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"Monograph on Tank Platoon (& Section) Tactics on the Point " Topic

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World War Two on the Land

1,120 hits since 2 Jan 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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FlyXwire02 Jan 2018 4:45 a.m. PST

WW2 armor fans, I ran across this PDF article by US Army 1st Lt. Thomas W. Burke, written in 1947, about his maneuver and fire techniques deployed while a Sherman tank platoon CO leading at the point during exploitation operations in the ETO.

PDF link

Perhaps this has been linked before, but it's a good discussion on section formations, and maneuver and fire tactics used within the US medium tank platoon moving at the point, and when contact is initially made with the enemy, along with some discussion of mixed unit formations tried in combat with combined infantry/tank platoons.
I've never encounter much written about the use of US Army tank section tactics during the war (platoon sub-units), and in reference to actual practices for bounding movement and firing drills employed (might be worth a read here).

andysyk02 Jan 2018 4:54 a.m. PST

Thanks, very good.

David Manley02 Jan 2018 6:03 a.m. PST

Fascinating stuff, and well written

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2018 8:21 a.m. PST


donlowry02 Jan 2018 9:18 a.m. PST

Extremely interesting!

Andy ONeill02 Jan 2018 10:41 a.m. PST

I liked it.
Is there any point he shows inherent personal bias?
I'd expect that would be likely.
I didn't spot any on first read though.

Don't split units up.
People need leading so make sure that's what leaders are doing and they are near enough to the men.
Tank riders are very vulnerable.
You can't see nothing whilst bouncing round.
To name but a few.

Wolfhag02 Jan 2018 2:13 p.m. PST

The recon by fire is interesting.

The Germans stated that anti-tank guns were their biggest threat. However, some of the German Panzer aces "claiming" over 100 guns destroyed.

I read an account of the British in N. Africa getting stopped by a German 88 they could not detect. After a few days of observation, a British FO saw a group dressed in Arab garb walk to a location and another group walk back where they came from. It was determined it was the disguised German relief crew and they called in 25lb arty fire to take out the 88. If crews are undisplined they'll be easier to spot over time.

I have also read accounts of a group of Shermans moving quickly down a road in column spraying both sides of the road with MG fire and HE. If a tank got knocked out the ones behind it destroyed the AT guns and pushed the destroyed Sherman off the road and the column kept moving.


UshCha03 Jan 2018 8:02 a.m. PST

Its interesting that some of this is now pretty much standard. The Manual on the M1 tank has much of this in it.

The spaceing arguments are facinating at 500 yds plus the shermans would be able to withstand some hits from all but the most powerful anti tank guns.

The observation comments are intrigueing, Perhaps spotting while moving acreoos country should be reduced. Does it get batter as the suspension of the tanks gets better?

The reconnisance by fire is interesting in that its effectiveness may not be all that great as his tactics swung over the course of time. Perhaps it is more effective when used againt less well disaplined troops, by the end of tyher war the Germans were struggeling for good troops.

williamb03 Jan 2018 8:24 a.m. PST

the part about tank riders being vulnerable matches a story my father told me. His platoon was riding on some tanks in the Ardennes with him being on the lead tank. The tank developed some engine trouble and had to pull off to the side letting the following tanks pass by. As the new lead tank drove around a bend up the road it was hit by a round from a German panzer taking out all the men riding on the tank.

FlyXwire07 Jan 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

Thanks Guys for your interesting comments! (enjoyed reading them)

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