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

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So I've been working on this page.




Sherman Tank Fuel Systems: Fuel tanks, Lines, and Valves, plus Carbs and Injectors


Sherman Tank Fuel Systems: The Complete fuel Systems for each Sherman model, eventually.

I have good manuals for the A57, Ford GAA and GM 6046, but do not have a good manual for the R975, at least one installed in a Sherman tank. I do have one for an SPG, but the fuel tanks are very different.  I’m sure I’ll find TM9-731AA someday even if I have to order it from  a company in France! For now, the wife is not convinced this is a good place to spend money, but I may be able to convince her in the future.

The Ford GAA fuel system for the M4A3, M36B1 AND M10A1 vehicles. 

The Fuel system in the Ford GAA equipped vehicles are all pretty similar, but for now this will focus on the M4A3 75 and 76 tank hulls, and this would include the M36B2. Even these tanks have a slightly different fuel tank layout.

Fuel-tanks-and-lines-plan-view-f03-6IMPR Fuel-lines-side-view-F03-8IMPROVED-FLAT-

These images show the layout of the fuel tanks in the M4A3,  it also shows the routing of the fuel lines and gives all the part numbers for the items shown. 

By today’s standards the fuel system on the M4A3 is very simple. It has a lot in common with automotive systems of the time, and this technology didn’t change much all the way up into the 80s when fuel injection started to become more common on gas powered US automobiles.  Anyone who’s ever worked on a carbureted vehicle wouldn’t be lost working on the M4A3 Sherman.


The carburetors were conventional two barrel carbs from Bendix-Stromberg, and I’m sure just about anyone familiar with a 2 barrel carb could rebuilt one.  The linkage tying the two carbs together was pretty simple and actuated one carb, then the other, making tuning them easier, though, good mixture and fuel distribution to the cylinders had to be pretty uneven.



There was an interesting addition to the carbs, they added a carburetor adaptor, with its own set of butterfly valves, these were controlled by the engine’s throttle governor,  and as the motor reach max RPM, this butterfly valves in the adapter would actually close to prevent the engine from overspeeding.





Depending on the model, the Sherman had four fuel tanks, in dry storage tanks and the M36B1, they have four tanks, but they work like two big tanks, and have one filler and shut off valve per pair on the back deck.  On the wet hulls, the fuel tanks are separated into four individual tanks, each with its own filler and shut off valve.  The tanks were steel, and easy to remove, with the motor out, for repair.


There were filters on each tank  on the wet tanks, while the dry tanks had a filter up on top of the engine compartment, just before the fuel pump. The fuel pump was cam driven off a port on the motor,  and one version was actually an ACDelco part, and it was a pretty typical diaphragm fuel pump.




One interesting feature of the fuel system was the hand priming pump in the drivers position. This was on all models, though it varied from in the dash to mounted in front of the driver for its location.  This allowed the driver to pump a little fuel right into the intake to help get the massive beast started.


The  fuel shutoff valves were operated from inside the tank. They were on the rear firewall and depending on the type of fuel tanks there were two or four of them. If you review the pictures above and below, you will note, the tank layout diagrams show 4 tanks and 4 fuel shut off valves for the wet tanks, and the two tanks made from four tanks, with two shut off valves for the dry tanks, but the firewall photos show only two cut off valve handles on the late firewall, can one handle turn off two tanks?






The fuel tanks were accessed from the rear engine deck, there were five armored covers, or three, two or four for the gas tanks, and one for the gas tank for the auxiliary generator. In the images below you can see the various rear deck configurations.








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On 12/19/2017 at 1:28 PM, Priory_of_Sion said:



Post this in the WOT/WT forums and report on the whinging and gnashing of teeth.

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If you look close, you can see a weld line, right above the angled part of the added armor over the ammo rack, these are the composite hull M4's so a welded M4 hull with a big M4A1 like casting welding to the front to reduce welding time.  The improved large hatch welded hulls eliminated most of the welding the composite hull was designed to eliminate so the got phazed out. 


Chrysler produced M4s, M4A4s, M4A3 76 and 105 tanks, and the M26, and I'm probably forgetting something. 

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18 minutes ago, EnsignExpendable said:

Ooh, here's a fun bit to rile up the wehraboos



Anyone who has experience with tracked vehicles knows it has more to do with ground pressure, tractive effort and the tractive material, than simply "teh trax". 


Sadly most box-boos think a fat broad track equals "bettar".  

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26 minutes ago, EnsignExpendable said:

Ironically, Shermans with extended end connectors showed poorer traction somehow. I'd dive deeper into the subject, but the Mud and Snow Committee documents are incredibly fucking boring. 

