| Continued from above… Tank |
Allied answer to the panzers
The American M4 'Sherman' Medium tank followed the M3 'General Grant' and incorporated a number of improvements upon it. The 75-mm gun was retained, but was turret-mounted as opposed to the sponson-mounted gun of the M3, and the tank had a lower silhouette. During production, alterations were made to the 2.9-in (75-mm) frontal armour profile.
The Sherman was built by 11 major producers and had several different Marks. The original M4 (Sherman 1) was powered by a rear-mounted Wright Continental R-975 engine used in the M3, and had an all welded hull. The M4A1 (Sherman II) had a cast hull and the same engine, but either a 75 or 76-mm gun. The M4A2 changed to the twin General Motors 6046 diesel engine and a welded hull, and had a similar armament fit; this was known as the Sherman III. The M4A3, again with welded hull, used a Ford V-8 GAA engine (Sherman IV). The 76-mm M4A4 (Sherman V) used a Chrysler power plant and had extra length to accommodate it. The last production Sherman, the M4A6, (Sherman VII) was powered by a Caterpillar D-200A diesel.
The suspension on all models was of the volute spring type. The main armament was backed up by a co-axial .30-in (7.62-mm) Browning machine-gun, another on the glacis plate and a .50-in (12.7-mm) machine-gun on the turret. Over 90 rounds were carried for the main armament. The crew of five had periscopes to ensure good all-round vision when closed down. The tank weighed 32.6 tons, was 19 ft 4 in (5.89 meters) long, 8.7 ft (2.62 meters) wide and 9 ft (2.74 meters) high.
Variations on the tank existed. The Medium Tank M4 (105-mm Howitzer) was armed, as its name implies, with the M4 howitzer. The British, who first used the Sherman at El Alamein, later mounted the 17-pdr anti-tank gun on to the Sherman 'Firefly', of which 600 were built. Duplex Drive equipment was fitted to some Shermans to enable them to cross water obstacles by the erection of a waterproof screen around the hull, and these were used in Normandy and at the Rhine. Flame-thrower and mine-clearance conversions were also used. Over 49,230 Shermans were eventually built.