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1943 "light" armored diviision


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I repeatedly find references to 186 medium tanks but in the TO & E I am only able to count 168:

9 companies in three battallion 17 tanks each=153

In battalion HQ and HQ Coy another 5 for each battalion = 15

Total 168

Where are the othre 18?

I tried CMH among other supposed experts and came up empty.

Heres some of the stuff Ive sent as background:

From George Forty's US Army handbook:

"T/O17 and allied tables from15 Septemeber 1943"

Which besides the battalion TOE also has the other components of the armored divisions TOE.'s none of which show further medium tank units.

I alos have this TOE of the 1944 tank battalion which shows the same numbers with the exception(noted in Forty's book) of nine 105mm M4 tanks being added one to each of nine tank companies not assigned in 1943.

Plus numerous other references which I am recollating but also this from



"The 1943 division lost about one-third of its tanks, ending up with 263."

So by simple substraction:

Which 263 minus 77 light tanks = 186

Later when discussing the 1948 reorganization it states that at the end of the war 272 medium tanks were assigned-77 light tanks=195 also mentioned in Forty's book.

This table might be helpful. Could you provide it?:


F. Table - Organization and Strength -- Armored Division

Another reference:


"US ARMORED DIVISION, SEP 1943 men, 186 medium tanks, 77 light tanks, 54

self-propelled howitzers"



"Its total establishment came to 10900 troops, 186 medium tanks, 77 light

tanks, and 54 self-propelled 105-millimeter howitzers"


"The other US armored forces for Normandy were organized as "light" armored

divisions with 10937 troopers, 186 medium tanks, and 77 light tanks



"186 Medium Tanks"


"10937 men, 186 medium tanks and 77 light tanks.23 The reorganization's

effect made the armored division a more effective member of the combined

arms team,"


"1943 Armoured Div 186 medium Tanks, 77 Light Tanks, 501 half Tracks & 54 Sp

105s, 17 SP 75s Armoured cars 54 "

Hope you can help me Im abit perplexed and confused.


Again I ask what am I missing or can I just not count.

Thanks for all yours time and any info, thoughts or direction.


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I did just cme across this:


"The new division had seventy-seven light tanks and 168 mediums. The armored regiment and infantry regiment headquarters Table 2 1943 Armored Division"

Which verifys my count but confuses the issue further.

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Thanks for that in info.

I did indeed miss the nine tanks in the three forward observers sections of the three artillery battalions.

And indeed in the 1944 TO & E which I mentoned but inadvertantly forgot to link does show 6 105mm units in each battalion as you mention 3 in the battalion HQ company as I mentioned previously and the recent addition ie the 1944 TOE one each in the nine medium tank companies which I also mentioned previously.


So Im still missing nine.

But that was quite helpful.

I appreciate your sharing that info.


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This TO&E found here list a 105mm unit assigned to each company already in 1943.


And to be fair so did Forty's book but it also stated that the company only had 17 tanks. As do the other sources Ive consulted except the above.

Only later adding a 105mm unit to the company.


So it must have been an additional one added to each of nine companies bringing the total from 186 to 195.

And the table he produces is dated T/O 17 of 16 June 1945.

And indeed the armor lineage resource I linked earlier state that 277 tanks were assigned to an armor division 195medium/77 light=272 at the end of the war.

So a tank company actually had 18 tanks with one a 105mm job in 1943.


9 x 18= 162 In medium tank companies/one 105mm unit

3 x 5= 15 In tank battlion HQ companies assault gun platoon.

3 x 3 = 9 IN the three forward observers sections of the three artillery battalions.

TOTAL= 186


9 x 19 = 171 In medium tank companies/two 105mm units.

3 x 5 = 15I n tank battlion HQ companies assault gun platoon.

3x3= 9 In the three forward observers sections of the three artillery battalions.

TOTAL= 195

And as the 1945 TO & E states their were 27 105mm units:

9 x 2 = 18 In medium tank companies.

3 x 3= 9 In tank battlion HQ companies assault gun platoon.

Total 27

Make sense?

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That's the trouble with historical snapshots, taken out of context and inserted into their books by various authors most of whom fail to tell the whole story.

As you probably know, the best bet is to look up as many as possible of the actual wartime TO&E's; try this source, though I'm sure a deeper search than I did can find others:


You'll probably need to look at several sources to try to find the early-war TO&E's for armored divisions, because this one only seems to show the late-war version.


Just found this with some TO&E dates to look for:


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Well heres some more thanks to John at Military Research Services.

Hes been incredibly patient and helpful on a number of issues for me. This just being the latest.

Three (T/O&E 7-25) Armored Infantry Battalions (15 Sep 1943 including Change 1 dated 9 Sep 1944):

"(T/O&E 7-26) Armored Infantry Battalion Hq & Hq Company: 3 medium tanks

(105mm howitzer) in assault gun platoon (note: these tanks replaced three

M8 75mm howitzer motor carriages in Change 5 dated 9 Sep 1944 to this T/O&E)"

So this is how we actually and eventually get to 195 medium tanks in the so-called "light" armored tank divisions.

