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M4 Sherman near Palenberg, Germany
Here we see a mid-to-late production M4 Sherman passing through a village near Palenberg, Germany. The M4 is difficult to tell apart from the M4A3, but the details of the engine deck just visible here suggest that this is an M4. Note the HVSS suspension, one-piece nose and extra armour welded over the side of the tank, as well as the M34A gun mount.
Assault Tank M4A3E2 Jumbo
In early 1944, the United States Army decided that they needed an up-armored version of a medium tank for an assault role for the upcoming operations in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO). However, they had rejected previous plans for such a vehicle, and time was short. As the new T26E1 would not be ready in time and previous designs had been totally unsuitable for the task, the decision was made to modify the standard US Army medium tank of the time, the M4A3 Sherman.
The vehicle became the M4A3E2 Assault tank or Sherman Jumbo. With only 254 built, it represented less than 1% of the total build numbers for the M4. However, it’s iconic profile left a lasting image that is probably one the most easily recognized M4 variants.
It should be noted at this point that the name ‘Jumbo’ doesn’t appear in any wartime documentation and is almost certainly a post-war nickname, quite possibly created by a model company.
One of the only two running Jumbos, restored by Jacques Littlefield and now operated by the Collings Foundation – Source: Auctions America
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, Turret roof)
- Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, Transmission area)
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, the bogies are 10 mm, and the tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Small applique armour are placed on the side hull armour over ammunition that gives an extra 25.4 mm.
- Belly armour is 19.5 mm thick, though the tip near the transmission is 38.1 mm thick.
- Hull underside over tracks is 9.5 mm thick.
- A 9.5 mm RHA plate separates the engine compartment from the crew compartment.
- A small patch on the turret front right side is thinner (50.8 mm) than the rest (76.2 mm).
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
#59 Subjugated Shermans: Shermans in Nazi hands
1. This early production M4A1 75 tank has DV ports, and the stubby mantlet. it was captured from the 1st Armored Regiment of the First Armored Division of the US army, in Tunisia in 1943 and is being tested in Germany at Kummersdorf. Note the armor thickness and angle stenciled on the tank, the Germans were giving it an extensive workout during their testing. The tank was named War Daddy II. I think the most interesting part of this photo is the two Germans on the tank. Look at their faces, they look so sad, they were probably really depressed the allies had such a great tank, and they were stuck with the junk they were issued.
Sometimes a tank crew can get spooked and bail out of a functional tank. Or a tank can be left disabled on the battlefield and be repaired by the bad guys. The Germans were so desperate for tanks they happily used any Shermans they captured, and unlike the T-34 they didn’t feel the need to modify the tank in any way. The Germans managed to capture Shermans from the Russians, UK, and Americans. The Japanese never captured an intact Sherman. I don’t think the Italians managed to capture one either.
Depending on the crew quality, little things can cause them to abandon the tank, and it seems to be a universal problem since I’ve read of just about all of the warring nations having crews bail out from fright when the tank had sustained only minor or cosmetic damage. In other cases, the tank takes real damage, like a lost track, an engine problem or a hit that took out an internal fixture, but an experienced crew might stay in the tank. The crew has a duty to destroy the tank before leaving it behind. There is a whole procedure covering how to do it, and what to destroy if you only have a short amount of time, including many methods. The methods range from blowing the tank up with special grenades to just destroying the machine guns, main gun, and radios. This is covered in FM17-67 Crew Drill and Service of the Piece Medium Tank M4 Series.
There are many reasons why a crew might not be able to destroy their tank. If the crew is killed as they bailed out or after, or captured, if they are under fire while they get out, the tank falling into enemy hands isn’t going to be on a soldier’s mind in most cases. In some cases, the green crews could panic and bailout, and not bother even checking the tank over heading for the rear, but this was not a common thing for American tank crews once North Africa was done. I’ve read of many cases of German crews just leaving the tank, hatches all open, without booby traps and walking off when their Panther inevitably broke down or ran out of gas. I’ve read cases of them bailing out after the tank was hit a few times but still technically functional. Unlike for the American and Allied tankers in General, as the war went on, German tanks, like all their troops, declined in quality, and by late 44 Tank crews got very little training in their vehicles.
The Sherman was an automotive masterpiece the Germans could only dream of producing, they were still capable of keeping them running, it was that good. A German tank mechanic would find even the A57 a breath of fresh air in ease of troubleshooting and reliability. They also liked to use the captured Shermans as ARVs, often with the turrets removed. Having a very tough powertrain and a reliable and robust motor is a very nice thing in an Armored Recovery Vehicle, and the Shermans were just that. It must have been terribly frustrating for the Germans to get a Bergepather in place to try and tow a broken down Panther, only to have it break down too!
Now onto the photos, sorry, but the Germans seem to be as bad at photography, at least of captured Shermans, as they are at tank design, so many of the images are small and blurry. The captions have been updated in great extent to the efforts of Roy Chow, who sent in a very nice comment correcting my many mistakes. Thanks again, Roy!
2. An M4A2 75 dry, large hatch Sherman, this was a very late production 75mm tank, near the end of the run. Note the armored patches on the hull, it has the large hatch hull but still had the dry ammo racks. The crew looks pretty pleased with their tank, it was more reliable, got better gas mileage and was more comfortable than the Panzer III or IV that were stuck in before. This tank even has a loaders hatch. 3. Germans looking at a captured Lee they got to crew and ‘probably’ wondering why their nation couldn’t produce a tank as reliable as this one. Though to tell the truth, the main tanks of Germany were still the PIII and IV at that time, and these tanks were decently reliable, though not on par with the M3/M4 series. They were not giant RVs of Death, like the Lee, so not as cool. 4. This M3 Lee is the same one as pictured in image 3. Note the lack of side door, meaning this was a later production Lee tank. Like all things American of WWII origin, the Lee saw lots of production changes to improve the design, and they got put into the production line as long as it didn’t slow the line down. 5. An M3 Lee being tested by the Germans at kummersdorf . This tank has 147 painted on the side of the turret. The next six images are all of M3 Lee 147. 6. Another shot of 147, it appears to have an M3 gun. 7. In this shot, we can see it’s a fairly early Lee, it has the Machine gun portholes in the front hull, and the 37mm gun lacks the stabilizer counterweight. The main gun is an M3, not the earlier M2 though. 8. Another blurry shot of Lee 147 9. Another blurry shot of 147, this time from the side, the Germans seem to be keeping it clean and well maintained. 10. Maybe the best shot of 147, you can make out the lack of counterweight on the 37 ( it looks like another .30 barrel under the 37 when it’s there) 11. Three shots of the same captured M3 Lee, lend-lease tank, in Nazi hands. 12. Cross shape and general layout say this is 147 again, but no way to tell for sure. 13. Here is 147 again, with War Daddy II the M4A1 from the first image in this post, in the testing field at Kummersdorf, the German Army Proving grounds. I’d love to know what all that junk on the front of War Daddy II is. 14. A Soviet M3 Lee lend-lease tank in the hands of the Nazis, who were clearly more than willing to use a tank with a decent gun that was reliable. This tank has 135 on the turret, does this mean 147 could have been a captured Soviet Lee? 15. Nazis marveling over the advanced M3 Lee tank. This was probably the first time they had seen a stabilized 37mm gun (note the machine gun barrel like thing under the 37mm gun). This tank also had a stabilized 75mm M2 gun. The Germans never managed to get a stabilizer in a tank during the war. The star and band on the turret lead me to believe this is a knocked out US tank. 16. The Germans sure did like to take pictures of Shermans at just the right angle to make it really hard to tell what model it was. Thanks, Nazis. Anyway, this tank was photographed a lot and is a Firefly Vc. 17. An M4 tank that the Nazis had been using, knocked out and back in American hands. 18. A Firefly Vc in use by the Nazis, this is the same tank as in image 16. This is a pretty good image and shows the box normally mounted on the rear hull, mounted to the front on this tank, that and the cross placement make spotting it easier. It does not appear to have received any of the add-on armor over the ammo racks on a thin spot in the turret cheek. 19. Same tank as above, this time on the move, only the driver and commander unbuttoned. 20. A Nazi tanker marveling at the superior design of the American periscope on this Firefly Vc. This is the same tank as above. Note the headlight guard has a bit of a dent in it. 21. A Firefly Vc in Nazi hands. This one appears to be a different tank, from all the previous shots, the cross placement is different, the hull storage box is in the right place, and this one has the number six painted in several places the one from Pic 16 does not have. 22. Captured M4A1 with writing on the side, the same tank is in the picture below. This tank is a mid-production small hatch tank. 23. An M4A1 in the hands of the Nazis, with a Nazi flag soiling its front plate, if tanks had souls, this one would be crying out in pain for being subjugated by the Nazis! note the shorty gun mantlet meaning this M4A1 still only had a periscope main gun sight. 24. An M4A3 76w tank captured by the Germans and then knocked out, this shot is actually the last in a series of three, the earlier ones can be found further down. (I plan on fixing this). 25. A Firefly Vc, see the big bulge behind the turret for the radiator, in Nazi hands. It must have bewildered the Germans a tank with an engine so complicated could actually be reliable! Anyway, thanks to reader Roy Chow, we now know this tank probably belonged to 2cnd Canadian Amd Bde, and was one of three captured by the Nazis, painted Yellow, and put back in action before being recaptured by Commonwealth troops. One of the tanks still survives in the Dutch Cavalry Museum in Amersfoort 26. A captured Firefly Vc, in use by the Nazis, note a large number of German crosses, they really didn’t want to get friendly fired . This really appears to be the same tank from Image 16 . 27. A captured Firefly Vc with a pair of Nazis in front of it. This appears to be another shot of the Firefly in image 16. 28. The same old Vc from image 16, you can see the armored box is clearly missing from the rear hull in this shot. 29. our old pal, the Vc Firefly from image 16. 30. A captured M4A1 near a bunch of Nazi horse carts. Yeah, the Germans still depended on horses and horse carts for much of their supply chain. The Nazi was bad at logistics. 31. A shot of a knocked out captured Firefly Ic or Vc, probably a captured Canadian Vc in Holland. 32. AM4A3 76 w tank captured by the Nazis, and then destroyed by the US Army, being inspected by US Army troops 33. A captured Vc Firefly in Nazi hands. The seems to be the same tank as the one in image 21 . This tank is covered in the number six. 34. A knocked out M4A2 large hatch tank, captured by the Nazis from the Soviets. 35. A Vc Firefly in Nazi hands, this one looks like our old pal from image 16 36. Nazi tankers look over the suspension of their Vc Firefly, this is another shot of the Firefly from image 16 37. A captured Vc Firefly with Nazis looking at it. Image 16 strikes again. 38. An Ic Firefly being used as a movie prop 3 9. The Germans sure seem to have a lot of captured Firefly tanks, well, as Roy pointed out, not really, they just took a lot of photos of the same firefly from Image 16. 40. This image has been flipped, you can see the armored plug and commanders hatches on the wrong side on this Vc Firefly. I’m betting it’s the same tank from image 16. 41. This one is either an Ic or Vc Firefly in Nazi hands. I can’t tell on the wheel spacing at this angle. This seems to be the same tank as the one from images 21 and 33. 42. A captured M4A1 75 tank. This is an interesting tank, an M4A1 with an updated hull with the DV ports removed, with three piece diff cover, and a turret with the short mantlet, but also later suspension. 43. An M4 in Nazi use.
