Friend of the site Bill A, has put together a very nice M4 composite hull Sherman, based on the Tank his father operated in WWII. Bill Dad served with the 44th Tank Battalion in the Philipines when we took them back late in WWII. This kit is Dragon #6441, and I think Dragon makes a very nice Sherman for the price.
Really nice build Bill! My only comment other than you did a great job with the kit, would be, its just to darn clean! In real life, they tended to get real weathered, your looks like it rolled off the showroom floor!
Here are a few more shots of the M4 Composite in action.
Your M4 Tank Steering Brakes Should Work Gentle’n Easy. If not – Here’s what to do and how to do it. A Brand-new procedure – Easier, clearer, and completer than anything in your TM or Anyplace else.
This Army Motors article is from May of 44s, issue of Army Motors, and outlines an easier and better way to adjust the Sherman or any other vehicle based on the M4 Chassis steering system. Don’t miss the complete section of Sherman Manual TM9-7018 Medium Tank M4A3, from September of 1954, posted below the Army Motors Story.
Read the pages of TM9-7018 Yourself, and compare: Medium Tank M4A3, 1953 has this to say about the steering system and how to tune it.
This is the section of the last Army Manual on the Sherman, this should be the final authority on how to maintain the steering system on the Sherman. It seems to match well with Army motors article. That’s no surprise, by 1944 the Sherman powertrain was very mature, and I’m sure they had the vast majority of the problems worked out by then.
The main difference is the Army motos article presents a specific chunk of the info found in this section of the manual and breaks it down with more pictures and simple instructions. This was a good thing, people have trouble with written directions, and pictures really help. The biggest problem with written direction really is when it does not get read.
If I had to do the job, I’d want both and anything else I could get my hands on. The common theme though, from the Army Motors Mags is, the vast majority of problems with army equipment, that caused tanks, trucks, or anything else mechanical to break down, was either lack of proper maintenance, or improper use. The biggest culprit being bad drivers, who actually drove bad, or neglected their duty to keep the vehicle properly maintained, or both.
One other interesting thing made clear by the Army Motors Article, is that the new double anchor braking system could be retrofitted into the older three-part differential cover. I didn’t want to assume anything, but the is instructions for adjusting the controls for the double anchor setup on the three part differential housing, so I think that settles. it.
Here are some other images of the steering brake system, from the technical and Ord manuals.
Well, I hope that leaves few if any questions about adjusting and maintaining the Shermans brakes. I’m sure there are still some real-world tricks the men still working on the still running Shermans of the world could add too, but that will have to wait until I figure out how to find those people and interview them somehow.
My greatest hope would be one of the men out there restoring one of those beasts might even get the littlest bit of help from this post, because that would be awesome.
Sherman Tank Site News Post 17: Summer is here, I have all kinds of content for updates, but less time than I would like.
I am always tweaking the site and doing minor edits, but in the past few weeks, I’ve had time for some more major projects. There have been a few minor projects worth noting as well.
The Editor over at Tank and AFV News sent me some very interesting reports that give a very interesting look into the Army’s search for a suitable tank Motor.
THE NEW REPORTS! (They are new to the site, not new)
Ordnance Development of the Wright-Continental R-975 Radial Engine: This report is very interesting. It shows how long, and just how far the Army and Continental went to try and improve the life of the R-975 tank motor. By the time they were done, it was almost a new motor, but still not a great tank motor. Good enough for sure, but no Ford GAA, or as reliable as even the A-57!
Ordnance Development of the Chrysler a-57 Multibank Tank Engine:This report is just like the one on the R-975, but all about my favorite tank motor, the Mighty A-57! This motor became shockingly reliable for how complicated it was. What made it great was the complication only came in mating the five motors, the banks themselves were solid, wells designed, motors.
These reports will give you a very good look into why the US Army chose the motors they did and the story behind getting each one to work as a tank motor. They are interesting stories in their own right.
Sherman Tank Site Post 74: A Guide Through The Maintenance Maze
While I was poking through some old issues of Army Motors, I ran into this fascinating little guide to the Armies maintenance system. Most people who have not dealt with some kind of large motor pool have no idea the large maintenance tail a big number of tanks or even trucks has. A hell of a lot of men and equipment are required behind the front to keep the 5 men and their Sherman running in combat.
