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The Amtanks


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The_Chieftain #1 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 02:57

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I am most pleased to introduce Mr Harry Yeide to The Hatch. He is the author of a number of books on the US Army in WWII, to include "The Tank Killers" and "Steel Victory." His first contribution to The Hatch is an overview of one of the greatly overlooked parts of the US Army and Marine Corps machine of WWII. Please make him welcome.

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Forgotten Battalions: Amphibian Tanks in the Pacific War

The U.S. Army’s Armored Command starting in October 1943 reorganized nine tank battalions as amphibian tank (amtank) or amphibian tractor (amtrac) battalions and raised more from other sources. Nearly all served in the Pacific Theater. The Marines also organized three amtank and eleven amtrac battalions. The army’s amphibian tank battalion had a headquarters and headquarters/service company (four amtracs) and four seventeen-tank companies organized into three five-tank platoons and a two-tank headquarters section. In January 1944, the number of amtanks per company rose to eighteen, and companies received two amtracs each; the headquarters company received three amtanks. The amphibian tractor battalion consisted of a headquarters and a service company, plus two line companies with fifty-one amtracs apiece. The battalions by 1945 were reorganized into three line companies, each with sixteen amtracs. Each company had two maintenance LVTs and its own mechanics, electricians, and radio repairmen.


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Amtanks, almost certainly from the 708th Amphibian Tank Battalion, head for the beach in the Ryukyus Islands. The extra .30-caliber machine guns mounted at the side hatches of the LVT(A)(4)s are just visible.


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jdtherocker #2 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 04:44

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This is an amazing topic thanks for posting it.

Atemerus #3 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 05:00

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Can we haz this in landings? I mean with "special" landing maps.

HatchPlug #4 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 06:21

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Great post!!  Keep these coming!

I was in the Marine Infantry from 1998-2002, and let me tell you, rising in modern AMTRAKs was scary enough.  I can't imagine being the Marines in those under armored floating caskets.

Drakenred #5 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 06:40

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ok when are we getting them.

Shivos #6 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 06:56

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Wow, excellent read...thanks so much to Mr. Yeide for this informative article. I love the stories behind the machines and their brave crews.

Thanks!

Valkeiper #7 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 07:46

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View PostDrakenred, on Nov 22 2011 - 06:40, said:

ok when are we getting them.

You are joking, right?

These things have paper thin armor and provide such large targets on land, anybody who plays WoT would giggle in anticipation of killing them. In the water, they'd be very challenging targets for tankers and TDers (SPGs could put the 'water-hammer' effect to great use with HE).

Now, I can see this as a lead-in to 'World-of-Battleships' amphibious operations (like in clan wars for WoT).

Hmmm... that would be an interesting scenario... WoT tanks, TDs, and SPGs defending against WoBs amtanks with ship guns in support (no amtracs because 'no infantry').

brian333 #8 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 07:46

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An awesome read, thanks chieftain for bringing us the words and pictures of Mr Harry Yeide.

While I was aware of the use of amphibious tracked vehicles in WW2 I have never had an opportunity to learn of them in depth. This is a great start!

My question is: Duplex drive and 'sealed' tanks were embarked for the D-Day landings, but most never made it ashore. Does Mr. Yeide have any info or opinions as to why this occurred? Given the success of the Pacific operations, the nearly complete failure of amphibious tanks in the Normandy landings stands out.

victorocious #9 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 08:31

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Thanks for that Mr. Yeide. A very interesting read to say the least.

Drakenred #10 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 08:33

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@Valkeiper I know that, I have seen restored units around here. In fact they were working on restoring a LVT(A)(4) at the The Admiral Nimitz Museum over in Fredricsburg a couple of years ago. (it was a bit of a joke, it would probably end up being a teir 1-2 premium

Kinematica #11 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 11:26

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Excellent read TY

Grandpa_1961 #12 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 15:07

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Awesome job on providing info on the Amtanks and Amtracks and those that crewed them.  I really appreciate a well written and informative article, and definitely fills the bill.  
Thanks for a great read.  Please keep up the good work.

God Bless,

Cmre. Gordon "Jiggs" Jennings (ret)

doom44 #13 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 15:42

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Nice topic.  :Smile_honoring:
There was also the DD tanks (Amphibious shermans) but most of those sunk because of the hard weather on D-Day.  :(
The Germans were also planning to make amphibious Panzer IIs for Operation Sea Lion.

FreeFOXMIKE #14 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 16:12

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View PostKyleRees, on Nov 22 2011 - 06:21, said:

Great post!!  Keep these coming!

I was in the Marine Infantry from 1998-2002, and let me tell you, rising in modern AMTRAKs was scary enough.  I can't imagine being the Marines in those under armored floating caskets.

have to remember in there time "they were top of the line"  Its hard to think of it from our time to theirs,you have to think in their  time alone . I went to Marine Amphibian Warfare school at Little Creek VA
and you have to drop the equipment we have now and try to think in terms  if the then (lol in the 70's we still did the cargo net,and mike boats assaults,with support on the LARC's. )

A good read :Smile_great:

Hovertank #15 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 17:07

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Great stuff!  Thanks Harry and Chieftan!

Rolledback #16 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 18:17

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Nice read, was hoping for a bit more info on types of amtracs too though.

cody4477 #17 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 19:17

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View PostAtemerus, on Nov 22 2011 - 05:00, said:

Can we haz this in landings? I mean with "special" landing maps.
Pretty good idea.

megacabcummins #18 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 19:17

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Thank You for that it was a great read, going to go home and read it again.

knucklehead47 #19 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 22:47

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Don't usually read much but I look forward to your posts Great Job :Smile-izmena:

lostnite66 #20 Posted Nov 22 2011 - 23:31

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I have "The Tank Killers, got it on iBooks for my iPod Touch. I have been reading it for over a month, I am a slow reader I guess, lol! Really though, I have been having trouble falling asleep, so I read a little bit each night when I go to bed, it helps to relax my brain, and I fall asleep much faster. I'm enjoying The Tank Killers, I was always fascinated by the M10, and it is so cool reading about them and other tank destroyers. I use the M10 more the any other tank or TD in WoT.

Interesting read on the Amtanks, thank you for that!




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