44. A late production M4A3 75w and three other Shermans in Nazi hands, the two furthest right appear to be M4A1 75s. Tanks captured during the Battle of the Bulge? (I was super wrong on this caption) 45. A captured and knocked out M4A3 76w with a dead German on the front of the hull. This shot was taken shortly after it was knocked out, this is the same tank as the M4A3 76 in image 24. This tank belonged to the 4th AD before capture and was being used by the Germans in the defense of the town of Aschaffenburg. It was taken out by a US M36 TD. 46. An M4 hull being, modified for use as an ARV, in Nazi use. The crew looks very pleased with itself, and this confidence clearly comes from having an awesome ARV at their disposal. 47. A very bad shot of a captured small hatch M4A1, the same one from pictures 22 and 23 . .48 An M4 captured by the Germans, it looks like they cannibalized it for parts. since the final tranny and final drives are missing. The name of the hotel leads me to believe this was during the Battle of the Bulge. 49. A pair of Nazi tankers on their captured Firefly Vc, this looks like our old friend #16 again. 50. Vc Firefly with lots of extra track on the front, that was in Nazi hands and was recaptured by the Brits. This is reputed to be from the same group discussed in image 25. 51. Several captured Vc Firefly tanks and a Sherman V also captured and in use by the fascists. I’m betting this are also the ones captured from the Canadians Holland like from image 25 and 50 52. In these two shots, it looks like British Soldiers inspect a knocked out, captured M4A2, somewhere in Italy. 53. In these two shots, it looks like British Soldiers inspect a knocked out, captured M4A2, somewhere in Italy. 54. This looks like an M4A3 75w tank that fell into Nazi hands. This was probably another tank captured from Task Force Baum in late March of 45, this was the failed attempt by the 37TB of the 4th AD to get Patton’s son in law out of a POW camp. 55. A knocked out large hatch M4A2 75 dry tank, the Nazis captured from the Soviets. 56. A captured Firefly Vc, it looks like it was freshly knocked out probably in Holland, this being one of the lost Canadian Vc discussed in image 25. 57. This image shows a Sherman that was in Nazi custody back in American hands. The Tank is an M4A3 76w. This is another image of the M4A3 76 knocked out by an M36, just after the dead Nazi was removed and parts began being stripped off. Note the missing muzzle break. You can also see this tank in images 24 and 45
Experience as X-Factor
Sherman tank crews’ last great advantage was in experience, even though Germany had been at war six years before most of the American tankers invaded France. In early August, Adolf Hitler ordered that all new Panthers sent to the West would go to new armored formations rather than depleted divisions. Thus, Germany’s veteran tankers received lighter Mark IVs, while new, inexperienced crews got the better tanks. So whenever Americans faced off against the Panther, they were usually more skilled in the tactics of close combat.
Two Panthers take up a battle line in a farmer’s field near Ravenna, east of Bologna.
Despite their advantages against the Panther, American tankers knew their Shermans were no match for the Wehrmacht’s main battle tank thus, the Sherman’s nickname in Western Europe was the “Death Trap.”
First and foremost that ” death trap” LIE was passed along by Belton Cooper- a nitwit who never actually faced combat but was a rear area supply officer.
The Sherman crew survival rate was higher than the Panzer IV and Panther tank crews( easier to escape)
Also ever here of the battle of Arracourt? US tankers blasted apart 88 german Panzer IVs, StuGs and supposedly superior Panthers for the loss of 25 Shermans. The majority of the tanks on that battle on the Us side were Sherman’s armed with 75mm cannon, some 76.2mm Sherman’s and a few 76.2 km hellcats and M10 tank destroyers with 3″( 76 mm) guns.
While the panthers 75mm HV cannon was potent, late 1944 their armor quality was questionable due to short cuts and manufacturing losses. When the Shermans had proper AP rounds they didnt have to fear the Panther or even the lesser available tiger and king tiger.( a platoon of 75mm armed Sherman’s ganged up on a Tiger II in the village of LeGlaize, Belgium and literally BEAT THE DOG CRAP out , mobility killing it and causing the wounded crew to flee!
There are plenty of after action reports with 75mm Sherman’s mobility killing german Panthers, and 76mm armed ones ” pinning” Panthers at 800-1000m .
Most US and UK and Canadian Sherman’s got ” killed” cause they used poor tactics,often getting AMBUSHED like in the hedgerow areas of Normandy .
Although there were at least a dozen german tank “aces”, when the US/ UK and Russians (Soviets) stopped bullrushing through combat zones with their tanks and actually started using BETTER tactics, German tanks STOPPED being so feared ( Russians used better AP ammo in their lend lease shermans like they did in their T-34s and got more kills, causing the germans to run!)
In fact 3/4 of allied armor kills by the german forces were done wiith anti tank cannon crews, not actual german tanks!
Please stop repeating ” sherman tanks were inferior” fairy tale- the Sherman’s were far more reliable, had better trained crews, better supply lines, and simply OVERRAN the germans ( who throughout the war still used horse drawn wagons like they did in the franco-prussian war to move supplies about!)
Actualy Arracourt is proof of the opposite, despite inexperienced german crews that bungled into the american lines, american tankers regularly had to hit the german tanks 5-6 times before knocking them out. The battle was a disaster for the germans but the survivability alone of their tanks on the battlefield was quite good. I dont get why people get so worked over who had the best tanks, WW2 proved that the war could not be won single-handedly by any one arm of the military, it didnt really matter if you only had slightly better armored vehicles.
All these comparisons are done on the assumption that tanks are engaged exclusively in tank on tank warfare. In that case the higher penetration of German tank guns over the 75mm Sherman is a real advantage. However when reading the actual results of engagements of the Canadian 2nd Armoured brigade against the Mark 4 and Panther tanks of the 12 SS in early June 44, the outcomes were more or less a trade off with no evidence of German tank superiority based on outcomes. Later engagements south of Caen against mainly panthers were the same. When all the advantages and disadvantages of both sets of tanks were factored in, the Germans did not have any real advantage, as the other factors offset the advantage of a more powerful gun (17 pounder Firefly excepted).
If you want to do the comparison on the basis of Infantry support, the main role of Canadian Shermans, the Sherman wins hands down over the Panzers as it had the most powerful high explosive ammo of any tank in Normandy and that is what you need to engage infantry in strong points, buildings etc. and any towed AT or artillery gun, or vehicle that is not a tank. If the Sherman had a higher velocity gun and a weak high explosive round, the allies would have taken much higher infantry casualties and more battles would have ended with the German infantry repulsing the attackers.
The only decent Sherman was the British Firefly, it killed Tigers at a 1,000 yards, Panthers were easy meet for the British 17 Pounder.
According to British historian Sir Max Hastings, “no single Allied failure had more important consequences on the European battlefield than the lack of tanks with adequate punch and protection.” The Sherman, he added, was one of the Allies’ “greatest failures.”
I did a quick Google search and did not find the credentials of a Mark Feener but quite easily found the credentials of Sir Max Hastings – certainly no ‘nitwit’ and Cooper wasn’t either, might want to pay attention to those who actually saw the damage these tanks and crews suffered.
Max Hastings is a journalist, not a military historian, and is widely regarded as being at least 30 years out of date in his work. He is also credited as being the original “Wehraboo” and wildly biased in favour of the Germans. Please pick up works by professional military historians such as Peter Caddick-Adams or John Buckley, who are both professors in their own field. Not journalists.
Belton Coopers book is a personal anecdote not a scholarly work and has been widely discredited due to the huge number of inaccuracies and just plain falsehoods throughout.
The main pourpose of the tank concept is to SUPPORT INFANTRY not engage tanks. Yea they did but most tank battalions left the tank combat to the tank destroyers who with 3 inch guns made easy work of german tanks. People bash the sherman because it was “inferior in the face of german tanks” well they were, only to the big cats though. The 75 sherman could easily take care of the panzer 3s and 4s it came across 80 percent of the time. But in its role its supposed to be in which is an infantry support vehicle it performed very well. German AT crews with the long 88 and the short 88 could easily front penetrate the sherman but as soon as they do they are immediently fired upon by 4 other Sherman’s (American tank battalions consisted of 5 tanks) with 50cals and HE rounds. Yea tell me those guns will survive because they wont. And not to mention 3-4 crew will get out due to easy escape hatches. The only ones who will die would be the crew directly in the way of the penetrating shot. So in conclusion the sherman was NOT a bad tank in the role it was designed for, it may have suffered against panthers and tigers but only because it wasn’t meant to fight them. That’s the m 10s, m 18s, and m 36s, job these TDs could make quick work of hand and his crew if they came across them.
What’s the point of trying to make quick work of Hans and his crew using moronic field tactics like was common for western allied troops. Unfortunately for John, Hans had fought on the eastern front against Ivan two tours of duty before John was eventually hauled into Normandy. John wasn’t a soldier, he was a civilian drafted into the army and got made quick work of himself in most cases. By the end of the Normandy campaign, despite huge overweight in air support, artillery, supply chain and unlimited reserves the allied had a staggering 100% casualty rate across its frontline divisions. Germany equally suffered a staggering loss of life, but with only a single replacement for every fifteen casualties they simply lost a battle of attrition, rather than having been defeated by ability.
Only a team of 5 Sherman’s can outrun and defat a panzer cause 2 can damage but 5 can defeat.
Interestingly enough most American TD’s were M10’s with the 3″ gun, or M18’s with the 76mm gun which fired the same round as the 3″ with similar ballistics (just a separate case. By Arracourt, some 76mm Sherman’s were coming into use, more by the Bulge, including the M4A3 (76mm) HVSS.
76mm Sherman’s were just as capable of taking out Panthers as TD’s, with only the 90mm M36 Gun Motor Carriage being better in the U.S. inventory until the T26E6 Pershing came along.
The big difference was the TD units were more extensively trained to fight tanks.
Ironically, when there were shortages of TD’s some TD units were issued 76mm Sherman’s as replacements. The 76mm Sherman proved to have adequate mobility to hang with the M18 Hellcats, and the same firepower. The Sherman had better protection than the Hellcat, and an armored roof. There was nothing an M10 could do a 76mm Sherman couldn’t either.
The TD’s did an excellent job with what they were given to work with. But ironically, those same men could have been integrated into tank units with 76mm Sherman’s, given similar training, and done the same job.
The German tanks were tough, but there were never enough, their reliability issues kept them out of battles where they were needed, high fuel consumption often meant they retired early before battles were over. The best tank in the world is of no use if it’s not their when you need it.
No, on paper the Sherman was not equal to bigger German tanks. But the honest truth is a properly crewed and handled 76mm Sherman could, and frequently did, deal adequately with Tiger’s or Panther’s. And it was a match or better for Stug’s or MkVI’s that it more typically encountered. And there were plenty of them.
