Sherman Vc (Italy)
|This page is about the medium tank Sherman Vc (Italy). For other 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 Carro Medio Sherman Vc is a rank III Italian medium tank with a battle rating of 5.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update "Starfighters". One of the most famous Sherman modifications in World War II, the Firefly introduces the potent 17-pounder anti-tank gun as the main armament of the Sherman platform, presenting a very drastic increase in firepower over the original 75 mm gun. This variant, the VC, was based off the chassis of an M4A4 Sherman.
The Sherman Firefly is easily distinguishable by its very long gun, even compared to the Shermans with the American 76 mm guns. The muzzle brake on the cannon is also in a spherical shape rather than a horizontal rectangular shape so that is a distinction between the 76 mm cannon and the 17-pounder. The hull is resemblent to that of the M4 Sherman although lacking the bow machine gun (it's actually based off an M4A4). The turret is also very similar, although the radio sticks out of the back in a bustle.
This tank should be the supporting line in both offensive and defensive actions, providing flanking fire, long-range fire, or fast and accurate fire to the target while the heavy tanks take up the brunt of the defense. The tank is as mobile as the M4 Sherman, so picking up speed to get around the enemy is not hard. Those familiar with a M4 Sherman control will pick up on this tank very easily. While this tank is also capable of being the frontal attack unit for an assault, it is strongly advised to not due to the thin armour of the tank, necessitating the users to always get the first shot off in an encounter, otherwise the enemy will be able to destroy the Firefly easily. For a conservative, almost TD-like role, it can also perform, destroying tanks from afar.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull)
- Cast homogeneous armour (Transmission area, Turret)
|Hull|| 50.8 mm (55°) Front glacis
50.8 mm (7°) Driver's port
50.8 mm (1-53°) Transmission area
|38.1 mm|| 38.1 mm (22-23°) Top
38.1 mm (1°) Bottom
| 19.5 mm |
12.7 mm Engine deck
|Turret|| 76.2 mm (8-44°) Turret roof
50.8 + 88.9 mm (1-54°) Gun mantlet
|50.8 mm (2-38°)|| 50.8 mm (2-67°) Turret rear
50.8 mm (1°) Radio box
|Cupola||50.8 mm||25.4 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, bogies are 10 mm thick, and tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 12.7 mm thick.
- The bow machine gun area has been welded shut with armour, but is only 25.4 mm thick so may present a viable weakness to weaker enemies.
- Unlike the armour on the American Rank III Shermans which saw itself upped from 50.8 mm to 63.5 mm, the British Firefly in Rank III retains the old 50.8 mm base armour thickness on the front hull, as well as the protruding driver and co-driver hatches in front. This makes the Firefly a much more vulnerable Sherman tank than even the American versions, a trade-off for its more powerful armament.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
|76 mm QF 17-pounder||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
- Shot Mk.6: - Standard penetrating round, use until better rounds are unlocked.
- Shell Mk.1: - It is ideal for destroying SPAA and lightly armoured tanks, but useless against anything else.
- Shot Mk.4: - Cap for better grip against sloped armour.
- Shot Mk.8: - Like Shot Mk.4 but with a ballistic cap for improved flight path, as well as better penetration.
