[Lone Sentry: FM 17-76: Crew Drill and Service of the Piece, Medium Tank, M4 Series (105-mm Howitzer)]
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FM 17-76: Crew Drill and Service of the Piece, Medium Tank, M4 Series (105-mm Howitzer)
Field Manual, War Department, September 15, 1944
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Field Manual. As with all field manuals, the text may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the contents of the field manual. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

Section VIII

30. GENERAL. Wounded members of the tank crew will normally be removed from disabled tanks by their fellow crew members. The operation requires the utmost speed to save the lives of those who are unhurt as well as of the casualty. A tank set afire by an enemy hit can trap its crew in a matter of seconds; and an enemy who has determined the range and disabled a tank with a direct hit will probably continue shooting until the vehicle burns. It is essential, therefore, that all crew members become extremely proficient in the quickest methods of removing one another from the tank. Speed is the primary requisite; care in handling will be stressed only where it has been possible to move the tank to cover. If the action has ceased momentarily, or the tank has been able to disengage itself without hindering the accomplishment of the mission, the casualty is removed on the spot and then carried to a protected place where emergency first aid is administered. Otherwise the action will be continued until such, an opportunity is presented.

31. METHODS EMPLOYED. The methods of evacuation described herewith are based on a two-man team, which is the largest number than can effectively work around a single hatch opening. In some cases a third man will be able to give considerable help from inside by placing belts around the wounded man or by moving him to a position where he can be grasped from above. Speed will usually dictate that the casualty be grasped by portions of his clothing or by the arms for removal. If an arm is broken, however, or if there are other injuries which will be aggravated by such procedures and if time allows, some form of sling may be improvised which will relieve the part from further injury. Only equipment which is immediately available, like pistol belts, web belts, or field bag straps, will be used for this purpose. Suggested uses of some of these items, as well as more elaborate techniques of evacuation, will be found in FM 17-80.

32. DRILL. This paragraph suggests two drills which may be used as models for evacuating crew members from any position. The composition of the evacuating team should be changed frequently to provide practice for all members of the crew in meeting various emergencies.

a. The first member of the crew to discover that another is hit and so badly wounded as to require his removal calls, BOG (LOADER) (SERGEANT) WOUNDED. If the tank is not then actively engaged and the tank commander decides that evacuation is necessary, he commands, EVACUATE BOG. The other crew members dismount, unless one man is needed to help from inside; and the two nearest the hatch above the wounded man go to that hatch to act as the evacuation crew. If the man nearest the casualty in the tank sees that his help is needed, he stays inside and immediately starts to arrange a sling or take whatever other steps will speed the operation. One of the crew takes the first aid kit with him in dismounting, or it is removed at the first opportunity thereafter. The remaining crew member, if available, helps in lowering the casualty to the ground. Before leaving the wounded man, whose position is marked so that he will not be run over, the tank commander reports by radio that he has lost one or more men and gives the location where they may be found.

b. To evacuate Bog (Driver). Tank commander commands, EVACUATE BOG. Driver or gunner unlocks bow gunner's hatch from inside; No. 2 opens hatch from outside.

 No. 1   No. 2 
Kneel on inner edge of hatch. Take position to the outside rear of hatch.
Reach into hatch and grasp hands of casualty, straightening him in seat if necessary.  
Cross arms over chest. Grasp nearest hand when arms are crossed.
Raise and rotate casualty so that he faces outward. Raise casualty and help rotate him outward.
Seat casualty on front rim of hatch; support in this position while No. 2 dismounts. Help seat casualty; dismount to ground in front of Bog's hatch.
Lower trunk into arms of No. 2. Receive and support trunk of wounded man, holding it beneath arms around chest.
Lift legs out of hatch as No. 2 lowers body along slope plate. Lower body along slope plate and support until No. 1 can reach ground and assist.
Dismount. Place casualty in carry position. Place casualty in carry position.
Carry casualty to protected area. Help No. 1 carry to protected area.

c. To evacuate cannoneer.1 Tank commander commands, EVACUATE LOADER. He dismounts to rear deck to act as No. 1. Gunner stays in the turret to act as No. 2. If time permits he traverses the turret until the hatch is near the center of the rear deck.

 No. 1   No. 2 
Take position on rear deck behind turret hatch. Raise casualty as high as possible in hatch opening, holding around chest.
Grasp casualty by hands.  
Raise casualty through hatch and seat on rear edge. Help No. 1 raise casualty by lifting from below.
Hold casualty while No. 2 dismounts to rear deck. Dismount to rear deck.
Pick casualty up in arms; carry to rear and lay along back edge of deck. Help No. 1 pick up casualty and carry to rear of tank; dismount.
Help No. 2 lift trunk of casualty off tank; dismount. Lift upper part of body off tank and support until No. 1 arrives to help.
Lift hips and legs off tank.  
Carry casualty to protected area. Help carry casualty to protected area.

1 Drill applicable in this form only where the casualty can be lifted by his arms, especially in the case of a big man whose shoulders are too wide for the hatch opening when his arms are lowered. In such cases the cannoneer is evacuated through the cupola hatch.

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