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Post Info TOPIC: US 301st Tank Bn knocked out tanks on Hindenburg Line Photo


Brigadier

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US 301st Tank Bn knocked out tanks on Hindenburg Line Photo
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Greetings,

Have been studying a photo in of knocked out MKVs and MKV*s. 

MKVs-in-mud-Graf-3499-copy-.jpg

In the foreground, I can make out the number 9603.  That would be a Company A tank commanded by Lt. Adams. It was hit and destroyed on Sept. 29, 1918. 9603 was one of just four Company A tanks that made it across the Hindenburg line.  There is a tank out in front of 9603. Can't make out the number but looks like 9??7.

MKVs-in-mud-b.jpgMKVs-in-mud-h.jpg

MKVs-in-mud-g.jpg

SO, the question I have is this:  Whose tanks are in the background? I can only make out a partial number on one: Appears to be 95??.   There is a large "4" painted in a dark square on the horn of another. 

 

MKVs-in-mud-c.jpg

MKVs-in-mud-d.jpg

MKVs-in-mud-e.jpg

MKVs-in-mud-f.jpg

This is, perhaps, a very familiar photo to the rest of you. If you have already dissected it and determined what vehicles are in view, my apologies!

 

John

 



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John A-G.
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Legend

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It's a new photo to me John. Thanks for posting. 9603 is clear but as for the rest I'm struggling to identify them just like you.

Gwyn

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Brigadier

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Gwyn

Did you notice the doughboy poking his head out of 9603?  I didn't until I cropped the images and posted them here on the forum!

disbelief



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Legend

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To be honest, I did...

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Field Marshal

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9603 looks like a MarkV*, just like the second one on the back ground.


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Legend

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Excellent pics. Are these the ones that ran into the 'friendly' minefield?



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Legend

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Yes 9603 is a Mark V*. The tank to the left of the one with the number 4 on the horns is a Mark IV though.

Gwyn

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Legend

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The V* beyond 9603 - the one you think has a serial ending "7", looks to me like the number before is 4. Looks like 9X47, so I suggest either 9547 or 9647. Anyone agree?


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Hero

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Could it be 9847 ? I've tried alsorts in a photo programme and TCT's 9X47 looks about right I think.
Paul

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Corporal

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James H wrote:

Excellent pics. Are these the ones that ran into the 'friendly' minefield?


 Possibly, though 9603 wasn't lost in the minefield, the 301st only lost two tanks to the British minefield: 9524 and 9890 (or 9893), as indicated above 9603 was lost on the Hindenburg line.

Williams Ellis (p252) and Fuller (p271) both incorrectly state ten American tanks were lost in the minefield, it is possible ten tanks were lost in total: two from 4th tank carrier Coy and one from 4th battalion on the 27th and two from the 301st and (presumably) five from 16th battalion on the 29th.

 

-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 10:49:22 PM



-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 10:52:19 PM



-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 10:56:54 PM

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Corporal

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Gwyn Evans wrote:

Yes 9603 is a Mark V*. The tank to the left of the one with the number 4 on the horns is a Mark IV though.

Gwyn


 

Good spot Gwyn

 

The MK IV could be a supply tank from 4th tank Supply company, they lost two tanks in the minefield on the 27th, (WHL Watson A company of tanks. p262) one on the way forward and one whilst returning. One of the Mk V could be 9130 from 4th battalion which was also lost in the minefield on the 27th.

 

There is another photograph (AWM E04938) of a MK V with a similar looking 4 on its horn, which has been KO by a mine, is doesn't appear to be the same tank but the co-incidental numbering is odd.



-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 08:31:00 PM



-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 10:12:20 PM



-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 10:31:45 PM



-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 10:35:12 PM



-- Edited by munkeezulu on Friday 11th of April 2014 10:40:08 PM

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Legend

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I know the photo you mean. I have never seen any other digit painted similarly though. I'm puzzled as to it's meaning, but then if I knew everything life would be so DULL.

Gwyn

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MLW


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I asked a friend of mine who is knowledgeable about the US Tank Corps and the photo at the top of this thread, his thoughts are:

Concerning the Battle for Bellicourt Tunnel - Aussie corps commander John Monash blamed the 27th Division doughboys for his troops' heavy losses on the American failure to "mop up" Germans hidden in dugouts, etc. Charles Bean, the official Aussie historian, thought otherwise, that in fact it was the result of poor planning on Fourth Army HQ and Monash himself. In addition, British historians in particular have repeated the assertion in 4th Tank Brigade's report that 10 American heavy tanks ran haplessly into a minefield and were destroyed. In fact, the Americans were further north, and it was British-manned tanks that ran into the minefield, which had been set up by 16 (Irish) Division and engineers in anticipation of the German offensive in March.  

