Post–World War II Sherman tanks

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Medium Tank M4A4 Sherman V (early)
M4A4-Sherman-latrun-2.jpg
Medium Tank M4A4 Sherman V, a major export type during World War II, in Yad la-Shiryon Museum, Israel.
Specifications
Weight 31.6 tonnes (67,000 lb)
Length 6.06 m (19.88 ft)
Width 2.62 m (8.58 ft)
Height 2.74 m (9 ft)
Crew 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver)

Armor 13 - 76 mm (0.5 - 3.0 in)
Main
armament
1x 75 mm M3 L/40 Gun
97 rounds
Secondary
armament
1x .50 cal Browning M2HB machinegun
300 rounds
.30-06 Browning M1919A5 machineguns
4,750 rounds
Engine Chrysler A57, 30 cylinder gasoline
425 hp gross @ 2850 rpm
370 hp net @ 2400 rpm
Power/weight 16.5 hp/tonne
Suspension Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS)
Operational
range
161 km (100 mi) with 160 gal/80 octane
Speed 40.2 km/h (25 mi/h) (brief level)

This article deals with Sherman tanks extensive use around the world after World War II and catalogues foreign post–World War II use and conversions of Sherman tanks and variants based on the Sherman chassis.

Conversion history[edit]

US foreign aid variants[edit]

  • E4 Sherman - Perhaps the last US-made Sherman variants, in the early 1950s US Ordnance depots or private contractors mounted the 76 mm gun in the original, small turret of M4A3 and M4A1. The US provided these M4A3E4(76) or M4A1E4(76) to allies in Europe and Asia.
  • HVSS - The US also retro-fitted the late-World War II wider-tracked HVSS suspension to many Shermans and this is sometimes noted after the main vehicle designation.

Canadian variants[edit]

  • Sherman Badger - Canada's replacement of its Ram Badger Flame tank, the Sherman Badger was a turretless M4A2 HVSS Sherman with Wasp IIC flamethrower in place of hull machine gun, developed sometime from 1945 to 1949. The 150 gallons at 250 psi was effective to 125 yards, with elevation of +30 to -10 degrees and traverse of 30 degrees left and 23 degrees right. This inspired the US T68.[1]
  • Sherman Kangaroo - From late World War II to the 1960s, Canada converted/used some Grizzlies (M4A1 Shermans made in Canada with different tracks and radios in 1943), at least one very similar Skink (prototype Anti-aircraft-gun on the Grizzly hull), and M4A2(76)W HVSS Shermans to Kangaroo armored personnel carriers (APCs).

Mexican variants[edit]

  • M32 Chenca - In 1998, Napco International of the USA upgraded M32B1 TRV Sherman-chassis armoured recovery vehicles with Detroit Diesel 8V-92-T diesel engines.

Indian variants[edit]

  • Sherman VA/M4A4(76) - although never a US production type (the 1950s E4 conversion was limited to M4A1 and M4A3), at least one source claims that India had one regiment partly equipped with Sherman V ( British/Indian designation of M4A4) with 76 mm guns (the US 76 mm is not specified but British practice added an A suffix to denote the 76 mm).
  • Upgunned Sherman - two regiments of Shermans re-armed with the French 75 mm gun (derivative of the German Panther tank's gun) and referred to as upgunned Shermans.

Argentine variants[edit]

  • Repotenciado - Conversions of British Sherman VC and IC Hybrid to include a diesel engine and a new armament suite, the 105 mm FTR L44/57 gun (an Argentine copy of the CN-105-57 Gun used on the AMX-13), a co-axial MAG-58 machine gun, and turret pintle mounted M2HB machine gun. (Side view of an argentinian Sherman "repotenciado").
Egyptian M4A4 with FL-10 Turret.

Chilean variants[edit]

Egyptian variants[edit]

  • M4A4 with FL-10 Turret - M4A4 fitted with the diesel engine of M4A2 and the FL-10 turret of the French AMX-13 light tank.

Israeli variants[edit]

IDF M51 Sherman with 105 mm gun.
IDF M-50 self-propelled howitzer.
IDF L-33 / Ro'em.
IDF Makmat 160 mm.
IDF Ambutank, VVSS version.
IDF Ambutank, HVSS version.
IDF Eyal observation post vehicle.