- Shot SV Mk.1: - Highest armour penetration of any shot, but has worse spalling effect.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Shot SV Mk.1||APDS||228||226||207||189||159||134|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Shot SV Mk.1||APDS||1,203||1.73||N/A||N/A||N/A||75°||78°||80°|
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy time
| Screen hold time
| Explosive Mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|17pdr Shell SS Mk.1||229||8.44||13||5||20||50|
|77||70 (+7)||62 (+15)||54 (+23)||46 (+31)||38 (+39)||30 (+47)||22 (+55)||15 (+62)||8 (+69)||1 (+76)||Yes|
Left/front empty: 46 (+31)
|12.7 mm M2HB|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|7.62 mm L3A1|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
Shoot and scoot. Unless the enemy's tank gunner has been knocked out (black only), cannon breech has been disabled (red/black), or cannon barrel is disabled (red/black) that inhibits the enemy's ability to fire back, don't expose the tank after firing. Always try to retreat back into cover to relead. Once reloaded, preferably pop out of an area different from the last firing position and take another shot. Make sure to eliminate the enemy's ability to fire back by destroying their cannon breech and traverse gears, or incapacitate their driver and gunner again if they were replaced. During this whole process, watch out for other enemy tanks and avoid being swarmed. With situational awareness combined with the correct usage of the map, the Firefly becomes a decent tank capable of effectively fighting every medium and heavy tank it faces.
The Firefly can excel at vaporizing tanks that have clustered crew, like StuGs, SUs, T-34s, KVs, and even Panzer IIIs and IVs. The post penetration affect of the Firefly's shells after the AP buffs allow it to decimate those tanks. However, it is recommended to still shoot from afar, as all of these tanks can destroy the Firefly easily.
Definitely do not play to aggressively. The huge weakness of the 3/4 crew in the turret is almost always pointed out immediately, because it's a huge issue. It good hit either means a quick trip back to the hangar, or a lengthy crew replenishment time on AB. But this ignores the fact that the tank is just a huge glass cannon, as any shot anywhere will likely cripple the tank.
The Sherman Firefly can dish out the punishment necessary for heavy tanks, but can't take it. Don't expose the tank towards enemy fire too long due to the thin armour on the Firefly in comparison to other tanks such as the Russian T-34-85s and the Germans Panthers. Take a shot, preferably from a flanking location, then retreat into cover regardless of the shot's effect on target, because if the target could swing its gun towards the Firefly, or have friends that could hit it, consider writing off the Firefly very soon. This varies between different enemies, as going against something like the KV-2 would be different than going against a Tiger I.
Pros and cons
- Uses the tried and tested Sherman chassis. Experienced players will find this tank easy to use.
- Very fast turret traverse speed.
- The 17-Pounder gun, which can penetrate every single tank it faces, although newer players may struggle against the Panther.
- APDS rounds with excellent penetrating capabilities
- Fast reload even with untrained crew.
- 77 rounds maximum.
- Fast and very mobile.
- Has .50 cal AA machine gun that's unique among other vehicles as it can rotate for 360°.
- Has no side bulges unlike the Premium version.
- Post penetration damage tends to be enough to knock out crews when clustered together, such as on the T-34 series or turrets.
- Armour of a M4 Sherman, very thin for a Rank III vehicle.
- Large profile.
- 4 crew members, 3 of which are clustered in the turret, making it easier to knock out.
- Bad gun depression of only -5 degrees.
- Gun post penetration damage is decent with the AP buffs, but still won't always one shot a tank.
- Smart enemies will shoot the spot where the radio operator gunner usually sat, as in the Firefly, that spot is replaced by ammo (unless carrying 54 ammo).
- Lacks additional armour unlike its British counterpart.
- Reverse speed is bad.
- Like all vehicles armed with early version of the 17-pounder gun, it will struggle before it has the Shot Mk.8.
- Stock AP round is painful to use. It fragments poorly, bounces often and does very little damage unless hitting ammo or modules.
- Unlike other Shermans, it doesn't have access to a gun stabilizer and thus the gun sight will rock up and down on a sudden stop.
- Traverse is mediocre.
Around 1943 in World War II, the M4 Sherman was one of the best tanks in use by the Allies. It superseded the German standard Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs at the time. However, it was during the middle of 1943 that the Sherman design was beginning to wane in superiority with the reveal of newer German tanks in the front lines, namely the Tiger I and the Panther tanks. These tanks are able to not only take out the Sherman at a longer range than the Sherman can compete in, but could also withstand the 75 mm rounds fired from the Sherman with their frontal armour. In order to improve the Sherman's firepower against these better German tanks, the Americans decided to upgun their tanks with the better 76 mm gun. The British, however, decide to up the ante with one of the Allies' most powerful anti-tank gun at the time, the 17-pounder.
