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.50 cal machine gun, ammo box and belt

February 8 2007 at 5:55 PM
  (Login tnyyssonen)
Missing-Lynx members
from IP address 130.232.134.90


I'm building a M4A3 Sherman and the .50 cal M2 machine-gun on turret roof is giving me gray hair. Could someone tell me how the ammunition belt runs from the ammo box to the machine-gun? Is the ammo box lid open or closed (and belt running through some opening on the side of the ammo box)? Did they use the spring mechanism pressing down the ammo belt down into the ammo box during WW II or is it a later improvement?

 
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AuthorReply

(Login gary.binder)
Missing-Lynx members
198.203.245.8

partial answer...

February 8 2007, 7:58 PM 

If you are referring to the later mounts - the box was the standard 105-round steel ammo box. The ammo belt passed up over the end of the box. The spring gadget is there to maintain a light tension on the ammo in the can, to keep it from twisting, etc that would allow it to jam in the feed tray.

Re; the ammo can, remember that the WW2 ammo can for .50cal MG ammo opens to the long side. The lid can be easily removed, also. The later "VietNam era" can open to the short end.

 
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(Login chicoutimi)
Missing-Lynx members
24.201.184.35

An attempt at an answer

February 8 2007, 8:48 PM 

Not to contradict Gary, but the cradle/tray mount used on fully enclosed US tanks in the later half of WWII was designed to accomodate the standard 105-round ammo can with its lid removed. The ammo cradle had its own, integral half-lid with a sprung pusher plate underneath it that exerted pressure on the ammo belt contained in the ammo box to avoid jamming. The half-lid was lowered onto the open ammo box, and the belt was fed through the open end straight into the receiver. The picture below should make it clearer (from the Tasca website):



By the way, Tasca's new .50 cal MG set is actually the only plastic M2 HB that correctly portrays the way the ammo tray attaches to the gun cradle.

Cheers!

Charby



    
This message has been edited by chicoutimi from IP address 24.201.184.35 on Feb 8, 2007 9:24 PM


 
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(Login gary.binder)
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198.203.245.8

thanks Charby...

February 8 2007, 11:22 PM 

you are quite right. That's what I get for working from memory instead of getting the photos out! I was thinking of a mount that had the pressure plate on an arm that pressed into the box, and I thought I remembered seeing them with the box lid tipped open. I know such a variation was done in brass by Collector's Brass, but they may have been wrong.


 
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Timo Nyyssönen
(Login tnyyssonen)
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130.232.134.90

Thanks!

February 9 2007, 2:46 AM 

Thanks for the information, this saved me from a lot of trouble!

 
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(Login Steve.Zaloga)
MODERATORS ONLY - Allied WWII
68.50.3.213

Hold on guys!

February 9 2007, 6:36 AM 

I think that both Gary and Charby are right. The assembly that Charby shows is the D80030 cradle, pintle and ammo box holder assembly which was appropriate for the M4A3. What Gary was talking about was the D90078 tray assembly that was used on a vareity of cradle and pintle assemblies. The D90078 was not "post-war" as Charby said, as I have photos of it at APG in 1943. Also, it is interesting to note that the APG report on the D80030 recommended substituting the D90078 for the tray assembly originally designed for it. I have not seen enough documentation on this subject to determine which of the tray assemblies was the mroe common on M4A3 tanks, but keep in mind that these features were GFE accessories that were added to the tank at the tank depot or by Ordnance crews, not at the factory so some variation was certainly possible. Bottom line, try to find photos of the tank you want to model and see what they used. (Admittedly difficult given the small size of this feature in most pics!)


 
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Timo Nyyssönen
(Login tnyyssonen)
Missing-Lynx members
130.232.14.14

Thanks Mr Zaloga!

February 9 2007, 8:32 AM 

Excellent image, thats exactly what I was looking for. Gave me good information also on the little chains on the MG cradle. Interesting to know that the both types of ammo box holders were in use.

What I have is a M4A3(75)w and my first thought was to make a Team Desobry's Sherman at Noville. However, I haven't found any information on what types of tanks Team Desobry used, let alone photos. I might have to opt for more generic theme, e.g. 10th Amd. Div. Sherman somewhere near Bastogne...

 
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(Login chicoutimi)
Missing-Lynx members
70.54.201.23

I dare not contradict the "Z" man, but...

February 9 2007, 8:39 AM 

Steve,

First off, I never implied that the D90078 tray was a postwar item. However, I have not seen any WWII-era pictures showing it attached too the pintle shown above. APG may have made the recommendatoin, but apparently, this was not implemented in any significant scale before the end of WWII. My research even suggests that most Korean-era tanks still used the D80030 assembly.

The D90078 tray assembly shown in your picture was the standard tray used on the cradle and pintle assembly 7068880 seen below:


(image kindly provided by Kurt Laughlin)

This assembly was used mostly on ring mounts (in combination with the M35C roller carriage assembly) or on pedestal mounts used on vehicle other than fully enclosed tanks (this is also the cradle assembly that was used on the M10). See below:


(image kindly provided by Kurt Laughlin)

Of course, I agree with your argument that the size of this feature on most wartime pictures makes it hard to identifiy clearly, but believe me, I have been paying special attention to this detail for some time now and I'm pretty confident about my conclusions.

By the way, thanks for the diagram!

Cheers!

Charby


 
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(Login Steve.Zaloga)
MODERATORS ONLY - Allied WWII
68.50.3.213

Quick survey

February 9 2007, 9:41 AM 

I did a quick survey of the original Signal Corps prints I have that are clear enough to see the mount and they are all the D80030 assembly like Charby said. They are mostly on M4A3E8 from 1945.


 
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(Login Scoutcar)
Missing-Lynx members
69.62.157.153

Another TM pic w/ ammo and spring bracket

February 12 2007, 3:07 AM 

Charby-

Here's another TM pic of this ammo tray with ammo and spring clip. See the other folders at this link for more TM and actual cradle and tray detail pics.

http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p164/us53/MG%20mounts%20TM%20pics/

HTH,

Randy



[IMG][/IMG]


 
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(Login chicoutimi)
Missing-Lynx members
70.54.201.23

My point

February 12 2007, 8:54 AM 

Randy,

I already have this diagram on my hard drive (thanks!), but again, it is irrelevant in this discussion as this is not the type of ammo tray that was used on fully enclosed tanks like the M4, and Timo stated in his original post that he was building a M4A3. Here is an example of how the ammo belt was fed from to the ammo tray to the gun on most later (wet stowage) Shermans:



Cheers!

Charby


 
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