This fascinating report gives a very nice overview of the Canadian version of the echelon Maintenance system. Between the Army motors article and Arthurs Report, it covers just about any questions I could have come up with on how the Allied maintenance systems were run.
Special thanks to Hanno Spoelstra of the Sherman Register for finding the report!
Sherman Tank Site News Post 16: A few setbacks but some good content on the way.
Well, the beginning of the year was looking good, then things on a work-related front went south, and I have not had as much time for the site. What time I had I was using on image improvements and had to cut back there due to some carpal tunnel syndrome issues. I won’t bother you all with further personal stuff.
Our pal Walt from the Sturgeons House Forums, who runs Tank And AFV News, has a new video channel, and though it is not Sherman specific, it is doing book reviews and if you’re interested in Shermans, or Armor in general, you should give his page and videos a view! Support the fellow Armor loving guys out there!
Sherman Tank Site Post 73: Articles from Army Motors Episode #1
This is the first in a series of posts I’m going to do highlighting the Sherman or M4 series-related vehicle, articles I’ve found. With some commentary, though some of these articles are so good they speak for themselves.
Give Your Tank a Brake!
This article surprised me, because in the world of 4 wheel drive, compression braking is commonly used to control a vehicle on steep hill descents, and some vehicles have very low gears in their transfer case for this purpose, among others. I bought a Jeep Rubicon because it came with a Transfercase to do this.
A tank is not a Jeep though, so I clearly get the point of the article. Also, as for using the engine to brake, I’ve never been big on downshifting for that reason, even in cars and Jeeps. I once had a conversation with my wife, who was big on downshifting, about the cost and labor of a new set of brake pads, versus a new clutch. She agreed once we talked about the labor involved.
Post 72: Army Motors: How the Army Updated the Armies Mechanics!
Over the years, I’ve run into the Army’s PS Magazines, the comic book style magazine distributed around the army to advise the troops in language they could too, but they were all post-WWII so of limited interest to the Sherman Tank Fanatic. RadioNerds has all or almost all of the PS Mags for download, and they are a fun read. RadioNerds is a really Fantastic site, and when I found out there was a WWII Magazine for the same purpose, though more Vehicle specific, and was not surprised to find RadioNerds also has all or just about all of them too!
The Army Motors magazines start pre-WWII, in may of 1940, and they really do not have much of interest to the Sherman fanatic until the 1943 issue, and then they have all kinds of fun information. This does not mean those pre 43 issues are not interesting. They give you a look into the problems the army was running into as it was growing, and one of those problems was draftees ruining everything!
What I mean by this is the main push of just about every issue is, follow the maintenance schedule and not be creative in trying figure out better or easier ways to do the maintenance. Some other problems would be not driving properly or even warming vehicles up right. General carelessness seemed to be enemy number 1.
Accident were another big subject across the board, I even found a chart of deaths and there causes. Horseplay was another one, with power tools in particular, got mentioned in several issues. This one I thought was amusing, and reminded me of all the times I’ve worked with men and around tools. Jokes and pranks were played, and it was just life, no need to involve HR or anything.
The general tone of these magazines was humorous, and they have several set ‘Departments’ like Connie Rodd Bulliton board, and the Rumors Department, with an Outhouse as a logo. There were lots of illustrations and comics, and they went color in late 43.
The early and late versions of later versions of Connie Rodd.
Here are some interesting examples.
A letter from a satisfied customer.
Don’t waste rubber, it makes Hitler happy, that’s his happy face.
This cartoon is a little disturbing, but the chart explains the US Vehicle maintenance system.
I started a new image improvement series based on the Shermans Motors. I was not entirely happy with the first series of images I cleaned up regarding the Ford GAA and the M4A3. There were several reasons, the main being, I just got a lot better at using the imaged editing software over the process of doing that first set. This left a lot of images of less quality than they could be, and that annoys me so I’m going to fix that. On the upside, many of these images already are almost done, so fixing them does not take that long.
