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Drunk Tank MBs

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I wish we had some better photos of these.  These three photos were shot in 1949 by  J.R. Eyerman in Shanghai, China (click on the pics to see the Eyerman credit) for Life Magazine.  Interestingly, on this page the credit for the third photo is also, or mistakenly, given to Jack Birns.  Also, according to this page, the third photo captures the last tug to leave Shanghai, with credit to Jack as well. According to the folks at G503, these jeeps were used by the shore patrol “to pick up mostly drunks in and was easy to wash out the puke.”


12 Comments on “Drunk Tank MBs

  1. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    It looks like there are fairly high-ranking officers sitting on the desk of that tugboat, I guess they were the last to leave.
    Love those Jeeps, they could be used by dog catchers, too. Wonder what ever happened to them…

  2. mmdeilers Post author

    You think that’s why they were on the Tug? They were dumped? I guess it wouldn’t be all that surprising. But, still brings tears to my eyes despite my hardened heart!

  3. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    (I’m going to tell myself that right now they’re in somebody’s backyard in Guam, being used as chicken coops. Yeah, that’s it. Now I feel better.)

  4. Brian 58 cj3b

    I have to call to question the location of where the pictures were taken. According to Wikipedia the USS Nacheninga (YTB-520) was station in Pearl Harbor and operated in the 14th Navel district. China was not part of that group. If this tug did make it to China my hat goes off to the guys that took it across the pacific (not a lot of free board). As for the fate of the jeep I think they served many more days before they met there doom. There’s no crane to lift them jeeps off the decks and send them to a watery grave.

  5. mmdeilers Post author

    That’s an interesting point. To me the Nacheninga images seem oddly lumped in with the British Wounded images. Also, the fact they credit two different photographers seems odd as well. Unfortunately, it’s going to take someone with more time than I have to sort through and figure this one out.

    I was thinking there was enough crew to pick the jeeps up and just toss them over the side. I didn’t think about a crane . . .

  6. Bob

    Could the jeeps be traced by the numbers on them? I wonder if these photos were taken when they were hauling the jeeps to a different location, rather than taking them out to dump? They usually did that off carriers and such as they had a flat deck.

  7. kilroy

    It sure would be nice to think, as Steve has chosen to believe, even at this moment they are in someones backyard being pooped on by a bunch of chickens. 🙂
    I have no reason to think they were dumped. Maybe that’s how they got all that “Gold Braid” on board!
    Would they first have been transported to a larger ship and then dumped in deeper water?
    Just throwing out ideas.

  8. Greg O

    I’m inclined to believe what Brian is saying. Every Chinese harbor photo I’ve seen is bustling with commerce and Junk ships. Those drunk tank MB’s look almost new to me. Perhaps the tugboat is taking the MB’s and the brass from one Hawaiian island to another. Whatever the truth is, the photos are really cool.

  9. mmdeilers Post author

    Just to complicate the story further, I discovered this brief history of the YTB-520 ( which includes a picture of it in Shanghai, China, in 1946.

    You’ll note on that page that while the image caption reports the tug was in China, the history section suggests nothing about such a visit.

    To complicate this even further, Herbert Jordan is the one that claims the YTB-520 was in China in 1946. It was Jordan himself that provided that photograph, as he was on the YO-77 with the YTB-520 moored astern. He provides a variety of additional images of the YO-77 and himself here:

    There is a book about the Nacheninga:

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