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  • M4 Sherman (Medium Tank, M4) Medium Tank

    The American M4 Sherman Medium Tank formed the backbone of the World War 2 Allied armored offensive and went on to see extended action in the following Korean War.

     Updated: 4/1/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The M4 Sherman series of medium tanks proved an invaluable asset to Allied operations North Africa, Europe and the Pacific theaters of war in World War 2. The Sherman proved a relatively inexpensive, easy-to-maintain and - perhaps most importantly - an easy-to-produce combat system that more or less won the ground war for the Allies through sheer numbers. Similar to production efforts on the part of the Soviet Union with their T-34 tank system, the M4 Sherman was the same class of tank weapon under an American guise. Despite her reach, it was outclassed in the important combat-related categories when coming up against the later-stage German Panzer tanks. The M4 proved to be relatively weak in comparison to these German systems by its lack of a potent main gun and relatively inadequate armor protection for her crews and vital systems. If the Sherman had an advantage over her contemporaries, it was in her speed, battlefield reliability and simply her quantitative presence regarding in any given engagement of the day.

    Europe Changes Everything
    Events in Europe, following the German invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939, necessitated a change to American tank design philosophy. To this point, America had put more emphasis on the development of light class tanks with only a smattering of resources going into medium tank development. The appearance of the German Panzerkampfwagen IV medium tanks running rampant across Polish defenses raised awareness on the part of the Americans, whose congress was still reluctant to release money to the military to upgrade their forces as Poland was, more or less, viewed as a less-than-capable military power of the time - the results were rather expected. However, that all changed once the French defenses suffered the same type of defeat. France was considered a major military power for the time and to see it dismantled by Germany's use of coordinated land and air power came as quite a shock across the world. Now with Paris under control of the Nazis, the US Congress had little reservations (or choice for that matter) in releasing millions of dollars in an effort to revamp the aged World War 1-era American armed forces.

    The German Panzerkampfwagen IV (or simply Panzer IV) was originally intended as an infantry support tank. The presence of the mighty Soviet T-34 tank soon forced the Panzer IV to take on a "truer" tank-versus-tank battlefield role in which the Panzer could effectively engage the T-34's in head-to-head combat. The Panzer IV, therefore, was appropriately up-gunned and up-armored to meet this new Red challenge and went on to become the most produced tank in the German Panzer ranks. Such was the success of the Panzer IV that they were even fielded as late as the 1960's under the Syrian flag in the Six Day War - a true testament to the design's reach. The Panzer IV would go on to become the M4 Sherman's primary adversary across the North African and European fronts of World War 2.

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    M4 Sherman (Medium Tank, M4) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Medium Tank
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): American Locomotive / Detroit Tank Arsenal / Lima Locomotive among others - USA
    Production: 50,000

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 5
    Length: 19.16 feet (5.84 meters)
    Width: 8.60 feet (2.62 meters)
    Height: 8.99 feet (2.74 meters)

    Operating Weight: 31 tons (28,400 kg; 62,611 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: None.
    Nightvision Equipment: None.

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Continental R975 C1 9-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine developing 400 horsepower at 2,400rpm.

    Maximum Road Speed: 24 mph (38.5 km/h)
    Maximum Road Range: 120 miles (193 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    1 x 75mm main gun
    1 x .50 caliber Browning M2 turret-mounted anti-aircraft machine gun.
    1 x .30-06 caliber co-axial mounted machine gun
    1 x .30-06 caliber bow-mounted machine gun

    1 x 76.2mm main gun OR 105mm main gun

    Other Sherman systems were fitted with 81mm smoke mortars (for screening) flamethrowers and 155mm howitzers.

    97 x 75mm projectiles
    300 x .50 caliber ammunition
    4,750 x .30-06 caliber ammunition

    Global Operators / Customers

    Argentina; Austria; Bangladesh; Belgium; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Cuba; Denmark; Egypt; Ethiopia; France (Free France); Nazi Germany (captured); Greece; India; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Italy (post-war); Indonesia; Japan (post-war); Jordan; Laos; Lebanon; Malta; Mexico; Myanmar; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Saudi Arabia; Syria; South Africa; South Korea; Soviet Union (Lend-Lease); Sri Lanka; Taiwan; Turkey; Uganda; United Kingdom; United States; Vietnam; Yemen; Yugoslavia

    Model Variants

    T6 - Pilot Model Designation by Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

    M4 - 1 x 75mm main gun (some 105mm versions as well); welded hull (some with cast front and welded sides); gasoline Continental R975 radial engine.

