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  #1  
Old 20-05-24, 20:44
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Default Lee/Grant Tractor

I ran cross this uncredited photo on the web the other day and am wondering who was using this vehicle, what is it towing and where and when this photo might have been taken.

Looks like a chalk, or hand painted. loading code on the right front fender but not much else in the way of markings and looks like a sizeable superstructure added to the outer sides of the rear deck area. Stowage perhaps.


David
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  #2  
Old 20-05-24, 23:01
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Default M33 Prime Mover

One source states the photo above was made in Italy in 1944.

An internet search yielded this:
Quote:
The M33 Prime Mover was a tank recovery vehicle M31 that had its turret, winch, armament, and crane removed. This was used instead as a tractor for the towed 8" gun and 240mm howitzer until the 38-ton high-speed tractor M6 could be fielded. Canvas covers were carried for the turret and machine gun mount openings. (Picture from Catalogue of Standard Ordnance Items, second edition 1944, volume I: Tank and Automotive.)

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  #3  
Old 21-05-24, 00:06
Grant Bowker Grant Bowker is offline
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Thank you Hanno,
My first reaction (based on memory) was that it was a recovery vehicle based on the dummy gun and the rear deck stowage but I didn't have references to back this impression...
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  #4  
Old 21-05-24, 11:36
Jakko Westerbeke Jakko Westerbeke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dunlop View Post
what is it towing
That one is fairly easy: the barrel of a 240 mm howitzer M1:

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(source)

To move it, this weapon was carried on two trailers, one with the barrel like here, and another with the mounting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dunlop View Post
looks like a sizeable superstructure added to the outer sides of the rear deck
Those are standard stowage bins for an M31 tank recovery vehicle:

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(The bins are open here, they’re normally closed with lids.) The M33 prime mover is basically an M31 with its turret (which carried the crane) and much of the recovery equipment removed.
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  #5  
Old 21-05-24, 11:41
Patrice DEBUCQUOY Patrice DEBUCQUOY is offline
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Hi Hanno,

This official file says "no winch" but we can see a little bit of the winch on the photo, so ???
For more infos (browse to the middle of the page) : http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_m...y/m31_trv.html

Cheers,
Patrice.
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  #6  
Old 21-05-24, 22:19
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Bowker View Post
Thank you Hanno,
My first reaction (based on memory) was that it was a recovery vehicle based on the dummy gun and the rear deck stowage but I didn't have references to back this impression...
Well, it is a recovery vehicle converted into a towing vehicle, so in a sense you're right.
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  #7  
Old 21-05-24, 22:21
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrice DEBUCQUOY View Post
Hi Hanno,

This official file says "no winch" but we can see a little bit of the winch on the photo, so ???
For more infos (browse to the middle of the page) : http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_m...y/m31_trv.html
Hi Patrice, indeed the version of the photo on Sherman Minutia clearly show the winch was left fitted in the hull. It most likely came in handy to position the gun.

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  #8  
Old 21-05-24, 22:23
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Default more M33 Prime Movers in Italy

Some more photos found on facebook, posted by World War Pictures:

Quote:
M33 Prime Movers towing M1 8” / 203mm guns near Cori Italy - May 1944
The M33 was an M31 TRV (Based on the M3 Lee/Grant) converted into an artillery tractor role, with turret and crane removed, note dummy 75mm gun.
LIFE Magazine Archives - Carl Mydans Photographer WWP-PD

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To which José-Daniel Cabanilles added:
Quote:
C Btry, 697th FA Bn 5th Army. 697th FA Bn equipped with 240mm How. with the II Corps 697th FA, with the VI Corps 698th attached with the Brazilian force det 697th & 698th FA Bn (240mm How)
932th FA Bn (with the II Corps as the 697th), 194th FA (with the VI Corps), attached with the Brazilian force 630th & 995th FA Bn (8inch How)
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