Talk:M4 Sherman/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Produced until?

When was the last new M4 Sherman built? Please add the year to the infobox, and details to the production history section of the article. Thanks. Michael Z. 2008-10-28 06:17 z

And what companies built the M4 Sherman? GM? Ford? Studebaker? I assume several companies that normally compete all built the same approximate design. GBC (talk) 07:57, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
In answer to both of these (which I don't see in the article, admittedly at a glance): 57,000 built in all 1941-5 (8389 M4, 9707 M4A1, 10968 M4A2, 12342 M4A3, 7499 M4A4, 75 M4A6, 3490 M7 Priest, 826 M7B2 Priest, & 1599 M32 tank retireval vehicles); built by Baldwin Locomotive Works, American Locomotive Company, Detroit Tank Arsenal, Pressed Steel Company, Pullman Standard Car Company, Lima Locomotive Works, Pacific Car and Foundry, Fisher Tank Division (GM), Federal Machine and Welding, & Ford. From Thomas Berndt, Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles (Krause Publications, 1993), pp.193 & 195.

Lights up, first time, every time .

Actually, the ammunition burns - at a very very high rate - when fired, rather than "exploding" . Tank ammunition, especially in the Sherman, usually burned rather than exploded when the tank was hit, at a much slower rate than when fired . The fire was intensely hot, & would often burn for many hours. When the crew compartment was penetrated the ammunition would often be broken up, spraying the crew with pieces of burning ammunition . When a tank exploded, it was usually due to an enemy round penetrating, then exploding inside the tank . All this was well known by tank crew who saw action. It did not require research to discover it. It is however a revelation to many of the general public .

[ Modern FSDS uses a different destructive mechanism .]

I am surprised that the research was carried out "early in the war" as the USA did not enter WW2 until Dec 1941 , more than 2 years after the invasion of Poland .

The statement in the text that petrol would not ignite when hit by anti-tank rounds is ludicrous. Petrol is much more volatile than diesel fuel, & much more likely to ignite [ more volatile, greater energy content ]. However, the Sherman's petrol tank was covered by a fire extinguisher [ often ineffective ] & more importantly was not in the crew compartment. The ammunition was in the crew compartment, & was badly located & poorly protected. The Sherman was notorious for ammunition fires destroying tanks & causing terrible crew casualties. This weakness was reduced a little by extra armor & waterjackets.

Lights up, first time, almost every time . —Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.101.231.171 (talk) 16:10, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

An enormous amount of nonsense has been written about this. Panthers, Tigers and Pzkw-IVs had similar ammunition stowage. The Panther and Pzkw-IV side armor was easily penetrated by opposing tanks. The "terrible" M4 crew casualties averaged one crew member KIA per knocked-out tank. The Sherman, like almost all tanks, had several fuel tanks.
Research was indeed required to find out exactly why tanks were burning and what design changes were needed to reduce the risk.
"early in the war" depends, I guess, on when you believe WW2 started. There are many schools of thought on that ;)
Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:50, 30 July 2009 (UTC)


Might be intresting to contrast Sherman burn rates with those of the Germans. ORS Section 2, report no. 17 claimed that of the German tanks knocked out 80% of Tigers burnt, 63% of Panthers burnt, and 80% of PzIV burnt. Additional details show that the Panzer IV was more flamable and easier to knock out than the Sherman. I dont have the report to hand to double check those facts but they may be in the book by Terry Copp on the subject, ill enquire.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:12, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
My uncle, Frederick Wardle, commanded a Sherman in Europe (British). They were infamously nicknamed Ronsons by the crews and with good reason, certainly Fred often referred to them by that name. Why no mention of this infamous nickname and their supposed vulnerability to fires?--Phil Wardle (talk) 04:22, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Phil, this is already in the article in the Armor section. Hohum (talk) 16:43, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
My apologies. I seem to have been the victim of either a brain-fart or some browser issue (probably the former) because I simply did not see that section when comparing articles on WWII tanks yesterday. BTW, for what it's worth, my uncle Fred survived his time in a "Ronson" unharmed (and indeed a Matilda and other tanks) and lived to be nearly ninety. :-)--Phil Wardle (talk) 09:11, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Picture of inside?

If anyone knows of a (legally friendly) picture of what it looks like inside the tank, I think including it in the article would be very informative. Mbarbier (talk) 01:23, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Lead Image

There seems to be many military vehicle lead image photographs that show modern day static museum or outdoor displays versus having a historical photograph which depict the context of when the vehicle was used. Perhaps try to switch the lead image with a colorized photograph showing the M4 Sherman during World War II or the Korean War. -Signaleer (talk) 20:44, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Rollback 12 Aug

Apologies, but I rolled back a lot of edits today to the last good version by Darthrad due to a number of issues with recent edits: POV, grammar, accuracy, and possible copyright violation. I left a message on the editor's talk page. I urge all editors to use the talk page to propose such major edits. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 14:15, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Unsourced statement re Sherman being inferior to MK IV

However, the typical Sherman was significantly inferior in both armor and armament to the later German Panzer IV

I find this unsourced statement somewhat intresting considering the below:

Historian John Buckley states that while the 75mm/L48 outpreformed the 75mm M3 L/40 by 30% "such differences mattered little for both tanks' main armamant could defeat the other's armour at up to 1,200 yards". He also notes that the Sherman was "moderately superior to the that of the Panzer IV".(British Armour in Normandy, p. 117) He goes on to state "The vast majority of German tanks encountered in Normandy were either inferior, or at least, merely equal to the Shermans, Cromwells and Churchills employed by the Allies." noting that the majority of German tanks used in Normandy was the MK IV(p. 120) He also makes minor armour comparison information available: M4 Sherman had 45mm side armour (p. 110) compared to the 30mm side armoured of the MK IV (p.117)

Historian Brian Reid notes that the Ausf. H was "At least the equal of the Sherman". (No Holding Back, p. 215) Hopefully i wont balls up the below numbers:

Area ........... Sherman ... MK IV
Front turret ... 76mm/30 ... 50mm curved
side turret .... 50/5 ...... 50/10
upper hull ..... 50/56 ..... 80/9
lower hull ..... 50/curved . 80/12
side hull ...... 38 ........ 80

(ibid)

The information presented shows that they are pretty similar however the thickness does not show the true picture until the angle is also considered i.e. a 5mm piece of armour is inferior etc to a 5mm piece of armour on an angle. The historians and the data shows that armour wise they pretty similar and as Buckley pointed out; the gun outpreforming the other doesnt really show the true picture either--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 02:00, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The main problem is that the original comment is unsourced, so we should concentrate on fixing that. As for the tech data supplied by yourself, there are some glaring omissions from the comparison list; the M4's silhouette was considerably higher than the Mk.IV, and the engine of the M4 ran on high octane petrol which meant that even glancing shots sometimes ignited the fuel. Re the gun vs. armour argument, the PaK cannon was penetrating thicker (angled) armour at the same range the 75mm was defeating thinner? That would point to considerable performance advantage of of the German gun, meaning that leading the shot was simpler and thus a higher potential for a first hit. It should also be noted that the British M4's, and the Cromwell and Churchill tanks, mounted the 6pdr gun (aka 77mm) which was a higher velocity cannon than the 75mm used by American crews. It should be investigated whether the comparisons were between US or UK gun and the PaK, per the sources provided. LessHeard vanU (talk) 02:24, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
How exactlly is it a glaring omission? Armour and weaponry have nothing to do with the tanks engine or their size.
As for the height, few inches is not considerably higher: M4A2 (Sherman III) is 9ft tall (Reid, p. 192), compared to the MK IV Auf.H of 8ft9 inches.(Reid, p. 215).
The 6 pounder was a 57mm gun, it was not mounted on the majority of Shermans, Cromwells or Churchills. These tanks used American or British 75mm cannons. The Firefly was equipped with the 17 pounder (76.2mm) gun (which had a higher velocity than the American 76mm armed Shermans) and only the Comet tank (arriving in late 1944) was equipped with the 77mm gun (in reality new version of the 17 pounder using new ammo iirc).--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:28, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Enigma - I tweaked your data presentation so I could read it, are those numbers correct? They do look a bit "balls'd up" ;) Mine say:

Area ........... Sherman ......... MK IV H/J
Gun shield...... 89 mm ........... 80 mm
Front turret ... 76 mm ........... 80 mm
Side turret .... 51 mm............ 50 mm
Front hull ..... 51 mm..(63 late). 80 mm
Side hull ...... 38 mm............ 30 mm

