The Medium Tank M4 was the main tank designed and built by the United States for allied forces in World War II, totaling roughly 50,000 tanks plus thousands more derivative vehicles under different model numbers with different abilities.
In the United Kingdom lend-lease M4s were dubbed General Sherman after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, continuing a practice of naming American tanks after famous Generals.
The British name became popular in the US and the two names are often combined into M4 Sherman or shortened to Sherman.
After WWII, Shermans served the US (in the Korean War) and many other nations world-wide and saw combat in many wars in the late 20th century.
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US Production history
The M4 was the sucessor to the Medium Tank M3.
The M3 design had been influenced by the need to bring it into production as soon as possible for British use where it was known as "Lee" or "Grant".
As a result the main gun was not in a turret but mounted asymmetrically in the hull which restricted its usefulness.
The M4 corrected this shortcoming.
The U.S. Army Ordnance Department designed the M4 medium tank with a 75 mm gun in a traversing turret using the same chassis as the interim M3. The Army standardized the Medium Tank M4 in late 1941 and began mass production of the series.
During the production period, the U.S. Army's seven main sub-designations, M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A4, M4A5, and M4A6, did not necessarily indicate linear improvement: for example, A4 is not meant to indicate 'better than' A3.
Instead, these sub-types indicated standardized production variations, which were in fact often manufactured concurrently at different locations.
The sub-types differed mainly in terms of engine, although M4A1 differed from M4 by its fully cast upper hull rather than by engine; M4A4 had a longer engine system that also required a longer hull, longer suspension system, and more track blocks; M4A5 was an administrative placeholder for Canadian production; and M4A6 also elongated the chassis but totaled fewer than 100 tanks.
Only the M4A2 and M4A6 were diesel while most Shermans were gasoline.
"M4" might refer specifically to the single sub-type with its Continental radial engine or generically to the entire family of seven Sherman sub-types, depending on context.
Many details of production, shape, strength, and performance improved throughout production life without an "advance" to the tank's basic model number; more durable suspension units, safer "wet" (W) ammunition stowage, and stronger armor arrangements such as the M4 Composite which had a cast front hull section mated to a welded rear hull.
Note that the British nomenclature differed from that employed by the U.S.
Early Shermans mounted a 75 mm medium-velocity general-purpose gun.
Although Ordnance began work on the Medium Tank T20 as a Sherman replacement, ultimately the Army decided to minimize production disruption by incorporating elements of other tank designs into Sherman production. Later M4A1, M4A2, and M4A3 models received the larger T23 turret with a high-velocity 76 mm gun M1, which traded reduced HE and smoke performance for improved anti-tank performance.
The British offered the QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) anti-tank gun with its significant armour penetration but a significant initial (later rectified)
HE shortcoming to the Americans but the US Ordnance Department was working on a 90 mm tank gun and declined.
Later M4 and M4A3 were factory-produced with a 105 mm howitzer and a new distinctive mantlet in the original turret.
The first standard-production 76mm-gun Sherman was an M4A1 accepted in January 1944 and the first standard-production 105mm-howitzer Sherman was an M4 accepted in February 1944.
The US accepted in June-July 1944 a limited run of 254 M4A3E2 Jumbo Shermans with very thick armor and the 75 mm gun in a new heavier
T23-style turret in order to assault fortifications.
The M4A3 was the first to be factory-produced with the new
HVSS suspension with wider tracks for lower ground pressure and the smooth ride of the HVSS with its experimental E8 designation led to the nickname Easy Eight for Shermans so equipped.
The US developed a wide array of special attachments for the Sherman;
few saw combat and most remained experimental but those which saw action included the bulldozer blade for Sherman dozer tanks,
Duplex Drive for "swimming" Sherman tanks,
R3 flame thrower for Zippo flame tanks, and the
T34 60-tube 4.5 inch Calliope rocket launcher for the Sherman turret.
The M4 Sherman's basic chassis further undertook all the sundry roles of a modern, mechanized force, totaling roughly 50,000 Sherman tanks plus thousands more derivative vehicles under different model numbers including M32 and M74 "tow truck"- style recovery tanks with winches, booms, and most with an 81 mm mortar for smoke screens,M34 (from M32B1) and
M35 (from M10A1) artillery prime movers, M7B1, M12, M40, and M43
self-propelled artillery, and upgunned M10 and M36 tank destroyers.
As part of the deception plan of Operation Fortitude that drew German attention to the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy, inflatable rubber Shermans were manufactured and deployed across fields in Kent alongside plywood artillery pieces, another vesion of dummy Sherman was made from painted canvas over a steel frame and could be built over a Jeep and driven to simulate a moving tank.
US Service History
During World War II, the M4 Sherman served with the US Army and
US Marine Corps.
US service history accommodated the large transfer of US Shermans to the allied forces of the United Kingdom (including Commonwealth), Soviet Union, Free French government-in-exile, Polish government-in-exile, Brazil, and China.
The US Marine Corps used the diesel M4A2 and gasoline-powered M4A3 in the Pacific.
The US Army Tank Destroyer Command used the diesel M10 tank destroyer (based on the M4A2 chassis) in all theatres.
However, the US Army Chief of the Armored Force Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers ordered that no diesel-engined Sherman tanks be used outside the
Zone of Interior (ZI).
The US Army used all types for either training or testing within the
United States but intended the M4A2 and M4A4 to be the primary
British needs also claimed a large share of the M4 and M4A1.
