|This page is about the American medium tank M4A2. For other M4 Shermans, see M4 Sherman (Family). For other uses, see M4 (Disambiguation).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Medium Tank M4A2 Sherman is a rank III American medium tank with a battle rating of 4.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced along with the initial American ground tree in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals". It is the third of the Sherman medium tank series and the last 75 mm variant before unlocking the 76 mm equipped models. It represents a "Sherman 2.0" design with a new front armour scheme angled at an uninterrupted 47 degrees and a better cast turret.
Compared to its predecessors, the M4A2 is the only 75 mm Sherman with an uninterrupted and welded front glacis sloped at 47 degrees. This eliminates most of the weak points of the earlier M4A1 and M4 models, though by this battle rating most enemy weaponry can penetrate the front glacis of the Sherman. As compensation for the stronger opposition the M4A2 has access to T45 APCR ammunition for its 75 mm gun.
Another noted difference is the loss of the turret appliqué armour on the right side of the gun mantlet. This results in the reemergence of a weak spot on the turret cheek.
Finally, the M4A2 runs with the General Motors 6046 diesel double-engine. This does not impact automotive performances greatly, but it does change the engine deck shape, exhaust emission, and engine noise.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, turret roof)
- Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, lower glacis, MG port)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 63.5 mm (47°) Upper glacis
51-108 mm (12-56°) Transmission housing
|38.1 mm||38.1 mm (7-10°)||19.5 mm|
|Turret|| 76 mm (3-65°) Turret front
89 + 51 mm (2-62°) Gun mantlet
|51 mm (2-64°)||51 mm (2-60°)||19.5 mm|
|Cupola||51 mm||19.5 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, the bogies are 10 mm, and the tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Small applique panels are placed on the side hull armour over the ammunition, increasing armour by 25.4 mm.
- A small patch on the turret front right side is thinner (51 mm) than the rest (76 mm).
- There is a 9.5 mm thick sheet of armour dividing the engine bay and crew compartment.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
It is advisable to research Parts first, then Fire Protection Equipment, then the M61 shot round. Following that, engine upgrades are advisable, as the tank is much less manoeuverable than it could be when it is stock.
|75 mm M3||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy time
| Screen hold time
| Explosive Mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|97||91 (+6)||88 (+9)||86 (+11)||78 (+19)||63 (+34)||46 (+51)||31 (+66)||1 (+96)||No|
- To go into battle with the turret basket empty of ammo, pack 78 (+19) shells (racks 1 to 4 emptied).
- To go into battle with the turret basket and the flanks empty of ammo, pack 31 (+66) shells (Racks 1 to 7 empty).
- The 8th rack is large and located at a a weak spot: the bottom section of the armour. In case of penetration, there is a high risk of ammo rack detonation. Make sure not to expose your flanks unnecessarily.
|12.7 mm M2HB|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The general playstyle of this tank is to be a support tank. This tank does not have the armour to function effectively on the front lines. Surviving on the front lines will be quite hard, though not impossible. Try to stay in the 2nd or 3rd line and support the team, or hide behind heavily armoured teammates and help them assault the enemy. Capturing objectives is also a good use for this vehicle, thanks to its speed. Be wary of German tanks, as well as T-34s. German vehicles have guns that can easily penetrate the M4A2's armour even if angled well. It is best to use hull down tactics, or shoot first and knock-out their gunner. T-34s are much tougher, but have weaker guns. They can still very easily one shot the M4A2 from the side, so keep the sides protected. T-34s have fairly thin armour but it is highly sloped, and if angled are hard to destroy with hull shots, so aim for the turret.
The best tactic to use is to not stay in the same place. Move after every shot so the enemy has to relocate you or potentially move themselves, leaving them exposed. Any accurate return fire from tanks at your tier will likely result in your incapacitation or destruction, so try to keep enemies from knowing where you are at all, and aim to kill with the first shot.
When in this game mode: The tank is fast, but weakly armoured. Its gun is pretty decent with enough penetration to take on most opponents with accurate fire. Capture zones and support the team by firing at enemy medium tanks.
Realistic Battles and Simulator Battles
The tank performs its role as medium tank very well. Both speed and strong frontal armour give this tank an edge over the enemy in a head-on engagement. However, it has very thin side armour that can be penetrated by essentially any tank, as well as many vehicles armed with autocannons. Watching the sides and rear is very important, and neglecting to protect them can often result in a destroyed M4A2.
