716th Tank Battalion

Discussion in 'US Units' started by 716_Grandson, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Here is a group photo of "Co. A, 716th TK BN, "The Wolf Pack" I am not sure of when this was taken. I cannot make out the word at the beginning, but I think it says "survivors" I could be wrong, anyone else have a clue?

    It also says "Far East Photo, 300 W Jefferson, Springfield IL. I am not sure what time period that puts it, but I think this may have been after the war. My grandfather (2nd from the right in the back row) looks like he does in most post war photos I have, but I cannot be sure when exactly this was taken.

    Also, another funny thing about this photo...take a look directly above the lat guys on the right. There is a man in the window making a face.

    Attached Files:

  2. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Another pic. This pic was taken at Camp Howze Texas on 16 May 1944

    I didnt want to photoshop any marks on the photo or circle my grandfather in case anyone else wanted this for their records, but if you look at the center if the pic you will see a small bend or crease in the photo, my grandfather is the second head down from the top directly to the right of that crease.

    Attached Files:

  3. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Back Home - January 1st 1946. This would have been Camp Stoneman California. Tired and war weary. You can almost see the differences in their faces from the kids in the pics above to these men. Their faces all say to me, "you have no idea what we've seen."

    My Grandpa is the second from the right in the second row from the top.

    This is either Co. A or C. I am thinking Co. C, but I cant verify this.

    Attached Files:

  4. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Some newspaper articles about the 716th.

    Attached Files:

  5. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Thanks, both of you - downloaded all (took a long while on dial-up) and I will looking and reading

  6. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Based on the barracks style the first photo posted could be Camp Stoneman. This link has some photos mid-way down

    Historic California Posts: Camp Stoneman

    While WWII barracks all have similar floor plans I think the exterior details varied a bit by location. IIRC barracks down south tended to have large over hangs from the roof to keep the sun or rain out.

    Next question is: were they shipping out or coming back? I see a few guys with the 1943 pattern field jacket and one officer with an Ike Jacket, so my guess would be coming home.

    Given more careful study I believe "I" Company of the 3/48th Armored Regiment would have become "C" Company of the 716th Tank Bn. Where "G" and "H" Companies would have become "A" and "B" Companies, respectively. "D" Company would have come from the light tank battalion, either A, B or C company.
  7. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member


    I cropped this from the post war photo. I am curious about the diamond shaped badge or patch over their right pocket. This would have been a Unit Distinction or Award.

    I'll also point out the US Sixth Army patch on the right shoulder. Looks like this.


    The 716th must have been part of the Sixth Army for the Luzon operation and then the Eighth Army for the Southern Philippines operations.

    I also point out the service stripes on the lower sleeve, straight for total service, angled for overseas service.

    It's not in this photo crop but some gentlemen have a unit insignia either on their cap or lapels. They look like a Coat of Arms. Has any one seen an insignia for the 716th?

    Good stuff, thanks again.

    Attached Files:

  8. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    This site has a patch but it doesn't have 716th on it. Seems that Adam already is a member there. 716th Tank Battalion (1950s and Before) - Unit Pages

    Returned the Papua book as this was before the 716th got to New Guinea and another part of the island. This is a smaller size book than the other Green Books - some of the maps had the bold overlay of the units and lines but the background was too light to see. Only one map had an armored symbol - for the Australian unit at Buna and the plantation. These used the Stuart tank and were needed to break the log bunkers - 25 in one section and a few concrete pillboxes.

    Good pictures of the tanks though I don't know how the men fit into them. Also photos of the inside of one of the bunkers and of three Bren Gun carriers that were abandoned after getting hung up on stumps in a plantation.

    There are 30 pages in the index under Tanks, Allied Use of, and the first 8 are of commanders asking for them - not so much against Japanese tanks as the coconut log bunkers. Mortars were not effective on the tough roofs. One method was to shoot a hole in a corner then get some explosives in. There were only 4 page references to Japanese Use of Tanks.

