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

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

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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

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


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

Light tank going through water obstacle, Ft. 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 tanks in action, Ft. Knox, Ky

M-3 tanks in action, 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 from WWII

M-3 tank, Ft. Knox, Ky


M-3 tanks and crews from WWII training

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


M-3 tanks in action

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


WWII M-3 tanks in action, Ft. Knox (1942)

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


A World War II Tank driver

Tank driver, Ft. Knox, Ky


Tank commander

Tank commander, Ft. Knox 1942


Tank commander

1942 Tank commander, Ft. Knox, Ky


M-4 tank, Ft. Knox (1942)

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


A long line of M-4 and M-3 tanks from WWII

Parade of M-4 (General Sherman) and M-3 (General Grant) tanks in training maneuvers, Ft. Knox, Ky.

Note the lower design of the M-4, the larger gun in the turret and the two hatches in front of the turret.

A long line of M-4 and M-3 tanks from WWII


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 – June 1942

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