|This page is about the medium tank M4A4 (France). For other M4 Shermans, see M4 Sherman (Family). For other uses, see M4 (Disambiguation).|
The M4A4 Sherman is the fifth variant of the early-generation Medium Tank M4 (Sherman) family. Medium tanks were delivered to the French Army under the official French lend-lease program in 1943 and 1944. The Free French received 656 M4 Shermans of various variants, including 274 new production M4A4s, 362 new production M4A2s, and 20 remanufactured M4A2s. Except for the 20 M4A2s allocated in October 1944, it is believed that all of these were deployed to Northwest Africa. These were most likely brought in through Marseille, France, in early 1945. In 1943, M4A4s and M4A2s were delivered to the ports of Algiers, Algeria, and Casablanca, Morocco. The French organised three armoured divisions, each with 165 Sherman tanks. The U.S. required the formation of homogeneous armoured divisions. As a result, the 2ème Division Blindée was exclusively armed with M4A2s. The 1ère Division Blindée was supposed to be armed solely with M4A2s, whereas the 5ème Division Blindée was supposed to be supplied only with M4A4s. However, the 1ère and 5ème Divisions' initial tank allocation was not uniform, and they both began training duties with 110 M4A4s and 55 M4A2s. Despite several requests from the U.S. for standardization, the French refused to retrain personnel on other Sherman variants or swap regiments across armoured divisions, believing that such transfers would harm unit cohesiveness and morale. M4A4s were eventually assigned to the 2nd Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique and 2nd Régiment de Cuirassiers (1ère Division Blindée) and the 1er Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique and 1er Régiment de Cuirassiers (5ème Division Blindée). The 110 M4A2s were divided between the 5ème Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique (1ère Division Blindée) and the 6ème Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique (5ère Division Blindée) in equal numbers.
Introduced in Update "Starfighters", the M4A4 was the main French medium tank during World War II. Armour arrangements are comparable to the M4 variant, particularly the hatches that protrude from the slope contour of the hull. These hatches should be noted since they generate interruptions in the slope and reduce the overall efficacy of the sloped armour. Despite the fact that armour plates are welded in front of the discontinuities to improve protection, this is still a serious weakness in the frontal hull context, and most experienced enemies would target it. The M4A4 variant also has a new composite Chrysler multibank engine (consisting of five automobile engines) that required extra space (the hull was lengthened by 15 cm).
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (transmission housing, turret, gun mantlet)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 50.8 mm (56°) Front glacis
50.8 mm (8-17°) + 25.4 mm (29°) Viewports
34 + 25.4 mm (spherical) MG port
50.8 mm (3°) Radio antenna bulge
50.8 mm (cylindrical) Transmission housing
| 38.1 mm
38.1 + 25.4 mm Ammo racks
| 38.1 mm (21°) Top
38.1 mm Bottom
| 19.5 mm Front section |
12.7 mm (7°) Engine bay - centre
19.5 mm (23°) Engine bay - sides
|Turret|| 76 mm (7-65°) Turret front
50.8 mm (9-26°) Turret front - gunner side
50.8 + 88.9 mm (cylindrical) Gun mantlet
| 50.8 mm (1-3°) Turret sides
50.8 mm (58-66°) Roof radius
| 50.8 mm (1-5°) Sponson
50.8 mm (21-65°) Roof slope
|Cupola||50.8 mm (16°)||25.4 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 20 mm thick and bogies are 10 mm thick.
- The belly of the tank is 12.7 mm thick.
- The internal wall separating the crew compartment from the engine bay is 9.5 mm thick.