    M4(105) - M4 fitting a 105mm howitzer.

    M4(105) HVSS - M4 fitting a 105mm howtizer; fitted with HVSS suspension system.

    M4A1 - Continental radial engine; single-piece cast hull; 75mm OR 76mm armament.

    M4A1E4 - Upgraded with 76mm M1 series gun.

    M4A1(76)W - Upgraded with 76mm M1 series gun; cast hull; gasoline Continental R975 radial engine.

    M4A1E8 - Widetrack HVSS suspension systems.

    M4A1(76)W HVSS - Widetrack HVSS suspension systems; 76mm main gun.

    M4A1E9 - Upgraded M4A1 models with 76mm main gun.

    M4A2 - 1 x 75mm main gun OR 76mm main gun; welded hull; diesel GM 6046 2x6 engine.

    M4A2E8 - Widetrack HVSS suspension systems.

    M4A2(76)W HVSS - Widetrack HVSS suspension; 76mm M1 gun.

    M4A3 - Fitted with Ford GAA V-8 gasoline engines; 75mm, 76mm or 105mm main guns; main US Army operational Sherman.

    M4A3(75) - 75mm M3 main gun

    M4A3(105) - 105mm M4 howitzer cannon

    M4A3E2 "Jumbo Sherman" / "Cobra King" - Increased armor; revised turret angles; track-fitted Grousers; 75mm OR 76mm main guns; welded hull; Ford GAA V8 gasoline engines.

    M4A3E4 - 76mm M1 main gun

    M4A3(76)W - 76mm M1 main gun

    E8 - Experimental Designation for ultimate M4A3E8 production model.

    M4A3E8 "Easy Eight" - Widetrack with HVSS suspension system; 1 x 76mm M1 main gun; increased armor protection; welded hull; gasoline Ford GAA V8 engine.

    M4A3(76)W HVSS - Widetrack with HVSS suspension system; 1 x 76mm M1 main gun; increased armor protection; welded hull; gasoline Ford GAA V8 engine.

    M4A3E9 - Widetrack with HVSS suspension system; 1 x 105mm M4 howitzer cannon; gasoline Continental R975 radial engine.

    M4A3(105) HVSS - Widetrack with HVSS suspension system; 1 x 105mm M4 howitzer cannon; gasoline Continental R975 radial engine.

    M4A3W - 1 x75mm main gun; welded hull; gasoline Ford GAA V8 engine.

    M4A4 - Fitted with Chrysler A57 Multibank engine; welded and lengthened hull; 1 x 75mm main gun; models becoming the Sherman "Firefly" tank destroyers mounting the QF 17-pounder main gun.

    M4A5 - Reserved for Canadian Sherman production; never used.

    M4A6 - 1 x 75mm main gun; cast front with welded sides lengthened hull; diesel Caterpillar D200A radial engine.

    105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7B1 (M7 "Priest") - 105mm self-propelled howitzer based on the M4A3 Sherman chassis.

    155mm Gun Motor Carriage M12 - 155mm self-propelled howitzer.

    Cargo Carrier M30 - Based on M12 sans gun and ammunition storage.

    155mm Gun Motor Carriage M40 - Self-propelled 155mm howitzer; based on M4A3 chassis with HVSS suspension

    8in Howitzer Motor Carriage M43 - Self-propelled 8" howitzer.

    3in Gun Motor Carriage M10 "Wolverine" - Tank Destroyer; based on M4A2 Sherman chassis.

    3in Gun Motor Carriage M10A1 "Wolverine" - Tank Destroyer; based on M4A3 Sherman chassis.

    90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36 "Jackson" - Tank Destroyer; based on M10A1.

    90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36B1 - Tank Destroyer; based on M4A3 Sherman chassis and hull.

    90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36B2 - Tank Destroyer; based on M10; diesel engine.

    Tank Recovery Vehicle M32 - Fixed superstructure; sans turret; winch; 81mm smoke mortar.

    Tank Recovery Vehicle M32B1 - M32 systems converted from M4A1 Shermans.

    Tank Recovery Vehicle M32A1B1 - M32B1 systems fitted with HVSS suspension; later models nixing the 81mm mortar.

    Tank Recovery Vehicle M32B2 - M32 systems converted from M4A2 Shermans.

    Tank Recovery Vehicle M32B3 - M32 systems converted from M4A3 Shermans.

    Tank Recovery Vehicle M32A1B3 - M32B3 brought to M32A1B1 standard.

    Tank Recovery Vehicle M32B4 - M32 systems converted from M4A4 Shermans.

