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United States' M4A3 medium tank, Sherman

Photos

M4A3 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3 Medium Tank
U.S. Ordnance Dept.

M4A3E2 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3E2 Medium Tank
Imperial War Museum

M4A3E8 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Mark Holloway

M4A3E8 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Mark Holloway
M4A3 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3 Medium Tank
Imperial War Museum

M4A3E8 Medium Tank:
USA's M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Aberdeen Tank Museum

M4A3E8 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Imperial War Museum
M4A3 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3 Medium Tank
Imperial War Museum

M4A3E8 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Imperial War Museum

M4A3E8 Medium Tank:
United States' M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Mark Holloway
M4A3 Medium Tank drawing:
USA's M4A3 Medium Tank Drawing
Aberdeen Tank Museum

M4A3E8 Medium Tank at the Patton Museum in Ft Knox, Kentucky
United States M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Chris Bobo

M4A3E8 Medium Tank at the Patton Museum in Ft Knox, Kentucky
United States M4A3E8 Medium Tank
Chris Bobo
Dragon Armor, 60163:


Dragon Armor, 60164:

Dragon Armor, 60282:
Dragon Diecast 1/72 Armor, 60282 M4A4 105mm VVSS Medium Tank

Dragon Armor, 60283:
Dragon Diecast 1/72 Armor, 60283 M4A4 105mm VVSS Medium Tank
Dragon Armor, 60297:
United States M4A3E8 (76) W 60297 Dragon Armor 1/72 Diecast Armor

Dragon Armor, 60298:
United States M4A3E8 (76) W 60298 Dragon Armor 1/72 Diecast Armor
Dragon Armor, 60315:
Dargon 1/72 Diecast Armor, United States M4A3 105mm

Dragon Armor, 60316:
60316 Dragon 1/72 Diecast Armor, United States M4A3 105 mm HVSS
Easy Models, 36256:

Easy Models, 36258:
Easy Model 36258 United States M4A3E8 Medium
Easy Models, 36262:
Easy Models 36262, United States' M4A3(76)W Medium Tank

Design

Welded hull. Late models had improved cupola, a loaders hatch, and wet stowage for ammunition. Had the GAA-III V-WC motor.

Gun

The original armament of the M4A3 series was the M3 75 mm gun. To be able to mount the gun in the turret it was turned on its side. Loading was on the right side.

The M34 gun mount was used early on but as it only protected the main armament soldiers in the field requested it protect the coaxial machine gun. The M34A1 was developed as a result and was standardized in October 1942. This shield was full width and had a direct sighting telescope installed.

Turret

The turret was a cast one piece design with a bulge in the rear to allow for the installation of radio equipment. The hatch for the commander could be rotated and there was a mount for a .50 cal HB AA machine gun. There was a rotating periscope for the commander in the turret hatch. The loader had rotating periscope in the roof of the turret. The gunner had a telescopic periscope that was synchronized in azimuth and elevation with the main armament. The roof of the turret also contained a 2" smoke mortar.

There was a pistol port in the side of the turret that could be used for ejecting or reloading shells.

There was a recessed ball race for the turret to revolve in that helped protect it from bullet splash.

The turret basket was bolted to the turret casting and rotated with the turret.

Later in production an armored cupola with six vision blocks replaced the rotating hatch. A mount for the .50 cal Browning AA MG was placed next to the cupola.

Hull

The hull was welded armor plate. At the expense of a desirable design it was easy and quick to manufacture.

There were two hatches in the top of the hull, one for the driver and the other for the co-driver. Behind the co-driver's seat was an escape hatch.

During production a change was made in the hull front. The full front was replaced with a 47° flat plate. This simplified production and allowed for larger hatches for the front crew. This plate also increased protection in the front. A gun barrel lock was installed in this plate.

Later in production a sand shield was installed that covered the top run of the track.

Crew

The driver was on the left side and the co-driver on the right. The co-driver also operated the hull machine gun. The could see out vision blocks that were in the hull front of early models with hatch periscopes replacing them to simplify production.

The main gun loader was on the left and the gunner on the right. The commander was behind the gunner.