The Ordnance QF 17-pounder was a 76.2 mm anti-tank gun developed by the United Kingdom around 1942, but was considered as far back as 21 November 1940. The British predicted that the Germans would be increasing their tank armour gradually to make current anti-tank weapons ineffective in North Africa, a lesson learned when their issued 2-pounder, 6-pounder, and 75 mm guns were meeting heavier armoured tanks, and even tanks with superior firepower like the 75 mm KwK 40 on the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2. The first prototype batch was completed in Spring 1942 and the design was finalized in 1943 and accepted into service that same year, where it would see great effect in the Italian Campaign as one of the best Allied anti-tank guns. One of the reasons why the 17-pounder was so effective was the use of the APDS shot (Armour-Piercing Discarding-Sabot), which could penetrate up to 256 mm of armour at 500 meters distance; this is due to the smaller, but much faster projectile used that contains more kinetic energy than a full-sized shot. However, drawbacks with this ammunition was the lack of tracer to be able to adjust shots, the inaccuracy beyond 500 yards, and the less damage it could cause to the enemy tank.
The 17-pounder effectiveness against the new German tanks and the lackluster anti-armour firepower on British tanks brought upon the concept of mounting the 17-pounder onto tanks. The first mention of mounting the powerful gun onto a tank carriage was as early as 09 December 1941 by Tank Board, which prompted the design specification A29, a 45-ton 17-pounder armed tank that was eventually cancelled for another design. The next design took the Cromwell tank as its basis, with development proceeding in 1942 as the A30 (later known as the Challenger). While A30 was in development, the prolonged development time had Tank Board set up for two more 17-pounder projects, the A34 (Comet) for a short term project and A41 (Centurion) for a long term one, in the summer of 1943. However, in the same year, a side project for a 17-pounder tank was conducted by two officers.
Royal Tank Regiment major George Brighty, based at the Royal Armoured Corps Gunnery School at Lulworth in Dorset, had the belief that the M4 Sherman was a better tank mount for the 17-pounder than the A30, which was being tested in Lulworth. He experimented around an acquired Sherman, though came to a conclusion that the turret size was too small for the 17-pounder's breech and recoil. Still, he persisted in his efforts and in a rather absurd solution, fitted the 17-pounder into the turret by locking the gun into the mounts and removing the lengthy recoil system, forcing the tank's mass and suspension to absorb the entirety of the 17-pounder recoil. Though this proved to have worked, the modification was far from ideal for any practical usage.
During his trials, Brighty joined up with another major of the RTR by the name of George Witheridge. Witheridge was also convinced of the Sherman's virtues from his time at Fort Knox when advising on tank gunnery techniques. While he appreciated the dual-purpose usage the 75 mm gun on the Sherman provided, he was concerned on improving the armour-piercing properties while retaining the same high-explosive charge. Witheridge arrived at Lulworth to Brighty's design, which he found unsuitable. In a statement on how confident such a design looked from the outside, Witheridge test-fired Brighty's 17-pounder Sherman from the outside three times before trying it out inside. Priority soon shifted to develop a recoil system for the Sherman-mounted 17-pounder. However, some time after Witheridge's arrival, the Department of Tank Design (DTD) sent a directive to the two lads to cease their development on the up-gunning of the Sherman, possibly to protect their A30 project. Witheridge, still keen to the idea of using the Sherman, tried to get this directive reversed by appealing to his connections, namely a man going by Major General Raymond Briggs. Briggs, Witheridge's commanding officer in North Africa and also enthusiastic about improving British tank firepower, put the word to Claude Gibb, Director General of Weapon and Instrument Production at Ministry of Supply, to which Gibb approved and the 17-pounder Sherman was back up. However, with the Ministry of Supply now involved with the project, the design was shifted from two enthusiastic officers to the engineers.