The first US Shermans in combat were M4A1 used for Operation Torch in November 1942, shortly after the first M4A1 Shermans saw battle with the British 8th Army at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Additional M4 and M4A1s replaced M3 Lees in US tank battalions over the course of the North African campaigns.
The M4 and M4A1 were the main types in US units until late 1944, when the preferred M4A3 with its more powerful 500 hp engine began replacing M4s and M4A1s as the main US version.
However, older M4s and M4A1s continued in US service for the rest of the war.
The first 76 mm gun Sherman to enter combat in July 1944 was the M4A1, closely followed by the M4A3.
By the end of the war, half the US Army Shermans in Europe had the 76 mm gun for better anti-armor work while half had the 75 mm gun for better
HE and smoke work, and some units intentionally kept a mix of both guns.
The first HVSS Sherman to see combat was the M4A3E8(76)W in
After WWII, the US kept the M4A3E8 "Easy Eight" in service with either
76 mm gun or 105 mm howitzer.
The Sherman remained a common US tank in the 1950-1953 Korean War but the Army replaced Shermans with Patton tanks over the 1950s.
The US continued to transfer Shermans to allies which contributed to wide foreign use worldwide.
US Combat performance
Stephen Ambrose states in Citizen Soldiers that, in accordance with
U.S. Army doctrine at the time, the tank was designed to help infantry exploit a breakout rather than to engage in armor vs. armor combat.
In defense, Allied armies deployed infantry anti-tank guns, tank destroyers, artillery fire and airpower to wear down the German armor before launching an armored counter-attack.
In armored offense, American commanders were able to bring overwhelming numbers and airpower to bear.
The United States Army was influenced by the perceived actions of
German tanks in the 1939 Polish Campaign.
The popular conception in the US was that tanks had been used boldly as part of a new system of war called Blitzkrieg.
According to US doctrine the role of defeating German armour fell to tank destroyers such as the M10 Wolverine rather than the medium tanks.
The US Combined Arms team included close air support, artillery, engineers, and a tank component supplemented by the Tank Destroyer concept.
The latter is most closely identified with the Chief of Army Ground Forces, General Leslie McNair who believed towed 57 mm AT guns,
hand-held Bazookas and thinly armoured Tank Destroyers to be superior to friendly tanks for fighting enemy tanks.
Under this doctrine, tanks were supposed to avoid tank-vs-tank combat as much as possible, leaving enemy tanks to the tank destroyers.
In actual combat, McNair's doctrine led to US tanks having weaker guns and less armor protection than their German counterparts,and in the narrow confines of much of the terrain in Normandy,they could not avoid one-on-one encounters with German tanks.
The US Army artillery branch chose the 75 mm gun primarily for its
high-explosive capability rather than for its anti-tank capability.
Nevertheless, when the Sherman first saw combat in 1942, its 75 mm gun, inherited from the M3 Lee, could kill the German tanks it faced in North Africa at normal combat ranges.
In 1943, the 75 mm gun was ineffective against the front of the new medium Panther and heavy Tiger I tanks but the Americans encountered few Panthers or Tigers before D-Day.
The Army continued to favor the 75 mm gun because it was a solid weapon against infantry and other targets.
In 1944-45, Shermans with 105 mm howitzers provided even more powerful high-explosive armament.
After D-Day, the Tigers remained rare but Panthers became about
50% of all German tanks on the Western Front so the Army deployed
76 mm-gun Shermans to Normandy in July 1944.
The higher-velocity 76 mm M1 gun gave Shermans anti-tank firepower comparable to the Soviet T-34/85 and many of the AFVs it encountered, particularly the Pz IV, and StuG vehicles.
With a regular APCBC (Armour Piercing Capped, Ballistic Capped) ammunition, the 76 mm could reliably knock out a Panther only with a shot to its flank.
Firing later HVAP ammunition, the 76 mm could penetrate the frontal armor of the Panther, but this ammunition was usually in short supply.
By the end of the war, 50% of Sherman tanks were equipped with the
76 mm gun.
The 75 mm gun remained better for HE and smoke, so most tank battalions intentionally kept some 75 mm armed Shermans to fulfil the role of smoke layer.
In the relatively few Pacific tank battles, even the 75 mm gun Shermans outclassed the Japanese in every engagement.
The use of HE (High Explosive) ammunition was preferred because
anti-tank rounds punched cleanly through the thin armor of the Japanese tanks (light tanks of 1930s era design) without necessarily stopping them. Although the high-velocity guns of the tank destroyers were useful for penetrating fortifications, Shermans armed with flame throwers also destroyed Japanese fortifications.
There was a variety of types of flame throwers, differing primarily in the type and location of launcher
(and the US used similar devices on other tanks and LVTs, and also used flame-throwing Shermans in Europe).
The Sherman was designed to withstand a 37mm anti-tank gun, but by the end of the war, it was facing the high-velocity 75mm guns of the German Panther and Panzer IV and even the 88mm KwK43 L/71 of the King Tiger. The Sherman had armor protection comparable to other medium tanks of 1942.
By 1944, this was no longer adequate.
While Shermans were able to take on the Panzer III medium tanks in the North African campaigns, they were unable to withstand the weapons mounted on late-model Panzer IV, and Panther and Tiger tanks encountered in Italy and Normandy.
Armor was more evenly distributed and thicker at the side than the PzIV;
the top armor was equal to that of the Tiger, which had a thin top compared to other heavy tanks.
For crew survivability, the M4 had an escape hatch on the hull bottom and, in the Pacific, Marines used this Sherman feature in reverse to recover wounded infantry under fire.
