M4A1 (76) W
1 backGear box
|This page is about the American medium tank M4A1 (76) W. For other uses, see M4 (Disambiguation).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in the battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 References
- 8 Read also
- 9 Sources
The Medium Tank M4A1 (76) W Sherman is a Rank III American medium tank with a battle rating of 5.0 (AB) and 4.7 (RB/SB). It is one of the first American tanks to be released with the American ground tree in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals". The M4A1 (76) also introduces the more penetrative 76 mm cannon to the M4 Sherman series of tanks that gives the Sherman a substantial upgrade to fight Rank III enemy tanks.
When compared to the prior models of M4 series tank, one will note the larger and flatter gun mantlet designed to support the 76.2mm gun. unfortunately, the gun mantlet lacks a spall shield behind it like the predecessor M4 and M4A2 Sherman models have. The M4A1 76 W has the same cast hull as the original M4A1 but unlike the original, it appears to have a 2x6 lumber board attached to the front holding petrol cans, a bogey wheel, and tracks up onto the hull. The latter two added for light applique armour. The two viewports for the machine gunner and driver have also been replaced with periscopes.
Survivability and armour
- Cast homogeneous armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Lower side hull)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 63.5 mm (40-62°) Front glacis
63.5 mm (16-59°) Transmission housing
|38.1 mm|| 38.1 mm (16°) Top
38.1 mm (16-53°) Bottom
|Turret|| 63.5 mm (0-51°) Turret front
88.9 mm (5-19°) Gun mantlet
|63.5 mm (1-20°)||63.5 mm (0-57°)||25.4 mm|
|Cupola||63.5 mm||25.4 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, bogies are 10 mm thick, and tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Front armour slope not even, lower part is weaker than top.
- Unlike original model, part of roof can be seen on very top of front glacis, presenting a weak point right under turret
- Belly armour is 25.4 mm thick.
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
|76 mm M1|
| Horizontal |
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 90°|
Mass in kg
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass in g
| Normalization At 30°
Mass in kg
| Screen radius
| Screen time
| Screen hold time
| Explosive Mass in g|
|71||57 (+14)||43 (+28)||29 (+42)||15 (+56)||1 (+70)||Yes|
|12.7 mm M2HB|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
Usage in the battles
In general terms, the M4A1 (76)W is a excellent tank for its battle rating, offering an effective gun, decent mobility, decent armour, and excellent gun handling.
The M4A1(76)W has an unusually high profile and thus it is difficult to drive around undetected. While playing this tank, the unusually high profile, but well armoured turret combined with excellent gun depression means that the M4A1 can take advantage of many hull down positions throughout the map. The stabilizer also gives an excellent first shot/first hit possibility and allows the M4A1 to drive around some corners at low speed and make itself slightly harder to hit. The cast shape of the hull also creates some extreme angles where even more powerful shells from the 85 mm, 88 mm, and KwK 42 75 mm can bounce. It is notably more well armoured than the Pz.IV H or T-34-57 of similar rank and offers equal or better mobility than most.
Since the ammo stowage in this model is wet stowage, the ammo is stored in a box filled with water on the floor of the tank so it's harder to hit than in previous Sherman models (M4, M4A1, M4A2, and M4A3(105)), but the more powerful tanks like the Tiger H1 and Panther D can easily destroy the M4A1 even if the latter shoots first. In addition, they can easily penetrate the Sherman's frontal armour at almost all ranges and in most cases, if they are using the correct ammo, the shells' shrapnel will incapacitate all the crew. When not in a max uptier, the M4A1 (76) W can confidently engage most enemies from 3.7-5.3 with little issue. In the event of a max uptier the Sherman must rely on its fast reload time of 7.6 seconds, its gun stabilizer in order to make accurate moving shots, its gun depression of -10 degrees and its possession of enough mobility to flank heavier tanks. With its pintle mounted 12.7 mm M2 gun and the coaxial M1919A4 7.62 mm gun, the M4A1 can defend itself and the team from enemy aircraft as well as incapacitate most SPAA.
The most dangerous opponents the 76 Sherman can face (This will apply to most American tanks armed with the 76mm M1 gun, excluding the Jumbo 76) are the aforementioned Tiger H1/E and Panther Ds, as well as the Soviet IS-1s and KV-85s. High-velocity guns armed by these tanks combined with their very thick/sloped armor makes them extremely dangerous opponents the M4A1 (76) can face. The standard T-34-85s and Panzer IVs can also be a danger, and can instantly knock out the M4A1 with one shot. However, so can the 76 mm gun on the M4A1.
