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What's in a name?


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Slash78 #81 Posted Aug 06 2013 - 02:17

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Dec 06 2012 - 17:33, said:

Marines were the primary proponent and don't name their tanks? I have no idea, I'll ask Estes

Why not?  Because "tank" is a nice monosyllable word.  Easy to remember.  Wouldn't want to make it too complicated.

Come on now, you're talking about a branch who's main vehicle, that LVT/AAV, has been called an AmTrac (often misspelled as Amtrack or Amtrak, the latter due to trains) for 70 years.  With no special nicknames.  Well other then Pig or Track.  But then again, they are all pigs or tracks.

Sad_But_Drew #82 Posted Oct 06 2013 - 23:04

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About the change of name for the M36..

Is it possible that the choice of names fell something like this.

"Can't use Black Jack, he's getting the M26.  What should we use..  Well it's a bit smaller than the M26, that would make it Jack's son, so why not call it Jackson?"

Might also explain how a (mostly) US TD ended up with a "Confederate" Name.  Lee and Stuart were adopted from the Brits.  But the US army never gave out "opposing" names to my knowledge.

loatesy #83 Posted Dec 04 2014 - 12:02

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It's most likely the name "Jackson" was supplied by the British Ministry of Supply. It was the MoS who gave us the names 'Grant' and 'Lee' for the M3 medium tank used by the British and Commonwealth armies, 'Sherman' for the M4, 'Stuart, for the M3 and M5 light tanks, etc. The 'Jackson' was never used by the British as it was essentially an up-gunned M10, which we had already up-gunned by replacing its 76mm  with the 17pdr. However the M36 was assigned the name in case it was ever acquired. A similar situation can be seen with the medium and heavy armoured cars designed by the Americans specifically for British use: Staghound (acquired), Boarhound and Deerhound (prototypes only). Even the M8, originally a wheeled tank destroyer design for the US armoured force and used in small numbers by Britain, was MoS'd the name 'Greyhound' (and NOT because of its perceived lack of armour as some schoolboy-level books say).


 

AFAIK the US naming convention for tanks and GMCs was a tweak on the MoS policy of naming lend-lease tanks after US Civil War generals; the American policy was to name them after any US General, however they kept the MoS name for the Sherman as that name was already in widespread currency within the AGF after Normandy.


 

MoS naming convention:

Tanks = US Civil War generals (Grant, Lee, Sherman, Stuart)

SP guns = ecclesiastical titles (Sexton, Bishop, Priest)

Armoured cars = breeds of hound (Greyhound, Boarhound, Staghound, Deerhound)

SPAT (US TD's) = No names officially assigned.


 

Hope this helps.



The_Chieftain #84 Posted Dec 04 2014 - 18:41

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Loatesy, the problem is that although there have been numerous statements that the British named Jackson, nobody has ever shown a British period document doing so. I personally suspect that it's a bit of historical revision: Since "Jackson" fits nicely into the already established pattern of naming certain American vehicles, I theorise that some extrapolation has been involved.

P_M_K #85 Posted Dec 08 2014 - 19:25

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Dec 07 2012 - 02:43, said:


Unfortunately, we are no better off than we were before. For British use we are in the same situation, it was usually 17pr in Self Propelled Mount M10 Mk I (II) C. The name 'Achilles' was not assigned until March of 1945 or so. If there was a nickname assigned to the vehicle by the British prior to the name "Achilles" (with 17pr or 3" regardless), I haven't seen anything from an authoritative source. Ditto from the Canadian or US sources. The difference being that "Wolverine" fits in with Canadian naming conventions better than those of US or UK. I'm not saying that the Canadians did call it that, but that right now my opinion is that if -anyone- called the thing "Wolverine", it would have most likely been the Canadians. We may as well be trying to prove the existance or non-existance of God right now.

 

As far as British SP guns go, they were referred to under the names of the tanks they were developed from in most of the Ministry Of Supply and War Office Documents, largely because most of these documents are concerned with development and not usage in action.  So the Alecto is referred to as Harry Hopkins Mk.ICS for 95mm (CS = Close Support) or Harry Hopkins 6 pdr. SP, Archer is referred to as Valentine 17 pdr. SP, Avenger is known as A30 Challenger 17 pdr. SP etc.