“One reason … George S. Patton … believed his armored corps would beat the Germans was not necessarily the superiority of the Sherman (though underrated in truth) or the M-1, but because American men loved machines, knew how to fix them… A Tiger or Panther might blow apart a Sherman, but not when there were 10 expertly maintained Shermans cruising through France for every unreliable or out-of-commission Panther and Tiger, whose engines and transmissions needed experts to repair or replace.”
The 10 Greatest Tank Battles In Military History
The tank is one of the most resilient and devastating army weapons. To break the deadlock of trench warfare in the western front during the WWI, the concept of tank battle was developed. Britain and France simultaneously and separately developed the first tanks during the WWI. The name ‘tank’ was adopted for the British ‘land ships’ in 1915 to conceal the secrecy of the armored vehicles. In an effort to fool the enemy spies, British army propagated that they had been building ‘mobile water tanks’.
The world saw tanks in battle for the first time on September 15, 1916, when British Army deployed these armored land ships during the Battle of the Somme. Throughout 20 th century, tanks have played a dynamic role for the army and it has seen fierce and devastating action. It is a strong mobile weapon platform with a large caliber rotating cannon capable of preventing enemy vehicles from advancing. It has also got heavy vehicle armor giving tanks to perform superbly during a tactical situation. From the the Battle of the Bulge, in WW II, in which over 2638 tanks and 902 armored fighting vehicles took part, to the 1981 Battle of Dezful during the 8 year long Iran-Iraq war, tanks performed as the most significant offensive weapons around the world.
The Top 10 epic tank battle sagas in military history are shown here.
(1) Battle of Cambrai (November 20, 1917 to December 7, 1917:
The British plan was to infiltrate the German Hindenburg Line. This defensive line was considered impenetrable previously. The British forces enjoyed successes on the first day of the battle. However, on the second day, mechanical problems with the British Mark IV tanks against German infantry defenses and artillery were exposed. 2 British Corps (A military formation that might typically consist of 20,000 to 40,000 soldiers) and 1 German Corps took part in the battle. Gains and losses for the opposing forces were roughly equal, by the end of the battle and the result of the battle was virtually a stalemate situation. The British had 44,000 casualties and the figure for the Germans was 45,000. 179 British tanks were destroyed. Many lessons were learned from the battle, which resulted in improvements to British tank designs in 1918, where they were successfully used in the final offensives of the war.
Image Used: The Germans captured a British Mark IV tank in November 1917
(2) Second Battle of El Alamein during WWII (October 23, 1942 to November 11, 1942):
The Allied forces had total numerical superiority over the Axis forces during this battle in the Western Desert. The Allies also could overcome their quality factor of their equipment with the arrival of Spitfire, 6-pounder anti tank guns and Sherman tanks. The Axis forces lost 30,542 combatants, around 500 tanks, 254 guns and 84 aircraft. The Allies lost 13,560 combatants, 332 to 500 tanks, 111 guns and 97 aircraft. In this battle, the Allied forces achieved the first absolute victory against the Axis forces and the Germans lost any hope of seizing Suez Canal and Egypt. Winston Churchill said that there hadn’t been any allied victory before Alamein and there hadn’t been a defeat after it. This battle ultimately led to the Axis defeat in North Africa.
Image Used: American Sherman tanks moving at speed across the northern Egyptian desert as the Axis forces retreating on November 1, 1942 during the Second Battle of El Alamein
(3) Battle of Raseiniai during WWII (June 23, 1941 to June 27, 1941 :
The Russian tanks were technically superior to their German counterparts. The Russians had over 50 Kliment Voroshilov KV-1 and KV-2 tanks which kept advancing. But the Germans systematically overpowered the Soviet tanks by means of air support from the Lutfwaffe. The Russian aircraft could not effectively counter the German Luftwaffe (air force) aircraft and the German Air fleet severely destroyed Soviet tanks and vehicles. The Germans suffered little damages while Soviet Union lost 704 tanks in the battle. This bank demonstrated the importance of air support for tanks in a battle.
Image Used: A single KV-2 heavy tank managed to cut off the German 6 th Panzer Division for one day during the Battle of Raseiniai
(4) Battle of the Valley of Tears during the Yom Kippur War (October 6, 1973 to October 9, 1973), around 1436 tanks took part :
Syria deployed 1 infantry division with around 500 tanks and vehicles while the Israel engaged 1 armored brigade with around 100 tanks. The Syrian forces were backed up by 900 more tanks and the total Syrian tank participation in the battle is estimated to be 1260. 400 of the Syrian tanks were T-62s, the most modern Soviet tanks during that time. The Syrian forces started the offensive and 100 aircraft also took part in a Syrian airstrike. Israeli forces initially managed to deploy only 176 tanks. Though the Syrians gained much ground during the first offensive of the battle, they failed to move their tanks across the Israeli anti-tank ditches. The Syrian war planners expected an Israeli reinforcement after at least 1 day. However, Israeli forces received reinforcement within just 15 hours after the battle started. The Israeli Air Force also took part in action. The Syrian forces withdrew on the Fourth day. The Israeli forces lost 60-80 tanks while the Syrian forces lost total over 500 vehicles including 260 to 300 tanks. Poor defensive tactics of the Syrian forces, IAF (Israeli Air Force) superiority and also an Israeli threat of a nuclear strike on Syria were pointed out by different analysts to be the causes of the Syrian defeat.
Image Used: A destroyed Syrian T-55 tank at Nafakh on the Golan Heights during the Battle of the Valley of Tears in October 1973
(5) Battle of Brody during WWII (June 23, 1941 to June 30, 1941), 4250 tanks took part:
Though Red Army inflicted significant damages on the German forces, the German forces outmaneuvered the Soviets and caused 4 times more tank damages. German Air Supremacy, poor Soviet military logistics and lack of proper chain of command resulted in a victory for German armed forces. German forces lost around 200 tanks while the Red Army lost around 800 tanks, 201 of which were destroyed by German Luftwaffe airstrikes. Numerical superiority of the Soviet T-34 tanks could not overcome the German firepower and Axis forces pressed forward. It was one of the most intense tank battles during the first phase of ‘Operation Barbarossa’, code name for Hitler’s invasion of Soviet Union.
Image Used: German forces advancing during the Battle of Brody in June 1941
Video Used: A US newsreel film about the Red Army’s resistance against Nazi forces in 1941.
(6) Battle of Hannut during WWII (May 12, 1940 to May 14, 1940), 1274 tanks and armored vehicles took part:
20,800 combatants and 600 Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles were deployed by the Allied forces. 25,927 personnel, 618 tanks, 108 artillery pieces and 1,252 aircraft were deployed by the Nazi German forces. Though the battle was almost a stalemate, the French forces achieved some tactical successes. 121 of the Allied tanks were destroyed or damaged. 29 of the German tanks were destroyed and 111 more were damaged in the battle. German forces could not achieve their target of neutralizing the threat of the French First Army. It was one of the few early Allied success against German armour. It was at this battle that the future General and French President De Gaulle came to prominence.
Image Used: Two destroyed French tanks, SOMUA S35s are being inspected by the Nazi German soldiers.
(7) Operation Goodwood during WWII (July 18, 1944 to July 20, 1944):
The British forces advanced 7 miles to the eastern part of the city and the Germans prevented a total breakthrough. The British had 3,474 casualties and lost 314 tanks. The Germans had an unknown number of casualties, but over 2,500 German soldiers were captured and they had lost 75 to 100 tanks in the battle.
Image Used: British infantry carried by M4 Sherman and one modified British version of Sherman, Sherman Firefly tanks during Operation Goodwood on July 18, 1944
(8) ‘Battle of 73 Easting’ during the Gulf War (February 26, 1991 to February 27, 1991):
The US armored forces attacked and severely destroyed the Iraqi forces. The coalition forces lost 1 combatant with 12 more wounded and lost a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. 57 more coalition soldiers were wounded due to friendly fire (an unintended attack by allied forces while attempting to attack the enemy). Iraqi forces had 600 to 1000 casualties and lost 85 tanks, 30 wheeled vehicles, 40 AFVs and more than 2 artillery batteries.
Image Used: A destroyed Type 69 Chinese tank used by Iraqi forces during the Battle of 73 Easting on February 28, 1991
(9) Battle of Chawinda during the Indo-Pakistani War (September 14, 1965 and September 18, 1965 to September 19, 1965).
Indian army planned to seize the Grand Trunk Road around Wazirabad in Punjab, Pakistan and the Sialkot-Pasrur railway in an effort to cut off the Pakistani forces fighting in the Kashmir Border region. The Pakistani forces received quick reinforcements from Kashmir and situation improved for them. The battle took place near Phillora (near Sialkot) in Punjab, Pakistan. The fighting intensified and the Pakistani forces at Phillora retreated. The advancing Indian forces were stopped at Chawinda. United Nations interfered to end hostilities on September 22, 1965. Pakistan lost 44 tanks and India lost 120 tanks. However, India claims that they lost 29 tanks in the battle.
After the UN mediated an unconditional ceasefire, India held about 200 square miles or 518 square kilometers of Pakistani Territory in Sialkot sector and Pakistan held up to 1,600 square miles of Indian Territory (of which 1,300 square miles was desert). An Australian news media ‘The Australian’ mentioned Pakistan as the victorious side in this battle, although this is disputed..
Image Used: Tanks of Indian Army on the move during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War
(10) Battle of Prokhorovka during the WWII Battle of Kursk (July 12, 1943):
After intense fighting, the outcome of the battle was not conclusive. It was considered to be a tactical victory for the Germans, but not an operational victory. The Germans had 842 casualties and lost 43 Armored Fighting Vehicles and tanks. The Soviets had 7,607 casualties and lost 500 to 550 Armored Fighting Vehicles and tanks. The Soviets claimed a victory as after this battle Hitler called off the Eastern offensive on the Kursk salient to concentrate attacks on the Western Front. The Soviets prevailed despite heavy losses in this period of WWII and the tide was beginning to turn away from the Nazi German forces. After Kursk they were always on the defensive.
Image Used: German Panzer IV tank and Sdkfz 251 halftrack on the move during the Battle of Prokhorovka in July 1943
The idea of fitting a 17-pounder gun into a Sherman tank had initially been rejected by the Ministry of Supply's Tank Decision Board. Although the British Army had made extensive use of the American-built Sherman tank, it was intended that a new generation of British tanks would replace it in the anti-tank role. First, there was the Cromwell tank, which was expected to use the Vickers high velocity 75 mm gun this gun would have had superior anti-tank performance to the US 75 mm and 76 mm guns that were mounted in the Sherman. The second was the A30 Challenger, which was based on the Cromwell but with the even more powerful 17-pounder gun.  These two tanks—and their successors, the Comet and the Centurion, which were already on the drawing board—were to replace the Sherman in British service, and so the prospect of diverting resources to mount the 17-pounder on the Sherman seemed undesirable.  [ page needed ]
Nonetheless, several unofficial attempts were made to improve the firepower of the Sherman. The earliest can be credited to Major George Brighty of the Royal Tank Regiment while he was at Lulworth Armoured Fighting School in early 1943. Despite the A30 Challenger undergoing initial trials at Lulworth, Brighty was convinced that the Sherman was a better mount for the 17-pounder. However, the turret of the Sherman was too small to allow for the very long recoil of the gun. In a radical adjustment, Brighty removed the recoil system and locked the gun in place, thus making the entire tank absorb the recoil, but this was a far from ideal situation and there was no telling how long the tank would have been able to handle such a set-up. 