Combat experience indicated the single hatch in the 3-man turret to be inadequate for timely evacuation so Ordnance added a loader's hatch beside the commander's.
Later Shermans also received redesigned hull hatches for better egress.
Early Sherman models were prone to burning at the first hit.
The Sherman gained grim nicknames like 'Tommycooker',
after a World War I portable stove, or
"Ronsons", after the cigarette lighter with the slogan
"Lights up the first time, every time!"
This vulnerability increased crew casualties and meant that damaged vehicles were less likely to be repairable.
US Army research proved that the major reason for this was the use of unprotected ammo stowage in sponsons above the tracks.
The common myth that the use of gasoline (petrol) engines was a culprit is unsupported; most WW2 tanks used gasoline engines and petrol was unlikely to ignite when hit with AP shells.
Further, the diesel-engined M4A2 used by the Marines were considered to be much less prone to burn and explode than the diesel Soviet T-34.
At first a partial remedy to ammunition fire was found by welding one-inch thick applique armour plates to the vertical sponson sides over the ammunition stowage bins.
Later models moved ammunition stowage to the hull floor, with additional water jackets surrounding the main gun ammunition stowage.
This decreased the likelihood of "brewing up".
Progressively thicker armour was added to hull front and turret mantlet in various improved models, while field improvisations included placing sandbags, spare track links, or even logs for increased protection against shaped-charge rounds.
General George S. Patton, informed by his technical experts that the standoff produced by sandbags actually increased vulnerability to shaped-charge weapons (a controversial opinion) and that the machines' chassis suffered from the extra weight, forbade the use of sandbags and instead ordered tanks under his command to have the front hull welded with extra armour plates, salvaged from knocked-out American and German tanks.
Approximately 36 of these up-armored Shermans were supplied to each of the armored divisions of the Third Army in the spring of 1945.
The (rare) M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo variant had thicker frontal armor than the Tiger and Panther.
Intended for the assault to breakout of the Normandy bridgehead, it entered combat in August 1944.
The U.S. Army required the Sherman not to exceed certain widths and weights so that the tank could use a wide variety of bridge, road, and rail travel for strategic, industrial, logistical, and tactical flexibility.
Eisenhower demanded an improved tank from Army Chief of Staff
George C. Marshall, who explained that he couldn't move a larger tank along the rail tracks to the East coast for shipping to Europe.
The comparatively compact size of the Sherman also made it suited for transportation across the Atlantic and for amphibious operations.
According to Ambrose, General George C. Marshall favored the M4 because two Shermans could be loaded on to an LST while only one larger tank could be accommodated.
Spares were readily available, an important consideration when more tanks were lost to mechanical failure than any other cause, including enemy action. Jim Dunnigan, a military analyst and war game designer, states that the number of tanks lost to mechanical failure in American, Soviet, and German armies in World War Two was in the ratio of one to five to ten.
This is a striking testimony to the performance of the Sherman and highlights the relative mechanical unreliability of German tanks such as bedeviled the Tiger.
The spectacular Allied mobility of 1944-45 could not have been achieved with tanks as unreliable as the Tiger or Panther, nor could the spectacular German mobility of 1939-41.
The Sherman had good speed both on and off-road for the era.
Off-road performance varied.
In the desert, the Sherman's rubber tracks performed well.
In the confined, hilly terrain of Italy, the Sherman could often cross terrain German tanks could not.
However, US crews found that on soft ground, such as mud or snow, the narrow tracks gave poor floatation compared to wide-tracked
second-generation German tanks such as the Panther.
Soviet experiences were similar and tracks were modified to give grip in the snow.
The US Army issued extended end connectors or 'duckbills' to add width to the standard tracks as a stopgap solution.
Duckbills were original factory equipment for the heavy M4A3E2 Jumbo to compensate for the extra armor weight.
The M4A3E8 'Easy Eight' Shermans and other late models with wider-tracked HVSS suspension corrected these problems, but formed only a small proportion of all tanks in service even in 1945.
The Sherman tank was comparatively fast and maneuverable, mechanically reliable, easy to manufacture and service, and produced in many
special-purpose variants, whose capabilities differed greatly.
It was effective in the infantry support role.
The Sherman performed well against WWII Japanese tanks, Italian tanks, and the German standard tank of WWII, the Panzer IV medium series.
However, the typical Sherman was inferior in both armor and armament to the German Tiger heavy tanks and Panther "medium"
(heavy by US standards).
Shermans defeated heavier tanks by weight of numbers or superior tactics, using upgunned Shermans working with tank destroyers such as the
M36 Jackson (with a 90 mm anti-tank gun) and the M18 Hellcat
(a mobile, fast tracked vehicle with the same 76 mm gun).
Skilled US Sherman crews and commanders, such as
Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams or
Sergeant Lafayette Poole, were able to knock out dozens of German tanks each.
The majority of losses of Shermans were not in battle with other tanks, but from mines, aircraft, infantry anti-tank weapons and, on occasion,
This should not be surprising considering that the entire strategy of blitzkrieg, as practiced first by the Germans and later by the Allies, was to strike the enemy where they are weakest and wreak havoc in their rear areas, rather than attempting brute-force frontal attacks.
A noted exception would be Battle of Kursk where frontal attack might fare better.
Thus, although their tanks were less powerful, this turned out to be as irrelevant to the outcome of the final half of World War Two as the
French and Russian superiority in tank forces was in the first half.
