The Sherman Tank what an amazing vehicle!!

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by kfz, Nov 11, 2006.

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  1. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    From an engineering and technical point its hard to argue with. Give thanks to the war winner that is the M4.

    Easily built in many different factories using mass production automotive techniques by unskilled. Available in war winning huge numbers. Reliable simple low maintaince, easily maintained in the field. Operational readiness the envy of other armies.

    Huge parts interchangability able to take many different engines, which is a huge advantage. The main of mass production is supplier problems, soon as one engine dried up you used another. From an engieering design point of view this is so hard to do. To make such a versitle design its impressive.

    Fought in every theater from the -40'c steppe to +40'c desert, Normandy mud, Italy and everything in between. Amazing that a single design can do this, 60 years on we would stuggle to make a machine that performs as well in any conditions with so little alteration. I dont think any other AFV has a record like this one.

    Forsight of design to be able to be upgunned. Big problem with other Allied designs is lack of development. So much easier to develop a working model than to go back to the drawing board. Ability to maintain pace with other new designs shows something special.

    Its easy to get caught up in the books going on about the techiniucal ability of the panther, the Ability of the T34, the more glamerous and the more hyped up. But theres one tank that did the work every day, day in day out, without doubt a War winner.


    Kev (thinking aloud!!)
     
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  2. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Apart for the unfortunate early models that had a tendency to "brew-up" - the Germans called it the "Tommycooker". Remedied by the repositioning of teh ammo-locker.
     
  3. adamcotton

    adamcotton Senior Member

    Apart for the unfortunate early models that had a tendency to "brew-up" - the Germans called it the "Tommycooker". Remedied by the repositioning of teh ammo-locker.

    I believe even the Americans called it "The Ronson" because it always lit first time!
     
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    I believe even the Americans called it "The Ronson" because it always lit first time!

    Does that mean that the Americans called the Tiger the "Zippo" - takes several strikes to work :icon-mrgreenbandit:
     
  5. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    Wouldn't the gasoline engines in the early models also pose a fire hazard? At some point, I think the engine was changed to diesel.

    The Sherman also saw a good deal of service in the Pacific Theater.

    JT
     
  6. BulgarianSoldier

    BulgarianSoldier Senior Member

    Sherman tank isnt bad but i really prefer the german tanks and expecialy the Tiger.
     
  7. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The Sherman? Bloody awful tank but plentiful..How bad? Goodwwod we lost 400. Shermans burning all,over the battlefield columns of black smoke spread over the battlefield.
    The Germans called it the Tommy Cooker, the British called it the Ronson Lighter after a British cigarette lighter. The advert was "lights first time every time" I speak as one that has seen action on the back of one. The heat generated inside a Sherman was so intense that the bones of the crew would be white and would crumble when touched into dust.
    A tank that could not withstand the enemy solid shot. it was a bloody awful tank, but as I said, plentiful. That alone was its greatest claim to fame.
    Sapper
    By the way I had a Ronson lighter!
     
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  8. BulgarianSoldier

    BulgarianSoldier Senior Member

    The Sherman? Bloody awful tank but plentiful..How bad? Goodwwod we lost 400. Shermans burning all,over the battlefield columns of black smoke spread over the battlefield.
    The Germans called it the Tommy Cooker, the British called it the Ronson Lighter after a British cigarette lighter. The advert was "lights first time every time" I speak as one that has seen action on the back of one. The heat generated inside a Sherman was so intense that the bones of the crew would be white and would crumble when touched into dust.
    A tank that could not withstand the enemy solid shot. it was a bloody awful tank, but as I said, plentiful. That alone was its greatest claim to fame.
    Sapper
    By the way I had a Ronson lighter!
    What about Sherman M51?
    Sherman 50mm armor :icon_sleepy: And 5 people in such a small tank.
    But dont forget that sometimes the comander and good crew is the vital point.
    I drived T-55 unbalivable tank 200mm armor at the turret and 120 mm at the Hull it was fast 50 km and 100mm rifle gun 4 man crew however more then 80 T-55 tanks were destroyed really easy by the Croatian and Bosnian army.
     
  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Sherman Tank had many deficiencies as has already be made.The point in in favour of it was that they kept on coming, such was the US production programme.

    It would be wrong to identity the Sherman as an amazing vehicle,that title belongs to the best battle tank of the Second World War, the T34.The Hun was more fearful of this tank than any other Allied tank.Straight off the production track to the battlefield without the normal cosmetic finishing, such was the urgency.
     
