Can anyone Identify the Battalion?

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Hosted by John Prigent and Steve Zaloga, this is a discussion group dedicated to the armoured forces of the many Allied nations of the Second World War.

Can anyone Identify the Battalion?

Joined: January 25th, 2012, 4:38 am

February 22nd, 2012, 8:25 am #1

I know its a stretch but ban any of you extremely knowledgeable folk identify what tank battalion this recovery vehicle is from? I read in another book (Hunnicutt) that it is a 4th armored retriever. Just wondering if anyone could I.D. the battalion.

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Joined: August 5th, 2005, 9:47 am

February 22nd, 2012, 11:53 am #2

But the photo is excellent!
Thanks!

Desert-Erik
Sweden

CU@C4
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Joined: July 30th, 2005, 4:16 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 2:34 pm #3

I know its a stretch but ban any of you extremely knowledgeable folk identify what tank battalion this recovery vehicle is from? I read in another book (Hunnicutt) that it is a 4th armored retriever. Just wondering if anyone could I.D. the battalion.

often unit identification can be derived by a little work. Sometimes additional annotation of the photo is preserved at NARA as text, but often wartime security precluded this. Additional documentation may be derived from cross-referencing location and date; for example, if a photo was taken in the "XX Infantry Division" zone of operations, or in a certain town at a certain time, then the vehicle (M32s were "rare") belonged to a unit operating in that place at that time.

However, photos are sometimes misfiled. The Army Signal Corps' system of central collection exacerbated this problem if a photo somehow got separated from its annotation.

The real question is: do you trust the research skills of the person who cited the photo?
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Joined: March 22nd, 2005, 10:08 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 3:20 pm #4

I know its a stretch but ban any of you extremely knowledgeable folk identify what tank battalion this recovery vehicle is from? I read in another book (Hunnicutt) that it is a 4th armored retriever. Just wondering if anyone could I.D. the battalion.

I have a copy of this photo from NARA. The problem is that it did not come from the regular Signal Corps collection (111-SC) but from the OWI collection. Their captions are much more heavily censored, and have no unit ID at all (The SC prints are often censored in the public version, but on the SC prints at NARA, there is a classified sub-caption with unit ID).

Also, in the case of this particular print, the caption sheet on the back is torn and incomplete. So unless someone comes up with the same photo in the 111-SC collection, chances are the unit ID will not be known.
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Joined: January 25th, 2012, 4:38 am

February 22nd, 2012, 3:41 pm #5

often unit identification can be derived by a little work. Sometimes additional annotation of the photo is preserved at NARA as text, but often wartime security precluded this. Additional documentation may be derived from cross-referencing location and date; for example, if a photo was taken in the "XX Infantry Division" zone of operations, or in a certain town at a certain time, then the vehicle (M32s were "rare") belonged to a unit operating in that place at that time.

However, photos are sometimes misfiled. The Army Signal Corps' system of central collection exacerbated this problem if a photo somehow got separated from its annotation.

The real question is: do you trust the research skills of the person who cited the photo?
Thanks Ed, That's good information. I know the 4th Armored was definitely near Nancy during this time but like you said is that where and when this photo was taken(?) Well, I appreciate your quick response to my post.

Thanks again!
Bill
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Joined: January 25th, 2012, 4:38 am

February 22nd, 2012, 3:58 pm #6

I have a copy of this photo from NARA. The problem is that it did not come from the regular Signal Corps collection (111-SC) but from the OWI collection. Their captions are much more heavily censored, and have no unit ID at all (The SC prints are often censored in the public version, but on the SC prints at NARA, there is a classified sub-caption with unit ID).

Also, in the case of this particular print, the caption sheet on the back is torn and incomplete. So unless someone comes up with the same photo in the 111-SC collection, chances are the unit ID will not be known.
Thanks Steve, Its interesting to know how photos were censored by SC. Ive only researched books and internet photos so I was not familiar with what information was on the caption sheet. It makes perfect sense to identify the unit, time and place though.

My interest in this particular photo is two-fold. Not only do I want to do a diorama of this scene but the soldier lighting the stove REALLY looks like my dad. My siblings and my mom (87) agree. I thought this at first glance before I discovered the location and date of the photo. And then to later read in Hunnicutt that it was a 4th Armored M32 well that just heightened my desire to know if this was a retriever from the 37th.

Well, thanks for the quick response and Ill try not to let this eat me up anymore.

Im a fan, keep up the good work!

Regards,
Bill
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Joined: January 25th, 2012, 4:38 am

February 22nd, 2012, 4:00 pm #7

But the photo is excellent!
Thanks!

Desert-Erik
Sweden

CU@C4
Enjoy the photo Erik! =)
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Joined: August 9th, 2006, 12:19 am

February 22nd, 2012, 4:56 pm #8

I know its a stretch but ban any of you extremely knowledgeable folk identify what tank battalion this recovery vehicle is from? I read in another book (Hunnicutt) that it is a 4th armored retriever. Just wondering if anyone could I.D. the battalion.

having it perched up there resting on its fore sight....
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Joined: July 30th, 2005, 4:16 pm

February 22nd, 2012, 6:23 pm #9

Thanks Steve, Its interesting to know how photos were censored by SC. Ive only researched books and internet photos so I was not familiar with what information was on the caption sheet. It makes perfect sense to identify the unit, time and place though.

My interest in this particular photo is two-fold. Not only do I want to do a diorama of this scene but the soldier lighting the stove REALLY looks like my dad. My siblings and my mom (87) agree. I thought this at first glance before I discovered the location and date of the photo. And then to later read in Hunnicutt that it was a 4th Armored M32 well that just heightened my desire to know if this was a retriever from the 37th.

Well, thanks for the quick response and Ill try not to let this eat me up anymore.

Im a fan, keep up the good work!

Regards,
Bill
About a year after the book on USMC tanks in the Pacific was published, my wife anwered a phonecall. Seems that an old gentleman who lived about twenty miles away had been given a copy of the book as a gift by his grandson (who knew he was a tanker in the PTO), and it turned out that a famous photo the layout artist used on the dust jacket was of him. He had not joined any veteran's organizations or kept in touch, so of course I was unaware he lived nearby.
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Joined: January 25th, 2012, 4:38 am

February 23rd, 2012, 7:25 am #10

That's a great story and with the millions of Allied soldiers in the both the Pacific and ETO to find one photo of someone you know is truly a rarity. That's why I was so intrigued by this photo. The first to jump out at me is the soldiers face, then its an M32 near Nancy then it may be a 4th armored vehicle, check, check, check. All that said and IF all of that were indeed verifiable the probability that this could be his M32 increases substantially being there would be few in the area at that time. Just not enough to say for sure

Well, I think its a great photo of a very busy tank for the period and I cant wait to build it!

Thanks again Ed, Great chatting with you!
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