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Armor/AFV: Canadian Armor
Discuss all types of Canadian Armor of all eras.
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Attaching Spare tracks to turret and hull
griffontech
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Canada
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 10:56 AM UTC
Hello all,

I am doing a build of two M4A3E8's. One is a WWII US Sherman, the other is a Korean War Canadian version.

Several photo's show spare track links attached to the turret and hull sides, but they are not detailed enough to show how the tracks stay in place.

Does anyone know how the real track links were attached?
Welded?
Bolt welded on then the track links hung from them?

Any help is appreciated.
Frenchy
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Rhone, France
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 11:16 AM UTC
I guess they could be welded, just like on this M4 :

Full size

H.P.
trakpin
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Nova Scotia, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 01:10 PM UTC
makes sense any link would be welded, if no obvious brackets of some sort are seen
joepanzer
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 01:45 PM UTC
Why would you want track welded on? You'd still want to be able to use it in a pinch. I would go with a bolt welded, or turn them 90 from example Sherman that Frenchy provided, and tie them off with straps, rope, or chains, to lifting hooks, tow hooks, etc.

Tankers are a crafty bunch
griffontech
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Canada
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 01:50 PM UTC
I was a tanker, so I know....

I figured the same as you Joe, but I wanted to know what was most common, especially since the Canadian tanks in Korea were borrowed from the US and maybe they didn't want to "permanently" attach the tracks.

The picture Frenchy provides is interesting, as most track shots I've seen have the non-guide horn side against the tank. By welding the guide horns to the tank there is a stand-off capability.
nsjohn
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Scotland, United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 03:05 PM UTC
A lot of the tracks were simply there for added protection. There are pictures of Shermans with Churchill tracks welded to the Turret, and it was also common to use tracks from German vehicles and old road wheels. In some cases ordinary M4s were uparmoured to "Jumbo" status by welding armour from destroyed tanks to the glacis, or to use concrete.
griffontech
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Canada
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 03:17 PM UTC
Thanks.
My exact question is how are the tracks attached?
LeoCmdr
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 03:19 PM UTC
The Centurion track sections used on the Canadian M4A3E8s during the Korean War were welded on the turret and hull sides. The track salvaged from British Centurions in Korea were likely worn out sections so they were expendable and easy welded on versus creating some type of bracket.
m4sherman
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 03:43 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Thanks.
My exact question is how are the tracks attached?



From pictures of the Canadian M4A3E8, the Centurion tracks were welded to the turret, and hull sides, and the E8 type tracks on the hull front appear to be attached with bolts. I think the E8 tracks are new and could be used as spares.

WWII US M4A3E8's had spared tracks attached to the hull sides with long bolts with retaining clips. As stated above tracks were attached to WII Shermans with anything there was available. Welding was very common as it was easier than bolts.

Even if some tracks were welded face out via the Sherman end connectors at the top of the track lengths, the lower ones don't have to be welded and the tracks removed using the non-welded end connectors. The same thing applies to tracks attached lengthwise, or face in/down.
trakpin
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Nova Scotia, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 04:18 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Why would you want track welded on? You'd still want to be able to use it in a pinch. I would go with a bolt welded, or turn them 90 from example Sherman that Frenchy provided, and tie them off with straps, rope, or chains, to lifting hooks, tow hooks, etc.

Tankers are a crafty bunch



could be used as additional (spaced) armor for some, particularly worn out cent tracks welded to m4a3e8s. that's how I see it anyway
joepanzer
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 04:20 PM UTC
That makes sense.

Of course, welding on track as added armor would make me rethink climbing back into that particular vehicle!!
barkingdigger
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ARMORAMA
#013
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2019 - 11:49 PM UTC
Adding track armour was a common response in WW2 to the way German shells whistled through Sherman armour. It would be taken from worn-out track that was just going to be scrapped anyway, so no need to make it removable. (There would be new track blocks stowed somewhere on the tank for use when fixing track problems...) Attaching could be as simple as spot-welding the first and last links of a section of track, with the rest just pinned together. I'm not sure, but I think the main fear was Panzerfaust RPGs, so the tracks were intended to pre-detonate the charge so the plasma jet lost cohesion before it hit the actual tank, but there's a big gulf between what the tankers believed and what actually happened on contact! There was an obvious weight penalty (same problem with sandbags or concrete as also used), so some commanders like Patton ruled against the practice in their commands - there are tales of him chewing out tank crews for having all that "ballast" slowing down his advance.

Of course some tanks did have new track mounted in brackets at strategic places to double as armour until needed for track repair - think of the tracks on a Panther turret, or the row of tracks on a Tiger I front hull plate. And the British often had spare blocks in racks on the front of their Shermans and M10 TDs.
BootsDMS
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 12:37 AM UTC
Now, for once I may be able to add something here; when I was visiting the archives section at Bovington last week (researching the 2nd Northants Yeomanry's use of rubber strips to defeat German magnetic anti tank grenades in 1944) the archivist had also - in addition to the war diary - provided the 21st Army Group's technical summaries - these included accounts of German vehicles, tactics and technical improvements/experimentation amongst the Allied units.

Whilst scanning these I came across several articles that explained the use of extra track plates as ad hoc armour. It was found that if a track plate was too securely affixed to the hull, it would actually act as a guide to German anti tank shot by almost funnelling in the projectile as it struck. That's not to say of course that German anti tank shells could not penetrate easily enough in the first place, but what might be a glancing blow, when striking a track plate it would then go on to penetrate.

