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To: snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo; Johnny Gage; Victoria Delsoul; Darksheare; Valin; bentfeather; radu; ..

General Patton chastising a tank commander for having too many sandbags piled on his tank.

Early vehicles had the circular split loader's hatch, which was replaced by the oval hatch in later models. Late M4A3(76)Ws also had the gun travel lock modified from a double-pronged cradle to a single arm which was hinged on one side. The turret basket was completely eliminated in later models, and the crew seats were then suspended from the turret ring.


M4A3 (105)

The first M4A3(105)s lacked a commander's vision cupola and power turret traverse. Powered traverse was later incorporated, but VE Day came before it could see action. An armored cover for the direct sight telescope to the right of the howitzer was developed in late production vehicles to protect the turret interior from small arms fire.

Sherman Jumbo

Sherman Jumbo

The Sherman Jumbo was an M4A3 with applique armor welded to the hull front and sponson sides, and a new single-piece differential and final drive housing. Jumbos also lacked headlights and sirens. The turret was completely new, and came with a commander's cupola and an oval loader's hatch. The tank's final drive ratios were altered to better cope with the increased weight. The T110 gun mount was constructed by welding armor plate to a standard M62 76mm gun mount. In fact it was intended to arm these tanks with the 76mm gun, but the 75mm weapon possessed a more effective high-explosive shell for infantry support and was therefore mounted. That the gun mount was originally a 76mm mount meant Jumbos could easily have their main gun switched to a 76mm M1 series, and a few tanks were field-modified with the 76mm guns.

M4A1(76)W HVSS


HVS suspension increased the Sherman's weight by 2950lbs with T66 single pin track and 4780 lbs with T84 double pin track. HVSS allowed the installation of wider tracks, thereby decreasing the tank's ground pressure, and eased maintenance on the running gear since the bogie no longer had to be disassembled to remove road wheels. HVSS also provided more wheel travel, which gave the tank an easier and more stable ride. The prototype tanks that had HVSS installed were designated with an -E8 suffix, which is the origin of the "Easy Eight" nickname of the M4A3(76)W HVSS.

M4A3(76)W HVSS

M4A3E8(76)HVSS "Easy Eight"

These vehicles were also known as "Easy Eight" Shermans, since the prototype HVSS tanks were known as M4A3E8s. Certainly Easy Eight is much less of a mouthful than M4A3(76)W HVSS...

M4(105) HVSS

The final 841 M4(105) produced were fitted with HVS suspension.

The Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (or HVSS). One of its advantages was that when the horizontal volute springs were placed in compression by either the front or rear bogie wheel arm, the load was transmitted to the opposite arm thus keeping tension on the track.
The new suspension adoption increased the weight of the tank by approximately 2950 pounds with the T66 track or by approximately 4780 pounds with the heavier T80 track.

M4A2(76)W HVSS

The last M4A2(76)Ws were fitted with HVS suspension

Additional Sources:

2 posted on 02/24/2004 12:04:32 AM PST by SAMWolf (You've got to be really scummy to make Clinton look honest. - (Samwise, describing John Kerry))
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To: All
Overrated and Underrated Tank


In modern military scholarship, the Sherman tank is notorious for being both undergunned and too lightly armored to face its German antagonists. The early models had a maximum of 75 millimeters of armor, later raised to 100, and a 75-millimeter gun; the German Panzer Mk IVs, however, had a maximum of 80 millimeters of armor, and the first Tigers had 100 (the Tiger II, 150) and mounted the famously excellent 88-millimeter gun.

M4A3E8 with the 761st Tank Battalion outside of Nancy, France, on November 8, 1944

As one German POW put it, Shermans were “Ronsons… . our gunners could see your tanks coming … and they say to one another, ‘Here comes another Ronson.’ Why do Americans do this for us? Bang! And it burns like twenty hay stacks… . Those funny tanks with the little guns, and so high and straight we can see them a long way in our gunsights. Those square sides, and thin, the armor. We know if we hit one, it goes up. Why does the county of Detroit send their men out to die in these things?” By one (American) calculation, killing a Panzer was worth losing four Shermans; a Tiger II, eight. The most overrated American tank? Read much of the current literature, and you will conclude that it is surely the Sherman.


The most underrated American tank of the Second World War? The Sherman. Since accounts of its deficiencies have become so familiar, its strengths have slipped from view, along with an understanding of the choices made by its designers.