US armoured forces ultimately triumphed over their German counterparts because of numerical superiority, a more consistent supply of fuel and ammunition, and the allied air superiority at Normandy, with aircraft being the biggest danger to tanks.
According to Belton Y. Cooper's memoir of his 3rd Armored Division service, the Shermans were
the overall combat losses of the division were extremely high.
The unit was nominally assigned by table of organization 232 medium tanks (including 10 M26 Pershing tanks that made it into combat).
648 tanks were totally destroyed in combat, and a further 1,100 needed repair, of which nearly 700 were as a result of combat.
According to Cooper, the 3rd Armored therefore lost 1,348 medium tanks in combat, a loss rate of over 580%.
Cooper was the junior officer placed in charge of retrieving damaged and destroyed tanks.
As such, he had an intimate knowledge of the actual numbers of tanks damaged and destroyed, the types of damage they sustained, and the kinds of repairs that were made.
His figures are comparable to those given in the Operational History of
12th U.S. Army Group: Ordnance Section Annex.
The only other Second World War tank produced in comparable numbers to the Sherman was the Soviet T-34 series, which many critics consider as a contender for best tank of World War II, although it too had high losses during the war.
Compared to the M4 Sherman, the T-34 had lower ground pressure and sloped side armor while the M4's advantages included much better ergonomics and (on late models) fire-resistant "wet" ammunition stowage. Each was a general-purpose medium design that served as the main tank of its respective country in WWII, was upgraded, served into the Cold War, and outfitted allies.
During the Korean War, US Shermans performed well against their T-34-85 adversaries, which could be due to a combination of better training and better equipment such as gunsights and gun stabilization.
M4 Sherman variants
3in Gun Motor Carriage M10 - Tank Destroyer, aka Wolverine
90 mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 - Tank Destroyer, aka Jackson
105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 - self-propelled artillery, aka Priest
155 mm Gun Motor Carriage M12 - GMC M12 with Cargo Carrier M30
(both used Sherman components)
155/203/250 mm Motor Carriages - 155 mm GMC M40, 8 in. (203 mm) HMC M43, 250 mm (10 inch) MMC T94, and Cargo Carrier T30
Flame Tank Sherman - M4A3R3 Zippo, M4 Crocodile, and other
Rocket Artillery Sherman - T34 Calliope, T40 Whizbang, and other
Sherman rocket launchers
Amphibious tanks - Duplex Drive (DD) swimming Shermans and deep wading Shermans
Engineer tanks - D-8, M1, and M1A1 dozers, M4 Doozit, Mobile Assault Bridge, and Aunt Jemima and other mine-clearers
Recovery tanks - M32 and M74 TRVs
Artillery tractors - M34 and M35 prime movers
Foreign variants and use
Lend-Lease Sherman tanks
The Medium Tank M4 was used by several Allied nations around the world during the Second World War, most provided under the terms of Lend-Lease. This catalogues WWII foreign use and foreign variants of Sherman tanks and derivatives based on the Sherman chassis, including for completeness the relatively few non-Lend-Lease foreign Shermans such as license-built versions.
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It was known as the Medium Tank M4 to the US.
The several additional sub-types were named slightly differently, M4A1 through M4A6, primarily to indicate different engines.
Some allies used the US "M4" designation.
The Soviet Union's nickname for it was 'Emcha' because the open-topped figure 4 resembled the Cyrillic letter Ч (pronounced "cha").
Britain and the Commonwealth, however, continuing the practice of naming American tanks after American Civil War generals, giving it the name
General Sherman after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, usually shortened to Sherman
(the US later adopted the name and the practice of naming tanks after generals).
In contrast Britain named the Sherman-chassised M10 tank destroyer in their service Wolverine.
In British usage,
Sherman II=M4A1 and so on.
Additional letters denoted other features; A for 76 mm gun,
B for the 105 mm howitzer, C for the 17 Pounder gun, and
Y for the wider tracked HVSS type suspension.
Sherman I - M4 with 75 mm gun
Sherman Hybrid I - Sherman I with composite hull (cast front, welded rear)
Sherman IB - Sherman I with 105 mm howitzer
Sherman IBY - Sherman IB with HVSS
Sherman II - M4A1 with 75 mm gun
Sherman IIA - M4A1(76)W, Sherman II with 76 mm gun
Sherman IIAY - M4A1(76)W HVSS, Sherman IIA with HVSS
Sherman III - M4A2 with 75 mm gun
Sherman IIIA - M4A2(76)W, Sherman III with 76 mm gun
(unlikely to have been used by UK troops)
Sherman IIIAY - M4A2(76)W HVSS, Sherman IIIA with HVSS
(not used operationally by UK troops)
Sherman IV - M4A3 with 75mm gun
(no Sherman IVs used operationally)
Sherman IVA - M4A3(76)W, Sherman IV with 76 mm gun
Sherman IVB - M4A3(105), Sherman IV with 105 mm M4 howitzer
Sherman IVBY - M4A3(105) HVSS, Sherman IVB with HVSS.
