Quote Originally Posted by lancer View Post
This is one for USMC armor buffs. The question is in several parts:
What tank company was used at Tarawa?
What tank was it equipped with and what mark of the tank?
How many tanks were in the company, counting the HQ section?
What were the names of the tanks in the HQ section?
By platoon, what were the names of the tanks in each?
Have at it. Shouldn't be hard for a Tarawa addict. -- Al
Ok, time for the answers to the final 2 questions, the names of the tanks:
HQ section;
Company Commander Lt. Bale's tank was named CECILIA. Executive Officer Lt. Kent's tank was named COMMANDO.
!st Platoon, Lt. Sheedy;
Platoon Leader's tank is named CHICAGO, followed by CHINA GAL, COUNT, and CHERRY.
2nd Platoon, Lt. Sloat;
Platoon Leader's tank is named COBRA, followed by CLIPPER, CUDDLES, and CONGA.
3rd Platoon, Lt. Largey;
Platoon Leader's tank is named CANNONBALL, followed by CONDOR, CHARLIE, and COLORADO.
Each tank was named with a name beginning with the Company designator, "C". Names were painted onto the sides of the tank, in yellow, just outboard of the driver's and assistant driver's positions. The tanks had assigned tactical numbers but these were not marked on the tanks at Tarawa, nor were the numbers used as radio call signs. The tank names were used as radio call signs. The tank names were picked by the crews, with no particular importance other than requiring the name start with the letter "C". The 1st Corps Medium Tank Battalion had as it's emblem an Elephant, stenciled onto the outside of the tank, in either white or yellow (most likely yellow). The Elephant had one front foot raised as it fired a cannonball from it's trunk, and had a red blanket draped over it's back.
The M4A2 tanks were provided to the USMC from US Army stocks in Olive drab and carried Army War Production Board code (WPB) numbers painted in low-visibility light blue and the white stars in standard positions. The tanks were given a thin coat of new paint prior to operations, covering the WPB codes and the stars, though some bleed-through is evident in later photos. There is no definitive answer as to whether the tanks went into action in standard olive-drab or maybe having been repainted in Marine-green.
Again, I encourage anyone with interest in USMC armor at Tarawa to acquire the book "Tanks in Hell" by Oscar Gilbert and Romain Cansiere. It is superb. It is well written and incredibly detailed, includes the individual actions of the tanks, fates of the tanks, and it includes a roster of "C" Company, with their serial numbers and fates.
-- Al