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Post Info TOPIC: [Studebaker Tank] Most Forgotten USA Tank of WWI
Vilkata

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[Studebaker Tank] Most Forgotten USA Tank of WWI
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Throughout the history of warfare, when a country commits itself to full scale combat, companies you would never figure as military suppliers, start pumping out stuff for the war effort. This can be dramatically seen in WWII, with car companies making Armored Cars, and every possible company that could, providing new military gear for the troops.

This happened in WWI also, and it is portrayed in no better way, than by the Studebaker Supply Tank.

This is the most forgotten USA tank of WWI, and for good reason! There exist only 2 images of it, as far as I know. And the images are so dark you cant see anything.

The only thing my well-informed book says about the Studebaker Supply Tank is that it had a 4-cylinder 100hp engine. The most noticable thing about this tank are the peculiar frontal horns, which sent the tracks through mid-air for a meter or two. Very odd.

Overall, there is absolutely no chance of a kit of this tank ever being made. From these two images, you can deduce its basic shape, but the rivet patterns, length, width, height, rear views, top views, are completely absent. Unless someone can find some ancient plans of this design from the Engineer Corps, or far far better pictures, this is one tank that is completely lost. Even running the original pictures through a photo-enhancement process wouldn't yield good results. This makes me sad, as its really frustrating when there simply exists no good source material for a forgotten vehicle.

However, I have been greatly impressed with the personal collections of the viewers of this board, and so if you have other pictures of the Studebaker Tank, come forward!! If you have plans for the Studebaker Tank, come forward! As far as I know, this is the only true WWI USA Tank that would be absolutely impossible to ever make a model of with the pathetically little information found in most publications.

Of course folks, one of the main reasons this tank is interesting, is that STUDEBAKER MADE IT! That still makes me grin.


(sorry for the large image size, I decided to scan it nice and huge just so you could see what horridly little detail there was)
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eugene

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Most of david Fletcher's books touch on briefly about studebaker tank

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Vilkata

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Do any of his books include schematics, plans, or pictures other than the ones I already posted?

To be honest, I'm not incredibly interested in this tank. It's design and purpose are fairly mundane. But, the mere fact that no one knows -anything- about it does make me want to know a lot more.

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eugene

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Sorry no plans they just have those two photos, you might however email him and ask him your self about the studebaker tank and he might give you more info

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Corporal

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Going through some of my Grandfathers stuff. he worked at Studebaker during the war. I've got a picture of him and the other guys on his crew in front of a tank. clearly says "studebaker " on the side. I'd like to ID the tank but it seems it's a mystery. are there pics of others?
Thanks

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Legend

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Not sure if this pic will link:



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Legend

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That was the first thing that crossed my mind - that it was the Studebaker version of the Newton Cargo Carrier. If it really is the Tank, then the photo is a historic find.

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/UnitedStates/cargo-personnel/cargo-personnel.html

Any chance you can scan it, Cheffy?



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Corporal

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nope that's  not it.

this one  has  what looks  like one or two(can't remember  as I'm at work right now)  turrets on top  with  openings  for  guns.

I will  try and scan it and post.



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Legend

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Hmmm. Tantalizing. The only two known photos of the Studebaker vehicle show some sort of armoured cab, not unlike, and possibly borrowed from, a British Heavy. No turrets are visible, but that's not to say they're not there. I'm all agog.

Proceed with vigour!



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Corporal

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Well if you are a Dr. Who  fan, think of it as having a couple of Daleks on top.



-- Edited by cheffy on Monday 7th of November 2011 06:42:34 PM

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Corporal

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ok everyone here's the picture.  maybe I'm calling it  wrong  maybe it's more of an amoured  vehicle. but anyway what the heck is it.



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Legend

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That's amazing Cheffy! That is absolutely a completely unknown (well, to me anyway) image never before seen in public! It is definitely what has always been referred to as the Studebaker Supply Tank but with two dinky little MG turrets on top! I am mystified, but also very grateful to you for posting this, because I love weird offbeat things like this!

In case you've not seen them, I've attached the only two images I've seen of the Studebaker - until now!

And it's clearly nothing to do with the Newton machine, as some of us speculated ages ago, as the proportions are all different. And yes, the turrets do look a little like daleks! biggrin



-- Edited by Roger Todd on Tuesday 8th of November 2011 05:25:51 PM

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Legend

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All I can say is . . .bloody hell! I think we can now officially increase the number of known photographs of the Studebaker tank to three. This is sensational.

