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Equipment Update

For many troopers who passed through Daley Barracks, an item usually remembered and sometimes photographed was the M4 Sherman tank on display in front of Squadron Headquarters. As the years passed, we have all gone our separate ways; the question is, where did that tank go?

Find that Tank

1991-1992 was a tumultuous period for the US Army in Germany as major force reductions were underway. The border mission, Cold War and Gulf War 1 had all passed and major force realignments were underway. Base closings were seemingly being announced every few months; the Eaglehorse departed for Wildflecken and the other tenant units at Daley Barracks began to clear from the old Kaserne.

   
  Daley Barracks in 1952, shortly after the 2/14 ACR arrives. The area by the flag pole is free of heritage vehicles.
--John Bandy
 

 

   
  By 1967 the Sherman tank has arrived and sports the 14th ACR unit patch. Note the paint scheme of the Mess Hall.
--Gene Meder
 

One of the many very busy agencies at work to support these changes was the US Army Center for Military History. Chartered to collect, record and safeguard the history of the US Army, as units stood down, this agency was responsible for the safekeeping of artifacts related to unit history. Deactivated units returned their unit flags, trophies and other memorabilia to the Center to be stored in the event of possible reactivation. The Center for Military History is also responsible for the heritage display vehicles and with so many US Barracks closing in Germany, collecting all the display tanks, APCs and cannon was a major undertaking. When possible, a display vehicle would be moved to one of the remaining barracks. If an otherwise suitable home could not be found, the Center maintains storage space at the major Army Depot at Germersheim.

     
  A popular area for photos, the Sherman tank in 1976 with the entire Eaglehorse S2 shop turned out for MSG Grossinger's reenlistment. From left: SSG Mike Santos, CPT Jack Tartella, SP/4 Apgar, MSG Grossinger, SGT Fallis, MSG Sexton, SGT Nygren, SGT Richardson, SGT Cruz and SSG Johnson.
--Helmut Grossinger
  Squadron HQ at right, Troop E and G barracks to left.
--Sommerkamp
 

There were three display pieces at Daley Barracks, the M4 Sherman tank, the M3A1 half-track personnel carrier and the long barrel, split trail 155mm cannon. The Sherman tank seems to have arrived some time in the 1960s. Our earliest photo of it is from 1967. The half-track was rescued from a range lot in 1977 and the cannon, a similar project from 1982. In the early 1990s, the Center for Military History formally inventoried all display pieces in Germany and assigned control numbers to organize an official inventory.

     
  Looking out at the displays in the Spring, the tank can be seen at left through the trees, the HAWG partially visible near the Dining Facility doors with the cannon to the right.
--Todd Stach
  This picture was taken in conjunction with an opinion poll about troop reduction after the fall of the East/West German Border, for the local newspaper Saale Zeitung dated August 6, 1990.  The soldiers are: (above
left to right) Spc Thaddeus German, PFC Kevin Butler (below left to
right) Spc Christopher Short, SSG Mark Hanna and Spc Kevin Caster.
--Saale Zeitung / Ruckel
 

One of the many details involved in clearing Daley Barracks prior to return to local German control was to retrieve the heritage displays. Ms. Gabreilla Torrini from the Wurzburg Military Community recalls driving to Daley Barracks once it was in caretaker status to see if the heritage vehicles were needed by her military museum or otherwise could fit on post. She passed on the Daley displays. Likewise, Dan Peterson, responsible for the major Army museum at Baumholder knows the Daley fleet did not come into his control.

     
  The closing of Daley Barracks and future of the Kaserne led to much speculation. Photo is in support of story describing " care taker " status of Daley after US Army units depart. Note the concrete pad to right of flag pole that once held one of the display Sherman tanks is empty. As the Army departed and Daley went to caretaker status, even the display vehicles were removed.
--Saale Zeitung / Ruckel
  M4 that once was at Daley Barracks, now found at Rhine Main.
--Randy Mitchell
 

Mr. Terry Dougherty at the Center for Military History has overall responsibility for inventory control of the heritage fleet and after a formal tasking was generated within his office, the fate of the tank, half-track and cannon, symbolic of the US cavalry and its days in Bad Kissingen was finally learned. Mr. Dougherty wrote:

     
  Really could use some fresh paint and a little PM.
--Randy Mitchell
  Stop by and visit if you pass through the neighborhood.
--Randy Mitchell
 

"It was not until 1992 due to the draw downs and return of units to the U.S. that CMH conducted its first major inventory of property in USAREUR. In the past, it was the responsibility of the units to record their historical property and report it to CMH. The 11th ACR had a small museum at Fulda Gap and when the unit departed to Desert Storm, the museum was closed and the smaller objects transferred to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, KY and sent later to the new museum at Ft. Irwin."