  10. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    The point in in favour of it was that they kept on coming, such was the US production programme.


    The only problem with the fact that they kept on coming was the human cost - sending out wave after wave of Shermans because they were easily replaceable should actually be translated as the death and injury of wave after wave of young soldiers.
     
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  11. BulgarianSoldier

    BulgarianSoldier Senior Member

    The only problem with the fact that they kept on coming was the human cost - sending out wave after wave of Shermans because they were easily replaceable should actually be translated as the death and injury of wave after wave of young soldiers.
    Everything give casultys airplanes tanks.Its not because of the tank its because of the crew and if the crew is discipline enough and work fast as a team they are more stronger and if the officer is smart tactic this is also a plus never mind of the tank.If the Loader is skilled enough he reload faster if the driver is skillfull he will not have a problem to escape from outher tank or place the tank that way so the gun wouldn't stuck.If the Gunner is skillfull he can hit everything even if the tank is moving.And if the comnader is enough skillfull he can tacticly outdone the enemy with some tricks like puting the tank betwen two houses or etc.
    I can bet that if Wittman and his crew were alive and they were driving Tiger they can beat T-55 even T-72(Well its too fast but it can be easy tricked).So i dont think that the tank model is the most importand thing.Sorry that i have to say that but the german crew and tank comanders were far beter trained.
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The Sherman was/is indeed an amazing vehicle.
    While it's tendency to ignite was never fully solved it was improved by the introduction of the 'wet' stowage.
    Mobility, firepower & protection are always cited as the key factors in vehicle design but there are others and in a WW2 context a primary consideration was manufacturing ability, given it's exceptionally short development time the M4 was a major success in this area, an extremely reliable vehicle (as illustrated by the many very early variants that can still be seen in pictures of Normandy) that was also very straightforward to mass produce. Talking to veterans they are fully aware of the shortcomings of their vehicle but still hold a great affection for it.
    If not the Sherman then what else?
    While it would have been nice for the engineers to wave a magic wand and produce a Tiger-killer. One must bear in mind that Germany began work on the Tiger with the DW1&2 as early as 1937 They were busy building up and preparing for war. They and Russia (with whom they cooperated greatly on such matters) were considering all aspects of armour design in some depth while the future allied nations had largely allowed the armoured concept that they had given birth to to wither on the vine. Look at the pottering indecision shown by the British and the almost complete lack of interest by the USA to underline this. Pre-war American armoured foundations were 'one man and his dog' setups.
    Considering all this it is amazing that a design emerged that proved itself reliable, adaptable and long-lived. How many other class 1 AFV's served for so long from Alamein to the 80's in such diverse geographical areas? The Israeli's were able to cobble together Shermans made from scrap parts & whatever guns came to hand, (one of their parts sources was vehicles that had been dumped in the sea), the examples made from these bits of junk were no less reliable than any other. The chassis has carried an unbelievable amount of second line weapons and equipment. Variants were designed that could be manufactured by any engineering firm with some experience of producing large objects. Not many other vehicles can make these claims to fame, especially ones that were produced from a virtually blank slate in time of war.
    As Dani touches on Doctrine & training were key factors. Armies that have operated Shermans and used them in an appropriate and thoughtful manner have had great success with them.

    A much maligned and misunderstood vehicle that stands alongside the Churchill as hugely underated in the more 'glamourous' shade of other designs and deserves far more respect than it is often allowed.

    errr..
    I'm off for a lie down now.
    Cheers,
    Adam.

    British Sherman 1 (Codenamed 'Swallow' as a new weapon) Alamein 1942:
    [​IMG]

    Israeli M51, 1973:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned the Firefly - now that was effective (shame there weren't enough of them)
     
  14. MikB

    MikB Senior Member

    I can bet that if Wittman and his crew were alive and they were driving Tiger they can beat T-55 even T-72(Well its too fast but it can be easy tricked).

    But they're not. Sherman Fireflies got him, which is rather to the point, nicht wahr?

    Regards,
    MikB
     
  15. BulgarianSoldier

    BulgarianSoldier Senior Member

    But they're not. Sherman Fireflies got him, which is rather to the point, nicht wahr?