Around June 1943, a colleague of Brighty, Lieutenant Colonel George Witheridge of the Royal Tank Regiment, arrived at Lulworth. A veteran of the North Africa campaign, Witheridge had experienced first-hand the one-sided battles between British tanks armed with 2-pounder guns against Rommel's formidable tanks and anti-tank guns. During the Battle of Gazala in mid-1942, Witheridge had been blown out of his (US supplied) M3 Grant medium tank, and though he recovered from his wounds, he was declared unfit to return to combat duty. In January 1943, he was posted to Fort Knox in the United States for six months to advise on gunnery, where he was "sold" on the Sherman tanks.  While at Lulworth, Witheridge inspected the A30 Challenger, and "joined in the chorus of complaints" about the tank. Upon looking up Brighty and learning of his attempts to use the Sherman, Witheridge lent his assistance.  He advised Brighty on methods to solve the recoil issue.
Not long after, Witheridge and Brighty received a notice from the Department of Tank Design (DTD) to cease their efforts. Unwilling to abandon the project, Witheridge, using his connections with such influential people as Major General Raymond Briggs, former General Officer Commanding the 1st Armoured Division in North Africa and now director of the Royal Armoured Corps, and successfully lobbied Claude Gibb, Director-General of Weapons and Instruments Production at the Ministry of Supply, to make it an official ministry project. In doing so, the endeavour was taken out of the hands of the highly enthusiastic and devoted amateurs at Lulworth who had initiated it and given to professional tank developers.  
It was W.G.K. Kilbourn, a Vickers engineer working for the DTD at the time, who transformed their idea into the reality of the prototype of the tank that would serve the British forces from the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 onwards. The first thing Kilbourn had to fix was the lack of a workable recoil system for the 17-pounder. The 17-pounder travelled 40 in (1.0 m) back as it absorbed the recoil of the blast. This was too long for the Sherman's turret.  Kilbourn solved this problem by redesigning the recoil system completely rather than modifying it. The recoil cylinders were shortened and placed on both sides of the gun to take advantage of the width of the turret.
The gun breech itself was also rotated 90 degrees to allow loading from the left [note 1] rather than from on top.  The radio, normally mounted in the back of the turret in British tanks, had to be moved an armoured box (a "bustle") was attached to the back of the turret to house it, with access through a large hole cut through the turret.
The next problem encountered by Kilbourn was that the gun cradle, the metal block on which the gun sat, had to be shortened to allow the gun to fit into the Firefly, and thus the gun itself was not very stable. Kilbourn had a new barrel designed for the 17-pounder that had a longer untapered section at the base, which helped solve the stability problem. A new mantlet was designed to house this gun and accept the modified cradle. The Firefly had no armour or mobility advantages over the normal Sherman tank beyond the additional 13 mm of protection added to its mantlet. The modifications were extensive enough that 17-pounders intended for the Firefly had to be factory-built specifically for it.  
Kilbourn had to deal with other problems. On the standard Sherman tank, there was a single hatch in the turret through which the commander, gunner and loader entered and left the tank. However, the 17-pounder's larger breech and recoil system made it significantly more difficult for the loader to exit quickly if the tank was hit a new hatch was cut into the top of the turret over the gunner's position to resolve this.  The final major change was the elimination of the hull gunner in favour of space for more 17-pounder ammunition, which was significantly longer than the original 75 mm.
By October and November 1943, enthusiasm began to grow for the project. The 21st Army Group was informed of the new tank in October 1943. [ citation needed ] Even before final testing had taken place in February 1944, an order for 2,100 Sherman tanks armed with 17-pounder guns was placed, as the Challenger programme was suffering constant delays and it was realised that few would be ready for Normandy. Even worse, it was discovered that the Cromwell did not have a turret ring wide enough to take the new High Velocity 75mm gun (50 calibres long), so it would have to be armed with the general purpose Ordnance QF 75 mm. This left the Firefly as the only tank available with firepower superior to the QF 75 mm gun in the British Army's arsenal, earning it the "highest priority" from Winston Churchill. 
The nickname "Firefly" was adopted due to the bright muzzle flash of the main gun.  It was sometimes used at unit level (brigade/regiment) war diaries from March 1944, along with "Mayfly". During the war, Shermans with 17-pounder guns were usually known as "1C", "1C Hybrid", or "VC", depending on the basic mark of the vehicle. In British nomenclature, a "C" at the end of the Roman numeral indicated a tank equipped with the 17-pounder. [note 2]
The name "Firefly" in period sources often refers to any vehicle with a 17-pounder gun, often the 17pdr SP Achilles M10C variant of the M10 tank destroyer. [ citation needed ]
The main armament of the Sherman Firefly was the Ordnance Quick-Firing 17-pounder. Designed as the successor to the British QF 6-pounder, the 17-pounder was the most powerful British tank gun of the war, and one of the most powerful of any nationality, being able to penetrate more armour than the 8.8 cm KwK 36 fitted to the German Tiger I.The Firefly 17-pounder was theoretically able to penetrate some 163 mm of armour at 500 m (550 yd) and 150 mm at 1,000 m (1,100 yd) using standard armour piercing, capped, ballistic capped (APCBC) ammunition. Armour piercing, discarding sabot (APDS) ammunition could penetrate some 256 mm of armour at 500 m and 233 mm at 1,000 m, which on paper could defeat the armour of almost every German armoured fighting vehicle at any likely range.  However, war production APDS rounds lacked accuracy, and the 50 mm penetrator was less destructive after it had penetrated enemy tank armour than the 76.2 mm APCBC shell. APDS ammunition was rare until the post-war period. While the Sherman Firefly was capable of carrying 77 rounds of ammunition, design features of the tank meant only 23 rounds were easily and readily available when the tank was in action. 
Though the 17-pounder had superior anti-tank capabilities, it lacked an effective HE round and was thus inferior to the standard Sherman 75mm gun against soft targets, such as infantry, buildings and lightly armoured vehicles. As the war in Europe neared its close, the Allies found themselves encountering these more often than heavy German tanks. Allied tank units therefore typically refused to completely switch to Fireflies. A good HE shell for the gun only became available in late 1944, and even then was not as potent as the standard Sherman 75 mm HE shell. 
Another problem was that the powerful blast from the 17-pounder gun kicked up large amounts of dirt as well as smoke, making it difficult for the gunner to observe the fall of shot (and forcing him to rely on the commander to observe it and to order corrections) and revealing the position of the tank (forcing the Firefly to move every few shots). Furthermore, the recoil and muzzle blast could be severely jarring to Firefly crews, and the muzzle blast frequently caused night blindness. The latter [ clarification needed ] was a problem common to any tank armed with a high velocity gun, including the Panther and Tiger I. The cramped turret meant that loading the large shell was difficult, so the Firefly had a slower rate of fire than a standard M4 Sherman.  Since the Firefly was a stopgap, these problems were never eliminated, as it was supposed to be retired with the introduction of the new British tank designs such as the Comet and later Centurion.
The Firefly's secondary armament was the standard Browning .30 caliber (7.62 mm) coaxial machine gun in the turret, the hull-mounted machine gun being removed to increase ammunition storage for the main gun. A top-mounted Browning M2 .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine gun was also attached, though many crews removed it, due to its awkward mounting and position near the commander, which limited a full 360-degree view when the hatch was open.
In 1945, some British Fireflies were fitted with a rail on either side of the turret for two "60 lb" high-explosive 3-inch rockets. Called "Sherman Tulips", these were used at the Rhine Crossing by the 1st Coldstream Guards. The rockets, accurate when fired from aircraft, were less accurate when fired from a stationary platform, such as a tank, as they had little initial slipstream over the fins. The RP-3 was only effective when its 60-pound warhead hit the target. 
Three different variants of Sherman Firefly served during the Second World War, each based on a different variant of the M4 Sherman. The Firefly conversion was carried out on Sherman I (M4), Sherman I Hybrid (M4 Composite) and Sherman V (M4A4) tanks. Some sources state that several Sherman IIs (M4A1) were converted and used in action, but photos allegedly showing these conversions are in fact views of the front half of Sherman I Hybrid Fireflies. [ citation needed ] To complicate matters, a very small number of Canadian licence-built Sherman IIs (M4A1), the Grizzly, were converted to Fireflies in Canada and used for training, but none saw action. The majority of Shermans converted were the Sherman V/M4A4 model, of which the British received about 7,200. The Sherman VC and IC variants are easily distinguished by their lower hulls the VC having a lengthened hull, and a larger gaps between the suspension units. They employed the three-piece bolted transmission housing. The Sherman IC usually sported the cast transmission housing. The Hybrid can be distinguished by its upper hull, which is cast and gives it a distinctive curved look in comparison to the more boxy hull of a typical Sherman. [ original research? ]
Production of the Firefly started in January 1944 and, by 31 May, some 342 Sherman Fireflies had been delivered to Montgomery's 21st Army Group for the D-Day landings.  As a result, British tank troops were composed of three standard Shermans and one Firefly. The same distribution occurred in Cromwell units, but this caused logistical problems, as each Cromwell troop then needed to be supplied with parts for two different tanks. The Firefly was also slower than the Cromwell. Churchill units received no Fireflies, and as a result often had to rely on any attached M10 or M10 Achilles units to provide increased firepower to deal with tanks their own guns could not eliminate. 
Production was limited by the availability of suitable tanks, with the phasing out of 75 mm Sherman production. To make up numbers, Sherman I and Sherman I Hybrids were also converted.  From D-Day in June to the end of the Battle of Normandy in late August, almost 400 Sherman Fireflies were converted, more than sufficient to replace any permanent tank losses during the battle.  In late 1944, with the creation of an effective high-explosive shell for the 17-pounder gun, British units started to receive two Fireflies per troop.  By February 1945, some 2,000 Sherman Fireflies had been built and British, Commonwealth and Polish armoured units were equipped with a 50/50 mix of 75 mm and 17-pounder-armed Shermans.
In the spring of 1945, production of the Firefly was scaled down, with the last tank being delivered in May 1945. This was the result of several factors, from superior home-grown designs like the Comet and Centurion coming into service to replace the Firefly, to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany, and the inferior design of Japan's tanks, which it seemed would be the next opponents the British would have to face after the fall of Germany. 
Overall production of the Sherman Firefly reached some 2,100 – 2,200 tanks exact numbers are hard to determine as documents give contradictory totals.  Jane's World War II Tanks and Fighting Vehicles gives a production of 1783 vehicles in 1944 and 563 in 1945, for a total of 2,346.  Sherman Firefly gives a number of 2002 conversions made between January 1944 and February 1945  or a total of 2,139 conversions. 
The earliest Firefly tanks were in North Africa but new Fireflies were introduced to armoured brigades [note 3] and divisions in the 21st Army Group in 1944, just in time for the Normandy landings. The timing was fortunate as Allied intelligence had begun to realise in early 1944 through statistical analysis that the Germans were fielding a much larger number of more formidable tanks (such as the Panther) than had been anticipated. This information was slow to reach Allied military planners, who had mistakenly assumed the Panther, like the Tiger, would be a rare heavy tank with a limited production run, so the number of Panthers deployed came as a surprise to Allied formation commanders and tank crews forced to engage them with guns that could not penetrate the frontal armour except at short range. 
