Help support TMP


"US Towed TD platoon?" Topic


20 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board



Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land

725 hits since 22 Dec 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Fred Cartwright22 Dec 2018 7:50 a.m. PST

I was looking at the Neihorster US Towed TD organisation for NWE. In the platoon HQ there are 3 Jeeps and a 1.5t truck towing a 1t trailer. What would the 1.5t truck be?

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian22 Dec 2018 8:09 a.m. PST

A Dodge most likely

Starfury Rider22 Dec 2018 10:30 a.m. PST

T/Os (or equivalent) very rarely give a specific vehicle type. The T/O I was given a copy of shows four Jeeps at Pl HQ, and the truck is described as '1 1/2-ton, 6x6, with 12-volt system'. I have no idea if that helps to identify a make. There also looks to be a note that it could be substituted for an M3 halftrack.

Full line up under the May 1943 T/O was –

Platoon HQ;

Lieutenant – S
Pl Sgt – S
Sgt (Sec ldr) – R
Cpl (Sec ldr) – S
2 Drivers – 2S
2 MG gunners – 2S
4 Riflemen – 4R (3 also double as Jeep drivers)

4 Jeeps (2 mounting .30-cal LMG)
1 1.5-ton truck with 1-ton trailer
4 rocket launchers (unallocated)

2 Sections (each);

2 Sgts (gun cmdr) – C
2 Cpls (gunner) – C
14 cannoneers – 14C
2 drivers – 2C

2 M3 halftracks (1 with .30-cal LMG, 1 with .50-cal MG)
2 guns, 3-inch, M1

C=carbine, R=rifle, S=submachine gun

I must admit, it's a hard table to read, partly due to the quality and partly to the fact there were some errors in the original (2 Sgts, 1 Cpl and 8 Pvts does not equal 9 EM) but it was an appreciated freebie.

Gary

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2018 10:47 a.m. PST

Probably a Dodge WC-62 or -63.
link

Jim

Fred Cartwright22 Dec 2018 12:16 p.m. PST

Thanks guys. Neihorster's TO&E is from 5/44 and is very similar apart from only 3 Jeeps in the HQ. Not sure what lifts the ammo for the guns. 10 guys plus their personal gear in each gun tow M3 doesn't leave much room for ammo and there is no truck in the gun sections.
The Dodge WC-62/63 seems to fit the bill. Not a vehicle I was aware of before. Basically a stretched 0.75t Dodge.

Starfury Rider22 Dec 2018 1:35 p.m. PST

There are a couple of manuals online, one gives the gun crew layout and duties but nothing on vehicle loading.

link

The other one is the Towed Platoon manual, but it's really only an overview. The illustrations also haven't transferred to digital very well.

link

Come to think of it I don't think I've ever seen a US manual that shows a suggested vehicle loading table, and having looked for info on ammunition loads for US weapons and vehicles that's pretty obscure as well.

Gary

Steve Wilcox22 Dec 2018 1:59 p.m. PST

Neihorster's TO&E is from 5/44 and is very similar apart from only 3 Jeeps in the HQ.
I think that's a typo for the year and it should be 1943.
The 1 September 1944 table lists the previous iterations between it and the 7 May 1943 tables:

"This table supersedes T/O 18-37, 7 May 1943, including C1,
1 June 1943, and C2, 5 June 1943, and T/E 18-37, 7 May 1943,
including C1, 16 October 1943, C2, 2 January 1944,
and C3, 25 April 1944."

Not sure what lifts the ammo for the guns.

The trailer that goes with the 1½ ton truck in the Platoon Headquarters and Security Section is an ammunition trailer. For the 1 September 1944 table, see line 64:
PDF link

Fred Cartwright22 Dec 2018 3:04 p.m. PST

Thanks for the PDF. I see that M39's have replaced M3's as tows by then.

Starfury Rider22 Dec 2018 5:59 p.m. PST

I recall asking about whether or not the M39 actually turned up in the ETO, and if so what its level of usage was. I can't find the thread now, but seem to recall there was some interesting info on there.

There must've been some ready rounds on the halftracks for the guns surely?

Gary

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2018 6:16 p.m. PST

Yea, the 1.5 ton was the ammo carrier, and is in the plt. HQ section.

Can't say for WWII, but the M39 was in use in/by Germany afterwards, by the Bundeswehr.

Here's what Wiki says:

"Use in the Bundeswehr – In 1956 the United States offered 100 M39s to the West German Bundeswehr. Only 32 were put into service and they were assigned to the Panzergrenadier-Lehrbataillon in Munster. After four years of service they were replaced in 1960 by the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30 due to a shortage of spare parts.[3]".

"The M39 was originally designed as a prime mover for the 3-inch Gun M5. Approximately 650 (640 utility/APC variants, 10 command and reconnaissance) were modified from M18 chassis between October 1944 and March 1945. They saw service in Europe during the last months of World War II and were widely used during the Korean War, where they were employed in variety of roles, including as troop transports, medevac ambulances, and ammunition carriers for 155mm M41 Gorilla self-propelled howitzers. M39s played a vital role in supplying and ferrying troops to isolated outposts during the later defensive phase of the Korean War, though their thin armor and open tops meant the crew were vulnerable to enemy fire, and the fully enclosed M75 armored personnel carrier would eventually replace it in this role.[1] The M39 was withdrawn from U.S. service in 1957".

Fred Cartwright22 Dec 2018 6:51 p.m. PST

There must've been some ready rounds on the halftracks for the guns surely?

