1942 by bmac62 ()
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Well, seems like this tank thing has gotten to be quite the hub-bub today. Naturally, I just couldn't sit back and do nothing:-)))
The US Army's 1st Armored Division went into battle for the first time in WWII in North Africa, They were beat up pretty badly by Field Marshal Rommel's Africa Corps in November 1942 (Operation Torch).
This is the upper parts of a 1st Armored Division "Light Tank, M3". The British called them Stuarts. They were outgunned and out armored by German tanks on the battlefield at that time. Costly lessons...but we got better over the next 2 1/2 years.
Thanks to Mark, Tara and Rod for keeping this topic hot! :-)
Image Comments (10)
full view really shows your finesse, Bill. But before talking about the photo, I want to say something about tanks...(serious, too)...
I was joking with tara about "capturing the beast," but to be serious, these are stunning and terrifying instruments. I spoke to a WWII vet, years back, who was in tank warfare in WWII: He said, "you know, there's no way I can make you understand warfare, but I'll say this: As a soldier, being able to crawl inside a tank was like crawling into the arms of God, because that huge metal frame protected you, made you feel you had a place to be 'safe', a big cocoon...but then," (he sighed painfully) "you also knew that there was no way out if you were attacked: You were trapped inside a massive chunk of metal; and when the bombs were close by---and you could hear them---you could only sit there and pray...we maneuvered, of course; but under intense fire, you couldn't 'jump out': You had to stay inside---like a submarine---and it was terrifying. No way I can explain it to a civilian...but we were just as vulnerable, in some ways, as the soldiers fighting outside..."
Bill, as a civiliain, when I see these monsters, I'm in awe and terror. They're like prehistoric beasts; and, at the same time, I think of that soldier's words about the supreme 'protection' of the tank, how those metal-walls felt like the protective hands of god. I assume that you---who worked in artillery in the Army---have a special feeling for these, a feeling that only someone in your field could have; and that their terrifying slabs and rivets mean protection, power against the enemy, an instrument of genuine triumph. But to me, standing in front of one of these is simply awe-some---literally---and breath-taking; because while they're motionless in museums, I could only imagine what I'd feel if they started moving. I've heard them---their sound is screeching, slow and devouring---so to see them in stillness is like watching a fanged god in deep slumber: You know that, with a jab, it could get up and terrify the earth. So I don't take these for granted, believe me, and I know they're not just the subject of an art challenge: These beasts are monumental, and they should inspire speechless awe.
Ok...your image: Full size, you captured smoothness and elegance (for a tank!), and the compartments and rivets are all part of a 'music', for you, that this beast seems to dance to. The yellow is actually beautiful; and your composition---with the tank on the left, and space everywhere else---makes the tank feel like it just 'rolled in for a visit': It actually feels a little friendly. The desert background gives real context too (since this was used in Africa), and the tree gives a touch of delicacy. I hope everyone sees it full size: It's a very sensitive piece, Bill---as seems to be your constant calling---and it makes this terrifying animal 'human' and actually touchable. Really fine work, and it's great to see you here again, if even for just a short time...
The Allies had a rough time of it because the French in Tunisia did not surrender as expected. Our guys suffered quite a few losses in taking Casablanca and Algiers. But when they went up against the main German force at Kasserine Pass they were slaughtered.
My neighbor, Bob York, was a World War II tanker in the Pacific theatre. Before the army put him into a tank he had never driven anything. He loved it. Needless to say, learning how to first drive in a tank has made him an excellent driver even though he’s well into his nineties.
Your placement of the M3 within the frame is brilliant. It really gives the viewer a feeling of being there in the war zone.
Read Rick Atkinson's book "An Army At Dawn - 1942 - 1943" for a good account of the US army in North Africa. The French were in a dilemma - surrender and have the Germans butcher up the remaining part of France, or fight. They decided to fight under orders from Marshal Petain, governor of occupied France. The book describes among several things US tank warfare and Patton's actions. A LOT happened we don't know about. Like the battle at Sidi Bou Zid (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sidi_Bou_Zid ) where the US got badly mauled.
I've been to the tank museum outside Skövde, Sweden. Loads of tanks, from WWI to 1990 (Soviet T-72, once considered by Sweden, but rejected for the Leopard 2B5. I've been inside a few tanks - very claustrophobic, and an instant target. Few get out alive if hit. I have quite a few photos, some posted here at Rendo in August 2010 (see https://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/leopard-2b5/2102121/?p ). Enjoy.
An excellent shot (pun intended) of this M3, Bil! The slight glare at the upper right makes it look like it's just popped off a round. Looks like she just rolled off the assembly line, and is ready to head to the front. I can certainly understand how one could feel safe inside one of these, yet at the same time knowing that if you get hit by an 88 it's over.