Veteran of 736th “Canal Defense Light” Battalion turns 92

143560aThe Arizona Daily Courier has posted a human interest piece about a former US tanker named Jesse “Pete” Henson, a veteran of the 736th tank battalion.  The 736th battalion is notable for being one of the units equipped with the Canal Defense Light, a powerful searchlight mounted on an M3 medium tank intended for use in nighttime operations.  The article recounts Henson’s personal history, noting that in 1943 he received orders to the 736th Tank Battalion. Originally based at Camp Rucker, Alabama, Henson’s unit started tank training at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  “We were introduced to these strange machines,” Henson said, describing the Canal Defense Light, a British invention that mounted a 13 million candlepower search light and machine gun turret on an M3 tank. The machine was so odd-looking, Henson said, that the men started calling them “Gizmos.”  “We were top secret,” he said.

Full article here.