When engaging enemy vehicles it is recommended to turn into their fire with the front of the tank. The M4A2's glacis is thicker than most installed on tanks at its BR, and this can often save the tank from an untimely end. However, if the engagement begins with you taking a shot to the side it is unlikely you will get the chance to fight back, so always try to have your front toward the enemy to begin with.
When fighting against the M4A2, try to flank it if possible, as a side shot under the turret will be an almost guaranteed kill. A shot to the side of the turret will kill the turret crew, and a second shot once the crew has replenished will generally kill the tank. If forced to engage from the front, remember that you need about 110 mm of penetration to get through the upper glacis reliably. If you have this, you will be able to kill the tank easily. With a weaker gun, you will have to aim. Weak points include the very top of the lower glacis, which is almost flat; the machine gun port, which will result in a kill of at least half the crew if penetrated; the bottom right turret cheek (left from the attacker's viewpoint), which is much thinner than the rest of the turret; and the cupola, which if hit with an APHE shell will result in a kill of most of the turret crew. All of these weak points are quite difficult to hit, especially from range, and it may be better to retreat if you don't feel confident in your shot or if the Sherman is hull down.
Enemies worth noting:
M4A2 / M4A4 (1st PTG): these Sherman tanks are widely used by both the Allied and the Axis side, so no matter which nation you play they can be quite tough to destroy in the hands of a skilled tanker. Given the rather weak penetration of your short 75 mm gun, their hull can be almost impossible to penetrate when angled, hull down or 300 m away. For an M4A4, there are 2 apparent bulges on the upper front plate, a penetration through there can guarantee a knock out most of the times. But in case the opponent covers them up or when it's an M4A2, aim for the middle parts of the gun mantlet or the turret armour unprotected by the mantlet, you can at least make them defenceless. Note that their guns are equally weak against you, so wiggle around to disrupt their aim while you reload, you have a good chance of bouncing some shells.
An opponent the M4 Sherman will have trouble with is this upgunned German KV-1. Although the earlier KV-1's L-11 cannon lacks power, the newly-equipped German KwK40 cannon is more than enough to penetrate the Sherman's front, while the Sherman still cannot reliably penetrate the KV-1's thick armour, especially when it has additional armour plates. If you see this heavy tank angling its hull, aim for the gun mantlet as it is only 50 mm thick. You can easily take out his gunner, gun breech, etc. Or shoot at the thin commander's cupola, there is a chance to knock out the gunner too. Of course, the best method is to shoot from the side and from behind without angling, where the KV-1's armour is not angled, although you still need to get as close as possible to penetrate its armour. Additionally, side shots are likely to damage its fuel tank or ammunition storage and cause a fire or ammunition explosion. In a standoff, you can try angling your hull to make your well-sloped frontal hull more effective.
Churchill heavy tanks:
The Churchills, with their complex hulls and sturdy turrets, can be quite hard to penetrate at range. Again, manoeuvre as close to them as possible, the idea distance being no more than 200m. If they are angling their hull but facing their turret at you, only go for the turret. For the Mk I Churchills, aim at the near-vertical part of their rounded cheeks to ensure successful penetrations. For the Mk III and the German Churchill, also aim for their flat turret which is at most 89 mm. The shell should go in easily and knock out most, if not all of the crew. Only when you are facing their hull without any angles should you shoot the hull, otherwise shoot the turret only, as their big tracks can easily get in front of the frontal hull. The side hull have multiple layers of armour, some of which are weirdly angled and can absorb plenty of shells.
The historical nemesis of any Sherman, the Panzer IV is one of the Shermans biggest threats at this rank. The long barrel 75 mm gun will easily penetrate the Sherman from the front. The F2 variant is admittedly easy to deal with. A single APCBC to its hull or turret should end it pretty quickly, even at long range. The other variants are slightly harder to deal with. They have thicker hull armour, at 80 mm, which will be much harder to penetrate with the APCBC over 500m. Luckily the turret armour remains the same at 50 mm. Either aim here with APCBC or sacrifice damage potential and use the AP round to penetrate the hull.
Another historical nemesis of the Sherman, and another big threat. The StuG III packs the same punch as the Panzer IV line with its long barrel 75 mm gun, whilst losing the turret, which turns out to be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Lacking a turret means that it will have to traverse the whole vehicle to target an enemy, but it also means that it has a lower profile. The StuG's armour profile is also more complex than the Panzer IV, with less flat areas. Certain areas are sloped and very bouncy. Luckily, there is a big weak spot. There are two flat plates on the front of the hull. The flat plate on the right is the drivers port. Shoot that and you are able to incapacitate the driver, gunner and loader in one go. This is a very efficient way to destroy this vehicle. With the F variant, you can use APCBC to instantly one-shot this vehicle. With the G variant, it is more reliable to use AP at ranges within 500m to ensure penetration.