Another problem with the early parts diagrams is they only have simple part names. If I don’t know for sure the name of the port, a cover plate is covering and the diagram just says cover, it makes it less useful. What’s interesting is you can find the same images just labeled differently in the different parts catalogs and Technical Manuals. On the improved images, I’m using the actual commonly used parts name. Digging through the various manuals to figure this out can be time-consuming, but I always learn something so it’s ok.
I‘ll post a bunch of the updated images at the end of this post.
I put up Clothing and Gear store, you can click on the first link to go directly to the link, or the second link to go to the preview page on this website, with some larger images of some of the shirts. The idea behind the store is even if it only makes a few bucks a month, it can help offset some of the web pages hidden costs. I think I have some amusing T-shirts up, check it out.
I put in a small forum, so people have an easier venue to discuss things since the comment system is clunky for that. To start it off, I put a post up about my feelings on the Sherman Stabilizer system and if it not being commonly used is a myth or not. Please pop over and add your feedback.
Coming soon, more huge Technical drawings and parts breakdowns.
News Post 14: Happy New year! 2017 was a good year for the Sherman Tank Site, 2018 should be even better!
The Sherman Tank site has been up for just over two years. The website is paid up for another year, and I have some very interesting books on the way that should expand the selection of rare technical drawings. I do not know how the quality on these new manuals coming will be, so, I don’t know how much cleanup work there is to do, and I’m not even through 25% of the M4A3 stuff I currently have.
He commanded the 8th Tank Battalion in the 4th AD and liked the Sherman. You can find his defense of it, called Tank versus Tank here. I think this is going to be a great book, and General Irzyk will be 101 tomorrow!
I also got, Forging the Thunderbolt,by Gillie, it looks to be a very good history on the US Armored forces from the beginning until 45.
Also, one final note, I wanted to link to the Jocko Podcast. Jocko, is a retired US Navy Seal Officer and is interested in Military History and self-improvement through improved leadership, and uses book reviews and actual in-person interviews with many of the authors. His subjects range from the Rape of Nanking to his own experiences in Ramadi but have also had men like the intriguing Dr. Jordan Peterson, if you can’t find an interesting subject or two in his well over 100 podcasts, well, I don’t know what to say about that.
In the beginning: WOT was clearly better, but WT has grown into a better game.
I’ll start by saying; I have not played a game of World of Tanks in months. At one point it was my main game. Sure, I didn’t play much when GTA 5 came out or Fallout 4, but I always came back to WOT. I’d been playing since closed beta, and had 16k battles in the live game, and some rare cool tanks, the A-32, the beta Sherman, the M-60 and VK7201, and even the T23, attesting to some good clan experiences. I was a solid 56% player and liked T5, and the Sherman, the standard M4 was my most played tank. 1083 battles, 56.14% win rate. That was an honest 56%, I rarely platooned, and had moments of great online glory, and terrible gaming shame. Key clan battles were both won, and towards the end of my time with a competitive clan, lost because of my play. I will freely admit I was never a great player, just a little above average, but I did really like the game.
The game itself is polished, physics are great, the models beautiful, and I liked how you could play a few quick games and quit. I also liked mods, because the vanilla game interface sucked, and who doesn’t want extra zoom? Me dropping out of WOT was long in coming, and I remember the glory days, where knowing the view system allowed you to do awesome shit on most maps, the tears were glorious, and medium and light tanks were fun. I don’t know anyone who plays anymore, at least on the regular, I know a pal logged in this weekend, I can’t be bothered. I think the glory days for WOT are long in the past, years of patching ago, when the clans and player base still had some heart. Before the draconian and sometimes indefensibly bad moderation ran anyone remotely interesting off the forums. The only thing that sparked any interest in me at all is a game mode, not being offered on what was the premier version, PC.
