[Lone Sentry: VI. Destruction of Materiel | FM 18-18: Crew Drill, Gun Motor Carriage, M36 - Field Manual]
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FM 18-18: Crew Drill, Gun Motor Carriage, M36
Field Manual, War Department, December 1944
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Field Manual. As with all field manuals, the text may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the contents of the field manual. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

Section VI

32. GENERAL. a. Tactical situations may arise when, owing to limitations of time or transportation, it will become impossible to evacuate all equipment. In such situations it is imperative that all matériel which cannot be evacuated be destroyed to prevent its capture by the enemy. The destruction of equipment is a command decision to be implemented only upon authority delegated by the division or higher commander. Each unit should issue specific instructions covering this subject prior to combat.

b. The working principles to be followed are—

(1) Methods for the destruction of matériel subject to capture or abandonment in the combat zone must be adequate, uniform, and easily followed in the field.

(2) Destruction must be as complete as the available time, equipment, and personnel will permit. If thorough destruction of all parts cannot be completed, the most important features of the matériel should be destroyed, and parts essential to the operation or use of the matériel and which cannot be easily duplicated should be ruined or removed. The same essential parts must be destroyed on all like units to prevent the enemy's constructing one complete unit from several damaged ones by cannibalization.

(3) Crews are trained in the prescribed methods of destruction. Training will not involve the actual destruction of matériel.

33. METHODS. a. The destruction procedures outlined below are arranged in order of effectiveness. Destruction should be accomplished by method No. 1 if possible. If method No. 1 cannot be used, destruction should be accomplished by one of the other methods in the priority shown.

b. Whichever method is used, the sequence should be adhered to. Uniformity of destruction will then be obtained, whether or not the method is carried to completion.

c. Certain of the methods require special tools and materials, such as TNT and grenades, which may not be items of issue normally. The issue of such special tools and material, the vehicles for which issued, and the conditions under which destruction will be effected are command decisions in each case, according to the tactical situation.

34. SMALL ARMS. Methods for destruction of small arms are prescribed in pertinent Field Manuals in the 23 series.

35. 90-MM GUN. a. Sights. See paragraph 38.

b. Method No. 1. (1) Open drain plug on recoil mechanism, allowing recoil oil to drain.

(2) Place an armed (safety pin removed) antitank grenade, HE, or armed (safety pin removed) antitank rocket in the tube about 6 inches in front of, and with the ogive nose end toward the HE shell. (See (3) below.)

(3) Insert an unfuzed complete HE round into the cannon and close the breech.

(4) Fire the cannon, using a lanyard at least 100 feet long. All personnel should be under cover to the rear of the piece and approximately 20° off the line of fire. Danger zone is approximately 200 yards.

c. Method No. 2. (1) See b(1) above.

(2) Fire an HE round assembled with a point detonating fuze against a similar round jammed in the muzzle. Take cover as in b(4) above.

d. Method No. 3. (1) Insert two or three TNT blocks in the bore near the muzzle and four or six in the chamber of the cannon.

(2) Close the breech block as far as possible without damaging the safety fuze. Plug the muzzle tightly with earth to a distance of approximately 3 calibers from the muzzle.

(3) Detonate the charges simultaneously.

(4) The cardboard cases on the TNT blocks should be removed.

e. Method No. 4. This method consists of destroying one gun by firing at it at point blank range, using HE or AP ammunition. Two or more hits on a vital spot such as the breech mechanism, recoil mechanism, or tube should adequately destroy the piece. Fire from cover as danger space is 200 to 500 yards. Destroy last gun by best means available.

f. Method No. 5. Disassemble breech mechanism. Use a sledge to deform parts that have been removed.

36. MOTOR CARRIAGE M36. a. Method No. 1. (1) Remove and empty portable fire extinguishers.

(2) Place 3 pounds of TNT on floor to left of assistant driver's seat and under transmission housing.

(3) Place 3 pounds of TNT between transmission oil cooler and right fuel tanks.

(4) Insert tetryl nonelectric caps with at least 5 feet of safety fuze in charges, ignite fuzes, and take cover.

(5) If time is available, place a 2-pound TNT charge at the center of each track assembly. Detonate these charges as prescribed in (4) above.

b. Method No. 2. (1) See a(1) above.

(2) Open all hatches.

