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I thought this comment was interesting:

"You are throwing a medium tank up against a heavy tank and then calling it an engineering disaster? How about comparing it to a German tank of comparable size and capability like the Panzer Mark IV and see how it compares against that."

The video mentions that Patton personally selected the Sherman as the one to use. I wonder what were the other choices?

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The M4 Sherman was a good, solid, general purpose, workhorse tank.

It had a fast turning, 3 man turret. A versatile 3 inch gun. Sloped frontal armor. And a reliable transmission.

It was a medium tank, designed for infantry support.

It could hold its own against any medium tank ever made... and it outclassed a few.

Like all tanks, the M4 had a few shortcomings... but it was a generaly well rounded tank.

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The later versions of the Sherman were probably compareably effective tanks for their time. The early models with the short 75mm gun though were probably sub-standard in 1944.

My favorite allied WW2 tank is the Firefly: maneuverable, a lot of firepower, available in numbers, sloped armour. The only tank superior to the Firefly by the means of cost/use is probably the T-34-85.

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The M4 Sherman was a good, solid, general purpose, workhorse tank.

It had a fast turning, 3 man turret. A versatile 3 inch gun. Sloped frontal armor. And a reliable transmission.

It was a medium tank, designed for infantry support.

It could hold its own against any medium tank ever made... and it outclassed a few.

Like all tanks, the M4 had a few shortcomings... but it was a generaly well rounded tank.

Agreed. It wasn't meant to go head up against other tanks. It was a very maneuverable infantry support tank that could use its speed to change firing positions to not expose its thin armor. It was not in the class of medium tanks such as the Panther, it wasn't built to shoot it out with heavily armored tanks.

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Shermans weren't really meant to engage other tanks toe-to-toe. You can argue the wisdom of that doctrine. The thing is, when the TDs were brought forward to do the job they were designed for they enjoyed an exchange rate on the order of 10-to-1 (at least Hellcat did), despite being designed in such a way that they'd make positively dreadful 'general purpose' tanks. The better the 'sexy' toe-to-toe' tanks got at their jobs the worse they got at general purpose work. Panther and Firefly weren't exactly known for their effective HE shells or long lasting barrels. I recall complaints early in the Iraq war about Abrams being no more than very big single machine gun carrier. The roof mgs were exposed, the coax was the same 7.62 FN everyone else was carrying, and the 120mm was so much overkill it was a positive danger to nearby accompanying infantry. A little less 'sexy' would've meant a lot more 'useful'.

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Maybe look at it this way. If things were switched around would the Americans/British been better off if they had Panthers and Tigers in 44 when Normandy was invaded and the Germans had the Shermans, M-10's, M-18s and M-36s.

I've read that the Panthers and Tigers while superior on the battlefield, were very complex, difficult to maintain, prone to breakdowns and costly and time consuming to produce. Marching from Normandy to Berlin is appx 1270km.

They said Shermans could drive 100 miles a day, day in day out while the complex German Panthers and Tigers were prone to breakdown. The allieds as it was with the Sherman had huge supply issues. One could imagine how much worse it would have been if they had Panthers and Tigers breaking down during the rapid advances after Operation Cobra and they needed spare parts in addition to fuel to maintain a rapid advance.

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Have you played CMFI? With the exception of the Tiger, the Sherman pretty much has the run of the battlefield. The Sherman more than holds its own against the Panzer Mark III's and IV's.

Alot of these stories about Shermans being inferior seem to come from the time frame when the Allies invade Normandy. You never here anything about North Africa or Sicily.

It's just the ebb and flow of the evolutionary arms cycle. And thanks to the Russian front, the German's had plenty of experience on their side.

Thanks to the higher fidelity at which CMBN and CMFI model the different systems in the armored fighting vehicles (sights, weapons controls, engine, radio, etc) you start to see the degrading effects that non-penetrating shots has on armor too. That was something that was never modeled in the CMBO, CMAK and CMBB.

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I've played Italy, but not extensively. From what I've seen so far the Sherman is more than a match for the Mark IV. I had a game going where it faced Brumbars and no turns have been exchanged for a while so I can't say. I suspect the Brumbars sloped frontal armor will be a tough nut to crack so side and rear shots will be preferred.

I agree that the stories about the Shermans inferiority came out of Normandy. If and when BF makes a North Africa module the Sherman will be the uber tank-until the Tiger rears its ugly head.

With all that said and done to date my h2h experiences fighting Panthers with Shermans in Normandy hasn't been very pleasant. :(

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The Sherman is a very capable tank, and too often underrated. Even late-war, a Firefly is a fine tank, and a Sherman Jumbo is a great tank too.