Pros and cons
- Excellent gun depression of -10° plus the angled frontal turret allows it to utilise hills very well
- Great firepower: adequate penetration and post-penetration damage when using M61 shells; can frontally penetrate and one-shot most opponents like the Pz.IV F2, Chi-Nu and StuG III F. It also has APCR for hitting thick, flat armour up close, for example the Pz.Kpfw. Churchill
- Great turret traverse speed allows it to deal with multiple threats easily
- Well angled frontal hull provides protection against small calibre / low-penetration guns (eg. 75 mm M3, 50 mm KwK39), and even large calibre guns when angled correctly. The side armour can be boosted with add-on armour
- Adequate top speed allows it to get to positions in time, or to do tactical manoeuvres like flanking
- Pintle-mounted HMG provides an anti-aircraft defence or anti-tank duty against tanks like Marder III
- Fitted with a vertical stabilizer, allowing more accurate fire on the move compared to other tanks, as well as better usage of shoot-n-scoot tactics
- Large profile and weak side armour; flankers like the Sd.kfz.234/2 can easily see and penetrate it
- Frontal armour is still inadequate, will get penetrated and one-shot by tanks like Pz.IV F2 / G, StuG III F / G, M10
- M61 and T45 all struggle to penetrate angled targets like StuG III G, Churchill Mk.III or even the T-34 and M10
- Trajectory is curved and velocity is low due to its short barrel, thus distant/moving targets are hard to shoot at
- Hull traverse is quite slow, making it sluggish in a turn. Also the narrow tracks offer poor ground flotation, thus poor off-road capabilities. Can only reach its top speed on paved or hard surfaces
- Roof armour of 19.5 mm thick is vulnerable to airstrikes with AP cannons. For example the widely used MG151 15/20 mm
- Acceleration even more sluggish than previous Shermans due to the two tons weight increase
The Battle of France in 1940 proved to America that their current tank arsenal would not be able to withstand a German assault. The only tanks in their inventory at that time was the M2 Light Tanks and the M2 Medium Tank, both are inadequate against the German Panzer IIIs and the Panzer IVs. The US Army, in response, ordered for a tank armed with a 75 mm gun. While a 75 mm gun was available for use, a turret able to mount the gun was not. So 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. This interim design put the 75 mm on a lower and limited traverse mount that restricted its firing angle, but it did give the Allies a tank with the gun, so it was issued by the thousands until a better design could be made.
During the M3's development, the designs of the 75 mm armed vehicle were being drawn up and submitted by the Ordnance Department. Specifications on the tank design were strict, with restrictions made on the tank's height, width, and weight in order to make it able to be transported over bridges, roads, railroads, and on ships. These specifications would help the army by making the tank be very flexible on strategic, logistical, and tactical grounds. On 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 Medium Tank M4 in American service. The tank would become the most used Allied tank during World War II as it was lent out by the thousands in the Lend-Lease program to the Allied countries. The British called the M4 the "Sherman", which coined into the tank's name M4 Sherman that it would be known as in history. The production for the Shermans began on October 1941 and would continue to be produced until the end of the war in 1945 with around 50,000 units produced, making it the second most-produced tank in World War II before the T-34 tank.
Many variants of the Shermans were produced, but they all followed a similar layout. The driver and bow gunner sat in the front driving compartment, the fighting compartment in the middle housed the turret its three crew member, and in the back was the engine compartment. The Sherman used many features present in previous American tank designs, the vertical volute suspension system (VVSS) and radial engine from the M2 light tanks, and the sloping armour of the M2 Medium. This became a contributing factor on Sherman's reliability on the field, as most of the design flaws were ironed out with the previous tank designs. The tank-mounted the 75 mm M3 gun, giving the tank very good AP and HE capabilities. The Sherman's turret traverse speed was very fast, able to traverse a full 360 degrees in only 15 seconds, which is considerably faster than the traverse speed on most German tanks. Another unique feature on the Sherman was the installation of a gyroscopic stabilizer on the gun and sight, making the Sherman one of the first produced tanks to incorporate those features. While the stabilization was only done for the vertical plane, it kept the gun stable enough to be able to shoot on the move effectively, with a study showing a 70 % hit probability on an enemy 300 to 1,200 yards away when moving at a speed of 15 mph. However, this feature was controversial among the crew and experiences with it vary.