Engine

The Ford V-8 engine was liquid cooled and placed in the rear of the hull. The twin exhausts went out under the vertical hull backplate. The cylinder block and crankcase were integrally cast in aluminum, but the cylinders were sleeved in steel. There were two four cylinder magnetos mounted at the rear of the engine on a cross shaft. The water pump was driven from the end of the crankshaft.

The four mounting points for the engine were rubber padded. Two of these were on the bulkhead of the engine compartment and the others in the floor.

There was a door in the rear and flaps with grilles on the top of the hull. The radiator was placed behind the engine.

There were two vertical and two horizontal fuel tanks flanking the engine. They could carry 168 gallons and could be drained out the bottom of the hull if needed. On each side of the hull top were two caps for fueling the tanks.

The driver could remotely operated two fire extinguishers in the hull compartment. These could also be operated externally.

There were five forward and one reverse gear and a built in parking brake.

Steering and stopping was done by the controlled differential which transmitted engine power to the drive unit that was at the front of the tank. The drive unit took power to the sprockets through a set of reduction gears. The power unit could be completely removed for easier maintenance.

Wet Stowage

One of the most requested upgrades from the field was an improvement to the ammunition storage. A direct hit to the ammunition storage would often lead to fire. A system that would have jackets of ethylene glycol (later replaced by water) surround the stowage and when pierced would reduce fire and the chance of explosions.

This system required an additional 2,500 design changes of the M4.

Production

Standardized in January 1942. Built by Ford Motor Co.

M4A3s with the wet stowage were produced starting in February 1944 at Detroit Arsenal (Chrysler) and May 1944 at Grand Blanc (Fisher).

Variants

  • M4A3E2 Assault Tank, "Jumbo": Armor added hull 100 mm, turret 150 mm. 84,000 lb, 42 tons, 42,672 kg. Grousers added to track to improve ride. 22 mph. Originally 75 mm gun but some replaced by 76 mm once in Europe. 254 were produced at Grand Blanc from May to June 1944. Nicknamed "Jumbo." Was intended to be used against the Siegfried Line.
    Had additional armor welded to the front. The turret had a total of 6" and the hull 4".
  • M4A3E8: Had HVSS (horizontal volume spring suspension) and was nicknamed the "Easy Eight."
    Each of the bogies had four wheels, one pair to each of the suspension arms. The arms were sprung next to each other, parallel to the gound. A rubber shock absorber was added to help reduce pitching when traveling over rough ground.
    The top of the tracks was supported by rubber covered, two double and three single, rollers. These were attached to the hull sides. Maintenance was facilitated by the ability to remove a wheel without removing the boggie.The 76 mm gun could fire a 15.4 lb AP shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,600'/sec.
  • M4A3 (76mm): Later in production a M1 76 mm gun was installed. Starting in February 1944 the first M4A3s with a new turret to fit the M1 was produced. These started leaving the Detroit Arsenal in March 1944. Fisher started producing the 76 mm wet stowage tanks in September 1944.Gun can also be used in indirect fire mode as an azimuth indicator and elevation quadrant was also available. Water protected ammo racks installed.
  • M4A3 (105 mm): HQ Companies had M4A3s that had an 105 mm Howitzer installed. Detroit Arsenal built all these models. The first one rolling off the production line in May 1944 and ceasing production in June 1945.
    The turret was rotated by hand.
    A pintle for towing a trailer was installed.
  • M4A3 (105mm) HVSS: New suspension. Detroit Arsenal (8/44 - 5/45): 2,539.
  • Tank Recovery Vehicle M32B3: Based on M4A3. Later vehicles had HVSS.
  • Demolition Tank T31: M4A3 HVSS with 105 mm howitzer and 2 7.2" rockets mounted in turret. Never used.

Usage

Used mainly by US Army.

Called the Sherman IV by the British.

Supplied to the Russians.

