Jump to content
Sturgeon's House
Jeeps_Guns_Tanks

The M4 Sherman Tank Epic Information Thread.. (work in progress)

Recommended Posts

I have no content to add, I just wanted to say that when he was on comieboo TS, The_Warhawk said that a comprehensive review of sherman-ology would be a huge undertaking, due to the mass of variants, probably second only to a comprehensive review of T-72-ology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no content to add, I just wanted to say that when he was on comieboo TS, The_Warhawk said that a comprehensive review of sherman-ology would be a huge undertaking, due to the mass of variants, probably second only to a comprehensive review of T-72-ology.

 

Yeah, I figure this will be a multi month undertaking.  I figure Version 1 will be ready in a month or so for the WOT forums, and it will have all the basic stuff covered, then I'll get into all the variants etc. 

 

I think the most daunting task in the near future is going to be putting notes in.  

 

Anyway, what do you guys think so far? Any suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, ok this thing has gotten so long; it won’t fit in one post. How should I handle this?

 

I'm up to 16,853 words, and added sections about the crew, and 11 different factories that produced the Sherman. I also expanded and cleaned up the opponents section and went through the whole thing tweaking several times. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Hmmm, ok this thing has gotten so long; it won’t fit in one post. How should I handle this?

 

 

I'm up to 16,853 words, and added sections about the crew, and 11 different factories that produced the Sherman. I also expanded and cleaned up the opponents section and went through the whole thing tweaking several times. 

 

 

 

 

Add it in subsequent posts. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zaloga took these graphs and crunched the numbers to get his figures.

bxwWdOS.png

eIk3lrf.png

ALSx0Hd.png

 

I would use this with conjunction with Zaloga's commentary. 

 

Forczyk's Commentary on Death Traps

Death Traps, a poorly written memoir by Belton Y. Cooper promises much, but delivers little. Cooper served as an ordnance lieutenant in the 3rd Armor Division (3AD), acting as a liaison officer between the Combat Commands and the Division Maintenance Battalion. One of the first rules of memoir writing is to focus on events of which the author has direct experience; instead, Cooper is constantly discussing high-level or distant events of which he was not a witness. Consequently, the book is riddled with mistakes and falsehoods. Furthermore, the author puts his main effort into an over-simplified indictment of the American Sherman tank as a "death trap" that delayed eventual victory in the Second World War.
 
Cooper's indictment of the Sherman tank's inferiority compared to the heavier German Panther and Tiger tanks ignores many important facts. First, the Sherman was designed for mass production and this allowed the Allies to enjoy a 4-1 superiority in numbers. Second, fewer than 50% of the German armor in France in 1944 were Tigers or Panthers. Third, if the German tanks were as deadly as Cooper claims, why did the Germans lose 1,500 tanks in Normandy against about 1,700 Allied tanks? Indeed, Cooper claims that the 3AD lost 648 Shermans in the war, but the division claimed to have destroyed 1,023 German tanks. Clearly, there was no great kill-ratio in the German favor, and the Allies could afford to trade tank-for-tank. Finally, if the Sherman was such a "death trap," why did the US Army use it later in Korea or the Israelis use it in the 1967 War?
 
There are a great number of mistakes in this book, beginning with Cooper's ridiculous claim that General Patton was responsible for delaying the M-26 heavy tank program. Cooper claims that Patton was at a tank demonstration at Tidworth Downs in January 1944 and that, "Patton...insisted that we should downgrade the M26 heavy tank and concentrate on the M4....This turned out to be one of the most disastrous decisions of World War II, and its effect upon the upcoming battle for Western Europe was catastrophic." Actually, Patton was in Algiers and Italy for most of January 1944, only arriving back in Scotland on 26 January. In fact, it was General McNair of Ground Forces Command, back in the US, who delayed the M-26 program. Cooper sees the M-26 as the panacea for all the US Army's shortcomings and even claims that the American offensive in November 1944, "would have succeeded if we had had the Pershing" and the resulting American breakthrough could have forestalled the Ardennes offensive and "the war could have ended five months earlier." This is just sheer nonsense and ignores the logistical and weather problems that doomed that offensive.
 