"The tanks and vehicles in the collection were dispersed prior to the CMH inventory and unfortunately CMH was not notified of all of the disbursements. Subsequent inquiries have revealed that the M4 (Sherman tank) and 155mm gun were eventually sent to the 21st Replacement Company at Rhein Main AFB where they are on display. The M16 Half-track was transferred to Wildflecken Training Area and subsequently to the Combat Maneuver Training Center at Hohenfels."

     
  Split trail 155mm "Long Tom" that once was at Daley Barracks. Now moved to Rhine Main.
--Randy Mitchell
  Second view of the cannon.
--Randy Mitchell
 

Late in the Summer of 2003, a business trip took Randy Mitchell back to Germany where he had the chance to visit what is now designated as the 64th Replacement Depot at Rhine Main. Looking just a bit forlorn, in need of fresh paint and some preventive maintenance, he found the cannon and tank that once stood at Daley. For those troopers who may  have sons or daughters pass through that area ready for their own European adventures, tell them to take a second to pause by the display vehicles. They silently have a lot of stories to tell. *Follow-up: Rhine Main AFB was returned to German control in 2005.  Soldiers reporting for assignment in Germany now go through Ramstein AFB
 
   
  155mm at Rhine Main.
--Randy Mitchell
 

Thanks to Terry Dougherty and LTC Michael Bigelow at the Center for Military History for their help in telling this story.


Daley Barracks Display Equipment Update

So things have a habit of getting just a bit lost and then turning up, car keys, dog leash, mortgage payments.  It all works out in the end but who ever heard of losing an Army heritage display tank?  Well … the lost has been found, the tank is under positive control and the background story certainly has a few twists.

M4A1 ( 76 ) Sherman Tank  HVSS - A Monumental Tank

When last seen at Daley Barracks, the Sherman tank that had sat for decades in front of Squadron Headquarters was being pulled up onto a heavy flat bed trailer.  With the installation closed, the light bulbs would remain in the buildings but virtually all other Army property was on the way to new homes and that included the display equipment.

     
 

An example of an M4A1 (76 ) HVSS on display in France with key recognition features marked:
1 - HVSS suspension system
2 - smaller turret
3 - 76mm cannon with muzzle break
4 - rounded over smooth cast hull

 

Same model, this one is on display at the Patton Museum in California.

 

 

Eventually, with the great help of the Army’s Center for Military History, we learned that the tank and companion display piece, the 155mm cannon, were as of the early 2000s, displayed at the 64th Replacement Depot at Rhine Main Airport.  Randy Mitchell photographed it in 2003 sporting generic OD green paint.  Within a year or two, this installation also closed, the site returned to German hands and the equipment was once again, gone - somewhere and so - some weeks back, we started a new search.

One would imagine that the control of physical inventory of heritage items would be as simple as a few key stokes, a spread sheet and then the answer, but this was not the case, particularly for items held in Germany.  CMH referred our questions to the Office of the USAREUR Historian who promised to help while we plunged into the Internet looking for clues and hunting for a story.

     
 

Period image of an M4A1 in use by the Belgium Army in the 1950s.

 

Second image of tank in use with Belgium Army.