If you cannot tell from my previous review of War Thunder, I wasn’t a fan in the past and talked some mighty shit. I’ll say some points still stand, but overall, I could have been fairer and should have waited longer to review it. I will stand by it being a copy of WOT, at least in a few ways, though also an improvement, with its own spin, that makes it is own game and offers more options than WOT does, and I think Gaijin has a better outlook than Wargaming. Wargaming produced a great tank arcade game and ruined it, then produced a shit airplane arcade game and an almost passable, but still boring, and shallow, but pretty ship game. Gaijin has produced an amazingly pretty airplane game, with a good arcade mode, and decent realistic and simulator modes, though I do not agree with some of their flight model choices, I enjoy the hell out of Air Arcade mode, and love the selection of planes being able to do air missions really adds a fun aspect to the game if you like airplanes, and I do. Tank arcade, realistic and simulator battles are also available, and they keep things interesting with various events, and a PVE mode for both tanks and planes that gives a nice booster as a reward, win or lose it can be a nice fun daily diversion, and I’m only covering co-op PVE and PVP modes, the game has a lot of standalone air missions and campaigns that are single player PVE.
War Thunder also includes unguided rockets, ATGMs and smoke shells and launchers on tanks and most tanks have at least a share of the machine guns on the tank as usable weapons. Machine guns are not as useless as you would think, some of the most annoying TDs in the game, like the stupid waffentrager can be killed with the coax and, .50 machine gun on most US tanks. The machine guns can be used to knock down shacks and shoot down aircraft, and are a fun addition to the game. On vehicles with exposed crews, you can see them, allows you to machine gun them.
One thing War Thunder does not include is player driven self-propelled artillery vehicles. They must have recognized the cancerous effect vehicles like this have on a game. They do have a mechanic to call in an artillery barrage, but it’s nothing like being shot by an artillery sniper from across the map while on the move like in WOT. In War Thunder, Artillery rarely kills you if your tank has decent armor, or you drive out of the area when you get the warning. This factor alone makes WT much more enjoyable than WOT.
Let’s compare the two, in Arcade mode, since that is all WOT offers.
The interface: War Thunder edges out WOT.
On the surface, War Thunder looks a lot like WOT. Various nations, a bar with planes, and later tanks very similar controls, the tech tree and tank upgrades at first seem very close, you have an in-game currency you can buy with real money and one you earn in-game, and in this way, War Thunder has more options that could be viewed as pay to play than WOT. Specifically, you can just max your crew’s skills with real cash, if you were willing to drop a fair chunk of money on the game.
X-Ray: WOT has nothing like it.
This is an option in the vehicle viewer and WOT has nothing like it. It shows, in a somewhat generic way with the component, where everything important inside the tank is located. The crew, the gun, the optics, the turret ring and drive and transmission and final drives are all shown in generally the right places, though they do not always get it right, it’s still a very nice feature. In a game when killed, it shows the shot hitting your tank then what it takes out inside if anything.
Armor view: WOT can do with mods, what WT has built in.
This nifty little feature lets you look at the armor layout, and on planes and tanks and it calculates the thickness of a plate from the angle you are looking at, and gives you that, and the actual thickness based on its angle to the camera. WOT does not have a feature like this, but there were mods that added it.
Social: Like, talking to people or something…
The social options are about the same, or they seem like that, but since I do not care about anything but being able to have a chat room with some pals, social stuff is not interesting.
Free Exp: Bypassing shit tanks, and weapon grinds, you can do it in both.
In WOT, you always earn a small amount of free experience, and each tank is its own bank of available experience to convert. This allows you to burn real money for a large chunk of free exp you can sit on and use on any tank tree. It is very easy to run out of if you are willing to do things like burning through several tanks with free exp to get a T110E5 on release day for clan wars that evening, you can zero out your available exp, and no amount of real-world cash gets you more, you have to build it up on tanks by playing them.
In WT you end up with a massive bank of experience, and then you pay the currency purchased with real money on conversion right at the vehicle, and you get so much overtime, you’d have to drop a large chunk of cash on the game to burn through it all, and could max out a nation’s tree with ease if you wanted to with and had the cash. In just over a year of playing, I have nearly 6 million convertible exp points. At low levels, you can deck out a tank or bypass it for a few bucks, but at the high end, you’re looking at much higher amount of real money. You, of course, can, just like in WOT, earn the exp on the vehicle by playing it, and spend no money at all.
