S AELECTE. ficjl'e CME d. TFF AT-rPTC'AI! r7.trttt(m'app' Y- TAý'1( CrCTPrS Tti ''OPn!-'Aý- T: (L, 4 r C' TTOV '(C!2. - PDF

ficjl'e CME TFF AT-rPTC'AI! r7.trttt(m'app' Y- TAý'1( CrCTPrS Tti ''OPn!-'Aý- T: (L, 4 r C' TTOV '(C!2. 2ý)C Stncvfl I ',TL71PFPTt! (PArc' or--r) trel't S AELECTE H d 7-. EUITY CLASSIFICATION

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ficjl'e CME TFF AT-rPTC'AI! r7.trttt(m'app' Y- TAý'1( CrCTPrS Tti ''OPn!-'Aý- T: (L, 4 r C' TTOV '(C!2. 2ý)C Stncvfl I ',TL71PFPTt! (PArc' or--r) trel't S AELECTE H d 7-. EUITY CLASSIFICATION OF THIS PAGE / 9 2 la. REPORT SECURITY CLASSIFICATION Form Approved REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE OMB No 07040o.88 _Exp Date Jun lb. RESTRICTIVE MARKINGS 2a. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION AUTHORITY 3. DISTRIBUTION /AVAILABILITY OF REPORT 2b. DECLASSIFICATION /DOWNGRADING SCHEDULE 4. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER(S) S. MONITORING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER(S) TITE AY-17TCAr' ry ()I07ý\.!C 'CS TAT'!C 71 ,- TN ','OPLD T: Fn; C1IrATTO:.: TO CO:PAT 6a. NAME OF PERFORMING ORGANIZATION 6b. OFFICE SYMBOL 7a. NAME OF MONITORING ORGANIZATION (if applicable) i 6r. ADDRESS (Oty, State, and ZIP Code) 7b. ADDRESS (City, State, and ZIP Code) 7' h i 3,c- rl (% n,1.ja0 Il r ' Ba. NAME OF FUNDING/SPONSORING Bb. OFFICE SYMBOL 9. PROCUREMENT INSTRUMENT IDENTIFICATION NUMBER ORGANIZATION (If applicable) StUi.,h1-. Tr.T...; ',TPT,'--I ' 200 Stova.ll -t., %ITxandrin, VA Sr. ADDRESS (Clty, State, end ZIP Code) 10. SOURCE OF FUNDING NUMBERS PROGRAM PROJECT TASK WORK UNIT ELEMENT NO. NO. NO. ACCESSION NO. 11. TITLE (Include Security Classificatlon) 2C.,C. Stem Stre et, Alexrlr.rlri -,!A PERSONAL AUTHOR(S) 13a. TYPE OF REPORT I3b. TIME COVERED 14. DATE OF REPORT (Year, Month, Day) 15. PAGE COUNT ;A T1i c r,, FROM F!( ':, TO. '._. 16. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTATION Arrr !fcrl r- - run -j -, 'T COSATI CODES 18. SUBJECT TERMS (Continue on reverse if necessary and Identify by block number) FIELD GROUP SUB-GROUP! t) -' fo r '-or' fi-,r., Co r n 19. ABSTRACT (Continue on reverse if necessary and identify by block number) 1 ret~.in.rv. Porcon F nncc ý,irin-. the 1 irt 'or-. 3 'P r..-..icur. 1ten. 4 zn i revotec in c'oo-r-rt,f. -:., r--.,'oot no For t..', r 1-he. 'or mrl`,...n of Trv 1:r; o..r 4.- nti,- ' 'i -,' -r'o ;tr I:-rJ- - t',t :,'. - . : 'e, :..: p i r of { n-,r 20 DISTRIBUTION /AVAILABILITY OF ABSTR'AC'T 21 ABSTRACT SE~uR;TY CLAS'SIFICATION [T'UNCLA,$(iFIrD'UNLUMITE'D [I --A,'.'E AS RPT r-11] r usu.-, 22'a NAMVE OF RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUAL Z2b TELEPHONE (includ'e Area Code) I22c OFFICE SYMBOL DO FORM 1473, 84 MAR 83 APR edition may be used unti exhausted SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF THIS PAGE All oth r editions are obsolete a----_ THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES TANK CORPS IN WORLD WAR I: FROM CREATION TO COMBAT by Captain (P) Dale E. Wilson, :-A A Thesis' '- ubrnitted in Part-,z] Fulfillment cr,f the Requirements tr-.r t h, - Maýit.-r ct Arits Y.-egaree in }Hictory,kL Arl.:; a 1,, Sciences...- Se o d ade F NA*_ IwNTI Ol CTION Chapter I. THE BIRTH OF ThE TANK CORPS... 9 II. THE LIGHT TANKS: FROM LANGRES TO ST. MIHIEL III. TM HEAVY TANKS: A GATHERING AT WOOL IV. TANK PRODUCTION: MADE THE AMERICAN WAY CONCLUSIONS BIBLIO3RAPHY AoeOsulon For OTIS R& DTIC TAB Unannounoed 0 Just ifloation DiSt~ribut~len/ fj7availabil7ty Cod e I -Avail and/or 21 VDist Speaial INTRODUJCTION The bloody stalemate that settled over the Western Front in late 1914 taxed the best minds of the general staffs of both the Entente arid Central Powers as they sought a means to restore mobility to the battlefield. Unfortunately, the power of the tactical defense (aided principally by the machine-gun) had become so immense as to make direct infantry assault suicidal. Xrmies conducting offensive operations fourd themselves pouring troops into a meat grinder that churned out casualties by the hundreds of thousands. Successful offensive gains were measured in feet and meters-not miles or kilometers. By October Blritish L -utenant Colonel Ernest D. Swinton, serving at the time as a correspondent with the British Expeditionary Forces, had reached the conclusion that an armored machine capable of forcing its way through barbed wire obstacles, climbing over trenches, and destroying or crushing machine-guns was needed if the stalemate was to ]e broken. Swinton. inspired by a letter from a friend who described the American Holt caterpillar as a Ytnkee tractor which could climb like the devil, drafted a proposal that he forwarded to the War Office on 20 October calling for the construction of heavily armored caterpillar tractors armed with artillery pieces and machine-guns.' Although the reaction of many leaders to Swinton's proposal was less than enthusiastic, it fired the imagination of at least one powerful Englishman: Winston Churchill. the First Lord of the Admiralty. In 2 January 1915, Churchill. anxious to get his Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) involved on the continent, ordered Captain Murray Sueter, director of the Admiralty Air Department. to put his staff to work designing a vehicle capable of crushing trench works.