M4 Sherman tank design improvements.
Type: American medium tank.
User experience led to numerous design improvements being suggested by the Armored Force and incorporated into M4 Sherman series vehicles by the Ordnance Department. Fore most among these were the need for a more powerful gun and better protection.
Sherman tank with 76 mm gun:
To increase firepower the Ordnance Department developed the 76 mm gun M1 and M1A1, starting in July 1942. Tests showed that the existing M4 series turret was too small to accommodate the extra length of this weapon and the turret of the T20/T23 medium tank was adopted and suitably modified. The 76 mm gun installation was standardized and introduced in production lines from February 1944 and vehicles so fitted were available in time for the Normandy landings and subsequent combat in NW Europe. Suffix ‘(76 mm)’ indicated vehicles with this gun. A modified 76 mm gun M1A1C or M1A2 with muzzle-brake was later introduced.
Sherman tank with better protection:
Fire hazard from hits in the engine, ammunition bins, and fuel tanks was the major shortcoming in the M4 series due to the relatively thin armor. Expedient measures to combat this were the addition of appliqué armor plates on hull sides adjacent to ammunition bins and fuel tanks, plus further appliqué armor welded on hull, and sometimes turret, front. Field modifications by crews included the use of sandbags on hull front and the welding of spare track shoes in vulnerable spots. In some instances large armor shields or concrete were added to hull fronts. Major design change to overcome the problem was the introduction of ‘wet stowage’ (glycerine-protected) ammunition racks in 76 mm-armed and late 75 mm-armed vehicles. Howitzer-armed vehicles had internal armor plates on ammunition racks.
Miscellaneous: Other improvements included better electrical wiring, and other internal detail changes, a new 47° hull front to simplify production (it also improved frontal protection), larger access hatches for driver and co-driver, a loader’s hatch, and the provision of a vision cupola for the commander replacing the rotating hatch ring originally fitted.
Users: USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa, France, Russia, China (for all series).
Pictures M4 Sherman tank with 76mm gun
Specifications M4 Sherman (76mm)
|Engine||twin General Motors 6-71 diesel engine|
|Turret crew||3 (with 360° Commanders cupola)|
|Length||7.39 m / 24ft 3in (over gun)|
|Width||2.98 m / 8ft 9.5in|
|Height||2.97 m / 9ft 9in|
|Weight||32.3 tons (M4A3)|
|Maximum speed||29 mph (M4A3)|
|Cross-country speed||20 mph (M4A3)|
|Fuel consumption per 100 miles||?|
|Road radius||100 miles|
|Vertical obstacle||0.60 m / 2ft|
|Trench crossing||2.29 m / 7ft 6in|
|Fording depth||0,91 m / 3ft|
|Details unknown||Maximum 62 mm, Minimum 12 mm (with 'wet stowage' ammunition racks)||only known hull front 47°|
Armament and Equipment:
|Main armament||76mm gun M1,M1A1,M1A1C or M1A2|
|Elevation||-10° to +25° (with gyrostabiliser)|
|Muzzle velocity APCBC|| 792 m/s
Muzzle velocity HVAP (available only in limited numbers): 1036 m/s
|Shell weight APCBC||7 kg|
|Shell weight HVAP||4,3 kg|
|Extreme effective range||?|
|Secondary armament||one .30 cal Browning MG coaxially to gun, one.30 cal Browning MG in front hull, together 6,250 rounds. Additional one .50 cal AA MG on Commander's cupola.|
|Telescopic sight||periscope sights|
Penetration mm at 30° armour plates of the main gun:
|Penetration 100 yds||c.105 mm||c.175 mm|
|Penetration 500 yds||94 mm||158 mm|
|Penetration 1,000 yds||89 mm||134 mm|
|Penetration 1,500 yds||81 mm||117 mm|
|Penetration 2,000 yds||76 mm||99 mm|
|Production||from June 1944 to December 1944 by Grand Blanc and in May and June 1945 by Pressed Steel (M4A1 with 76mm gun from January 1944)|
|Combat delivery||before June 1944 (first used on D-Day)|
|Price per unit||$ 48,029 - 50,928|
|Total production figure||1,615 (with 76mm gun total 8,381 tanks; 2,095 of them delivered to Russia)|
Service statistics of all M4 medium tank series:
Animated 3D model M4A2(76mm) Sherman
References and literature
British and American Tanks of World War II (Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis)
Datafile – British Tanks and Formations 1939-45 (Malcom A.Bellis)
Panzer und andere Kampffahrzeuge von 1916 bis heute (Christopher F. Foss, John F. Milsom, Colonel John Stafford Weeks, Captain Georffrey Tillotson, Richard M. Ogorkiewicz)
Panzerkampfwagen des 1. und 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)
Krieg der Panzer (Piekalkiewicz)
Fire and Movement (RAC Tank Museum)
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Chris Bishop)