Mid war Shermans are good as well. They can even be a terror in some situations. I would like to point out to gunnersman that you actually hear horror stories about Sherman effectiveness quite a bit outside of Normandy. In fact the name 'Tommy-cooker' and 'Ronson' originated in North Africa with the Shermans propensity to brew up and burn.

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Quick drive by:

Sherman WAS expected to take on German armour. It was not it's main job but it was certainly designed to do so from the onset. Up-gun projects for it were under consideration before it ever saw action against Panther or Tiger.

Shermans burned no more or less then any tank that gets penetrated by an anti tank weapon. Anything you stuff with ammo and then shoot through with a large cannon tends to go *woosh* and that includes everyone's favourite Teutonic überpanzer. Unlike all those other tanks the Sherman did receive wet stowage, making the Sherman much less likely to burn upon penetration.

Sherman M4a3s were still kicking ass throughout the Korean war while M26s were being replaced by M46s.

Shermans being called Tommy cookers and Ronsons? I'd like to see evidence of that. Shermans weren't even called Shermans except by the Brits and the press. If the jagdpanzer 38(t) was not called Hetzer then I sure as hell am not going to take those nicknames for fact.

My opinion: Sherman is a viscously maligned piece of kit.

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I agree the Sherman gets an undeserved bad rap. But which poster are you likely to put on your wall, the Toyota Camry or the Ferrari? One is reasonably-priced, very reliable and can be used in many roles. The other is expensive, requires a lot of maintenance, and is excels in only a few specific situations.

I don't have the links, but I remember reading a couple of accounts of Russian tankers talking about their experience with lend-lease Shermans and captured Panthers during the war. They liked their Shermans--especially for the comfortable ride and easy shifting.

The verdict on the Panther was overall negative. In their view, while it had an excellent gun and very good frontal protection, it had drawbacks that made them prefer their T-34s. Here are the negatives:

--It was extremely front-heavy, with weak side and rear armor.

--It could not keep up with the T-34s in speed and broke down often, which forced the T-34s to stop and wait for the Panthers to catch up.

--It was much easier to spot than the T-34s.

--An engine hit on a T-34 generally meant the crew could bail and get some time in the rear away from the action. An engine hit on a Panther generally meant you were Tandoori chicken.

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I'm of two minds about Sherman. It was excellent doing its primary mission. But we lost soooooo many of them! Was it the fault of the tank design, the fault of the tactics, or simply the nature of the mission. If your 'job' is to throw yourself into the teeth of a turning buzz saw you've got to expect damage to result.

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Quick drive by:

Sherman WAS expected to take on German armour. It was not it's main job but it was certainly designed to do so from the onset. Up-gun projects for it were under consideration before it ever saw action against Panther or Tiger.

Shermans burned no more or less then any tank that gets penetrated by an anti tank weapon. Anything you stuff with ammo and then shoot through with a large cannon tends to go *woosh* and that includes everyone's favourite Teutonic überpanzer. Unlike all those other tanks the Sherman did receive wet stowage, making the Sherman much less likely to burn upon penetration.

Sherman M4a3s were still kicking ass throughout the Korean war while M26s were being replaced by M46s.

Shermans being called Tommy cookers and Ronsons? I'd like to see evidence of that. Shermans weren't even called Shermans except by the Brits and the press. If the jagdpanzer 38(t) was not called Hetzer then I sure as hell am not going to take those nicknames for fact.

My opinion: Sherman is a viscously maligned piece of kit.

You'd like evidence? I'll give you some when I return home later today. However I guarantee you that the Ronson nickname was applied by CW crews (Ronson lighters - lights the first time, every time!) and Tommy Cookers by the Germans. This is well known fact.

Also Elmar the early Shermans did NOT have wet ammo stowage, and I believe Shermans tended to burn more than other tanks since they used GASOLINE instead of DIESEL fuel.

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You'd like evidence? I'll give you some when I return home later today. However I guarantee you that the Ronson nickname was applied by CW crews (Ronson lighters - lights the first time, every time!) and Tommy Cookers by the Germans. This is well known fact.

Also Elmar the early Shermans did NOT have wet ammo stowage, and I believe Shermans tended to burn more than other tanks since they used GASOLINE instead of DIESEL fuel.

You sound angry.

You need to relax.

Here, listen to this:

Then you can come back and teach this fellow a lesson but do it curteously and calmly please.

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You'd like evidence? I'll give you some when I return home later today. However I guarantee you that the Ronson nickname was applied by CW crews (Ronson lighters - lights the first time, every time!) and Tommy Cookers by the Germans. This is well known fact.

