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What's + W & HVSS for the M4?

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Germanboy:

W - wet ammo stowage

+ - added armour (tracks welded on I guess)

HVSS - better suspension on later models, IIRC<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Some purpose made plates were fitted to Shermans also over the ammo bins.

HVSS - yes. It means Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension.

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Most people assume that the M in US vehicle designations means "Model". Thus, the Medium Tank M4 Sherman would be the "Model #4" Medium tank. This is incorrect. The M actually stands for "Mortality" and the number represents the life expectancy of the vehicle in minutes. Thus, Shermans were rated officially at 4 minutes of survival in a combat situation, which is reflected actually in CM by having them die on turn 4.

After the Sherman had been in production for some time and combat experience had been gained, it was noticed in many cases, particularly for the earlier productions runs of Shermans, that the official Mortality rating was a bit optimistic. Thus, the designation was changed to reflect the new data. This involved appending the letter A and another number to the M4 designation, the A standing for "Actually" and the number being the revised Mortality rating. For example, the M4A2 had a combat-proven life expectancy of "Actually 2" minutes.

Later on, the designation got even more accurate by appending a number in parentheses and the letter W. Despite the widely held conviction that the parenthetical number was the caliber of the gun, what these symbols really meant was that the tank had a 75% or 76% chance of going WHOOSH in a big fireball when penetrated. However, some models of the Sherman were so inflammable that calculations showed they had a 105% chance of brewing up, so they just left it at that and didn't bother with the W, because they were going to WHOOSH regardless.

Towards the end of the war, some Shermans gained an E and another number in their designations. The E meant "Extra Cost" and the number was a designator for the manufacturer, to ensure that company got extra money for making the tank. CM accurately reflects this by making these types of Shermans cost more to buy.

Thus, the M4A3E8(76)W designation meant a tank with an official Mortality of 4 minutes, Actually 3 minutes, cost Extra, and had a 76% chance of going WHOOSH.

© of this text: BULLETHEAD, posted 07/10/2000 on this forum

Any questions left ????


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You can find details of the type and location of armor added to the M4 in Appendix 2 of Belton Y. Cooper's entertaining and highly informative memoir Death Traps (Presidio, 1998). Cooper was an ordnance liaison officer for the US 3rd Armored Division from just after D-Day until the end of the war in Europe, and you can learn a great deal about the armor war from his book. His story about how he designed improved armor for a Super Pershing and helped supervise its field application is particularly interesting.

HVSS had stronger springs than the original vertical volute spring suspension and allowed single bogie wheels (of the four-wheel clusters) to be removed easily for replacement. Apparently this was still considered inferior to the torsion bar or Christie suspension used in German and Soviet tanks.

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