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Guide US Marine Corps Tanks of World War II (New Vanguard 186)

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M50 Ontos and M56 Scorpion M60 Main Battle Tank Condition: NM-. Home Back to Results. SW Shrink Wrapped. Mint Perfect. Brand new. NM Near Mint.

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Boardgame counters are punched, unless noted.


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Due to the nature of loose counters, if a game is unplayable it may be returned for a refund of the purchase price. In most cases, boxed games and box sets do not come with dice. It had an effective range of 80 yards with thickened fuel and 40 yards with liquid fuel. The first eight of these were issued to the Fleet Marine Force and were deployed with the Marine 4th and 5th Tank Battalions for the Iwo Jima operation. An entire US Army tank battalion, the th Provisional Flame Thrower Battalion, was equipped with 54 of these; although an Army unit, this battalion was deployed with the Fleet Marine Force in the summer of for operations on Okinawa.

The Marine Corps had a preference for the M4A3 since its initial acquisition of medium tanks, and so preferred this option rather than the M4 with the Continental radial. A significant advantage of the new M4A3 tanks was that they introduced wet stowage that moved the main gun ammunition from the sponsons down into the bottom of the hull into lightly armored boxes, which reduced the likelihood of catastrophic ammunition fires. The new M4A3 also introduced the new all-vision cupola for the tank commander, which provided much better observation capability than the previous reliance on a single traversing periscope.

The rig was mounted on a worn-out M4A2 tank named Joker that had served with the company on Kwajalein and Saipan and it is shown here during trials prior to the Iwo Jima landing. In the event, the device proved ineffective on Iwo Jima because the soft soil caused the tank to become bogged down. A field telephone is mounted in a sack attached to the left rear spare track rack, and a target clock painted nearby on the wading trunk to remind the Marine riflemen how to call out direction of targets.

United States Marine Corps in WW2 - A Short History

An old M3 light tank fuel tank has been converted into a water tank to provide the accompanying riflemen with drinking water, complete with piping and spigot. This view also shows how the wooden side armor has been spaced out and filled with concrete. Both the 4th and 5th Tank Battalions made extensive efforts to improve the protection of the tanks against the threat of magnetic mines and satchel charges.

The improvements were far from uniform because of the lack of material and the resultant need to improvise. In the 4th Tank Battalion, the use of wooden side armor was refined after Kwajalein and Saipan by spacing the planks about three to four inches from the sponson sides.

On 13 tanks, this consisted of 3. This mesh was provided by Navy Seebees CB: Construction Battalions who used it for reinforcing concrete runways and for other construction applications. Once this inner core was completed, the 2 inch oak planking was attached to the sides, the gaps at the front and bottom filled in, and concrete then poured into the air space.

This not only proved to be effective against magnetic mines, but also reduced the vulnerability of these tanks to side attack by the new Japanese 47mm antitank gun. Another 15 tanks had pieces of iron channel welded to the sponsons, and then 1. Another nine tanks had brackets welded to the side to provide a 3-inch space, and then had either 1. This tank was unusual in that it had a Devil-dog insignia painted on the front of the hull side. The 5th Tank Battalion had its own distinctive features including the use of penny nails welded to the hatches to provide standoff protection against satchel charges, and planks over the suspension to prevent Japanese infantry from throwing satchel charges under the tank.

NARA 34 0. Most tanks had steel track blocks welded to the hull front and turret sides for added protection, and 34 tanks had a spare road wheel and tow cable attached to the lower left corner of the hull. The threat of satchel charges hurled on the rear sponsons over the fuel tanks was addressed by covering these areas with sandbags. The sandbags offered enough distance that when a satchel charge exploded, the energy was dissipated enough to prevent the charge from damaging the fuel tank. There had been numerous attempts by Japanese infantry on Saipan and Guam to climb on the tanks and place satchel charges over the hatches.

This had been attempted before in the Marianas using spare. As a result, the Iwo Jima configuration was either a canvas sack or a box without the lid. To help support the riflemen, 21 tanks were fitted with surplus external fuel drums from the M3A1 light tank for carrying drinking water, complete with piping and a spigot. The 5th Tank Battalion attempted similar improvements, largely shaped by the types of material available.

US Marine Corps Tanks of World War II (NVG 186)

Wood panels were attached to brackets on the hull side, but the supplies were erratic and the battalion was forced to use corrugated sheet-metal roofing panels to make up the difference. Although the corrugated surface itself discouraged the attachment of magnetic mines, the metal panels were painted, and while the paint was still wet, the surface was sprayed with sand. To frustrate attempts by Japanese infantry to hurl satchel charges under the tank, a protective skirt of wood planks was attached over the suspension bogies. Like the 4th Tank Battalion, the 5th Tank Battalion also made use of sandbags over the rear sponsons and also attached field telephones for communicating with accompanying Marine riflemen.

The 3rd Tank Battalion was the only battalion not to undertake extensive modifications to their tanks. As a result, the battalion had improvised steel panels welded in place. Iwo Jima was Tarawa writ large, a sulphuric volcanic island laced with natural caves and extensive Japanese fortifications.