The hull is very similar to the American M4 Sherman, with a 50.8 mm thick upper glacis and protruding hatches interrupting the glacis (reinforced with appliqué armour). A weak spot is the radio antenna bulge on the machine gunner side. The hull sides feature appliqué armour plates covering the ammunition storage racks. The turret is also very similar but lacks the appliqué armour on the right cheek, leaving a small weakened zone in that area. Frontal protection is quite good for its rank and shots from smaller anti-tank guns can generally be shrugged off, particularly when hull down. However more powerful guns such as the Pz.IV F2's long 75 mm can destroy the tank easily, so care should be taken. The side armour is only 38.1 mm thick and can be easily penetrated by just about any anti-tank gun if not angled.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Based on the chassis of the M4, the M4A4 (France) has the same good all-round mobility: the tank accelerates quickly and is able to reach a maximum speed of 44 km/h in a dozen of seconds. The brakes are powerful and will make the M4A4 skid rather than slow down when driving at maximum speed. The violent braking also causes the hull to wobble, making your targeting less accurate. The reverse speed is rather poor: it won't get you out of a dangerous situation quickly enough. The lack of neutral steering makes turning on the spot slow (2 km/h): make sure to build a little speed before turning and you'll turn much faster (11 km/h). Turning in reverse is equally slow (-2 km/h) Turning at full speed doesn't make you lose much speed as your acceleration is good. The offroad mobility is good: the M4A4 (France) reaches 16 km/h when fording, 17 km/h when driving uphill with some speed built-up but a mere 10 km/h uphill from a stop start. The tracks are large and grant you a decent mobility on hard (solid ground, roads) and soft terrain (mud, snow, sand). Light and medium obstacles (fences, posts, bushes and small trees) are not a problem but large obstacles will reduce your mobility: avoid them.
Modifications and economy
|75 mm M3||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
The available ammunition allows for engaging all types of targets:
- M72 shot - - Solid shot, stock shell. An armour-piercing shell with acceptable penetration but poor post-penetration damage.
- M48 shell - - A low-velocity shell useful against soft targets, in particular when hitting an open-topped vehicle. Harmless against any enclosed vehicle with more than 10 mm of armour.
- M61 shot - - A capped armour-piercing shell with a better penetration than the M72 thanks to its ballistic cap and a good post-penetration damage thanks to its explosive filler.
- M89 smoke shell - A shell deploying a smoke screen on impact, useful to blind enemy vehicles that are too remote for you to disable so that you can progress towards objectives.
|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
| Screen hold
| Explosive mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|98||91 (+7)||89 (+9)||86 (+12)||79 (+19)||62 (+36)||46 (+52)||31 (+67)||1 (+97)||No|
- Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.
- To go into battle with the turret basket empty of ammo, pack 79 (+19) shells (racks 1 to 4 emptied).
- To go into battle with the turret basket and the flanks empty of ammo, pack 31 (+67) shells (racks 1 to 7 emptied).
- The 8th rack is large and located in 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.
|7.62 mm M1919A4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
The small calibre of the M1919A4 machine gun makes it largely ineffective against all armoured vehicles but the ones with an open compartment. It still can be used to ping targets as a rangefinding help or to mow down minor obstacles blocking your line of sight.
Furthermore, with only 1 coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and without the familiar pintle-mounted M2 Browning HMG seen on other Sherman models, the M4A4 is badly equipped to fend off fast and lightly armoured vehicles like the Puma, having to rely on the main gun instead.
Usage in battles
A well-rounded tank like most Shermans, the M4A4 enjoys decent armour, mobility, and firepower compared to its peers. Anyone familiar with the early Sherman models from other tech trees will feel right at home. It is best used at medium ranges, where the gun and armour are both quite effective, but it can partake in close range brawling in a pinch thanks to its vertical stabilizer. Stick close to teammates, keep an eye on the surroundings, and avoid overextending, as the reverse speed is bad and it is hard to retreat quickly.
While the frontal armour is good, especially when angled, staying constantly exposed to enemy fire is not advised due to a large number of weak spots. When hull-down, try to hide the portion of the right turret cheek next to the gun mantlet when possible, as the armour there is thin and lucky shot from a reserve tank might go through it. The side armour is very poor and it pays to watch out for flankers, even SPAAs.
Enemies worth noting:
M4A2/A4 - These Sherman tanks are widely used by over 3 nations that spread across 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 a M4A4, there are 2 apparent bulges on the upper front plate, a penetration through there is a guaranteed kill most of the times. But in case the opponent covers them up or when it's a M4A2, aim for the middle parts of the gun mantlet or the turret armour unprotected by the mantlet, you can at least make them defenseless. 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.