Also Elmar the early Shermans did NOT have wet ammo stowage, and I believe Shermans tended to burn more than other tanks since they used GASOLINE instead of DIESEL fuel.

Nope, British post battle research indicated every tank, allied and German, went *woosh* in about 75% of first penetrations.

Fuel has nothing to do with it. You think that with the energies involved in penetrating armour that the ignition point of diesel as opposed to petrol is going to matter? Besides, only the Russians and the USMC used diesel for their tanks. Everyone else was using petrol too.

In a vehicle stuffed with ammunition it is the explosives cooking off that you need to worry about. The stowage of it prior to wet stowage being utterly unremarkable an equivalent to the ammo stowage of other tanks, I might add.

The Sherman got its reputation for catching fire because it got shot at with high velocity guns, thus being penetrated penetrated more reliably. German tanks getting shot at with capable guns suffered the same fate.

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You'd like evidence? I'll give you some when I return home later today. However I guarantee you that the Ronson nickname was applied by CW crews (Ronson lighters - lights the first time, every time!) and Tommy Cookers by the Germans. This is well known fact.

Also Elmar the early Shermans did NOT have wet ammo stowage, and I believe Shermans tended to burn more than other tanks since they used GASOLINE instead of DIESEL fuel.

You have to understand that every piece of military equipment or kit gets assigned a grim nickname. Gallows humour pretty much the only way to stay sane in such an environment. Some names get propagated in popular culture, others do not. AFVs all over the world have had nicknames associated with them that revolve around the theme of ammunition and fuel burning it's occupants. Just ask Israeli tankers what they think about hydraulic fluids.

Also, Germans tanks used gasoline and burnt just as well as the Sherman. Some myths need to stop being propagated. The US gear inferiority complex is a method of coping to deal with the shock of getting beaten up and bloodied in Normandy. "The Germans were übermen with über-MGs and überPanzers in überior defensive terrain"

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The US gear inferiority complex is a method of coping to deal with the shock of getting beaten up and bloodied in Normandy. "The Germans were übermen with über-MGs and überPanzers in überior defensive terrain"

I don't know, I wouldn't apply the term "beaten up and bloodied" when the Allies inflicted more casualties and sent the Germans scurrying back to the Siegfried Line.

I'm of two minds about Sherman. It was excellent doing its primary mission. But we lost soooooo many of them! Was it the fault of the tank design, the fault of the tactics, or simply the nature of the mission. If your 'job' is to throw yourself into the teeth of a turning buzz saw you've got to expect damage to result.

AFAIK we only lost about 4000?

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I don't know, I wouldn't apply the term "beaten up and bloodied" when the Allies inflicted more casualties and sent the Germans scurrying back to the Siegfried Line.

Well, the Allies still took quite a few hits along the way. As far as I've understood, especially the beginning of the campaign made waves in Allied HQ. There were probably enough casualties to leave a void that needed to be filled with an explanation of what happened.

Still, the logistic footprint of the Sherman was part of the winning equation. But they didn't brew up any more often than other succesfully penetrated tanks.

Now, the real question is, what would have happened if Finland would have received the entire production run of all Panthers ever made and was also the first to develop the nuclear bomb? :D

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I believe early model Shermans did blow up more frequently because of the way the ammo was stored. That is why they changed to the "wet stowage" system in the later models.

As has been discussed frequently on this board, US armor doctrine clearly stated that tanks were breakthrough weapons and were not supposed to engage enemy armor. However, once the war actually started to get going, people realized that tank vs. tank combat was actually quite frequent. Once the first Tigers were encounter in Tunisia, it became clear that the Sherman would need a bigger gun to have any chance at all, so they authorized the 76 mM addition. The British, much to their credit, realized that this gun was not sufficient, so they put their 17lbers on some of their Shermans. Still the Sherman armor protection was not very good relative to the Panther or Tiger. From my reading, General McNair was the one responsible for the delays in M26 production. This was partly due to logistical factors, but also due to him being unwilling to give up US armor doctrine, which said it was up to tank destroyers to take on tanks.

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From what I've understood about the Pershing is that it was a logistics nightmare. Against Tigers & Panthers, it had a gun capable of dealing with them but the armour still wasn't sufficient against high velocity guns. It was great against lesser tanks, but against them the Sherman was competent enough.

It is hard to say if the opportunity cost of M26s would have been worth it. How Allied breakthrough operations would have turned out with the strained engine and transmission of the Pershing.

Also, as far as I know German tanks also stored rounds in the turret ring. Protected ammo compartment was evolutionary and is standard procedure on most modern Western MBTs.

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