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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

Army Day: 1939

Army Day: 1939

April 6, 1939. "Memories of the World War were revived today as the latest types of tanks, preceded by 20,000 soldiers and veterans, paraded past the U.S. Capitol in the annual Army Day Parade which marked the 22nd anniversary of America into the World War. Thousands braved a heavy downpour to view the parade." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

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Looks more like a vickers.

The tank's turrets look to be taken from a Vickers Mark A twin turret type.

My 2 Cents

Definitely an M2A3 Light Tank. The guidon on the turret appears to be from an infantry unit. When a model starts with "T" it is a test version (prototype or pilot).

Speaking of helmets

The young fellow in the crowd on the left shows that aviator helmets had not lost their appeal since the Lindberg craze of '27

My dad had an interesting military career --he enlisted during the Depression and was in the mechanized Cavalry. During "pass in review" parades the officers still had horses and he actually did stable duty. When he got out of the USAF in '66 he was an ICBM missile crew commander. From horses, to airplanes, to the Moon.

Re: Tanker Helmets

The tanker helmet most often used by US armored forces in WW2 was the Model 1938, which was based on leather football helmets of the period [one of the major contractors for the helmets was Rawlings Sporting Goods]. The Cavalry had their own version of the helmet [shown in this photo] and differed from the standard M1938 in that it had a pronounced "bump ring" around the shell.

Regarding Lost World's comment, the helmets were designed only for bump protection inside the tank and for use with communications equipment. It was not until the late 1980s that a CVC [Combat Vehicle Crewman] helmet was designed with ballistic protective capability.

Not that pathetic

The M2 pictured already had a 7 cylinder radial aero engine and was capable of 45 miles per hour, faster than any European tank of the time. It was already slated for upgrade based on the fighting in the Spanish Civil War, and as the M3/M5 Stuart served throughout WW II. As late as 1949 Stuarts were decisive in helping the Chinese Nationalists repel a Communist assault on the island of Kinmen, from which they hoped to invade Taiwan.

As of July, 1940

The Cavalry combat car designation was not dropped until July, 1940 with the creation of the Armored Force. W-30405 has the crossed Cavalry sabers on the near turret.

The T5 designation is the Rock Island design number. Once adopted by the Army the "M" designations come about.

Pathetic Nonetheless

However the nomenclature debate resolves, there's no denying that this combat vehicle was head and shoulders below any likely European competition in terms of ordnance, armor protection, and mobility.

Tanker Helmets

Doesn't seem they would provide much protection in combat, so I'm guessing they were more about keeping the tanker from banging his head in the tight confines of the tank. Either way, from the wartime pics I've seen they weren't worn very often in actual combat.

M2A3

Looks more like an M2A3 Light Tank according to a quick search. The turrets did not make it a "combat car." That name was a political subterfuge used to allow the US Cavalry to have tanks, after the government had stated all tanks belonged to the Army. Once they were merged, all the Cavalry's tank "combat cars" were redesignated as tanks.

Helmet

The guy up on top looks like he is wearing a modern bicycle helmet!

T5 Combat Car

It's the same chassis as the M1 Light Tank, but the twin turrets make it a T5 Combat Car.

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