Sherman V - M4A4 with 75 mm gun
Sherman VI - M4A5
(paper designation to prevent confusion with Canadian production)
Sherman VII - M4A6 with 75 mm gun
(delivered to British with Ordnance RD-1820 diesel engine)
Sherman II ARV III - M32B1 TRV (M4A1 Sherman II chassis) recovery vehicle
3in SP, Wolverine - 3in GMC M10 (diesel M4A2 Sherman III chassis) or
M10A1 (gasoline M4A3 Sherman IV chassis) tank destroyer
Conversions and modifications of the M4 by their foreign users included the British-Commonwealth Firefly with potent British QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) anti-tank gun; Adder, Salamander, Crocodile, and Badger flame-throwing Shermans; Kangaroo armoured personnel carrier; Armored Recovery Vehicles (ARV); gun towers, and the specilist military engineering vehicles of "Hobart's Funnies" designed specifically for Operation Overlord ("D-Day") and the Battle of Normandy.
In 1945, the 1st Coldstream Guards at the Rhine fitted Sherman turrets with two 3-inch (60lb) RP-3 rockets on rails to create the Sherman Tulip.
Canada created a prototype anti aircraft vehicle with
four 20 mm Polsten cannons mounted in a turret on Canadian-made
M4A1 hull called the Tank AA, 20mm Quad, Skink.
The Soviets reportedly replaced the US 75 mm gun on some M4A2 with the F-34 76.2mm gun of the T-34 medium tank to create the M4M but discontinued the practice when assured of US ammunition supply.
Grizzly - Canadian-made M4A1 with British-type radio and some with Canadian thinner 15.5 inch CDP tracks, 188 made in 1943.
Tank AA, 20mm Quad, Skink - Canadian prototype anti-aircraft vehicle with four 20 mm Polsten cannons mounted in a turret on a Grizzly hull.
Sherman DD (Duplex drive) - British-developed swimming gear fitted to British, Canadian, and US Shermans.
Sherman Firefly - British Sherman re-armed with 17 pounder Mk V
(76.2 mm) gun with C added to designation (as in Sherman VC).
Sherman Tulip - British Sherman with two 3-inch (60lb) RP-3 rockets on rails fitted to the turret. Used by the 1st Coldstream Guards at the Rhine in 1945.
M4M— Soviet M4A2s reportedly converted by adding an F-34 76.2mm gun, the same gun mounted on the T-34 medium tank.
There was no shortage of U.S. 75mm ammunition, however, so there was little need to continue converting Shermans.
17pdr SP. Achilles IC - British diesel 3in SP, Wolverine (M10) re-armed with 17 pounder gun as used on the Sherman Firefly
17pdr SP. Achilles IIC - British petrol Wolverine (M10A1) re-armed with the 17 pounder gun.
Sherman Bridgelayer - British developments for Shermans included the fascine (used by 79th AD), Crib, Twaby Ark, Octopus, Plymouth (Bailey Bridge), and AVRE (SBG bridge)
Sherman CIRD - Canadian Indestructable Roller Device landmine exploder
Sherman Crab - British Sherman with mine flail, one of a long line of flail devices
Sherman III ARV I - British Amoured Recovery Vehicle conversion of Sherman III (M4A2), similarly Sherman V ARV I and ARV II
BARV - British Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle
Sherman Gun Tower - British field conversion in Italy by removing turrets from old M4A2 Sherman tanks to tow 17 pdr AT gun and carry crew with ammunition
Wolverine Gun Tower - British M10 (M4A2 chassis) or M10A1 (M4A3 chassis) converted by removing turret, 1944-45
Sherman Kangaroo - Canadian Sherman converted into Kangaroo armoured personnel carrier used mainly by Australia.
The first Shermans to be received by the UK were equipped with two
driver-operated fixed machine guns in the hull.
This was a standard feature of very early Shermans and was one of the first things to be dropped from the design.
The first Shermans to see battle were with the British 8th Army at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942.
British and Commonwealth use in Europe was comprehensive, the
Sherman replaced the M3 Grant and Lee tanks and was in the majority by 1944 - the other main late-war tanks being the Churchill and Cromwell.
The British largely used M4, M4A1, M4A2, and later became the primary user of the M4A4.
The Sherman Firefly variant was converted mostly from M4 and M4A4 Shermans, and was used both in Sherman-equipped and Cromwell-equipped units to add extra anti-tank capability.
A 1944-pattern British armored squadron (equivalent to a US company) had one Firefly per troop (platoon) of 4 Shermans.
Later when the Sherman was being replaced in some British units by the Cromwell, the Firefly was retained in Cromwell units until the introduction of the Comet which carried the 77 mm HV, a shortened version of the
QF 17 pounder.
Although the Australian Army received 757 M3 Lee/Grants in 1942 it only recieved three Sherman tanks.
These three tanks were supplied by the UK and were only used for trials purposes.
When the Australian Cruiser tank programme was cancelled in 1943 a proposal was made to replace the entire order of 775 Australian Cruiser tanks with 310 Sherman tanks.
This proposal was not acted on, however.
Australia's first Sherman, a M4A2, arrived in Australia in 1943 with a further two M4s (sometimes mis-labeled as M4A1s) arriving for tropical trials in
New Guinea in 1944.
The results of these trials showed that the British Churchill tank was better suited to jungle warfare's low-speed infantry support than the Sherman.
As a result of these trials the Australian Government ordered
(of which 51 were delivered before the order was cancelled at the end of the war)
and did not order any further Shermans.
Following the war the three tanks were placed on display at Australian Army bases and one of the tanks was later destroyed after being used as a tank target.
The United States officially did not list Canada as a Lend-Lease recipient but it did create the 1941 Joint Defense Production Committee with Canada so that "each country should provide the other with the defense articles which it is best able to produce" and the U.S. American Locomotive Works enabled its Canadian subsidiary to build M4 variants in Canada.