Gun tanks[edit]

  • Sherman (Krupp) - Six early salvaged Shermans had a Krupp 75 mm field gun to replace the original gun destroyed during post–World War II scrapping. Later these tanks were rearmed with 105 mm M4 howitzers.
  • Sherman M-1 - Israeli designation of any Sherman model armed with the 76 mm gun M1.
    • Super Sherman M-1 - Israeli designation of M4A1(76) fitted with HVSS suspension.
  • Sherman M-3 (Sherman degem Alef prior to 1956) - Israeli designation of any Sherman model armed with the 75 mm gun M3.
  • Sherman M-4 (Sherman degem Bet prior to 1956) - Israeli designation of any Sherman model armed with the 105 mm howitzer M4.
  • Sherman M-50 - Upgraded Sherman with the French CN 75-50 75 mm gun, as used in the French AMX 13 light tank, in the "old" turret fitted with a counterweight. Entered service in 1956. Was used in the Suez Crisis (1956), the Six Days War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973). Sometimes colloquially misnamed as Super Sherman.
    • M-50 Continental - subvariant with Continental R-975 gasoline engine and VVSS suspension. 50 units converted.
    • M-50 Cummins - subvariant with Cummins diesel engine and HVSS suspension.
  • Sherman M-51 - Upgraded M4A1 (HVSS) with improved engine and T23 turret modified to fit a shortened variant of the French 105 mm Modèle F1 gun with large muzzle brake. Was used in the Six Days War and the Yom Kippur War. Sometimes colloquially referred to as Isherman. About 100 of the remaining tanks of this model were sold to Chile in late 70's, were they received a new engine and transmission in early 90's. All of them were replaced by ex-Dutch Leopard 1V in late 90's

Artillery tanks[edit]

See Rocket artillery for rocket/missile tank photos.

  • M-50 155 mm - The M-50 was an open structured self-propelled artillery piece, mounting a single French Model 50 155 mm howitzer at the back of the hull, which was based on the "long" hull of M4A4 fitted with Continental engine (late production vehicles possibly used "short" hulls from other variants). The gun was developed in the early 1960s by Israeli Ordnance Corps in cooperation with France. Probably about 120 units were produced. In early 1970s M-50s were fitted with HVSS and Cummins diesel engines. Was used in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. Some reserve units were armed with the M-50 at least until the late 1970s.
  • Ro'em (colloquially known as L-33) - A self-propelled artillery piece mounting Soltam M-68 155 mm L/33 howitzer in large enclosed superstructure. Uses Sherman chassis with Cummins VT-8-460Bi diesel engine and HVSS. Probably about 200 units were produced. The gun saw combat in the Yom-Kippur War and the 1982 Lebanon War. Currently out of active service.
  • L-39 - Like L-33, but with longer (39 calibers) barrel. Apparently it was not adopted.
  • Makmat 160 mm - Soltam M-66 160 mm mortar mounted on a Sherman chassis, in an open-topped compartment with folding front plate. It was adopted in 1968 and used in the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War and the 1982 Lebanon War.
  • MAR-240 - In place of the turret, a side-looking launcher for 36 240 mm rockets was fitted. These were Israeli made copies of the Soviet rockets used by the BM-24 multiple launch rocket system. Apparently never reached mass production. MAR stands for Medium Artillery Rocket.
  • Episkopi - Similar to MAR-240, but mounting a back-looking launcher for four 290 mm ground-to-ground rockets with high-explosive/fragmentation (Ivry-1) or cluster (Haviv) warhead. Was adopted in 1973, saw combat for the first time in the 1982 Lebanon War. Is colloquially known as MAR-290, and the name Ivry is also sometimes applied to the launching vehicle. An improved launcher on the Centurion tank chassis was later developed, but remained experimental. In the 1990s was replaced in active service by the M270 MLRS.
  • Kilshon (Trident) or Kachlilit - The Kilshon was developed to reduce the losses suffered by SAM suppression aircraft by launching anti-radiation missiles from the ground. The Kilshon was based on turretless hull of the Sherman M-51 on which an AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile launcher was mounted. To deliver the desired range, a specially modified AGM-45 with booster was used. Later a prototype was developed for use with the AGM-78 Standard anti-radiation missile, but with the retirement of Shermans from IDF service the Keres (Hook) system was placed onto a heavy truck chassis for the finalized design instead.

Support tanks[edit]

See Armoured recovery vehicle for TRV/ARV photo.

