Painting the M4 Tank

Instructions for painting the M4 Sherman tank from the Technical Manual TM 9-731B: Medium Tank M4A2, January 1943.



a. Ordnance materiel is painted before issue to the using arms. One maintenance coat per year will ordinarily be ample for protection. With but few exceptions, this materiel will be painted with ENAMEL, synthetic, olive drab, lusterless. The enamel may be applied over old coats of long oil enamel and oil paint previously issued by the Ordnance Department if the old coat is in satisfactory condition for repainting.

b. Paints and enamels, usually issued ready for use, are applied by brush or spray. They may be brushed on satisfactorily when used unthinned in the original package consistency or when thinned no more than 5 per cent by volume with THINNER. The enamel will spray satisfactorily when thinned with 15 per cent by volume of THINNER. (Linseed oil must not be used as a thinner in this enamel, since it will impart an undesirable luster.) If sprayed, enamel dries rapidly enough to permit repainting after one-half hour, and dries hard in 16 hours.

c. Certain exceptions to the regulations concerning painting exist. Fire-control instruments, sighting equipment, and other associated items will not be painted.

d. Complete information on painting is contained in TM 9-850.

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Words from the Wing Wise

Tips from bomber gunners to prevent guns and gunners from freezing during missions from a special edition of Army Talks, “Stars over the Reich,” published for the officers and men of the Eighth Air Force.


These tips on preventing frozen guns and gunners come from gunners who were on operations last winter.

How to Keep Your Guns from Freezing

Thorough cleaning before and after every mission is point number one. Remove all moisture and powder deposits, especially from the bolt recesses. Firing pin port and receiver (especially extractor switch recess and front barrel bearing) should be thoroughly cleaned, dried and then properly oiled with AXS 777 (new specification number—2-120). Leave only a light film of oil. And keep oil cans tightly closed to keep out dust and foreign matter.

Keep your gun and gunner from freezing

A canvas bag will keep recoiling parts dry while they’re being carried to the plane.

Charge your gun just before or just after take-off (whichever is your Group’s policy). If your gun freezes when unloaded you’re stuck. If it’s loaded the recoil will loosen any frozen parts.

Test-fire at bombing altitude. If you can charge the gun but it won’t fire, hold the trigger back while the parts slam forward into battery—this sometimes loosens frosted parts. Only charge the gun when you have to; it lets cold moist air in to the recoiling parts. If the extractor switch is frozen, charging may result in an out-of-battery stoppage.

How to Keep Yourself from Freezing

Use the correct equipment and wear clothing as it says on the posters. Clothing should fit loosely, as air insulates, and your blood circulates better.

Keep dry. If your feet get wet, change your socks before take-off. Don’t Work around the plane in too heavy clothing before take-off, as sweat increases the danger of frostbite.

Pre-flight your heated suit. The connection in the plane may be out of order. Only turn your heated-suit rheostat up far enough so you are just warm enough to keep you from being miserable. Be sure to have fleece-lined clothing in case the suit goes permanently out of order. If it does, keep moving the parts of your body that don’t have heat, flexing the muscles, wiggling your fingers and toes. And it’s a good idea to have extra heated gloves and cords.

Wear mufflers or bath towels around your knees, neck and anywhere else that gets cold. Goggles and canvas or wool hoods are available, and they sure are handy if the plexiglass is broken near you.

If you have to take off your heated glove at altitude don’t remove the glove liner. Don’t leave any part of your body exposed for more than a few seconds. Remember, at 40 below zero you may freeze a hand badly enough to lose a finger before you feel any pain or realize anything’s wrong.


U.S. 4th Infantry Division in WW2

The U.S. 4th Infantry Division (the “Famous Fourth” or the “Ivy Division”) in action in World War 2. The 4th Infantry Division fought prominently in Operation Overlord, the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge. The 8th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division was the first surface-borne Allied unit to land at Utah Beach on D-Day.