One person deemed responsible for completing the project was W.G.K. Kilbourn, a professional engineer at Vickers who was stationed at Chertsey when he was assigned the 17-pounder Sherman by the DTD. He managed to fit the 17-pounder gun into the Sherman turret by extensively modifying the gun. He replaced the recoil cylinders with shorter ones mounted on the sides, opposite to each other top and bottom, on a special cradle, modified the gun barrel to fit onto the cradle for better support, and placed the gun breech to open horizontally (contrary to the statement that the gun was simply rotated 90 degrees sideways as the operators of the gun have not been rotated along with the breech). The redesigned 17-pounder, named Mk IV was built on 11 November 1943 at the Royal Ordnance Factory and could fit into the Sherman turret, but now the concern was on the crew inside. The large breech of the modified 17-pounder ate up a lot of internal space and isolated the loader on the left side of the gun and turret; the solution was to cut a hole on top of the loader's position and add a hatch. The radio, usually mounted on the rear of the turret, was deemed too close to the recoiling breech for comfort so an armoured box was welded to the turret rear for the radio and a hole cut into the turret rear for operating the radio away from the recoiling gun. The armoured box also had the benefit of acting as a counter-weight for the longer and heavier gun for the turret. Finally, there was an issue of ammo stowage for the larger and heavier 17-pdr rounds, 6 inches longer than the 75 mm shells. The stowage on the tank was in bins in the turret for ready access, but a bulk of it was placed under the turret floor that could only be accessed when the turret was aligned a certain position for each bin, making them more for replenishing the ready racks during breaks in combat. To increase the stowage for more 17-pounder rounds, the bow machine gunner was removed along with his machine gun (the port welded over by a prominent wedge shaped armour) and a rack holding 15 rounds placed in his location, however the position for the rack was also impossible to reach during combat and one location on the rack was so hard to get to that it wasn't used, making the total stowage 14 rounds instead.
Kilbourn efforts and those of assisting engineers managed to finally fit the large 17-pounder gun into the constrained space of the Sherman turret intended to mount the 75 mm gun, as well as perform the necessary modifications to accommodate combat usage of the vehicle. It then moved onto the next stage of being approved for service.
Inspection of the completed Sherman with the 17-pdr started on 06 January 1944, and the War Office wrote a requirement for up to 2,100 of the tanks to be upgunned. Not every Sherman could follow the conversion, whether by technical or logistics limitations, and only petrol-engined, M34A1 gun mounted, and have a hydraulic turret traverse system. This meant that the Shermans converted were the Sherman I (M4),Sherman I Hybrid (M4 "Composite") , and Sherman V (M4A4). Technically the Sherman II (M4A1) and Sherman III (M4A3) were also eligible for conversion with those standards, but information on the Sherman II are scarce and photographic evidence of cast hull converted Shermans usually turn out to be Sherman I Hybrids; Sherman III are all allocated to the U.S. Army as their mainstay tank so no M4A3 were even available in British service to convert. Tanks armed with the 17-pounder were designated by a "C" in the name at the end of their mark number, leading to names such as the "Sherman VC" to denote a M4A4 with the 17-pounder conversion. Troops with the upgunned Sherman, as early as March 1944, were describing tank as a Firefly, regardless of the type. How it got the name is debatable, but it is most likely due to the very prominent muzzle flash that the 17-pounder produces when firing.