Specifications

  M4A3 medium tank, Sherman IV
Crew 5
Radio SCR-508
Radio - command tank SCR-506
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 68,500 lb, 71,024 lb, 71,175 lb
32.284 tons
32,284 kg
Empty weight  
Length w/gun 19' 4.5", 19' 5.5", 19'9", 24' 8"
7.518 m, 7.52 m
Length w/o gun 20' 7"
6.27 m, 6.274 m
Height 9', 9' 3" 11' 2.875"
3.426 m, 3.43 m
Width 8' 7", 8' 9", 8' 9.5"
2.68 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 17 1/8"
Ground contact length 12' 3"
Ground pressure 14.1 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 75 mm
75 mm M3
1: 76 mm
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
2: .30 cal MG
MG - coaxial 1: .30 cal Browning M1919A4 MG
1: 7.62 mm MG
MG - hull 1: .30 cal Browning M1919A4 MG
MG - antiaircraft 1: .50 cal MG
1: .50 cal M2 HB MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 97
Secondary  
MG .30: 4,750
.50: 300
Side arms .Mortar: 12 (4: Fragmentation Mk III, 4: M8 Smoke, 2: M2 Offensive Mk III, 2: Thermite)
.45: 600
Armor Thickness (mm) 1" - 2"
12, 15 - 100
Hull Front, Upper 2"
50
Hull Front, Lower 1.5" - 2"
Hull Sides, Upper 1.5" - 2"
Hull Sides, Lower 1.5" - 2"
Hull Rear 1.5"
Hull Top 1"
Hull Bottom 0.5 - 1"
Turret Front 3"
75
Turret Sides 2"
Turret Rear  
Turret Top 1"
Engine (Make / Model) GAA-III V-WC, Ford GAA-III, Ford GAA
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-8, 8
Capacity  
Net HP 400 or 500, 450, 450@2,600 rpm, 500
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 5 forward, 1 reverse
Steering  
Steering ratio 1.515:1
Starter  
Electrical system 24 volt
Ignition  
Gear ratio - 1st gear 7.56:1
- 2nd gear 3.11:1
- 3rd gear 1.78:1
- 4th gear 1.11:1
- 5th gear 0.73:1
- Reverse 5.65:1
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane 80
Quantity 148 gallons, 168 gallons, 174 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 25 mph, 26 mph, 29 mph, 30 mph
47 kph
Speed - Cross Country 20 mph
32 kph
Range - Road 100 miles, 130 miles
161 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +25°
Fording depth 3'
0.91 m
Trench crossing 7' 5"
2.26 m
Vertical obstacle 2'
0.61 m
Climbing ability 60%
Suspension (Type) Vertical volute.
Horizontal.
Wheels each side  
Wheel size 20" x 9"
Wheel size - idler 28 1/8" x 9"
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type) Rubber block
Length  
Width 1' 4.5"
Width - Vertical volute 1' 4.5"
0.419 m
Width - HVSS 1' 11"
0.584 m
Number of links 79
Pitch 6"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6' 11"
2.108 m
  M4A3 (76 mm), Sherman IVA
Crew Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/hull gunner
5
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 71,100 lb, 71,175 lb
33.7 tons
Empty weight 65,127 lb
Length w/gun 20' 7.5", 24' 3", 24' 7", 24' 8"
7.54 m
Length w/o gun 20' 4", 20' 7", 20' 7.5"
Height 9' 9", 11' 2 7/8"
2.97 m
Width 8' 9", 8' 9.5"
3 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 0.43 m
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 14.6 psi
0.77 (kg/cm2)
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76 mm
76 mm M1A1
OR 76 mm M1A1C
OR 76 mm M1A2
Secondary 1: 2" M3 mortar
MG 3: MG
MG - coaxial 1: M19A4 .30 cal MG
MG - hull 1: M19A4 .30 cal MG
MG - antiaircraft 1: M2 .50 Cal HB MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 71
APC M62 or M62A1
HE M42A1
Secondary 2": 12 rounds
MG .30: 6,250
6,850
.50: 600
Side arms .45 cal: 900
Hand grenades: 4 fragmentation Mk II, 4: WP smoke, 4 M16 or M18 smoke colored
Armor Thickness (mm) 12, 62
1.5" - 2"
Hull Front, Upper 2.5" @ 47°
50.8-108
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper 1.5" @ 90°
38.1
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear 1.5" @ 90°
38.1
Hull Top 0.75"
19
Hull Bottom 1"
12.7-25.4
Turret Front 2.5"
63.5-88.9
Turret Sides 2.5"
63.5
Turret Rear 63.5
Turret Top 1"
25.4
Engine (Make / Model) GAA-III V-WC, Ford, Ford GAA-III
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 8, V 8
Capacity  
Net HP 450@2,600 rpm, 500, 500@2,600 rpm
Power to weight ratio 10.3 psi
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Mechanical synchromesh
5 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch and brake
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system 24 volt
Ignition  
Gear ratio - 1st gear  
- 2nd gear  
- 3rd gear  
- 4th gear  
- 5th gear  
- Reverse  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 168 gallons
636 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 26 mph
41.8 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 100 miles
161 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius 19 m
Elevation limits -10° to +25°
Fording depth 3'
0.91 m
Trench crossing 7' 5", 7' 6"
Vertical obstacle 2'
Climbing ability 60%
Suspension (Type) HVSS
Wheels each side 6
3 bogies with 4 wheels each
Wheel size  
Wheel size - idler  
Return rollers each side 3 double and 2 single
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 23"
584 mm
Width - Vertical volute  
Width - HVSS  
Number of links  
Pitch 6"
Tire tread Rubber
Track centers/tread 6' 11"
  M4A3 (105 mm), (Sherman IVB)
Crew 5
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 68,500 lb
Empty weight  
Length 19' 4.5"
Height 9' 2 11/16"
Width 8' 7"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure 14.1 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 105 mm howitzer
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 1.5" - 2"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAA-III
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 8
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio 500
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Gear ratio  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Speed - Road 26 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 130 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Wheel size  
Wheel size - idler  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Width - Vertical volute  
Width - HVSS  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  M4A3E2 medium tank
Crew 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 84,000 lb
42 tons
Empty weight  
Length 20' 7"
Height