While it is recommended to disable the turret on the tanks mentioned above, note that for the T-34-85s, the best spot to target would be their abnormally large turret gap/ring. The gap is a well-exploitable weakness found on many T-34 designs starting with the T-34 1942 model, as it is noticeably large, thin and not-at-all angled. Shots here with the M62 APCBC-HE shot will result in an instant knock out.
Pros and cons
- Good rate of fire for the main gun.
- Great gun depression of 10°.
- Angled frontal slope which may sometimes bounce larger calibers if angled correctly.
- A standard 5 crew members, which equates to 3 spare crew members to take over positions of the tank if necessary.
- A pintle-mounted heavy machine gun (12.7 mm), which can be used for anti-aircraft purposes.
- Gun mantlet and spall shield is fairly thick.
- Turret has a nice armour layout.
- Applique armour (road wheel and track sections) is situated on the transmission of the vehicle.
- Fast horizontal turret traverse.
- An installation of a vertical plane stabilizer (noticeable by extremely fast gun depression/elevation) allows for shoot-n-scoot tactics, stopping immediately to shoot, or better accuracy when firing on the move.
- Wet ammo storage - Which reduces greatly ammo rack chances, is indicated by the "W" in its name, this also means tightly packed ammo only placed under the turret.
- Has access to Add-on Armour.
- Has more horsepower than most other Shermans (A3 Variants have 500) making this one of the better hp/t for Shermans.
- The gun has less penetration than the German equivalent found on Panzer IVs and Stug III/IVs.
- Frontal armour can easily be penetrated by German 75mm guns.
- Is quite tall.
- Prone to tipping over when travelling across steep inclines.
- Sides and rear are thinly armoured.
- Engine compartment is poorly armoured.
- Susceptible to nearby artillery explosions.
- Narrow tracks mean poor ground flotation and cross country performance
- Only reaches its top speed on paved surfaces.
- Cannot be angled properly, hull "cheeks" are a weak spot.
The start of World War II and the Battle of France had America find that their current armoured forces was completely inadequate to fight back a German armour assault. With only the M2 light tanks and the M2 medium tank available with their 37 mm cannons, the Americans greatly increased their efforts in tank development to bolster their defenses, but to satisfy demands from Great Britain for adequate tanks to rebuild their decimated armoured forces. The requirements set by the US Army called for a tank armed with a 75 mm gun. While a 75 mm gun was available for use, a turret mounting the gun on a tank was not. Thus, while the turret and tank design underwent development, the 75 mm would be mounted on the stopgap design - the M3 Lee tank - in a "sponson" mount. During the M3's development, the designs of the 75 mm armed vehicle were submitted by the Ordnance Department. In April 1941, the Armored Force Board chose the simplest of the designs, which was a redesigned M3 hull and chassis with a turret mounting the 75 mm gun designated the T6, completed in September 1941. This tank would then designated the M4 Sherman. The production for the Sherman began in October 1941 and would continue to be produced until the end of the war in 1945 with around than 50,000 units produced, making it the second most-produced tank in World War II before the T-34 tank. The Sherman first saw service in North Africa in the hands of the British, and the Shermans continued to see service throughout the North African campaign, Tunisian campaign, and the Italian campaign in the British and American armies. However, the 75 mm gun on the Sherman soon found itself seen as inadequate when the Germans began fielding their new generation of heavy tanks, the Tiger I and the Panther, which could defend itself against the 75 mm gun and take out the Sherman at a long range. A desire to up-gun the Sherman grew among Ordnance officers to fight incoming armour threats and started as far back as 1942.