KW I C 756 (r) - One heavy tank where the M4 Sherman will have difficulty fighting is this upgunned German-captured KV-1. While the early Russian KV-1's L-11 cannon is less powerful, this new long barreled 75 mm KwK40 is lethal enough to penetrate the M4A4's front and one-shot it, while the M4A4 cannot consistently penetrate the thick armour of the KV-1, especially when it has its additional armour plates equipped. If you come across this heavy tank and it angles the hull, aim for the gun mantlet since it is only 50 mm thick. You can easily take out its gunner. Or shoot at the equally thin commander cupola, where you also have a chance to take down some turret crew. Of course, the most reliable tactic is to shoot at its sides without any angle, where its flat side armour becomes a large and easy target, although you will still have to get as close as you can to penetrate the armour. In addition, side shots will most likely hit fuel tanks or ammunition racks, causing fires or blowing up the ammunition. Remember, your vertical stabiliser and better agility are always great assists when fighting against heavily protected tanks like this.
Churchill heavy tanks - The Churchills, with their complex hulls and sturdy turrets, can be quite hard to kill at range. Again, manoeuvre as close to them as possible, the ideal distance being no more than 200 m. 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. Luckily this tank is a rare matchup for the French M4A4 in Realistic Battles, where the British are usually on your team.
Pz.IV F2/G/H/J - The historical nemesis of any Sherman, the Panzer IV is one of the Sherman's 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 500 m. 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.
StuG III F/G - 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 kill 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 500 m to ensure penetration.
Pros and cons
- Excellent gun depression of -10° plus the angled frontal turret allows it to utilise hills very well
- Great penetration and post-penetration damage when using M61 shells; can frontally penetrate and one-shot most opponents like the T-34, Crusader, M4 and others
- Vertical stabiliser allows it to fire on the move, or, in a sudden encounter, fire before the enemy which is critical
- Well angled frontal armour; when angling the hull it can deflect some low calibre / low-penetrating shells like the Stuarts' 37 mm, 75 mm M1, 76 mm F-34 / Zis-5 and others
- Adequate top speed allows it to get to positions in time, or to do tactical manoeuvres like flanking
- Rather fast reload speed for follow up shots
- Plenty of reserve ammunition for prolonged fighting without replenishing at captured points
- Large profile and weak side armour; flankers like the M24 Chaffee can easily see and penetrate it
- Frontal armour is still inadequate, will get frontally penetrated and one-shot by tanks like the long-barreled Pz.IV, StuG III F and T-34-57
- The best M61 shell struggles to penetrate heavy targets like KV-1 (ZiS-5), Churchill Mk.III or even the T-34 when angled
- 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; this tank also lacks neutral steering
- Roof armour of 19.5 mm thick is vulnerable to airstrikes with AP cannons. For example the widely used M2 Browning
The M4A4 was a M4 variant exclusively manufactured for export purposes. They equipped British, French, Italian and French armies. The M4A4 (France) were provided officially to the Free French Forces through the lend-lease program alongside the M4A2 in 1943 and 1944. 656 Shermans were allocated to the Free French Forces: 274 M4A4 and 382 M4A2. The first M4A4 were delivered in 1943 in the ports of Algiers and Casablanca to equip French Armoured Divisions. They were then transported to the UK in 1944 in preparation of the invasion of France and saw combat action in France in 1944 and in Western Germany in early 1945.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- [Wikipedia] M4 Sherman
- [Tanks Encyclopedia] Medium Tank M4 Sherman
- [The Shadock] French Shermans during WW2
|France medium tanks|
|M4 Derivatives||M4A1 (FL10) · M4A4 (SA50)|
|AMX-50||AMX M4 · AMX-50 (TOA100) · AMX-50 (TO90/930)|
|AMX-30||AMX-30 · AMX-30 (1972) · AMX-30B2 · AMX-30B2 BRENUS · AMX-30 ACRA · AMX-30 Super|
|AMX-32/40||AMX-32 · AMX-32 (105) · AMX-40|
|Leclerc||Leclerc · Leclerc S2 · Leclerc SXXI · Leclerc AZUR|
|Other||D2 · S.35 · Lorraine 40t|
|USA||▄M4A1 · ▄M4A3 (105) · ▄M4A4 · ▄M26|