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Student Driver: 1942

Student Driver: 1942

June 1942. "Light tank, Fort Knox, Kentucky." 4x5 inch Kodachrome trans­parency by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Note the siren next to the assistant driver's bow machine gun. Just above it you can see the end of the sponson machine gun. These were later eliminated on the M3A1.

Incendiary nickname

WW2 GIs had an unkind nickname for US tanks..."Ronson" after the popular cigarette lighter, whose catch phrase was "lights up first time, every time", referring to how quickly the gasoline-powered tanks caught fire when hit by the Germans.

On a similar note, several versions of the later M4 Sherman were equipped with a flame thrower [and were widely used in the Pacific]--these flame tanks were known as "Zippos".

War Is Hell

Here's another shot of an M3 Stuart illustrating how dangerous they could be when hit. Not sure if this was during pre-war training or in North Africa. My father's note on the back only says, "A tank on fire."

Re: Stuart M3 Light Tank

My father always said these tanks were death traps. They sustained many casualties against the Germans in those early battles in North Africa. The German tanks were far superior. It wasn't until the introduction of the M4 Sherman tank that we had something that could compete.

Stuart M3 Light Tank

That's what it appears to be.

Here's a link to a running, if somewhat worse for wear version.

A Few Good Men

Looks like Gomer Pyle, but he was a Marine.


Did 'Sarge' say the first left or the second left?

Yank in a Tank

My father trained at Fort Knox before the war started and was in the first battles fought in North Africa in 1942. He commanded an M3 light tank. This is a photo taken during their training days. My father is the one in the turret at the top. This looks like the same type of tank in today's post.

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