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Why Didn't the Americans Use More of Them?

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  • Why Didn't the Americans Use More of Them?

    During the invasion of Normandy in 1944, there were available an interesting selection of British modified tanks. The Americans chose to use only the amphibious DD design. Always wondered why. Was it because as General Omar Bradley stated, that it would have complicated the supply and training situations, or was there some other reason?
    If there are no dogs in Heaven, then I want to go where they went when they died-Will Rogers

  • #2
    I'm not sure of the validity of this but I have heard that there was a certain resistance to ideas that weren't 'homegrown'. I think that even extends so far to some as being Anglophobic and dismissing any of their ideas outright.

    I know he wasn't involved in Overlard, but Admiral King's anglophobia was the the root cause of some major losses to the USA and their shipping during Drumbeat.

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    • #3
      Some of the designs were based on the Churchill tank, so supply might have been a problem. The DDs were Shermans.
      "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
      — Groucho Marx

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      • #4
        The US made use of the Sherman Crab and the T1E3 (Sherman with 27 ton mine roller kit) as well, iirc. As noted, the "not made here" mindset and a good degree of Anglophobia amongst US generals probably had much to do with it.
        The Purist

        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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        • #5
          The 'Not made here' syndrome I can see. The arrogance of thinking they wouldn't be needed as the invasion forces would be off the beach ASAP I can see. Rampant Anglophobia in the US Generals; I don't see, Sure King was an Anglophobe and a right , to suggest it was rampant amongst the Generals would be, in my opinion only, a stretch.

          Sure there was a rivalry with the British and Commonwealth cousins AND different tactical doctrines, but not Anglophobia.
          Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

          "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

          What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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          • #6
            The US also made use of the Sherman flail-tank.
            "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
            — Groucho Marx

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            • #7
              http://www.tanksinworldwar2.com/usa-myths-dd-tanks.php
              Not a ton of info, but it does shed a little light onto the different types of 'funnies' and why supplies were as they were.
              "You listen to the ol' Pork Chop Express on a dark and stormy night......"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RichardS View Post
                The 'Not made here' syndrome I can see. The arrogance of thinking they wouldn't be needed as the invasion forces would be off the beach ASAP I can see. Rampant Anglophobia in the US Generals; I don't see, Sure King was an Anglophobe and a right , to suggest it was rampant amongst the Generals would be, in my opinion only, a stretch.

                Sure there was a rivalry with the British and Commonwealth cousins AND different tactical doctrines, but not Anglophobia.
                Actually, Richard, it was far more common than one would think. A lot of it can be seen amongst the commanders of US units in Torch and later in Tunisia. The US officers thought they had nothing to learn from the British and felt a bit humiliated by the US Army's poor performance at Tebourba, Long Stop Hill, Medjez el Bab, Fodouk, Faid, Sidi bou-Zid, Kasserine, Maknassy, El Guettar, etc,. between December and late March.

                The British senior commanders were so unimpressed with American fighting skills (if not their bravery and tenacity) that when the axis army group retreated into northern Tunisia US II Corps was initially detailed to be withdrawn from the line for retraining. IMO, a large number of senior US officers had developed something of a chip on their shoulders and some of this turned into a dislike for their British colleagues.

                Thankfully Alexander was impressed by Bradley's appeal to keep the corps in the line and transferred it to the allied left. Bradley's assumption of command of the corps from Patton (who did not perform very well against the elastic German defences in the south) marked a change in fortune for the US and began the rise of US star in the alliance.

                The alliance can also thank Eisenhower's military diplomacy in solving some of the problems caused by British senior officers criticisms (not always fair, it should be added) and hurt professional pride on the American's part.
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Catman View Post
                  The US also made use of the Sherman flail-tank.
                  During the invasion or after the beaches were taken?

                  Comments from Chester Wilmot The Struggle for Europe, p288, 1954 edition has the following.

                  --. When Montgomery first saw this equipment he ordered Hobart to make one third of it available to the Americans and set himself to interest Eisenhower and Bradley in its revolutionary employment. Hobart’s account of the reaction of the three generals is illuminating.

                  “Montgomery,” he says, “was most inquisitive. After thorough tests and searching questions he said in effect: ‘I’ll have this and this and this; but I don’t want that or that.’ Eisenhower was equally enthusiastic but not as discriminating. His response was, ‘We’ll take everything you can give us.’ Bradley appeared to be interested but when asked what he wanted, replied, ‘I'll have to consult my staff.’”

                  Bradley and his staff eventually accepted the ‘DDs’ but did not take up the offer of ‘Crabs,’ ‘Crocodiles,’ AVREs’ and the rest of Hobart’s menagerie. Their official reason was that there was no time to train American crews to handle the Churchill tanks in which most of the special British equipment was installed, but their fundamental scepticism about its value was shown when they rejected even the ‘Crabs,’ which offered few training difficulties since the ‘flail’ device was fitted to the standard American Sherman tank.

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                  • #10
                    Crabs were used after the landings for mine clearing both in the bocage and later on near the West Wall. The number is fewer than 100, iirc, but they were used. I believe the US used more of the T1E3.
                    The Purist

                    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                    • #11
                      Did any one realized that the Americans that never used these British made tanks that suffered bigger casualties than the British forces!

                      Why Didn't the Americans Use More of Them?
                      The Americans thought those certain British Tanks were not up to the standards in which the American tanks were.

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                      • #12
                        IIRC at least one squadron of Crocodiles was used to support US forces just after D-day. but I suspect that was still close enough to British Supply lines that the B Echelon could keep up the supply.

