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Sherman Tank in Action Photos

Jim Baker

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Oh boy, I would not want to be manning that mortar when the M4 crew fired that 76mm. The muzzle blast would be very unpleasant. The only place you're reasonably safe from muzzle blast in inside the hull, even then you're feeling the effects of recoil on the whole tank. The recoil of the gun and ejection of the cartridge case inside of the turret is certainly exciting enough.


Some more "cool" images of Sherman. I read in a biography of a WWII tanker that the driver would sleep with only one blanket. When it got cold enough to wake him up he would start the engine to keep the engine(s) coolent from freezing.

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But what I wonder about is why they didn't produce a Sherman with a decent gun at first.

They sure knew that the enemy tanks generally had more powerful guns installed?




The answer to this question is rather complicated and doesn't have much to do with Sherman but here is a brief history. In 1940 the Ordnance Department did recognize the capability and future of German tanks. The Armored Forces Board made specifications for heavy and medium tanks. Ordnance was already working on designs and experimental models. The heavy tank design was the T-1 program that produced a tank with armor that would have been capable of withstanding the 88mm guns later mounted on German Tiger and Panther tanks. This tank was standardized as M-6 and mounted a 3 inch (76mm) main gun with a 37mm coaxilly mounted with the main gun. Early models had .50 MGs fixed in the hull front.


In this view of the T-1E2 (M-6) the coax 37mm gun is visibile just above the 3 in. main gun barrel. The .50 MGs are visible at hull front, a flex mount .50 is at the rear of the turret and a .30 caliber MG is mounted in a cupola on the turret.




M-6 compared to an M-3 medium (Lee).




The trials medium tanks was the T-20, T-22 and T-23 series. These trial tanks had various models of 75-76mm main guns and some trials were made of mounting 90mm guns on the T-23. These trials eventually led to the delelopment of T-26 (M-26) Pershing with 90mm main gun.


T-23 medium with M4 suspension.




The tactical doctrine of the Armored Force required a tank with great manuverability and speed. It was the job of the tank destroyers to take on enemy armor. The M-4 was allready in production by the time the M-6 heavy was turned down by the armored force because it did not fit into established tactical doctrine. The Armor Force Board did ask ordnance to design a turret and mount for the 90mm gun to be married to the M-4 hull. Subsequent developments demonstrated that a 90mm gun could be mounted but a new suspension had to be designed to carry the weight. And so it goes.


This has been a very brief explanation of what was going on with American tank design and I'm not sure this thread was the place to post it. I thought that this related to the position of M-4 medium Sherman in the the scheme of tank development and doctrine.


Tank design is a exercise in compromize. The factors to be considered are weight, defense (survivability), offense, engine and suspension. For example if you want the tank heavily armored you need a larger (more powerful) engine to move it and you may sacrafice mobility because of the limitations of the engine. You also need a suspension capable of supporting the weight, which will add more to the gross weight. Bigger gun, more weight, requireing more engine power and heavier suspension resulting in loss of mobility and survivability.


Technology has a great deal to do with finding the formula for a tank that mets the requirements and for which there is manufacturing capability. M-4 was the answer to the quizz in 1941.


As the Germans were put on the defensive the requirement of their tanks changed to vehicles more suitable to defense. The Tiger and Panther were better armed and armored than M-4 medium in 1944-45, but had those tanks existed in 1940-41 we would have fielded something that would have had the capability of taking them on and surviving the combat.

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Quick questionGuru/Jim..did the M4A6 ever make production ?






M-4 (welded hull,Continental engine):

6748 75mm gun (Brit. Sherman I) ...

........Late production composition hull (Brit. Sherman Hybrid I)

1641 105mm howitzer (Brit. Sherman IB)

8389 Total


M-4A1 (cast hull, Continental engine):

6281 75mm gun (Brit. Sherman II)

3396 76mm gun (Brit. Sherman IIA)

9677 Total


M-4A2 (welded hull, GM 6046 diesel engine)

8053 75mm gun (Brit. Sherman III)

3230 76mm gun (Brit. Sherman IIIA)

11283 Total


M-4A3 (welded hull, Ford GAA engine):

5015 75mm gun (254 rebuilt to M-4A3E2) (Brit. Sherman IV)

3370 76mm gun (Brit. Sherman IVA)

3039 105mm howitzer (Brit. Sherman IVB)

11242 total


M-4A3E2 (M-4A3 75mm gun Assault "Jumbo")

(rebuilt from M-4A3 75mm gun)


M-4A4 (lengthened welded hull, 5 Chrysler six-cylinder engines)

7499 75mm gun (Brit. Sherman V)


M-4A5 (US designation for Canadian "Ram")


M-4A6 (lengthened welded hull, Capterpiller D-200 diesel engine)

75 75mm gun (Brit. Sherman VII)

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"13 January 1945. A tank destroyer of the 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, 3rd Armored Division, moves past disabled German tank to engage the enemy 1/2 mile ahead, south of Langlir, Belgium." US Army signal Corps photo #412456.