P-47 Canopies

“P-47 Canopies” from Pilot Training Manual for the Thunderbolt P-47, AAF Manual 50-5, Headquarters AAF. Top: The streamlined version used in combat affords 360 degrees of vision. Utilize every single degree in scanning the sky for an enemy. Bottom: The old-style “greenhouse,” used in training. While under this canopy, develop the “swivel-neck” that’ll prevent unpleasant surprises later.

P-47 Thunderbolt Greenhouse and Bubble Canopy

German Kursk Figures from Alpine Miniatures

New 1/35th Waffen SS figures from Alpine Miniatures. According to Alpine, the figures should be suitable for Panzer IV, StuG III, StuG IV, JgdPz. IV, or Hetzer.

Waffen SS Panzer Crew Kursk 35133
Alpine Waffen SS Panzer Crew No. 35134
1/35th Alpine Waffen SS Panzer Crew Kursk Figure Set No. 35135
• No. 35133: 1/35th Waffen SS Panzer Crew at Kursk Figure #1 – MSRP $18.00 USD
• No. 35134: 1/35th Waffen SS Panzer Crew at Kursk Figure #2 – MSRP $18.00 USD
• No. 35135: 1/35th Waffen SS Panzer Crew at Kursk Set 2 Figures – MSRP $34.00 USD
Figures include 2 different heads.
Sculpted by Sang-Min Lee & Boxart Painted by Calvin Tan.

155-mm Gun M2

Data pertaining to the 155-mm gun M2, the carriage M1 or M1A1, the 155-mm gun mount M13 (T14), and the limbers M2 and M5. All data from the WWII U.S. War Department Technical Manual TM 9-350: 155-mm Gun M2; Carriage M1 and M1A1, Gun Mount M13; Heavy Carriage Limber M2 and M5; and Firing Platform M1, May 1945.


a. Data pertaining to 155-mm gun M2.


Weight of gun (complete with breech mechanism)     9,595 lb
Weight of tube assembly (barrel)   9,190 lb
Length of tube   277.37 in.
Length of bore   cal. .45
Length of rifling   230.57 in.
Powder pressure (normal pressure with maximum charge in a new gun) lb per square in   40,000
Type of breecblock   Interrupted screw
Weight of breech mechanism   405 lb
Type of firing mechanism   continuous pull percussion hammer


Muzzle velocity (average velocity with a new gun in feet per second):
     Shell AP (Maximum zone charge)   2,745 fps
     Shell HE (Maximum zone charge)   2,800 fps
Range: (Maximum)
     AP Shell   24,075 yd
     HE Shell   25,715 yd
Rate of fire:
     Normal   round 1 (per 2 minutes)

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Loading 37-mm AA Guns on Railroad Cars

Instructions for loading the 37-mm gun and carriage on railroad cars from the WWII technical manual TM 9-235 37-mm AA Gun Materiel, U.S. War Department, January, 1944.


a. General. All loading and blocking instructions as specified herein are minimum, and are in accordance with the Association of American Railroads, “Rules Governing the Loading of Commodities on Open Top Cars,” special supplement, revised, 1, March 1943.

b. Instructions.

(1) INSPECTION. Railroad cars must be inspected to see that they are suitable to carry loads to destination. Floors must be sound and all loose nails or other projections not an integral part of the car should be removed.

(2) RAMPS. Permanent ramps should be used for loading the materiel when available, but when such ramps are not available, improvised ramps may be constructed of rail ties and other available lumber.


(a) Cars loaded in accordance with specifications given herein must not be handled in hump switching.

(b) Cars must not be cut off while in motion and must be coupled carefully, and all unnecessary shocks avoided.

(c) Cars must be placed in yards or sidings so that they will be subjected to as little handling as possible. Separate track or tracks, when available, must be designated at terminals, classifications, or receiving yards, for such cars, and cars must be coupled at all times during such holding and hand brakes set.

(4) PLACARDING. Materiel not moving in combat service must be placarded, “DO NOT HUMP.”

(5) CLEARING LIMITS. The height and width of load must be within the clearance limits of the railroads over which it is to be moved. Army and railroad officials must check all clearances prior to each move.