Obviously a prototype, and it looks as if there's a bit of "enhancement" but it seems to be the real thing.

We had a go at working out exactly what it looked like here: http://landships.activeboard.com/t13435232/the-studebaker-a-clue/ but this is fantastic. The chassis is obviously heavily influenced by the Newton Cargo Carrier, but the rest is . . . just fantastic. It looks as if the turrets were offset, as on the Austin armoured car.

Many thanks, Cheffy. You are Indiana Jones, Howard Carter, and Heinrich Schliemann rolled into one.






-- Edited by James H on Tuesday 8th of November 2011 05:34:31 PM

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Corporal

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How did you know that Dr. Jones and Dr. Carter are two of my heros? My cell ring tone is the Raiders theme!
Glad I could help. I remembered that i still have a huge box of pictures on the back porch. i'll dig around to see if there is more, but don't hold your breath.
The guy in the left of the picture reminds me of the evil Nazi from Raiders of the lost ark

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Legend

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I don't think it is based on the Newton, the Studebaker is much taller, the track 'horns' at the front are higher, the proportions are generally much bulkier. I've attached a comparison, lining up the Newton Carrier with the Studebaker in such as way as to align the sprocket and idler centres at rear and front. They just don't compare, not simply in proportions but details as well: the Studebaker has a completely flat lower track, the Newton's is curved (like the British tanks); the Newton has the ends of the lower track roller axles visible with the tensioning brackets above (again, like the British tanks), the Studebaker has none; etc.



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Legend

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cheffy wrote:

The guy in the left of the picture reminds me of the evil Nazi from Raiders of the lost ark


That's why his hands are in his pockets, so you can't see the staff head burnt into his palm...



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Corporal

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And the guy sitting in the middle of the pic is my grandfather
.

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Legend

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Cheffy - speaking as an occasional, quasi-journalist, I would say that that is a Press story, certainly in the States. And quite possibly here, as well. It will obviously take the world of WWIAFVs by storm.

Now you've got a hard act to follow.



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Corporal

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you're kidding me right? One picture that I haven't done research on would make that much of an impact? Mom is coming over for dinner next week. I'll ask her if she know more about g'pas involvement in the project.


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Legend

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It is certainly something that would interest specialist journals and people in that field of interest, and if I were you I'd contact any tank museums or national military archives in the USA. Whoever runs the Studebaker archives would also be interested. American tank historians as well - I wonder if R P Hunnicutt is still around and, if so, how he could be contacted?



-- Edited by Roger Todd on Tuesday 8th of November 2011 06:40:32 PM

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Legend

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Absolutely. The Studebaker Museum will love it. You have more info than they have. A journo will get quotes from David Fletcher. November 11th coming up. Perfect. "Forgotten Photo Solves 90-year Puzzle of Mystery U.S. Tank. The riddle of the World War I American tank that has baffled (baffled is the word we always use in circumstances such as this) experts for almost a century has been solved by . . . "

I can see it now.



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Corporal

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David Fletcher? remember I'm new to this. and I did find out that Hunnicutt has passed. I'm e mailing the museum next. i'm all for sharing the wealth of stuff.

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Legend

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Sorry. DF is the big cheese at the Tank Museum in UK

http://www.tankmuseum.org/

He mentions the Studebaker in his book on WWI, but says details are sketchy and no one knows what it looked like. Well, now we do.

I shouldn't be surprised if the Studebaker Museum can identify some of the people in the photo. Almost certainly the big bosses. I've been having a dig, but nothing definite so far.



-- Edited by James H on Tuesday 8th of November 2011 07:14:43 PM

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Legend

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cheffy wrote:

And the guy sitting in the middle of the pic is my grandfather.


Is that the chap with the moustache to the right of the rip in the photo?

How cool is that, not only do you have an historic never-before-seen photo there, but your grandad's in it! Magnificent! biggrin



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Brigadier

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Cheffy,

I can't speak for the rest, but as editor of Military Vehicles Magazine, I would be honored to devote some space to this photo.

