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The M4 Sherman was a medium tank that was used by the United States, Great Britain and other Allied nations, during World War II.[1]

Description

The first M4 Tank, the M4A1, had an armament consisting of a 75 mm gun, two 7.62 mm Browning M1919s, one mounted coaxially and one in the bow, and a 12.7 mm Browning M2HB on top of the turret. It was about 6.35 meters long and weighed about 30 tons. The M4 Sherman was widely used by the Allies and some that were captured were even used by the Axis powers. It utilized a crew of five and had a 400 bhp Continental R-975 engine that was capable of propelling the Sherman at speeds of up to 40.2 km/h. Among the crew was the gunner, the commander, and the driver.[2] The Sherman also had a vertical volute suspension system and 5 speed forward, 1 speed reverse transmission.

Some 40,000 to 50,000 Shermans were manufactured during the war.

Variants

The M4A2 to M4A6 tanks all had varied differences that included different engines or armor thickness. Others had different hulls as well as different turrets. Despite all the differences, all M4s had a mount on top of the turret for a 12.7 mm Browning M2HB. The M4A2 was not used much by the US Military and it was also sent to the Eastern Front to assist Soviet forces.[3] The M4A3, however, was widely used, especially by the United States Military. It had a M1 76 mm main gun and five man crew.

The M4A3 Sherman also had a subvariant called the M3A3E2 Sherman, or "Jumbo", which had thicker armor, a revised turret, and a welded hull. The M4A4 Sherman included a Chrysler A-57 engine which ran on gasoline and its armor had a thickness of about 12 mm to 110 mm. Its weight was around 34 tons and it had a length of about 5.9 meters. The M4A5 was actually a Canadian tank, and there was only a small number of M4A6 tanks built and they were not used in combat.

The Sherman VC Firefly was a British modification of the Sherman. One of its rather impressive features was a 77 mm 17-pounder anti-tank gun. It also had a redesigned recoil system. There were three variants of the Sherman Firefly, which first appeared in 1944. The first one was the Sherman I, which was based on a normal M4 Sherman chassis. The second was the Sherman I Hybrid which was also based on the M4, but it was made with welded and cast parts. The third variant was the Sherman V which was based on the M4A4 Sherman. Like all of the other Sherman variants the Firefly had a crew of five. The armament was a the 77 mm main gun and a Browning M1919. The Firefly was the only allied tank that could contend with German Tiger tanks at distance. The M4 Sherman also had other variants that were based on it and served different purposes. Some of these included the M7 "Priest", the M4A3 Sherman "Jumbo", the M10 Tank Destroyer which was based on a M4A2 chasis, the M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle, the M4 Dozer, the Sherman DD which was notably used at the D-Day Landings; it had propellers in the back so it could go through water, the T1E3 Mine Exploder, and the M3A3R3 Sherman "Zippo", or "Crocodile", which was a flame tank.

The M4A1 Sherman itself even had a Canadian variant that was called the Grizzly I Cruiser Tank. It had a number of modifications differentiating it, though, including increased armor protection.

History

M4A3 Sherman

An M4A3 Sherman

The M4 Sherman tank was used throughout World War II on almost every front. The T-34 was the only tank that beat the M4 Sherman's production numbers. The M4 Sherman was used in crucial battles such as El Alamein and Normandy. Unfortunately for Sherman crews, German anti-tank crews and German heavy tanks such as the Tiger proved to be a very dangerous threat. The M4 Sherman was also used in the Pacific Theater where it fought against Japanese tanks such as the Type 97 Chi-Ha. In this area of operations, the Shermans were better than the Chi-Ha because the Sherman's armor was thicker than the Chi-Ha, and the M4 Sherman also had better firepower. A large number of M4s and other types of Shermans were given to other Allied Nations including Great Britain, France and Belgium through the Lend Lease Program.[4]

References

  1. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/vehiclesarmor/p/M4Sherman.htm
  2. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=40
  3. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/usa/tanks-medium/m4a2.asp
  4. http://ww2total.com/WW2/Weapons/Vehicles/Tanks/US/Sherman/-tank/M4-Sherman.htm


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