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Bazooka Operation in Hot & Cold Climates

Operating instructions for the Bazooka in tropical and arctic climates from TM 9-294: 2.36-inch A.T. Rocket Launcher M1A1, War Department Technical Manual, Sept. 27, 1943.



a. When operating under unusual conditions such as tropical or arctic climates, severe dust or sand conditions, and near salt water, it is essential that all the precautions listed below should be observed.


a. In temperatures below freezing, and particularly in arctic climates, all operating parts should he kept absolutely free of moisture. The bore of the launcher should be cleaned daily and oiled as described in paragraph 16. The batteries should be removed from the launcher and kept warm until just before firing. Carrying the batteries in inner pockets will keep them sufficiently warm. Immediately upon bringing indoors, the launcher should be cleaned on the outside and inside with a dry clean cloth. Remove the grips and clean and dry the contacts. After it has reached room temperature, clean and dry the launcher again, and oil the bore. Rockets should not be fired at temperatures below zero F.


a. Tropical Climates. In tropical climates where temperature and humidity are high, or where salt air is present, and during rainy seasons, the launcher should be thoroughly inspected and cleaned daily. The bore should be oiled a little more liberally than prescribed in paragraph 16. Wood parts should be inspected to see that swelling due to moisture does not bind working parts. If this does occur, shave off only enough wood to relieve binding. A light coat of OIL, linseed, raw, type A applied at least every month and well rubbed in with the heel of the hand, will help to keep moisture out. Allow oil to soak in for a few hours and then, wipe and polish the wood with a dry clean wiping cloth. Do not fire rockets at temperatures above 120 F.

NOTE: Care should be taken to see that linseed oil does not get onto electric contacts as it will gum when dry.

b. Hot Dry Climates. In hot dry climates, where sand and dust are apt to get into the bore, the launcher including the bore should be wiped clean daily or more often if necessary. Oiling of the bore should be done very sparingly and only in the event that atmospheric conditions cause rusting of the bore surface. In such climates, wood parts are apt to dry out and shrink, and a more frequent application of OIL, linseed, raw, type A, will help keep wood in condition. During sand or dust storms the breech and muzzle should be kept covered. Do not fire rockets at temperatures above 120 F.


Sturmgewehr 44 Assault Rifle

The following report on the German StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44) assault rifle was published in Foreign Military Weapons and Equipment, Vol. III, Infantry Weapons, Pamphlet No. 30-7-4, Department of the Army, 1954.

7.92-mm Submachine Gun MP-44

Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) Assault Rifle

The German MP44 was developed in 1942 to provide an intermediate weapon between the rifle and the submachine gun. The standard 7.92-mm rifle cartridge was shortened and bottle-necked to take a 120-grain boattail bullet. With this cartridge the weapon provided better ballistic characteristics than those available with the standard German 9-mm submachine guns. It also had provisions for full automatic fire and thus a greater firepower capability.

Ease of mass production was achieved by the extensive use of steel stampings. The receiver, frame, gas cylinder, and barrel jacket are all made from stampings. The parts of the trigger mechanism are riveted in place; therefore, the trigger assembly cannot be disassembled, although a complete trigger mechanism can be quickly inserted into the weapon.

Despite its cheap construction, it is a very serviceable weapon. The various models of this weapon, including the MP43, MP43/1, and the MP44, were all designated the STURMGEWEHR 44 in 1944. They differ only in minor detail. Ballistically, they are identical.

This weapon can be recognized by: (1) The stamped receiver and barrel jacket; (2) the prominent front sight base; (3) the curved, stamped magazine; (4) the gas cylinder on top of the barrel; and (5) the short, bulky buttstock.

Large numbers of these weapons were captured by the Soviets during World War II, and many probably are still held in reserve stocks.


Sturmgewehr 44 Assault Rifle Recognition

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Lubbers Don’t Live

The U.S. Navy had their own series of training posters called “Lubbers Don’t Live”. This poster stars Whistlin’ Joe who goes overboard with a swish.

Lubbers Dont Live - Whistlin Joe

Oh heed the fate of Whistlin’ Joe! // Forgot the life lines were so low. // Back home the WAC’s were his pet rave; // But he went overboard for a WAVE!