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US Tankers in Camo...


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Verrry interestink...They all have the camo coveralls. I would presume this picture is stateside as I dont recall ever seeing these coveralls in use by tankers in Europe, but does the picture have any info with it? Also, I would doubt those big stripes on the turrret were used in combat overseas. Training purposes?

 

CB

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Jim, no not AIB .... they have a TD patch, so must be a towed TD unit which was probably attached to 2nd Armored.

 

Erwin

 

 

I was just saying there was an AIB that wore the camo. Just can't remember who it was. I had a photo of several of them crossing a field once.

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Collecting WWII Armor and Tank Destroyer Items

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Very interesting pictures! Because of the cammo being worn by the Waffen SS i wonder if any mistakes by US infantry mistaking them for Germans ever happened. Thanks for posting the pictures.

SteveK

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ts, ts..... The 41st was an Armored REGIMENT.... ;)

 

And most now agree that resembling SS camo had nothing to do with not-wearing the camo anymore....

 

The 41AIR received the HBT Camo while in rest on or around July 17th, 1944, and by the time they got off the line again in mid to late August 1944, they were worn out and replaced with regular uniforms again...

 

Johan

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Ahhhhh, but there IS evidence that the camouflage HBTs were dropped because of mistaken identity.

 

I am the author of a published book on the air cavalry in Vietnam. I lived in the Washington, DC area for 30+ years; and this proximity to the National Archives proved to be a blessing when it came time to conduct research for my book. After spending what seemed like eons in the Archives, I finally completed my research. Then, I figured...... "What the Hell - since I'm here; I might as well see what I can find on both my father and myself". I started looking at anything that had to do with units/time frames for both of us, to include orders, photos, whatever. Then..... the research obsession exploded - I started looking at units from WWII, which I admired. The 2d AD was one of them. There, buried in an after-action report from the 41st AIR was a "lessons learned" section dating from 1944. It went into considerable detail on the problems of mistaken identity by 41st AIR troops wearing the camouflage uniforms. The report recommended that the uniform be dropped, for reasons including friendly fire casualties and creating an additional line item/burden on the logistics system.

 

Now that I live 1500 miles from the Archives, I REALLY miss the ability to sit and just read/savor raw history at its best. If you ever spend a length of time in the DC area; go and read the goodies at the Archives. You'll be glad you did.

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Well, that's interesting....

 

I'm in no position to argue with that, but I still believe that the 'mistaken own troops' theory is slightly exagerated......

 

If it had been the intention of the US commanders in Normandy to have units wear those camo HBT's they would have been issued in far greater numbers than they actually were....

I assume that a commander in the 2AD, just liked them and had some ordered and issued to the 41AIR.... These HBT Camo's were in very limited supply in the ETO and after a couple of weeks in the field, they were probably completely worn out (evidenced by the few examples that were battlefield pickups...).

Had more GI's been shot at by own troops, I doubt they would have worn them for several weeks (some still show up late August). The short term use of the HBT was, I think, mainly due to limited supply and lack of real advantage of wearing camo's in the ETO. The extra effort in getting them thru the chain of supply from the US to the units in the field, just wasn't worth it...

 

I don't want to imply that there were no casualties due to friendly fire, but just that I don't think it was as widespread as some authors tend to make us believe....

 

All that being said, the mint NOS set of Army HBT Camo's are amongst the nicest items in my collection and look great on a 41AIR set-up....

 

Also, for those wanting to see multiple images of those camo's in wear, get the 2AD Combat Reels DVD....

 

Johan

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Verrry interestink...They all have the camo coveralls. I would presume this picture is stateside as I dont recall ever seeing these coveralls in use by tankers in Europe, but does the picture have any info with it? Also, I would doubt those big stripes on the turrret were used in combat overseas. Training purposes?

 

CB

 

 

CB,

 

As far as markings, look at this photo I found on the net. It is supposed to have been taken in the ETO, either in France or Germany. What do you think?

 

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Collecting WWII Armor and Tank Destroyer Items

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  • 1 month later...

Pvt. Joseph De Freitos from Jonkers, New York of the 41st AIR, heats up cans of rations on his small individual stove, in Pont-Brocard, France, July 1944.

 

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Collecting WWII Armor and Tank Destroyer Items

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Troops from the 17th Armored Engineers, 2nd Armored Division clear a lane blocked by debris in Canisy France, 27th July 1944.

 

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Collecting WWII Armor and Tank Destroyer Items

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I have done a lot of work on the cammo question.

I mean A LOT. For many many years

 

I started asking the CMH for info that went into the green book from whence all this comes. They have nothing inthe notes on that book to indicate where it came from.

 

I've spent hours and hours at NARA looking for any docs on the use and found nothing at all in the 2nd AD, the 2nd ID (which wore them out ot Brittany), and the 30th ID which supposedly wore them (but I can't find proof).

 

Nothing in the 2nd AD, 41st AIR, or the 2nd Engineer and quartermaster unit records.

 

and whatis interesting is that cammo was dropped months and months before the invasion of France. so maybe that is why the 41st stopped, but certainly not for the entire US Army.

 

So I am really, really really interested in trying to get a copy of that mention. I'm heading down there in a few weeks so any ideas at all on where that was would be really greatly appreciated.

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Oh, and as to the tankers-

 

The QMC decided at the start of 1944 that cammo was not working out, and restricted its issue to units in the USA as a substitute for HBTs for fatique use.

 

So in most books on units that trained in 1944 you see camo being used for all kinds of dirty jobs, like washing dishes, digging, working on vehicles, etc. It was basically the way the army used up the stocks of the stuff.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm sure nost of you know more about this than I ever will, but let me ask this:

 

You say they replaced the camo HBTs after being worn from July to August 1944, after they were "worn out".

 

Does that mean the camo HBT uniform wore out faster than the regular uniform that was worn by everyone else? Was the HBT material that much less durable? Did they replace the regular uniform every 2-3 months, as is suggested they did with the HBTs? I've read that a lot of soldiers wore the same uniform longer than 2-3 months, and without ever taking a bath!!! Was a small group of soldiers harder on their camo HBTs than the rest of the entire army was on their regular uniforms.

 

I guess what I'm saying is...IF they replaced the regular uniform within 2-3 months of issue (due to wear) then I can accept the theory they replaced the camo HBT within 2-3 months of it being issued also (due to wear).

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Verrry interestink...They all have the camo coveralls. I would presume this picture is stateside as I dont recall ever seeing these coveralls in use by tankers in Europe, but does the picture have any info with it? Also, I would doubt those big stripes on the turrret were used in combat overseas. Training purposes?

 

CB

 

I have a picture somewhere showing an M12 self-propelled gun being manned by troops wearing camouflaged coveralls during stateside training. The markings on the tank are a combination of the early Armored Forces markings and a removable war games ID. I also have a photo of a Sherman tank wearing one of these wrapped around the turret with crew members wearing colored bands around their helmet liners. I'll try and dig them out.

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