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  • As at Peleliu, Japanese tactical doctrine was moving away from an intense defense of the immediate beachhead and towards a protracted battle of attrition away from the shoreline. The Japanese were adapting to the growing importance of Marine tanks. Iwo Jima saw the first widespread use of the Type 3 antitank mine which used a ceramic casing instead of the usual steel to make it difficult to detect using conventional magnetic mine detectors. This was by far the most successful of the flamethrowers adopted by the Marine Corps during the Pacific fighting and was in great demand when Japanese bunkers were encountered.

    These have the distinctive pattern of spare tracks fitted as improvised armor on the glacis plate as well birdcages over the hatches to mitigate the effects of Japanese satchel charge attacks. The vehicle in the background to the right has an added SCR infantry radio as is evident from the second radio aerial. NARA antiaircraft guns used in an antitank role. The Japanese defenses were based around tunnels and fortifications.

    Japanese antitank tactics continued to improve and stressed the use of specially trained antitank squads using satchel charges and other improvised antitank weapons along with smoke grenades which hindered the view of tank crews. Iwo Jima had a large airfield, and with the aircraft largely destroyed, many aircraft bombs and torpedo warheads were deployed along important routes as huge, improvised mines.

    The only Japanese armor on the island was the understrength 26th Tank Regiment which had lost its original complement of tanks at sea when their transport was torpedoed. The battalion had adopted a white winged star insignia in , which appeared on the hull side, turret rear, and turret roof. Other markings evident are the USMC registration number, the tank name Apache , and the tank number on the turret side. This battalion used both white and yellow paint for these markings, depending on what was available. Markings were basic and consisted of the tank name starting in the company letter Ait-Ball , the tank number and the UNIS symbol In contrast, Company C was very plain with the new armor being overpainted in olive drab or dull green depending on what paint was available.

    This was the only battalion on Iwo Jima to retain the older M4A2 medium tank and they had few of the upgrades seen on the 4th and 5th Tank Battalion tanks. NARA 38 Chi-ha. The regimental commander, Lt. Nishi, hoped to use his tanks as a roving fire brigade, but he was ordered to deploy them as entrenched pillboxes.

    Buy Us Marine Corps Tanks Of World War Ii New Vanguard

    Iwo Jima saw the largest commitment of Marine tanks to date, three entire battalions. The tanks were landed at the outset of the campaign starting on February 19, and played an important role through the entire battle, providing fire support against Japanese infantry attack, and proving a critical ingredient in defeating Japanese bunkers.

    The bunkers were suppressed with tank fire and satchel charges, and then burned out with flamethrowers. The amount of flamethrowing conducted by the tanks was evident from the volume of fuel expended; on one day alone the 5th Tank Battalion used up 5, gallons for its four flame-tanks. Dozer tanks also were highly prized because of their versatility in clearing roads and attacking bunkers by covering openings. The soft volcanic pumice of Iwo Jima was a major hindrance to tank operations, and it was the single greatest cause of tank casualties since tanks often became bogged down or snapped their tracks.

    The main enemy threat to Marine tanks on Iwo Jima were mines. Mines were used in large numbers throughout the campaign, and they were amplified by the soil conditions.

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    Even the smaller mines could snap a track, and when the crew attempted to repair the track, they were often wounded or killed by small arms, mortar or artillery fire. Far more crewmen were injured in combat from small arms or other fire while outside the tank than from direct fire weapons while inside the tank. Close cooperation between tanks and infantry and the relatively open nature of the terrain limited the Japanese from using their normal close attack tactics against tanks.

    This provides a good illustration of the improvements added to the 5th Tank Battalion tanks prior to the Iwo Jima landings including the distinctive penny nails around the turret hatches and the wooden side armor on both the hull and over the suspension. The extensive Japanese use of tactics based on underground fortifications and extensive minefields, along with unusually heavy artillery and mortar support forced the Marines to improvise new tank-infantry tactics on the spot. Tank tactics were improvised and in many cases, basic principles of employment were disregarded.

    This was never done because of ignorance of fundamentals; it was done because the tactical situation warranted certain calculated risks. Tank units were eager to support the infantry, and they did everything physically and mechanically possible to furnish that support. If it is certain that tank support of infantry and vice versa was less on Iwo than in previous operations, it is equally certain that the terrain encountered made this a foregone conclusion.

    By the end of the first week of fighting, the tank battalions had a hard time keeping their companies at half strength due to the large numbers of tanks disabled and under repair for battle damage. For example, Co C, 5th Tank Battalion started with 14 tanks and required tank repairs of which 29 were the result of mines. Of the five total losses, four were due to mines. The 3rd Tank Battalion had 15 of its 49 tanks written off as total losses, although many more were temporarily out of action during the course of the fighting due to battle damage.

    Casualties in the tank battalions, while not as high as in the Marine rifle companies, were higher on Iwo Jima than in any previous campaign. For example, 4th Tank Battalion suffered casualties including 24 killed, roughly one in five men.

    The Okinawa fighting was the first battle on Japanese soil, and the first involving a significant Japanese civilian population. It was a brutal foretaste of the expected invasion of the Home Islands.

    About this Product

    After the fruitless expenditure of the 2nd Armored Division in the Philippines in January—February , the Japanese Army decided to hold its best armor for the defense of the Home Islands.