Today in WW II: 19 Jan 1942 Japanese troops seize control of North Borneo.   

M-4 Sherman Tank

The M-4 Sherman Tank was the principal Allied battle tank of World War II, serving in large numbers in all theaters of operation. It continued in U.S. use into the 1950s, including the Korean War. Almost 50,000 Shermans were produced from 1942 to 1946 and over 22,000 were provided to America's Allies in the lend lease program. In some countries the Sherman continued in use to the end of the 20th Century.

See also the pages regarding M4 Sherman variants:

M-4 Sherman Tank Variants

The M4, M4A1 through M4A6 Shermans were the most numerous and important American tank of World War II, produced from 1942 through 1945 in many variations by multiple manufacturers:

  • American Locomotive Co.
  • Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • Detroit Tank Arsenal (Chrysler operated)
  • Federal Machine and Welder Co.
  • Fisher Tank Arsenal (General Motors)
  • Ford Motor Co.
  • Lima Locomotive Works
  • Pacific Car and Foundry Co.
  • Pressed Steel Car Co.
  • Pullman Standard Car Co.

French Army M-4 Sherman tank lands from USS LST-517, Normandy, 2 August 1944
French Army M-4 Sherman tank lands from USS LST-517, Normandy, 2 August 1944.

The M4 Sherman had many variants and sub-types to designate hull changes (welded and partially or fully cast), gasoline and diesel engines, various combinations of main gun and machine guns, as well as turret configurations, armor, suspension, and many other details. M4 Shermans were produced for special purposes (eg, the Duplex Drive amphibious tanks) or delivered to Allied countries for their own customization (eg, the British Sherman Firefly, fitted with their 17pdr anti-tank gun).

Most Sherman variants were equipped with a 75mm gun, at least initially. In response to German tank improvements, the M4's main gun evolved to the higher velocity 76mm with a longer barrel, but through the end of the war many Shermans were still equipped with the 75mm. Neither gun was really adequate for tank on tank battle against German medium and heavy tanks, the Mark V Panther and the Mark VI Tiger in particular, but the Sherman carried the day through superior numbers, better maneuverability, and the ingenuity of American crews.

In March 1944, 254 M4A3E2 Shermans were ordered for the US Army with beefed up specifications for assult missions, including:

  • Thicker armor (4 to 5.5 inches)
  • 75mm gun in a T23-style turret with 6 inches of armor, 7 inches armor around the gun mount
  • Upgraded gearbox for the added weight

The M4A3E2 Sherman was nicknamed "Jumbo." It reached the battlefields of the ETO in late 1944.

Also in 1944, another assault version of the M4 was produced with a 105mm howitzer as its main gun.

By the end of World War II in 1945, the M4A3E8 "Easy Eight" with the improved high velocity 76mm gun and HVSS (horizontal volute spring suspension, along with many other evolutionary changes, was the most advanced version of the M4 Sherman, continuing in use by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps well into the 1950s.

The 31 ton M4 Sherman tank was 19 feet long and 9 feet in both width and height. It was capable of 26 mph.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M4 Sherman tank at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

Recommended Books about the M4 Sherman

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