Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole's TreadHead Tuesday - M4 Sherman Medium Tank - Feb 24th, 2004
Posted on 02/24/2004 12:03:03 AM PST by SAMWolf
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The U.S. Army M4 medium tank was specifically designed to favor speed and mobility over firepower. This was in accordance with U.S. Army doctrine that the tank would function as an infantry support weapon, and thus would have to be capable of keeping up with rapidly moving ground troops. To some extent, the M4 was not designed to fight other tanks.
Because of these design factors, the M4 was thinly armored and carried a small main gun. Compared to German armor, the M4 was clearly outmatched. The crews of M4 tanks were vulnerable to the superior penetrating fire of German tank guns, and were themselves hardly able to scratch the heavier armor of their German counterparts. What the M4s lacked in armor, firepower and survivability, they made up for in sheer numbers, a higher rate of fire, increased mobility, and much simpler maintenance. In late 1944 the M4 was outfitted with a 76mm gun, and its suspension system upgraded in early 1945.
The mid-production M4 medium tank. Notice the extra armor welded over the sponson ammunition racks and the front drivers' hoods
The Sherman name was a British designation, and while it was not part of the official name of the M4 tank, was commonly used and known among U.S. troops. The M4 was used by the U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, Britain, Canada and the Free French.
The M4 tank hull was used for a variety of vehicles, including the M32 tank recovery vehicle, M7B1 self-propelled howitzer, M10 Wolverine, and numerous British designs including the Firefly. For D-Day, one of the most significant variations was the amphibious DD Tank.
Sherman Firefly (M4A4 w/17 Pounder Gun)
Both the standard M4 and its DD version were inadequate for the close-support role that they were intended to fill on D-Day. One of the M4's few strengths, mobility, was restricted on the confined beaches of Normandy, and the weaknesses of its light armor and firepower were clearly evident. German defenders quickly attacked any tank that made it to shore, and many were destroyed before they could leave the beach or provide any support fire. The shingle at Omaha Beach was impassable by armor, and it was not until engineers could open up paths and the beach exits were secured that the M4 could make its way off the beach and make use of its maneuverability.
Sherman DD (Duplex-Drive) with screens down.
Ironically, the hedgehog obstacles that littered the beaches would later be used to help Allied tanks break through the numerous hedgerows that cross-crossed the Normandy countryside. Cut up and welded to the front of tanks, these chunks of metal allowed armor to rapidly slice through the hedgerows and quicken the Allied attack inland.
Sherman DD (Duplex-Drive) with screens up.
Between 1942 and 1945 11 production facilities manufactured almost 50,000 M4 Sherman tanks. Production orginally started at 1,000 tanks a month and was eventually upped to 2,000 tanks a month. Among the companies that produced the M4 Sherman were the Pressed Steel Car Co., Baldwin Locomotive Works, American Locomotive Co., Pullman Standard Car Co. and the Detroit Tank Arsenal. The production output of the M4 design was more than all of the tanks produced by both the British and the Germans during the war.
The medium tank M4 was based on the medium tank M3, and the Sherman shared many components with the Lee. The M4 utilized the M3's suspension, lower hull, and power train.
The M4A1's cast upper hull gave it distinctive rounded edges. This makes it the easiest of Sherman tanks to identify. Other identifying features of M4A1, which it shares with M4, are the rear of the tank and engine access panels. There are twin engine access doors in the rear hull and air cleaners at the top corners of these doors. M4A1 had twin square muffler tailpipes at the top of the rear hull above the air cleaners, a steel-covered air intake behind the turret, and solid engine access doors in the rear deck behind the turret.
Early Shermans--cast and welded hull--were built with twin fixed .30cal M1919A4 machine guns in the hull which were operated by the driver. These could be locked at any elevation between +8° and -6°. The driver's machine guns were eliminated on March 6, 1942. Also seen on early tanks were spoked idler and road wheels, three-piece differential and final drive housing, two fuel shutoff valves on the rear deck, removable headlights, vision slots for the drivers in the glacis plate, and the siren was placed on the left front fender or under a bracket just offset to the left of the glacis centerline.
On tanks with dry ammunition stowage, one-inch thick applique armor was welded over the sponson ammunition racks and to the turret on the right of the gun mount where interior armor had been ground away to make room for the gunner's controls. Heavy-duty suspension bogies, with the return roller on the rear of the bogie instead of on top like earlier bogies, were introduced by summer 1942. The new bogies had 8" (20cm) diameter springs, 1" (2.5cm) larger than the springs of the earlier type. Originally, there was only one turret hatch (the commander's) in the 75mm gun turret, but a small oval hatch was introduced for the loader in December 1943. Retrofit kits were developed for tanks built before the loader's hatch was designed. A cupola for the tank commander later replaced his circular split hatch. The main gun in the first M4A1s built was the 75mm M2, which was shorter than the M3 and needed double counterweights on the end of the barrel to be compatible with the tank's gyrostabilizer.
Good plane profile today. The HS-129 was the German A-10 of it's day just like the IL-2 Sturmovik was the Russian version.
LOL. Good morning Valin.
The "Calliope", was a multiple rocket launcher fitted on top of a Sherman tank. The training in azimuth was carried out by moving the turret, and in elevation by moving the gun. When the 60 rockets had left the tubes, the wooden launcher was jettisonned and the tank took its usual role (at least in theory, beacuse it seems that it was not so easy to get rid of the cumbersome contraption).
Patton's army equiped one batalion with that rocket artillery and the general was satisfied with the results it got, at least on the morale of his own troops. Note: Calliope designated only the launchers set, not the whole tank
It's so hard not to do with so many good pics available on the web.