Ken Tout, who served as a tank gunner and tank commander in the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry in Normandy in 1944, described the effect of mounting a 17-pounder in the Sherman:
The Firefly tank is an ordinary Sherman but, in order to accommodate the immense breech of the 17-pounder and to store its massive shells, the co-driver has been eliminated and his little den has been used as storage space. . The flash is so brilliant that both gunner and commander need to blink at the moment of firing. Otherwise they will be blinded for so long that they will not see the shot hit the target. The muzzle flash spurts out so much flame that, after a shot or two, the hedge or undergrowth in front of the tank is likely to start burning. When moving, the gun's overlap in front or, if traversed, to the side is so long that driver, gunner and commander have to be constantly alert to avoid wrapping the barrel around some apparently distant tree, defenceless lamp-post or inoffensive house. 
Panthers and Tigers accounted for only 30% of the 2,300 German tanks deployed in Normandy the rest being Panzer IVs, Sturmgeschütz III tank destroyers, and other tanks that the 75 mm gun Shermans were able to effectively handle. However, the importance of Caen and Montgomery's operations, which pinned German armoured forces in front of the British positions so the American units could break out to the west, meant that British and Commonwealth units had to face over 70% of all German armour deployed during the Battle of Normandy, as well as over half of the elite, well-equipped Waffen-SS Panzer units. As a result, the Sherman Firefly was perhaps the most valued tank by British and Commonwealth commanders, as it was the only tank in the British Army able to reliably penetrate the frontal armour of Panthers and Tigers at the standard combat ranges in Normandy. 
This fact did not go unnoticed by the Germans, who realised that these long-barrel Shermans posed a much greater threat to their heavy tanks than the normal Shermans, and German tank crews and anti-tank gun crews were instructed to eliminate Fireflies first. [ citation needed ] Similarly, the Firefly crews realised that the distinctive long barrel of their 17-pounder gun made their Fireflies stand out from standard Shermans, so they attempted to disguise their tanks to reduce the likelihood of being targeted. [ citation needed ] Some crews had the front half of the olive drab gun barrel painted white on the bottom, or white with dark green on top, to give the illusion of a shorter gun barrel. Another suggestion was for a shorter wooden dummy gun to be mounted on the rear of the turret and point forward however, this tactic does not appear to have been used in combat. 
Despite being a high priority target, Fireflies appear to have had a statistically lower chance of being knocked out than standard Shermans, probably due more to how they were employed than to the actual effectiveness of the attempted camouflaging of the long barrel.  Given the high value placed on Fireflies, a common tactic was for commanders to reconnoitre the battlefield before a battle, to look for good overwatch positions. During the battle, Fireflies would stay behind in those positions and cover the ordinary Shermans as they pushed forward, eliminating any enemy tanks that revealed themselves when they opened fire on the advancing Shermans, and moving forward only when the standard Shermans had secured the area or when the Fireflies could no longer cover them. Similarly, when on the move, troop commanders tended to position Fireflies in the rear to reduce the chance of their being knocked out. However, given the relatively unpredictable nature of battle, this setup was not always practical or possible, and many times, Fireflies were forced to engage enemies in the open, where they could be identified.
Despite this, the Firefly's increased firepower was much valued, and during many engagements, the Firefly proved its worth, knocking out Tigers and Panthers at long range, as well as less formidable tanks like the Panzer IVs and StuGs tank destroyers.
One example of this increased firepower was displayed by Lt. G. K. Henry's Firefly during the defence of Norrey-en-Bessin on 9 June against an attack by the 3rd Company of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment of the 12th SS Panzer Division. Determined to capture the town in preparation for a larger offensive to drive the British and Canadians back into the sea, Kurt Meyer ordered 12 Panthers of the 3rd Company and infantry to attack Norrey and drive the Canadians out of the town. The attack got under way at 1300 hours, with the Panthers racing towards the town at full speed, stopping only to fire their guns. However, they quickly outran their infantry support, which was forced to ground by Allied artillery fire. Within 1,000 m (1,100 yd) of the town, nine standard Shermans of the Canadian 1st Hussars opened fire into the advancing Panthers' flanks. Lt. Henry's gunner, Trooper A. Chapman, waited until the Panthers "lined up like ducks in a row" and quickly knocked out five Panthers with just six rounds. The attack was repulsed with the loss of seven of the 12 Panthers. 
A similar example occurred on 14 June, during Operation Perch. Sgt. Harris of the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards, along with three standard Shermans, set up defensive positions along with the infantry after successfully driving out the Germans from the village of Lingèvres, near Tilly-sur-Seulles, France. Looking through his binoculars, Sgt. Harris spotted two Panthers advancing from the east. He opened fire at a range of 800 metres (870 yd), knocking out the lead Panther with his first shot, and the other with his second. Relocating to a well-concealed flanking position on the other side of the town, he spotted another three Panthers approaching from the west. He and his gunner, Trooper Mackillop, eliminated them with just three rounds. 
In perhaps their most famous action, British and Canadian Fireflies defeated the heavy armour of a German counterattack at Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil during Operation Totalize on 8 August 1944, resulting in the destruction of five Tiger tanks and the death of the attack's leader, the noted German tank commander Michael Wittmann. The battle involved Fireflies from A Squadron, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry, 33rd Armoured Brigade A Squadron, the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and B Squadron, The 144th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps, 33rd Armoured Brigade. They ambushed a group of seven Tiger tanks from the 3rd Company and HQ Company, 101st SS Heavy Tank Battalion supported by Panzer IV tanks and StuG IV assault guns.      [ page needed ] The tanks of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry reached the French village of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil on the morning of 8 August 1944.   [ page needed ]  [ page needed ] While B Squadron stayed around the village, A and C Squadrons moved further south into a wood called Delle de la Roque.  C Squadron positioned themselves on the east side of the woods and the under-strength A Squadron in the southern portion with No. 3 Troop on the western edge of the wood.    From this position, they overlooked a large open section of ground and were able to watch as German tanks advanced up Route Nationale 158 from the town of Cintheaux. They held their fire until the German tanks were well within range. Ekins, the gunner of Sergeant Gordon's Sherman Firefly (Velikye Luki – A Squadron's tanks were named after towns in the Soviet Union) - had yet to fire his gun in action.  With the Tigers in range a 12-minute battle commenced that saw Ekins destroy all three Tigers that No. 3 Troop could see.   A short time later, the main German counterattack was made in the direction of C Squadron. A Squadron (less Sgt Gordon who had been wounded and had already bailed out of the Firefly) moved over to support them and in the resulting combat, Ekins destroyed a Panzer IV before his tank was hit and the crew were forced to bail out. 
Although the Normandy campaign had priority, Fireflies also served with distinction in British, Commonwealth and Polish units in the Italian campaign. British units in Italy also used the Sherman with the US 76 mm gun M1.
World War PhotosShermans moving thru streets of Aachen 1944 Remote controlled T10 mine exploder, July 1944 M4A1 and dummy M4 Sherman Crab of the 8th Armoured Brigade in Kevelaer March 1945
2nd Armored Division (“Hell on Wheels”) Shermans column Fisenne Belgium, Bulge 21 January 1945 2nd AD Sherman fires on Nieuwstadt Holland 29 September 1944 Destroyed M4 in Borgo Sabotino, Italy May 1944 3 Sherman tank of British Army, Caen Normandy Summer 1944
Destroyed M4 in Borgo Sabotino, Italy May 1944 2 Remote controlled T10 mine exploder, July 1944 2 70th Tank Battalion Flame Throwing M4A1(76)W Sherman in action, 1944 U.S. M4s ready to move against trapped German infantry near Gelin, Belgium 1944
Sherman named “Liberty” during maneuvers in England 1944 M4A1(76) on railroad flat cars in transit to the front Holland 1944 3rd Army M4 Sherman tank in Metz 18 November 1944 M4 with hedgerow cutter in the front passes trukload of German prisoners in Normandy
M4 painted white, Belgium January 1945 Destroyed M4A1 in Fremifontaine, France 26 Ocober 1944. Registration number: 3067017 Crew atop White M4 at Rundstedt’s Salient Battle of the Bulge Destroyed M4 in Borgo Sabotino, Italy May 1944
M4A3 of the 774th Tank Battalion, 3rd AD passing a knocked-out German PzKpfw V Panther Sherman tank “Defiance” with bulldozer blade ETO 1944 Sandbagged M4 tank with hedgerow cutter passing Flak 88 Normandy Sherman recovering Wehramcht truck, Germany 29 March 1945
Up-armored M4A1 passing destroyed Panzer IV, Remagen 1945 Sherman tank of 3rd Armored Division (“Spearhead”) fighting in Nuremberg 19 April 1945 U.S. troops with M4 Composite training for D-Day Invasion Flame throwing M4A1(76)W blasts haystack in Belgium 1944
British M4 of the 79th Armoured Division with Jeffries plough 26 April 1944 Crew members perform maintenance on the track of a M4 Sherman, Germany 1945 British Sherman III of the 26th Armoured Brigade Italy 1944 British Sherman IC Firefly Putanges, France 20 August 1944
M4 Belle of Little Rock of 755th Tank Battalion Italy 1944 Canadian Sherman Firefly Destroyed British M4 italy U.S. tanker performing maintenance on a M4A1(76) Sherman tank, 1944
M4 of the 37th Tank Battalion. 4th AD near Chateau Salinas France 26 September 1944 Shermans of 12e regiment de chasseurs d’Afrique (RCA) in concentration after coming ashore in Normandy August 1944 British Sherman of the 11th Armoured Division in Deurne Belgium 26 September 1944 Sherman tank of the 755th Tank Battalion mine damage Italy 1944
Tank M4 in Holland 1944 2 M4 Sherman and M10 Wolverine 1944 3rd AD medic treats wounded under fire Korbach Germany 5 March 1945 Troops advance under cover of a Sherman tank, Metz September 1944
M4 of the 14th Armored Division France February 1945 Troops on M4 watch artillery blast German position France 1944 Shermans of the 81st Tank Battalion, 5th Armored Division 1944 M4 (105) of the 3rd Armored Division, indirect fire mission Les Rouges Eaux France
British Sherman Crab 24 November 1944 M4 tanks and other equipment loaded in a LCT ready for the invasion of France, June 1944 Gas Masked tank crew training in M4 1942 Soldiers examine a M4 tank after it flipped. 2nd AD Canisy France July 1944
A well hidden British Firefly, Gangelt 1 January 1945 Firefly IC Hybrid of the 11th Armoured Division in Gemert, Holland 26 September 1944 M4 Sherman Bulldozer tank and overturned trucks in Merode Germany 44th Tank Battalion M4 Composite (Hybrid) named “Bloodthirsty” at depot in Manila 1945
M4 and U.S. troops pass fallen Japanese soldier during advance on Leyte M4A2 “Fire Ball” of the 4th Tank Battalion Saipan M4A1 enter through the historic gate of Fort Santiago in Manila M4 named Lucky of 5th Marines Tank Battalion Iwo jima
Shermans M4A2 with logs of 6th Tank Battalion Okinawa M4A3 named “Cairo” of 4th Tank Battalion on Iwo Jima M4 Sherman on Iwo Jima February 1945 US and Chinese manned Shermans on the Burma 1945