The M4A2 Sherman model ran on a GM 6046 diesel engine. The Sherman model in-game is one of the later production models, featuring improvements on the turret and hull design to maximize armour thickness. The tank's hull was welded, with the earlier models having the front armour plate placed on a 56-degree sloping angle. However, this design had protrusions on the driver and assistant driver hatches that created "shot traps" as these protrusions gave less protection than the frontal armour plate. This was fixed on later models with a 47-degree angling instead, which eliminated the shot traps and made the frontal armour more effective than before. Up to 8,053 M4A2s were produced from April 1942 to May 1944, out of the 49,234 Sherman units produced in the war. Throughout the war, the M4A2 was mostly given out to other allies or used by the US Marine Corps as the US Army doctrine called for the use of only gasoline-engine Shermans such as the M4A3.
The Shermans first saw combat in the North African Campaign in the Second Battle of El Alamein on October 1942 in the hands of the British. It was much quicker to reinforce the British armoured divisions with the more than 300 M4 Shermans sent to North Africa than it was to create new American ones. It proved much better than the German Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs, able to eliminate them at distances more than 2,000 yards away. The Americans received their first Shermans in the next month in Operation Torch. However better the Shermans were to the German tanks at the time, the Allied armoured units still suffered casualties against the German tanks and anti-tank guns, most notably in the Battle of Kasserine Pass. In Italy, the Shermans proved much more mobile than the German Panzers, able to travel cross-country on the hilly terrain with ease. However, it was at this stage that the Sherman's shortcoming began to take face in the advent of the newer German tanks, the Tiger Is and Panthers. These two tanks featured armour that proved impenetrable when fired at the front, and with guns that could take out the Shermans from farther than the Sherman's effective combat range. The Shermans have to hit the side of these tanks for penetration, and at ranges that were considered suicidal. Although programs were initiated to up-gun the Sherman with a 76 mm gun, American leaders determine that the Panther and Tigers would not be produced in large quantities and were not as great as a threat as these two vehicles could still be destroyed by the 75 mm gun and standard anti-tank equipment.
During the Invasion of France, it was clear that the Sherman's current build with a 75 mm gun was no longer going to cut it against the German armoured forces. While the Sherman was adequate against what little Panzer III and IVs the Germans have left and against infantry and fortifications with the 75 mm gun, the Panthers and Tigers were in much large quantity than expected, and proved better in armour and firepower to the Shermans. Though in the bocage country of France, the Allies lost more tanks to hidden anti-tank guns and infantry weapons than to tanks. Despite these losses, the mass production of M4 Sherman back in the United States ensured that enough tanks were available for the Allied Forces as they spearhead through France, plus the lack of any other capable tanks meant they had to use the Shermans for the time being. The large quantities of Shermans produced during the war gave the Allied armoured units a major advantage of being fully equipped as the German panzer divisions were rarely in full strength, with some US infantry divisions having more tracked vehicles than some of the panzer divisions. Due to the high attrition rates, tank crews sometimes add improvised armour onto their Shermans in the form of sandbags and logs in hopes of increased survival, but these were determined to be ineffective from evaluations. A more effective method was to have metal armour welded on in improvisation, and an official project was made for such "assault tanks" that ended with the M4A3E2 "Jumbos" with 250 made for the Battle of Normandy. During the Battle of Normandy, the first 76 mm Shermans on the M4A1 were put into combat in Operation Cobra in limited numbers. The Allies continued to primarily use the 75 mm Shermans until the Battle of the Bulge in Winter 1944, when the commanders request only 76 mm Shermans to be brought into Europe as the battle showed the intense armour disparity with the German's large numbers of Panthers and Tiger II's. While new units arriving in Europe were armed exclusively with 76 mm armed-Shermans, the veteran units kept the 75 mm Shermans, to which it continued to do well against softer targets with little threat from German armour due to their extreme declining numbers.
The M4 Sherman's importance in the Pacific theatre was less than that of the European theatre due to the different tactical doctrine established from the amphibious nature of combat. Only about 20 tank battalions fielded by the US Army were sent to support the Pacific theatre of operations, compared to the total of 16 armoured divisions and 70 tank battalions they have in service. The low priority in tanks was due to the following reasons. Firstly, the jungle terrain on most of the islands fought for against the Japanese were unsuitable for the deployment of large-scale armoured units, relegating armour support to light tanks such as the M3 Stuarts. Secondly, the Japanese forces' armoured units were rather inferior to the American tank forces by 1943. While the Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go tank was comparable to the M2A4 light tank, the Shermans out gun these tanks by a large margin. Such a large margin that the tank crew prefer to use high-explosive shots against the Japanese tank than regular armour-piercing as the AP rounds would penetrate straight through without causing much damage in the interior of the tank. The Japanese developed the Type 3 Chi-Nu and the Type 4 Chi-To to fight back the Shermans, but these two never saw combat as they were kept at the Japanese Homeland for the defence against the Allied invasion.