Guns
Sherman M3 75 mm gun - 68 mm at 500 m, 60 mm at 1000 m
Sherman 76 mm - 98 mm at 500 m, 90 mm at 1000 m
Sherman 76 mm HVAP - 150 mm at 500 m, 132 mm at 1000 m
Pz IV H 75 mm Penetrates front of Sherman at 2000 m, side at 4500 m
(Sherman - Zaloga) (Pz IV - Perrett)
According to this, early 75 mm Shermans would have a very bad day against the front of Pz IV H/J.
Although the first numbers always given about tank performance is armor thickness and gun penetration, accuracy does tend to get left out, German guns were notoriously accurate, with good sights.
As to the Sherman - gasoline argument, all German tanks also used gasoline. The Sherman tendency to burn was probably really due to ammunition vulnerability (as was the Panther), later versions introduced wet stowage.
Also, a 6 pdr is about 57 mm. The Cromwell didn't use it. It mounted a 75 mm gun which fired the same ammunition as the US M3 75 mm.
Hohum (talk) 04:58, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I guess it depends on the sources; Reid doesnt state what Sherman he was talking about.
However as for ranges Ried places the Sherman M4A4 or M4A2frontal vunerability to the 75mm L48 at 1500 yards. (p. 374) Buckley palces it at between 1500-2000 meters (Buckley, p. 126) while placing the range the 75mm guns could nail a MK IV at, as just under 1500 meters (p.132)
Again the point stressed by most historians is while these machines could achieve kills at these ranges, that matters little as combat didnt usually take place at these ranges ontop of the fact of the accurecy issue.
As for the brewing up of Shermans, it may deserve the repuation somewhat - it wasnt unusual, the MK IV was just as vunverable. I will hunt down the scientist report and get back to you.
The overall point is that the two tanks were very similar by 1944 - at least, and that this position is supported.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:28, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Was I thinking of the 17 pounder? Yup, quick check says it had a bore of 76.2mm - it was the standard Brit anti-tank of the later years of WW2, and was mounted on the Firefly version of the M4 and the Churchill variant (I forget the name). Also the discussion re the Pak40 vs. the standard 75mm gun, a higher velocity would mean lower trajectory and greater speed thus less flight-time giving a gun with a good sights far greater first hit/first kill potential. Re petrols; the M4 used a aeroplane derived engine requiring a more volatile fuel than even the Panzers which combusted readily, hence the nicknames of Ronson lighter ('lights on the first strike') and Tommy cooker... The Brit tanks had more of a problem with the fact the armour used riveting; so heavy hits did not need to penetrate to cause bits of metal to fly around the crew compartments.
I have to say that most of my comments is based on memory (likely faulty) and amateur interest in the subject. Like I said, reference to good sources is paramount. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:23, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Churchill tanks did were not equipped with 17 pounders. You may be thinking of the Challenger tank, a modified turret.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:28, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

In fact the ORS2 report has already been mentioned further up top - the MK IV lit up 80% of the time compared to the Sherman at 82% of the time. Average no of hits received for each tank to brew: IV-1.5, Sherman-1.97. Average no of penetrations received for brew up; IV-1.5, Sherman-1.89(Copp, Montgomery's scientists: operational research in northwest Europe, p. 399-406) Buckley, using a case study of 166 Shermans knocked out in 8th and 29th Armoured brigades; 94 were burnt out (p.127) 56.6%. He notes that an American survey 65% of tanks burning after being penetrated.(p.127) and states Percey Hobart claimed there was little difference in the likelihood of a Sherman or Churchill brewing up. Buckley goes on to state its the ammo cooking off not the fuel brewing and infact the fuel had been found intact in somecases. (ibid)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:46, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Does Reid say what Pz IV he's saying can be penetrated at 1500 m? The numbers I just gave suggest that an M3 75 mm isn't going to penetrate the front of a Pz IV H/J even at 500 m. Hohum (talk) 21:53, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Model H. I would have to state if the figures are showing the 75mm couldnt even penetrate the H or J models at 500 metres, there are problems with the figures. ;) --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:59, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Additional Sherman armour specs for the Sherman Vc: Front Hull: 51mm @ 45-90 degree hull sides 38mm @ 90 degress hull rear 38mm @70-90 degress hull roof 25mm turret front 38-76mm @ 85-90 degress turret rear: 64mm @ 90 degress turret rood: 25mm Source: Sherman Firefly vs Tiger: Normandy 1944 Stephen A Hart, p. 27

Could the 75mm L/48 pen the M4 @2000m? If Chamberlain & Doyle (p245) have it right: the Pzgr40 pen 77mm @1500m, the Pzgr 39 64mm @2000/74 @1500. Both assume angled @30deg. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 16:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


The Mark IV H-J figures are wrong, the frontal turret armor was never increased past 50mm thickness. Shermans 75mm would hole that from 1000 yards easily. As for the 8cm hull armor, it should be remembered the hull armor in reality would not offer up the protection of a test plate. The Mark IVs hull had holes for a gun port and vision port cut into it, and a MG port and vision block welded onto it. Holes and welds themselves are weak spots and hits around those areas would encounter armor performing under its statistical strength.

All in all the Mark IVs frontal armor was not gonna stop a 75mm round easily unless it was in the hull at standard ranges at a bad angle. As already stated British Operational Research reports show the Mark IV actually could survive less hits than the Sherman, and given the type of weapons both tanks faces (Sherman more high velocity guns vs Mark IV facing more medium velocity guns) that says a lot about the supposed statistical strength of the armor and the reality of it. Wokelly (talk) 08:13, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

The figures for the Pz.IV are from :(Perrett, Bryan (1999). Panzerkampfwagen IV Medium Tank 1936-1945. Osprey Publishing (UK). ISBN 9781855328433. ). This is a reliable source. Hohum 19:24, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Not that reliable apparently, the turret armor and gun shield remained 50mm thick throughout its lifetime.
http://panzerivuniverse.phelpscomputerservices.com/Specs-02.htm is a good source for the Mark IV, so is http://www.freeweb.hu/gva/weapons/german_turret6.html, so is http://www.tarrif.net/, so does http://www.achtungpanzer.com/panzerkampfwagen-iv.htm, and frankly so does everything I have read. Wokelly (talk) 02:49, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
The 6 pounder was a 57mm gun, it was not mounted on the majority of Shermans, Cromwells or Churchills. These tanks used American or British 75mm cannons. - actually the majority of the Cromwells and Churchills mounted the 6 pdr. The exceptions were the so-called 'Close Support' versions of these tanks that were intended for giving support to infantry, etc. These used the 75mm because this gun had an explosive shell available, which was of more use against non-armoured targets, the 6 pdr having only an AP round, being intended for use against tanks. The British had two categories of tank, what was known as a 'Gun Tank' for use against other tanks and featuring a gun with an armour-piercing round, and the aforementioned 'Close Support Tank' (abbreviated as 'CS') mounting a gun with an HE shell. Although of only 57mm calibre, the 6 pdr was given a new lease of life with the availability of APDS shot in 1944, which greatly increased its effectiveness compared to other guns of the same calibre, so that by then it was probably on-a-par with the Sherman's 75mm for anti-tank use, although this was still considered inadequate, hence the need to get a 17 pdr-equipped tank into service as soon as possible, resulting in the Firefly. This ammunition was also made available for the 17 pdr, which is what helped make that gun so impressively effective, despite its (relatively) small calibre of 76.2mm. APDS effectively doubled the performance of a gun of a given calibre compared to conventional AP, APC, APCB, or APCBC. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.58.60 (talk) 21:48, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
To correct some of the above information; the vast majority of the Cromwells and Churchills were equipped with the 75mm as the 6pounder was phased out so that one main weapon was in use. In the case of the Churchill squadrons, they were not equipped with Fireflys thus they wanted to retain some 6 pounder equipped tanks in an anti-tank role but i dont believe that happened.
In regards to the "gun tanks" and "CS Tanks" this is incorrect; early war CS tanks were mainly equipped with smoke shells to provide the supporting forces and tanks to deal with OPFOR AT capabilities while later in the war they were mainly HE equipped. There was no such thing as a "gun tank" in the British Second World War TO&E, you are referring to the cruisers/medium tanks and they used both types of ammo although the 6 pounder HE shell was, iirc, not very effective and the early war 2 pounder HE rounds were not issued.
RegardsEnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:09, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

summary

Shermans were often kept out of tank to tank combat. TD teams were called in, and even they often called air support and artillery, rather than to dual with German tanks. Sherman's front armor was adequate for a medium tank. But it had an inferior gun that lacked punch. Comparable Panzer IV would punch a hole in Sherman from a mile away, when Sherman could knock out Panzer IV from less than half a mile away. British Firefly was a good medium tank that could knock out Tiger in respectable distance. The only difference was the gun. America was more than capable of producing something better than Pak 40. Just didn't think to do it. P-51 Mustang was designed and produced in 3 months. Look at 76mm gun. Sherman's inferiority was the result of America not having been exposed to the bitter armor fighting of the east. It was a superb tank, but we have to admit that it had a weak gun that should have been up-gunned before Normandy.