-' During the months that followed, a number of experimental wheeled and caterpillar-tracked armored vehicles were developed and tested by officers of the Admiralty Air Department before Sir William Tritton andi a Lieutenant Wilson of the RNAS made a major design breakthrough. The Tritton-Wilson vehicle was the first tank to be configured in the now familiar rhomboidal shape with the track encircling the body. It featured a pair of sponsons designed by Sir Tennyson D'Eyncourt in which two six-pounder guns were mounted. This vehicle was demonstrated publicly on 26 Januaaiy and is considered to be the first truc British tank. It quickly earned the nickname Mother. and all subsequent tanks of this type were called Big Willies. ' Because of the Royal Navy's involvement in tank development, a number of nautical terms such as hull, ports, bow. and hatch were used to designate various tank parts. The British went to great lengths to conceal the existence of their landships from the enemy. Everyone in any way involved with the project was sworn to secrecy, and personnel suspected of discussing the project were threatened with internment under the Defence of the Realm Act. Women known to have been informed of the project were told that if the secret reached t1he enemy thousands of lives would be lost. (Other personnel] who knew about the existence of the Landship Committee were informed that all the experiments had failed, and that the people 3 concerned had lost their jobs.... It was a report that was readily accepted. - To further protect the secret, the Landship Committee decided to change the vehicle's name out ot fear the very word landship might betray the secret. One author describes how the new name was chosen in the following (probably apochryphal) story: In the earlier stages of the vehicles' manufacture the machine resembled a cistern or reservoir, and it was decided to call it a 'water-carrier.'... (But,] the secretary of the 'Water Carrier' Committee thought that the new title would be highly unsuitable, if not ludicrous (if only the committee's initials were used to identify it, a common government practice]! The name was therefore changed to 'tank,' and the committee was called the 'Tank Supply' or 'T.S.' Committee.6 A more widely accepted (though less colorful) explanation for how the tank got its name is that the British. in an effort to deceive the enemy. when shipping early models to Prance for battlefield testing, listed them on ships' manifests as water tanks en route to Russia.7 The French experimented with tank designs during this same period. The only similarity between their vehicles and those of the British, however, was the combination of firepower under armor with the added power of caterpillar traction. The tactical theories of the two allies differed radically, and so too did the design of the tanks they produced.f The British became the first to employ tarks in combat, deploying ' forty-nine Mark I models on 15 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. Their effectiveness was hampered by the fact that they were not employed en masse. but were instead scattered piecemeal on the battle field. As might have been expected with such a primitive mechanical 4 design, breakdowns were frequent. Nevertheless. results were encouraging. On 16 November the British used two tanks to lead the attack at Beaumont-Hamel. One crossed the Germans' frontline trench and became stuck, while the other became mired in front of the trench. Despite this fiasco, the Germans were so shocked by the tanks' appearance on the battlefield that soldiers in both the frontline and supporting trenches began waving white cl.-ths to signal their surrender. The tank crews and supporting infantry were able to capture the entire garrison before the Germans could discover that the tanks were immobilized and all but at their mercy. 10 Inspired by the manner in which the British employed their tanks offensively, the French scrapped their plan to use tanks as troop carriers and decided instead to employ them as accompanying artillery.- This decision was reflected in the design of the Schneider and St. Chaumond tanks. The Schneiders made their battlefield debut on 16 April 1917, when 132 were deployed at the Chemin des Dames. The St. Chaumond was first used on 5 May with sixteen joining an attack at Laffaux, MillI, :' The French learned that accompanying, artillery with tractor power did not really require the armor of a tank, so they designed a lightweight, highly-mobile. turreted tank to serve in the infantry support role. , This tank, the Renault Char FT (for fajble (light] tonnage ), featured a two-man crew (significantly smaller than the six- to nineman crews employed in the heavier British and French tanks) and mounted either a single 37mm gun or an 8mm machine-gun in its turret. This * I 5 vehicle became the backbone of the French Tank Corps, although it was not used in combat for the first time until 31 May 1918.' All of these developments captured the attention of the chief of the U.S. Army War College. who had seen reports on tank developments submitted by the American Military Mission in Paris. While most of those reports had been highly critical of early tank operations and the Paris-based observers declared tanks a failure (which became the official position of the War Department in early 1917''), the War College director ordered the Mission to report on the latest British and French tank theories and operations. That report, dated 21 May included the personal observations of Major Frank Parker, liaison officer at the headqluarters of the French Armies of the North and North-East. on French tank operations in the April offensive.'