Up Close Look at the M47 Patton Tank

The opportunity to see an M47 Patton Tank up close and personal, such as the one at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL, is a rare opportunity many will never experience.  This massive tank was in service from 1952 until the early 1960s.  The M47 was the main tank used by the US Army and US Marine Corps though it never saw combat while in service with the United States military.   M47 Patton Outside the United States The Patton was used extensively by both NATO and SEATO allies and a number of other countries, including Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy Japan Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland and West Germany to name a few. Even though it never saw combat in US service, the M47 Patton Tank was used in combat by Pakistan, Jordan, the Turkish Army, Iran and Croatia.   The M47 Patton was manufactured by Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant American Locomotive Company.  They produced the tank from 1951 to 1953.  In all, 8,576 Patton tanks were built.  Inside, the tank held a crew of five which consisted of a commander, gunner, loader, driver and assistant driver.             Armament The main armament on the M47 Patton is a 90mm gun M36 fitted with an M12 optical range finder.  Secondary armament consisted of two .50 cal M2 machine guns (Browning). .  Additional secondary armament on the Patton included a .30 cal (7.62mm) M1919A4 machine gun (positioned in flexible mount at the right front of the hull).  The M47 Patton was the final tank to have a bow-mounted machine in its hull.          ...

Highest Scoring Tank Ace of WWII – Kurt Knispel

The highest scoring tank ace of WWII was Germany’s Kurt Knispel.  Knispel total tank kills were confirmed at 168, with some unconfirmed estimates stating that total could actually be closer to 195 kills.  Knispel is considered by some as the greatest tank ace in history.  His awards included the Iron Cross, Panzer Badge and German Cross in Gold.   Step close and get a sense of the strength of the cold metal on AFHMs authentic, fully restored, fully operational battle tanks, which are prominently displayed throughout the museum.  Get a sense of the combat they endured throughout their service.  Take a moment, put yourself in the turret – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride.   Knispel’s Early Service Kurt Knispel began his basic training at Panzer Replacement Training Battalion.  He later received tank training on the Panzer I, Panzer II and Panzer IV tanks.  Knispel was also instructed on the Panzer IV as a loader and gunner.  When training was completed in June of 1941, Knispel was assigned as gunner of a Panzer IV under the leadership of Lt. Hellman and he began his World War II service.   Later in the War In January of 1943, Knispel returned for training on the newer Tiger I tanks.  At that time, he was already credited with 12 kills.  His squadron – 1st Company of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion – participated in various battles throughout World War II, eventually upgrading to the Tiger II tank.  Knispel is said to have accomplished an incredible 24 hits in one action with the Tiger II tank.   A Closer Look...

Five Top Tank Commanders of WW II

The five top tank commanders of World War II are not listed necessarily because of their number of kills.  They are instead remembered for a number of different reasons.  The top five commander list is presented in alphabetical order along with a brief description of their noted accomplishment(s). Step close and get a sense of the strength of the cold metal on AFHMs authentic, fully restored, fully operational battle tanks, which are prominently displayed throughout the museum.  Get a sense of the combat they endured throughout their service.  Take a moment, put yourself in the turret – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride.    Lt. Colonel Creighton Abrams – Top WWII Tank Commander for the United States – Using M4 Sherman tanks, Abrams and his crew are credited with destroying an estimated 50 German armed fighting vehicles.  Abrams military career continued on through the Korean War and Vietnam War.  The XM1 – a US Army main battle tank was named the M1 Abrams in honor of Creighton Abrams.  Abrams reached the rank of Four Star General before retiring in 1974.     General Heinz Guderian – Germany’s father of armored blitzkrieg – Guderian is known for heavily utilizing the blitzkrieg strategy during World War II, a strategy which greatly assisted with Germany’s successful invasion of Poland in 1939.     Sgt. Kurt Knispel – Germany’s WWII Top Tank Ace – Not only was Sgt. Knispel Germany’s top tank ace, he is credited with being the top tank ace in history.  He began as a tank loader and eventually became a gunner and then a commander.  His...

