M4 Sherman (Family)
The M4 Sherman, designated Medium Tank, M4, named after the American Civil-War General William T. Sherman.
The M4 was the most widely-used American tank ever developed, originally meant for World War II, but seeing service far after 1957, when the US retired them, with its latest retirement nation being Paraguay in April 2018.
M4A3E2 Sherman "Jumbo"
The M4A3E2 had 1.5 in (38 mm) armor plates added to the front and upper sides of the hull. The additional armor was welded onto the original armor, which brought the total thickness of the frontal armor to 4 in (101 mm) and the upper side thickness to 3 in (76 mm). The rear and top armor remained the same, and the lower hull sides were also unchanged. The frontal plate had a cutout in the hull to allow for fitting the plate over the machine gun ball mount. Additionally, the final drive assembly cover was replaced by a more heavily armored version. The thickness was from 4 in (101 mm) to 5.5 in (129 mm).
The M4A3E2 received a new turret. The new turret was based on the T23 turret (used on 76 mm gun armed Shermans), but it had the pistol port removed. The armor was also increased to 6 in (152 mm) all round, but the area under the rear turret basket was only 2.5 in (63 mm). Despite using the M62 gun mount that was normally used for 76 mm guns, a 75 mm gun was mounted as standard. The standard 2 in (50 mm) gun shield had 5 in (127 mm) of armor added to it, increasing both the size and thickness of the mantlet. The standard ammunition load was 104 75 mm rounds, 600 .50 cal (12.7 mm) rounds, 6,250 .30 cal (7.62 mm) rounds, 900 .45 cal rounds for the crew's defensive pistols, 18 hand grenades, and 18 2-inch smoke grenades.
Note: Many M4A3E2 Shermans were up-gunned to the 76 mm caliber during the war.
Because of the immense weight of the additional armor, extended end connectors were fitted to the tracks, reducing the ground pressure. The engine was the same Ford GAA V8 as was standard on the M4A3. The maximum speed was reduced to 22 mph (35 kph), but the acceleration was still manageable. It could climb a 60% slope, cross a 7’6” (2286 mm) trench, climb a 24” (609 mm) vertical wall and ford 36” (914 mm) of water.
Field Expedient JumboThe Field Expedient Jumbos were M4A3 (76) HVSS (a.k.a. M4A3E8 Easy Eight) up-armored with armor plates welded to the hull upper glacis and turret by the 12th Army Group. The Field Expedient Jumbos often had a frontal armor profile similar to the purpose-built M4A3E2 tanks. The additional armor was taken from knocked out tanks, often from M4 Shermans or Panzer V Panthers. In the case of another Sherman the entire upper glacis of the could be cut out and then welded to the front of the tank. The 6th Armoured Division stated in a report:
A recently modified M4A3E8 took a direct hit from a German 75 mm shell with the only resulting damage being the complete separation of the middle section of additional armour from the hull. The tank continued in the action and succeeded in “knocking out” the opposing vehicle.The crew whose lives were saved by this additional protection were loud in their praise of this modification.