-' This report would have significant influence on the future of tanks in the United States Army during World War I. What lollows is a study of the American Expeditionary Forces Tank Corps in World War I, from its creation to the debut of its combat units in the St. Mihiel offensive on 12 September Particular attention is devoted to the development of equipment, organization and tactics. and a training program, all of which had to be accomplished rapidly from scratch in order to prepare the tanks and the men who would use them for combat. It is hoped that this work will serve not only as a detailed account of a neglected part of America's military history. but as a case study for military leaders faced with the difficult task of preparing new weapý,ns systems for battlefield employment in this era cf increas- I ingly rapid technological change. 6 7 E DNOTE 1. F. Mitchell, Tank Warfare: The Story of Tanks in the Great War (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., 1933), Rear Admiral Sir Murray Sueter. TheEvolution of the Tank (London: Hutchinson and Company. Ltd., 1937), 53; ibid., Sueter, Ovolution of the Tank Mitchell. Tank Warfare, Ibid Ibid., Martin Blumenson. The Patton Papers, (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co ), Captain Joseph W. Viner. Tactics and Techniques of Tanks (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: The General Service Schools Press, 1920), Major Ralph E. Jones, Captain George H. Rarey. and First Lieutenant Robert J. Icks. The Ficqhtina Tanks Since 1916 (Washington, D.C.: The National Service Publishing Co., 1933) Ibid., Viner, Tactics and Techniaues Jones et al.. The Ficqhtinq Tanks, 55, Viner, Tactics and Technicques, Jones et al., The Fiphtinc Tanks U.S. Army in the World War : Organization of tbe AIF. Vol. I (Washington. D.C.: Historical Division. U.S. Army. 1948), Briaadier General Samuel D. Rockenbach. Operations of the Tank Corps, A.E.F.. with the 1st U.S. Army (December 1918), U.S. Army Military History Institute. Carlisle Barracks. Pa. (hereafter, USAMHI), 1. lb QKA=T I THE BIRTH OF THE TANK CORPS The beginnings of the American peditionary Forces (AEF) Tank Corps can be traced to June 1917 when. shortly after arriving in Paris. General Johii J. Pershing read a copy of the American Military Mission's 21 May report on British and French tank tactics and operations and was favorably impressed. Pershing. commander-in-chief of the AEF. immediately appointed several committees to study tank warfare, and some of his staff members were detailed to go to the front lines to study British and French equipment, organization, and tactics. Initial reports from Pershing's staff indicated that early operations had been marred by numerous mechanical failures. but that the effects of the tanks on the enemy more than compensated for their mechanical shortcomings. Despite the misgivings of some officers. Pershing thought that British-style heavy tanks and French light tanks could prove to be valuable assets to the AEF.' Al1 observers agreed that the French Schneider and St. Chaumond vehicles were unsatisfactory. Neither vehicle could truly be classified,is a tank. Instead, they were nothing more than armored artillery carriers requiring infantry skirmishers to lead them into battle, carefully marking the routes they should follow. Underpowe'-ed and lightlyarmored. they did poorly traveling cross-country. and crews suffered 9 badly if they received direct hits from artillery fire. Another factor contributing to the decision to investigate further the British heavy tanks and French Renault tanks was the inability of members of a joint French-British tank board to reconcile their theories on tactics ard equipment when that body met in London in May The British insisted on using the heavy tank to clear the way for the infantry, while the French argued that light tanks operating in close liaison with the infantry offered the optimum battlefield solution. Their concept was to deploy the Renaults with the battalion support, advancing them only when the infantry assault bogged down.!' On 19 July Pershing ordered the creation of an American tank board to perform a detailed study of the French Renault and British heavy tanks. The board's members. Colonels Fox Conner and Frank Parker, Lieutenant Colonel Clarence C. Williams. and Major Nelson E. Margetts, were decidedly pro-tank, and their findings had significant influence