Cooper continually discusses events he did not witness and in fact, only about one-third of the book covers his own experiences. Instead of discussing maintenance operations in detail, Cooper opines about everything from U-Boats, to V-2 rockets, to strategic bombing, to the July 20th Plot. He falsely states that, "the British had secured a model of the German enigma decoding machine and were using it to decode German messages." Cooper writes, "not until July 25, the night before the Saint-Lo breakthrough, was Rommel able to secure the release of the panzer divisions in reserve in the Pas de Clais area." Actually, Rommel was wounded on 17 July and in a hospital on July 25th. In another chapter, Cooper writes that, "the British had bombed the city [Darmstadt] during a night raid in February," and "more than 40,000 died in this inferno." Actually, the RAF bombed Darmstadt on 11 September 1944, killing about 12,000. Dresden was bombed on 13 February 1945, killing about 40,000. Obviously, the author has confused cities and raids.
 
Even where Cooper is dealing with issues closer to his own experience, he tends to exaggerate or deliver incorrect information. He describes the VII Corps as an "armor corps," but it was not. Cooper's description of a counterattack by the German Panzer Lehr division is totally inaccurate; he states that, "July 11 became one of the most critical in the battle of Normandy. The Germans launched a massive counterattack along the Saint-Lo- Saint Jean de Daye highway..." In fact, one under strength German division attacked three US divisions. The Americans lost only 100 casualties, while the Germans suffered 25% armor losses. The Official history calls this attack "a dismal and costly failure." Cooper wrote that, "Combat Command A...put up a terrific defense in the vicinity of Saint Jean de Daye..." but actually it was CCB, since CCA in reserve. On another occasion, Cooper claims that his unit received the 60,000th Sherman produced, but official records indicate that only 49,234 of all models were built. Cooper claims that the 3rd Armored Division had 17,000 soldiers, but the authorized strength was about 14,500. Can't this guy remember anything correctly?
 
Cooper's description of the death of MGN Rose is virtually plagiarized from the official history and a number of articles in ARMOR magazine in the past decade reveal that Rose was an extreme risk-taker. Reading "Death Traps," the uninitiated may actually believe that the US Army was badly defeated in Europe. Cooper even claims that, as the 3rd Armored Division approached the Elbe River in the last days of the war that, "with our division spread out and opposed by three new divisions, our situation was critical." If anybody's situation was critical in April 1945, it was Germany's. Actually, the 3rd Armored Division had one key weakness not noted by Cooper, namely the shortage of infantry. The division had a poor ratio of 2:1 between tanks and infantry, and this deficiency often required the 3AD to borrow an infantry RCT from other units. While the much-maligned Sherman tank was far from perfect, it did the job it was designed for, a fact that is missed by this author.
 
Extra Comments

Check out the fighting at Arracourt in September 1944 where standard M4s from 4th AD destroyed two brigades worth of Panthers for only 14 Shermans, a kill ratio of better than 5-1. Yes, the German tankers at Arracourt were rookies and the US tankers had the advantage - just like Barkmann and Whittman had over Allied tankers in June 1944. That's war. At Arracourt, Shermans routinely destroyed Panthers. For more, check out my upcoming book Panther vs T-34 for more info on Panther's actual abilities. Certainly it would have been great if the Sherman had a better main gun in June 1944, but the "Sherman was a bad tank" school are only looking at one aspect. The Sherman's mechanical reliability was a far more important factor than a gun with better penetration. I keep looking for instances where German tanks "slaughtered" US tanks in 1944-45 (ie kill ratios of 2-1 or 3-1 or better) and can't find any major such instances (2-3 tanks lost 1 1 Tiger or Panther, yes, but not whole companies like on the Eastern Front.

 
 

Actually, comments such as "It took about 5 Shermans to kill 1 Panther, of which the Panther would kill 3" are not facts, they are unsubstantiated opinions. Any analysis of actual tank losses reveals that US tank losses were not three times German tank losses or even double. Far More US tanks were destroyed by AT guns and Panzerfausts than German tanks and the humble StuG III accounted for far more successes than Panthers. One look at the German tank "aces" reveals that aside from Barkmann(Me -> Barkmann's success is very questionable, Richard Anderson suggests Barkmann knocked out two Stuarts and come trucks at his corner), there were few Panther aces on the Western Front, but a fair number of successful Pz IV and StuG III commanders. US tank crew losses were not catastrophic as you are suggesting, heavy in some units, but far less than infantry units. On the other hand, the Panzerwaffe had far fewer veterans by December 1944 and had to fight a two-front war (three if you count Italy). The idea that the Sherman was only suitable for the Pacific is ipso facto absurd, since it was the Sherman that won the war in the ETO. If we had to wait for the Pershing, the war would either have dragged into 1946 or the Soviets would have been sitting on the Rhine.