Canada used many of its domestically-built Shermans (Grizzlies) for training and used Grizzlies with U.S.-made Shermans for overseas combat.
The Polish forces also used a wide variety of Shermans.
The Polish 1st Armored Division entered the Battle of Normandy mostly equipped with Sherman Vs (M4A4s) with 75mm guns, and Firefly VC Shermans.
After heavy losses closing the Falaise Pocket and Dutch campain, the division was re-equipped, largely with Sherman IIA (M4A1 (W) 76mm) models.
The Polish crews prefered the new US specification Sherman IIAs and for this reason all other Shermans (including the 17pdr equipped Fireflies) were replaced by Sherman IIAs.
Many of tanks had their entire glacis plate and turret front covered by spare track links in an attempt to improve the tank's armor.
The Polish II Corps, fighting in Italy, primarly used M4A2s (Sherman III) that had been used by the British army in Africa.
However some Firefly ICs and Sherman IB (M4(105mm)) howitzer tanks were also used.
In the Italian campain tank vs. tank battles were more scarce compared to the north-west European campains, and the 75mm cannon tanks were prefered, as their high explosive rounds were more potent than those used by the 76mm and 17pdr cannons and thus could be used with advantage against infantry and other soft targets.
Parts of the Polish First Army also briefly used M4A2 (W) (76mm) borrowed from the Soviet armies after heavy losses in the liberation of Gdansk.
After receiving replacements, the army was re-equipped with T-34s from Russia.
Free French forces used many types.
The French 2nd Armored Division entered the Battle of Normandy with M4A2s in its medium tank companies.
The 5th Armored Division, entering France as part of Operation Dragoon was mostly equipped with M4A4s.
After both units took losses in combat, additional tanks of various models were used to replace the M4A2s and M4A4s, including some M4A1(76mm).
The French also received the sole Lend-Lease M4A3E2 'Jumbo' Sherman and operated the M4A2-based M-10 tank destroyer.
The Soviet Union preferred the diesel Shermans because its native tanks such as the T-34 were also diesel.
Consequently, it was the second largest user (after the United Kingdom) of the diesel M4A2 Sherman with 75 mm gun and the largest use of the M4A2 with 76 mm gun.
Approximately 4,000 M4A2s were employed by the Red Army.
The first M4A2s arrived just before the Battle of Kursk in 1943, but most arrived in 1944/45.
A few M4A2 with HVSS suspension tanks were delivered and employed before war's end.
In Red Army service the Sherman was quite popular.
The 1st Chinese Provisional Tank Group used M4A4 with
75 mm guns in Burma in 1945
The diesel-engined M4A2 ("emcha") used by almost all the allies were considered to be much less prone to burn and explode than the diesel Soviet T-34.
The best anti-tank gun on a WWII combat Sherman was the British
QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) gun, a very high-velocity weapon firing
APDS shells capable of defeating the heavier German tanks.
The 17 pounder had already shown its value in 1943, in Africa as a wheeled anti-tank gun.
It proved an effective weapon against German AFVs.
With the APDS developed for the 17 pounder, the Firefly's performance was increased again.
Although the 17-pounder was an excellent anti-armor weapon, initially the
HE shell provided was weak, making it a poor general-purpose tank gun but the HE shell issue was resolved later.
Postwar Sherman tanks
Postwar Sherman tanks saw extensive use around the world after WWII.
This article catalogues foreign postwar use and conversions of Sherman tanks and variants based on the Sherman chassis.
Chrysler A57 gasoline 425 hp gross @ 2850 rpm
370 hp net @ 2400 rpm
Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS)
25 mph brief level
Range 100 miles @ 160 gal/80 octane
US Foreign Aid Variants
E4 Sherman - Perhaps the last US-made Sherman variants, in the early 1950s US Ordnance depots or private contractors mounted the 76 mm gun in the original, small turret of M4A3 and M4A1.
The US provided these M4A3E4(76) or M4A1E4(76) to allies in Europe and Asia.
HVSS - The US also retro-fitted the late-WWII wider-tracked HVSS suspension to many Shermans and this is sometimes noted after the main vehicle designation.
Sherman Badger - Canada's replacement of its Ram Badger Flame tank, the Sherman Badger was a turretless M4A2 HVSS Sherman with Wasp IIC flamethrower in place of hull machine gun, developed sometime from 1945 to 1949.
The 150 gallons at 250 psi was effective to 125 yards, with elevation of
+30 to -10 degrees and traverse of 30 degrees left and 23 degrees right. This inspired the US T68.
Sherman Kangaroo - From late WWII to the 1960s, Canada converted/used some Grizzlies
(M4A1 Shermans made in Canada with different tracks and radios in 1943), at least one very similar Skink
(prototype Anti-aircraft-gun on the Grizzly hull), and M4A2(76)W HVSS Shermans to Kangaroo armored personnel carriers (APCs).
M32 Chenca - In 1998, Napco International of the USA upgraded M32B1 TRV Sherman-chassis armoured recovery vehicles with
Detroit Diesel 8V-92-T diesel engines.
Sherman VA/M4A4(76) - although never a US production type
(the 1950s E4 conversion was limited to M4A1 and M4A3), at least one source claims that India had one regiment partly equipped with Sherman V
( British/Indian designation of M4A4) with 76 mm guns
(the US 76 mm is not specified but British practice added an A suffix to denote the 76 mm).
Upgunned Sherman - two regiments of Shermans re-armed with the
French 75 mm gun (derivative of the German Panther tank's gun) and referred to as upgunned Shermans.
