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Soft-Skinned Vehicles of the 752nd

752nd tankers pose in front of their Jeep, somewhere in the Northern Apennines in the Autumn of 1944.

- Researched and Written by Robert Holt -

Soft-Skinned Vehicles of the 752nd
Most of the photographs of any armored unit are focused on the tanks themselves. An independent tank battalion such as the 752nd had an authorized strength of 82 armored vehicles (including assault guns and T-2s). However, the battalion required an equally large fleet of soft-skinned vehicles to perform the services that were vital to keeping the tanks and their crews operating effectively. The November 1944 T/O & E for an independent tank battalion indicates an authorized strength of 82 wheeled and halftrack vehicles. This includes (39) 2 -ton trucks, (22) jeeps, (13) M3A1 halftracks, (3) M21 mortar halftracks, (3) weapons carriers, and (2) heavy wrecker trucks.

These vehicles were obviously more subject to dents, shrapnel scars, and general wear and tear than were the armored vehicles. These soft-skinned vehicles often were given names that were proudly displayed painted on the vehicle. As a result of all this, the soft-skinned vehicles, like the tanks themselves, seemed to take on a personality that reflected the personalities and experiences of the men who drove them.

As with the tanks, there does not seem to be much standardization of vehicle markings in the 752nd. Some vehicles used Allied stars, while others did not. Bumper codes were not always present, and a variety of styles are evident among those vehicles that did display them. Standardization of markings does not seem to have become the common practice in the 752nd until the postwar period, when rules and regulations became the order of the day.

The following random photos of some of the 752nd's soft-skinned vehicles provide a glimpse into these unsung workhorses, and into the experiences of the men who operated them.

Jeeps of the 752nd Tank Battalion

U.S. National Archives

Trucks of the 752nd Tank Battalion

Click these links to see other 752nd Tanks:

M4 & M4A1 75mm Sherman Medium Tanks

M4A3 76mm Sherman Medium Tanks

M3 Lee Medium Tanks

M3/M5 Stuart & M24 Chaffee Light Tanks

Rocket Tanks of the 752nd

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Researched by Robert J. Holt
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