    Also brought back the Navy book (Samuel Eliot Morison) about the New Guinea campaign. Most of this was before July 3 when the 716 got there. Battles after that date were farther away - Guam, Saipan, etc. and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. There were some operations in the northwestern part of Irian Jaya (Dutch New Guinea) Vogelkop peninsula - Biak, Noemfoor (invasion on July 2), Sansapor (July 30 - August 31) etc. still going on.

    I would like to know what the 716th was doing, as my father says they were at Oro Bay and Hollandia. Training with the 48th perhaps, considering they were new to combat and the jungle.

    Also found another book: Island Encounters Black and White Memories of the Pacific War - lots of interesting photos, some Japanese, of the interaction between soldiers and natives. Some from New Guinea but none of the 716th nor from the Philippines. First time seeing an Owen submachine gun. Great photo of Ernie Pyle with a bunch of kids on Guam, one month before Okinawa. Did not know there were native soldiers fighting with our troops either.

  9. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    After much frustration I finally found that diamond shaped award over the right pocket. It's not a unit award.

    It's an Honorable Discharge Emblem, link here:

    World War 2 Awards.com - Honorable Service Lapel Button / Honorable Discharge Emblem

    Never seen it before. Very odd uniform decoration, kinda says "This soldier is going home"

    "On November 29th 1944, with Circular No. 454, the War Department adopted the Honorable Discharge Emblem. It was in design similar to the Lapel Button, but the Eagle and Ring were placed on a piece of cloth with thread. It was issued together with the button. Upon the discharge from the military the emblem was to be sewn on the clothing, immediately above the pocket on the right breast."

  10. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Checked my foster father, Nick Basile's "Eisenhower" jacket and sure enough there was the patch above the right pocket and the pin above it. The Sixth Army patch on the left sleeve, though he only had straight stripes below, none slanted.

    Some separate stripes are in a box with pins etc.; perhaps he did not get around to putting them on. He had been deployed to Europe all the way to Germany until the war ended there. Then they were sent to Marseilles, shipped through the Panama Canal to the Philippines, and he ended up in Hiroshima. Lots of photos and an itinerary from U.S. through Le Havre. He told me he was relieved to be assigned to an ambulance outfit, because they don't shoot at those, right. When he saw it, there were a lot of big holes.

    There were also 3 patches for the Eighth Army in the box. Some Japanese money, and peso bills with "The Japanese Government" written in English. Apparently for the Philippines but why not in Spanish? I'll have to look to see what Army he was in the ETO.

    Also will check with my cousin at the grandparent's house to see if my birth father (Mario) left any uniforms there.

    There were no references to the 716th at the Institute of Heraldry in the Armored category and the search function returned an error.
    TIOH - Heraldry

  11. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Interesting, all samples of the HDE that I have seen came from PTO veterans. Camp Stoneman must have had an ample supply where Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, did not.

    I did a little checking on Oro Bay or Sub-Base B as it was known to the Quartermaster Corps. The best source I found was the Engineers in the Pacific volume of the US Army official history (Green Books). Still, I only found a few sentences here and there plus two photos. As it reached the point of becoming a staging area it could house 50,000 troops. I was hoping to find a sketch or map of the whole base area but that was a long shot.

    Interesting note on the use of English on the Japanese occupation money. I recall Japanese propaganda posters using English. Can't recall if I heard a good explanation, probably not.

    I found this very good website for another independent Tank Bn. They supported the 3d Infantry Division from Sicily to Germany.

    The 756th Tank Battalion

    One section reports the veterans association donated their battalion colors (flag) to the Patton Museum at Ft Knox. That had me wondering what happened to the unit colors of deactivated units after the war. I assume the Army asked for them back but I would also guess quiet a few went home with the last unit commander.

    For the fun of it I "photo shopped" a facsimile of the 716th Tank Bn shoulder patch.


    Attached Files:

  12. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

  13. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Checked my dad Nick's jacket again and there is a 15th Army patch on the right shoulder. I think he said he came back through Seattle.