the attacker dont suffer more tank casualties than the defender. attacking tanks were destroyed bei PAKs etc. the complete statement is nonsense. the defender will use his tanks in counterattacks which are attacking situations too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.192.121.123 (talk) 02:15, 5 December 2009 (UTC)


M4 Sherman Haters at Work

Oh dear. It's been a while since I last read this article. Some seriously bad information has been added to this article and discussion. Most of it is unreferenced. Lots of statements about how inferior and how bad the M4 Sherman was. More Belton Cooper (R.I.P.) style B.S.

Let's get this straight. The M4 Sherman shot up a LOT of Panther tanks. At Mortain, at Arracourt, in the Battle of the Bulge. This is well documented. Loss ratios were no where near the 5 to 1 of myth, but entirely dependant on the tactical situation, and the M4 Shermans generally held their own in tank to tank combat as long as they were not getting ambushed.

75mm Shermans of Patton's 4th Armored Division were able to knock a bunch of Panther tanks at Arracourt.

Steve Zaloga wrote the book Armored Thunderbolt to answer a lot of the Belton Cooper frothing about how bad the M4 Sherman. A lot of this stuff is from this book. A major reason for the high losses for the M4 Sherman was that tanks on the offensive tended to get ambushed a lot. And the M4 Shermans were generally on the offensive. Zaloga talks about all of this in his book.

The truth is, if you look at the hard data, the M4 Sherman, the T-34-85, and the Pz IV were all relatively comparable tanks. Each one of these tanks could knock the other one out.

All this unreferenced crap needs to be debrided.

DarthRad (talk) 08:57, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Unreferenced material should certainly be improved.
However:
"Analysis of 75 mm Sherman Tank Casualties Suffered Between 6th June and 10th July 1944" continued pre-invasion studies of the performance of Allied armour, confirming the most pessimistic views about the inferiority of the Sherman tank. This report documented what every crew member knew: the Sherman was dangerously vulnerable to all calibres of German anti-tank guns. The statistics were stunning. Sixty per cent of Allied tank losses were the result of a single shot from a 75 mm or 88 mm gun and two-thirds of all tanks "brewed up" when hit. German armour-piercing shells almost always penetrated and disabled a tank; the armour offered so little protection that the only way to survive was to avoid being targeted."
Canadian Military History Volume 7 (1998): Issue 1
I'm not saying that the Sherman was awful. The 75 mm M4s were undergunned, the 76 mm ones were probably on a par with the later Pz.IV, but outmatched by Panthers and Tigers.
While it's true that the allies were usually attacking, the Germans were often counter-attacking at a tactical level and performed well. Also, Allied offensive armor tactics against German armor was often cautious: report location and wait for air/artillery support, rather than rush into ambushes - with some notable and often repeated exceptions.
What I am saying, is that there is plenty of justified criticism of the Sherman. (But there is plenty of justified criticism of the T-34, Panther, Tiger too).
I'm not sure you'll find many Normandy era Sherman tankers who say that Shermans "held their own" against German Panzers - they knew they were anywhere between slightly, to significantly outmatched in experience and equipment, although they will say they did their best with what they had.
Hohum 19:06, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Those tankers will also tell you that the Germans deployed large number of Tiger tanks and every gun encounted was an 88.
The stats conducted by the research groups gave the Sherman tank better surival odds than the MK IV.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:16, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
But a two-out-of-three chance of your tank catching fire if hit is still not good, even if the odds are similar for your enemy. GraemeLeggett (talk) 19:42, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Enigma. Interesting re. Pz.IV. Source? Hohum 19:47, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Montgomery Scientists, editor thingy me bob Copp - the Canadian historian cant think of his first name at the mo. It was a report conducted by the Operational research group attached to 2nd Army.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:52, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Seems DarthRad hit it: not that the M4 is awful, but that German AT was really good, & German doctrine was better; might say the M4 wasn't well-designed for the environment it found itself in, i.e. needing to withstand hits from AT able to outrange its own gun. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 20:18, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
The Sherman was a good tank in 1942 when it was first used at El Alamein, however by the time of the Invasion of Normandy in 1944 it was out-gunned and under-armoured when going up against the likely German opposition. Generally it was inferior to the long-gunned KwK 40 L/43 Panzer IV and outclassed completely by the Panther and Tiger I. The only Sherman that could take-on any of these at anything approaching equal terms was the Firefly, mainly because the Firefly's 17 pdr could knock-out any of these German tanks at much greater ranges than the standard 75mm-gunned ones. The main drawback of the US and UK 'standard' 75mm-armed Shermans was that the 75mm gun was incapable of knocking out these German vehicles unless the range was so short as to be in effect, suicidal. Hence the large losses suffered by the US and UK standard Shermans when out in open countryside, because the greater ranges of the German tank guns meant that the Sherman could be knocked out if it was seen, long before it could get close enough to return fire effectively. This meant that if a column of Shermans was sighted travelling along a road by German tanks positioned off to one side, then the Shermans could be 'picked off' at leisure, the Shermans being unable to reply. This became a serious problem during the advance from the Normandy bridgehead and the subsequent advances through Normandy and then into Germany, where in the case of ambush the advancing column might reckon on losing the first five tanks in the column before the following vehicles could get off the road and advance towards the ambushers and get into a position to destroy them.
Generally you can get away with inferior armour protection as long as you have a gun capable of defeating the opposition at ranges at least equal to their own guns, but preferably better. This is the reason for the British development of the post-war ROF L7 and ROF L11 tank guns.
The Sherman wasn't a bad tank, it was reliable (which some earlier, British tanks, were not) and reasonably fast, but it should have been up-gunned some time before 1944. To be fair the UK vehicles such as the Cromwell were also undergunned, even with the 6 pdr (although the availability of APDS shot for this gun in 1944 helped), and the UK didn't get a decent tank other than the Firefly until the Comet with the 77mm HV (a cut-down 17 pdr) in 1945. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.58.170 (talk) 23:26, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Targets for revision

OK hohum, here is a list of statements in the current article that cry out for revision/deletion, as they do not reflect historical truth:

But later, the Shermans were often pitted against Tiger I and Panther tanks with heavier armor and more powerful guns, and the U.S. tank forces had to rely on numbers and mobility, often suffering heavy casualties.

Inaccurate statement, as the tactical situation determined who suffered the high casualties. In a number of tank engagements such as Arracourt and Mortain and in some parts of the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans were matched with fairly even numbers by the individual M4 tank units that they encountered, and yet suffered heavy losses, because the German tanks were the ones in the poor tactical situation. i.e., getting ambushed.

  • The first part (later, Shermans fought superior Panthers and Tigers) is supported by cited passages in the main body, but there doesn't seem to be anything currently in the article to support the idea that they relied on numbers and mobility. The lead should reflect the article - so either that part of the lead needs to be altered, or supporting evidence added to the body. (Hohum @) 16:23, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

The U.S. Army failed to anticipate that the Germans would make the Panther the standard tank of their panzer divisions in 1944, supported by substantial numbers of Tigers.[12]

I put this statement in originally, and somebody else changed this to add in the part about the Tigers. The original Zaloga reference (which appears on p. 97 of "Armored Thunderbolts") refers only to the Panthers becoming the standard tank of their panzer divisions. Tigers were never encountered in "substantial numbers" anywhere in WWII. There were never "substantial numbers" of Tigers ever built. Period. The part about the Tigers should be deleted.

  • Agree. (Hohum @) 16:23, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

The size and weight restrictions limited the Sherman's armor protection and gun power. Thus U.S. commanders in Europe repeatedly asked for the M26 Pershing heavy tank.[citation needed] Some were finally delivered in 1945. The size and weight of the new tank created no serious problems in transportation to the theater or tactical employment.[citation needed] Thus, the theoretical advantages of the M4 Sherman in this respect proved to be illusory.[citation needed] However, the M26 could not be landed across a beach and required a fully equipped port with cranes.

