Sherman in Service

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Sherman in Service

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:45 pm


Well, the Sherman Tank, as you know, saw services in various hands and was continously Upgraded until it met it's final incarnation as the Israeli Super Sherman. One notable improvement mad by the Israelis, other that the upgunning to a British 105mm main gun, was theImage widening of the tracks thus improving cross country performance.

The highest level of upgrade seen in US service was the M4E8 with a hi velocity 76mm Gun.

This variant was nicknamed the "Easy Eight" and saw good service in Korea as its gun, being on a par with the Panther Pzkw Mark V "Panther"'s hi velocity 75mm main gun, could deal with the North Korean Soviet supplied T-34-85's.

In World War II 43,000 Shermans were built vs. perhaps 1500 Panthers and an equal number of the Tiger Mk's VI and VII.

Also, one should remember that the Sherman was built to combat the German Pzkw marks III and IV, which it did well, primarily in North Africa.

Americans strategists then determined to stay with the Sherman for all other theaters of Of Operations.

This was an eminently sensible decision for the Pacific Theater because Japanese tanks were woefully outclassed by the Sherman even with its 75mm low velocity original main gun.

In the West, it was another matter. Perhaps two or three Shermans might me lost out of 5 in a duel with one Panther or Tiger.

At least this was the case in the hedgerows and relatively closed terrain of Normandy. Once the breakout from Normandy was made things changed.

Hundreds of Panthers and Tigers were destroyed in the St. Lo Falaise gap by speedy Shermans as well as British Typhoons and other allied ground attack aircraft.

The battle in the St Lo Falaise gap is considered one of the most pivotal battles on the Western Front despite the fact that a substantial portion of Wermacht Armor and veteran troopers were allowed to escape-thus the name 'gap' and the envelopment was not completed by Patton's 3rd Army for various alleged reasons: Monty's interference and conservativism, the speed of the German withdrawal and a lack of fuel for the 3rd Army.

In one place in the 'gap' Eisenhower was said that he could have walked for a mile on the corpses on dead Wermacht troopers and the dead horses of German horse drawn artillery and support wagons.

Despite its vaunted mechanized forces, the Wermacht used horses in these roles as did the Russians until the end of the war.

The Sherman was a relatively fst tank capable of 35mph as opposed to a Panthers 20 and a Tiger's 15KPH.

It was a tank meant for breakout exploitation, and, to some extent, infantry support.

The British upgunned their Sherman "Fireflys" and added applique Armor to protect the sides of the unfortuantely high silohuetted Shermans.

American tankers smeared mud or paint over the White Stars on the High flat side of their Shermans as the German gunners had a rather nasty habit of using these stars as an aiming point.

The 22 pounder Firefly main gun was next used in the "Centurion" family of post war British Tanks.

The Centurion, then itself upgunned to the famously effective 105mm gun, proved its supremacy against SovBlov tanks in the Six day War in 1967 where it served alongside "Super Shermans".

So, for all its faults the Sherman proved that it could have a long service life because the basic design allowed for upgunning, although little could be done to Image(E8 shown) ameliorate the vurnerability caused by its high silhouete, "flat" sides, lack of sloped armor and truly heavy armor. (E8 shown here and above)

Also, it utilized a gasolive powered Aircraft Engine (Wright Cyclone?) and, becuase of this, it was rather 'inflammable" and recieved such nicknames as the "Zippo" and Ronson" . (WWII age cigarette lighters).

To be sure this shows the grim humor of American tankers, but burning to death is no joke, of course.

So, between its speed and overwhelming numbers, the Sherman was able to prevail, using the help of alliedImage air supremacy, on the Western front.

Original production model shown.

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Postby Hugh » Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:11 pm

It has been my understanding that the Shermans could take out a Tiger when they outnumbered it some 4-5 to 1, but you need to remember that they were never intended to slug it out with Tigers on a 1-to-1 basis. The first two would keep the Tiger busy while the others circled around behind it and then took it out. That is unless they could call in air support from what the Germans called "Jabos," the Typhoons or Thunderbolts.

I have also read that the upgunned Israeli SHermans were known to have taken out Soviet T-64 & T-72 tanks, not because they were in any way superior to these tanks but because the Israeli crews were quite superior to the Arab crews.
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:15 pm

Every once in so often I will reply on another thread. Sorry
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