(3) Fire on vehicle with guns, antitank rockets or grenades, aiming at the engine, suspension system, and armament.

(4) Destroy last vehicle by best means available.

c. Method No. 3. (1) See a(1) above.

(2) Puncture the fuel tanks.

(3) Smash all vital elements, such as distributor, carburetor, engine blocks, air and oil cleaners, generators, control levers, instrument panel, crankcase, and transmission with an ax, pick, or sledge.

(4) Pour gasoline, oil, or distillate on entire unit and ignite.

37. AMMUNITION. a. General. (1) Time will not usually permit the destruction of all ammunition in forward combat zones.

(2) When sufficient time and materials are available, ammunition may be destroyed as indicated below. At least 30 to 60 minutes may be required to destroy adequately the ammunition carried by combat units.

(3) In general, the safety precautions outlined in TM 9-1900 should be followed whenever possible.

b. Unpacked complete round ammunition. (1) Stack ammunition in small piles. (Small arms ammunition may be heaped.) Stack or pile most of the available gasoline in cans and drums around the ammunition. Place on pile all available inflammable material such as rags, scrap wood, and brush. Pour the remaining available gasoline over the pile. Sufficient inflammable material must be used to insure a very hot fire. Ignite the gasoline and take cover.

(2) Destroy 90-mm ammunition by sympathetic detonation, using TNT. Stack the ammunition in two stacks about 3 inches apart, with fuzes in each stack toward each other. Place TNT charges between the stacks. Use 1 pound of TNT per four or five rounds of ammunition. Detonate all charges of TNT simultaneously from cover.

c. Packed complete round ammunition. (1) Stack the boxed or bundled ammunition in small piles. Cover with all available inflammable materials, such as rags, scrap wood, brush, and gasoline in drums or cans. Pour gasoline over the pile. Ignite the gasoline and take cover. (Small arms ammunition must be broken out of the boxes or cartons before burning.)

(2) (a) The destruction of packed complete round ammunition by sympathetic detonation with TNT is not advocated for use in forward combat zones. To insure satisfactory destruction involves putting TNT in alternate cases or bundles of ammunition, a time-consuming job.

(b) In rear areas of fixed installations, sympathetic detonation may be used to destroy large ammunition supplies if destruction by burning is not feasible. Stack the boxes, placing in alternate boxes in each row sufficient TNT blocks to insure the use of 1 pound of TNT per four to five rounds of 90-mm ammunition. Place the TNT blocks at the fuze end of the round. Detonate all TNT charges simultaneously. See FM 5-25 for details of demolition and procedure.

d. Miscellaneous. Grenades, antitank mines, and antitank rockets may be destroyed by the methods outlined in b and c above for complete rounds. The amount of TNT necessary to detonate these munitions is considerably less than that required for detonating artillery shells. Fuzes, boosters, detonators, and similar material should be destroyed by burning.

38. FIRE-CONTROL EQUIPMENT. a. All fire-control equipment, including optical sights and binoculars, is difficult to replace. It should be the last equipment to be destroyed, if there is any chance of personnel being able to evacuate. If evacuation of personnel is made, all possible items of fire-control equipment should be carried. If evacuation of personnel is not possible, fire-control equipment must be thoroughly destroyed.

b. Firing tables, charts, slide rules, and similar items should be burned thoroughly.

c. All optical equipment should be smashed.

39. RADIO EQUIPMENT. a. Books and papers. Instruction books, circuit and wiring diagrams, records of all kinds of radio equipment, code books, and registered documents are destroyed by burning.

b. Radio sets. (1) Shear off all panel knobs, dials, etc. with an ax head. Break open set compartment by smashing in the panel face, then knock off the top, bottom, and sides. The object is to destroy the panel and expose the chassis.

(2) On top of the chassis strike all tubes and circuit elements with the ax head. On the underside of the chassis, if it can be reached, use the ax to shear or tear off wires and small circuit units. Break sockets, and cut unit and circuit wires. Smash or cut tubes, coils, crystal holders, microphones, ear phones, and batteries. Break mast sections and break mast base at the insulator.

(3) When possible, pile up smashed equipment, pour on gasoline or oil, and set on fire. If other inflammable material, such as wood, is available, use it to increase fire effect. Bury smashed parts whether burned or not.


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