USMC M4 of 4th Tank Battalion with improvised flail M4 of 6th Tank Battalion USMC with extra hull side armor skirts Okinawa Shermans during Battle of Kwajalein Shermans M4A3 of A Company, 6th Tank Battalion Okinawa
Crew atop M4A2 of 1st Tank Battalion on Okinawa Chinese M4 Burma February 1945 Burning M4A1 hybrid Saipan Troops use M4A1 to drill Hill at Pacific base 1944
USMC M4 of 4th Tank Battalion with improvised flail 2 Tribune artist Gary Sheahan sketches M4A1 tank crew in New Guinea 1944 Platoon Sergeant Clarence Charleston atop M4A1 Cape Gloucester 1944 Shermans in action, Naha Okinawa 27 May 1945
Sherman Composites (Hybrid) flame thrower in action Okinawa June 1945 M4 Sherman and M3 Lee in Burma M4A3E8(75)W HVSS lined up at depot near Manila 1945 Marine cleaning the 75mm gun of his M4, Cape Gloucester 1944
Field modified Marine M4A3 named “Davy Jones” of the 5th Tank Battalion, Iwo Jima February 23, 1945 Six LSTs including USS LST-221, USS LST-456 and USS LST-452 loading men and equipment during a practice landing near Lae, New Guinea 10 April 1944. M4A1 in the foreground M4 Dozer ” of 4th Marines Tank Company pushing a destroyed Japanese tank Marine Platoon Sergeant Clarence Charleston in turret of M4 on Cape Gloucester
M4 named “Catalina Kid” of Company C, 745th Tank Battalion drives through the entrance of the Aachen-Rothe Erde railroad station during the fighting around the city viaduct on October 20, 1944 M4 of Company C, 741st Tank Battalion burns at the intersection of Karl Heine Str. and Zschochersche Str. in Leipzig Germany, 18 April 1945 Marine tank M4A2 ” Guam Marines following tank M4A1 ” from the beach on New Britain toward the Cape Gloucester airfield 1944
4th Marines M4A2 covers troops attacking pillbox on Guam Marines sdvance behind Flame Throwing M4A2 on Okinawa Marines and 1st Tank Battalion M4 advancing on Cape Gloucester 1944 Marine M4 tank crew rests after Battle in Agana Guam
Marines advance on Peleliu air strip under cover of M4 Marines follow M4A1 Jungle Cape Gloucester Shermans III of 8th Troop, B Squadron, 20th Armored Regiment of the 4th New Zealand Brigade outside their billets on the Via Cicerone in Trieste May 1945 French M4A2 “Lutzen” of 2e Compagnie, 501e RCC in combat on the junction Boulevard Saint Michel – Place de la Sorbonne, Paris 25 August 1944
Inhabitants of Tacloban Leyte chatting with American soldiers after being freed from Japanese occupation while M4 Sherman tanks of 1st Cavalry Division prepare to follow the retreating enemy October 24, 1944 Marine M4A2 Sherman of the 3rd Tank Battalion on Iwo Jima beach M4A3 (75) of the 1st Marine Battalion on Okinawa with additional track armour Marine points to hits scored on M4 tank on Cape Gloucester 1944
M4 (composite hull) of the 6th Tank Battalion evacuates a casualty from the 29th Marines during the fighting near Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa Grinning 29th Division Marines riding atop M4 on Okinawa M4A2 and Sherman with dozer of the 4th Marines Tank Company
Sherman was most widely used medium tank by the United States and Western Allies in World War II.
M4 was a reliable tank, manufactured for the war in large quantities. When sherman was introduced to the battle in the autumn of 1942, Sherman dealt perfectly with the German tanks of that period. The situation deteriorated when, as the war progressed, Shermans had to fight with heavier German tanks like Tigers and Panthers, which had a significant advantage over them. The basic 75 mm gun mounted on the early versions of Shermans, had no chance to penetrate the front armour of these models of German tanks. Introduction of M1 cal. 76 mm and the anti-tank projectiles M62 and M79 have largely eliminated the problem – these projectiles penetrated the Tiger’s front armour effortlessly from 750-1000 metres. After the M93 projectile were introduced, the problem disappeared completely – they could have penetrated the enemy’s armor from a distance of up to 2500 meters. Firefly version of the M4 had no problems with penetrate of German tank armour, armed with an excellent 17-pdr gun, used by British and Canadian armies, where they accounted for about a quarter of all Shermans in the last year of the war.
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121 thoughts on &ldquo The Sherman Tank Site: The Place For All Things Sherman Tank. &rdquo
I am the Squadron Commander for the Sons Of American Legion / Post # 463 in South Boardman, MI.
I am starting the process of refurbishing our Sherman M4A3 Tank and I am trying to identify the proper military color / color code of our tank. I have been unsuccessful so far in my attempts and am asking if you would be able to point me in the right direction on this or verify for me?
Serieal # = 2662
Type = M4A3(75)
Manufacturer = Ford
R/N # = 3055622
Notes: Direct Vision, possibly oldest surviving Ford Sherman
Located = South Boardman, MI USA
I sincerely thank you for your time and assistance.
my father was in the royal artillery, and drove a Sherman o.p. tank, anyone got information or photos of one of these, some say it had a dummy gun barrel,
I am pretty sure they did not have main guns in the O.P. Tanks.
Wanted to reach out to you regarding a new M42B1E9 Sherman we recently acquired. Serial Number: 415 / RN#: 3015171 . We are trying to piece together the history of this particular rare flamethrower Sherman tank. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Just found your site, very great info
What are your thoughts on the m4a1 firefly as i have just seen one in a ww2 film in Holland.
It is not a hybrid as you can see the rounded sides all the way to the rear.
I am looking for ANY pixs of the the famous “tiger face” Sherman TK45 of the Korean war fame. I have located only two original photos so far. The first one with the GI standing front left of TK45 next to a row of tents. The second a closeup of with the crew crossing the Han River. I am trying to locate any shots that show the sides, rear and top of this particular tank as I am in the process of repainting our E8 in the famous yellow tiger paint here at the AHM. Obviously I am very distrusting of any artist “interpretations” or decal sheets. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated as this is already turning out to be quite the project as it is…
You didn’t happen to play WoT with that handle did you?
I did, but not in a few years now.
I play all the time..but its been a long time i’ve played with an m4…i mostly play with the m1 Abrams..or the t80b…
You can find me in the game..as . RELAX71
Im always in the WAR THUNDER 100 free fights..
My uncle worked for Chrysler Corporation after WWII ended. Obviously he had it because Chrysler operated the U.S. Army Tank Command in Warren, MI for many years. After he passed, I helped my dad sort his possessions and I found a Service Parts Catalogue for a Tank, Medium M4A4. Do you know if someone could use this book?
Sorry for your loss. I could use it, I don’t have a copy of that one.
Well, the model of the M4 composite is ready for decals, and a spray of Dull-Cote. I do have a question……..
On the top of the turret, there is a “hole” on the top right front (as you look at the front of the tank). The hole doesn’t make sense and yet there obviously is a reason for it. Anyone know what it was for?
It’s the muzzle opening for a smoke grenade launcher.
I’d love to see some pictures of the build!
I have pics to post, but confess I don’t know how……….
Send me an email, and I’ll help you post the pics.
I was just dropping in a quick line to know, if I could send some great article ideas your way for a guest post at your website ?
If you like my suggested ideas, I can then provide you high-quality FREE CONTENT/ARTICLE. In return, I would expect just a favor of a backlink from within the main body of the article.
Do let me know if I can interest you with some great topic ideas?
There is a tank with two large protrusions on the body of the tank as seen at 08:29 in the invasion of Luzon, what the heck are they? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBHStlrTVDg
Air intakes for the engine – the whole contraption being set up so as the engine would not be flooded while the tank was wading ashore from a tank landing craft or moving inland while having to cross water (rivers, ponds etc.)
Cogratulations on your page.
Here, in Chile, the Army used a several times updated version of the Sherman. They were the frontline of the Chilen armored forces until the begining of the 80’s, whent they started to share space with the French made AMX-30.
The good and loyal M-40’s were retired from the inventories in the early 90’s, when replaced by the German Leopard II.
After several modernization processes in Israel and in Chile, the Chilean Shermans, regarding a fortunately never brought about conflict hypothesis, were probably superior to the Argentinian made TAM and surely able to give hard fight to the much newer Peruvian Soviet models.
Whenever i read about Israel’s early Sherman tanks and their acquisition, i always run into this phrase at the end of the paragraph about how the tanks were acquired from …… and at the very end this — “buying them in the Philippines”. And this is where i got stumped. No more data ! Dig deeper and trying to find out how this was acquired from thePhils. Purchased from wrecks? Salvaged & purchased from junkyards in the Phils. ? Purchased from the govt of the Phils. ? Clandestinely sold by Phil. govt to Israel ?
Would appreciate any data on this ….
Hello again. I have just started on the Half Size replica sherman firefly.. And have made the decision to go all steel….except for the tracks that i will cast in Aluminium..so today was a big day..I have laid out the chassis and sponson sides and started the first welding of parts… I have even found a local sherman tank…just 15 minutes away… But I’m wanting confirmation on the hull length underneath on the firefly version as per the film Fury..can anyone tell me the correct measurements please..as I have to lengthen the chassis at least 20cm and want to get it right first time.. Also I would like to post pictures of the build if I could have a dedicated page or link.. And ill do a facebook page for my photos as well….colin. France
Colin, have you looked at the manual pages? The Firefly is a VC with the multi bank engine so longer. I the manual page does not have the info, contact the Tank Museum in the U.K. they have all the specifications of all tanks.
ok thanks thats another source of info, going from the dimentions of the local tank, as it has the bigger spacing between the sets of road wheels, i believe it to be one of the longer chassis type. ive been back again taking more pictures and measurements.
I have lengthened the frame i had for the chassis and welded the chassis bottom plate in situ , as my tank will not have scale thick steel plate, i have started with a frame on to which the sponson sides and bottom plate are welded. Also fitted the towing attachment to the rear of the chassis frame with a reinforcing on the inside so It could pull a heavy load behind. sadly a bad back has stopped me doing any more today, but the base is there, 80 cm wide and 224 cm long, above the sponson it will be 1m30 wide with the extra lip protruding even further . the track width should just fit on my trailer i built to transport my halfsize landrover and motorcycle. by replacing the lights on the trailer for a set fitted on outriggers there will be enough room to fit the half size tank without running over the lights!! the front drive train assembly will be started next week, im looking forward to building that. It will be very heavy as it’s going to be thick steel plate shaped and welded to form the housing and be strong enough to mount the drive gear to the sprockets without any extra reinforcement, so it will look perfect. As the engine im going to use is smaller than a scale size engine, i will be able to have the engine bulkhead a little further back and have extra room inside. I will fit twin fire extinguishers and pressure feed the air to the engine compartment, keeping a good airflow for the air cooled engine. im also going to fit two high power fans to the crew compartment from the vents (scale ones on the top side) to supply fresh cool air and to pressureize the compartment to keep out any heat or fumes from the engine compartment.
i will post some pictures when i figure out how and where to post them on here, but i will also have some photos on my facebook pages.