    Regards,
    MikB
    Wittman destroyed more Sherman tanks then you ever seen tank in your life.
    Do you know how hard is to shot so good in the target while the tank is moving we all hear how wittman destroyed a colum of british tanks and halftrucks.You cant imagen how fast the loader must load.This all can be made only with unbalivable skillfull crew and unhuman discipline.The point isnt that Wittman was killed the point is that he was with only one tank.There was a Mongolian saying "Only the fool enter in battle that cant be win" but Wittman enter in the battle and we have seen the what one Tiger and the crew can done.Now imagen if all the German tankers were like Wittman and his crew.One unbaliveble strong tank and the perfect crew and comander.
    PS Von Poop did you read Sapper post?
     
  16. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    I thought this one would get your all going. I dont think anyone has addressed my points though. I talking about the tank from an engineering and problem solving point of view. Im talking about the tank being a solution to the Allied need to

    Catch up a massive gap in technolagy.
    Have a vehicle that can me mass produced
    Have a vehicle that could take on any theatre without modiifcation
    Have a platform to develop


    Prowess on the battlefiled is one thing (a important part I grant you) but its not everything and modern literture forgets that.

    Kev

    Sapper,
    compare.
    I cant argue with you mate, You have lot more expereince than I. But I suspect allied tactics where not all they should have been. Monty gets some grief for Market Garden but for me Good wood was a worse applicaton of statagy.

    Kev
     
  17. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member


    WELL SAID THAT MAN!!!

    We can get all bogged down in who has the best sloped armour and thats not a bad discussion to have, but Not seen many pics of T34's wading ashore in the pacific, and where were the Panthers at El Alemain (on the drawing board), or Tigers in the Jungle of the far east?

    The Weopen system does it

    I dont think the designers ever got the credit.

    Kev
     
  18. MikB

    MikB Senior Member

    Do you know how hard is to shot so good in the target while the tank is moving we all hear how wittman destroyed a colum of british tanks and halftrucks.You cant imagen how fast the loader must load.This all can be made only with unbalivable skillfull crew and unhuman discipline.


    No, he didn't hit that column moving. He had them bottled up in a sunken lane and knocked out the lead and tail vehicles. It was a turkey shoot after that. I don't know whether he planned it, or just took an opportunity offered by carelessness. IIRC only one British tank, a Cromwell, missed a chance of replying with a round through Wittmann's turret side.

    Come to that, I'm not even sure there were any Shermans there....

    Regards,
    MikB
     
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  19. BulgarianSoldier

    BulgarianSoldier Senior Member

    No, he didn't hit that column moving. He had them bottled up in a sunken lane and knocked out the lead and tail vehicles. It was a turkey shoot after that. I don't know whether he planned it, or just took an opportunity offered by carelessness. IIRC only one British tank, a Cromwell, missed a chance of replying with a round through Wittmann's turret side.

    Come to that, I'm not even sure there were any Shermans there....

    Regards,
    MikB
    You understand me incorectly i didnt mean that he hit the column moving i mean it for outher battles.Im more the sure that there were Shermans in the column.
    You could argue with me as much as you want but i drived T-55 one fantastic tank even if i dont wanted i learn a lot about the tanks even about the Sherman and like it or not M1 Sherman isnt good tank 50mm armor dont forget that the Tiger have 100mm this outdone even the time now T-55 is 100mm armor and 120mm and T-72 120 mm you see Tiger can compere to the tanks now.Sherman M51 is far more beter tank.Germans had the best tanks in the whole war there were biger,beter and more perfect.Of course every tank have a weeknes for example Elipfant doesnt have MG42 and this make him easy to be destroyed by inf. even you can trow a molotov or light the tank.Panzerjager and some of the Murder series are open from the back so you could easy trow a molotov or just shot the people inside the tank.Most of the german tanks are really weak in the citys because they are big and manytimes they stuck betwen two buildings or can be easy destroyed from the back with bazooka(this is maybe a problem of many tanks).Tiger is large tank its just not for the city its field tank.
    PS:Wittman is a legend, maybe even a hero and an example for any tanker even me so please dont defile his name infront of me.
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I'll defile his name just a little. ;)

    Dedicated Nazi.

    While his military reputation seems well deserved there are others who don't seem to attract the same 'hero worship', I sometimes wonder where all this began and find myself thinking it was probably in the pages of 'Signal'. :glare:


    This all underlines the Glamour of certain vehicles, the thread is on the M4 Sherman but drifts, as such things often do, onto Wittman, probably purely because he eventually rode a Tiger. If any real comparison is to be made with the Sherman then the Pz.3 & 4 are far more appropriate comparitors.
    :m13:
    (I can't remember mentions of Shermans at Villiers bocage either??, I'll have to double-check though)
    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Edit: Paul states later that there were indeed Shermans present at VB.
     

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