M24 light tank, Company D, 36th Tank Battalion, 8th Armored
Division, Rheinberg, Germany, March 1945
This tank is finished in typical late-war US Army markings and is painted
in lusterless olive drab. The markings are the usual stars, in the simple
form on the turret side, and in the standard Allied air identification
form on the roof and rear hull deck. The 8th Armored Division painted
their unit identification bumper codes and the tank registration number
on the turret rather than the hull, as the hull of the M24 tended to
become cluttered with the crew’s gear, obscuring the numbers.
In the case of the unit codes, these were carried on the front of the
gun mantlet, split top to bottom, and then repeated again on the rear
of the turret stowage bin, all in white. The vehicle name, following
the company letter, starts with “D”, in this case DUSTY.
The crew has painted on their states of origin: Ohio (2), Maryland,
California, and New York. The tactical marking at the front of the turret
is unique to the 8th Armored Division and is presumably a company insignia.
This tank was knocked out during the fighting in Rheinberg on March
3, 1945, when Company D lost 17 out of 18 M24 tanks. The town was heavily
defended, and the Germans lost 14 antitank guns, 16 20mm antiaircraft
guns, four PzKpfw IV tanks, and one self-propelled gun during the encounter.