How free exp is applied to vehicle parts is different in one key area, in world of tanks your researching a new type of item. So, if it’s a gun, motor or radio used in later tanks or other lines, it’s unlocked in them all. This is a huge cost saver, and I like this version better than WTs version. In War Thunder, you are not unlocking new technology and putting the new better part on, you’re paying for a brand new barrel, or motor, or tranny, etc, because your brand new tank isn’t brand new with inferior parts to upgrade, it just warns the hell out, and you fix it up as you go. Although I like the World of Tanks approach better, it’s not a deal breaker in War Thunder, and from perspective of getting players to spend money, I think WTs works better and a key advantage to the WT system is, you can unlock a tank and move past it without being forced to unlock a bunch of crap on the tank itself, so if you don’t want to play it, in most cases you can unlock it, then start on the next tank, and not be penalized for not unlocking key parts on the earlier tank or anything on it.
In both games, the tanks are pretty bad stock, but rarely in War Thunder is a tank straight up useless stock. I’m looking at you M7 Medium (when WOT was good) and your crappy 37mm gun at T5.
I think that’s the extent of uses for free exp in WT. In WOT, on rare occasions, it can also be used to train up crews, but it was a very rare and hugely costly thing when they did allow it.
Crews: Too many in WOT, just right in WT.
War Thunder has a simpler and better system, this is an area War Thunder is much better than WOT. In World of tanks, each tank has its own crew, and if you want to store them when you sell a tank, they have to go in a barracks you pay to upgrade with real cash. You can retrain a crew to another vehicle, but it can only be the crew of one type of tank at a time, or of a premium tank in the same class, light, medium, etc. This means if you like having a lot of tanks, you have a ton of crews, each crew levels and has skills. A great crew could make a big difference in a tank’s performance, but having a ton of tanks you play a lot means you skill your crews up slow. You can retrain, but if you do not want to pay a fairly steep price in real money bought currency, you lose a big chunk of exp from the crew; this part of the game can become a big money hole quick.
War Thunder handles crews in a very different way, and if you really had to, you could get away with only three ground vehicle crews for arcade mode, since you can only spawn in three tanks. This means if you want, you can divide up all the vehicles from one nation up to those crews, each one requiring currency earned by playing the game, or spending bought currency, for the very highest skill, after you dump a ton of in-game cash too, making leveling a crew without playing it plausible but very very expensive in real money. I go with six crews for each nation, but only use three or four for ground crews, and then all six as aircrews.
In my opinion, the War Thunder crew system is better, and even though you can dump cash into it, doing so doesn’t offer much of an advantage for the huge cash dump it would take to max out six crews, but it does help you keep a smaller number of crews so you can focus the experience earned by playing. When you couple in the cost of garage slots in WOW, and how much real money that costs, War Thunder wins out there too for the player who likes to collect tanks, and you can’t sell anything so no worries on what tanks you want to keep WT.
The Tech Trees: WT wins again.
I was never all that bothered by the prototypes making it into World of Tanks, and I think many of them belong. Tanks like the T23, Vk3002DB and M7 Medium (it’s a damn medium!!!) either saw limited production, serious consideration, with some real blueprints, or made a whole factory for the damn things, so they make reasonable additions. Strait up making up overpowered tanks from very preliminary drawings, and then making game ruining tanks out of them takes it to far. Tanks like the T10 TDs, the Waffentrager, pretty much the whole E series I think helped ruin the game. I hit a point, years ago, where there was not a single tank in the game I cared to get, so I stopped playing anything past T8 and mostly T5, and then not at all.
The Vehicles: War thunder wins in variety and customizability.
Almost a tie, but War Thunder wins, since Wargaming’s plane game sucked and looked like crap, and was not integrated at all.
The early models still in the game are pretty bad at this point, but the new model’s World of Tanks have been releasing are very good. They look a little sharper to me than corresponding War Thunder models, but it’s very close on how pretty the models are.
War Thunder models look a little softer, giving them a slightly more cartoonish appearance, and I run both games at max settings with no issues. War Thunder edges WOT out though because the tank decoration system is so much better. In World of Tanks, you get decals you can apply to a tank, for real money if you want it to be permanent; they have fixed locations only, two emblems and two inscriptions. The same for camo and camo gives a small view distance reduction bonus. If you want to use the same decals on different tanks you pay for it again same with the tanks camo. They do let you rent them for extended times in in-game earned currency.
