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user1000

Shermans and the bad reputation

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There was nothing wrong with the sherman M4 and M4a1, for the African campaign. It could tank on all tanks it met head on, and I say head on because when the Africa campaign was finished it just got harder and hard to go "head-on" with Axis armor.  The shermans and lee tanks that were used in Africa could go up against any German/Italian armor pziis, pziiis, marders etc except the tiger. Sure the Afrika Korps mark IV would be it's biggest match, but it had a weak short barrel 75 gun, so still it was a good match up be it sherman or lees. Now on to Italy, where the Germans released the high velocity 75 gun for the mark iv, that's when the sherman started to see it's head on tank vs tank battle problems. The sherman had to change it's attack tactics, or be slaughtered. Did the tactics change too late for the shermans? Did they really think they could continue to go head on with German armor? The thought is terrible but by my opinion would be yes, they did! The mark iv having the longer 75 would already put it a couple steps ahead of the sherman. Here we go with the start of the Italy and normandy campaign where the deadly panther versions start to come out with an even stronger 75mm gun AND STILL NOT A DECENT SHERMAN UPGRADE. The m4 still has a 75 gun and the sherman variants took many losses. At this point in time is where I think the sherman went to a troop support tank rather an armor vs armor tank. The TDs would concentrate on that job from now on. It's not until toward the end where we upgraded the sherman guns to 76mm and added more armor but by then it was too late. The US did just not know what they were up against in Italy and really had no clue at all of German armor, except for the stuff seen in Africa campaign and probably by stories of vets from that campaign, passed down to other rookies. The US training films at the time showed Panzer II's and Mark IV's (Anything a sherman could slice through) never panthers or tigers. The shermans learned the hard way indeed, that they needed to use swarm, ambushes and above all SPEED tactics to take on the big cats of Normandy. Gyros came out and were used for this new line of tank tactics. Did it work? My opinion would be yes partly. The shermans could literally race past Axis tanks for flank shots. A German tank on the move could not hit targets like a sherman could, it had to be pretty much still. The weight and slow turret traverse made getting away from racing shermans difficult. Did the mass amount of shermans produced really take a toll on German armor or was it more Axis abandoning their tanks, US AT guns, bazookas, allied fighters/bombers? Both the Sherman and half-track failed in it's wartime upgrade process. The Germans did a better job of trial and error from the African campaign and what it learned fighting the Soviets was a big help to tank designers. Transferring what worked and what didn't into a newer tank when the Allies just did error and error for both vehicles. What worked in Africa will work in Normandy seemed to be the way. Why were the shermans successful then? I think it was ALL IN SPEED. If the Axis armor would have matched the speed of the sherman with their bigger tanks. There would be a major problem. Bu tspeed alone would not do it either as they did not have the numbers to match racing shermans. The speed factor could be seen showing itself advancing and developing through the war by the US hellcat tank with a top speed of almost 60mph!

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Good analogy User1000. The problem the U.S. also had was the problem that still exists today in weapons development. No clear picture of what the goal was and everybody running around like a chicken with no head trying to develop their own pet solution. Quite a few replacement tanks were developed but never made it past the testing phase. Proper ammo storage and stopping the hording of main gun rounds stuffed anywhere in the tank helped tremendously with tank fires. At least Allied tank rounds "fizzled" before going full burn mode unlike German rounds which gave Allied crews more time to bail from the tank.

 

If you look at one of the games splash screens you will notice a M-10 Tank Destroyer with a sandbag structure emplaced on the back deck. As this got my curiosity going I researched and found this was a way TD units kept extra ammo crates stowed outside protected from small arms fire. This way they could stock up on both HEAT and HE as TD's were more and more called upon to fill in as tanks. Whether any Sherman units did this I do not know. I only found info on a TD unit and the exert did not mention which unit

 

And as far as a Sherman speed goes let's quote Oddball from Kelly's Heroes. "This here is Moriarty, he is our mechanical genius. We have the fastest Shermans in the entire European Theater. Forwards or backwards, see we like to get out of trouble as fast as we get into it."

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And as far as a Sherman speed goes let's quote Oddball from Kelly's Heroes. "This here is Moriarty, he is our mechanical genius. We have the fastest Shermans in the entire European Theater. Forwards or backwards, see we like to get out of trouble as fast as we get into it."

 

Yes good movie, and I forgot about that quote!

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