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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, February 05, 1943, Image 11

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1943-02-05/ed-1/seq-11/

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Fort Benning Classes Taught
How to Put Tank Out of Action
Rifle and Hand Grenades, 'Molotov Cocktail'
And 'Secret Weapon' Are Demonstrated
(Sixth in a series.)
PORT BENNING, Ga.. Feb. 5 —A
tank is a lot of tons of death-spit
ting metal, guided by a human
brain, and apparently impervious to
attack by anything but. artillery.
You might think a man on foot,
lacking artillery, would be a push
over for the tank. It isn't so. and
behind the ingenious methods of in
dividual combat against tanks now
adays partially may lie the reasons
for President Roosevelt's recent
reference to curtailment of tank
production by a considerable pro
portion of the 1942 output.
Infantry officer candidates are
being taught at Fort Benning. Ga.,
the big infantry school, how to de
fang a tank. The Russians de
veloped some of the technique, and
the Americans have carried it fur
ther. We have a secret anti-tank
weapon for individual use about
which we can't yet talk, but it hap
pens to be unadulterated poison to
Seventy-five officer candidates sat
on hard wooden benches far out in
the Georgia pine woods. listening to
a lieutenant instructor talk of i
methods of killing men and tanks.!
Up from a tank park snorted and
bulled its way through the woods a
husky specimen of the American
medium tank, the M-3. The tank
captain lolled in the cupola. “But
ton it up." said the lieutenant, and
all the apertures on the steel mons
ter dosed.
“That, tank looks pretty blind,”
eaid the lieutenant. “It is—partial
I ly. The men in there see through
j tank periscopes. They can be de
j stroved by rifle fire. Find where
: they stick up through slits and rie
i stroy them.”
! A sergeant trotted up with a
Springfield rifle, standard infantry
weapon before it was supplanted by
the fast shooting Garand. On the
muzzle the lieutenant stuck a steel
sleeve. In the sleeve he placed a
long project.
"This is a rifle grenade.” he said.
It does a pretty good job against
tanks. It will penetrate any armor
less than two inches thick and if
fired in the right spot will kill the
personnel within the tank. But I
want you men to know *hat a tank
immobilized is a target for artillery
fire. If you can stop the tank by
putting the motor out of action or
blasting the tread you have converted
the tank into nothing more than a
stationary fort, where it can be im
mobilized by artillery or other anti
tank weapons. The tread of a tank
moves on sprockets. It can be shot
off by rifle grenades, or bv other
He fired the rifle grenade against
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a piece of armor plate. It went
right through and exploded.
"Then we have these things," he
said. The sergeant brought out an
object that seemed a ball of tar.
"This is a sticky grenade.” said the
lieutenant. "Ii. has three sticks of
dynamite, and the sticky part can be
made of tar. grease or ant thing that
sticks. With this fuse the rharge
can do a lot of damage to the tank
It will stick on armor plate, and if
it hits near the sprocket or the tank
treads it will blow them ofT. If it.
hits the motor compartment it can
do a lot of damage."
Molotov Coektait.
The tank pirouetted around like
a clumsy antediluvian monster. A
lieutenant, jumped in a fox hole.
Right over the hole rumbled the
tank. Rising from the hole he tossed
a whisky bottle against the bark
of the steel dragon, where it. burst.
"That is what we call a Molotov
cocktail." said the instructor. "It
is made of two parts gasoline and
one part motor oil, with a fuse at
tached. Toss it onto the motor com
partment of a tank, tip against She
periscopes, or almost anywhere.
That gasoline makes a pretty hot
Are. It may set the motor on Are.
or it may burn out the insulation.
It can stop the tank." He showed
I us the new weapon, but we can't
i talk about that.
| "Now a tank has a blind spot,”
: said the instructor. “If a man can
j get inside the range of the guns,
right up against the steel hide of
this thing, he is in the blind spot.
If the ports are open he might be
able to toss in a hand grenade
i where it will do the most good.” A
hand grenade in the crowded in
terior of a tank means sudden
death to all personnel.
One of the main weapons against
tanks is the anti-tank grenade,
buried a few- inches in the ground
wherever tanks may pass. A tank
which rumbles over one or more of
these pie-shaped mines doesn't
move very far. They are highly
“The aim is to knock the treads
off. or cut them from the sprockets.
Then the personnel ran he handled
later, while the tank Is a sitting
fort," said the instructor.
French Weapon.
"Then we have another weapon
for use against tanks or personnel
carriers,” the instructor went on.
“It is called the fougasse, and it
was developed by the French. You
bury a 50-gallon drum in an em
bankment above a road, filling it
two-thuds full of gasoline and one
third full of motor oil. At the rear
' place three stick* of dynamite. Set
I off the charge and a 50-foot billow
; of flame sweeps across the road
I Nothing can live in it. It’s a
handy weapon, too.”
"This tank has a wide field of!
fire.” the instructor said. "It has
artillery and machine guns, but it
hasn't much sight in battle. It may
overlook fox holes. That's wherei
a determined, courageous man
comes in. With the weapons I have
shown you individual combat
against tanks is pretty effectual.”
Firm's Messenger
Accident Ratio Drops
A drop of 71 per cent in messen
! ger accident frequency of employes
j of the Postal Telegraph Co. during
the past year was announced yes
terday by Ellery W. Stone, president, j
in a, letter of congratulations to the !
company's employes.
The decrease in the number of
accidents was attributed to the thor
ough investigation into the causes
for each accident and specific ap
plication of the information gained
to prevention measures. Mr. Stone
stated that the monthly issuance of
safety posters also emphasized these
The Postal Telegraph Co. employ*
over 4,000 foot, bicycle and automo
bile messengers, of whom approxi
mately 1,000 are now women.
Lt. Broderick, U. S. N. R.,
Buried in Arlington
Funeral services for Lt. Herbert
Reginald Broderick. U. S. N. R„
whose home is in Arlington, Va.,
were held yesterday at the Fitzger
ald Funeral Home in Arlington. Lt.
R. W. Faulk, Chaplain Corps. U. S.
A., officiated. Interment was in Ar
lington Cemetery.
' Lt, Broderick. 45. died Saturday
at the Naval Hospital at Jackson
ville. Fla. He lived at 612 Twen
tieth street, South Arlington, Va.,
and entered the Navy on September
SB. IMS. A wife. Mrs. Ida Broderick,
and two children survive.
Honorary pall bearers were Lts.
A. C. Adams, J. W. Corel*, R C.
Cotner, R. B. Oriffen. P. A. Gun
ther and J. D. Rockefeller.
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