Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Scale (2024) Special Forces

Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4)

Tank Destroyer / Medium Tank

United Kingdom | 1944

"The Sherman Firefly became one of the more important Sherman variants of World War 2 - the first to sport an effective Panzer-killing 76mm main gun."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4) Tank Destroyer / Medium Tank.
1 x Continental 9-cylinder radial engine developing 425 horsepower driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
Installed Power
25 mph
40 kph
Road Speed
120 miles
193 km
The physical qualities of the Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4) Tank Destroyer / Medium Tank.
19.3 ft
5.89 meters
O/A Length
8.6 ft
2.62 meters
O/A Width
9.0 ft
2.75 meters
O/A Height
66,500 lb
30,164 kg | 33.3 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4) Tank Destroyer / Medium Tank.
1 x Ordnance QF 17-Pounder (76.2mm) Mk IV L/55 main gun.
1 x .30 caliber Browning M1919A4 machine gun.

1 x 0.50 caliber M2 Browning Heavy Machine Gun (HMG).
77 x 76.2mm projectiles.
5,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
Notable series variants as part of the Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4) family line.
Medium Tank, M4A4 (Sherman VC Firefly) - British Tank Destroyer derivative based on the M4 Sherman design; fitted with 76.2mm (17-pdr) main gun; three major variants were produced using the Sherman I (M4), Sherman I Hybrid (M4 Composite) and Sherman V (M4A4) chassis.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/05/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Outwardly, the Sherman Firefly series of tank destroyers looked every bit like their M4 Sherman base counterparts. Closer examination would reveal a British-designed system that was finally capable of dealing with the impressive German Tiger and Panther tanks at distance. The Sherman Firefly would go on to become one of the more important Sherman tank derivatives of World War 2 despite their seemingly limited production numbers.

From the outset, Allied tank crews were at a disadvantage when tangling with the well-armored German tanks, needing numbers and ingenuity to usually overcome their counterparts. This resulted in Allied tank crews zeroing in for a near-point blank hit to the side or rear of the German units. The British and Americans were already looking into an upgunned version of the successful Medium Tank, M4 (or "M4 Sherman"), seeing that the weapon system was readily available in some quantity with a progressive stream of examples coming off the assembly lines at a record pace. Some in the American military offered mating a 90mm main gun to the existing M4 superstructure but others saw to it that the tank-versus-tank engagements should be handled by dedicated tank destroyer elements. Others were worried about the recoil effects and general unbalancing of adding such a weapon to the already heavy Sherman design. Still others balked at the prospect of having to redesign an entirely new turret system to take on such a weapon.

Going at it alone, the British were un-phased at the prospect. Seeing as how the Germans were able to fit their anti-tank guns into existing Panther tanks beginning in 1943, the British brought up the concept of fitting their 76.2mm anti-tank cannon (also known as the "17-pounder") into a Sherman. The 17-pounder was on par with the German 75mm guns and was already known to be a terrific penetrator of known armor configurations thanks to excellent propellant and a longer barrel. The early model Shermans and their turrets already in the possession of the British Army proved to be the right test bed for such a concept and the "Firefly" was accepted into service immediately. It was quickly issued to each tank group - which normally consisted of five tanks - one would be switched out in favor of a single Firefly.

Three variants of the Firefly were produced and these were noted by the type of Sherman chassis they were utilizing. In British service, the Medium Tank M4 went under the "Sherman" name followed by a roman numeral to distinguish each mark. Therefore, the Sherman I (which was a base M4 Sherman) was used for the new Sherman Firefly as were the Sherman I Hybrid (M4 Composite - named as sch due to the welded and cast hull construction) and the Sherman V (an M4A4 Sherman). In all, some 2,000 Sherman Fireflies would make it into service.

Seeing the fruits of British labor, the Americans now wanted in and put an order for up to 160 Fireflies. British Army shortages (and M4 Sherman chassis shortages in general) along with cultural prejudices within the US Army (it had to be "made in America by Americans" for it to be of value to the US Army) meant that the American order was not fulfilled in the end - though 100 such converted Shermans were in fact in the US Army inventory at war's end - just never utilized on the battlefield.

The Firefly now gave the Allies some punch at distance, with the Firefly able to effectively engage targets some 1,000 yards away. As more impressive munitions became available in the latter months of the war, the destructive power of the Firefly became ever moreso something for Axis tank crews to contend with. So definitive was the arrival of the Sherman Firefly that German anti-tank crews and tanks received explicit orders to engage and eliminate Fireflies as the first priority in any given engagement.

It should be noted that these Sherman conversions to Fireflies basically inherited the "adequate" armor protection of their original designs meaning that no additional armor protection was given to the new Firefly design. As such, Firefly tank crews would still have been wary of their own safety when in the line of enemy fire. Fireflies would appear in the Normandy beach landings of 1944 and were later attached to standard tank battalions onwards, though it was initially intended that Fireflies would form their own tank groups.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 2,100 Units

Contractor(s): State Factories - UK
National flag of Argentina National flag of Belgium National flag of Canada National flag of Czechia National flag of Italy National flag of Lebanon National flag of the Netherlands National flag of New Zealand National flag of Poland National flag of South Africa National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States

[ Argentina (post-war); Belgium (post-war); Canada; Czechoslovakia; Italy; Lebanon (post-war); Netherlands (post-war); New Zealand; Poland; South Africa; United Kingdom; United States ]
1 / 2
Image of the Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 2
Image of the Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4)
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Sherman Firefly (Medium Tank, M4A4) Tank Destroyer / Medium Tank appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks of the World U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols Breakdown U.S. 5-Star Generals List WWII Weapons by Country World War Next

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)