Help: looking for info on Marine tank battalion incident
I recall watching a documentary piece on a Marine assault of a particular island and I am not having any success recalling the island name or details of the incident.
It had to do with the +50% loss of a Marine Tank Battalion due to drowning during an amphibious assault. I was taken aback by the story but can't seem to recall the particulars. Any help is appreciated.
Thanks for the help guys. I'll get my google-fu on later and dial in the search a bit more. It is quite horrible that at Normandy they lost that many DD tanks out of a single battallion. What a horrible way to go....I cannot imagine. The Marine incident I'll search for further later had almost twice as many tanks in the battalion if I recall correctly and they also lost 20 to 30 tanks before they hit the shore.
IIRC The Tarawa operation involved M4A2 (Diesel Engine Shermans) of Co.C. 1 Marine Amphibious Corps Tank Bn (corps asset). and M3A1 Stuarts of Co's B&C 2nd Marine Tank Bn. 2nd Marine Division.
6 Mediums were launched for Beach Red1 1,200 yards offshore
1 was lost immediately to a shellhole 3 others which could not cross the Sea wall flooded their engines in the shallows. China Gal & Chicago made it ashore. Chicago was knocked out by Anti-tank fire, China Gals turret was jammed by a hit from a Ha-Go of the 6th Yokasuka SNLF. it rammed the Japanese Tank and its gun was inoperative. it moved back to the beach and used it's hull to protect the Marines and suppressed with its Bow .30 Browning. Cecilia knocked out earlier was fixed overnight while off of Red 1.
8 Mediums from 2nd & 3rd Platoons were launched 500 yds off Red2
Again 1 from 2nd Plt was immediately lost to a shellhole offshore, the other 3 landing. 1 was Knocked out by Japanese Infantry using a Magnetic Mine, 1 Bogged in a shellhole ashore. by D+1 2 of the Plts tanks were back in action. on D+1 yet another 2nd Plt. Medium went into a shellhole and bogged down while moving throught the shallows, 1 knocked out by USMC Mortar fire accidentally
all 4 3rd Plt Mediums were knocked out, 1 by a US Navy Dive Bomber, 3 by Japanese Anti-Tank guns.
Colorado of 3rd Plt returned to action after the driver hopped back into the Burning Tank and drove it into the water to put out the flames.
No Light (M3A1) tanks were landed on D-Day. 4 of the LCM's carrying 2nd Plt. Co.C 2nd Tank were sunk. On D+1 2 Lights got ashore and into the fight. 1 was destroyed by Japanese Sailors with Magnetic Mines. The other 2 Plts got their 12 Lights ashore on D+2.
Co. B with 18 Tanks began landings on D+1, 5 lost before getting ashore to shellholes/engine flooding.
Are you talking about the 741st Tank Battalion's assault on Omaha Beach on D-Day? 27 of the 29 DD tanks they launched sank. Only 2 made it to land?
Originally Posted by usm2b
Jesus, thats terrible!
Not so terrible for the crews, they had respirator gear, life jackets and escape training they didnt have more than a handful of casualties even if a lot of them got cold and wet. For the guys on the beach it was a disaster when they didnt have heavy fire support.
From interviews with the crews it was a combination of inexperience and determined courage that finished them off. Theres a nasty rip current running parallel to the shore as you approach the beach, an experienced boatman would have let the current take them, landed further down the beach and improvised. they might have been in the wrong place but they would have been there to support someone.
The men in the 741st were novices at sea currents being tankers not sailors and determined to complete their mission at the point where they were ordered to be so they fought the current, ended up turned sideways and crossing the rip current and the sea beat in the weak canvas and plywood sides of the flotation screens until they sank.