Yep, because tractive effort versus  applied power upon a given surface is a far more complex "thing" than many want to consider. Especially people just focused on "whull muh tonk". 


That is a lot of what made that early T-34 "plank" track make sense.  It would work when few others would, short of a full on pedrail system. 

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News Post 14: Happy New year! 2017 was a good year for the Sherman Tank Site, 2018 should be even better!

The Sherman Tank site has been up for just over two years.  The website is paid up for another year, and I have some very  interesting books on the way that should expand the selection of rare technical drawings.  I do not know how the quality on these new manuals coming will be, so, I don't know how much cleanup work there is to do, and I'm not even through 25% of the M4A3 stuff I currently have.

I got some interesting new books for Christmas.

Patton's Juggernaut, The Rolling 8-ball, 8th Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division, 15 extraordinary Achievements.  by Albin Irzyk. 

He commanded the 8th Tank Battalion in the 4th AD and liked the Sherman. You can find his defense of it, called Tank versus Tank here.  I think this is going to be a great book, and General Irzyk will be 101 tomorrow!

I also got, Forging the Thunderbolt, by Gillie, it looks to be a very good history on the US Armored forces from the beginning until 45.

Last but not least I have a Armored Strike Force, the photo history of the 70th Tanks Battalion in WWII, by Roberts

I also have TM9-731A the M4A1 manual! I am super excited. If that wasn't enough, I have the ORD 9 G207 Illustrated Parts Listing for M4A1 Sherman Tank.

I have high expectations for the Sherman tank site in the coming year. I will try and do at least one new content page or post a week, and one news post a month.

I think the two latest things are:

WOT versus WT, part II a new review

And the Ford GAA fuel system page


Also, one final note, I wanted to link to the Jocko Podcast. Jocko, is a retired US Navy Seal Officer and is interested in Military History and self improvement through improved leadership, and uses book reviews and actual in person interviews with many of the authors.  His subjects range from the Rape of Nanking, to his own experiences in Ramadi, but has also had men like the intriguing Dr Jordan peterson, if you can't find an interesting subject or two in his well over 100 podcasts, well, I don't know what to say about that.

My favorite is Ep is 95 with Captain Charlie  Plumb and Army Air Force P-38 pilot Jim Kunkle. The three men have a very interesting 3 hour conversation with Jim, with some stories about Charlie mixed in and both men are interesting and have fascinating stories to tell.

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19 minutes ago, EnsignExpendable said:

Wow, those are some really good numbers. I've just broken 100k pageviews per month for December 2017 (according to Google Analytics, anyway). What's your secret?


I have no idea, clearly your content is more interesting, maybe Russian stuff isn't as popular still.   Maybe it's all the photos, I get lots of link back from Pinterest.  

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A solid pretty good on the G-207   this TM9-731, is usable but not good.  The one they are sending should be almost original level quality. I've already got a good diagram on the third, rarely seen hydraulic turret drive system though. So now I'll be able to do a good post on all three types, the Westinghouse all electric, the Oilgear system, and the Generic system, that looks like a german version of the Oilgear.... well not that bad, since it worked.  


I'll now be able to do a R975 specification booklet with really great parts drawings, like I did for the ford GAA. 




The odd drive system

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On 12/30/2017 at 10:26 PM, Meplat said:

Yep, because tractive effort versus  applied power upon a given surface is a far more complex "thing" than many want to consider. Especially people just focused on "whull muh tonk". 


That is a lot of what made that early T-34 "plank" track make sense.  It would work when few others would, short of a full on pedrail system. 


You ain't kidding.  I dare anyone to actually read Chapter 14 of Ogorkiewicz's Technology of Tanks, "Soil-Vehicle Mechanics".

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On 1/4/2018 at 12:07 AM, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

How cool is this?


That's how most radials are laid out. The real interesting bit is on the cranks for mills turning Hydromatic constant speed props, because then you need to be pumping oil to the front(splined) section for it's governor and to run the pitch change piston.


9 hours ago, Walter_Sobchak said:


You ain't kidding.  I dare anyone to actually read Chapter 14 of Ogorkiewicz's Technology of Tanks, "Soil-Vehicle Mechanics".

If you're dealing with tracked vehicles of any kind it should be required reading.  That chapter is great if you're wondering why you see bogged down excavators and tracked skid-steers. (other than cranial rectal inversion syndrome on the part of operator or supervisor).



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Hmmm I'm trying to think were I saw numbers for that, I don't think it's in the normal manuals.   I'll poke around though.  Seems hard to believe a good American Ton would be that much heavier than a British Ton,  maybe that's the extra weight of the gun and mount on the 17 pounders?

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