Repotenciado - Conversions of British Sherman VC and IC Hybrid to include a new armament suite, the 105 mm FTR L44/57 gun
(an Argentine copy of the gun used on the AMX-13), a co-axial MAG-58 machine gun, and turret pintle mounted M2HB machine gun.
M50/60 - Converted Israeli M50/M51 Shermans, refitted with the IMI-OTO 60mm Hyper Velocity Medium Support (HVMS) gun.
Claimed to be the very last fighting Sherman, remaining in Chilean service until 1989, when it was replaced by the Leopard 1V and AMX-30B2.
M4A4 with FL-10 Turret - M4A4 fitted with the diesel engine of M4A2 and the FL-10 turret of the French AMX-13 light tank.
Sherman (Krupp) - Six early salvaged Shermans had a Krupp 75 mm field gun to replace the original gun destroyed during post-WWII scrapping.
Later these tanks were rearmed with 105 mm howitzers M4.
Sherman M-1 - Israeli designation of any Sherman model armed with the 76 mm gun M1.
Super Sherman M-1 - Israeli designation of M4A1(76) fitted with HVSS suspension.
Sherman M-3 (Sherman degem Alef prior to 1956) - Israeli designation of any Sherman model armed with the 75 mm gun M3.
Sherman M-4 (Sherman degem Bet prior to 1956) - Israeli designation of any Sherman model armed with the 105 mm howitzer M4.
Sherman M-50 - Upgraded ex-French M4A3/A4 (HVSS) with the French FN CN 75-50 75 mm gun
(a development of the gun of Sherman's old adversary - the Panther),
as used in the French light tank AMX 13, in the "old" turret fitted with a counterweight.
Entered service in 1950s.
Was used in the Six Days War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973). Sometimes colloquially mis-named as Super Sherman.
M-50 Continental - subvariant with Continental R-975 gasoline engine and VVSS suspension.
50 units converted.
M-50 Cummins - subvariant with Cummins diesel engine and HVSS suspension.
At least 341 were converted.
Sherman M-51 - Upgraded ex-French M4A1 (HVSS) with improved engine and T23 turret modified to fit a shortened variant of the French
FN CN 105 F1 gun with large muzzle brake.
The gun had to be modified to fit and was known as the CN 105 D1.
Was used in the Six Days War and the Yom Kippur War.
Sometimes colloquially referred to as Isherman.
M-50 155mm - The M50 155 mm gun was an open structured self-propelled artillery piece, mounting a single French Model 50 155 mm howitzer.
Was introduced in late 1950s and remained in service until after the Yom Kippur War.
L-33 (Ro'em) - Based on M4 chassis with HVSS, Soltam of Israel developed a huge enclosed superstructure holding an 155 mm howitzer.
An improved engine was fitted to deal with the increased weight.
Was used in the Yom-Kippur War.
Makmat 160 mm - 160 mm mortar mounted on a Sherman chassis.
It was developed in late 1960s and used in the Yom Kippur War and the Lebanon War.
MAR-240 - In place of the turret, a launcher for 36 240 mm rockets was fitted.
These were Israeli made versions of the Soviet BM-24 Katyusha rocket.
MAR-290 - As with the MAR-240 rocket launcher, except mounting four
290 mm ground-to-ground rockets with a 22 km range.
Was used in the 1982 Lebanon War.
Kilshon (Trident) or Kachlilit - The Kilshon was developed to reduce the losses suffered by SAM suppression aircraft by launching anti-radiation missiles from the ground.
The Kilshon was based on turretless hull of the M51 Isherman on which a AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile launcher was mounted.
To deliver the desired range, a specially modified AGM-45 with booster was used.
Later a prototype was developed for use with the AGM-78 Standard
anti-radiation missile, but with the retirement of Shermans from IDF service the Keres (Hook) system was placed onto a heavy truck chassis for the finalized design instead.
Trail Blazer (Gordon) - A recovery/engineering vehicle based on HVSS equipped M4A1s, it featured a large single boom crane
(as opposed to the A-Frame of the M32) and large spades at the front and rear of the vehicle to assist in lifting.
It could also tow up to 72 tons.
Sherman Medical Evacuation Tank (Ambutank) - A radical conversion of the M4 with the turret removed and the powerplant (changed to a diesel engine) moved to the front of the tank.
A medical team and four casualties could be carried in an armoured compartment at the rear.
Early vehicles were based on M4A1 hulls with VVSS suspension and are often referred to as "VVSS version".
Later vehicles used hulls with HVSS suspension and were fitted with a big boxy superstructure.
This version is often referred to as "HVSS version".
Many were used during the Israeli-Egyptian War of Attrition (1968-70)
and the Yom Kippur War.
Eyal Observation Post Vehicle - A Sherman that had the turret replaced with a 27 m (90 foot) tall hydraulically erected observation platform.
This was used near the Suez Canal as a mobile observation post, before the Yom Kippur War.
Canada left all its wartime Shermans in Europe, giving them to the Dutch and Belgian armies.
In 1946, Canada purchased 300 M4A2 76mm (W) HVSS Shermans.
Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) operated a squadron of
US-loaned M4A3(76)W HVSS in the Korean War.
The Shermans were replaced in the Regular Force with the Centurion in the late 1950s, and remained in use in reserve armoured regiments until 1970.
Canada used Grizzly/Skink Kangaroo APC variants into the 1950s and beginning in 1954 transferred at least 40 to Portugal, some of which were found in a Portuguese scrapyard in 1995.
