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 Post subject: Duplex Drive Sherman V
PostPosted: Fri 09 Apr 2010 16:55 pm 
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I recently took some old negatives to the local film shop to have the images put on a CD. The new images are clearer than the prints I had made when the film was fresh 15 years ago! Very much to my surprise the bill was only US $6 for around 30 images. If you have old negatives you might want do yourself a big favour and drag them through the CD making machine into the 21st century. Then you can share the results with your appreciative buddies on the Airfix Tribute Forum.
    This tank, “BOLD”, belonged to the 6th Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars), one of the units chosen to use Duplex Drive Sherman tanks on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The tank landed in the JUNO area (Courseulles-sur-Mer to be more precise) in support of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division. It now serves as a monument. Many of the units participating in the JUNO assault have affixed their badges to the hull. The 1st Hussars launched twenty-nine tanks, twenty-one of which reached the beach. “BOLD” was one of those that went into the sea and never reached land at D-Day. It was recovered from the sea 27 years later, was restored and commemorated to the memory of those who participated in the operation.
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This photo of a Sherman V (M4A4) DD is particularly interesting as the hull machine gun is retained. Normally, the hull .30 cal. Browning would be removed because the canvas screen would limit its usefulness. Note also the British pattern all metal track shoes. I’ve long wondered whether the British had anything more in mind in producing this pattern than assuring that something horseshoe shaped would appear on their tanks! Hussars! Dragoons! Lancers!
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This photo of the sprockets attached to the rear (drive) wheel. I believe this was to insure that the track did not slip on the rear wheel as the tracks helped propel the tank through the water as well as the propellers (also driven off the drive wheels by means of a gear exchange. Other DDs appear to have unmodified drive wheels, and still others had a differently modified drive wheel. Geoffrey Futter’s line drawings in The Funnies portray a DD with unmodified drive wheels. I do not know which arrangement was the more common. Also note the pitting of the armoured parts of the vehicle is much more pronounced than on the regular metal parts. US tanks were manufactured using homogenous armour plate, so the pitting will likely look the same on the interior faces.
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This photo of the gear exchange from the drive wheel to the propellers. At the top of the image can be seen the steel deck that was fitted round the tank just above the tracks. The canvas screen was bolted to the deck through the many eyelets (I suppose then a heap of creosote was used to waterproof any gaps).  
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This photo is public domain and part of the Imperial War Museum collection (No. MH3660). Like “BOLD”, this Sherman V has sprockets attached to the drive wheels. It also shows another variable in DDs – the canvas apron on top of the prow (the fabric that creates a little triagular “tabletop”) appears on some DDs and not on others (I’m not certain about this, but it appears from my anecdotal study of photos, that British DDs would be more likely to have these and US DDs less likely).
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This photograph of the Bovington DD is also in the public domain. It shows the expected freeboard (3+ feet in this case) of the tank while swimming (the tank is “swimming” from the left to the right, by the way). Note the apron fixed to the back to prevent splash.

    The canvas skirt shown in these last two photos shows the obvious – the skirt is the most prominent feature of these tanks. The detail photos of “BOLD” show some of the significant, though less prominent, aspects.
   British DDs faired better than US DDs on D-Day, particularly the ones launched off OMAHA area. The sea conditions off OMAHA were easily the worst of the landing beaches and I’m inclined to believe this one variable, by-and-large, accounts for the greater losses. Other contributing factors have been put forward, among which are 1) turning beam on to the waves to get to assigned landing spots; 2) unfamiliarity with the equipment; 3) greater distances from launch to landing; and 4) no discretion afforded in US use to take the tanks closer in (the conditions were obviously poorer than any encountered in training – in fact, outside the envelope of conditions in which the DDs were designed to operate. One little variable that interests me is the fact that British Sherman DDs were all (or mostly) M4A4 hulls with an additional 9” long over the M4s the US used for DDs. This amounted to quite a few additional square feet of displacement. Not a big difference perhaps, but an important one at the margins!


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PostPosted: Tue 11 Dec 2012 11:28 am 
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Bit unusual this one,I think it is at Aberdeen Proving Ground (pics taken by ex-brother-in-law). The sign says M4A2,but I had never seen a DD tank with the HVSS suspension and 76mm gun (where did it go when the screen was up?)
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Dec 2012 11:33 am 
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Also,difficult to see on the scans,but the Sherman is fitted with side "skirts"!


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