Hi, Looking for information on the M2 Blade assembly used on the HVSS Sherman. I can’t find much although I do have the TM number – TM 9-722, so far no luck.
Any help very much appreciated.
good site. interesting reading. some comments and links.
as this site points out, the Sherman was a medium tank, the “Cats” were heavy tanks. the US was developing heavy tanks during WW2, but did not ship them to Europe till 1945. one thing usually not brought up was shipping space. A Panther left the factory, was put on a train car, and went by rail 500 to 600 miles to the battle field. size and weight were not an issue. A tank made in USA would travel 500+ miles by rail then get put on a ship. a Sherman would occupy at least 1600 cubic feet of space. a M26 would occupy at least 3500 cubic feet of space. so do you ship 100 M4 or 50 M26?
a new study on effectiveness of M1A1 & M1A2 76mm gun on German armor http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1045347.pdf
a history of independent tank battalions https://www.amazon.com/Steel-Victory-Americas-Independent-Battalions/dp/0891417826 first quarter of the book is about Normandy.
The Other Side of Time by Brendan Phibbs is a memoir of the 12th Armored CCB Surgeon. good read, especially the last third which covers the breaking thru the Siegfried line to surrender.
http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/ US Army digital library lots of WW2 unit histories and related articles
The only legacy the Panther left was that a tank weighing 42 tons could be very mobile and have no problems attending the fight. And so the distinction between Medium and Heavy was burred because 42 tons was proved to be not that heavy.
First that I knew this site existed. My father worked at the tank plant in Lima,Ohio during the war. He put radios in them,but I do not know if any of them were Shermans. The Allen county museum in Lima,Ohio has I believe a runner in a back building. But I have not heard anything about it for some time. Hope this bit of info is helpful.
Hello there, thanks for an interesting site!
I have been asked to help locate a full set of tracks for a T48 Sherman. Part number C106350, would be grateful for some suggestions
Hello, I’m looking at building a half size Sherman tank…no small task. But one that I’m confident could be done if only I could decide which version would be best.. First a little history. My best creation to date is the minilandrover I built that is now in the hands of a private collector in the south of France.. I had built the military lightweight version as it’s flat sides made for an easier build. However the high detail build meant that it is the best half size land rover ever built.. Videos on youtube show the detail.. That included a full steel chassis, leaf spring suspension , aluminium body panels with all openings , twin fuel tanks, petrol engine full radio installation , winch etc etc .
However being resident in France meant the predominant public at the shows I attended were French and typically more interested in American and WW2 military equipment.. Hence the new project to build a half scale replica that will please onlookers as much in France as in the UK. And the Sherman Firefly is the most iconic machine that would fit the bill.
So my need for information will dominate the early stages to see if I can design and build a useable replica…Why half size ? Well I’m 1m80 tall and I am planning on driving from a seated position beneath the turret where I can operate the driving controls and fire blanks through the main cannon . I plan to have the forward positions *driver and forward gunner* available for small children to operate some controls and fire a dummy machine gun.. The first question I have is the tracks used.. As I want to copy a real Sherman and why not the one made famous in the film Fury.. To make the best type of tracks suitable for turning on hard and soft surfaces without throwing a track. I’m confused about the tracks used as I read that some tanks were upgraded (presumably in to field) to ditch the narrower tracks 16 inch and using the wider 24inch ones from another tank..were the front drive sprockets designed to be swapped out or adjusted to take both sizes…? Or were the sprockets fitted to a common size drive shaft that was common to shermans and other tanks. When changing the tracks surely the road wheels and idlers must need to be changed as well …? And I see tracks with outer guides and others presumably on the wider track with a central guide and twin road wheels. Which setup was better and most capable of keeping the Sherman on track..excuse the pun.. Please treat me as a total numbskull as my knowledge on tracks is very limited.despite me being a good engineer capable of welding or even casting the track links…in aluminium … Colin
I just sent you an email. Let me know if you don’t get it.
Yes thank you, i will still go to the local tank museum (100 kms ) but as i have permission to crawl all over one and get all the fine detail and data, it will be a boys day out as i have a friend, biker who is ex military, and we did the museum last year before i decided to build one..
ill be riding my copper chopper, so it will be a great day out again.
thanks for the link..
Sorry it looks like i have accidentaly deleted the email, could you send it again please, sorry to be a pain…
i have designed the transmission, and will soon be building a mockup to test the theory. but i need the dimentions of the underside of the tank, width between the tracks and length.. i read somewhere they altered the length at one point ?? this will be a challenge to identify when looking a a sherman tank. i have decided to build a M4A3 firefly,HVSS and to copy the one used in FURY. I think it would be a great build and im going to do the rubber block track in cast aluminium.
Hi, Were the Korean War M4A3E8 Army Shermans painted the same Olive Drab as the WWII versions ? The Tamiya recent release of the Korean war Sherman version states a lighter Olive drab.
Good question, I always assumed it was the same, but I’ve never confirmed it. From what I’ve read though, depending on primers and thinners used, even WWII olive-drab can vary quite a bit. I’ll ask around and see if I can get you a better answer.
Actually, there were constant variations in paint colors. From Olive Drab which was almost a brown color to Olive green in all variations of the color. In fact, my wife’s German Aunt remembers mentioning the Yellow American Tanks and how they would run to them to surrender as refugees knowing they wouldn’t be harmed. So, pretty much any good variation of Olive Green would work for a Sherman.
looking for more existing Sherman’s that are restored
so a question for anyone who knows the answer…
how many shermans are left? i know there are about 5 in bovington tank museum atleast 1 at duxford imperial museum and while in france loolong at d day landings i have seen 4 so how many in total
I’d bet there are possibly over 100 in varying condition. There are a lot of Shermans sprinkled throughout the USA as monuments in parks or as gate Guards. There are a lot in private hands and private museums, in Europe and the USA. Plus the ones in South America and the middle east.
They do a great job of keeping track of them at http://the.shadock.free.fr/Surviving_Panzers.html
Don’t forget the handful of submerged Sherman duplex drive tanks. I forget where they can be found (sorry!), but I know that there are wuite a few.
There are some under the sea off the normandy beaches. They were launched far too early as i believe the boat comander was scared of getting in nearer the hot zone. The swell was too much for the canvas screen and they all got swamped and sank..
This might be your ultimate opportunity to see, drive, and FIRE an operational M4A2E8.
My uncle drove a Sherman in nth Africa and Italy. He was in the 10th hussars his main fear was the 88mm one near miss went down the side of his tank later they found scorch marks on their kit bags that were stored outside strapped to the side of the tank when they brewed up some tea all the tins of condensed milk was sour due to the heat of the 88mm round passing by I have a few photos of my uncle taken in the desert in one his waiting to load his tank onto a recovery tractor and there’s good detail of his uniform and along with his issue side arm he has a Luger in his waistband
Awesome comment, and crazy story, thank you for posting it.
Great website and great info, that’s why I need your help. I’m a metal detectorist from Romania, and this August I found a half lid of a Sherman tank in the Jassy area, where in 1944 during the Russian offensives, some of their lend/lease tanks were knocked out.
It has a code on ti but it doesn’t match the code in one of your illustrations. Do you have any idea why the code differs?
You can see the pictures here
Thank you, and keep up the good work!
The D number refers to a drawing that carries the standard(s) for said part.
You could have an interchangeable part, with a couple different D numbers, depending on where it was made, how it was made and/or what minor variations it may have.
This is the best Sherman´s site of the web.
I have a question. Newly I have seen a photo of a M3 Lee with track link connectors installed upwards – the teeth are facing the ground. And a person says that it is was an emergency solution in TM manuals. In what manual can I read on this?
Miguel Cinquino from Argentina
I live in Israel, and there’s a very cool tank museum here, at Latrun. I see that you have a post about it on your site. They have several Shermans (which were used by the IDF in the ). They even have one on a tower:
love the site, very informative. Soon we will be starting the restoration of M4A3E2 “Jumbo” # 73. She is one of 6-7 left in the world and the third ever in a private collection.
We will have a web/facebook/instagram dedicated to the restoration. Once that is set up I would love to link to your page and enlist you to assist us in getting word of the restoration out to Sherman lovers everywhere.
I’d love to do anything I can to help. I’ll send you an email.
Question: How come some Shermans have tracks with no “cleets”? Most have a cleet, but thos with the the duckbills, and others it seems like, in some pictures have just a flat plate for the track piece.
And also, what does the “w” mean in M4Ax (76)w?
There were several types of Rubber track with no clear, but there were also several models with steel cleats, and one with a rubber chevron.
All could take duckbills, but not while the bolt on grousers were in place, L in the image above.
The W in any Sherman name is an indicator that it had Wet Ammo racks and all the ammo was installed in a armored ready rack of six to eight rounds on the turret floor or in the racks surrounded by water jackets in the hull floor.
All factory born 76 tanks with the T23 turret, the M4A1 76W, the M4A2 76W and M4A3 76W, had wet ammo racks, and some late production 75 tanks had it as well. The wet part of the storage was discarded after the war, but the racks remained in the same location.
Great write up! I wanted to make a few comments I think are relevant and interesting from a friend of the family who worked making the engines for ICBMs and then worked on the design of the Thermo-baric bunker-buster bombs, a 90 some year old officer from Patton’s Third Army, and two enlisted men I met at my Grandfather’s funeral. Sorry if it is long, and if I ramble.
In WWII our soldiers fighting in Europe felt their equipment was better hands down that what they were fighting against in all departments save for tanks.
First I want to say something that I really have not heard said online or in books, but absolutely huge advantages we had over the Germans in WWII was Dzus fasteners and Army/Navy or AN- fittings. Dzus fasteners were a clip/screw that was invented by an American who they Germans would have considered a sub-human that allow the panels that were attached to aluminum airframes to be remove and re-attached so service the components underneath with the twist of a common screwdriver. This fastener is one of the reasons we shot the Luftwaffe out of the sky. When our enemy’s planes took damage from air-to-air or ground-to-air fire they had to cut out rivets to remove the panels make repairs and then re-attach the panels with rivets. It was many times impossible to do in battlefield conditions, let alone in a timely manner. The Dzus fasteners allowed us to remove and re-attach panels with ease.
The next huge advantage we had were AN- fittings. These fittings were developed to allow hoses that carried fluids, like hydraulic hoses, fuel cables, cooling lines, to be removed and then replaced with the turn of a wrench. All the Germans had were flare connections. It is very hard to cut and flare new connections in battlefield conditions quickly and reliably. This affected the enemy’s ability to make repairs to aircraft and tanks, all of which have many fluid lines. The German tanks were in many ways no less reliable that out machines. Everybody, Russians, Germans, British, French, and us all used the same equations and worked with the same parameters for power to weight, gearing, etc, and all these machines broke down where major components failed, or minor components failed. The difference was, with our tanks, you could just remove components from the vehicle as needed, make the repair, and then replace the components quickly, and with assurance that they connections you made would work. The Germans, on the other hand, had to cut apart their connections, and then cut and flare new ones, which they could not count on working reliably, and it drastically affected their unit readiness in combat.