    I have the link for that History Channel video but it was gone last I looked. Can't see it on this computer and dial-up. Have to go to the library.

  14. LT's Son

    LT's Son Junior Member

    Like a great many of you, in all likelihood, I've stumbled upon this website by way of Google.

    My father commanded the 716th Tank Battalion in the Philippines. A few caveats: if it wasn't the entire 716th, it was a portion of it. He led a set of five tanks in action on Luzon and Panay, and if he didn't lead the operation for that entire time, he fleeted up to it as a young officer. It will be interesting to see the names on some of these after-action reports people are providing. His helmet is on a bookshelf in my daughter's room, his name painted below an 'X' and 'I' for Second Lieutenant, if I'm not mistaken.

    Thomas R. Nunan, Jr. was a student at Harvard University, in the Class of 1945, who entered the Army by way of the ROTC program. After the war, he completed his studies at Harvard in 1947 or thereabouts, but remained a member of '45. He had a career in the broadcast business and died - my God, young - in 1990, aged 67, of lung cancer. Of his five children, I'm the older son, named after him.

    Like many veterans of his era, he did not talk extensively about his experiences - unless, my mother once noted, he was among other men of his vintage with similar experiences, as the drinks were flowing at cocktail or dinner parties. When PLATOON came out in the 80's, he said that was the first movie that had an idea of 'what things were like' in war, and he shared the only graphic story I heard him tell, about how once they surged into an area to relieve some front line infantry troops, all of whom, as they were carted back, were 'in very rough shape.'
    He once was the only bystander who could approach a very bloody car wreck, years later, to verify that the occupants inside were indeed beyond help.

    Otherwise, stories came over the years incidentally, like the morning after a tremendous thunderstorm and one of those massive thunderclaps seemingly right over the house: 'I remember that from the Philippines. The Japs blew up a bridge in the middle of the night, and it was as loud as that.'
    Here are a few anecdotes that come to mind:

    - When he was first ill and filing for Social Security benefits, my mother had to bring proof of his service to the local office. I walked into the living room one morning to see him unfolding a large, blue-inked map. This was the real McCoy, the one they had used in their briefing shortly before their very first action. "This is a valley," he described. "We went in in a V-formation, and I was standing in the hatch of the very first tank as we were pushing through tall grass. Suddenly, someone called over the radio, 'There's a Jap in the grass right behind you!' I turned and fired my pistol all over the place behind me."
    He never saw that enemy soldier and has no idea whether he hit him.
    'What was it like?' I asked him. 'Were you scared to death?'
    He shook his head. 'It was like playing ball. You were 'on', if you will, or very excited all the time.'

    - He did mention staging out of New Guinea, before they went to the Philippines.

    - This is probably the 716th's most compelling distinction: He said, half jokingly, that they were the only tank battalion in the war to engage in a naval action and sink a ship. Apparently, a Japanese tug came chugging up a river and right into a perfect ambush.

    - Once the Philippines were captured, they all knew full well they were standing by for the invasion of Japan. Once the action died down, they spent the days 'playing baseball,' of all things. At night, they would watch the bedraggled Japanese survivors come down from the hills to scrounge for food at the edges of various farms.

    - They had been resupplied for the invasion. I have a backpack and my brother has a set of coveralls in a camouflage pattern you would associate with the Marines in the Pacific. They never used them in action.

    - It was probably when my older sister bought a Jeep CJ that my Dad mentioned, 'We had a hook up on the front of our Jeeps.' He pointed to the corners of the front bumpers. 'There'd be a triangle based here and here, and a big hook welded at the top.' He hooked his index finger up in the air. 'The Japs would string wires across the road that could decapitate someone riding along, so we'd have these big, strong hooks that were high enough to catch the wires and break them.'

    - He was in a Jeep, on business, when he came upon a American checkpoint where the guards were jumping all over the road and firing their rifles in the air. 'What the Hell are you doing?' he demanded.
    No salutes were rendered. They paused only briefly. 'The Japs just surrendered! It's over! We're not going!' The singing, dancing, and shooting resumed immediately.
    'How do you know?'
    'It just came over the radio. They just dropped some huge goddamned bomb on 'em, and they surrendered.'