One would assume so, but the TO&E shows 10 guys per track, which doesn't leave a lot of room for ammo.
Given the standard 3 month lead time before showing up in the ETO, it would be February before they started arriving, so I would think most units stuck with the M3's until wars end, but they were also converting Towed TD battalions into SP.

Starfury Rider23 Dec 2018 5:13 a.m. PST

I found an entry for the M39 in the US Catalogue of Standard Ordnance Items, which says it could carry 9 personnel (so someone was hitching a lift) and 42 rounds for the gun. Nothing in it for the loading or capacity of the halftrack as a towing vehicle for the 3-inch.

Gary

Aethelflaeda was framed23 Dec 2018 10:21 a.m. PST

I doubt they sections were always at full strength in terms of personnel. Paper strengths are always rare so the room for ammo would not be such an issue

donlowry24 Dec 2018 10:18 a.m. PST

Well, once in combat the gun isn't going to last long enough to fire many rounds anyway.

Gerard Leman26 Dec 2018 5:44 p.m. PST

@ Starfury Rider:

I must admit, it's a hard table to read, partly due to the quality and partly to the fact there were some errors in the original (2 Sgts, 1 Cpl and 8 Pvts does not equal 9 EM) but it was an appreciated freebie.

However, 1 Cpl and 8 Pvts does equal 9 EM. The two Sgts may have been classified as NCO's.

majed438526 Dec 2018 7:30 p.m. PST

The following is a link to a website that has a copy of a battalion commander's notebook for the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. They were attached to the 30th Infantry Division (Old Hickory) for the whole European campaign. They started off as a towed 3 inch battalion and transitioned to M10 during December 1944. His notes list the M3 as the prime mover for the guns.
PDF link

A website for the M39 says it wasn't standardized until early 1945. So you're probably right about not many making it to Europe before the end.

Starfury Rider27 Dec 2018 8:01 a.m. PST

Gerard, that could explain that column, but not the other ones; 5 Sgts, 2 Cpls and 31 Pvts does not equal 53 EM, nor does 1 Sgt and 5 Pvts equal 3 EM. Oddly enough the overall totals were correct, but someone between drafting and typesetting was having an off day.

On a side note, I was reminded a while back that the US Army classed all ranks of Sgt, plus Cpls and PFCs/Pvts as Enlisted Men. There's no differentiation on US T/Os regarding personnel beyond Officers (which normally includes Warrant Officers) and EM (which covers every rank from Pvt to Master Sgt), so no separate count of NCOs and Privates.

Gary

Majed, very nice find, thanks for linking!

Mark 127 Dec 2018 1:03 p.m. PST

Well, once in combat the gun isn't going to last long enough to fire many rounds anyway.

I believe that US TD doctrine expected the guns to prevail, so there was indeed an expectation that the guns would survive to fire many rounds, and to fight another day.

Whether this was a realistic expectation or not is open to debate.

But in considering it, please bear in mind that we are speaking of TD towed AT guns, not Infantry Division towed AT guns. The concept of the TDs was to be MORE mobile than attacking tank forces, to enable battalion and multi-battalion concentrations of TDs on the most likely avenue of advance for an armored breakthrough.

After observing the effectiveness of the German Panzerjaegers in Tunisia, the US TD branch concluded that towed guns could indeed survive and dominate in combat with a tank-heavy force. Of course the gun they chose was a combination of the lesser features of two or three guns which the Germans had used to make a layered anti-tank defense -- leading to a gun that was about the size of an 88, with about the firepower of a 75, that they hoped to hide as well as a 50.

Still I would be interested to know if anyone has tried gaming it out. How do 36 US towed 3-inch guns (ie: one battalion), in terrain of their choosing, fair against the advance guard of a Panzer Division? I would wager they do pretty well.

Of course the main problem with TD doctrine, in addition to any shortcomings of the equipment, was that no commander of frontline forces in ETO was willing to leave such a concentration of firepower in reserve for the possibility of German armored forces achieving a breakthrough.

Might have been a useful doctrine for the fight across France in 1940. But was an irrelevant doctrine for the fight across France in 1944.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Griefbringer28 Dec 2018 4:16 a.m. PST

Still I would be interested to know if anyone has tried gaming it out. How do 36 US towed 3-inch guns (ie: one battalion), in terrain of their choosing, fair against the advance guard of a Panzer Division? I would wager they do pretty well.

Doing that with miniatures could require painting quite a number of guns and crews (even if you use rules where one gun represent a section or platoon), even if you already have halftracks and jeeps around.

Another issue is that the TD units would probably benefit from rules that cater for hidden set-up, hidden movement and reconnaissance. Anti-tank guns are on their best when placed in hidden positions, and the TD units (both towed and SP) had integral reconnaissance/security assets (jeeps and armoured cars) at all levels from platoon to battalion.

Mark 129 Dec 2018 6:52 p.m. PST

Another issue is that the TD units would probably benefit from rules that cater for hidden set-up, hidden movement and reconnaissance. Anti-tank guns are on their best when placed in hidden positions, and the TD units (both towed and SP) had integral reconnaissance/security assets (jeeps and armoured cars) at all levels from platoon to battalion.

Quite agree.

It is often lost on those who focus only on combat hardware, how important situational awareness was to the TD doctrine. Not just spotting targets (which wargame rules frequently simulate), but even being aware of where the enemy was, and where he was going (which many wargame rules ignore).

For myself, having developed simple house rules for hidden units, and having played my wargames that was for years now, I can hardly imagine gaming with a God's eye view of all the playing pieces anymore.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.