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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.

fault of the policies

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it was a logistics nightmare

I remember an old coworker who was working at Aberdeen while they were testing Sherman replacement vehicles said the fancy electrical tranny locked up on one, shooting the tank off the test track, through a couple houses finally coming to rest I don't-know-where after doing considerable damage. That might've been one reason why we never got a proper Sherman replacement. ;)

The Pershing tranny, I hear, involved lots of different belt drives instead of gears. A real challenge to keep everything taut and spinning. Took a talented driver.

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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.

Then why didn't the British tanks get the same reputation?

Actually, it's pretty well documented that Shermans did tend to brew up easier than other tanks, partly because the ammo was located in vulnerable spot. Even when the ammo wasn't hit directly, an internal penetration might cause shrapnel that would set them off. This led to the development of the wet stowage.

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MacIsle,

Here's the Sherman interview done by HSU Dmitry Loza. A very informative read!

http://english.iremember.ru/tankers/17-dmitriy-loza.html

Elmar,

In the extensive Forum discourses on the whole AP Shot vs APHE from the perspective of terminal effects, there are citations regarding the German use of armored containers for tank ammunition. No such things were in the Shermans until Wet storage came along, and I'm not at all sure the Wet storage configuration was armored. In general, therefore, there was considerable difference in ammo stowage and protection between the Sherman tanks and its foes.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Then why didn't the British tanks get the same reputation?

Pretty much every cruiser tank up from A9 to Cromwell did have that very reputation.

Actually, it's pretty well documented that Shermans did tend to brew up easier than other tanks, partly because the ammo was located in vulnerable spot. Even when the ammo wasn't hit directly, an internal penetration might cause shrapnel that would set them off. This led to the development of the wet stowage.

I think you'll find that the ammo stowage of a Sherman was not that much different then it's contemporaries. Same for their location, underneath and to the sides of the turret, where you need them to be.

I do know there was an issue with tankers carrying more then their allotted ammo complement, stored in what spare space the tank had. But then again I recall the Germans doing the same thing.

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Look at the ammo & fuel storage diagram for the Panzer IV:

http://www.heroesofstalingrad.com/wp-content/gallery/tank-pages/tank_pz24_page_2.jpg

It goes whoosh and boom.

IS-2: http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7089/phocathumblis217.jpg

IS-3: http://www.popmech.ru/images/upload/t_10_ammo_1243422006.jpg

Bum bum.

Is it just me or is it relatively hard to find good diagrams?

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Here's the Sherman interview done by HSU Dmitry Loza. A very informative read!

http://english.iremember.ru/tankers/17-dmitriy-loza.html

Thanks, John!

Yes, that was one of the interviews I was talking about. Yup--a good read for sure. On the last page, this just caught my eye:

I want also to add that the Sherman's armor was tough. There were cases on our T-34 when a round struck and did not penetrate. But the crew was wounded because pieces of armor flew off the inside wall and struck the crewmen in the hands and eyes. This never happened on the Sherman.

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Look at the ammo & fuel storage diagram for the Panzer IV:

http://www.heroesofstalingrad.com/wp-content/gallery/tank-pages/tank_pz24_page_2.jpg

It goes whoosh and boom.

IS-2: http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7089/phocathumblis217.jpg

IS-3: http://www.popmech.ru/images/upload/t_10_ammo_1243422006.jpg

Bum bum.

Is it just me or is it relatively hard to find good diagrams?

Interesting diagrams, but ... the IS2 and 3's gun fired rounds separate from propellant ? Dang, no wonder it fired so slowly ( unless I'm totally misunderstanding the picture ).

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If I remember correctly didn't in Korea the US tankers prefer Sherman Easy Eights over Pershings... even given that they were going up against Korean T-34/85's?

AIUI, the main reason the Sherman was preferred in Korea had more to do with mechanical reliability and ability to handle steep terrain than with the armor and armament of the respective tanks. The Sherman could simply get places the Pershing could not go. I've also heard that the Centurion was even better.

Michael

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I just replayed a H2H turn and in all my games I have never seen a tank explode like my Sherman did when hit my a 75mm fired from a Mark 4. The explosion lit up the entire screen.

The shell penetrated the frontal armor and must have set off the stored ammo. Needless to say no survivors. Just 5 red crosses.

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For some reason the link doesn't work for me, but I did a search on youtube and saw a clip of a M-7 getting hit and going boom. The M-7 got hit then exploded after a 5-10 seconds.

In my case it was instantaneous after the shell hit. It was the clank of the shell and not more than a second later-probably less the massive KABOOM and FLASH.

It was like the Sherman was hit by a 16 inch HE round fired by a battleship.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was digging through some stuff and I found this:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/panzertales-world-tank-museum-illustrated-collector-book-yoh-morinaga/1100340965?ean=9780979068409

I got it years ago from a game store and thought it was cool. Was a lot cheaper than what people want for it now. Think I paid $15.

Anyway one of the interesting tidbits about the Sherman was it had a escape hatch on the bottom of the tank, but the infantrymen often stole it as they found it made a great bullet shield!

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Elmar and Pak40,

There's a kind of British counterpart to Belton Cooper's Deathtrap. Haven't read it but want to.

Death by Design: The Fate of British Tank Crews in the Second World War Hardcover – December 1, 1998

by Peter Beale (Author)

ZBP II,

I hadn't seen that diagram for a Panzer IV, but I do find it noteworthy there's no ammo stowage in the turret at all. The IS-2 pics has been removed, but the IS-3 clearly has issues.

Vanilla Sherman

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/UnitedStates/mediumtanks/usmt-M4-diagram.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-OTEfkrI1FPE/UKtG0TH3RsI/AAAAAAAADas/YcObkICwS4E/s1600/M4A4-Sherman-Cutaw-Rear-ro6i98.jpg

T-34/76

Have found the same type of drawing as the Panzer IV, but Google's having a nervous breakdown (near total collapse), so you'll have to be patient.

T-34/85

http://www.invisiblethemepark.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Soviet-T-34-Tank-Cutaway-1950-1024x475.jpg

Regards,

John Kettler

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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.

This!

And one has to keep in mind that the US entered the war late and had little practical experience of "modern" tank combat while the Germans had been at it from '39 constantly learning and improving their designs.

During the invasion of France the German machines were in part inferior to the tanks on the Allied side.

Inferior armor or weaponry didn't prevent the Germans from knocking out scores of T-34s nor did it prevent the Allies from crushing the German Panzerdivisions.

Comparing the earlier Shermans with a Panther or Tiger is like comparing a PzKpfw III Ausf E to a Matilda II or a Char B1 (or a guy with a rifle vs a guy with a howizer).

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  • 2 weeks later...

The US kind'a stumbled into the Sherman starting with the medium tank T5 in May 1936 and rapidly evolving thru M2, M3, T6 and M4. The common theme was the big-arsed (literally) radial aircraft engine the vehicle was designed around. If the original vehicle had only had a suitably V-12 engine available the whole series would've been at least two feet shorter. Remember, the T-34 was the logical extension of the original American Christie tank design mounting a diesel version of the old Liberty aircraft engine. A picture of what might have been if we hadn't gone with the radial in '36. Still, Hellcat is pretty pint-size and mounts the standard Sherman radial.

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