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Sherman tank

improved M4 series with 76mm gun


M4A2(76mm) Sherman

M4 Sherman tank design improvements
Type:
American medium tank.
History:
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 76mm gun:
To increase firepower the Ordnance Department developed the 76mm 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 76mm gun installation was standardised 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 '(76mm)' indicated vehicles with this gun. A modified 76mm gun M1A1C or M1A2 with muzzle-brake was later introduced.

M4A1 Sherman tank (76mm)
Standard production M4A1 Sherman tank with 'wet stowage' and M1A1 76mm gun.

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 armour. Expedient measures to combat this were the addition of applique armour plates on hull sides adjacent to ammunition bins and fuel tanks, plus further applique armour 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 armour 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 76mm-armed and late 75mm-armed vehicles. Howitzer-armed vehicles had internal armour plates on ammunition racks.

M4A2 (76mm) Sherman
Standard M4A2(76mm) Sherman with M1A1 gun and new 47° hull front.

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).

Russian Sherman and T-34 in the Alps
Russian Sherman (76mm) and T-34 in front of the Austrian Alps in spring 1945.

Russian M4A2(76mm) Sherman tanks in Brno 1945
A column of Russian M4A2(76mm) Sherman tanks line the streets of Brno on 26 April 1945. Shermans were the single most common type of Allied tanks supplied to the Soviet Union, and played a prominent role in the 1944-45 fighting.

M4A1 (76mm) Sherman - Panzermuseum Munster, Germany
M4A1(76mm) Sherman at Panzermuseum Munster, Germany.

3d model M4A2(76mm) Sherman tank
3d model M4A2(76mm) Sherman

PC game WW2 Total

M4A2(76mm) Sherman
Technical data and statistics:
Type
medium tank
Engine

twin General Motors 6-71 diesel engine

Gearbox
?
Crew total
5
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
?
Fuel
?
Road radius
100 miles
Cross-country radius
?
Vertical obstacle
0.60 m / 2ft
Trench crossing
2.29 m / 7ft 6in
Fording depth
0,91 m / 3ft
Turning circle
?
Gradient
60 ° (M4A3)
ARMOUR
mm / angle
Turret front

Maximum 62mm
(hull front 47°)
Minimum 12mm

(with 'wet stowage' ammunition racks)

Turret side
Turret rear
Turret top
Superstructure front
Superstructure side
Superstructure rear
Superstructure top
Hull front
Hull side
Hull rear
Hull bottom
Gun mantlet
ARMAMENT
76mm gun M1,M1A1,M1A1C or M1A2 with 71 rounds
Traverse

360° (power),
Elevation -10° to +25°
(with gyrostabiliser)

Muzzle velocity
APCBC: 792 m/s
HVAP: 1,036 m/s (available only in limited numbers)
Shell weight
APCBC: 7 kg
HVAP : 4.3 kg
Penetration 100 yds at 30°
APCBC: approx. 105 mm
HVAP: approx. 175 mm
Penetration 500 yds at 30°
APCBC: 94 mm
HVAP: 158 mm
Penetration 1000 yds at 30°
APCBC: 89 mm
HVAP: 134 mm
Penetration 1500 yds at 30°
APCBC: 81 mm
HVAP: 117 mm
Penetration 2000 yds at 30°
APCBC: 76 mm
HVAP: 99 mm
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.

Radio

yes

Telescopic sight

periscope sights

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 tank

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
Available Production Losses
before 1939
-
-
-
1939
-
-
-
1940
-
-
-
1941
-
-
-
1942
-
8,000
?
1943
?
14,000
?
1944
?
aprox. 13,000
?
1945
?
?
Total
-
35,020
?
  • For enlargement please click on the pictures !
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