Soviet M4A2(76)W "General Sherman". Vienna. April 1945

When conceived, the tank offered a good compromise between mobility and reliability, protection and hitting power. It had been scrupulously designed to duplicate the feats of what were then the best tanks in the world: the Panzer Mk III and Mk IVs, which had just executed devastating blitzkriegs. The Shermans equaled or outmatched those tanks when they met in North Africa but they were not up to the task of fighting duels with the subsequent Panzers and Tigers, especially when the latter were employed in defense, as mobile pillboxes. U.S. doctrine called for fighting tanks with tank destroyers—high-velocity anti-tank guns mounted on swift, lightly armored vehicles—while our tanks did what tanks do best: claw through an enemy’s line and get into his rear. The decision to rely so heavily on tank destroyers for antitank warfare is often seen as a mistake; nowadays the best antitank weapon is widely assumed to be a tank. But American tank destroyers got better, and American skill at combined-arms operations steadily increased, so that our artillery, fighter-bombers, and tank destroyers shattered German armor in the Ardennes. And while the Shermans did badly in one-on-one tank duels against the German tanks, Shermans did not generally fight one-on-one. They often fought five-on-one, and they won.

761st Tank Battalion, Charlie Company

It is crucial to remember that the Shermans had to be transported across oceans. This put a premium on their reliability—more tanks had to be operating more of the time—and they were supremely reliable. This same concern also meant that they had to fit on existing naval tank transports, one reason they were smaller and lighter than German late-war armor.

Yom Kippur war of 1973: M4A3E8 Shermans modified by the Israelis, major changes include a 105mm gun and large counterweight at the turret rear.

A basic question rarely considered by the Sherman’s critics is the economic concept of opportunity cost: What did Germany give up to achieve the Tiger’s strengths? A Tiger I took 300,000 man-hours to build, and in the tank’s first two years, Germany made only about 1,340 of them. In 1943 alone, Germany built 5,966 tanks of all types, while the U.S.S.R. produced an estimated 20,000 and the British 7,500. That year the United States built 30,000 tanks, most of them Shermans.

Fredric Smoler

3 posted on 02/24/2004 12:05:03 AM PST by SAMWolf (You've got to be really scummy to make Clinton look honest. - (Samwise, describing John Kerry))
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; bentfeather; Darksheare; Johnny Gage; Light Speed; Samwise; ...
Good morning to all at the Foxhole!

To all our military men and women, past and present,
THANK YOU for serving the USA!

I hope everyone is doing well this morning. I'm ignoring dr.'s orders for a moment to stop in to say "hello". Looks like I'll be laid up for a short while. It didn't help that I tried to do a little house cleaning Saturday. duuuh.
Now is when a laptop would come in handy. LOL!! But since we don't have one, I'll stop in when I feel I can sit for a few minutes.

Have a fantastic day, everyone! *HUGZ* all 'round.

5 posted on 02/24/2004 3:07:08 AM PST by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
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To: SAMWolf
It's tanks for the memories.


80 posted on 02/24/2004 8:53:38 AM PST by WhiskeyPapa (Virtue is the uncontested prize.)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; Jen; PhilDragoo; All
Evening all.

193 posted on 02/24/2004 6:03:12 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul (Freedom isn't won by soundbites but by the unyielding determination and sacrifice given in its cause)
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To: SAMWolf
"Ironically, the hedgehog obstacles that littered the beaches would later be used to help Allied tanks break through the numerous hedgerows that crisscrossed 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."

Max Hastings writes about this. In the early stages of the battle neither the German nor Allied armor could penetrate the Normandy hedgerows, restricting armor movement to the roads. A single Panther could make advance by road impossible.

When a tank tried to cross a hedgerow the trees and brush, building up underneath the tank, would lift up hard enough so that the tank would loose traction and be stuck (and a sitting duck). Clearing an opening in the hedgerow by hand was impossible because of MG42 fire, natch.

Guys in the field came up with the fix. Steel beams were welded to the front of M4s, pointing forward, about 30" long. These beams had two more beams welded to the front of the first beam, sweeping back, in a Vee shape with an included angle of about 60 degrees. These things looked just like the little arrowheads one draws on one's notes for emphasis, or to find your way around your notes later.

The tank so equipped would push into the hedgerow, get the trees and bushes all snagged onto the apparatus welded on front, and then back out, pulling the hedgerow trees with it. If the opening was still blocked, another similar machine would pull out the rest of the obstacle.

Now the Shermans could get around to the back of the Panthers and destroy them. The Germans never copied this American improvisation, for whatever reasons, probably cultural.

The Germans are no smarter than anyone else. Ask any Pole or Russian, and you will get a strong opinion in this matter!
285 posted on 02/25/2004 12:25:49 PM PST by Iris7 (Lies have no purpose but to deceive the enemy. Lie to yourself, be your own enemy.)
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