In War Thunder, tanks have individual camo, and it can be purchased for a similar cost to WOT. But you can also earn it by playing the game with that tank and getting kills or just battle count in some cases. Most tanks you will have all the camo by 300 battles. That’s not all the customization you get though. In WT, you have two other categories, six slots for decorators, 3D decorations, and 4 decal slots.
The decorators range from various tree branches, that actually make your tank much harder to spot in realistic and simulator battles, to animal skulls, various road signs, some German crosses and a red star, a French SMG, and dolls, an accordion, gas masks, helmets, guitars, grenade racks, garden gnomes, Jack-o-lanterns, and even a bar sign. These are 3D items and can be fairly freely placed, though not over some items on the hulls.
The decals are like the ones in WOT, but better in all ways, since in WOT they are fixed in size, location, and orientation. They can be rotated, duplicated on the other side, and resized. There are a ton of them, from kill markers to historic tank and airplane decorations, some can be bought, there are many earned decorators too, but not the camo branches or most of the more silly decorations.
This variety of decorations and the surprising ways you can use them to make for some very interesting vehicles makes War Thunder a much more visually diverse game. The War Thunder tank models are better in one other way too; much of the exterior of the tank can be damaged and even blown off, while the tank still fights on. I’ve seen storage boxes and tools completely blown away, even fenders and other items can be knocked off some tanks.
Premium Vehicles: It’s a wash, so close in execution it’s almost the same.
The system is very similar in between the games. In WOT, a premium tank was supposed to be a tank not quite as good as a decked out regular tank in the same tier, but any crew from that class could use it without training, and they made more exp, free exp, and credits. WOT has not always held to this guideline, and some premium tanks ended up being better than fully decked out tanks in their tier, in most cases these vehicles were removed from sale, but the players with them kept them. Older premiums tend to be worse than newer ones on WOT though, and a few premiums were out and out duds.
In WT, the premium vehicles are just tiered based on their performance and will be generally as good as anything at the same rating. Crews have to be specifically trained on it to use it, but it’s cheaper than a normal vehicle and they make more exp and credits. Like in WOT they can be variants of vehicles in the game already, copies, or oddballs, but in WT most are copies of a vehicle on another nations tech tree like the lend-lease M4A2 76W tank you can buy on the Russian tree. It is the same tank as the one on the regular tree on the US line, just premium. But they do have a fair number of special vehicles only available as a premium, the P-38K and several other prototype planes, RAMII, the T14, and T29 both US Heavy Tanks only available as premium tanks. They also have some premiums, where you have to buy another premium first, to unlock the second. The prime example being the Sherman Calliope has to be bought before the M26 T99 can be purchased. Both these rocket equipped tanks are a riot to play. Nothing says ‘hello’ like a bunch of rockets to the face! I even got an airplane with one!
Since this is the Sherman tank site, how do the Sherman models compare: WT edges WOT out again, but its close.
War Thunder: All the Shermans used in the war
Lots of solid Shermans, it has more Shermans and has them tiered better, and the models, for the most part, are more realistic. The early war DV M4A1 Sherman in WT tiered at 3.3 is my favorite tank both in model and gameplay. When you get in a 3.3 game you can dominate if you don’t go stupid like I do about half the time. The M4A1 76W model is also very nice, with only a few small flaws. The game has just about all the important versions of the Sherman in game. WOT does not. WTs Sherman models are all solid, and for the most part, since there is a feature called X-Ray, you can use in the garage to view the interior components inside the tank, even the insides are pretty accurate. They were a little off here and there as you can see in the old review, but they’ve done a good job with most of it, but the M4A2 76w tanks still have the add-on side armor they shouldn’t have. So lots of good solid models, at all the right tiers, balanced well enough. Not many rare versions, even in the premium line, and there is enough precedent for tanks like the M7 Medium to show up as a premium tank since the T14 and T20 are in the game as such. They are releasing new vehicles at a high rate, so who knows what we will see, but true napkin tanks are very rare in WT, with just a few scattered in the German and Japanese and French trees.
WOT: Franken Shermans, miss labeled models, and rare tanks.
