Item:
ONSV10006

Original U.S. WWII 5th Armored Division Tank Destroyer Ike Jacket

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Size 38XL Ike Jacket in excellent condition with correct wartime features including; tank destroyer patch, 5th Armored Division patch, clasp back CBI, Medal ribbon bars, Expert rifle and grenade medal, chevrons and more. Jacket is dated on the label December 19th, 1944.

The 5th Armored Division ("Victory") was an armored formation of the United States Army active from 1941 to 1945 and from 1950 to 1956.

The division landed at Utah Beach on 24 July 1944 under the command of Major General Lunsford E. Oliver, and moved into combat on 2 August, driving south through Coutances, Avranches, and Vitré, and across the Mayenne River to seize the city of Le Mans, 8 August. Turning north, the division surrounded the Germans in Normandy by advancing, through Le Mêle-sur-Sarthe liberated on 11 August, to the edge of the city of Argentan on 12 August—8 days before the Argentan-Falaise Gap was closed.

Turning Argentan over to the 90th Infantry Division, the 5th Armored advanced 80 miles to capture the Eure River Line at Dreux on 16 August. Bitter fighting was encountered in clearing the Eure-Seine corridor, the second big trap in France. The 5th passed through Paris 30 August to spearhead V Corps drive through the Compiègne Forest, across the Oise, Aisne, and Somme Rivers, and reached the Belgian border at Condé, 2 September.

The division then turned east, advancing 100 miles in 8 hours, and crossed the Meuse at Charleville-Mézières, 4 September. Racing past Sedan, it liberated Luxembourg City on the 10th and deployed along the German border. The reconnaissance squadron of the division sent a patrol across the German border on the afternoon of 11 September to be the first of the Allies to cross the enemy frontier. On 14 September, the 5th penetrated the Siegfried Line at Wallendorf, remaining until the 20th, to draw off enemy reserves from Aachen.

In October it held defensive positions in the Monschau-Hofen sector. The division entered the Hurtgen Forest area in late November and pushed the enemy back to the banks of the Roer River in very heavy fighting. On 22 December it was withdrawn to Verviers and placed in 12th Army Group reserve.

Crossing the Roer on 25 February 1945 the 5th spearheaded the XIII Corps drive to the Rhine, crossing the Rhine at Wesel, 30 March. The Division reached the banks of the Elbe at Tangermunde, 12 April—45 miles from Berlin. On 16 April, the 5th moved to Klotze to wipe out the Von Clausewitz Panzer Division and again drove to the Elbe, this time in the vicinity of Dannenberg. The division mopped up in the Ninth Army sector until VE-day.

U.S. Army and counterpart British designs were very different in conception. U.S. doctrine was based, in light of the fall of France, on the perceived need to defeat German blitzkrieg tactics, and U.S. units expected to be faced with large numbers of German tanks attacking on relatively narrow fronts. These were expected to break through a thin screen of anti-tank guns, hence the decision that the main anti-tank units – the Tank Destroyer (TD) battalions – should be concentrated and very mobile. In actual practice, such German attacks rarely happened; throughout the war only one battalion ever fought in an engagement quite like that which had originally been envisaged (the 601st, at the Battle of El Guettar).

The Tank Destroyer Command eventually numbered over 100,000 men and 80 battalions each equipped with 36 self-propelled tank destroyers or towed guns. Only a few shots were expected to be fired from any firing position. Strong reconnaissance elements were provided so that TDs would be able to use pre-arranged firing positions to best advantage. Flanking fire by TDs was emphasized, both to penetrate thinner enemy side armor, and to reduce the likelihood of accurate enemy return fire.

All American tank destroyers were officially known by exactly the same collective term used for American self-propelled artillery ordnance, "Gun Motor Carriage". The designs were intended to be very mobile and heavily armed. Most of the tank-hull based designs used special open-topped turrets, of a differing design to the original tank it was to be based on, which was meant to both save weight and to accommodate a larger gun. The earliest expedient design was an M3 Half-track mounting an M1897 75 mm gun in a limited-traverse mount, and called the 75 mm Gun Motor Carriage M3. Another, considerably less successful, early design mounted a 37-mm anti-tank gun in the bed of a Dodge 3/4-ton truck - the 37-mm GMC M6. By far the most common US design was the 3in Gun Motor Carriage M10 (Wolverine), later supplemented by the 90 mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 - both based on the M4 Sherman hull and powertrain - and the 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage M18 (Hellcat), based on a unique hull and powertrain design, with a slight visual resemblance to what was used for the later M24 Chaffee light tank. The M18 came closest to the US ideal; the vehicle was very fast, small, and mounted a 76 mm gun in a roofless open turret. The M36 Jackson GMC possessed the only American-origin operational gun that could rival the vaunted 88 mm German anti-tank ordnance, the 90 mm M3 gun, and the M36 remained in service well after World War II. The only dedicated American-origin, casemate hull design fighting vehicle of any type to be built during the war, that resembled the German and Soviet tank destroyers in hull and general gun mounting design, was the experimental T28 Super Heavy Tank, which mounted a 105 mm T5E1 long-barrel cannon, which had a maximum firing range of 12 miles (20 km), and was originally designed as a self-propelled assault gun to breach Germany's Siegfried Line defenses.

Of these tank destroyers, only the 90 mm gun of the M36 proved to be effective against the frontal armor of Germans' larger armored vehicles at long range. The open top and light armor made these tank destroyers vulnerable to anything greater than small-arms fire. As the number of German tanks encountered by American forces steadily decreased throughout the war, most battalions were split up and assigned to infantry units as supporting arms, fighting as assault guns or being used essentially as tanks.

Doctrinists' expectation that German tanks would be engaged in mass formation was a failed assumption. In reality, German attacks effectively utilized combined arms on the ground fighting cohesively. American tank destroyer battalions comprised three tank destroyer companies supported by nine security sections. The single-purpose tactics of the tank destroyer battalion failed to account for non-tank threats.

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