    'We're not going,' was the phrase that echoed through the years. He did not elaborate on whether he too started jumping around and hollering.

    My Dad won the Bronze Star , and it was with some surprise that I saw in the citation that it was for keeping his five tanks in peak operating condition. I think I probably (hoped for) or expected some description of gallantry under enemy fire, but I can see the necessity of keeping tanks ready to engage at the forefront of the action.
    It's surprising also because i NEVER saw my Dad turn a wrench on any of our cars through the years. He was very loyal to Ford, since those were Ford engines in the tanks; we had Fords all through the rest of his life. However, if you know anything about Ford station wagons in the 1970's, Ford was in no position to help anybody win any wars. My Dad would stare just as helplessly as any of us when yet another alternator would go on the blink.

    Still, I have the mechanics manual for the M4A3 tank - right beside me as I write. (Page 7, by the way, states that these were Ford Engines. Did someone on an earlier post say GM? See TM 9-759 Medium Tank M4A3. February 18, 1943.)

    When the World War Two Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC in 2004, an M4A3 was on the Mall in one of the displays. The collectors turned out in force, among them, I was told, one of the heirs to the Coors beer fortune, who provided the tank.
    On the front bumper was a white hockey or roller-derby looking helmet. 'I have one of those,' I mentioned to the volunteer dressed in a period uniform. He couldn't believe it. Tank helmets are very hard to find. We exchanged e-mail addresses, since he wanted it for a museum down in Virginia - but he never wrote me back.

    To this day, I still remember to let my jaw fall open so the vibration from any deafening noises or music can pass through my eustachian tubes without reverberation, the way my Dad taught me, the way they had to whenever they fired the tank's main gun.

    Regarding that 716th patch, I used to wear one on my jean jacket as a little kid - when I was bringing my M4A3 manual to school.

    I'll try to recall some more stories. In the meantime, i remain very thankful to find this site and this thread, a little mountaintop from which I can shout bit about my Dad. I look forward to downloading some of the items you all have provided to see if I can find traces on him.
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    a little mountaintop from which I can shout bit about my Dad.
    Shout away.
    Great stuff there - a first post & a half.
    Fascinating to see the gradual accrual of 716th relatives on this thread.
  16. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Welcome LT,

    Great stories, hope to hear more.

    Your father is listed on PDF page 51 of the AAR. Rank 2d Lieutenant, Company "C". So he was likely a Platoon Leader, a platoon having five tanks.

    The AAR is quiet detailed in citing what each platoon was doing. If you could track down what platoon he led (1, 2 or 3) you could get a pretty complete picture of your father's service.

    The AAR was written by an officer in each company. Any chance your father had a penchant for writing?
    716_Grandson likes this.
  17. LT's Son

    LT's Son Junior Member

    Thanks for the responses!

    I'm going to look through that AAR file, which I think I saw a few pages back. As far as writing goes, he did have a certain wit that I might be able to spot. You could almost call it dry, but like P.G. Wodehouse he'd give himself away, taking a little too much glee in the hijinks he depicts. I don't know how much flair one can exhibit in an after action report, however.

    I'm on the other side of the country from the family's cache of records. Some of the details might take a little time, though I've placed my siblings on alert.
  18. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Good to hear from another relative of the 716th members. Each contributes to what we can find out about our relatives. And to acclaim what they did.

    I asked my uncle who was in the 101st glider regiment about that device on the jeeps. He said "Oh, that's the wire cutter"and looked like he was remembering from back then. I figured out what he meant. He also said the ground shook like jello when those 88s hit.

    Another relative was a tanker who was captured during the Bulge and told me some precautions in the tanks, like keeping the hatches open when under artillery fire as the concussion could be fatal.

    My father's diary ends before the Japanese surrender, so I don't know how he responded. Hearing how your father and others found out was a treat.