Drop me a note if you care to explore,

John Adams-Graf

Editor, MVM

john.adams-graf@fwmedia.com



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Legend

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Cheffy,

I contacted David Fletcher, historian at The Tank Museum, England. He has asked me to pass on these comments to you:

"I think the tank was built for the British Army and that the inspiration behind it was Percival Perry, head of Ford in the UK. Studebaker was one of three firms, Buick was another but I forget the other, who were building so-called Newton Tractors for the British and there is some sort of connection here. I was not aware that there was a Studebaker Museum but if cheffy could be persuaded to send a copy of the picture to them and see if they have anything else on it that would be great. I cant see any evidence of the two turrets in the pictures we know so they may have been removed but in any case this is quite a find."

Please let us know what the Studebaker Museum have to say.

With regards to copyright I suggest you see a lawyer, or at least read a suitable book on the subject, from your local public library smile



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Commander in Chief

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The 2 photos in Rogers post are not the same machine as in cheffys photo.

It looks to me as if Rogers machine is a load carrier mocked up to look like a tank and photographed low down to give that impression. It is far too long compared with it's height.  It is different in detail as well, take a look at the cutouts above the lower track.

Edit :-  I am almost in agreement with Rogers reply below, as the features do tie in but there is something odd about  the 2 photos the proportions don't look right. and there looks hardly enough height at the drivers position .



-- Edited by LincolnTanker on Tuesday 15th of November 2011 06:01:55 PM

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Legend

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LincolnTanker wrote:

The 2 photos in Rogers post are not the same machine as in cheffys photo.

It looks to me as if Rogers machine is a load carrier mocked up to look like a tank and photographed low down to give that impression. It is far too long compared with it's height.  It is different in detail as well, take a look at the cutouts above the lower track.


With respect, I disagree - please see the attached comparison of all three photos. I have marked several (but not all) obvious points of similarity which cannot be explained away other than by acknowledging that they are either the same machine or absolutely identical machines, but they certainly cannot be ascribed to a different vehicle altogether. They are also features which do not appear in the same place (if at all) on the Newton Carriers.



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Corporal

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Well I sent a copy to the Studebaker museum last week and haven't heard back(not even a thank you) I'm thinking if the museum has employee records we could figure out who else is in the picture since it looks like the entire design/ build team. we already know one of the players in the picture. that could lead to the department they were in and perhaps what the project was.

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Corporal

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I'm agreeing with Roger they are not the same as a Newton Machine. I think that the two Studebakers are two different machines. Look at the number of rivets and the pattern on the "box" on top.
See what you guys have done... you got me counting rivets.

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Legend

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I don't think the Studebaker is a Newton by any means, but I'm sure all three pics are of the same vehicle. I have taken the liberty of flipping one of the early pics, and I think the similarity is very obvious. There is actually what looks like some writing on the rear, but can't make it out.

There's a slight difference in the shape of the hull in the two old pics. Maybe the British did a bit of experimenting with it - trying to fit parts of a cab from a rhomboid or something. Just a thought.



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Legend

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Certainly the upperworks appear different in the two 'original' photos and Cheffy's 'new' photo - as Cheffy did, I also counted rivets(!) and the upperworks appear to be 16 rivets long in the middle photo of my comparison, and 19 rivets long in Cheffy's. But given that the machine in Cheffy's photos also has two turrets which are clearly absent from the other photos and are thus indisuptably additions, then it's not much of a stretch of the imagination to accept that the entirety of the upper section may have been simply a lightweight (boilerplate?) construction which was changed at some point for a new upper section large enough to accommodate the two turrets. The hulls in the photos, however, are definitely identical and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, there is no reason to not suppose that they are one and the same hull, rather than two identical hulls.

In any case, as I said before, and in agreement with James, it/they is/are definitely not a Newton Carrier.



-- Edited by Roger Todd on Tuesday 15th of November 2011 06:46:34 PM

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Sergeant

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Roger Todd wrote:

I don't think it is based on the Newton, the Studebaker is much taller, the track 'horns' at the front are higher, the proportions are generally much bulkier. I've attached a comparison, lining up the Newton Carrier with the Studebaker in such as way as to align the sprocket and idler centres at rear and front. They just don't compare, not simply in proportions but details as well: the Studebaker has a completely flat lower track, the Newton's is curved (like the British tanks); the Newton has the ends of the lower track roller axles visible with the tensioning brackets above (again, like the British tanks), the Studebaker has none; etc.


you write for the photograph that the underneath one is a Newton then why it writes on it that is a Studebaker?



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