This section is so awful that it is beyond revision and should just be deleted. Every sentence is patently false. The Sherman Firefly with the 17 pounder gun had terrific firepower, and was neither heavier nor bigger than the standard M4, apart from the longer gun barrel. The whole story of the M26 is so much more complicated. I re-wrote the entire M26 Pershing article to reflect this complexity. Size and weight considerations were why the T20 prototype weighed exactly the same as the 75mm M4 Sherman and yet had the better 76mm gun and slightly more armor. So size and weight restrictions simply did not preclude making a better tank than the 75mm M4 Sherman. The T20 (precursor to the M26) chopped down the ridiculously high side sponsons of the M4 and added more frontal armor. A good couple of paragraphs or so of the M26 Pershing article explains why the M4 sponsons were as high as they were and how the T20 hull was able to get rid of them. The M26 article also describes the problems the tank had in getting across the Bridge at Remagen. While other tanks were able to cross the damaged bridge, the M26 tanks at Remagen had to wait for five days until barges were able to float them across. The original U.S. Army size and weight restrictions for tanks were based on knowledge of the fact that European bridges had weight limitations, so there was good reason for these restrictions - Zaloga says that somewhere in "Armored Thunderbolts". And just look at the numbers of photographs of Tiger tanks that broke through bridges in Schneider's Tiger I and Tiger II books. Finally, M26 Pershings were indeed offloaded on the beach at Okinawa, so that part is wrong also.

So, this entire section is contradicted by the details in the new and revised M26 Pershing article. Better to just put in a brief blurb to reference the M26 Pershing article.

  • Agree, unreferenced. Delete. (Hohum @) 16:23, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

According to Belton Cooper's memoir of his 3rd Armored Division service, the Shermans were "death traps"; the overall combat losses of the division were extremely high. The division was nominally assigned 232 Sherman medium tanks; 648 Sherman tanks were totally destroyed in combat, and a further 1,100 needed repair, of which nearly 700 were as a result of combat. According to Cooper, the 3rd Armored therefore lost 1,348 medium tanks in combat, a loss rate of over 580%, in the space of about ten months. Cooper was the junior officer placed in charge of retrieving damaged and destroyed tanks. As such, he had an intimate knowledge of the actual numbers of tanks damaged and destroyed, the types of damage they sustained, and the kinds of repairs that were made. His figures are comparable to those given in the Operational History of 12th U.S. Army Group: Ordnance Section Annex. Some World War II Army officers made similar arguments during the war. Other officers disagreed with the negative assessment and Gen. George S. Patton argued that the Sherman tank was overall a superior tool of war.

Oh geez, another misleading opinion piece based on Belton Cooper's very misleading book. Everything from Cooper's book should be debrided or marked with a major rebuttal. How about replacing it with something like this:

By 1944, German anti-tank weapons systems had advanced to the point where it was difficult for any tank to have enough armor to withstand penetration (e.g., the infantry Panzerfausts and Panzerschreck rockets could both penetrate 200mm of armor). M4 Sherman tank losses were high during World War II, but these high losses occurred in the context of the fact that U.S. and British armored units were primarily engaged in offensive operations, which meant that the tactical situation that these tanks encountered were often highly unfavorable. Frequently, M4 Sherman tank units were forced to enter unscouted terrain where the enemy defenses were unknown and the tanks were thus vulnerable to ambush. Some of the largest M4 Sherman tanks losses occured in such unfavorable tactical situations as in the month-long Battle of Caen culminating in the heavy losses sustained by British M4 Shermans in Operation Goodwood. These high M4 Sherman losses should be compared with the even higher cumulative losses of the Soviet T-34 on the Eastern Front (e.g., compare with Soviet losses of the T-34 at the Battle of Prokhorovka). German tanks, it should be noted also sustained high loss ratios when they were forced to engage in similar unfavorable tactical situations. Tank losses were high on all sides during World War II as this was simply a reflection of the advanced state of anti-tank weaponry by the major combatants. DarthRad (talk) 07:57, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

  • I'm not convinced that Cooper is unreliable. Wikipedia needs more than your personal assurance for us to ignore his apparently expert opinion. Also, your proposed replacement doesn't rebut him, it completely removes anything attributed to him. You also appear to doing a lot of synthesis, unless the sources your draw it all from also draw the same conclusions. (Hohum @) 16:23, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
    • It would take an entire Wikipedia article all by itself, possibly even a small book, to solidly refute, with references, all of the outright falsehoods, distortions of fact, and unsupported claims in Belton Cooper's Death Traps. Steven Zaloga's Armored Thunderbolt and Panther versus Sherman books provide a lot of the synthesis for the information that I just wrote above which do refute Cooper. I can go back and dig up the specific references. Healy's book Zitadelle provides some solid statistics about Soviet losses at Kursk and Prokhorovka. He doesn't compare them with M4 losses on the Western Front, but all you have to do is to quote the losses for M4 Shermans in the Battle of Caen from British Armour in the Normandy Campaign 1944 by John Buckley and compare them. These were both set piece battles. The Soviets lost huge numbers of T-34s in their tank battles. So why aren't T-34s called "Death Traps"? This was a good part of my complaints in the T-34 discussion section about the fundamental unfairness of how the Wikipedia articles for the T-34 and the M4 Sherman are currently slanted. Far more T-34s were destroyed by the Germans than M4s. T-34s not only burned vigorously when hit, they completely and utterly shattered into little pieces. I posted a photo of a shattered T-34 in the Wiki article to prove this. So why are T-34s still characterized as "the best tank in the world" in its Wikipedia article, while M4 Shermans are characterized as "Death Traps?". Reason - Cooper's book has heavily slanted current thinking about the M4, whereas Soviet-era propaganda and the muddied memoirs of German generals have continued to slant the available (and outdated) English language literature about the T-34. If the Wikipedia article allows the M4 to be called a "Death Trap", then the T-34 should, as I proposed, be labeled more accurately in its Wikipedia article as "the most destroyed tank in the world". DarthRad (talk) 21:28, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
    • In the preface of Armored Thunderbolts, Zaloga never mentions Cooper by name, but he mentions enough details to indicate that a lot of what he wrote in this book was specifically to refute misinformation that Cooper had spread with his book Death Traps. The closest that Zaloga comes to identifying Cooper is his mention of the Suicide Missions History Channel show in 2000 in which Cooper was featured as a tank expert testifying to the suicidal characteristics of the M4 Sherman. Armored Thunderbolts is just chock full of details that refute Cooper's claims about U.S. tanks and tank warfare. DarthRad (talk) 21:28, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
    • I devoted a good chunk of the re-write of the M26 Pershing article to specifically refute Cooper's claim that Patton was the main person responsible for stopping the M26 from being developed. People questioned why I spent so much time refuting Cooper on the M26 Pershing article. I explained that unfortunately, so much of Cooper's stuff has disseminated out into what people thought they knew about tanks that they had become urban legends. DarthRad (talk) 21:28, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
      • This article still isn't about the T-34, so please stop bringing it up.
      • {xt|In the preface of Armored Thunderbolts, Zaloga never mentions Cooper by name, but he mentions enough details to indicate that a lot of what he wrote in this book was specifically to refute misinformation that Cooper had spread with his book Death Traps.}} - This is a complete non sequitur. If he doesn't name him, you cannot attribute it to be specifically countering him.
      • What you just described for the Pershing article sounds a lot like you pushing POV. If a source is reviewed by peers as being better than another, great, we'll use it preferentially, but 'your word' on which authors are right and wrong, simply isn't good enough.
      • Instead of writing rambling diatribes, please try and be concise, and to the point. You have done nothing further to show Cooper as unreliable. That will require his peers criticising his work, not you. (Hohum @) 18:47, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
        • Also, instead of dropping another couple of paragraphs of argument here, why not make the changes I agreed on above? (Hohum @) 18:50, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Have gotten really busy again with my day job. Will get around to really fixing this article one of these days. My main point is that if you or anybody else insists on keeping ANY QUOTES from Belton Cooper's awful book Death Traps, then there are MORE THAN ENOUGH other references that refute or significantly explain much better than he does the real truth of tank warfare in Europe. It just takes a lot of time to properly gather all the evidence/references and make it bulletproof. I just spent a week of my free time doing that for the "Patton stopped the M26" falsehood that permeated both the M4 Sherman and the M26 Pershing articles. I see that NOBODY has since tried to put that bit back into these two articles. So, a bit of work, but believe me, Hohum, Belton Cooper's other falsehoods are going to come crashing down also, when I get some more time.DarthRad (talk) 04:16, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Belton Cooper was an eyewitness to only one thing - he saw a lot of M4 Sherman tanks get shot up. That part is absolutely true. However, he did not have a clue what shot them up (holes from towed anti-tank guns and SPG guns look just like tank rounds) and since his job did not include actually driving or fighting in these tanks, nor examining German tanks or Soviet tanks that were similarly shot up in large quantities, Cooper had absolutely no perspective for understanding what tank warfare was all about in WWII (i.e., the "See First, Fire First" rule prevailed). Nevertheless, that did not stop him from confabulating a great story.DarthRad (talk) 04:16, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I found a DVD copy of the History Channel "Suicide Missions" episode with Belton Cooper in it. It's selling at fire sale prices on Amazon right now. Oh boy, is this episode a stinker. Filled with inaccuracies. When I get time, I think I will post it on YouTube, with a full rebuttal. This is the specific episode that Zaloga mentions as being one of the inspirations for him to write Armored Thunderbolts.DarthRad (talk) 04:16, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

