Moving the military in WWII: The real world of tanks (1942)

These remarkable color photographs from June of 1942 show US troops training with various types of tanks at Fort Knox, Kentucky, including the legendary M4 Sherman, and its predecessor, the M3 Lee.

While the Lee was a somewhat antiquated design when it went into production in August of 1941, it acquitted itself in combat rather well, with its powerful 75mm main gun and heavy armor coming as a surprise to Rommel’s panzers at the Battle of Gazala.

The M4 Sherman made its first combat appearance at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, successfully engaging the German Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. The M4 would go on to become one of the most legendary tanks of all time, with just under 50,000 examples produced — and introducing the phrase “built like a Sherman tank” to the American lexicon. – AJW

Tank crew standing in front of an M-4 tank, Ft. Knox

1942-Tank crew standing in front of an M-4 tank, Ft. Knox, K

 

Crewman of an M-3 tank, Ft. Knox, Ky

Crewman of an M-3 tank, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

Light tank going through water obstacle

Light tank going through water obstacle, Ft. Knox, Ky.

 

Light tanks, Fort Knox

Light tanks, Fort Knox, Ky

 

M-3 and M4 tank company at bivouac, Ft. Knox, Kentucky

M-3 and M4 tank company at bivouac, Ft. Knox, Ky.

 

M-3 tank and crew using small arms

M-3 tank and crew using small arms, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

M-3 tank

M-3 tank, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

M-3 tanks and crews

M-3 tanks and crews, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

M-3 tanks in action

M-3 tanks in action, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

M-3 tanks in action, Ft. Knox

M-3 tanks in action, Ft. Knox, Ky-1942

 

Tank driver

Tank driver, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

Tank commander

Tank commander, Ft. Knox 1942

 

M-3 Tank

1942-m3-tank

 

Tank commander

Tank commander, Ft. Knox, Ky-1942

 

Tank commander

1942 Tank commander, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

Tank crew standing in front of M-4 tank

1942-Tank crew standing in front of M-4 tank, Ft. Knox, Ky

 

M-4 tank, Ft. Knox

M-4 tank, Ft. Knox, Ky-1942

 

Parade of M-4 and M-3 tanks

Parade of M-4 and M-3

 

M-4 tank crews of the United States

M-4 tank crews of the United States, Ft. Knox, Ky

All pictures by Office of War Information photographer Alfred T Palmer

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