  • Sherman Morag - Israeli designation of Sherman Crab.
  • Trail Blazer (Gordon) - A recovery/engineering vehicle based on HVSS equipped M4A1s, it featured a large single boom crane (as opposed to the A-Frame of the M32) and large spades at the front and rear of the vehicle to assist in lifting. It could also tow up to 72 tons.
  • Sherman Medical Evacuation Tank (Ambutank) - A radical conversion of the M4 with the turret removed and the powerplant (changed to a diesel engine) moved to the front of the tank. A medical team and four casualties could be carried in an armoured compartment at the rear. Early vehicles were based on M4A1 hulls with VVSS suspension and are often referred to as "VVSS version". Later vehicles used hulls with HVSS suspension and were fitted with a big boxy superstructure. This version is often referred to as "HVSS version". Many were used during the Israeli-Egyptian War of Attrition (1968–70) and the Yom Kippur War.
  • Eyal Observation Post Vehicle - A Sherman that had the turret replaced with a 27 m (90 foot) tall hydraulically erected observation platform. This was used near the Suez Canal as a mobile observation post, before the Yom Kippur War.

Civilian variants[edit]

After World War II, demilitarized Shermans were widely available and relatively cheap. Many were heavily modified for use in the construction, forestry and mining industries. Often, the turret and upper hull were completely removed and replaced with whatever equipment was required for the vehicle's new role.

The Finning Tank Drill,a rock drill used in logging road construction, was produced for many years in British Columbia, with the models M32F and M40F using Sherman chassis. The M32F utilized the standard M4 VVSS suspension while the M40F used the HVSS system. The earlier M4 tank drill used the M4 High Speed Tractor as a carrier. Traxxon also produced a similar machine using the HVSS suspension.

A Canadian company, Morpac Industries, Inc., still produces heavy-duty, off-road load carriers based on Sherman components. These vehicles are used in the construction of electricity transmission lines in remote areas.

In 1947 Vickers produced the Shervick which was a Sherman chassis converted into a heavy tractor. It was designed to be used in East Africa to clear land for peanut farming as part of the Tanganyika groundnut scheme.[2]

Service history[edit]

Canada[edit]

Canada left all its wartime Shermans in Europe, giving them to the Dutch and Belgian armies. In 1946, Canada purchased 300 M4A2 76mm (W) HVSS Shermans. Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) operated a squadron of US-loaned M4A3(76)W HVSS in the Korean War. The Shermans were replaced in the Regular Force with the Centurion in the late 1950s, and remained in use in reserve armoured regiments until 1970.

Canada used Grizzly/Skink Kangaroo APC variants into the 1950s and beginning in 1954 transferred at least 40 to Portugal, some of which were found in a Portuguese scrapyard in 1995. When Canada's post–World War II M4A2(76)W HVSS Shermans were obsolete, it also converted some to Kangaroos and used them into the 1960s until replacement by M113s. A proposed purpose-built Canadian armored vehicle, the Bobcat, never materialized.

Europe[edit]

Greece was believed never to have used the Sherman tank, although several British Shermans were in action in Athens during the Communist insurrection of 1944, in support of government forces. During the Greek Civil War, which followed, in the generally mountainous terrain where fighting invariably took place, like at the battle of Mount Grammos in 1949, the favoured tank was the lighter British Centaur, or "Kentavros" in Greek, a variation of the Cromwell tank, a few of which were made available earlier to the National Army. However, it should be noted that, at least until 1985 two Sherman turrets, probably M4A2,single hatch version,minus the guns and set on concrete bases as improvised bunkers,could be seen in the Greek Army's School for Army Engineers at Loutraki,their presence at odds with the commonly accepted view that the Greek Army used only recovery vehicles based on the Sherman and not gun tanks. Recently digitized footage indicates the use of at least one Sherman Tankdozer, probably a M4A4, by the Hellenic Army seen during a visit to Greece by General Eisenhower (see links section below).Italy used Shermans with 75 mm and 17 pdr gun and 105 mm howitzer. Portugal, Denmark, and Yugoslavia used E4 Shermans, which had the retro-fitted US 76 mm gun. Belgium and The Netherlands used the A1, A2 and Fireflies until the late 1950s; the howitzer version was much longer in use: the Dutch Marine Corps only phased them out in the late 1970s. France used numerous Shermans till the early 1950s. The French Army used Sherman tanks in the First Indochina War in the Régiment blindé colonial d'Extrême-Orient (RBCEO). When more modern tanks were introduced into the French Army, the Shermans were partly taken over by the Gendarmerie who employed them during the various (attempted) coups of 1961 and 1962.