"Tanks of the 3rd Armored Division fire at German positions on the other side of the hill near Trou-De-Bra, Belgium, to pave the way for an attack in that sector. 2nd Bn, 32nd Regt, 3rd Armd Div., FUSA." US Army Signal Corp photo #455772.





"3rd Armored Division tank just hit minefield near Manhay - sappers going forward to clean it out." US Army Signal Corps photo #456531.

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This image of an M-4 tank crew and all of the equipment and gear used by them, including ammunition load was taken from Tanks & Armored Vehicles 1900-1945 by Col. Robert J. Hicks. Although this is a litho print and scanning it hasn’t improved it most of the items can be recognized.


The tank commander is one of the two sergeants standing at right, the other sergeant is the gunner. All wear the standard tanker jacket, helmet and goggles. They also all carry .45 caliber pistols, holsters and pistol belts.


The items in front of the right of the left soldier are (top to bottom) gas masks, bedrolls w/M1910 canteens in M1917 mounted canteen covers, and three angle head flashlights on top of unidentified rolled canvas items.


To the right of the tools in front of the middle soldier are spare track end connectors, spare track pads and grousers that are used to provide additional traction in mud and icy conditions. The five boxes in front of the tools are the periscopes with the lenses to the left. In front of the periscopes is the telescopic sight for the main gun. In front of the sight is a M1928A1 .45 ACP SMG, to the right two M1919 .30 caliber MGs (1 coax and 1 in a bow flex mount at the asst. driver/radio operator position. The M2 .50 caliber MG is at center, and to the right, a binocular case, a spare .50 cal. Barrel, 2 spare .30 ca. barrels in cases, and a collapsed tripod for ground mounting one of the M1919 Mgs.


In front of end connectors are small arms spare parts, a jointed cleaning rod in carrying case and a combination tool that appears to have wrenches and the head space and timing gauges for the .50 cal. MG. The three pole like objects at right center are the jointed cleaning rod for the main gun. The two angular objects between the main gun cleaning rod and the tow cable are the track jacks used to bring the ends of the track together for final assembly. The object at right rear is the tarp that will completely cover the tank.


The bright cans at right front are probably oil and grease. To the left is a canvas collapsible bucket and behind appears to be smoke grenades Center front are stacks of main gun ammunition that are probably a mix of smoke, high explosive and anti-armor rounds. Just behind the right hand stack of main gun ammunition are two white hot shell handling mitts the loader uses to clear expended cases out of the turret. Left of the main gun ammunition are 18 boxes of belted .30 caliber ammunition. The boxes behind appear to be .50 ammunition.


Among the tools at right is a gas can nozzle although no gas cans are visible here (possibly out of view at right). The web objects inside the tow cable appears to be an engine sling, used to take out and put in the engine.




I believe this picture was taken fairly early in the war because of the M1917 canteen covers, which should be M1910 dismounted covers. The M1928A1 SMG would be replaced with the M3 SMG as it was much handier inside a tank. Although apparently not universally issued shoulder holsters would be authorized later for armor vehicle crew.

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Great photos guys!! I'm lovin this, please keep them coming.






Great information. Thanks very much for posting it.



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...
Charlie Flick

Hey Jim:


More great pics. Tank you, er, thank you.


Here is another rocket launching Sherman. Date, location and unit are unknown.


BTW, do you have an ID on the unit or location of your post #40 in the forest?



Charlie Flick




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I believe post number 40 is of soldiers of the 3rd Armored Division during the Battle of the Bulge.

Probably the Manhay area.



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The following are taken from a few series of tanks in color;



Driver of a Sherman tank.



Tankdozer in the Pacific.



Wrecked Sherman.



Tank crew (probably in France).



Tank crew.



Sherman Recovery Tank.



HVSS Sherman with added armor.



Camouflaged Shermans - Pacific.



Sherman of the 14th Armored Division with sandbags as additonal protection.


The quality is not great, but I thought these could be interesting.



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Hi Erwin,


Nice shots, a pity they aren't clearer.





Thanks for the rocket shot. I had this one, but your's is much clearer. I don't know who these guys are, but I think Erwin is probably right with the 3rd AD. Here's a closer shot of the guys in/on the background "Jumbo".


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Jim, these are screen captures from a couple of wartime color movies.

Hence the not so good quality.


Btw, I think the one of the 14th AD Sherman might be the same as the black and white photo earlier in this topic.



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A couple more:



A Sherman named "Beelzebub" in the Pacific.



USMC Sherman firing.



Heavily protected Shermans - PTO.



Sherman flame thrower on Japanese positions.



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Those are excellent. I love the firing shots. Unlike today, decent firing shots are a little rare. I have to run, but will dig up a few tonight.



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