M4A3 Flametank

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About the Author

About Don Franklin (gunnytank)

USMC retired 1979-2001. I was an 0351(Anti-tank/assualtman), 1811 M60A1 Tankcrewman, 5963/79 Tactical Data Systems Tech. Now work for the FAA as a NAVAIDS/COMM tech. Modeling semi seriously since 1995. I mainly do 1/35 USA armor and 1/72 scale USMC aircraft.


Very nice! I wondered why we see so little late war USMC tanks. The flame looks great.
NOV 20, 2007 - 10:45 PM
You are correct about the grills , the Japanese liked to ambush the tanks with grenades and satchell charges so the grills were a field mod that made good sense. Can you imagine how hot a buttoned down tank would have got on Iwo Jima
NOV 21, 2007 - 12:23 PM
Don's tank is modeled after a C Company, 4th Tank Bn Flame tank...the 4th Bn used wire cages over the hatches, but the 5th Tank Bn used large galvanized nails in place of the cages... This all grew out of experience in previous island campaigns which culminated in the battle of Iwo Jima. BTW - only the 4th and 5th Tank Bns had 4 Flame Tanks a piece on Iwo and all were M4A3's - the 3rd Tank Bn was never fitted with Flame Tanks and still had M4A2's... S/F Pat
NOV 21, 2007 - 05:15 PM
Only eight M4A3ís on Iwo Jima were modified with the Mark 1 Navy flamethrower. Four were with the 4th Tank Bn and four with the 5th Bn for the battle. The tanks of the 4th and 5th Tank Battalions on Iwo Jima represented the lessons learned from past Marine battles in the Pacific. Extra track welded on the turret and hull, sand bags on the hull deck, wood and concrete side armor all to protect against Japanese magnetic Anti-tank mines and satchel charges. Cages or nails welded to hatches to get a dead space between the hatches and satchel charges so that the hatches wouldnít hurt the crewman under them. A water barrel mounted on the rear deck to give infantry water and prevent heat casualties, note the water pipe and spout. (This is why Marines were made to carry two canteens by the time of Iwo Jima.) An infantry phone on the left rear in a canvas bag so that infantry troops could tell tank crews were the target is. The Target clock enables new infantry to relate the target to the tank crew. The rear stowage foldable bin has been cut down and moved to the rear of the turret. Tow cables with one end already hooked up to speed in recovery of a knocked out tank. Most Marine Corps tanks did not use the .50 cal MG, it came with the tanks but they were given to the Marine Infantry units. (besides would you want to expose yourself to fire it on Iwo Jima?) I donít pretend to be an expert on the Sherman, Iwo Jima or Marine tanks in World War 2. With that said there are probably a lot more modifications that the Marines did that I havenít mentioned. All in all, it was a fun build and I hope you enjoy the pictures. Don
NOV 21, 2007 - 05:37 PM