    Just happened to have a library book Weapons of World War II by G.M. Barnes, Major General (Ret) published in 1947 and issued under joint sponsorship of the Army Ordnance Association and The Franklin Institute. Great photos and technical info on the equipment, some of which I had never heard of. Always wondered how those recoilless rifles worked.

    This is what they list partially about the M4 on page 204 and the engine listing on the next page. There is no heading for the engines listed on the next page shown below.:

    M4 Continental R975-C1 (gasoline) 80
    M4A1 Continental R975-C1 (gasoline) 80
    M4A2 G.M. 6-716046 (diesel) 50
    M4A3 GAA-III V-W.C. (gasoline) 80
    M4A4 Chrysler 5-line W.C. (gasoline) 80
    M4A6 Caterpillar RD-1820 (diesel)

    I wonder what happened to the M4A5?

    The book notes that "The power plant originally used was unique for a track-laying vehicle in that a radial airplane type of motor modified for tank use was employed. As the requirements for tanks grew, it was necessary also to use several other engines, such as a commercial Diesel engine, a composite engine formed by combining five large truck engines into a unit power plant, and, finally, a highly developed V-8 engine."

    I would have liked to have seen that five engine installation. GAA-III was a mystery until I saw the listing for the M10A1 and M36 below.

    The M6 heavy tank (40 built, but not used) had a Wright G-200 radial, but the M26 is listed with the Ford GAF V-8, LC; the M24 with a Cadillac Series 42 Dual V-8 LC. The M5 light tank also had dual Cadillac V-8s, while the M3 shows either the Continental W670-9A 7 cylinder gas engine or the Guiberson T1020-4 9 cylinder diesel, both radial.

    They even list the types and numbers of grenades carried (12 usually).

    Motor carriages are what they call the M10 (GM 6-71-8046), M10A1 (Ford GAA), M18 (engine not listed), M36 (Ford GAA).

    Since your manual says it had a Ford, that must be the GAA - interesting that there were so many different types and sizes. Some tank parts were made at the ALCO plant here; my aunt said she was making some plates for them. I saw a site with tanks assembled at the ALCO plant at Schenectady.

    Learned a lot from your post and hope to hear more.


  19. LT's Son

    LT's Son Junior Member

    Dave, here are two scans of pages from the technical manual, one an overview from the first pages, the second an engine photograph with the parts labelled. /Users/tomnunan/Desktop/M4A3 overview.jpg
    /Users/tomnunan/Desktop/M4A3engine diagram.jpg

    I hope they come through.
  20. LT's Son

    LT's Son Junior Member

    Dave, here are two scans . . ..
    Belay my last.

    Nuts. I just tried to load in two pictures scanned from the technical manual, but they didn't take. I will spend some time trying to master the functions of the site.
    (These are jpg's on my desktop, if anyone has any suggestions.) I was trying to give Dave (above) a bit about the engine and the tank's overall specifications.

    Googling around further, I saw the ads for the 'Classy Peg,' a model M4A3 popular among collectors. It would seem that Company C's - including the tank named Classy Peg - push into the Cabaruan Hills and evacuation of wounded infantry troops was the definitive story for that brand of tank. That might be the story my father was driving at when after seeing PLATOON he talked of a surge and retrieving guys who were in very bad shape. (see post above)

    I also learned that the 716th called themselves 'The Wolf Pack' and had a wolf's head as their emblem. This leads me to the most bizarre question of the thread thus far: Did anybody else's father or grandfather howl like a wolf?

    My Dad used to do that from the time we were little kids, usually when he came in the house at night after walking home from the train station. He'd slip inside from the darkness and let fly a far away, mournful 'Owwoooo . . . '
    I figured he was just trying to scare us like a werewolf from the movies, but it was a phase that never passed. He never outgrew it, even when we considered it a little goofy if not endearing.

    Could that have been from the Wolf Pack? Was he signaling us, or signaling Mom and taunting the 'enemy'? (!)

Share This Page