                        Later a Sherman version of the Crocodile Was used. Granted it was by one unit, which had 4 tanks. It only ever used them once, to burn down a castle.
                        Winnie says
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                        It was an Accident."
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                          Actually, Richard, it was far more common than one would think. A lot of it can be seen amongst the commanders of US units in Torch and later in Tunisia. The US officers thought they had nothing to learn from the British and felt a bit humiliated by the US Army's poor performance at Tebourba, Long Stop Hill, Medjez el Bab, Fodouk, Faid, Sidi bou-Zid, Kasserine, Maknassy, El Guettar, etc,. between December and late March.
                          The initial phase of the US effort in Tunisia (Fondouk/Faid/Sidi-bou-Zid/Kasserine were all part of the February 16-20 debacle*) was a disaster. Playing significant parts were: (a) Fredendall's poor leadership and his poor relations with his British seniors, (b) the dispersal of the 1st Armored Division (though in fairness to Fredendall, Gen. Anderson of 1 British Army ordered him to move one of its combat commands north, a serious mistake that had Eisenhower's and AFHQ's consent), and (c) Eisenhower's poor leadership in not insisting that Fredendall (and Anderson) keep US armor concentrated as a mobile reserve (or switching commanders).

                          Maknassy was a check (not really a disaster like the Kasserine series), but not in the context of Alexander's plan, which called for Patton to remain west of the easternmost Dorsals. At El Guettar, the US 1st Infantry smashed a German armored-panzergrenadier counterattack (two on the same day actually), so I don't really call that a defeat. Recall that Patton got as far as he was supposed to go, leaving an avenue of retreat and advance for Messe and Montgomery. He knew it would be popularly perceived as a failure to reach Gabes.

                          *I thought Tebourba was a US-British operation under the command of the 78th British Division, but I may be wrong. At Medjez, US armor did poorly, though in those December battles, the British also had lost quite a number of Argylls, Hampshires, Surreys and others.

                          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                          The British senior commanders were so unimpressed with American fighting skills (if not their bravery and tenacity) that when the axis army group retreated into northern Tunisia US II Corps was initially detailed to be withdrawn from the line for retraining. IMO, a large number of senior US officers had developed something of a chip on their shoulders and some of this turned into a dislike for their British colleagues.

                          Thankfully Alexander was impressed by Bradley's appeal to keep the corps in the line and transferred it to the allied left. Bradley's assumption of command of the corps from Patton (who did not perform very well against the elastic German defences in the south) marked a change in fortune for the US and began the rise of US star in the alliance.
                          As Churchill remarked, "The Americans always get to the right answer. After trying everything else first." (I'm going from memory here - I think that quote is in Beevor's "Battle for Normandy.") Marshall made a similar remark.

                          The problem the two sides faced from December 1942 to late July 1943 was that the British had fought the Germans on the Continent and in Europe for three years, and thought little of their American allies, who were apple-green. The Americans had seen the British beaten on the Continent and in Europe for nearly three years, and thought little of their British allies. Both terribly underestimated the other. Most unfortunate was that the Kasserine disasters fell just as Alexander took command of his army group. As they say, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression," and that impression stuck with Alexander through most of the Sicilian campaign.

                          Bradley was right to make the pitch to Eisenhower to keep II Corps in line against Bizerte, and Alexander overcame his trepidation about American abilities, which he had ample grounds to question. (Patton had vehemently agreed with Bradley, but he was the outgoing commander as he had to get back to the HUSKY planning., so an appeal to Eisenhower would come better from Bradley.) Alexander deserves more credit than he gets, I think; he was't nearly the forceful personality Montgomery and others were.

                          I don't think that in early April 1943 Bradley had a chip on his shoulder against his British seniors; he certainly developed that by July 14, when he lost Highway 124 to Leese's troops, and it only got worse as he worked under Montgomery, whose talent for alienating air, navy, allies, etc. has been discussed to the point of exhaustion.

                          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                          The alliance can also thank Eisenhower's military diplomacy in solving some of the problems caused by British senior officers criticisms (not always fair, it should be added) and hurt professional pride on the American's part.
                          Professonal pride, "not made here" and other forms of nationalism all showed up as irritants. Bradley, for instance, embraced the hedgerow forks on Shermans in 1944. But he was fundamentally dubious about newfangled contraptions and deception plans that the British were quick to exploit effectively. Beevor says a lot of British Army generals didn't like the "Q" gimmicks, either; Eisenhower was right to let the nerds in tweed coats come up with ideas, some of which (MOUSETRAP, FORTITUDE, flails) worked marvelously.

                          To me, the great thing is that virtually everyone did his job, regardless of his nationalistic feelings, and there were very few incidents where lives were lost directly attributable to nationalistic disagreements.
                          Last edited by Jon Jordan; 24 May 10, 09:13.
                          "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                          -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

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                          • #14
                            There's no reason why the US Army couldn't have modified Shermans to their own ends; why the heck not a Sherman AVRE, a Sherman Crocodile?

                            I understand from my reading that the lack of specialized armor hurt the US Army on D-Day.

                            They did, however, come up with the Cullin Cutter which was an easy field modification.
                            "Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way." - Christopher Hitchens

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by globetrotter View Post
                              There's no reason why the US Army couldn't have modified Shermans to their own ends; why the heck not a Sherman AVRE, a Sherman Crocodile?

                              I understand from my reading that the lack of specialized armor hurt the US Army on D-Day.

                              They did, however, come up with the Cullin Cutter which was an easy field modification.
                              At Omaha I think the problem was getting them ashore. The DDs swamped. Any armor, specialized or not, would have been helpful on D-Day. But you are correct - "why didn't they modify their own tanks?" I think Bradley and Gerow were too conservative to think along those lines.
                              "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                              -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

                              (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

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