DarthRad (talk) 07:57, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Tank losses for Operation Goodwood have actually been revisied down considerably; recent research notes of only 140 complete right offs. The high numbers come from tanks disabled/abandoned that were later repaired and put back into service. (See goodwood article for evidence) Primary sources that i have seen show Goodwood in a even different light; the 3 armoured divisions, especially 11AD, being practically back up to full strength a week later.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 08:11, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Surely, being back up to full strength a week later can just as easily be attributed to the vast amount of replacement tanks the US enjoyed? (Hohum @) 16:26, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Thats one implication; the other is that the losses were essentially not a big deal regardless of the ammount of "OMG LOL @ teh Limies!!!1!!" :)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:37, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I would just point out that at the same time, new post-Soviet era details have emerged that have SHARPLY raised the numbers of tank losses suffered by the Soviets at Kursk and Prokhorovka. So, after all, things were not as bad as thought for the M4 Sherman, and no where near as great as thought for the T-34. DarthRad (talk) 21:28, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Is Cooper unreliable? On Patton, FWI read, he is; the M26 was opposed by the Army (General Board?) as unneeded, as was the 76 in the M4. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:17, 23 February 2010 (UTC)


"If the Wikipedia article allows the M4 to be called a "Death Trap", then the T-34 should, as I proposed, be labeled more accurately in its Wikipedia article as "the most destroyed tank in the world"." this was funny Blablaaa (talk) 00:53, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Tank losses for Operation Goodwood have actually been revisied down considerably; recent research notes of only 140 complete right offs. The high numbers come from tanks disabled/abandoned that were later repaired and put back into service - often when hit a glancing-blow by a German AP round, the tank engine would stall due to the concussion of the shot's impact, and the crew not realising this would then 'bale-out' believing the hit was more serious than it actually was - the crew weren't going to hang around inside waiting to see if the vehicle was going to 'brew-up' or not. Usually the tank could then be recovered after the battle and was perfectly usable, the engine starting first time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.84.249 (talk) 20:00, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Delete the "Summary" section

I propose that the entire "Summary" section be deleted. The lead is supposed to be the summary of the article. The current "Summary" is almost entirely unreferenced, lacks focus, and the tiny bits that are referenced are either mostly irrelevant (Pershings), can be moved elsewhere, or duplicate what's already said elsewhere.

If the article does need a "conclusions" section, then I still think we're better off deleting this one and starting from scratch. (Hohum @) 18:58, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Agree, but "Conclusions" smacks of an essay. GraemeLeggett (talk) 19:41, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
If this was an article on a subject, rather than a tank, i would suggest keeping it. Ideally i think everything in the summery section should be covered in the relevent sections i.e. the disccusion on armour and armament. So yes i agree bin it.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:54, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I vote for complete deletion. The Summary keeps repeating the same things over and over again, and makes no sense, and has a lot of the usual Belton Cooper-inspired inaccuracies. Yes, the Summary keeps repeating itself over and over again. And again and again. DarthRad (talk) 04:20, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Done. --Izno (talk) 04:55, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Number of 75mm Shermans

I am deleting the paragraph that says "most Shermans remained 75mm models until the end of the war (citation needed)". This is false. At 1945 in the US Army over fifty per cent of Sherman tanks were 76mm gun armed variants, according to the appendix to Roger Ford's THE SHERMAN TANK. Unless the author is refering to the number of British, French and USMC variants in the Pacific, but then we will have to count the numerous Russian Sherman 76s. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.136.181.98 (talk) 06:16, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Except it isn't false, it is accurate. The number of 76 mm-armed Shermans in US hands just barely exceeded the number of 75 mm - armed models in the last months of the war in the ETO. Meanwhile, the very large British stocks of Shermans were almost all 75 -mm armed at the factory and far less than half were ever converted to 17 lbrs.
Almost exactly half the Soviet Shermans had 76 mm guns (just over 2,000 out of the slightly more than 4,000 they got). Most of the French Shermans were 75 mm armed also. All the Chinese and all the USMC ones had 75 mm guns too. Finally, all the US Army tank battalions in the Pacific were equipped with 75 mm armed tanks. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 17:42, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

The Japanese tanks were so ineffective and poor 76mm guns were not necessary at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.99.68.169 (talk) 02:26, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Shermans using Petrol Fuel.

'The Shermans, unlike the German tanks, used Petrol fuel instead of Diesel, causing them to burst into flames when hit.

"The Sherman, mechanically reliable as it was, had one very nasty habit; that was the tendency to burst into flames the moment it was hit. It very readily ignited. It became something of a joke to the German army, who christened them 'Tommy Cookers'".'

-Patrick Hennessey,

Sherman Crew.

from the Documentary "Weapons of World War II". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.68.106.3 (talkcontribs)

Just for the sake of accuracy, there were diesel engined Shermans (M4A2, M4A6). They were primarily used by US Marines or by foreign (most prominently Soviet) forces. And German tanks had gasoline engines, just like most of the Shermans.
As for the main point, I'm not an expert here, but as far as I know...
1) While diesel fuel is less flammable than gasoline, it is not obvious that it translated to any significant difference between diesel engined tanks and gasoline engined ones in real battlefield conditions. E.g. I remember seeing some Soviet report concerning advantages and disadvantages of each engine type, and that report explicitly claimed that the difference is not critical.
2) It is not obvious that the gasoline fuel was the main cause for tanks exploding or burning out. There were other culprits, e.g. ammunition and hydraulic fluid. Note that those two were located right beside Sherman crew, while engine and fuel resided in a separate compartment, which made engine relatively less dangerous for the crew.
Of course for a given Sherman crew even "non critical" difference in flammability could mean difference between life and death, but statistically, I think gasoline engine gets much more blame than it deserves. Bukvoed (talk) 08:37, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The US Army did a study of this early in the war (no surprise there) and found that most tank fires were attributable to ammunition explosions, not fuel tank ignition. That's why the ammo stowage was redesigned in later 75 mm and 76 mm models. As an interim step, applique armor was added outside the ammo bins. Regards DMorpheus (talk) 17:34, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

For the record, As I stated above, Those are exact quotes from the documentary, about 10-20 minutes in. Patrick Hennessey did NOT attribute the "very nasty habit" of exploding to the use of Petrol. He only mentioned its nasty habit. The mentioning of the use of petrol at all was said by the narrator, not Patrick Hennesey.

Nevertheless it is incorrect. All German tanks ran on petrol engines, not diesel. The only major combatant to field mostly diesel tanks was the USSR. Shermans burned because they had thin armor and vulnerable ammo stowage, not because they used gas engines. Regards,DMorpheus (talk) 17:56, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

-- Gasoline vs Diesel: each had its advantages: gasoline engines were easier and cheaper to build and had a better distribution infrastructure in the the 1940s. Properly built diesel engines were more reliable, heavier and less sensitive to fuel quality. I would rather have a diesel tank to drive, but the Army's choice for manufacturing ease and fuel supply of the gasoline engine is the way I would have gone. Saltysailor (talk) 08:14, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

________________________

According to Mihulec and Zientarzewski "T-34 Mythical Weapon" (p.251), the reason the Soviets chose to use diesel engines in their tanks was simply that their oil industry was very primitive in terms of producing good quality gasoline. Gasoline engines in Soviet ground vehicles had to make do with 50 octane gasoline - the good 75 octane stuff was reserved for aircraft. With such poor quality gasoline, diesel engines had much better fuel economy and thus further range. So for all of these reasons, the Soviets chose diesel engines. It had nothing to do with less flammability or safety.

