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AP Ordnance at the Front


Signal Corp photo taken in Morocco 2 weeks after the initial Torch landings. The standard WW2 US 75mm armor piercing round was the M61 APC with base detonating fuze. It was painted olive drab with yellow lettering. However as pictured here, initial production issues with the fuzes resulted in early "plugged" (without fuze) 75mm APCBC,  painted black with white lettering (1st, 4th and 5th from left). Also note that during the logistical chaos of the initial Torch landings some M72 AP ammo inadvertently found its way to North Africa (2nd from left). Firing trials vs captured German tanks way back in March 1942 proved M72 was greatly inferior to M61, confirming Ordnances decision to provide only M61 to front line troops. Having one standard AP projectile also simplified the gunners aiming since all 75mm gun telescope range reticles were graduated specifically for the M61 trajectory.   

This photo was taken in February 1945 and shows why the 75mm gunned Shermans were destined to be replaced. Here a tanker from a 75mm gunned Sherman (left) compares his M61 APCBC round to a 76mm tankers (right) T4 (M93) HVAP round.  The 75mm M18 propellant case was only 13.75" tall while the 76mm M26 propellant case was 21.25" tall. 

REduced CONCORD sherman at War 2 page 60 February 22 1945 REDUCED.JPG

Pictured is a British Churchill tank in Normandy bombing up with American made M61 w/BDF as indicated by the olive drab color and yellow lettering. The arsenal of democracy was eventually able to supply its allies with ample quantities of M61 w/BDF.  


Photograph taken in August 1944 in Brittany France. The crew are holding older M70 solid shot rounds with a box of newer M86 w/bdf in the foreground, as indicated by the yellow stenciling on the box. The decision to replace the 37mm with the 57mm M1 ant-tank gun was rather late in coming resulting in the 57mm gun not being adopted until May 1943. Production of the  57mm APCBC M86 projectiles w/bdf was supplemented with the simple M70 mono-bloc shot to ensure adequate anti-tank rounds were available for training and combat. M70 shot saw widespread use in Italy, with M86 w/bdf not appearing there in quantity until late 1944. This was in contrast to the better supplied troops in France who landed with M86 w/bdf on D-day. Some plugged M86 (no fuze, painted black) projectiles were produced but little if any made it to US troops at the front.          

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