 

I also have some information in this thread about the M4 and its casualty rates. There's some cool statistics there like 29% of frontal hits of Tigers and Panthers were penetrations. 

 

Geez, am I getting my math right? Based on Zaloga's charts there were 30 Sherman vs Panther engagements, wherein a total of 20 Shermans were destroyed in exchange for 72 (!) Panthers. Total Shermans engaged was around 200 versus 150 Panthers.

 

Some kill ratio for the Panther.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Geez, am I getting my math right? Based on Zaloga's charts there were 30 Sherman vs Panther engagements, wherein a total of 20 Shermans were destroyed in exchange for 72 (!) Panthers. Total Shermans engaged was around 200 versus 150 Panthers.

 

Some kill ratio for the Panther.

 

I believe that data also holds up my assertion that the advantage of being a Sherman in a US armor formation is a greater advantage than being on the defensive or firing first, but not both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FACT: All Shermans look beautiful in the glow of the late-afternoon sunlight.

Vne32Pt.jpg

 

Also, I never wanted to really complain, but I always thought this guy should have been marked as an M4A1E8, but I'd feel like such a nerd for even suggesting it

 

 

Nice, and it is an M4A1E8, or M4A1 (76)W with HVSS. Though the W is a tad redundant, since all large hatch hulls were wet, well except the 105 gun tanks. ;)

Edited by Jeeps_Guns_Tanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny thing about the M4A1E8, it was the very last version to leave the production line.  The final models were produced in August of 45, after production of all other models had stopped.  If you want to see more M4A1E8 tanks, go to Indiana.  There are 13 of them on display in front of various veterans halls and public parks in that state.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Report of The New Weapons Board - War Dept. - April 27th 1944

 

Tanks: Combat troops have definite ideas as to what improvements should be incorporated in tank design. First, the Board inquired as to what they considered the most important features in atank. The replies were unanimous: the gun was of first consideration; second came dependability;third-whatever armor they could get after the first two requirements were met; fourth-nothing was to be introduced in stowage or otherwise that would interfere in any way with carrying the maximum amount of ammunition. With respect to the gun for the medium tank, they demand larger caliber and higher velocity. The T25 and T26 tanks with the 90-mm gun meet the requirement for more gun power, as does the M4 tank with the 76-mm gun. With respect to ammunition, they want nothing to interfere with ready rounds and they are willing to forego watered ammunition containers if this additional protection involves reducing the number of rounds of ammunition that can be carried. The M4 tank is good and is well liked by everyone.However, the fact that the M4 is the outstanding tank of the war to date should not deter us from giving them a better one, especially when a tremendous improvement in battle efficiency may be attained.

 

I am intrigued that, according to this document, tankers didn't seem to care about wet storage if it meant reducing ammo capacity by any amount. This also sorta refutes idiots who claim that [x] tank was bad because they have a replacement for it already. Why wouldn't you want to give troops a better tank even if the one you have already works fine? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Report of The New Weapons Board - War Dept. - April 27th 1944

 

 

 

 

I am intrigued that, according to this document, tankers didn't seem to care about wet storage if it meant reducing ammo capacity by any amount. This also sorta refutes idiots who claim that [x] tank was bad because they have a replacement for it already. Why wouldn't you want to give troops a better tank even if the one you have already works fine? 

 

Same thing happening right now with the M4 and M855. "They sought replacements, which means they were defective". It's a political game, just trying to dig at your opponent in any way you can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I don't know of any tanks just sitting around in Cali, this state sucks for that kinda thing. 

 

I did know that little fun fact, I can't remember if I noted it above in the M4A1 section. 

Its funny, Cali has several private collections and museums, but very few tanks outside of VFW or American Legion halls.  Whenever I am feeling in need of some company of the Sherman variety, there is a M4A3 on display about a ten minute drive from my house.  I also have a few M60's, an M48 and a M43 SPG within ten minutes of my house.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's mainly old ships and old airplanes here in Washington state with old artillery parked in front of the usual places. Fort Lewis has an interesting collection of old armor at its museum which is visible from I-5 and if you don't mind being in the same zipcode where Brock works.

 

Fort_Lewis_Military_Museum_-_tanks_in_ya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Sturgeon
      The subject of this initial post is going to be much more specific than the title, but since it will probably evolve into an broader debate anyway I figured I might as well roll with it.
       