And the reason that everybody thinks that T-34's did not burn as easily as M4 Shermans is simply that the Soviets heavily censored all the bad stuff about their tanks. T-34s absolutely were knocked out in massive quantities by the Germans - M & Z estimate some 45,000 T-34s were destroyed during WWII (p. 220). If you want to see pictures of burnt-to-a-crisp, totally blown up, armor-shattered-in-all-directions T-34s, get this book. Practically every other page has a photo of a knocked out T-34.

And so, the reason that more T-34s were produced in WWII than any other tank was simply that MORE T-34s WERE KNOCKED OUT THAN ANY OTHER TANK. The Soviets had to keep cranking them out because they were getting knocked out in record numbers. M & Z document extensively the incredible pressure and total disregard for quality control that took over in the Soviet haste to produce more of the T-34s during WWII. Armor quality dropped severely.

So, insult the M4 Sherman all you want - Ronson, Tommy Cooker, whatever. But the truth is, the Soviet T-34 wins the World Championship Title for "MOST KNOCKED OUT TANK OF ALL TIME".

DarthRad (talk) 07:31, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

The book you are using is such a biased and one sided view of the T 34 as to be worthless. It is clear the authors are fighting old Polish-Soviet battles and this ruins the book for any serious study —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mjkenny (talkcontribs) 00:45, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree 100% with MJKenny DMorpheus (talk) 15:45, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Number of 75mm Shermans

I am deleting the paragraph that says "most Shermans remained 75mm models until the end of the war (citation needed)". This is false. At 1945 in the US Army over fifty per cent of Sherman tanks were 76mm gun armed variants, according to the appendix to Roger Ford's THE SHERMAN TANK. Unless the author is refering to the number of British, French and USMC variants in the Pacific, but then we will have to count the numerous Russian Sherman 76s. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.136.181.98 (talk) 06:16, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Except it isn't false, it is accurate. The number of 76 mm-armed Shermans in US hands just barely exceeded the number of 75 mm - armed models in the last months of the war in the ETO. Meanwhile, the very large British stocks of Shermans were almost all 75 -mm armed at the factory and far less than half were ever converted to 17 lbrs.
Almost exactly half the Soviet Shermans had 76 mm guns (just over 2,000 out of the slightly more than 4,000 they got). Most of the French Shermans were 75 mm armed also. All the Chinese and all the USMC ones had 75 mm guns too. Finally, all the US Army tank battalions in the Pacific were equipped with 75 mm armed tanks. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 17:42, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

The Japanese tanks were so ineffective and poor 76mm guns were not necessary at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.99.68.169 (talk) 02:26, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Shermans using Petrol Fuel.

'The Shermans, unlike the German tanks, used Petrol fuel instead of Diesel, causing them to burst into flames when hit.

"The Sherman, mechanically reliable as it was, had one very nasty habit; that was the tendency to burst into flames the moment it was hit. It very readily ignited. It became something of a joke to the German army, who christened them 'Tommy Cookers'".'

-Patrick Hennessey,

Sherman Crew.

from the Documentary "Weapons of World War II". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.68.106.3 (talkcontribs)

Just for the sake of accuracy, there were diesel engined Shermans (M4A2, M4A6). They were primarily used by US Marines or by foreign (most prominently Soviet) forces. And German tanks had gasoline engines, just like most of the Shermans.
As for the main point, I'm not an expert here, but as far as I know...
1) While diesel fuel is less flammable than gasoline, it is not obvious that it translated to any significant difference between diesel engined tanks and gasoline engined ones in real battlefield conditions. E.g. I remember seeing some Soviet report concerning advantages and disadvantages of each engine type, and that report explicitly claimed that the difference is not critical.
2) It is not obvious that the gasoline fuel was the main cause for tanks exploding or burning out. There were other culprits, e.g. ammunition and hydraulic fluid. Note that those two were located right beside Sherman crew, while engine and fuel resided in a separate compartment, which made engine relatively less dangerous for the crew.
Of course for a given Sherman crew even "non critical" difference in flammability could mean difference between life and death, but statistically, I think gasoline engine gets much more blame than it deserves. Bukvoed (talk) 08:37, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The US Army did a study of this early in the war (no surprise there) and found that most tank fires were attributable to ammunition explosions, not fuel tank ignition. That's why the ammo stowage was redesigned in later 75 mm and 76 mm models. As an interim step, applique armor was added outside the ammo bins. Regards DMorpheus (talk) 17:34, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

For the record, As I stated above, Those are exact quotes from the documentary, about 10-20 minutes in. Patrick Hennessey did NOT attribute the "very nasty habit" of exploding to the use of Petrol. He only mentioned its nasty habit. The mentioning of the use of petrol at all was said by the narrator, not Patrick Hennesey.

Nevertheless it is incorrect. All German tanks ran on petrol engines, not diesel. The only major combatant to field mostly diesel tanks was the USSR. Shermans burned because they had thin armor and vulnerable ammo stowage, not because they used gas engines. Regards,DMorpheus (talk) 17:56, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

-- Gasoline vs Diesel: each had its advantages: gasoline engines were easier and cheaper to build and had a better distribution infrastructure in the the 1940s. Properly built diesel engines were more reliable, heavier and less sensitive to fuel quality. I would rather have a diesel tank to drive, but the Army's choice for manufacturing ease and fuel supply of the gasoline engine is the way I would have gone. Saltysailor (talk) 08:14, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

________________________

According to Mihulec and Zientarzewski "T-34 Mythical Weapon" (p.251), the reason the Soviets chose to use diesel engines in their tanks was simply that their oil industry was very primitive in terms of producing good quality gasoline. Gasoline engines in Soviet ground vehicles had to make do with 50 octane gasoline - the good 75 octane stuff was reserved for aircraft. With such poor quality gasoline, diesel engines had much better fuel economy and thus further range. So for all of these reasons, the Soviets chose diesel engines. It had nothing to do with less flammability or safety.

And the reason that everybody thinks that T-34's did not burn as easily as M4 Shermans is simply that the Soviets heavily censored all the bad stuff about their tanks. T-34s absolutely were knocked out in massive quantities by the Germans - M & Z estimate some 45,000 T-34s were destroyed during WWII (p. 220). If you want to see pictures of burnt-to-a-crisp, totally blown up, armor-shattered-in-all-directions T-34s, get this book. Practically every other page has a photo of a knocked out T-34.

And so, the reason that more T-34s were produced in WWII than any other tank was simply that MORE T-34s WERE KNOCKED OUT THAN ANY OTHER TANK. The Soviets had to keep cranking them out because they were getting knocked out in record numbers. M & Z document extensively the incredible pressure and total disregard for quality control that took over in the Soviet haste to produce more of the T-34s during WWII. Armor quality dropped severely.

So, insult the M4 Sherman all you want - Ronson, Tommy Cooker, whatever. But the truth is, the Soviet T-34 wins the World Championship Title for "MOST KNOCKED OUT TANK OF ALL TIME".

DarthRad (talk) 07:31, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

The book you are using is such a biased and one sided view of the T 34 as to be worthless. It is clear the authors are fighting old Polish-Soviet battles and this ruins the book for any serious study —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mjkenny (talkcontribs) 00:45, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree 100% with MJKenny DMorpheus (talk) 15:45, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

R. P. Hunnicutt

I tracked down Richard P. Hunnicutt (originally to clarify copyright questions about some photos from his "Pershing" book). What a treat it was to talk on the phone with this gentleman! He wrote the definitive work on the M4 Sherman (and a bunch of other tanks), and unfortunately, as far as he knows, there are no plans for any more reprints. So looks like it will have to be beaucoup bucks for the overpriced aftermarket resale copies. He also mentioned that the current "Pershing" book that is being sold at fairly low prices (<$50) is a Made-in-China ripoff, unauthorized, for which he is getting no royalties.

I took the opportunity to ask him what he thought of Belton Cooper - he agreed that Cooper was inaccurate, that the Army's tank destroyer philosophy created most of the problems.