Concerning the photos in this thread - The tank just above 9603 is probably 9547, which had been commanded by Lt. Edward Colburn, 2nd Platoon, Company A, who hailed from El Paso, Texas. His driver, Sgt. Ambrose Coyle of Easton, PA, was a gas casualty, and his mechanic, Sgt. William A. Vandermill of Detroit, was killed on September 29. (This despite the fact that the post-combat "battle graph" drawn up by 301st Battalion's operations officer, Ralph Sasse, shows his tank experiencing mechanical trouble just beyond the British front line and turning back.) The other tank, which seems to have a number starting with 95, appears to be a female, which means it must not be a five but possibly an eight. (Mark Vs with numbers 9501-9700 were male, and those with numbers 9751-9950 were female.) It appears to have either ran over a mine or been struck by artillery, and the other visible number appears to have a vertical bar like a one. This would narrow the field to 9891, commanded by another 2nd Platoon man, 2nd Lt. Alfred Maury of Norristown, NJ, whose tank ditched in a trench just shy of the Hindenburg Line. It is quite possible that after ditching the tank was hit by artillery, as it would have drawn fire whether it was moving or not. (His crew apparently suffered no casualties.) A pdf slide is attached that shows a group of Company A officers, including Colburn and Maury. If anyone's interested in the details about the origins of the minefield and why I'm quite certain that it was British-manned tanks that were its primary victims, I can certainly supply them. This is something I spent a fair amount of time in Kew trying to pin down.



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Legend

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Just beware of anything Bean has to say about Monash. He was not impartial, as demonstrated by his extraordinary representations against Monash's appointment to higher command. He apparently held others to far higher standards of evidence and probity than he set for himself. Historians are not primary sources and an historian seeking to make history is an unusually deceptive commentator. Fortunately, in most matters, there is corroborating evidence for Bean's accounts and there may be in this too. Just be cautious.

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MLW


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Well, I think the the main point is that not all the tanks in the photo are American.

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Legend

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Yes, a huge "Thanks" for that detail - we need to ensure the reality of the incidents is remembered and the misinformation laid to rest. The origins of the minefield would interest me - failure to control minefields is a recurrent nightmare of sappers but evidently not always so of those who order their deployment. But, desperate times, desperate measures.



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Brigadier

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MLW wrote:

 

 

German offensive in March.  

Concerning the photos in this thread - The tank just above 9603 is probably 9547, which had been commanded by Lt. Edward Colburn, 2nd Platoon, Company A, who hailed from El Paso, Texas. His driver, Sgt. Ambrose Coyle of Easton, PA, was a gas casualty, and his mechanic, Sgt. William A. Vandermill of Detroit, was killed on September 29. (This despite the fact that the post-combat "battle graph" drawn up by 301st Battalion's operations officer, Ralph Sasse, shows his tank experiencing mechanical trouble just beyond the British front line and turning back.) The other tank, which seems to have a number starting with 95, appears to be a female, which means it must not be a five but possibly an eight. (Mark Vs with numbers 9501-9700 were male, and those with numbers 9751-9950 were female.) It appears to have either ran over a mine or been struck by artillery, and the other visible number appears to have a vertical bar like a one. This would narrow the field to 9891, commanded by another 2nd Platoon man, 2nd Lt. Alfred Maury of Norristown, NJ, whose tank ditched in a trench just shy of the Hindenburg Line. It is quite possible that after ditching the tank was hit by artillery, as it would have drawn fire whether it was moving or not. (His crew apparently suffered no casualties.) 

 

 

MARC:

Fascinating account!  I have been researching the actions of the 301st for a couple of years now. I was impressed that you could pin down Colburn's driver and mechanic!  Several years ago, I saw a very small booklet (published 1918-1919) sell on ebay that listed each member's position in the 301st tanks. (or maybe just company A').  I bid $400 on it and lost it! Never have seen one like it in a museum collection or anywhere else.  Do you, by chance, have access to something like that? 

 

I have been working on compiling a full roster of the 301st, but only have Company A relatively pinned down (thanks to their Company history, Treat 'em Rough). My Company B and C files are sketchy at best.

 

As an aside, I am always looking for biographical and photographic references on Lt Richard Averill Park, Company C (tank 9060) and Charles Gordon MacDonald, Co. B (Tank 9352)

 

Thanks so much for you very informative post!  

John



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John A-G.
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Michael Staton

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Can anyone tell me what tank Corp Leo G Rauf was assigned to? He was KIA Sept 29, 1918 serving with the 301st Tank BN. He was my great uncle and I would like to know more.

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Nathan Haase

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Can anyone please let me know where I can see the roster of 301st Heavy Tank Bn. Co A.. My great uncle Corp Louis O Haase died from a mine. I think this narrows it down to a few tanks and it would be great to know which one. He is buried at the Rosehill cemetery in Parker SD.



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