on subsequent events. ' Ten days later, after being advised of Pershing's decision to have tanks An the AEF. the AE's (Chief Ordnance Officer requested information on the number that would be required so a requisition could be passed on to the War Department in Washington. In response, Pershing ordered Lieutenant Colonel LeRoy Eltinge. a member of his staff. to take charge of all tank matters and accomplish this task. The members of the tank board submitted a report containing their findings on 1 September. They concluded that the tank was destined to become an important element in this war, and that a separate Tank Depa-tment operating urner a oingle chief reporting directly to Persh- 10 ing. be organized immediately. They further observed that of all the tank types then in production or being planned, only the French Renault and British Mark VI (a 27- to 30-ton heavy tank that never reached production) could be exqpected to provide satisfactory results. Based on a.projected strength of twenty combat divisions, the board's members recommended a fleet of 2,000 light and 200 heavy tanks be procured, with production geared to provide for a 15 percent per month replacement rate.r- Armed with the board's findings, Eltinge set out to draft specific requirements for a Combat Tank Service for the AEF. Working in close coordination with other members of the AEF staff, Eltinge determined the number of tanks that would be required, the number and type of units, and the number of personnel needed to man the force. He based his recommendations on the needs of an army consisting of twenty fighting and ten replacement divisions., Pershing approved Eltinge's preliminary recommendations and directed him to immediately notify the War Department's Chief of Ordnance of the AEF's tank requirements. Eltinge dispatched the following cable on 14 September: study French and British experience with tanks SCareful completed and will be forwarded by early mail. Project includes 350 heavy tanks of British Mark VI pattern; 20 similar tanks equipped for signal purposes; 40 similar tanks for supply of gasoline and oil; 140 tanks arranged to carry 25 soldiers or five tons supplies; 50 similar tanks with upper platform for field gun; total 600 heavy tanks. Also following Renault tanks: for fighting purposes; 130 for supply; 40 for signal purposes; total 1,200 Renault tanks. Replacement of tanks requires 15 per cent per month after arrival here.... Eltinge further recommended that the Mark VIs be produced in two versions, one mounting a six-pounder gun and four machine-guns. the other mounting six machine-guns. It was suggested that the armament for the Renaults be either a single machine-gun, six-pounder, or three-inch gun, with production to be fixed at a 2:1 ratio in favor of machine-.guns. A number of automotive requirements were also listed, including 300 six-ton trucks for transporting Renault tanks, 0 three-ton trucks. 270 three-ton trucks with trailers, 90 three-ton trucks with kitchen trailers. 90 Ford automobiles, and 180 motorcycles. Eltinge also reported that the French were willing to permit manufacture of the Renault tank in the United States, and that the Renault Works would supply a model to facilitate production. In exchange, the French desired Renaults from the United States. The British, in the same spirit of cooperation, agreed to provide complete plans and specifications for their Mark VI tank so that production of that vehicle could also be begun in America.' Organizational and personnel requirements were included in a detailed memorandum sent to the War Department on 23 September. This document requested authorization for thirty light tank companies for Division Troops; thirty light and fifteen heavy tank companies, five carrier companies, and two artillery carrier companies for Army Troops: ten training and replacement companies; five repair and salvage companies; a depot company: and support troops for Army Headquarters and General Headquarters (GHQ). It was estimated that soldiers would be needed to man these organizations. ' Little was accomplished during the ne :t three weeks, but then, on 14 October, Majors James A. Drain and Herbert W. Alden were detailed by ,---,, L.,,.,.+ i- ~ ~ ~ - f.m .-,, l- l l l * + lll.f~ 12 the Chief of Ordnance in Washington to gather more information on the use, design, and production of tanks. Between 16 October and 4 November, Drain and Alden toured a number of French and British tank facilities, studying production, training, supply, and repair and salvage operations. At Circotte, the main French tank training camp and supply depot, Drain observed that the French were laying this place out on a very large scale, evidencing an intention to make the tank a large and important arm of the service. 1 = On 2 November the two officers met in Paris with other allied tank experts to discuss a common tank design program that would involve the United States, Englard, and possibly France. A tentative design for a heavy tank was agreed upon with the British, and the French exhibited interest in obtaining at le
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