We should just ask Richard Hunnicutt to review or re-write this M4 Sherman article. Would anybody dare disagree with him? Well, actually the way Wikipedia is structured, a bunch of hacks would probably plow right in and screw it up pretty quickly. Seriously doubt he would be interested. He's 84, and currently lives in Granite Bay, California. DarthRad (talk) 01:14, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

A review would be nice, if he could spare the time. --Izno (talk) 01:36, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
DarthRad i think you may need a chill pill, with no ill respect intended =]
It would be nice to see what a historian on the subject has to say about the article and his opinion of areas that need to be improved etc Although with that said we would still have to bare in mind the wiki guidelines - verfiable seconadry sources etc--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:28, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Anecdote

In 2001-2003 I was assigned to the US Army Tank-armaments and Automotive Command (USA TACOM) at Detroit Arsenal in Warren Michigan. In 2002, TACOM was in the process of the final turn-over of the former tank plant facility to the City of Warren. At the final ceremony, there was a Sherman Easy 8 and a M1A1 Abrams parked at slight angles to each other behind the dais. While it was really great to see the 'first' and 'last' tanks produced at the Arsenal, what struck me was how large the Sherman appeared to be compared to the Abrams. While both are certainly imposing machines, I think the conventional wisdom is probably that modern tanks are so much larger than their WWII brothers. I think that is certainly true when thinking of the Chaffee, but looking at the Easy 8 next to the Abrams, I'd give the Sherman a big thumbs-up for an imposing fear factor. It looked tough, angry, and mean, whereas the Abrams looked sort of sleek and sexy, but not all that scary. Of course, I've never had either come at me business end first! MAJ Kev —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.106.185.70 (talk) 01:16, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

T-34

Isn't it worth noting the T-34's role as the main Soviet tank, produced in greater numbers, and generally seen as the best tank design of the war, vs. the Sherman's being the most "important" to the US. The T-34 was also the basis for post-war Soviet tanks, while the Sherman was the end of its line, with the Pershing being the basis for the Patton series. There should be a place for comparison with British designs and the Japanese competition as well. Bakcell (talk) 17:49, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

May I suggest the book "T34- Mythical Weapon" by Robert Michulec. Michulec points out that the Soviets heavily censored all bad comments about the T34, which is the major reason that most of the flaws of the T34 even today are not well known in the West. The eventual Soviet decision to upgrade the T34 to an 85mm cannon was every bit as confused and delayed and plagued by bureaucracy as the various efforts to upgrade the M4 Sherman. Probably worse, considering that unlike the US, the Soviets had firsthand exposure to every new German tank that came out well before any of the other Allies. Soviet tank design was always multi-pronged, with many competing factories and design bureaus working on new tanks. Somewhere in that process, the lessons learned from the mistakes made with the T34 (and there were many) undoubtedly were incorporated into the postwar Soviet tanks, but to say that the T34 was the basis for postwar Soviet tanks is a bit of a stretch. A good case could be made for the IS-2 and IS-3 having a more immediate connection to postwar Soviet tanks; Post-war, as anti-tank firepower increased, the 30-35 ton weight class represented by the T34 and the Sherman tanks basically became obsolete, which is probably why neither tank had much of a direct influence on later tank design. DarthArd (talk) 04:39, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

The book "T34- Mythical Weapon" is spoiled by the authors constant and unrelenting crusade to portray the T-34 as the worst performing tank of WW2. Keep in mind the centuries of Polish-Russian conflict when you read it. The books is hopelessly biased and of no use to those seeking a balanced opinion on the T34. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jenny (talkcontribs) 23:47, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

The T34 was not the basis for post-war Soviet tanks; that line began with the A32 and ended with the T34. The T54/55, and their successors were based on the T44 medium tank ~~Andy Loates (Coates Jr)~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by Loates Jr (talkcontribs) 15:10, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

There is no such thing as "best tank" as the entire issue is hyper relevant to the issue being discussed. The M4 had more armor, and it's primary armament at the end of the war could penetrate more armor than the T-34/85 at greater ranges. However the T-34 had a great power:weight ratio and better cross country and road performances. There are an infinite number of aspects involved in armored warfare, and as such it's impossible to say "xxx tank was better" unless you narrow it down and say the M4 had superior gun depression.


The M4 had better armor, a more powerful gun, significantly better gun depression, and better target acquisition devices than the T-34, so i fail to see how it's superior in anyway apart from mobility. This article is already filled to the brink with popular history and unfair comments about the M4 and is in desperate need of neutral and factual articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.181.114.227 (talk) 06:28, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Infantry Support Tank?

The article seems to believe that as the Sherman was not designed primarily to take on enemy armor, then the tank could only have been designed as an infantry support tank (a conclusion not supported by footnotes). This is not so.

As the article correctly states, the design characteristics of the M4 were submitted in Aug 40. That was just one month after creation of the Armored Force. It strains belief that the first act of the Armored Force was to design an infantry support tank!

The Armored Force was responsible for two general types of units; armored divisions and GHQ tank groups. Per the May 41 edition of FM 100-5 Operations, the armored division consisted of 5 echelons: command, reconnaissance, striking, support and service. The striking echelon consists of the armored regiments. The support echelon consists of armored infantry with fire support. Clearly the M4 was NOT being designed as an infantry support tank for the armored divisions.

Similarly, the FM's discussion of the GHQ armored groups and battalions focuses on employment of these units in mass, a force around which supporting arms are organized.

Further, the key design factor behind the Sherman is found in this paragraph from the manual:

"The armored division is organized primarily to perform missions that require great mobility and firepower. It is given decisive missions. It is capable of engaging in all forms of combat, but its primary role is in offensive operations against hostile rear areas."

Primary role . . . againt hostile rear areas. Sound familiar? That's the classic role of the cruiser tank. It isn't infantry support and it isn't tank-on-tank. Now the US did not use the cruiser concept in its doctrinal lingo (nor did it use the concept of 'infantry support tank' at that point, either), but its pretty clear that's the role the M-4 was designed to fill. The fact that the M4 did not incorporate the typical European cruiser tank characteristics does not alter the fact that this was its envisioned employment.

The facts that Shermans seldon were able to operate in the enemy's rear, and that in practice it often did fullfill the infantry support role does not change the fact that it was not designed for that role. And the fact that Shermans often subsequently encountered enemy armor does not change the doctrinal guidance: "Attack to destroy enemy armored units when forced to do so as a matter of self-preservation or when hostile tanks threaten seriously to disrupt operations of other troops." These were later battlefield realities.

The original design criteria focused on operations in the enemy rear.

Suggest that the description of the M4's design intent be revised to reflect the reality of the 1940-41 doctrine that governed its development.

67.181.62.193 (talk) 08:06, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

Abuse of a word advantage (and relevancy of sources).

I find personally the sentence "Many German generals and many historians considered the T-34 the best tank of the war,[5] but even so the Russians recognized the Sherman's particular advantages when they used them in certain niche situations.[6]" gravely misleading. The source cited here for support of this thesis, is an interview with Soviet tanker Dmitriy Loza, who had personal experiences on both tanks, no problem here. Still, in this whole text there is neither support, nor even trace of these alleged advantages. He points out certain features that made Sherman more comfortable, more reliable, but still - this thesis suggests, that there were particular tactical variants, that would encourage the use of Shermans. Loza recalls:
- longer service life of rubber-coated M4 tracks
- much more comfortable way for recharging vehicle's batteries
- use of more sophisticated explosive in American HE rounds, that made them less prone for explosion in burning tank
- incomparably greater degree of comfort and aesthetics of Sherman's inside
- lesser (minimal) chance for spalling, when hit with medium calibre AT rounds (with larger, i.e. 88mm, rounds, obviously destroying the tank)
All of these values, obviously advantages, served rather the comfort and safety of the crew and had no tactical values. Features, like no spalling and HE warheads impervious to flames, are obviously of life and death significancy, but have they any meaning in tactical scale?
In whole article I've found just one advantage, that could have been potentially significant to tactics:
- steel tracks of Russian tanks being much louder, a silent approach on hard surface was practically impossible.
To avoid putting into Loza's mouth words he never spoke, I suggest changing the quoted sentence to "Many German generals and many historians considered the T-34 the best tank of the war,[5] but even so the Russians recognized the Sherman's particular minor advantages. [6]" I will change them in few weeks if no discussion follows this rant :), so, anyone disagrees? Or supports?
Vonzgred (talk) 01:29, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

I would disagree with your characterization "minor". Prima facie they're trivial. However, crew comfort, frex, has a strong bearing on effectiveness. (As witness the difference between Sugar boats & fleet boats.) So, too, does confidence: knowing they're less likely to face spalling, the crews will put their attention elsewhere & be willing (perhaps marginally, but noticeably, from a statistical standpoint) to take more chances. (Same argument can be made for issuing parachutes to aircrew in WW1.) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 04:50, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, maybe "minor" is a bit too much of change. And not entirely objective, as now, having some time to get a new perspective, I admit it is just my personal opinion of their importancy. Agreed, trusting their armour, crews could be more effective - but statistics belongs to strategy. My major point was their irrelevancy from tactical standpoint. 212.122.217.200 (talk) 03:03, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

"Best tank"?