Still, as D-Day approached for the Allied forces and the A30 Challenger was continually delayed, the eagerness of the troops to acquire the Firefly rose substantially. Four factories were prioritized for the conversion, two at London, one at Manchester and another at Nottingham. From the conversion period of 1944 to 1945, up to and between 2,100 to 2,200 Fireflies were converted, making it the most produced tank with the 17-pounder of the war. Allocation of the Fireflies was one troop per three Sherman troop (troop was an equivalent of platoon and consisted of 4 tanks), but even regiments that were equipped with Cromwells were supplemented with Fireflies until the A30 Challenger was fit for service. The Fireflies were also allocated to Canadian and Polish regiments. Due to the relative newness of the Firefly, most of the training done on the utilization and deployment of the Fireflies were done on the combat field by each regiment.
The Firefly's reputation during and after the war is a product of hindsight. The British understood the trend that was happening in German armoured forces and acted accordingly with the 17-pounder. It should be noted that the 17-pounder's super round, the APDS, did not appear in Firefly stowage until August 1944, and in combat was really inaccurate past 500 yards and the round fouled the barrel that it affected follow-up shots with APCBC rounds. As such, APCBC round would still be standard usage and though the 17-pounder was still slightly more powerful than the 76 mm, it traded crew comfort and design quality in the Firefly in comparison to the 76 mm gun in the larger T23 turret. What solidified the Firefly's place in history in comparison to the 76 mm Shermans was that on the very first day that the Allies invaded Normandy, the British actually brought the Fireflies while the Americans left their 76 mm guns in English depots. Thus, the British can claim with great confidence that on the opening days of Operation Overlord, they had a tank that could kill the German cats.
In Italian Service
The Firefly first saw action in Italy in British, American and Polish hands in the Italian Campaign in 1944, but were ceased since heavy German armor proved to be a challenging opponent for the Firefly. After WW2, when Italy joined NATO, they were supplied by Firefly VC medium tank, designated as "M4 Tipo VC" (VC is the callsign of a M4A4 Sherman tank using a 17pdr gun). They were supplied and commissioned in 1947 and decommissioned and scrapped in 1952.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Vehicles equipped with the same gun & turret
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
- Zaloga 2008, Chapter 3: The Panzer Nemesis: The Panther Threat
- Fletcher 2008, The 17-pounder
- Hunnicutt 1978, pg. 303
- Fletcher 2008, Ammunition
- Fletcher 2008, Developments At Lulworth
- Fletcher 2008, Designing The Firefly
- Morans 2017, Time (3:00)
- Fletcher 2008, The Conversion Programme
- Fletcher 2008, What's in a Name?
- Zaloga 2008, Chapter 4: The Future Sherman: Improve or Replace?: The British Approach
- Zaloga 2003, Initial Deployment Problems
- Fletcher, David. Sherman Firefly Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2008. Kindle Edition
- Hunnicutt, R.P. Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank U.S.A.: Feist Publications, 1978
- Morans, Nicholas. Inside the Chieftain's Hatch: Sherman VC "Firefly" part 2 YouTube, 20 Mar. 2017. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
- Zaloga, Steven J. M4 (76mm) Sherman Medium Tank 1943-65 Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2003. Kindle Edition
- Zaloga, Steven J. Armored Thunderbolt: The U.S. Army Sherman in World War II U.S.A: Stackpole Books, 2008. Kindle Edition
- Zaloga, Steven J. Armored Champion: The Top Tanks of World War II U.S.A: Stackpole Books, 2015. Kindle Edition
|Italy medium tanks|
|M13/40||M13/40 (I) · M13/40 (II) · M13/40 (III)|
|M14/41||M14/41 · M14/41 (47/40)|
|P26/40||P40 · P40 "G.C. Leoncello"|
|OF-40||OF-40 · OF-40 Mk.2A · OF-40 (MTCA)|
|Ariete||Ariete (P) · Ariete · Ariete PSO|
|Foreign||▄M4 Hybrid · M4 Tipo IC · ▄Sherman Vc · ▄M4A4|
|▄Pz.III N · ▄Pz.IV G|
|M26 "D.C.Ariete" · M26A1 · M47 (105/55) · M60A1 "D.C.Ariete" · ▄Leopard 1A5|