The Shermans, when deployed, were superior to most of the Japanese anti-tank equipment and often were essential to some of the Marine's advances on some of the island assaults. In 1945, the equipping of flamethrower Shermans known as M4A3R3, nicknamed "Zippos", were a significant boost to the infantry's firepower in having a very long range of fire compared to the standard infantry-modelled flamethrowers with the benefit of being in an armoured vehicle. The Zippos are able to flush out enemy combatants from within heavily fortified bunkers and caves that would be dangerous for even flamethrower infantry to take out. The Japanese solution against the Shermans, other than with their 47 mm anti-tank guns, were often suicidal tactics ranging from placing satchel charges right onto the tank, using pole-mounted anti-tank mines to reach and destroy the tank or even simply throwing oneself underneath a tank with mine or other explosive and triggering it manually.
The Sherman tank was given out in large numbers to American Allies during World War II under the Lend-Lease policy. While America retained about 20,361 Shermans in the Army and Marine Corps, 17,184 went to Britain (about 34% of Shermans produced and 78% of Shermans given out) and the Soviet Union obtained 4,102 Shermans. China obtained 812 Shermans, Brazil with 53, and New Zealand and Australia for 153 Shermans total. Other countries using the Shermans were Poland, Free France, and Czechoslovakia. The British deployed the Sherman among their armoured squadrons in such a large number to become the standard tank of their armoured forces. The increased threat of German tanks in the European theatre also provoked the British to up-gun the M4 Sherman with a more capable gun, resulting in the Firefly.
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-gun the tank with the much powerful post-war French 75 mm and 105 mm guns 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.
The second mass produced modification differed from the M4 in that two GMC 671 diesel engines were installed to make up for the Continental's insufficiencies. The engine and transmission were pulled from M3A3 and M3A5 medium tanks. In April 1942 the first M4A2 prototype was tested, with full-scale production subsequently beginning.
The tank had a welded hull, and the front plate initially had viewing slits cut out, though armour covers were later welded on and periscopes added. From the beginning of 1944 the front plate was made from a single piece, while the driver and gunner hatches were moved to the roof of the hull. The angle of the frontal armour went from 56° to 47° from vertical. The low-revving diesel engine gave the M4A2 better off-road ability and significantly more range as opposed to carburetor engines.
Approximately 8,000 M4A2s were produced between April 1942 and December 1943.
The tanks saw action in Africa and Italy, on the Western and Eastern fronts, and on Pacific islands through 1945. Lend-Lease included 1,992 of them delivered to the USSR.
In 1943 problems with the M4A2 were exposed by the Russian winter: those sent to the USSR had a smooth rubber protector for their tracks that made it tough to move across frozen roads. The difficulty finding traction was further complicated by a high center of gravity, giving the tank a habit of flipping over. Overall, it was the equivalent of the Soviet T-34 and was used similarly. The Sherman was much quieter than Soviet tanks, also lending itself to more effective infantry fire from behind its armour while on the move due to its lighter suspension.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis (M4A2)
- Zaloga Steven. Armored Thunderbolt: The U.S. Army Sherman in World War II Stackpole Books, 2008, "The British Sherman"
|USA medium tanks|
|M3||M3 Lee · Grant I|
|M4||M4 · Calliope · M4A1 · M4A1 (76) W · M4A2 · M4A2 (76) W · M4A3 (76) W · M4A3 (105) · M4A5|
|M26||T20 · T25 · M26 · M26 T99 · M26E1|
|Post-war||M46 · M46 "Tiger" · M47 · M48A1 · T54E1 · T95E1|
|MBT||M60 · M60A1 (AOS) · M60A1 RISE (P) · M60A2 · M60A3 TTS · MBT-70 · XM-803|
|XM-1 (Chrysler) · XM-1 (GM) · M1 Abrams · IPM1 · M1A1 Abrams · M1A2 Abrams|
|Israeli||Magach 3 · Merkava Mk.1 · Merkava Mk.2B · Merkava Mk.3D|