How is it possible to make such a general, vague, and sweeping assessments by calling 'x' tank "the best tank of world war 2"? The sheer number of factors are overwhelming and extremely situational. Many times during this and the T-34 article have such references been made, taking a non-neutral point of view and citing less than fair sources with seemingly no external reasoning other than invoking nationalistic pride. Instead of saying "x" tank is "better" than "b" tank, we should present the specifications in a non-POV way and let the reader come to his/her own conclusion.

I move to remove all mentioning of such cases, and replace them with side by side statistical breakdowns, or perhaps a new comparison article instead. This way the reader can draw their own conclusions based of the specifications of the tanks.

76.181.103.83 (talk) 21:20, 22 June 2011 (UTC) Jade rat

Raw specifications don't tell the whole story. (They never do, or, on the specs, France would have won in May '40.) In the case of the T-34, my impression has always been, it didn't have excellence in all areas, but its features combined produced an excellence. In short, the Sov designers got the combination right better than anybody else: gun power, armor, weight, hp, reliability, & production. Others had an edge in some areas; none had a better combined package. Nor AFAIK is that in doubt among even German or American historiographers, who may have reason to lie about it. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 22:10, 22 June 2011 (UTC)


You're mistaken, the T-34 was infamous for it's vulnerability to breaking down in the middle of combat and did nothing the M4 did not do better except for having a 4km faster top speed, ground pressure, and 3 degree shallower sloped armor on the front. The belief that the T-34 was in anyway exceptional came from the lack of negative comments due to the censorship during the war. The allies had no such establishment for negative comments about it's armor so people often heard immensely negative things. Further the lack of quality controls meant it was very difficult to manufacture from 1941-1942 when it was 300,000 rubles per unit (three times the cost of a single M4 and 5 times the cost of a Panzer4) Further it's gun and armor had both been inferior to the M4's gun and the 7.5cm on the Panzer 4. Overall the M4 Sherman defeated the T-34 in every arena (reliability, gun depression, armor thickness, gun penetration, VS, optics, radio, gunbarrel life, tree lifespan, and price from 1941-1943) While the T-34 had better ground pressure (until the installment of the E8) fuel effeminacy, a 4km faster top speed, and a 4 degree better upper frontal slope. Such advantages simply do not make up for it's serous short comings in the other categories against the M4, yet alone Panzer4 who does most of that even better.

France lost due to it's doctrine and Guderian played right into it. France did not operate tanks at a independent divisional level, rather they formed infantry support brigades and spread them out over the entire front. Further, the French docertine demanded "perfect intelligence" before allowing an attack to be committed, Guderian accurately measured that he would have three days before the French army could react to any move he made and thus was able to over run French positions and engage any French armor at highly favorable numerical odds. Further Germany had control of the skies, and concentrated their forces to a single small point as France raced the bulk of their army to meet the two army groups who acted as a diversion by attacking the Netherlands and Belgium as the third with 2/3rds of all German military equipment attacked the unfinished and nearly deserted Northern Maginot line that was being extended since 1939.


I agree. Besides being obvious opinion, the T-34 could be argued as a contender for that title during the early war years, but you don't get the absurd kill ratios that were gotten on the /76 and the /85 even and be able to call it the "best tank." Yes, many German generals are quoted as saying what is mentioned but they are talking about the start of the war. With its horrible view-ports and subsequent situational awareness, built to break down engine, inadequate armor and commander/gunner (for the 76), the t-34 was not in any sense "the best" tank of ww2. For such a generalization to appear on wikipedia as not an opinion it would have to be far superior to every other tank and be therefore be the obvious choice. Maybe in a strategic sense, like the Sherman, it can be considered to be due to the numbers put out, but as a machine, it doesn't stand above everything else high enough to be considered that. Also "niche" situations needs to be explained for this to stay up there. 173.79.66.188 (talk) 02:32, 28 Sept 2011

This isn't a forum for general discussion. However, I have removed the poorly sourced, synthesis from the lead which suggested that the T-34 was the "best tank", which also didn't reflect the main body of the article. (Hohum @) 18:33, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Tank, Medium, M-4

"Tank, Medium, M-4" is the official Army lingo and please note the dash! Leaving it out is modern and confusing usage. Most of all, it is historically incorrect.

Indeed, the Brits named it the 'Sherman,' the name under which it got famous. They did not use the 'M-4xxx' system of designation, but named the types Sherman I through V (roman numerals) with a letter for sub-types, e.g. "Sherman VC Firefly" — the extra name denoting a very important type that isn't even mentioned here.

The article is altogether too much slanted towards the U.S.A. and does not consider the widespread use of this vehicle, including its later derivatives like the IDF's M-50 and M-51.

Much can be improved.

VNCCC (talk) 17:59, 7 September 2011 (UTC)


Under the infobox on the right hand side is a navigation box Template:M4_Sherman_navigation which links to several subarticles (such as post WWII use and development). There are also links to these sub articles in the article eg Lend-Lease_Sherman_tanks under "Service history" and M4 Sherman variants under US variants. You will find the British Shermans covered there including a link to the Sherman Firefly article (actually Firefly is mentioned in the third paragraph of the lead, under "Gun development" and the "See also" sections). GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:13, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

¿Why Isn’t The Rhino Tank Listed?

From Rhino Tank: The Rhino tank (or "Rhinoceros") was the American nickname for Allied tanks fitted with hedgerow-breaching "tusks" during the Second World War Battle of Normandy, which took place during the Liberation of France in the summer of 1944. The British nicknamed the devices prongs.
So, ¿why isn’t it listed here? (Maybe it is and I just missed it, but I also used my page search function, so I doubt it.)Trying To Make Wikipedia At Least Better Than The ''Weekly World News.'' (talk) 20:19, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Rhino tank refers to any tank fitted with the Cullin prong device, whether Sherman, M3 Stuart or Cromwell. GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:40, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Okaaaay… At very least, a mention of the variant and link to the effective article should be included.Trying To Make Wikipedia At Least Better Than The ''Weekly World News.'' (talk) 15:58, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
It's already linked from a photo in the Armor section, and described in some detail (though not linked) under Miscellaneous. GraemeLeggett (talk) 17:09, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
So it is… But it’s SO brief that if you didn’t know it was there, you’d miss it. There’s got to be a way to give it more attention; ¿A subsection perhaps? (To give you a perspective, even knowing it was here, I had to use the page search function on my computer.)Trying To Make Wikipedia At Least Better Than The ''Weekly World News.'' (talk) 21:57, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Seems a reasonable amount of content to me, a full paragraph covers its tactical use. It was only needed for that area of France and not in the rest of the north western Europe campaign, nor for the North Africa, Italy, Burma or Pacific campaigns. To put more emphasis on the subject in this article would be WP:UNDUE.GraemeLeggett (talk) 02:18, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

I did a little experiment; I tried finding it NOW purely by scanning (no use of a search function). I didn’t find it, and to be honest, I can’t be sure it’s here now (I assume it is, but without using the search function it’s not going to happen). Try the experiment for yourself using someone NOT familiar with the page (or its contents). Then tell me it’s “a reasonable amount of content.” EDIT: This time I did use the Search Function; “Rhino” came up “No Matches” and under “Hedge” (as in the mis-named “hedgerows”) there was a blurb, but hardly a proper commentary; Additionally, the section was more interested in the use of three tanks in shotgun manner (if I even read that right, it was rather cumbersome) than the Cullins Hedgerow Cutters. The only link was a caption under a photograph in which the Cutters weren’t even noticeable, unless you happen to be looking for that. This was listed under Armor. Really. A. J. REDDSON