Tank telephones.

A chap on another site has said that allied tanks in Normandy in 1944 did not have telephones on the back to aid infantry/armour cooperation.

Can some of the experts here confirm or deny this.

Ta Mushers
No idea old chap, although I've heard that they did....
cheiftain had them, our Cent ARV didn't and thats as far back as my own knowedge goes, I'm afraid
I have seen such phones on Shermans, There would be no reason why they would not have been fitted on those supplied to the British.
As shermans made up the equipment of several divisions within 21st Army Group ( I think only the 7th Armoured Divison in Normandy had no Sherman element), it would be logical to say that there they were at least not unknown in British service.
As to UK made Cruisers and Infantry Tanks I have no idea.
No doubt Benghazi Bandit would be able to say from first hand memory.
I seem to recall a Normandy Veteran describing their use but I'm not sure at what stage of the invasion. Maybe they were removed on the Duplex Drive as I would imagine they would be hard to get access to? They were fitted above the right hand rear trackguard so the man on the ground could look forward but still have some cover.

Found a picture but not sure what mark of Sherman its fitted on. I also thought that the Tank Telephone box was mounted horizontally as opposed to vertically as in this case?

Purely for added interest,our Cents had them,early 60's,call button inside box on right,when pressed,commander switched to i/c and could speak to whoever was there.
Some (6-6-1944) Shermans 4 had them and some did not.

Units which had a higher (or) better armour/pbi cohesion, did very well.

3 (UK) Div did very well.
1 (US) Div didn't.


Book Reviewer
we had one on the back of our cent. But we never had a call in four years .
Not sure about Normandy, they were used going through German cities for effective strongpoint demolition.
USMC used them on Cape gloucester
we had one on the back of our cent. But we never had a call in four years .
Bollocks Bern, i used to call you regularly from my Cent bridgelayer, but you never used to answer.
US 2nd Armored division fitted field telephones in .30 browning cans to the engine access doors of their M4/M4A1 of 66th and 67th Armor Rgt's at Normandy. The fitting in post #6 was a late to postwar fitting usually fitted to Sherman Overhang plate and Pershing rear plates.

Marine Shermans of 5th Tank at Iwo used a Field phone in its canvas bag strapped to the rear. B. co also added a target clock next to the phone and used excess Stuart disposable fuel cells as water containers with piping to refill canteens for infantry accompanying them
Bit of technical info from another forum, though no confirmation or otherwise as to whether the kit was used in Normandy:

The early development(s) are described by Louis, [Meulstee]here: Wireless for the Warrior. Additions Supplement No. 5. and there's a later (probably post WW2) version involving a box with a spring-loaded reel (auto rewind when not in use), a long droplead (wound on the reel) and an all-rubber handset containing two of the microphone capsules used in the "Fist" microphone (No.13) as both microphone and earpiece.

I suppose one place to look would be photographs of the period to see if any tanks have sprouted extra boxes on the rear hull.
In Berlin 1979/80 we were parked up after an Active edge in Field force HQ when a Royal Irish Ranger came up to speak to our tank commander. He tried to shout but couldn't be heard so we eventually got him to open the tank telephone box on the back of the Cheiftain. He pulled the handset out and started speaking but was using voice procedure "Hello 41B this is..." After telling him it wasn't on any net he then went and started saying "Hello tank this is man" my commander had to help me up from the bottom of the turret as I was p1ssing myself so much. Happy days.
This is probably approaching useless due to the lack of detail in my memory but I recall reading a WWII account which mentioned the crews destroying the phones (which would mean they were fitted obviously) in order to stop infantry standing in silly places.

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