I have had the great pleasure of being driven around in an M4 Sherman recently. Of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity of taking lots of photos, both inside and out. Hope you find them useful…..
M4A4 Cutaway: 1 – Lifting ring, 2 – Ventilator, 3 – Turret hatch, 4 – Periscope, 5 – Turret hatch race, 6 – Turret seat, 7 – Gunner’s seat, 8 – Turret seat, 9 – Turret, 10 – Air cleaner, 11 – Radiator filler cover, 12 – Air cleaner manifold, 13 – Power unit, 14 – Exhaust pipe, 15 – Track idler, 16 – Single water pump, 17 – Radiator, 18 – Generator, 19 – Rear propeller shaft, 20 – Turret basket, 21 – Slip ring, 22 – Front propeller shaft, 23 – Suspension bogie, 24 – Transmission, 25 – Main drive sprocket, 26 – Driver’s seat, 27 – Machine gunner’s seat, 28 – 75 mm gun, 29 – Drivers hatch, 30 – M1919A4 machine gun.
The M4 Sherman, officially Medium Tank, M4, was the most widely used medium tank by the United States and Western Allies in World War II. The M4 Sherman proved to be reliable, relatively cheap to produce, and available in great numbers. Thousands were distributed through the Lend-Lease program to the British Commonwealth and Soviet Union. The tank was named by the British for the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman.
The M4 Sherman evolved from the M3 Medium Tank, which had its main armament in a side sponson mount. The M4 retained much of the previous mechanical design, but put the main 75 mm gun in a fully traversing turret. The designers stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production and maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition in a limited number of variants, and moderate size and weight. These factors, combined with the Sherman’s then-superior armour and armament, outclassed German light and medium tanks fielded in 1939–42. The M4 went on to be produced in large numbers, with a total of over 49,000 thousand (of all variants), being produced.
Shermans were being issued in small numbers for familiarisation to U.S. armoured divisions when there was a turn of events in the Western Desert campaign. Axis forces had taken Tobruk and were advancing into Egypt and Britain’s supply line through the Suez Canal was threatened. The US considered collecting all Shermans together so as to be able to send the 2nd Armored Division under Patton to reinforce Egypt, but delivering the Shermans directly to the British was quicker and over 300 – mostly M4A1s, but also including M4A2s – had arrived there by September 1942.
The Sherman would enter combat in 1942 equipped with the 75 mm gun M3, a 40-caliber gun that could penetrate 88 mm (3.5 in) of unsloped rolled homogeneous armour at 100 meters (110 yd) and 73 mm (2.9 in) at 1,000 meters (1,100 yd) firing the usual M61 round. Facing the early Panzer III and Panzer IV in North Africa, the Sherman’s gun could penetrate the frontal armour of these tanks at normal combat ranges, within 1,000 yd (910 m). U.S. Army Intelligence discounted the arrival of the Tiger I in 1942 and the Panther tank in 1943, predicting that the Panther would be a heavy tank like the Tiger I, and doubted that many would be produced. There were also reports of British QF 6 pdr (57 mm) guns being able to destroy the Tiger I. However, this only happened at very close ranges and against the thinner side armour. Due to their misconceptions related to this, and also due to tests that seemed to prove that the 76 mm gun was able to destroy both the Tiger and the Panther, the leadership of Army Ground Forces were not especially concerned by the Tiger I. The tests of the 76 mm were later ruled inaccurate, with Eisenhower even remarking that he was wrongly told by Ordnance that the 76 mm could knock out any German tank.
The higher-velocity 76 mm gun gave Shermans anti-tank firepower at least equal to most of the German vehicles they encountered, particularly the Panzer IV and StuG III. The gun could penetrate 125 mm (4.9 in) of unsloped armour at 100 meters (110 yd) and 106 mm (4.2 in) at 1,000 meters (1,100 yd) using the usual M62 round. The M1 helped to equalise the Sherman and the Panzer IV in terms of firepower; the 48-caliber 7.5 cm KwK 40 (75mm L/48) of the Panzer IV could penetrate 135 mm (5.3 in) of unsloped armour at 100 meters (110 yd) and 109 mm (4.3 in) at 1,000 meters (1,100 yd). The 76 mm gun was still inferior to the much more powerful 70-caliber 7.5 cm KwK 42 (75mm L/70) of the Panther, which could penetrate 185 mm (7.3 in) of unsloped armour at 100 meters (110 yd) and 149 mm (5.9 in) at 1,000 meters (1,100 yd) using the usual PzGr.39/42 round. The 76 mm was capable of knocking out a Panther at normal combat ranges from the flanks or rear, but could not overcome the glacis plate. Due to its 55 degree slope, the Panther’s 80 mm (3.1 in) glacis had a line of sight thickness of 140 mm (5.5 in) with actual effectiveness being even greater. An M4 might only knock out a Panther frontally from point-blank range by aiming for its turret front and transverse-cylindrical shaped mantlet, the lower edge of which on most Panthers (especially the earlier Ausf. D and A versions) constituted a vulnerable shot trap. A 76 mm-armed Sherman could penetrate the upper frontal hull superstructure of a Tiger I tank from normal combat ranges. Although the new gun lessened the gap between the two tanks, the Tiger I was still capable of knocking a M4 out frontally from over 2,000 meters (2,200 yd).
After the heavy tank losses of the Battle of the Bulge, in January 1945, General Eisenhower asked that no more 75 mm M4s be sent to Europe: only 76 mm M4s were wanted.
The Sherman gained grim nicknames like “Zippo” (after the cigarette lighter), “Tommycooker” (by the Germans, who referred to British soldiers as “Tommies”; a tommy cooker was a World War I-era trench stove). Fuel fires occasionally occurred, but such fires were far less common and less deadly than ammunition fires. In many cases, the fuel tank of the Sherman was found intact after a fire.
On to the pictures!
Now the inside……
A great experience!