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Compass for M4 Sherman & M36 Tank Destroyer


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Bob Hudson

I picked up an item yesterday that was ID'ed by the seller as a Sherman tank compass.

 

When I got home I figured I'd type in a few keywords and the Internet would reveal all sorts of info about these.

 

NOT.

 

Turns out I got a lot old for sale pages which have no info about the actual use of these things other than "tanks and armored vehicles." 

 

I did come to realize that there are maybe four types of compasses that were used in WWII tanks, including the Sherrill AEG model shown here. There seem to be AEG-1 and AEG-2 models and an AEG-1 Model 6. There is also the Pioneer compass, that looks nothing like the Sherrill's but are said to have been used in Sherman tanks.

 

The model I have here has no manufacturer's plate but it is for sure a Sherrill (which later became Airway Compass  after the war). 

 

1.jpg

 

2.jpg

 

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Bob Hudson

Here's a couple of ads from the war era: it shows this style of Sherrill and a style they called the M6 "magnetic director" (which would be adapted for civilian use after the war). The M6 looks a lot like the AEG models but has a distinctive top. This style was apparently used in the 37 mm Gun Motor Carriage M6, also known as M6 Fargo. The AEG models were used in Shermans and the M36 tank destroyer (formally 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage). 

 

If anyone has info on other vehicles using these, let us know.

 

Here's the 1944 ads:

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 5.28.38 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-01-14 at 5.29.52 PM.png

 

 

Here's the M6 - notice the box just says "M6" but the included manual has M6 and AEG instrctions: the lettering on the manual maybe a bit confusing and people call them "AEG Model  6".

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 12.46.07 PM.png

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Bob Hudson

So there seem to be three models of Sherrill: AEG-1, AEG-2 and Model 6. 

 

And that brings us to tank compass number 4 - or does it? I grabbed some screen shots  last night of the Pioneer Instrument compass which is universally called a "tank compass" on the web. But this morning I realized the compass had US NAVY order number NXSS-47902: NXSS is the prefix for contracts for the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics! 

 

 

Screen-Shot-2021-01-14-at-5.18.58-PM.jpg

 

You have to love this one where a Pioneer with the Navy contract number NXSS-47902 sold for $138 as a "SHERMAN TANK COMPASS" !

 

Screen-Shot-2021-01-15-at-1.10.51-PM.jpg

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Bob Hudson

The Army calls this Pioneer/Bendix compass the PIONEER TYPE 1829 and they were procured by the Ordnance Dept. and the Corps of Engineers as vehicle compasses, but the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics must have had loftier ambitions for their models. 

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 1.40.15 PM.png

 

 

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Bob Hudson

I have not been able to verify what kind of tanks used the Pioneer Instrument Type 1829 but I did find out the Navy used the Armored Vehicle Compasses as a back-up on submarines!

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 1.45.43 PM.png

 

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Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 1.47.22 PM.png

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 1.48.36 PM.png

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Bob Hudson

Looking through some recently completed ebay sales of the Type 1829 I found another Navy aviation contract unit sold as a tank component. 

 

 

 

navcontract.jpg

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I own exactly one compass like this (a M6 identical to the one in the 1944 Sherrill Ad) only because it was made just down the road in Peru, IN. It lives on a shelf in my room. I was actually in Peru for a wedding not long ago, should've visited the old Sherill building across from the courthouse.

Good history of the company: http://usautoindustryworldwartwo.com/sherrillresearchcorporation.htm

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Cool piece- and great with the supporting information!

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Bob Hudson
5 hours ago, Mr.Jerry said:

Cool piece-

 

I consider it a Sherman tank starter kit: the next step would be to find one of those tank periscope prisms that used to be fairly common to find in unused condition. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

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