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US SHERMAN Tank Facts
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Old 09-29-2007
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Default US SHERMAN Tank Facts

Medium Tank M4A3 E8
"Sherman IV"

In 1944, the M.4 "Sherman" medium tank was going to reach the top of its development. The need to supply plants for the ever increasing tank production required the reorganization of productive layouts, standardization of components, and adoption of engines which could be produced rapidly and in large quantities.

This latter was achieved with the adoption of the powerful and reliable liquid-cooled 500 bhp V-8 Ford gasoline engine.






Weight: 33.7 tons
Dimensions: 7.54 x 2.99 x 3.00 mt
Armor (max): 108 mm (4.25 inches)
Primary armament: 1x76 mm gun
Secondary armament: n1x .50 MG + 2x .30 MG
Crew: 5
Engine: liquid-cooled V-8 Ford
Fuel: 80 octane gasoline (168 gallons)
Engine oil: 32 quarts
Horsepower: 500 (gross) 450(net)
Range: 160 km
Speed (max - route): 42 km/hr
Maximum Grade: 60 per cent
Maximum Trench: 2.13 mt
Maximum Vertical Wall: 0.60 mt
Maximum Fording Depth: 0.91 mt

The M.4 A-3 E8 detailed data are the following :

ARMOR
Type : Turret, cast homogeneous steel; Hull, rolled and cast homogeneous steel; Welded assembly

Hull Thickness Actual Angle w/vertical
Front, upper 2.5 inches 47 degrees
Front, lower 4.25 to 2.0 inches 0 to 56 degrees
Sides1.5 inches 0 degrees
Rear 1.5 inches 10 to 22 degrees
Top 0.75 inches 83 to 90 degrees
Floor, front 1.0 inches 90 degrees
Floor, rear 0.5 inches 90 degrees

Turret Thickness - Actual Angle w/vertical
Gun shield 3.5 inches 0 degrees
Front 2.5 inches40 to 45 degrees
Sides 2.5 inches0 to 13 degrees
Rear 2.5 inches 0 degrees
Top 1.0 inches 90 degrees

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By the Summer of 1943, the list of required modifications for the Sherman's, resulting from battle experience as well as from development and test programs, had greatly increased. The British offered the QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) anti-tank gun with its significantly better armor penetration to the American's but the US Army's 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 76 mm-gun Sherman was an M4A1 accepted in January 1944 and the first standard-production 105 mm-howitzer Sherman was an M4 accepted in February 1944.

Among the improvements the wet stowage for ammunition was adopted for reducing the risk of fire in case the tank was hit on the less armored sides (ammo was normally dry stowed in the tank sponsons). On the 75mm and 76mm tanks the ammunition was relocated from the sponsons to water protected racks below the turret. Ten boxes on the hull floor held 100 75mm round and required 37.1 gallons of water. An additional gallon protected the 4 round ready stack on the turret floor. In the 76mm gun tanks, the ammunition also was located on the hull floor with 30 rounds on one side of the drive shaft and 35 on the other. These containers held a total of 34.5 gallons of water. The 6 ready rounds were carried in a box on the turret floor filled with another 2.1 gallons. To prevent freezing during cold weather, water solutions of ethylene glycol were frequently used in wet stowage racks, while corrosion inhibitors (e.g: Ammudamp) were added to water to avoid problems with rust.

The major improvement, however, was that involving the complete redesign of the tank's suspensions. Battle experience had proved in fact the short life of the original vertical volute spring suspension of the late models M3s due to the tank's increasing weight (bigger guns required bigger turrets, etc.) and to the need of larger tracks. In response to these requirements a new horizontal suspension was developed : 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.

The American experimental designs were identified as E8. The M.4 tanks equipped with the new, HVSS were therefore, nicknamed "Easy Eight". Its main armament, as said, was a powerful 76mm gun capable of delivering an AP round at a 780 mt/sec. muzzle speed (piercing capacity 101 mm at 1,000 yds) or firing at maximum distance of approximately 15,000 yards.

Production started in the first months of 1944 and continued through April 1945. The "Super Sherman" M.4 A-3 E8 became the standard tank of the 3rd and 7th US Armies in Europe. Although it could not compete on a One-on-One basis neither with the big German tanks (Panthers and Tigers) nor, if that had been the case, with the new T34-85s, its technical reliability and adequate armament, coupled with the US Army magnificent logistic organization and unlimited supplying capacities, guaranteed the M.4 A-3 E8 a prolonged, honorable life. It bravely soldiered in Korea as well as in the Middle East and equipped, in the post-war years, many Western allied armies.

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