Conversely, when relatively loosely attached by say, spot welding, when struck it would shear off taking the round with it - almost having a frangible effect. Of course, God help any nearby Infantry I would have thought.

21st Army Group saw no great reason to encourage the fixing of spare track plates, but neither did it actively discourage, believing I feel, that if the crews thought it helped, and in some cases it clearly did, then there was no harm in allowing them to do so.

I must just reinforce that German anti tank weaponry was sufficient to destroy Allied tanks in most cases anyway,(as I'm sure most of us realise) just that the technical reports I studied highlighted the occasional success of fixing extra protection

Brian
barkingdigger
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ARMORAMA
#013
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 12:49 AM UTC
Interesting stuff there Brian! I'd always assumed the only tangible benefit was psychological, since there were too many examples of it not stopping anything, but I can see how loose-hanging track might just deflect a shot. Still glad I wasn't there to test it first-hand...
panzerbob01
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 05:31 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Interesting stuff there Brian! I'd always assumed the only tangible benefit was psychological, since there were too many examples of it not stopping anything, but I can see how loose-hanging track might just deflect a shot. Still glad I wasn't there to test it first-hand...



The practical effects of many things folks do in military (and LE and...) activities are often much over-rated and inflated. Attached tracks were, I think, one of these things. The psychological effects are, however, very important. For the crew, the "perceived enhanced armor effect" would likely be a big boon to their morale - You have increased hope. At the end, when the RPG or AT round or IED hits... you either survive or don't.

There's a lot of chance involved when objects strike vehicles... Each such strike is a separate and quite unique event, in terms of the detailed physics and the outcomes - one shot deflects off of a bolt-head or the horn of a hung track-link and goes skittering away (woe to nearby infantry...). Whoopie! Success! I live! Another hits just a slight bit differently and deflects off the link and attains a better penetration angle through the armor wall. I would bet that hanging track links did up one's chances of living - but technically quantifying that improvement could be pretty difficult!

Bob
griffontech
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Canada
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 08:39 AM UTC
All,

Thanks for the great debate WRT the theory of additional armour on tanks.
However, I was wondering if anyone still has a very good pick of HOW the tracks were attached? I may just put the track links together and glue to the side of the turret.
See the attached link. There are several pics of the effect I am going for.

As someone posted on my E8 build posts, the Shermans actually seem to have non-Sherman treads attached to the vehicles. Not sure why.

http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/coldwar/Canada/M4A3-76w-HVSS-Sherman-the-korean-war-easy-8-tank/
BootsDMS
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 09:05 AM UTC
Dave,

I should think in 1:35 if you're attaching tracks to a model, then I doubt very much if any welding as such would show. I am not familiar with the arcane art of welding but I'm sure someone here will advise(!)

As to differing types of track - if you're a crewman who thinks his tank needs extra protection - then I imagine any type of track will do. I think somewhere I've seen images of PzKw IVs in Russia with T34 track plates attached It's not as though one has to keep the items in the family as it were. This is, of course as has been pointed out, different from those spare tracks carried in order to effect repairs.

Brian
Frenchy
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 09:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

As someone posted on my E8 build posts, the Shermans actually seem to have non-Sherman treads attached to the vehicles. Not sure why.



The pictured tracks look like Centurion ones...

H.P.
LeoCmdr
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 09:16 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

As someone posted on my E8 build posts, the Shermans actually seem to have non-Sherman treads attached to the vehicles. Not sure why.



The pictured tracks look like Centurion ones...

H.P.



Correct...I have posted that they are Centurion tracks on the Korean War Canadian M4A3E8s several times.
Frenchy
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Rhone, France
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 09:25 AM UTC
OOOPS

H.P.
griffontech
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Canada
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 09:50 AM UTC
Thanks everyone.

I was more concerned with having to attach bolts to the turret side that the tracks would be hung from. Even in 1/35 bolt heads may be visible, and the tracks would drape differently.

Welded to turret sides it is!

Truly thanks to all those who responded.
griffontech
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Canada
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Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 10:16 AM UTC
Ok, since I'm gabbing about the E8's so much, here are some update pics:
-Decals installed and clear coated
-Decals were a combo of the kit and after market decals. I cut apart some other tank names to use the lettering for the two tanks. Very tedious but fun and worth it
-Upper hulls only attached for photos
-tracks base coated in black, will be installed once a dirt / rust coat is sprayed

Before the pundits chirp up...

Korean War RCD Tank:
-I understand there was probably never a Dingo II serving with the RCD's in Korea. I thought I'd do something fun and a Dingo is an interesting mutt, just like most tankers
-Since this is a fictional vehicle, no one can bother me about how the Dalmation E8 never had the .50 cal moved forward on the turret, or other such points
-The RCD's did have what is described as a "lazy D" Squadron marking on the back of the turret. Since I could find no photo reference of this, I made my own out of decals.
- I've seen photo's with the blue Commonwealth shield painted on some soft skin Canadian vehicles in Korea. I thought they looked interesting and they added even more splash of colour to an OD tank.

The European E8 is another fictional vehicle:
- Beep's toy is an homage to my wife. Her dad had a sail boat many moons ago and my wife had a little run about row boat they named Beep's Toy which kind of uses her initials
- Once I put these decals on she was actually overjoyed at the tank and very interested. And this is why I have my own model building office and a huge stash of kits to build....