Asia[edit]

Indian Shermans, possibly with the US M3 75 mm gun, of 18th Cavalry (Indian Army) on the move during the 1965 Indo-Pak War.

British India possessed a number of Shermans at the time of the 1947 Partition and the M4 found itself in both Indian and Pakistani inventories. In the 1960s, India operated M4A3 and M4A4 both with 76 mm gun and some Sherman displayed as war monuments in India are still equipped with French CN 75-50 75 mm gun (as used in the French AMX 13 light tank). Pakistan received E4 Shermans, which had the retro-fitted US 76 mm gun. At the time of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, Pakistan owned 200 Shermans re-armed with 76 mm guns. The Sherman fought on both sides of the Second Kashmir War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

Some of the surviving Shermans from Indo Pakistani wars are also displayed at Pakistan Army Museum.[3]

The Japan Self Defense Forces received 250 M4A3(76)W HVSS and 80 M32 TRV IN 1954. The indigenous Type 61 only slowly replaced American tanks over the 1960s.

The Philippine Army was another postwar Asian user of the M4 Sherman.

Middle East[edit]

The Israeli Defense Forces used American M4 Shermans as early as in the 1948 war. The first one, nicknamed Meir, was obtained in May 1948; the British Army intended it for destruction, but soldiers handed it over to Hagana instead. One more was found at scrapyard. In November 1948 30 more were purchased from Italian scrapyards. All these were non-operational, only 4 were completely repaired until the end of the war and 14 by November (some necessitated re-arming with the Krupp 75 mm field gun). By late 1953 Israel had 76 operational Shermans and 131 nonoperational.

In March 1956, Israel began to upgrade Shermans with French CN 75-50 75 mm guns to create the Sherman M-50. The first 25 M-50s were finished just in time for the October 1956 Operation Kadesh in the Sinai against the Egyptian Army. The first 50 M-50 tanks had the Continental R-975 gasoline engine and VVSS suspension, the rest had a Cummins diesel engine and HVSS suspension. In the 1960s, 180 M4A1(76) Sherman tanks began conversion to the diesel-powered Sherman M-51 standard with HVSS and French CN 105 F1 105 mm gun. Both M-50s and M-51s saw combat in the Six-Day War and also were employed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. All M-50s with Continental engines were retired by 1972. M-50s with the Cummins engine and M-51s were gradually phased out in the late 1970s to early 1980s. In total, about 620 Sherman tanks were purchased by Israel in 1948-1967.

Egypt acquired M4A4 and fitted them with the diesel engine of M4A2 and the FL-10 turret of the French AMX-13 light tank. Syria possessed at least one M4A1 chassis at some time during 1948-1956.

Africa[edit]

Uganda acquired a number of ex-Israeli M4A1(76)W with both VVSS and HVSS and at least some with smoke dischargers and used them during the Idi Amin regime.

Latin America[edit]

Peruvian M4A3

Latin-American countries used the Sherman for a long time after World War II. The Chilean army acquired ex-Israeli Shermans to convert to their M-60 variant with 60 mm HVMS gun. Chile used Shermans into 1989, and some claim that Paraguay was the last country in Latin America to use the Sherman tank (Paraguayan Sherman). Mexico only have 3 recovery versions of the Sherman, no tanks and in 1998 it upgraded its Sherman-chassis M32 Chenca TRV.

In Central America, Nicaragua used the M4A3 Sherman. It was in Nicaragua where most likely the Sherman saw action for the last time, during the Sandinista Revolution in 1978-79, Nicaragua's National Guard made use of their tanks in urban warfare against the insurrection. After the Sandinistas took power the new Nicaraguan Army soon received Russian made tanks and the Shermans disappeared from the scene.

Chronology list of wars/conflicts[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ R. P. Hunnicutt, Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank, Presidio Press, Novato, CA, 1994, p. 420-421.
  2. ^ Foss, Christopher F; McKenzie, Peter (1988). The Vickers tanks From Landships to Challenger. Patrick Stephens Limited. pp. 148–9. ISBN 978-1-8526-0141-6. 
  3. ^ http://the.shadock.free.fr/Surviving_Sherman_Dozers.pdf

References[edit]