9 companies of 17 M4(76mm) and 1 M4(105mm) in three battalions = 162

Three Battalion HQ: 2 M4(76mm) & Battalion HQ Co, assault gun platoon 3 M4(105mm)= 15

Total Tank battalions 177

9 M4(76mm) in the fwd obs sect of the three artillery battalions

1943 Total 186 (168 M4(76mm) and 18 M4(105mm)

Added in(as shown above) 1944 9 M4(105mm) in the assault gun platoon of the three armored infantry battalions.

Total 195 168 M4(76mm) and 27 M4(105mm)

Johns got alot of free stuffie T0 & Es:


This is how I happened across the M4(105mm) tanks in the armored tank battalions and then he clarified the situation for me.

I had been lead to believe that the M8(75mm) had been replaced by M7(105mm) guns. Not so.

Cripes how can something this simple have taken me so longgggggggg to figure out? LOL

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I knew about the M4(105)'s a long time ago but didn't realize you had the confusion with M-7's. The M-7's were equipped for standard artillery tasks, while the M-4(105) crews were not even initially issued with or trained to do indirect fire. That came later, in the field.

Oh, yes - there were never enough M4/76's to go around. Up until the end of the war, most tank battalions had a mix of /75's and /76's - usually they tried to get 2 /76's into each tank platoon, if there were enough to do this with. Only very, very late in the war do you see exclusively /76 platoons but from what I understood, that was not commonplace. After the war, yes. I know that the troops occupying Trieste (which included a Tank company, had all /76 armed M4's. And they tried to send only the /76 and /105 versions to Korea...a couple of /75's may have come over from depots in Japan, but that was very early on and they were doubtless upgunned if they survived.

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Some battalions wanted to hang onto their 75s anyway, since it had a better HE shell and therefore was better adapted for doing the job that they had most of the time, which was infantry support. In the long run the difference wasn't all that great though, just as the 76 was only marginally better as an anti-armor gun unless you were lucky enough to get ahold of a few of the hard to get HVAP rounds.


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Many years ago when I wargamed WW2 in figures I was under the impression thath e 75mm also had smoke ammo that was not avaialble to, or less efficient from the 76, and that 75's would often have smoke "up the spout" - can't give any sources - just an old memory I have clung onto for a couple of decades...

the 76 had roughly 20-30mm better penetration than the 75 when using "normal" AP ammo - double with HVAP - see here

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I've heard anecdotes of smoke being fired at German tanks, convincing their crews that they were on fire and provoking them to bail out. I doubt that that was common though or we would have heard more about it.


IIRC, that happened to (one of?) the last King Tiger captured intact. It was abandoned by its panicked crew after an Allied tank hit it with smoke rounds. A combination of green German crew and desperate Allied tankers....

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Off topic, but I loved reading the story of the M-8 Greyhound A/C that knocked out a KT in the Bulge. Blundered upon it and just about rear-ended it on a back road, then pumped 37mm rounds into the engine compartment from a couple of feet away, until the KT caught fire and the crew bailed. I read about it in one of the major histories of the Bulge, so I'm fairly sure it's true. (And if its not true, I'd sure love it if it were!)

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You'd be thinking of this:

The ability to destroy a Tiger I from other than the front is described in a wartime report from the 7th Armored Division while in Belgium in December of 1944:

While northern and eastern flanks had been heavily engaged, the northeastern section had been rather quiet. The only excitement there had been was when an M8 armored car from "E" Troop destroyed a Tiger tank. The armored car had been in a concealed position at right angles to run along a trail in front of the MLR. As the tank passed the armored car, the M8 slipped out of position and started up the trail behind the Tiger, accelerating in an attempt to close. At the same moment the German tank commander saw the M8, and started traversing his gun to bear on the armored car. It was a race between the Americans who were attempting to close so that their puny 37-mm would be effective in the Tiger’s "Achilles heel" (its thin rear armor), and the Germans who were desperately striving to bring their "88" to bear … Suddenly, the M8 had closed to 25 yards, and quickly pumped in 3 rounds… the lumbering Tiger stopped, shuddered; there was a muffled explosion, followed by flames which bellowed out of the turret and engine ports, after which the armored car returned to its position.

Found here - the heading says a Tiger 1 - but the report is non-specific - were there any Tiger 1's in use in Western Europe at the time?

Or perhaps this one from the same site:

If an M8 can knock out a Tiger, what chance could a Tiger II have against an M5 (UK Stuart VI)?

This is one atypical encounter:

Dennis Riva, a fellow tank buff, remembers the wartime story of an M5A1 light tank veteran, whose vehicle came across a Tiger II tank traveling in a ravine between two small hills. The light tank was quickly moved onto the rise paralledl and above the Tiger. The crew of the light tank then fired four to five rounds of 37mm ammo into the Tiger’s thin upper rear engine deck. As the smoke started to pour out of the Tiger’s engine the German crew took flight.

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