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Thread: Execution of Crocodile Tank Crews

  1. #1
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    Default Execution of Crocodile Tank Crews

    I seem to remember once reading that sometimes captured allied crews from flame throwing tanks were shot if captured by Germans. Has anyone else read or heard stories of this kind?

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    Yes I did in "The universal tank" by David Fletcher, however it give no further details.

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    Not sure on this.

    Flame Thrower operators on the Eastern Front were routinely executed if caughtby both sides.

    It is highly likely, however, that the Germans would do the same on the Western side. Main problem in this being how many crews were caught? Crocodiles tended to be well supported in the attack, and also had a nasty tendency to explode when hit.
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    This is interesting. So it was flame-thrower handlers in general, whether mechanised or infantry that were executed by the Germans? Was this weapon not allowed by the Geneva Convention, or was it that it was just such a terrible weapon?

    I pity the guy given a flame-thrower to use, or the crews chosen to man the 'crocodiles'. (as well as the guys who met it, of course)

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    The bloke that taught me to drive a car was a Crocodile dvr, (later an instr,) during the war.
    He reckoned that it was just a 'squaddie tale,' and I guess he'd be one of those in the know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydstare View Post
    , and also had a nasty tendency to explode when hit.
    Not really, they carried the fuel in a trailor towed behind the tank.

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    Yep, it was. There was a fuel line that came in to the body to fuel the projector. Via the tanks bum.

    This was made of rubber and corded (like lots of wrapped string around the tube) to allow turret and weapon movement. This was very prone to damage when the tank was hit. What is worse some of the early models had no way of turning the supply of fuel off, except at the trailer.

    If the hose was cut, highly flamable fuel would immediately spew forth in to the crew compartment. The crew would have to get out, avoiding any splashes and flames, in seconds.

    This method was used because an early prototype system of fixed pipes and hinged joints, limited (severely) the movement of the projector and leaked a lot.

    Flame Thrower operators have never been high on many peoples christmas card list. Executions certainly happened on the Russian Front. Not too sure about the Pacific, African or Western Theatres.

    Were they even used in Africa?
    Last edited by 1000ydstare; 11-02-2007 at 08:31 AM.
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    I'll read up on this when I get some spare time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydstare View Post
    .

    Were they even used in Africa?
    The Germans had a couple of Pz I flame thrower tanks in service with the Africa Korps for a while, but I've not any info on Allied velicles

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    I wonder how many flamethrowing tank crewman the Germans possibly could have captured. I can't imagine the number exceeded a few dozen, leading any speculation that even a small number of Croc tankers being executed would skew things and set some sort of false a presidence of numerous massacres. I'm swilling to bet that a number of captured personnel assigned to use flame weapons survived the war after being captured...

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    Not really, they carried the fuel in a trailor towed behind the tank.
    well, they could explode. in a book about the battles around the area where I live, there is reported that 2 crocs exploded while being refuelled in the trailors. a few soldiers died and the tanks turned over while the heavy blast.

    jens
    "Wo bleibt denn unsere Artillerie?" "Du bist die Artillerie!"

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    The fuel in the trailer was a nightmare from what I have read.

    Without recourse to the info. I think there was 80 seconds (continous burst) worth of fuel in the trailer. It was excedingly flammable and reletively unstable, esp when pressureised.

    The Croc was actually "un-flamed" most of the time. Just before commiting to battle the crew would have to charge the trailer, to provide the neccesary pressure for operations.

    Afterwards the pressure had to be relieved, as the trailer and connections were not as sealed as one would hope. This would result in fumes (oxidised fuel, which is worse than liquid state fuel) leaking through joints. The Croc would drive off to a safe distance, where the crew would carry out a depressurisation process.

    IIRC the trailer going up, generally destroyed the Croc Tank. It was armoured though.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

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    flamethrowers are always a quite dangerous thing even for the user. and they always attracted at once a lot of defensive-action since no one want`s to be burnt alive - they were definitly a primary target. I have also reports that quite a few crocs got lost through mines, which was the fate of many allied tanks.

    in those situations where no anti-tank devices were availabe, mostly the defenders gave up very soon. there is an episode in that book what I mentioned before where a croc crew lit up an old 30 meter high oak near a building that was defended to demonstrate the defenders the effectiveness of their weapon. afterwards the germans all came out of the building and surrendered.

    jens
    "Wo bleibt denn unsere Artillerie?" "Du bist die Artillerie!"

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    I just adquired this book but unfortunately said nothing about this type of incidents with british flamethrowers.
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    Exclamation Re: Execution of Crocodile Tank Crews

    Quote Originally Posted by ww2artist View Post
    This is interesting. So it was flame-thrower handlers in general, whether mechanised or infantry that were executed by the Germans? Was this weapon not allowed by the Geneva Convention, or was it that it was just such a terrible weapon?

    I pity the guy given a flame-thrower to use, or the crews chosen to man the 'crocodiles'. (as well as the guys who met it, of course)
    For ANY Flame-Thrower crew, be it Armoured, or Infantry, death was a near certainty if captured.
    The general principle seems to have been, Geneva Conventions or not, such troops were not to be permitted to survive, period.
    From my reading, it seems the weapon itself was so fearsome that the operators "lost" rights as pows due to being associated with the weapon.
    Certainly, from an operational combat perspective if a flame-thrower team was seen it was targetted damn fast. Had any flamethrower team or crew been captured, execution was almost a certainty for all of the above reasons.

    Regards, Uyraell.

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