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Post Info TOPIC: Will the real J41 please stand up? (Mark V)


Colonel

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Will the real J41 please stand up? (Mark V)
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I have been going through the extensive tank lists on Landships (THANK YOU FOR THESE!) and am confused by two entries:

 

MK V No. 9027 is listed as "J41" in the 10th Batn, commanded by Lt. Gatter Leach on 08 Aug 1918

Mk V No. 9265 is listed as "J41" in the 10th Batn. commanded by 2nd Lt. Oddy, CG on 09 Aug 1918

Mk V No. 9390 is listed as "J41" in the 10th Batn. commanded by Lt Cyphus on 08 Aug 1918 (which is then listed on the next day through Aug 25 as "J21" so I think this one MIGHT be just a typo).

Now they can't all be J41, rigtht?  Can anyone help me sort through this?  

Ultimately, I am trying to determine the appearance and configuration of 9265, commanded by Lt. Dunning, 301st Tank Bn., Co. C, when it was destroyed on Sept 29, 1918. His sergeant's narrative describes a composite tank with the 6-lb gun on the left side and female sponson on the right (starboard). I am just wondering if it was J41 or not. 

 

Thank you. 

John

John 

 



-- Edited by jagjetta on Wednesday 5th of October 2016 11:45:19 PM

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John A-G.
Hudson, WI USA



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I can probably help, but need my own databases. (I don't use those on the google landships site as mine are more extensive, and designed to answer the questions that interest me.) I am out this evening but will look tomorrow.

Gwyn

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Thank you, Gwyn. I was hoping you might see this question!

Best,
John

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John A-G.
Hudson, WI USA



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OK, let's have a go at this.

9390. This tank was J21 on 8 August (all dates 1918) so it wasn't J41. This appears to be a mistake caused by the tank's Battle History Sheet for 8 August being completed in very faint pencil. I have a photograph of the document in front of me and it would be an easy mistake to make.

9027. My databases agree that this tank was with 10th Battalion on 8 August but I do not have a record of its crew number, i.e. the number with the prefix "J".

However, I have 2/Lt C. G. Oddy commanding J41 on 8 and 9 August. This is clearly stated in the Order of Battle for 8 August in the C Company, 10th Battalion report on operations for 8 - 10 August. No serial number is given in this document. The document confirms that J41 was fit at the end of the first days fighting. The Order of Battle for 9 August again includes 2/Lt Oddy in command of J41. At the end of that day J41 was again reported as being fit.

Now in contrast to J21's Battle History Sheet, that for Oddy's tank is typed and very clear indeed. He states his tank was 9265 on 8 August, but confusingly he states that the crew number was (J) 13. J13 we know was Lt A. Evans' tank from 9 August through to its destruction on 21 August, and we also know it was 9404. J13 isn't even a C Company crew number, it belongs to A Company. The only explanation I can propose is that Oddy made a mistake.

My information is that 9265 remained with 10th Battalion until the end of August, after which it was transferred to the 301st. I agree it was (what I call) a LH Composite, i.e. a Composite with the 6 pdr on the port side.

I am not clear how any of this helps you know what the tank looked like when it served with the 301st, because the J41 marking would have been painted over by its new crew.

Hope that helps.

Gwyn

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Thank you Gwynn.  This is all fascinating!  

 

>>I am not clear how any of this helps you know what the tank looked like when it served with the 301st, because the J41 marking would have been painted over by its new crew.<<<

 

Do you know, for a fact, that the J-markings were painted over by the new crews when the tanks were transferred?  The reason I ask is, Sgt. Carl Rosenhagen, Co. C, 301st Tank Bn., wrote, "Lieutenant Dunning...on or about November 3, asked if I would volunteer for a night attack taking the King's Own Infantry over the top. I agreed, and he told me to pick out the tank I wanted....The tank I picked out was the J23. It was a male Mk V...It always developed mechanical troubles for the English and for us.  I could never understand it, as to me it was the sweetest running tank then of Company C. " (my emphasis added. Full account in War Stories of the Tankers by Michael Green, pp 15-28.  The account of J23 is on page 27-28.)

So, by a tanker's recollection, J23 was a tank in Company C, 301st Tank Bn, on or about November 3.  It doesn't sound as if the "J23" was painted over.  

BUT, to further complicate the whole ordeal, as far as I can tell, the 301st only had 12 tanks available at that time which was organized as the "1st Provisional Company." I don't know WHICH 12 tanks were available, though. On November 1-2, it was involved in the thrust on Barricourt Heights along the Landres-et-St. Georges road. I know that Lieutenant W. Ross of the 301st also participated in the is action. From what I have read, the Tank Corps' resources were badly stretched at this time and only 37 tanks were available to support the attack at Sambre, and in particular, Mormel Forest, where Lt. Ross (and perhaps Dunning in J23?) was in action.

I am curious to read your thoughts on this one.  This all very difficult to sort out, but I suspect you are one of the few who can make sense of all of it!


Thank you,

John 

 



-- Edited by jagjetta on Monday 10th of October 2016 03:59:18 PM

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John A-G.
Hudson, WI USA



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Ah, now that is very interesting. It is an account that I have not come across before so thank you for sharing it.

I agree that it's quite obvious then that the 301st hadn't had the time, the energy, the inclination or perhaps the paint to cover the old markings. I am aware of another case of this happening in 1918 as tanks were passed between battalions, but this one is new to me.

Thanks

Gwyn

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Colonel

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Here's an example of a "J" number still visible after the 10th Company tanks were assigned to the 301st Tank Bn.  This photo of J26 was taken after it was shipped to the United States following the Armistice. Though they had the time to paint over it, apparently the inclination was not there to do so. 

 

JohnMark-Vs-in-US-b.jpgMark-Vs-in-US-c.jpgMark-Vs-in-US-d.jpg



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