 

So it isn't clear whether the A-names for these vehicles came in after a certain date (e.g. March 1945) or whether they were appointed when the vehicles were accepted for service use, which in all these cases was late-war or post-war anyway.  The other point being that once an AFV came into service use, it only tended to linger in the Ministry of Supply or War Office documentation if it proved to be problematic.  If it performed well, it was unlikely to generate a large paper trail.  With the SP guns, the fact that they were developed under the name of the original tank also makes assessing the production volumes difficult.  For example, I have a suspicion that of the supposed 100 Harry Hopkins tanks manufactured, many of them were either produced as, or converted to, the CS version (i.e. the Alecto), but I can't prove this at the moment.  There is yet another complication here in that with the exception of the Alecto, the primary users of SP guns were the Royal Artillery and not the Royal Armoured Corps, so it's entirely possible that the RA were using the A-names while sources such as the Tank Board Minutes would be ignorant of this.

 

As a matter of interest, the prime British SP was supposed to be the Avenger if the war lasted well into 1945, with the Archer and the remaining Achilles being stop gaps.  The Alecto was supposed to be another high-volume item, I suspect because it could double up as a carrier.  I have to say that I have never seen the M10 17 pdr. SP referred to as either Achilles or Wolverine in any of the documents I have in my possession, but these are generally RAC and Ministry Of Supply documents.  To find out whether these names were used would I suspect require investigation of Royal Artillery documentation.  I'll make a note to look at this but I'm currently writing a massive tome on the Crusader tank, so this is not my main focus at the moment.

 

 



Anlushac11 #86 Posted Dec 09 2014 - 16:49

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"What is in a name? That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

 

The only mention I have seen to Wolverine origin says it was the name used on paper for Canadian M10's but Canada instead followed British nomenclature so it was never used.

 

The name Achilles was said to have been used by Canadians for their M10's with 17lbs sent to Korea in 1951. My only question on this is Canadians seem to have named all their AFV's after animals so Achilles seems like it would be a unusual choice for Canadians.

 

 



Prima_Vox #87 Posted Dec 29 2014 - 18:23

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Great article Chieftain...but I gotta call you on one...I have never, ever, ever, in my 25 years of active service heard a M998/1025 HMMWV referred to as a "Hummer" by a troop.  AM General tried to call it that.  The Army tried to call it that. The media tried to call it that.  Hell, even Arnold Schwarzenegger tired to call it that.

 

The only name I ever used or heard a troop call it was "Humvee", the phonetic pronunciation of HMMWV (High Mobility Mult-purpose Wheeled Vehicle).

 

 

 

 



Blackhorse_Six_ #88 Posted Dec 29 2014 - 18:39

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View PostArcherII, on Dec 29 2014 - 12:23, said:

Great article Chieftain...but I gotta call you on one...I have never, ever, ever, in my 25 years of active service heard a M998/1025 HMMWV referred to as a "Hummer" by a troop. 

 

Ditto ... I suspect that it may have been the ... uh ... sexual connotation.

 

It was marketed to civies as the Hummer to differentiate it from the milspeak ...

 

Remember that the first-gen Hummers were little different than the HMMWV.

 

I expect that ArcherII knows all this, just putting the comment out there ...



Prima_Vox #89 Posted Dec 30 2014 - 13:54

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New Gen kids may have shifted the terminology a bit...

 

Off topic but I also remember a strong push to have the Kevlar helmet referred to as the "Fritz Helmet" when it first came out.  A throwback to Wehrmacht's similarly profiled helmet.  This came from the media who constantly made references to how U.S. Soldiers referred to it as the "Fritz Helmet".

 

I never once heard anyone call it that.  I was in the 82nd at the time...we were one of the first Divisions to get it, and we called it a "Kevlar".  Didn't even use the term "Helmet".  I also later heard it referenced as "K-Pot".