11' 2 7/8"

Width 9' 3.5"
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 75 mm
Secondary  
MG 3: MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 4.5" - 5.5"
Hull 4"
Turret: 6"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAA-III
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 8
Capacity  
Net HP 500
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Gear ratio - 1st gear  
- 2nd gear  
- 3rd gear  
- 4th gear  
- 5th gear  
- Reverse  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 22 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Wheel size  
Wheel size - idler  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Width - Vertical volute  
Width - HVSS  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  M4A3E8 (76 mm)
Crew 5
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 37.1 tons
Empty weight  
Length 19.3'
Height 9.9'
Width 9.8'
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 17.1"
Ground contact length 147"
Ground pressure 10.6 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 76 mm M1A2, L/53
Secondary  
MG  
MG - hull 1: .30 cal M1919A4 MG
MG - antiaircraft 1: .50 cal M2 MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 71
Secondary  
MG .50: 600
.30: 6,250
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) Front: 2"@46°
Side: 1.5"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 3"
Mantlet: 3.5"
Turret Sides 2"
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAA
Bore / stroke 4 cycles
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-8
Capacity  
Net HP 500@2,600 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Synchromesh
5 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Controlled differential
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric
Electrical system 24-volt
Ignition Magneto
Gear ratio - 1st gear  
- 2nd gear  
- 3rd gear  
- 4th gear  
- 5th gear  
- Reverse  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 168 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption 0.6 mpg
Performance  
Traverse Power
Speed - Road 26 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 155 miles
Range - Cross Country 100 miles
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 36"
Trench crossing 7.5'
Vertical obstacle 24"
Climbing ability 31° (60%) slope
Suspension (Type) Horizontal suspension, 3 bogies wheels of 2 wheels each
Wheels each side 3x2
Wheel size  
Wheel size - idler  
Return rollers each side 5
Tracks (Type) Dry pin, double pin per shoe, steel shoes with rubber backing
Length  
Width 23.9"
Width - Vertical volute  
Width - HVSS  
Number of links 79
Pitch 6"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 7.4'

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1943-1945, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  3. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  4. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. The American Arsenal, 1996
  7. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  8. Airfix Magazine Guide #26 American Tanks of World War 2, Terry Gander and Peter Chamberlain, 1977
  9. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  10. Tank Data 2, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, E. J. Hoffschmidt and W. H. Tantum IV, 1969
  11. Armour In Profile #3 M.4 A3 E8 Sherman, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, ?
  12. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site