 

Well … it was big and green and it had tracks …

The Daley Barracks display tank was a Sherman, cast hull, model M4A1 with a 76 mm  cannon and Horizontal Volute Suspension System ( HVSS ), one of  1255 such units manufactured during WWII by the Pressed Steel Car Corporation factory located in the far southeastern Chicago neighborhood of Hegewisch.  This area was one of America’s heavy industry hubs taking advantage of rail and Great Lakes water transportation, the ready availability of processed steel and a willing work force to man assembly lines.  Pressed Steel was a major manufacturer of rail cars and similar components so the transition to defense contracts was easy and during the war, beyond certain models of M4 tanks, they were either the lead manufacturer or key component provider for thousands of other types of tanks and self propelled howitzers.  The local population was primarily first generation Greek and Polish families and during the war, along with the middle aged men, the wives, mothers and sisters of the servicemen committed to the fight steadily worked the assembly lines.

     
 

On display in France.

 

This one is an operational model used in parades in France.

 

The M4A1 ( 76 ) HVSS was one of many variations of the Sherman tank produced during the war and is generally included in a group of Shermans known as the “ second generation “ that tired to incorporate improvements based on early lessons learned in the war.  The production run for this particular model began in 1944 with first copies arriving in England prior to the invasion and a portion retained stateside for training. 

Among key recognition features, the tank had a rounded off upper hull cast in a single piece and longer barrel 76mm cannon differing from the short barrel 75mm cannon of earlier Shermans. Tanks assembled starting in January 1945 also included a muzzle brake at barrel end.  Other improvements include wider tracks and an accompanying new suspension with springs configured in what engineers called a horizontal volute suspension system.

  Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized picture  
     
 

And one from a small group that made it to Uganda via Israel.

 

 

Here is a sequence taken by Randy Mitchell of the M4A1, formerly located at Daley and then moved to Rhine Main.  You can see the mismatched paint on the turret where the Blackhorse has been painted over.

 

As tanks go - it was as adequate as any Sherman produced in the mid war period but it was hardly a match for the German Panthers or Tigers and from top generals down through the ranks - no one was particularly impressed.  As deliveries arrived in England, few if any American battalions actually were issued this particular tank.   Rather, the fleet was held in depot stocks with some then dispersed to British, Free French and Polish units under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. 

Whether the Daley Barracks tank was ever issued to American forces is impossible to determine.  What is clear is that when evidence begins to turn up, this particular tank was in French hands, either given to them in the last months of the war or, more probably, dispersed in the immediate post war period when nearly the entire fleet of M4A1 ( 76 ) HVSS was disposed of through MDAP or its post war equivalent.  Although no one looking at the Daley tank during its many paint schemes would have noticed, on the hull was an added marking plate indicating that at some point it had gone through a French depot rebuild program.  Sacrebleu! … Or more correctly - Sacredieu!

  Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized picture  
     
 

Notice the bent over foot step at the mid line of the lower hull, something added by the French during deport rebuild.

 

¾ view from the rear, note that the Fenders are intact.

 

One fact is tellingly clear, of the thousands of photographs of various models of Sherman tanks taken in combat during the war, there appear to be zero images of the M4A1 ( 76 )  HVSS in a combat setting.  It was not a terrible tank, rather, it was late in getting to the field and other models produced at the same time by other manufactures were simply somewhat better and this begins to lead us towards the tank seen at Daley Barracks and explains why that particular model turns up fairly often in European war memorials.  Few if any examples were destroyed during the war.  The fleet, given away then rattled around in many armies in the post war period and after some years, they were retired at about the time that Western Europe had recovered fully from the war and had begun to build commemorative monuments.  What better tank to haul up on to a concrete pedestal, set up a flag pole and call it a day?

  Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized picture  
     
 

Seen on the turret side, the partial remains of the crew names that once were a part of the Daley Barracks paint pattern.

 

Neil Baumgardners great set capturing the tank at APG prior to refurbishment.  Note the front step.

 

How this particular tank came to Daley Barracks is a matter or pure speculation.  Perhaps when first released from US control, the gaining nation was obligated to make an effort to return the tank once it was considered obsolete. Perhaps it was headed down range as a target and it was salvaged.  In looking at images of various display vehicles found on American barracks, something makes me think that many may have come from French sources.  “  Hello Ami’s you can take this back now.”

  Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized picture  
     
 

Seen in profile with much of the top layers of paint removed, on the turret, both the outline of 14th ACR crest and the remains of the crew list from 2/11 ACR period.

 

Seen from the rear, the fenders did not fair well during the move but the left side reveals the V 2/11 ACR marking and just above on the hull, remains of French Army markings.