When Canada's post-WWII M4A2(76)W HVSS Shermans were obsolete, it also converted some to Kangaroos and used them into the 1960s until replacement by M113s.
A proposed purpose-built Canadian "Bobcat" APC never materialized.
Italy used Shermans with 75 mm and 17 pdr gun and 105 mm howitzer. Portugal, Denmark, and Yugoslavia used E4 Shermans, which had the
retro-fitted US 76 mm gun.
Belgium and The Netherlands used the A1, A2 and Fireflies until the late fifties; the howitzer version was much longer in use: the Dutch Marine Corps only phased them out in the late seventies.
France used numerous Shermans till the early fifties; these were then partly taken over by the Gendarmerie who employed them during the various (attempted) coups of 1961 and 1962.
British India possessed a number of Shermans at the time of the 1947 Partition and the M4 found itself in both Indian and Pakistani inventories.
In the 1960s, India operated M4A3 and M4A4 both with 76 mm gun and there is a rumor that some Shermans had French armament.
Pakistan received E4 Shermans, which had the retro-fitted US 76 mm gun.
At the time of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, Pakistan owned 200 Shermans re-armed with 76 mm guns.
The Sherman fought on both sides of the
Second Kashmir War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
The Japan Self Defense Forces received 250 M4A3(76)W HVSS and
80 M32 TRV IN 1954.
The indigenous Type 61 only slowly replaced American tanks over the 1960s.
The Israeli IDF used American M4 Shermans as early as the 1948 war, with 35 purchased from Italian scrapyards and 14 operational by the end of the war (some necessitated re-arming with the Krup 75 mm field gun).
In IDF usage, it is the M4A1 with 76 mm M1 gun and HVSS suspension which was named Super Sherman M-1 (not the M-50 or M-51).
By late 1953 Israel had 76 operational Shermans (including repaired) and
In March 1956, Israel began to mount French guns on M4A3 and M4A4 hulls to create the Sherman M-50.
The first 25 M-50s were finished just in time for the October 1956
Operation Kadesh in the Sinai against the Egyptian Army.
The first 50 tanks had Continental R-975 gasoline engine and
VVSS suspension, the rest had Cummins diesel engine and HVSS suspension.
In 1960s, 180 M4A1(76) Sherman tanks began conversion to the diesel Sherman M-51 with HVSS and 105 mm gun.
Both M-50 and M-51 saw combat in the Six-Day War and also were employed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
M-50 Continental were retired by 1972. M-50 Cummins and M-51 were gradually phased out in late 1970s to early 1980s.
Egypt acquired M4A4 and fitted them with the diesel engine of M4A2 and the FL-10 turret of the French AMX-13 light tank.
Syria possessed at least one M4A1 chassis at some time during 1948-1956.
Uganda acquired a number of ex-Israeli M4A1(76)W with both VVSS and HVSS and at least some with smoke discahrgers and used them during the
Idi Amin regime.
Latin-America used the Sherman for a long time after WWII.
The Chilean army acquired ex-Israeli Shermans to convert to their
M-60 variant with 60 mm HVMS gun.
Chile used Shermans into 1989, and some claim that Paraguay was the last country in Latin America to use the Sherman tank.
After Mexico signed the 1947 Rio Treaty it received 25 Sherman tanks and in 1998 it upgraded its Sherman-chassis M32 Chenca TRV.
1965 Indo-Pakistan War
On September 10, 1965, at Assal Uttar, the Indian Deccan Horse (Shermans), 3 Cavalry (Centurion) and the 8 Cavalry (AMX)engaged
six Pakistani Armoured Regiments, the 19 Lancers (Patton), 12 Cavalry (Chafee), 24 Cavalry (Patton) 4 Cavalry (Patton), 5 Horse (Patton) and
6 Lancers (Patton).
The Indian M4A3(76) and M4A4(76) ambushed M47/48 Patton tanks from a sugercane field at 550-750 yards and "The Fighting Fourth" ultimately captured about 97 Pakistani tanks in destroyed/damaged or intact condition.
This included 72 Patton tanks and 25 Chaffees and Shermans.
32 of the 97 tanks, including 28 Pattons, were in running condition.
The Indian forces lost 32 tanks.
Fifteen of them were captured by the Pakistan Army, mostly Sherman tanks.
One of the largest tank battles since World War II, this victory over
Pakistani Pattons led to the site of the battle at Khemkaran earning the name Patton Nagar (Patton City).
Chronology list of wars/conflicts with Shermans -
1939-1945 World War II
1948 Arab-Israeli War
1950-1953 Korean War
1956-1957 Suez Crisis
1965 Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, aka Second Kashmir War
1967 Six-Day War
1971 Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
1973 Yom Kippur War
Cooper, Belton Y. Death Traps:
The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1998. ISBN 0-89141-670-6.
Read with caution.
This book is a wonderful memoir and tribute to the men who fought in and serviced the tanks.
However, when the author strays from his area of expertise
(tank maintenance) he commits numerous inaccuracies to paper.
Rodrigo Hernandez Cabos, John Prigent.
M4 Sherman Osprey Publishing ISBN 1-84176-207-5
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^Nyx-Valentine arrived in our community and started whipping everyone into a frenzy with her relentless desire to bring the Artistic Nude and Fetish galleries to the fore. 9 years later, and it's safe to say that Nyx is not only a leader as a photographer in these galleries, but she has also established herself as a much saught after model. ^... Read More