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  #1  
Old 10-07-13, 09:49
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sapper740 sapper740 is offline
Derek Heuring
 
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Default Churchill T32203R and American Engineers

I was doing some research on the 555th Heavy Ponton Battalion which had been posted to two U.S. Army bases where I too had trained or visited. The 555th was in Ft. Lewis, Washington from Nov.5, 1943 to Jan. 8, 1944 and in Ft. Polk, Louisiana from Aug. 31, 1944 to Jan. 28, 1945. During a visit to the Ft. Lewis museum and upon seeing my Canadian uniform and my interest in some of the 555th memoribilia, one of the docents remarked how the 555th had tested their bridging in WWII with a Brit Tank. I filed this little tidbit of information aside until I visited their website:

http://555thheavypontonbattalion.com...s/Page365.html

and was pleasantly surprised to see photos of the "Brit Tank" which was Churchill T32203R. From Jan. 11, 1944 to Aug. 27, 1944 the 555th was in Arizona on the AZ-CA border testing their M1 floating bridge on the Colorado river. There are several pictures on their website of them testing their bridging with Stewarts, Shermans, and their lone Churchill. It would be interesting to hear how they came to have ownership of this Churchill and perhaps someone will be able to offer more information from the hull number.

CHIMO!

Derek.
Attached Thumbnails
Churchill_Imperial_dam_ CA_1944_pic111.jpg   Churchill_Imperial_dam_ CA_1944_pic222.jpg   Churchill_Imperial Dam.jpg  
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Old 11-07-13, 19:13
maple_leaf_eh maple_leaf_eh is offline
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Default reference the third picture, WTF?

Why is that man standing on a plank out in rushing water?
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Old 11-07-13, 19:48
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Originally Posted by maple_leaf_eh View Post
Why is that man standing on a plank out in rushing water?

Because the pirate Captain told him to?
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Old 12-07-13, 01:34
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Derek Heuring
 
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Because the pirate Captain told him to?
You mean the Pirate Sergeant, don't you?
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Old 16-07-13, 23:03
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Does anyone know what the "R" signifies (if anything) at the end of this tanks WD Number? First time I have seen a number ending like that.


David
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Old 16-07-13, 23:44
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Mark W. Tonner Mark W. Tonner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dunlop View Post
Does anyone know what the "R" signifies (if anything) at the end of this tanks WD Number? First time I have seen a number ending like that.


David
the "R" signifies 're-worked'
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Old 17-07-13, 00:53
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Derek Heuring
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maple_leaf_eh View Post
Why is that man standing on a plank out in rushing water?
Here's my thought, and this is only a guess: The 555th was sent to this area to familiarize themselves and experiment with bridging. There are more pics on their website showing their usage of a Canadian Universal Trestle and there is another pic of the Churchill crossing a bridge with the caption "60 ton tank". The Engineer on the plank may have been taking a sounding to see how much the load behind him caused the bridge to sink. For Dave Dunlop's question about the "R" suffix, taking into account the "60 ton tank" caption of the pic perhaps the "re-worked" refers to additional weight added to the Churchill. Just a thought.

Derek
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Old 17-07-13, 02:38
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Default Mark

Thanks for that information.

Now that I have learned something new for the day, it's time for a nap!


David
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Old 17-07-13, 16:29
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Mark W. Tonner Mark W. Tonner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dunlop View Post
Does anyone know what the "R" signifies (if anything) at the end of this tanks WD Number?
David/Derek;

Regarding the suffix letter "R," the following is from my research notes for the Weapons of War Series title, The Churchill in Canadian Service, and is a brief description of the Churchill rework programme, carried out by the British:

"Almost as soon as production of the Churchill had begun, the idea of organizing a major rework program to correct the faults of the tank had been discussed, but no firm decision on the matter could be agreed upon, since the authorities could not decide whether it would be easier to cancel production of the Churchill and create another new infantry tank, or if it would be better to try and salvage the existing design. Finally on 3 November 1941, at a meeting held by the Controller-General of Research and Development, at the Ministry of Supply, it was decided that a rework programme for the Churchill would be carried out to correct some of the tank’s more glaring faults.

At this meeting, Vauxhall Motors stated that they wished to introduce three major changes, specifically, fitting mudguards over the top run of the tracks, altering the shape and flow of the air inlets (louvres), and changing the air outlet at the rear of the hull. The meeting authorized Vauxhall Motors in Luton and Broom & Wade in High Wycombe to turn their production lines over to the rework program, starting on 1 March and 1 April 1942 respectively. Many other British firms and British Army ordnance workshops were also involved with the Churchill rework scheme to varying degrees. Once this program was underway, there were a total of 71 identified changes or improvements, in addition to the three major changes that Vauxhall had brought up at the meeting of 3 November 1941. These included improving the air flow through the engine compartment using new air inlets, incorporating full-length mudguards with blast shields fitted to both ends of each mudguard, installing continuous track return skid rails, and adding a baffle plate below the rear air outlet to prevent dust from being blown forward. The pannier doors were provided with catches that enabled them to be secured when open, and some suspension bogie frames were strengthened and the rebound pads redesigned to give a smoother ride. The front idler axles were strengthened, and the steering brakes and other parts of the suspension were improved. There was better stowage for ammunition, all hull seams were waterproofed, and a detachable windscreen was provided for the driver that fitted into the visor aperture when the armoured door was open. In the engine compartment, the starter motor, petrol pumps, radiator caps, exhaust system, and the actual engine mountings were improved, and new carburetors were installed. The gearbox was improved, with the gearboxes marked accordingly.

All Churchill tanks that went through this rework program, had their War Department (WD) number suffixed by the letter "R," an example of which, for a Churchill Mk II was WD Number before rework - T31066 and the WD Number after rework - T31066R. Reworked gearboxes were marked in the same fashion, the gearbox number suffixed by the letter "R", which was followed by a single digit number depending on the number of modifications carried out. For gearboxes, the suffix R4 would indicate that the gearbox was fully modified. This system of the suffix of the letter “R,” and a single digit number depending on the number of modifications carried out also applied to the engine, with a suffix of R3 indicating that the engine was fully modified.”

Cheers
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Old 17-07-13, 16:45
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Default Gee Mark...

Now I'm going to be asleep for the rest of the week!

Wonder what happened to T31066R once the 555th were finished playing with it?


David
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  #11  
Old 19-07-13, 03:04
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Derek Heuring
 
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Thanks Mark, info much appreciated!

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