 

Never "Fritz Helmet".  The U.S. Soldier resists all efforts to accept any designation (official or otherwise) on anything....well, except P-38.  Everyone called it a P-38 (which was the actual name).



zloykrolik #90 Posted Dec 31 2014 - 03:42

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That's because a P-38 was an indispensable piece of gear.:)

yereverluvinunclebert #91 Posted Dec 31 2014 - 04:21

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Isn't that document telling us what we already knew, that by 1944 the War Department had simply come to accept the status quo?

I don't see that is anything new, it does not tell us of an alternative origin of the naming convention nor does it disprove the accepted notion that the Brits were the first to name the early US tanks - as that is how they typically operated and the result was true to form.

 

All very good to have a new piece of paper to tell us largely what we knew already - but frankly, I don't think it told us anything of importance that we didn't know already.



Prima_Vox #92 Posted Dec 31 2014 - 13:44

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I think you're establishing a direct lineage and the evolution of the designation process.  It's an interesting insight.

 

....and I still have P-38's laying around and still them.

 

 



Beausabre #93 Posted Jun 21 2018 - 22:34

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At the time "United Nations" meant "The Allies". This was a frequent usage in late WW2, as a matter of fact, "Allies" may have become dominant in the post-war era to differentiate the war time alliance from the institution. And, IIRC, to be a charter member of the institution you had to be part of the coalition.

 

Some things about names:

 

1) "Honey" for M3 - I have a vague recollection of Robert Crisp calling them that in his book "Brazen Chariots"  Unfortunately, I think I loaned it out and never got it back, so to inter-library loan I go

 

2) "Wolverine" for M10 - A few random facts. The TD was produced at Grand Blanc Tank Arsenal. Grand Blanc is in Michigan. How many Big 10  football fans are out there? What is the nickname for the University of Michigan's team? Why, why, it's.....the Wolverines! The state is sometimes called the Wolverine state AND there is even a US Army connection:   

 

"The Michigan Brigade, sometimes called the Wolverines, the Michigan Cavalry Brigade or Custer's Brigade, was a brigade of cavalry in the volunteer Union Army during the latter half of the American Civil War. Composed primarily of the 1st Michigan Cavalry, 5th Michigan Cavalry, 6th Michigan Cavalry and 7th Michigan Cavalry," - Wikipedia

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So, assembling all this, I can see the PR department up at Fisher Body having a rollout ceremony for the first vehicle and the press releases calling it the "Wolverine". I'm nowhere close to Grand Blanc but if someone is and they have time on their hands, a recon through the local newspaper's morgue for September 1942 might be revelatory.

Of course, that leaves open the question whether anyone called it that during the war and how it got into enthusiast publications

And if the M36 was a "Jackson", maybe a M10 should have been a "Custer"?

3. On the question of nicknames in general, some catch on and other's don't. "Gama Goat"  - or just "Goat" - GOER", "Sheridan", "Abrams", "Stryker" and "Bradley" made the cut in my experience (1974 to 1999). But no one ever called a M48 a "Patton" or a M60 a "Super Patton" and the term "MUTT" for the M151 series only existed in the minds of Ford's PR flacks (and it really pisses me off when I see some poseur using it on the Net). . And an M113 is a "One One Three", "Track" or - if modified - an "ACAV", never,never, NEVERa "Gavin"'

"In more than 30 years working in the defense industry, I have never, never heard anybody use the name "Gavin" for the M-113. Not in the U.S. nor in any of the many countries that use the vehicle. Not in the military forces, not in the companies that build and equip it, not in the groups that retrofit and repair it. This usage appears not only to be "unofficial", it is entirely fictional and I believe that you may have been the victim of a hoax or deliberate disinformation. "

4, I wonder how authentic the name "Duster" is for the M42 SPAA. Also is the M109 155mm SP really called a "Paladin"?

5, My first company commander referred to his M16 as "the black stick" something I was under the impression he picked up as an advisor to the ARVN, but not a term I ever heard anybody else use.. Anybody else - and I know it's been called "The Black Rifle:" -  ever heard that usage?

 

 


Edited by Beausabre, Jun 21 2018 - 23:16.





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