      Over the past few weeks, I've been watching the recent Burns' documentary on the Vietnam War. In it, I noticed something I had suspected for a long time: At the height of the M16's troubles in Vietnam, VC and NVA forces were primarily equipped with (probably Chinese) derivatives of the Type 3 milled AK-49. Almost all the images in the documentary up to 1969 of North Vietnamese forces that show enough detail to tell depict milled receivered guns with lightening cuts. Images from a quick GIS support this:
       

       

       

       

       

       







       
      Virtually all of these weapons are Type 3s, and it's very likely that the vast majority of them are Chinese Type 56s (which came in both removable, and fixed folding bayonet versions).
       
      Interestingly, Type 1 AK-47s did actually see service in Vietnam as well - AFAIK the Chinese never made Type 1s, so this would necessarily have to be a Russian gun!


       
      OK, so what's the significance of all this? It's certainly no secret that the Type 3 AK was a prevalent rifle during this time period in Vietnam. Consider that, in contrast to the M16 of 1970, the M16 of 1968 and prior was a very troubled weapon. Bad ammunition, lack of chrome lining, and lack of support in the form of cleaning kits made the gun very difficult to use and keep clean. Due to teething troubles that had little to do with the design itself, the M16 failed right when soldiers and Marines needed the support of a reliable rifle most - in the brutal fighting of 1960s Vietnam. The rifle also had (minor) durability issues, on top of this. The lower receiver buffer tower was a weak point of the design, as were the handguards. The plastic bridges of the cooling vents at the top of the two piece handguards are in a number of photos shown to be broken off - not a good thing when it is these that are supposed to protect the rifle's gas tube from damage. There's little evidence to suggest that the durability problems were a significant issue (though they would be fixed in the A2 version of the 1980s), but on top of the functioning issues they must have given the US soldier or Marine of the time period a very negative impression of their weapon. This impression was only made worse by the ubiquity of the Type 3 AK among enemy troops.

      In contrast to the M16, the Type 3 AK was a weapon with nearly 20 years development behind it. What teething troubles there were with the Kalashnikov's basic design (and there were some serious ones) had been winnowed out and patched over long since. Further, the Type 3 AK with its solid forged, milled receiver represents perhaps the most durable and long-lasting assault rifle ever developed. This was not on purpose, in fact the Soviets desired a rifle that would be almost disposable. The later AKM, which perfected the stamped sheet metal receiver the Russians truly desired, was lifed by its barrel. When the barrel was shot out, the rifles were intended to be discarded (a practice that continues today). American rifles - including the M16 - were designed to be rearsenaled and rebarreled time and time again, serving over many decades and tens of thousands of rounds, potentially. The Type 3 AK, which was designed as a production stopgap between the troublesome Type 1 of 1947-1951, and the AKM, used a heavy-duty receiver not due to Russian durability requirements, but their desire for expediency. A rifle with a milled receiver could enter production - albeit at greater cost per unit - much earlier, while Russian engineers perfected the stamped model. As a side effect, they produced a highly durable weapon, whose receiver could serve virtually indefinitely (as the Finns proved recently).
       
      To US troops, this must have seemed like a huge slap in the face. Why did these rice farmers get a durable, reliable weapon, while Uncle Sam fielded the toylike "junk" M16 to his finest? On top of everything these troops were dealing with - body count quotas, vicious close-range ambushes, friendly fire, and all else, it's no surprise that the veterans who went through that feel very strongly about the M16. It didn't matter that the AK overall was a much less refined and effective weapon in theory than the M16, or that the M16 by 1970 was a quite mature and reliable weapon, the morale hit of having a rifle so inferior in reliability and durability gave the M16 a reputation in those early years that it has barely shaken even today. 
    • By Vicious_CB
      http://soldiersystems.net/2018/05/14/nswc-crane-carbine-mid-length-gas-system-testing-shows-increased-performance/
       
      So in Crane's testing of the URG-I vs M4A1, the numbers make sense except for this one. Maybe you ballistic gurus can answer this because I have no idea.
       

       

       
      How can you have 2 significantly different mean muzzle velocities at 100 yards when they both started off with nearly the same muzzle velocity, out of the same length barrels with the same twist rate? It cant be stability since that is based on starting velocity and twist rate.  Is there some kind of magic that the midlength gas system imparts on the bullet that causes it to have less velocity decay or is this just a statistical artifact? 
       
    • By sevich
      I realize that sandbags provide little to no armor protection, but soldiers still used them on tanks. Would they mitigate the effects of HE warheads, or the blastwave of HEAT warheads?
    • By Walter_Sobchak
      This is a must watch for all Sherman tank fans.  
       

×