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Armor/AFV: British Armor
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British M3A3 stowage question
mauserman
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Posted: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 03:35 AM UTC
I'm building the AFV Club M3A3 and have a question about stowage kits. I purchased a generic WWII AFV stowage kit made by Blast. Now I see that Accurate Armor makes a British specific stowage set. I really can't see much difference in the two sets except that AA's has more.

So I my question is were there many differences in the types of stowage that the Brits carried versus what the US carried? This is a great kit and I don't want to screw it up using the wrong types of accessories.
tankmodeler
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Posted: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 05:44 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I'm building the AFV Club M3A3 and have a question about stowage kits. I purchased a generic WWII AFV stowage kit made by Blast. Now I see that Accurate Armor makes a British specific stowage set. I really can't see much difference in the two sets except that AA's has more.

So I my question is were there many differences in the types of stowage that the Brits carried versus what the US carried? This is a great kit and I don't want to screw it up using the wrong types of accessories.


The Blast set has several US-specific bags (the three satchels and the duffel bags, at least) that are not Commonwealth issue. The benefit of the Blast set is that it conforms to the kit shape. It's intersting that the bags apepar to be US issue because the M3A3 was never used by US troops! I think it is because the vehicle shown in the kit is a French M3A3 and the French were equipped by the US.

The AA set has pretty generic bedrolls and tarps, but has accurate UK ammo boxes that were frequently welded to any space that would take them. The rolls & tarps do NOT conform to the shape of the tank.

So there's your dilemma: accurate parts that will not sit right on your model or inaccurate parts that look like they should go on an M3A3.

You could make your own soft stowage from rolled out epoxy putty. That's what I do and then, while it's still pliable, you drape it over the kit where you want it so it looks exactly right. Mix in some UK ammo boxes, a couple of Brit helmets and a few compo ration boxes and your M3A3 will look perfect.

HTH

Paul
mauserman
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Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 04:18 AM UTC
Thanks Paul. I went ahead and got the AA kit as well so I'll just pick and choose from the two. One other question though. Why were the ammo boxes welded to the tank instead of just being carries on top.
Biggles2
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Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 05:55 AM UTC
Metal ammo boxes were frequently welded on as permanent stowage for smaller items (other than ammo), and so that they would not fall or get knocked off.
tankmodeler
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Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 01:28 PM UTC
As Mr. Biggles has said, they were used as nice secure places for extra crew kit. Recce units, especially, tended to operate further form their lines of communication and were notorious for their vehicles looking like "gypsy caravans". Even regular units always added a LOT of extra stowage.

Each unit's LAD (Light Aid Detachment) had the welding equipment needed to do the simple welding and conveniently sized ammo boxes were always thick on the ground around arty units.

I've always been rather surprised that American units did _not_ seem to add the extra stowage containers that Commonwealth units almost always added seemingly content to stak it in the open around the vehicle.

Paul
mauserman
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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 02:12 AM UTC
It makes perfect sense if you think about it. There was little room inside so any extra secure storage on the exterior would be the next best thing.
tankmodeler
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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 04:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

It makes perfect sense if you think about it. There was little room inside so any extra secure storage on the exterior would be the next best thing.


Actually, sometimes the ammo boxes were _better_ than the internal stowage. These boxes were almost always water sealed so as long as the box didn't get beat up too much, stowage in the boxes was frequently dryer and less dusty than stuff left in the damp & leaky tank.

Plus things stowed outside didn't get in your way while fighting the vehicle or while trying to get out of the vehicle quickly if it was hit. All very important considerations!

Paul
wedgetail53
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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 11:17 AM UTC
Guys

The other consideration is that IU think the majority of ammo boxes welded to British tanks were 25 pounder boxes, which are steel, whereas (and I admit I may be wrong here) most US ammo boxes were wooden. Bit hard to weld wood !

There is, in addition, a good clear photo that I have seen which shows a British Sherman in Normandy with a German Panzerschreck box welded to the right front mudguard.

Regards

Rob
tankmodeler
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Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 01:13 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Guys

The other consideration is that IU think the majority of ammo boxes welded to British tanks were 25 pounder boxes, which are steel, whereas (and I admit I may be wrong here) most US ammo boxes were wooden. Bit hard to weld wood !


There may be something in this. Certainly not all boxes welded for stowage were 25 pdr boxes (3" mortar, 17 pdr & .303 bulk rifle ammo boxes also being very common) and teh US certainly had some metal ammo boxes (105mm boxes also showing up on Brit vehicles, but it does seem that there were fewer types of US ammo sent in metal boxes and that might have something to do with it.

Still, there were always plenty of Brit boxes everywhere and American vehicles are almost never seen with welded additional stowage.

Curious.

Paul
mauserman
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Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 05:35 PM UTC
Do any of you guys have pics of these tanks with the welded on ammo boxes? I have Googled my butt off and most of the pics I turn up are of models.
pseudorealityx
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Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 12:15 AM UTC

THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944. IWM (B 5416)IWM Non Commercial Licence
mauserman
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Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 12:57 AM UTC
Thanks Jesse. Lots of great pictures on that site, many that I've never seen before.
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