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D-Day Assault Wave Tank Battalion DUI


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#1 Glidertrooper

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:25 PM

With the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings for the invasion of WWII France just two weeks away, I thought I would show these off.

 

Earlier this year I was very pleased to be able to secure the final DUI to complete this trinity of Distinctive Unit Insignia for the independent Tank Battalions that were the spearhead of American forces for the primary assault wave of the Normandy beaches on the 6th June 1944.

 

resized_D-Day Tanks 1.JPG

 

resized_D-Day Tanks 2.JPG

 

Left to Right:

 

70th Tank Battalion - hallmarked NS Meyer Inc. New York (raised / WWII version) - landed on UTAH beach in support of the 4th Infantry Division

743rd Tank Battalion - hallmarked AH Dondero Inc. Wash.D.C. Sterling (raised) - landed on the western side of OMAHA beach in support of the 29th Infantry Division and the Rangers

741st Tank Battalion - hallmarked Sterling (incised) - landed on the eastern side of OMAHA beach in support of the 1st Infantry Division famously loosing the majority of their Duplex Drive (DD) tanks at sea when they were launched from their landing craft in exceedingly rough conditions

 

All three Tank Battalions would go on to see combat throughout the various campaigns across North West Europe until the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

 

 

 

 



#2 Glidertrooper

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:30 PM

And a 'for fun' shot...

 

resized_D-Day Tanks 3.JPG

 

...with an original WWII Armoured Triangle patch and reproduction 1st pattern Tanker Jacket by The Real McCoy's, Japan.

 

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

Cheers......John

 

 

 

 



#3 Mr.Jerry

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:37 PM

Very cool!



#4 Indexred

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:57 PM

Nice grouping! Now you need the SSI for these battalions.

#5 jmd62

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:59 PM

Very nice!



#6 Baron3-6

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:02 PM

Thanks for posting these!

 

I did some research on these units several years ago and it seemed like there were more myths and legends than truths....the "All the armor is in the channel" line is Saving Private Ryan didn't help. The 741st's heavy losses came to be the story for every tank going into any beach that day - which was not the case. 

 

Couple interesting facts:

 

70th Tank Bn: Utah Beach, had the "easiest" landing, but had more MIA's than the other two BN's because 2nd Platoon of A Company was wiped out when their LCM struck a mine on the way in - only one man in the Platoon survived. Only one other vehicle was lost going in. 

 

741st Tank Bn: Co B and C were DD Tanks, Co A were fitted with fording vents on the engine deck.  741st lost almost all of their DD Tanks because they launched at 5,000 yards out as the plan called for. 

 

743rd Tank Bn: Co B and C were DD Tanks, Co A were fitted with fording vents on the engine deck. Leaders in the 743rd realized the surf conditions were too rough to launch the DD tanks at 5,000 yards and coordinated with the Navy to get them in as close as possible before launching. While they still lost a few tanks to rough seas, they were much more effective than the 741st upon reaching the beach. 

 

 

For those interested, a  free .pdf of the 743rd's history is located here:

https://digicom.bpl..../ww_reg_his/66/



#7 Glidertrooper

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 12:21 AM

Thanks for the replies gentlemen. Yes, would love to one day acquire the SSI to match the DUI.

 

I visited the Normandy beaches and DZ in 2016 and one of the most interesting facts I read about the ill-fated launch of the 741st Tank Bn Duplex Drive Tanks was that the reason the 2 DD tanks that actually managed to swim ashore, was because the crews of those two tanks both had experienced boatmen in them. Recognising the danger they were in, they didn't fight the strong tide to try and reach their assigned beech landing locations and risking being swamped. They instead swam with the tide and allowed their DD tanks to be swept ashore, albeit landing some considerable distance from where they were supposed to. Smart and brave!



#8 Indexred

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 04:26 PM

Thanks for the replies gentlemen. Yes, would love to one day acquire the SSI to match the DUI.

 

I visited the Normandy beaches and DZ in 2016 and one of the most interesting facts I read about the ill-fated launch of the 741st Tank Bn Duplex Drive Tanks was that the reason the 2 DD tanks that actually managed to swim ashore, was because the crews of those two tanks both had experienced boatmen in them. Recognising the danger they were in, they didn't fight the strong tide to try and reach their assigned beech landing locations and risking being swamped. They instead swam with the tide and allowed their DD tanks to be swept ashore, albeit landing some considerable distance from where they were supposed to. Smart and brave!

 

I knew one of the two men who commanded those DD tanks, and he had no nautical experience nor did anyone in his crew. They got lucky. That’s how they got to the beach. I’m not sure about the other tank commander. He died in 1962, so I never had a chance to interview him. Famed diver John Chatterton was the first person who recognized that lack of nautical experience contributed to the disaster, a fact he pointed out in his 2004 documentary, “The Lost Tanks of D-Day” (Deep Sea Detectives #37). John never interviewed anyone from the two crews that swam to shore, but he did not state that any of these men had boating skills. I can only surmise that some “historian” subsequently assumed that these crews must have had nautical know-how, and thus started the story that you heard.



#9 Glidertrooper

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:06 AM

That's great provenanced information Indexred. For the life of me I cannot remember which of the Normandy museums I read that information in but banked it in my head as an interesting aspect to the story, so it is good to be able to counter bad information with first hand veteran knowledge.

 

Is there a contemporary history in one book for the 741st? I have identified the 'Vitamin Charley' and 'Vitamin Baker' Company histories, so are those the only original wartime histories of elements of the 741st, or is there a Battalion one like there are for the 70th and 743rd??

 

Cheers......John



#10 Indexred

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

That's great provenanced information Indexred. For the life of me I cannot remember which of the Normandy museums I read that information in but banked it in my head as an interesting aspect to the story, so it is good to be able to counter bad information with first hand veteran knowledge.

 

Is there a contemporary history in one book for the 741st? I have identified the 'Vitamin Charley' and 'Vitamin Baker' Company histories, so are those the only original wartime histories of elements of the 741st, or is there a Battalion one like there are for the 70th and 743rd??

 

Cheers......John

 

The only contemporary history for the entire 741st was a pocket-sized booklet printed in 1945 by Paul Dupont of Paris (pictured below). This is was the only such booklet created for a battalion-sized unit. All the others (eight-three I think) are for division-level organizations and above.

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  • 741 booklet (Paul Dupont, Paris, 1945).jpg



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