Top Tanks of the Korean War

With the Korean War so closely following on the heels of WWII, many of the top tanks used in World War II were also utilized during the Korean War.  Some were variants and others were newly designed.  Tanks continued to evolve with the introduction of the German’s anti-tank weapons.  The top Korean tank list below, along with a brief description, is presented in alphabetical order.   Step close and sense of the strength of the cold metal on AFHMs authentic, fully restored, fully operational battle tanks, which are prominently displayed throughout the museum.  Get a sense of the combat they endured throughout their service.  Take a moment, put yourself in the turret – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride.      Centurian – This British tank was introduced in 1945 and first saw combat during the Korean War with the British Army, who was supporting UN forces.  The Centurian’s tank design became widely used and the tank itself saw service into the 1990s.       Infantry, Mk IV – This British tank was one of heaviest Allied tanks from WWII.  Their role in Korea began in the late 1950s where they fought mainly as a gun tank.       M24 Chaffee – This American light tank was used in WWII and the Korean War.  The British dubbed it the Chaffee after US Army General, Adna Chaffee, Jr.  The M24 initially combated the North Korean T34-85 Tanks, but its performance was poor against this medium tank.  Later in the war, the M24 was successfully used for reconnaissance.     M26 Pershing – The M26 was...

Advancements in Technology in World War II

In World War II, continual advancements in technology were mandatory to maintain a competitive edge over the enemy.  While technological advancements were made prior to the war, other developments were a direct result of the trials and errors suffered during the war.  The WWII era housed a great many changes which affected weaponry, logistical support, communications and intelligence, medicine and various industries.     Overview Advancement in military weaponry occurred rapidly during the Second World War, including everything from aircraft to small arms.  At the beginning of WWII, little advancement had been seen since the end of WWI.  However, just six short years later the face of warfare morphed significantly with the military utilizing jet aircrafts and ballistic missiles.   Tanks and Vehicles Due to the increased mobility of troops in WWII (vs. the static front lines of WWI), tanks saw significant advancements, including increased speed, armor and firepower.  The amphibious DUKW was another crucial development during the war and was utilized extensively for troop deployment and as a means to transport tanks to areas in need.   Ships WWI Navy battleships no longer dominated the sea power.  Newly designed aircraft carriers were equipped with greater range and a heavier striking power.  Due to time constraints in producing new ships, older ships were being retro fitted with newly designed components.     Small Arms   The production of small arms changed dramatically with the introduction of stamping, riveting and welding.  Semi-automatic rifles and assault rifles were also developed during this era.  A number of transformations emerged throughout this time that would affect future small arms advancements.  WWII small arms...

Top Tank Battles of World War II

The top tank battles of World War II, despite their crucial victories and severe losses, do not carry the same notoriety as other battles throughout the war.  Throughout WWII, tanks were used as an effective force which allowed a quick tactical victory.  Their involvement in World War II was vital.   Listed below, in no particular order, are some of the top tank battles of World War II:   (1941)  Battle of Brody Germans:  800 tanks        Soviet Union:  2,500 tanks   The Battle of Brody was a fierce tank battle between the Germans and the Red Army. It remained the largest tank battle of WWII until the Battle of Kursk two years later.  Despite being outnumbered, the Germans were victorious.     (1940)  Battle of Hannut France:  600 tanks          Germans:  618 (up to 674)   This World War II tank battle occurred in Belgium between the French army and the Nazi invaders.  Despite inflicting a significant number of casualties on the French, the Germans were unable to neutralize the French army and withdrew.   (1944)  Operation Goodwood United Kingdom – 1,100 – 1,300 tanks     Germans:  377 tanks   In Operation Goodwood, the British attacked the German forces in northern France.  What ensued was a battle some would arguably defend as the largest tank battle ever fought by the British Army.  In the end, some would refer to this as a strategic Allied victory, but a tactical victory for the Germans.   (1943)  Battle of Prokhorovka Soviets:  800-850 tanks     Germans:  500-700 tanks (possibly far less)   This WWII tank battle was part of the Battle of Kursk and is one of the...