The desire for a hole puncher on the Sherman started in the Ordnance department, seen as an improvement to the Sherman's overall combat ability to fight future tank threats. It started with the adaption of the 3-inch anti-tank gun into the M4 Sherman. The gun proved too heavy and too bulky for a straight adaption so a simpler and smaller gun model was created called the 76 mm M1, which could be practically fitted into the M4 Sherman turret. The 76 mm differed from the 3-inch in ammunition by using a different propellant case but the same shells, yet kept the same ballistics. The first guns were trialed in a M4A1 Sherman; while Ordnance approved the vehicle, Armored Board rejected it as the design caused the turret interior to be too cramped for the crew and also the lack of need of such vehicle. This solution was fixed by taking the cancelled T23 project and adapting the turret into the Sherman, which was easy as the Sherman and the T23 used the same turret ring diameter. The larger turret allowed for a more practical mounting of the 76 mm gun and more room for the crew to move around in. This variant was approved and production was to start in early 1944 for the upcoming invasion of Europe in Operation Overlord to counter the German Tiger I and the Panther tanks.
Aside from the enlarged T23 turret, the Sherman interior layout was largely unchanged from the original design. The driver and bow gunner still sat in the front, the three-man turret crew in the center, and the engine compartment in the back. Exterior design of the hull was also largely unchanged with the vertical volute suspension system (VVSS) and sloping front armour.
The M4A1 (76) W Sherman model ran on a gasoline Continental R975C-4 radial engine. The M4A1 designation was given to Shermans constructed with a fully cast tank hull, giving the tank a distinctive rounded slope front and sides. Though the rounded shape gave the frontal armour uneven angling, it provided adequate protection up to 100 mm in thickness in certain areas. The cast, while efficient in armouring the tank, was hard to manufacture due to limited capabilities in most factories, and was hard to repair in the field, so the cast design was changed to welding in future Sherman variants. The M4A1(76)W variant, as indicated by the name, mounted the 76 mm gun instead of the usual 75 mm. The "W" designation on the Sherman indicated that the vehicle had the "wet stowage" feature in response to complaints that the Sherman can easily catch fire due to exploding ammunition. The "wet stowage" encased the ammo containers in a liquid mixture that would douse the flames when penetrated or block flaming shrapnels from penetrating shots from hitting the ammunition. The containers also placed all the ammunition in the bottom center of the tank, reducing the likeliness of it being hit by a shell as the penetrating shell must go through every armour and obstacle to hit the tank center. This feature was only present after February 1944 and severely decreased the rate of Sherman fires. Of the 49,234 Sherman produced in World War II, 3,426 M4A1(76)s were produced from January 1944 to July 1945.
Despite the stock of 76 mm Shermans now available for them, the commanders opted to not bring any during the invasion of France in June 1944. The issues were logistical, as having a 76 mm armament would mean supplying a different set of ammo to the tank forces. Another issue was that the 76 mm gun had a less lethal high-explosive round at hand, meaning combat against infantry or fixed emplacements would be slightly harder. This forced 75 mm armed Shermans to have to compete against the better armed and armoured Panthers and Tigers in the initial period of the invasion. The combat debut of the M4A1 (76) Shermans was during Operation Cobra in July 1944, as a response to the growing German armour threat in Europe. The 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions received 52 of these Shermans and the rest were distributed among the tank battalions in the infantry divisions. The M4 (76) and M4 (75) Shermans served alongside each other, though the 75 mm Shermans were around in larger numbers and the opinions of the 76 mm cannon vary from a necessary addition to a burden. The 75 mm guns stayed as the primary armament of the armoured forces until the Battle of the Bulge, which had many American armour destroyed by the German onslaught of heavy German tanks such as their Panther and Tiger II's. The negative response from both troops and press had Allied commanders, even Eisenhower himself, request only 76 mm Sherman to be delivered instead of 75 mm in response. The new units arriving in Europe after the Battle of the Bulge were all equipped with 76-mm Shermans. Despite their appearance, 75 mm Shermans were still in stock in the armoured divisions and were still held in high regards for their better capacity to destroy soft targets with high-explosive shells.
After the war, the Shermans continued serving America and its allies as the M4A3E8 with a new suspension and 76 mm gun. The M26 Pershing that was introduced late in World War II was phased out for the Shermans due to its unreliability, and the Sherman stayed until the M46 Patton was introduced. After being phased out of American service, many other countries still used the Sherman as their main tank, mainly Israel where they up-gunned the tank with the much powerful post-war French 75 mm and 105 mm gun as the M-50 and M-51 respectively (nicknamed "Super Shermans"). These proved successful as they were able to fight against the Soviet-supplied T-54 tanks and T-34-85s in Middle East service, proving the Sherman as a successful and adaptable design for many years to come.
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