Joint research by Nick Morgan, tank enthusiast
from the UK, and Dan Fong, Web Staff
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Sgt. Jim Bates's Classic Movie Camera Work
A selection of 26 of the 1,150 total frames




On March 6, 1945, Sgt. Jim Bates, a First Army Signal Corps photographer attached to the 3AD, shot a now-famous 48 seconds of 16mm footage showing the destruction of a German Mark V Panther tank in the cathedral square of downtown Cologne. The Panther was struck by three 90mm rounds from an M-26 Pershing tank of E Co, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3AD. Minutes before this encounter, the Panther had destroyed a 3AD Sherman tank, killing three of its five crewmen.

Bates was positioned on the mezzanine of a bombed out office building about 100 yards from the Panther as events unfolded. Shot at the standard 24 frames per second with relatively grainy, b&w, 16mm film, the image quality was susceptible to any jarring, hand movement, or subject movement. As a result, a number of frames suffered from blurring or mis-aiming, which is understandable in a combat situation. Bates won a Bronze Star that day for his photography, based primarily on this remarkable movie sequence.

The crew of the Pershing of E/32 AR:

Commander: Sgt Robert Early
Gunner: Clarence Smoyer
Asst. Gunner: John Deriggi
Driver: William McVey
Asst Driver: Homer Davis

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