - a colloquialism for chamber pot, in reference to its size (one RAF test pilot said the best way of taking evesive action in a P-47 was to release the seat harnesses and run around in the cockpit...)
    It was "politically corrected" sometime later to just "Jug" and then reinvented as a contraction of Juggernaut.
     
  6. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Interesting, as I read an article in 'Aeroplane' or some similar magazine that had it being 'Juggernaught' - I'll try and find that article again...
     
  7. Gunter_Viezenz

    Gunter_Viezenz New Member

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    I asked a couple of them but, only one remembers teh Sherman ever being called a tommy cooker and he cannot remember wether it was durignt the war or not. :(


    At least I got to talk to a couple of fine man.
     
  8. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Hey Gunter, you are a priviledged guy.

    Back on topic, it looks like we have a wee bit of support now for the idea that the nicknames were not common in WW2 - at least on the Allied side. Although human memory is not always the most reliable source. :(
     
  9. merlin phpbb3

    merlin phpbb3 New Member

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    sherman

    'Sven Hassel'!!!!! has a lot to answer for, anyone who believes that rubbish probably believes in Father Christmas too! It is fiction you know!
    Re 'Tommy Cooker', most likely a post war story that is now believed because it sounds good, I do recall that the V2 was nick named a 'Doodle-Bug', an air raid siren a 'Wailing Willy', ATS knickers were 'Passion- Killers', corned beef was 'Desert Chicken, tiny wax matches from India called 'Ghandi's Revenge', VAD's (Voluntary Aid Detatchment's) Virgins Awaiting Destruction, many more, probably need a new thread!
     
  10. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    but merlin i think the doodle bug was the V 1 not the supersonic V 2
     
  11. merlin phpbb3

    merlin phpbb3 New Member

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    as abuv

    OK, OK, nit-picking! I'll tell you one thing, they both made a bloody big hole! The remark you made actually shows the difference between people of the WW" generation and 'tank-nerds' (is that the modern word?) we don't talk about penetration and armour statistics, most of us don't know them, you don't find war vets talking like that, most likely about the best place for a 'fry-up' in Port Said or about the 'bints' in the Red Light area of Benghazi!
    You don't think that people stood in the streets and argued if it was a V1 or V2 do you?
    Time I went to bed! just done a 14 hour journey from Germany, deleted 173 SPAM emails, put condolences on Regimental site re two of our lads (QDG) killed in Iraq and it's now tomorrow!
     
  12. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Could Tommy Cooker have been coined in the Korean war? A T-34 can be just as capable of setting a Sherman on fire as a Tiger or Panther (not in all instances of course).
     
  13. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Unlikely, as IIRC by then the only forces using Shermans were American, and 'Tommy' refers to a British soldier. 'Ronson' is far more likely to be an American nickname...

    Just to clarify - these nicknames, are they supposed to be Allied nicknames or German nicknames?

    Merlin - that is why I don't count Sven as a very accurate source :wink:
     
  14. Kilroy phpbb3

    Kilroy phpbb3 New Member

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    Tommy Cooker (Tommy Kocker) was the nickname the German's gave the Sherman in the western desert.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    IIRC, the photo in question was taken on Okinawa, or Iwo... one of the later pacific campaigns. I believe the Sherman in question hit a buried Japanese torpedo or aerial bomb that flipped it over.
    The thing burned for days and the driver did not get out. All they found when things cooled-off were his dog-tags. He was incinerated.

    Tim
     
  16. CometFan

    CometFan Member

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    Re: sherman

    RIGHT ON SPOT

    Sven Hazel is NOT a trustworthy author, hardly an author. His books might be quite entertaining but don't believe they are based on true persons and situations.
    According to this http://home.tiscali.dk/haaest/Hassel-Hazel/Texts/Dansk/06-kapitel.htm wed-site (in danish), Sven Hazel has never been a soldier in the german army. The author of the site present a lot of documentation showing Sven Hazel (which is an alias) as a very dubious person.
     
  17. Kilroy phpbb3

    Kilroy phpbb3 New Member

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    It was the best picture of a burning Sherman I could find. I should have clarified where it happened.
     
  18. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Hi Kilroy, thanks for joining us! - do you have any actual evidence of that? I am trying to get to the bottom of this...
     
  19. Kilroy phpbb3

    Kilroy phpbb3 New Member

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    First off the Tommy Cooker was the nickname of a WW1 field stove the British troops used.

    I can't find when the phrase "Tommy Cooker" was first used, but it isn't surprising for a new enemy vehicle to get an unfriendly nickname.

    My guess: And I've got very little to back this up..
    The German's in the desert wouldn't know what to call it and I don't think the German's would have given it a more accurate name like Kraut Killer.

    Books abound about the Sherman but none give a very accurate idea of when "Tommy Cooker" was first used. I do find several that refer to other books without any useful information.

    Published in 1994
    Tank!: 40 Hours of Battle, August 1944 (Paperback)
    "This macabre nickname, given by the Germans to the Sherman tank"

    From the Field Gun to the Tank
    By Professor Richard
    Refers to Tank!: 40 Hours of Battle, August 1944 as well.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/trail/wars ... k_10.shtml

    I'll keep looking.
     
  20. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Again though this is all anecdotal, there has yet to be contemporary evidence presented by anyone to support that comment, not a single diary entry, letter home, newspaper article, whatever from someone at the time actually making this reference.

    At the risk of repitition and to show a certain parallel, I can refer to plenty of sources that will state that the P-47 was known as the Jug, short for Juggernaut, none of them are contemporary however and more importantly none of them are actually correct.
     

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