When the Germans invaded France in 1940 the French had much heavier tanks compared to anything the Germans had on the battlefield. When and if the Germans had to face the machines the French were able to inflict heavy losses on the much lighter German machines. The problem for the French was that these tanks were extremely limited by range, and speed, and therefore most of them were unable to meet the German spearheads, and for the ones that did, they were simply overwhelmed. When we rebuilt out Army for WWII we wanted to be the Germans in 1940, not the French, and we wanted lighter, more maneuverable tanks, and more of them on the battlefield than our enemy, and in this department the M4 was a resounding success.
Before we entered the war two people, one of which was George S. Patton, another was in the Army Command, if we should pursue heavier tanks to field in battle, and both of them felt that a heavier tank was not necessary to win the war in Europe, and in fact, both were correct. Had we worked on tanks as we did airplanes, or naval vessels, and the way we did, it is quite possible that the Germans would have had to face US tanks more close to the M41 and the M46/47/48 tanks, when we came ashore in France, which would have completely obliterated anything that the Germans had, were planning to make, or dreamt of making, and in greater numbers than they could have ever produced.
As for the Germans, and the tanks they developed after the Panzer IV: When the Germans entered Russia in 1941 they started to see T-34 tanks, and some KV-1 tanks, and the only thing that they had on-hand to engage and knock out these machines, besides artillery, was their 88mm Anti-Aircraft guns, so that is what they used. German artillery in WWII was mostly horse-drawn, and therefore was not reliably around the front because the mechanized forces that created the front outpaced it. (The US artillery was mechanized and the Germans could count on it being at the front as they were always pummeled by it on breakouts – just ask their veterans of Normandy and the Bulge)
Then the trickle of T-34 tanks turned into a torrent and this sent panic through the German tank corps, and up the chain of command. First came dedicated anti-tank guns in high velocity 75mm, and 88mm, first the shorter 88mm that was the same as the Flak 88, and would be mounted on the Tiger 1 and then a longer length and higher velocity 88mm that would be mounted on the Tiger 2, and in the meantime a bunch of tank destroyer vehicles like the Nashorn to combat these heavier Russian tanks.
Even the Panthers and Tigers were compromises, just like the M4.
In Russia one of the reasons why the Germans were able to destroy so many Russian tanks was that the Russians were not as concerned about training their tankers and many if not most Russian tanks they faced were not equipped with radios. The Russians just sent them forward with the idea that there would be so many more Russian tanks than German tanks, they Russian would win just by attrition. However, the German tanks, which did have radios, heavy frontal armor, and excellent guns for engaging tanks, were able to work in coordinated fashion and take out many Soviet machines. Since the Soviet tank crews couldn’t communicate with each other, they were not able to engage the Germans as a team, and they lost of lot of men and material to the Germans.
The terrain in Russia and the Soviet tactics, were suited to the idea that you can deploy these special dedicated heavy tank companies to engage the enemy where needed to plug holes in the line and stop armored breakouts, and in worked. There was also a psychological impact on the German soldiers that these machines had. “We’re going into battle with Tigers, so don’t worry the Russian have us outnumbered 5-1” So in that sense the Tigers were not a total flop. When the Russians wanted to attempt an armored breakthrough, they would mass tanks and then send them forward at the Germans, and this was a perfect scenario for Tigers to be setup in defensive and knock out the oncoming enemy. When the Russian really did well manhandling the Germans it was when the use broad fronts because you couldn’t put a your extra-special forcers in the way of the attack. That is what Tigers were for, and in a sense, they worked.
The Panther was a little different. It was supposed to be a T-34 killer and when integrated into the ranks of the German armored divisions of mostly Panzer IVs, allow them operational advantage when engaging the enemy.
In the West it was the opposite of the east. Our tankers were well trained, knew how to use their vehicles, had radios, and were not going to give the Germans an easy shooting gallery. You can make the case, our tankers were better trained than their German counterparts. This is why aces like Micheal Whitman, who for years with his crew destroyed enemy tanks died within two months of facing the British and Americans.
Also our military figured that the Germans would be sane, and deploy these heavier machines east where they would be needed to face the Soviet tanks, but in German fashion they deployed them everywhere, probably because of the psychological affect they had on their troops, but “they were crazy” is also an acceptable answer too!
I also do not think that even their biggest fan would say, “Tigers were instrumental in stopping operation Market Garden” or “In Italy the Tiger tank allowed the Germans to maintain the strategic upper hand, although they were continually falling back into defensive positions.” Tiger tanks and Panther tanks were not successful in containing the Allied beach heads at Normandy, or in providing a deep penetration in the Ardennes, nobody can dispute that.
What the Tigers did was create a “Tigerphobia” in that our men knew these things were out there, and made them a lot more nervous when engaging the enemy. However, many of the losses we suffered were at the hands of German AT guns in the same caliber as the 88s on the Tigers, or the 75 on the Panther, or at the hands of machines like the Panzerjager 38T, Panzerjager IV, that incorporated these guns into a mechanized platform that was easy to conceal and when used in conjunction with friendly terrain, could produce a lot of kills. Why so many reports of Tigers do not coincide with where Tiger tanks were actually deployed.
What is also just silly is how the Panther and Tigers have been turned by the gaming industry into 1940s Main Battle Tanks, which they were not. In fact, nobody in the 1940s was making MBTs. It was the idea of incorporating the firepower of tanks like the Tiger with the maneuverability and availability of the M-4 or T-34 that created the MBT concept later.
What can be said, is that we were successful in doing what we set out to do, and we had the maneuverability and speed we needed with the M-4 to win the war. Was is a miracle machine? No. Was the Tiger? it wasn’t either.
Great write up and good defense of the tank that won us the war!
Sherman Jumbo (Medium Tank, M4A3E2)
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/01/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Long before the Invasion of Normandy in northern France was finalized, American warplanners were aware of the fact that the Germans would be ready to fight a determined defensive battle from coast to Berlin. They would be well armed, well prepared and well situated to take on any Allied advance heading their way through their skillful use of tanks, upgunned armored vehicles and towed artillery systems placed at strategic chokepoints. The requirement, therefore, would be for an "assault tank" to make its way through the enemy front and dislodge or destroy the prepared enemy at the heart of the defense. As such, the Americans knew that they would need a tank of some superiority in terms of armor protection and lethal armament - something beyond the current offerings of the time. With the M26 Pershing already in development, the hope was to have the new heavy tank ready to go to war by late 1944. However, all was not proceeding as planned and the M26 was delayed from arriving in Euopre until 1945. As such, other stopgap solutions were entertained.
US authorities took what it already had in some number, the M4 Sherman medium tank, and began a process of uparmoring the beast for the dedicated assault role. The engine remained the Ford V8 GAA series powerplant though the gearbox was altered to compensate for the added weight of the extra armor. Of course the additional armor also served to bring down the operational speed of the base Sherman design - normally a stately 25 to 30 miles per hour - now degraded to 22 miles per hour. The front hull of the tank received no less than 5.5 inches of armor thickness and protected the valuable drive train system. The upper front hull retained its base Sherman angled facing as it served well to combat incoming enemy projectiles, measuring 4.5 inches at its thickest. The glacis plate was protected by up to 4 inches of armor while the turret was revised to 6 inches of protection. Up to 7 inches of armor was used around the gun mount and 1.5 inches of rolled armor was utilized over the superstructure sides. Although initially intended to carry a 76mm main gun, the production form of the new Sherman fitted the standard 75mm main gun due to its proven characteristics when firing its High-Explosive (HE) projectile. 106 projectiles of 75mm ammunition could be stored about the hull and the new turret, allowing the crew to sustain fire for periods of time. Anti-infantry and aircraft defense was from the M4 standard, made up primarily of a 0.50 caliber heavy gun on the turret top, a 0.30 machine gun in a coaxially fitted mount next to the 75mm main gun and a 0.30 caliber machine gun in a bow mount at the front right face of the hull, opposite the driver's position, manned by the radio operator. All told, the vehicle weighed in at 42 tons and suspension remained the base Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) system found on other Shermans. Its operators were therefore warned to proceed with some caution when utilizing the new tank in a cross-country setting, the suspension system being prone to failure under the added weight.
In March of 1944, the US government inked a deal that would bring it some 254 of the modified Shermans to life to which the Ordnance Committee applied the designation of "M4A3E2" to the type - "E" signifying the type as an "experimental design". Production of the upgraded Sherman commenced at light speed to help get the armor up to the front lines as quickly as possible. By late 1944, the M4A3E2 was already being delivered into the eager hands of awaiting American tank crews and commanders in Europe. The new mount was christened the Sherman "Jumbo" by her crews to signify its improved, oversized stature.
Traditional operating tactics held that US tank formations proceed in columns for a quick response to enemy action and offer lesser approaching targets to the awaiting enemy. Once the enemy was located, the column could then fan outwards and call upon a more uniformed response. With the Jumbo now in inventory, the heavily armored system was called upon to head up such column formations and absorb the first volley that the awaiting enemy had to offer - volleys that would have traditionally annihilated base Shermans in the same role.
Once in action, the Jumbo performed admirably well to the point that they were being requested by both commanders and tank crews. Even American General George S. Patton himself went on the request list. When the need went unfulfilled, he quietly gave the order to strip any non-functioning M4 Sherman (those with welded hulls) of its armor and upgrade existing Shermans to something like the new "Jumbo" standard. As such, the M4A3(76)W and M4A3(76)W HVSS systems in his stable were uparmored "in-the-field" thanks to the ingenuity of Army welders and those local European craftsmen hired by the military. Even armor from cast-off enemy German tanks was used in the endeavor, leaving these Shermans as a collective eclectic group of medium tanks with no original Sherman "face" to be found among them. These quick-field conversions went on to be known as "Expedient Jumbos" and some 100 existing M4s were converted to Sherman Jumbos in the short span of three weeks. Ultimately, the Jumbo did see her 75mm main gun give way to a more powerful 76mm caliber, completing her metamorphosis from medium tank to legendary war winner. The Sherman Jumbo proved instrumental in reaching pinned 101st paratroopers at Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge - the 101st having always denied the idea that they needed rescuing from Patton to begin with.
With the Allies advancing against Germany in the west and the Soviets taking Berlin in the east, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his underground Berlin bunker in mid-April. While an air war still raged over the skies of Germany to an extend into May and pockets of German resistance still waged war, the war in Europe was essentially over, made formally so by early June. This left the world with the task of taking down the Empire of Japan in the Far East, to which the Sherman Jumbo, and all her fast conversions, were shipped back stateside in preparation for the ultimate invasion of the Japanese mainland out in the Pacific. However, Japan capitulated after a lengthy failed sea campaign, a determined Allied bombing effort that decimated morale, infrastructure and mar-making capabilities and the two American atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The surrender of the Empire of Japan in August of 1945 completed the Second World War in whole by September.
With the war over, production of most war-goods was curtailed or ceased altogether. Much of the war time equipment remained for training or was placed in storage. Some 96 Sherman Jumbos were still in the US inventory in 1948, this out of the 50,000 or so Shermans produced in all.