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  • UN armor in Korea?

    It seems that most information on armor in Korea concerns American tanks like the M24, M26, M4A3 and the M46 standing against North Korean and Chinese T-34-85s and very little about British Churchills, Centurions, and Cromwells (but not the Comet). I was of the opinion that the Centurions and Comets would've been capable tanks against T-34-85s with Churchills and Cromwells filling secondary roles. Were there cases of British armor engaging T-34-85s, and if so, how did they fare? I also want to know is what other armor units besides the American and British were present in Korea? Specifically, were there Australian, Canadian or New Zealand tankers present, and if so what tanks did they fight in? How about the armor of other UN forces that had Shermans and American tank destroyers like Belgium, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Netherlands, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey? If they had any, which armor did they have and what roles did they fulfill?
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  • #2
    I have a book on US Armor Operations in Korea. It was put out by the US Government Printing Office. The North Koreans were able to conduct Armor operations at the beginning of the war. As they drove South they lost vehicles, so the total force got smaller. There are very few areas in Korea that have enough flat terrain for Tanks to operate. Just about all these areas were growing Rice. The US Army used Tanks as mobile Artillery.They would build ramps that the tanks would drive up on and get more range for firing.

    The US Army did have some M-24's in Japan and there were depots holding M-4's in storage. It was a tremendous [email protected] to get them running. More in the CONUS were overhauled and shipped to Korea and Europe. I can remember the Philippines sent a Sherman Battalion. The UK sent some Shermans and some other tanks (Centurions?). Most of the UN support was in Infantry Battalions. India sent Medical units as they did not want to fight Chinese. I don't recall any Tank Destroyers sent. The UK sent most of two Brigades, one of which was formed by Commonwealth troops (Canada, Australia, New Zealand). I can't recall if the South Africans sent any Infantry. Several countries sent a Battalion of Infantry (Belgium, France, the Netherlands. Turkey sent a Brigade of Infantry. Not sure about Greece, they were fighting a Communist Insurrection.

    While Truman was sending Army divisions to Korea he also shipped at least three National Guard Divisions to Europe (NATO). Many of the small NATO contributions were attached to US Divisions. The French Coree Battalion was then sent to Vietnam were it was ambushed and decimated

    Pruitt
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    • #3
      The Canadian Army Special Force, formed for Korea in 1950, included C Squadron of the Lord Strathcona Horse. This unit was equipped with M4A3E8 tanks. Later, the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group included all squadrons from Lord Strathcona Horse.

      A CAF squadron roughly included 4 platoons of 4 tanks each, plus an HQ section.

      I can't find definitive proof, but it appears the tanks were borrowed from the US from stock on hand in Korea and were returned to the US in 1954.

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      • #4
        Well, let's see...

        According to this guy

        http://hosungw.blogspot.com/2015/03/...-by-north.html

        The British sent Churchill and Cromwell tanks only because the road conditions in Korea per US advice, were so poor that the Centurion would have difficultly navigating and operating on them.

        At a largely forgotten battle called "Happy Valley" or Go-Yang, a squadron of Cromwells supporting the Royal Ulster Rifles were ambushed by Chinese forces and most or all of the 14 Cromwells present were lost. Some were intact and handed over to the North Koreans for use as the Chinese didn't have trained tank crew available. Later, these now N. Korean operated Cromwells showed up in various battles including Inchon were they were knocked out or recaptured.

        http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news...51_134798.html

        The US Army did in fact send at least one battalion of M36B2 tank destroyers to Korea and the N. Koreans operated a number of SU 76 SP guns / tank destroyers as well. Here's one that was captured and sent to Aberdeen MD:






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        • #5
          The British Centurians seem to have done spectacularly well in Korea. Though their first kill was of a Cromwell that had previously been captured by the Chinese.

          https://www.quora.com/Did-British-Ce...her-conflicts#
          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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          • #6
            While it's clear that Centurion and Cromwell tanks saw combat in Korea, it's less clear if they ever fought against N. Korean or Chinese armor. Cromwells saw action at Happy Valley (Go-Yang) in a Chinese ambush / attack where several were captured and the 14 present were mostly or entirely lost during the battle.
            At Imjin River, the Chinese attacked the British 29th Infantry Bde and largely overran them in one of their initial large assaults to push UN forces back. The brigade held for 3 days before being pushed back. Centurion tanks of C squadron, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars were present, and some were lost:



            Here's an interest photo. The original is from the IWM and purports to show a Comet tank in Korea with the 7th RTR.

            https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205124610



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            • #7
              Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
              I
              The UK sent most of two Brigades, one of which was formed by Commonwealth troops (Canada, Australia, New Zealand).
              Pruitt
              Small point of order, UK didn't "send" Commonwealth troops as Commonwealth troops were not under UK authority. There was co-equal cooperation within the commonwealth during the Korean war though. The Canadian/Australian/NZ victory at Kap-Yong was noteworthy

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              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                While it's clear that Centurion and Cromwell tanks saw combat in Korea, it's less clear if they ever fought against N. Korean or Chinese armor. Cromwells saw action at Happy Valley (Go-Yang) in a Chinese ambush / attack where several were captured and the 14 present were mostly or entirely lost during the battle.
                At Imjin River, the Chinese attacked the British 29th Infantry Bde and largely overran them in one of their initial large assaults to push UN forces back. The brigade held for 3 days before being pushed back. Centurion tanks of C squadron, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars were present, and some were lost:



                Here's an interest photo. The original is from the IWM and purports to show a Comet tank in Korea with the 7th RTR.

                https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205124610


                The photo is of a Centurion, not a Comet. Gun barrel is too long. I read that the tank was latter recovered and repaired.
                "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Surrey View Post

                  The photo is of a Centurion, not a Comet. Gun barrel is too long. I read that the tank was latter recovered and repaired.
                  The link to the Imperial War Museum below that comment shows the photo.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                    The link to the Imperial War Museum below that comment shows the photo.