 

The story now goes fast forward to the mid 2000s and American tank expert Neil Baumgardner who keeps track, pun fully intended, of display and rare wrecks of tanks all over the world.  He came across an interesting project coming to life at the equipment shops of Aberdeen Proving Ground.  An M4A1 ( 76 ) HVSS had gone through a lengthy  pressure wash session and with layers of old paint scoured away, amazingly the complete back story of the tank was revealed. 

Noted first are recognizable portions of French era symbols that can be seen on the hull, then on the turret, the remains of the 14th ACR insignia with red highlights on the edges where the 11th ACR Blackhorse had been over painted; the dented mud flaps even noted 2/11 ACR.   The lost was found and oh happy day … and then the tank was towed into the shops for refurbishment, double doors closed and men in coveralls, welding masks and painting hoods went to work.

Neil’s final photos show the complete cosmetic restoration of the Daley tank as it sits in the Maryland sun in a row of display tanks at Aberdeen Proving Ground.  The sheet metal has been fixed, the French added front hull step is now straightened.  There is no marker or display tablet informing the viewer as to the model or history of this particular tank.  The display is as generic as possible and how odd that a tank so long associated with the 2/11 ACR at Daley may never have had an American crew and echoing through the hull and across the years, “  Allons! “ the Regimental motto - Let’s Go! -  the same word a  French tank commander would say to his driver, a shorthand for “ move out “.

  Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized picture  
     
 

Turret close up of 14th ACR crest, red paint outline of 11thACR crest and partial remains of crew list.

 

Close up of 2/11 ACR bumper marking and French Army marking.

 

So it was fate, circumstance or just luck that this one survived but short of flying to Bad Kissingen for a stroll down the tank trails of memory lane, if you wish to reach out and touch the past, an artifact of Daley Barracks has come home to you.  When visiting APG, please insure you have all your automotive paperwork in order to include proof of insurance.  The vast majority of what once was a grand display of American and foreign tanks and artillery has moved away but there still have a few ghosts, a line of tanks in a field, a Sherman with a story and a tank with a tale.  Allons!

  Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized picture  
     
 

A different French Army marking found deep in the paint layers.

 

Neil’s final image after the refurbishment was completed.  The Daley Barracks M4A1 ( 76 ) HVSS on display at APG.

 

Notes:

Beyond being a pest at CMH and Office of the USAREUR Historian, I have done very little original research in telling this story.  Great credit must be given to Neil Baumgardner for both his written work and images as well as George R. Bradford and his contacts, associates and friends at Armored Fighting Vehicle News.

And finally thanks to Army Historian Molly Bompane … and I promise I won’t come calling again … but about that M3 ½ track that used to be at Daley and then it moved to  Hohenfels … ya ‘ see - it too was manufactured in Hegewisch but not at Pressed Steel but rather at the Ford truck plant, I can drive you around if you want to see …  and then the French somehow got it and … then it showed up at Daley Barracks and they got it running …

To learn more about the Sherman tank and all of the various models, production history and key recognition features, go here:

http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/index.html

To see another series of images of a M4A1 ( 76 ) HVSS on display at  Diekirch, Luxemburg, go here:

http://moderndrawings.jexiste.be/WW2Drawings/Files/1-Vehicles/Allies/1-USA/02-MediumTanks/M4-Sherman/Pictures/M4A1(76)W-HVSS-Diekirch.htm

To see the complete Neil Baumgardner photo set of the Daley Barracks Sherman tank as it went through refurbishment, go here:

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/baumgar/media/US Army Ordnance Museum/MCV US Combat Vehicles/M4A1E8 Sherman SN 68827/FrNumber.jpg.html?sort=6&o=12

To see a good but not complete inventory of M4A1 (76) as war memorial displays go here:

http://preservedtanks.com/Types.aspx?TypeCategoryId=1362

To learn more about Pressed Steel and war era production in Hegewisch, go here:

http://www.preservedtanks.com/LocationProfile.aspx?LocationCategoryID=63900

The Pressed Steel Production Plant in Hegewisch has been razed and now, fully paved over, is a rail trans - shipment point for new and late model used cars.

July 2014

 
 


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