    M74 Tank Recovery Vehicle - Based on M32 and converted from M4A3 Shermans with HVSS suspension systems; fitted with crane, tow winch, auxiliary winch and utility winch.

    M74B1 - Similar to M74; converted from M32B3 systems.

    M34 Prime Mover - M32B1 TRV systems converted to artillery tractor by Chester Tank Depot.

    Sherman DD "Duplex Drive" - Amphibious M4 Sherman

    M4 Mobile Assault Bridge

    M4 Dozer - Fitted with dozer blade to front hull

    T15 - Mine Resistant Sherman

    E1 - Mine Resistant Sherman

    E2 - Mine Resistant Sherman

    Mine Exploder R1E1 Roller "Earthworm" - Armor-plated discs

    Mine Exploder T1E2 Roller - Development Model; mine-clearer; twin forward 7-disc systems.

    Mine Exploder T1E3 "Aunt Jemima" - Twin forward 5 x 10" discs

    Mine Exploder M1 Roller "Aunt Jemima - Same as T1E3.

    Mine Exploder T1E4 Roller - 16 discs in forward unit

    Mine Exploder T1E5 Roller - Development Model; mine-clearer; based on T1E3 but with smaller wheels.

    Mine Exploder T1E6 Roller - Development Model; mine-clearer; featured serrated discs

    Mine Exploder T2 Flail "Sherman Crab I" - British-designed mine-clearer with forward-mounted flails.

    Mine Exploder T3 Flail - Development Model; British-designed flail system; based on British-designed scorpion concept.

    Mine Exploder T3E1 Flail - Development Model; based on T3; extended arm structures.

    Mine Exploder T3E2 Flail - Development Model; based on T3E1; rotors replaced with large steel drum.

    Mine Exploder T4 "Crab II" - British-designed mine flail.

    Mine Exploder T7 - Development Model; smaller rollers with twin discs each.

    Mine Exploder T8 "Johnny Walker" - Steel plunger system meant to stomp the forward ground area.

    Mine Exploder T9 - 6-foot Rollers

    Mine Exploder T9E1 - Based on T9; lightened weight.

    Mine Exploder T10 - Development Model; remote-controlled mine-clearer.

    Mine Exploder T11 - Development Model; fitted with six forward mortars.

    Mine Exploder T12 - Development Model; fitted with 23 forward mortars.

    Mine Exploder T14 - Development Model

    Mine Excavator T4 - Development Model; fitted with standard straight plough.

    Mine Excavator T5 - Based on T4; fitted with v-shaped plough instead.

    Mine Excavator T5E1 - Based on T4; fitted with v-shaped plough instead.

    Mine Excavator T5E2 - Based on T4; fitted with v-shaped plough instead.

    Mine Excavator T5E3 - Based on T5E1 and T5E2; adjustable dozer.

    Mine Excavator T6 - Based on T5; non-adjustable dozer

    Mine Excavator T2 - Based on T4 and T5; adjustable dozer

    Mine Excavator E1 - Based on T4 and T5; adjustable dozer

    Mine Excavator E2 - Based on T4 and T5; adjustable dozer

    Sherman "Firefly" - British conversion of M4 and M4A4 models as tank destroyers; 1 x Royal Ordnance QF 17-pounder main gun.

    Rocket Launcher T34 "Calliope" - Rocket Artillery Vehicle; fitted with 60 x 4-6" rocket tubes.

    Rocket Launcher T34E1 - Based on T34; fitted with 14 rocket tubes.

    Rocket Launcher T34E2 - Based on T34; provision for launching 7.2" rockets.

    Rocket Launcher T39 - Enclosed box mounting; 20 x 7.2" rockets.

    Rocket Launcher T40 "WhizBang" - Fitted with 20 x 7.2" rockets.

    M17 - Same as T40.

    Rocket Launcher T72 - Based on T34 with shorter tubes; never produced.

    Rocket Launcher T73 - Based on T40; 10 x firing tubes; never produced.

    Rocket Launcher T76 - Development Model; rocket launcher; based on M4A1 Sherman; fitted with 7.2 rocket launcher; sans main gun.

    Rocket Launcher T105 - Development Model; rocket launcher; based on M4A1 Sherman; rockets fired from enclosed case; sans main gun.

    Multiple Rocket Launcher T99 - Development Model; twin enclosed box mounts fitting 22 x 4.5" rockets.

    M4A3R3 Flame Thrower "Zippo" - Fitted with flame thrower.

    Grizzly I Cruiser - Canadian-built Shermans; production by Montreal Locomotive Works.