                    If you right click on the ko tank in the photo, it states disabled Centurion at Imjin.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                      If you right click on the ko tank in the photo, it states disabled Centurion at Imjin.
                      Yes, there are several photos of Centurion tanks at Imjin that were knocked out...

                      The one I posted earlier:



                      The one in the background in a ditch:



                      Another angle of that tank



                      This one is interesting as it is supposed to be in Korea, the 20 pdr sort of confirming that. The interesting part is the addition of an IR searchlight on the vehicle.



                      The other interesting add is many sport a .30 Browning machinegun for the commander to use from his hatch.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
                        It seems that most information on armor in Korea concerns American tanks like the M24, M26, M4A3 and the M46 standing against North Korean and Chinese T-34-85s and very little about British Churchills, Centurions, and Cromwells (but not the Comet). I was of the opinion that the Centurions and Comets would've been capable tanks against T-34-85s with Churchills and Cromwells filling secondary roles. Were there cases of British armor engaging T-34-85s, and if so, how did they fare? I also want to know is what other armor units besides the American and British were present in Korea? Specifically, were there Australian, Canadian or New Zealand tankers present, and if so what tanks did they fight in? How about the armor of other UN forces that had Shermans and American tank destroyers like Belgium, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Netherlands, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey? If they had any, which armor did they have and what roles did they fulfill?
                        The employment of armour in Korea 1: http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/ref/coll...coll11/id/1685
                        The employment of armour in Korea 2: http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleit...id/1966/rec/12
                        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                        Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                        • #13
                          This could be its own topic but does anyone know what kind of American anti-tank equipment was available in South Korea or Japan at the time? I know Task Force Smith had some M9/M9A1 bazookas and 75mm recoilless rifles as well as 105 mm howitzers that used what few AT rounds to decent effect on the North Korean T-34-85s, but besides that, were there no other anti-tank weapons available in Korea or Japan?

                          Also, what happened to the Japanese medium tanks and tank destroyers that were stationed in Japan at the end of the war that probably would've been able to probably penetrate/knock out T-34-85s? The armor I'm talking about is the Type 97 Chi-Ha, Type 1 Chi-He, Type 3 Chi-Nu, Type 2 Ho-I, and Type 3 Ho-Ni III. Even the two Type 4 Chi-To's from the lake may have been able to overmatch the T-34-85! It would've been interesting to see whether those tanks, had they been maintained and sent over to Korea would've fared against North Korean T-34-85s. Seems most Japanese tanks were similar to early British tanks in the use of small caliber, high velocity AT guns in their tanks until the development of the Type 3 Chi-Nu with a 75mm. How did their gun compare to the M24 and Sherman 75mm gun?

                          Besides those, was there any stockpile of Japanese anti-tank weapons like mines, 70mm rockets, AT guns (25mm, 37mm 47mm), artillery with AP shells (70mm, 75mm, 100mm, 120mm, 150mm) and even AA guns (75mm, 76.2mm, 88mm, 100mm, 120mm, 127mm) that could've been adapted for anti-tank roles? Or were they all scrapped immediately after their surrender?

                          What kind of anti-tank weaponry (dedicated or adaptable) existed in Hong Kong, since its the next nearest place besides Japan, during the Korean War? Or perhaps Hong Kong was more worried about a Communist invasion itself?
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                          • #14
                            A brief answer on that:

                            The US issued 57mm and 75mm recoilless rifles to infantry battalions in Korea. Their use was somewhat uneven depending on each unit. Some units left these in garrison as too cumbersome to haul around, others swore by them and took every effort to haul theirs with them into combat.

                            The S. Korean army got issued a good number of US surplus M1 57mm antitank guns for their use and these saw considerable service.



                            Both the 2.57" and 3.5" bazooka were widely issued and used. British / Commonwealth forces got their PIAT, although it's doubtful it saw much use.

                            The Chinese and N. Koreans used mainly Soviet equipment including all WW 2 Soviet anti-tank rifles, the 45/L66 and 57/L73 antitank guns in addition to 76mm, 85mm, and 122mm field artillery.

                            The PRC made use of Japanese tanks but didn't commit any units with them to Korea.



                            Most PRC tank units were making use of leftovers from WW 2 and that's likely why they weren't committed, the Chinese realizing that these tanks were not up to the task of combat in Korea in terms of training, maintenance, and combat power.
                            Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 16 Feb 20, 14:54.

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                            • #15
                              US Infantry Divisions should have had an Antitank Battalion. The main problem was the Japanese Roads and Bridges. I don't see the self propelled vehicles being allowed in Japan. Okinawa could have had some. I think antitank doctrine was leaning to recoilless rifles. Japan would have been last in line to get modern equipment. I few years before the Army was using 57mm (6 Pounders) and 3 Inch Cannon. Secretary Johnson under Truman cut back on the Army in Japan. He cuts the divisions back one third and they do not train. I suspect Johnson did not send a lot of equipment to Japan. If the road system does not support heavy vehicles, why send them?

                              There were some tanks in depots that the Japanese were put to work rehabilitating. This leads me to wonder what the QM Corps in Japan were doing with their time?

                              Pruitt
                              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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