WOT is a more mixed bag and still has a turret that was never used on the hull their T5 M4 model has, and they call it an M4 when it’s an M4A1. This is a silly flaw that has been in the game since beta. In the American tree, they have the messed up M4/M4A1 at T5, and the M4A3E8 76W at T6 with the Jumbo and all have decent models, though they have weapon options never offered this is somewhat normal in WOT. Where WOT shines in the Sherman department, is in its oddball Shermans, it’s got some good ones.
Here’s a list of WOT’s oddball and interesting Shermans: The M4A2E4 this Sherman was the testbed for torsion bar suspension on the Sherman the original model was recently replaced with a very nice new model, it was only given to US beta testers and is pretty rare in the game. The M4 Improved, a proposed improved all welded Sherman with a better turret, also a very nice model, and a standard premium. The M4A3E8 Thunderbolt VII premium Sherman, based on Creighton Abram’s 7th wartime Sherman, the model features the common to the 3rd Army’s field modified Jumbo with a bunch of extra armor welded on. The M4A1 revalorize a French premium Sherman with a big 105 gun wraps up the oddballs. It’s an ok model, not fantastic. There is also a Fury premium that looks just like the movie tank.
Airplanes: WOT HAS NO PLANES
The War Thunder airplane models were always better than the World of Warplanes models and gameplay is better too. The tank decals can be used on the planes and vice versa. They have a lot of very cool airplanes in the game, planes I haven’t seen in other games. They have all the cats, including the late war F7F and F8F, in the Bearcats case, there are two versions. There are five F4U Corsair variants, two F4U-1A models, but no birdcage -1. The rest make sense though, 1d, 1C, -4, -4B. Lots of P-51s, with and without Merlins, including the H and Twin! P-47s galore, including the 47N, and they are all great ground attack planes. Like the tank models, many are not perfect, things like the early Corsairs having cockpit floors, and the late Corsairs, the -4s, have a B series R2800 modeled when they should have a C series but these are small complaints. The inclusion of the P-38 and a lot of versions is overshadowed somewhat by them having terrible air to ground load outs, but they include the prototype K, and it’s rad, so, still a win.
The plane side of the game being fun was a surprise, but I really enjoy arcade mode, I’m just not good at it though. On occasion, I’ll pull off a good game or two. If you like WWII and Korean War era air warfare, the air game is pretty damn fun.
Gameplay: The real Meat and Potatoes
General: Skill based play wins out
In my opinion, War Thunder rewards players with good hand-eye coordination and good reflexes more than World of Tanks. The aiming mechanic in WOT is stupid and adds inaccuracies for gun traversing, elevation, the speed of movement, and you have to hold the crosshairs still for an amount of time that varied gun to gun for the shot to be accurate. This was one of the most frustrating aspects, and an aspect used to balance the game way to much, in WOT. WT has no such mechanics, you get the crosshairs on target and pull the trigger, and accuracy is only based on base gun accuracy and crew skill. Both games use random number generators in their shooting system, but WT’s is much better, and not used to balance nations. In this single way, War Thunder is leaps ahead of WOT.
Both games require more thought than I can always put in, but skill seems to shine out a little more in WT. The tier system helps, they are decently balanced, and you rarely end up in battles you can do nothing in, it happens, but far less than in WOT. Both games have very skilled players, but they really seem to shine more in WT, and the player base seems less criminally stupid most of the time.
Mods: WT keeps it pure, and wins again.
War Thunder has none. At first, this seemed bad, but as I learned to play the game, I enjoyed being able to just jump in and play post patch. Frankly, the mods in WOT ranged from downright game breaking to perverted distractions. No mods mean an even playing field other than the tanks specs and the player’s skills. Not some mod that lets them zoom in a target exact locations, or shows the last place a person was on a map, or where trees were falling or worse. There are known cheats in WT, but they are actively banning accounts, forever, for using them. In this area, War Thunder wins hands down.
There are a ton of very well done player made skins you can add, mostly to airplanes. If you know of a historic aircraft, and the plane is in WT, there is probably a skin for it. I found skins for Ira Kepford, Richard Bong, Tommy McGuire, Charlie MacDonald, Greg “Pappy” Boyington, etc.
WOT has MODs, some are almost cheating, many slow the game down, and they are a pain in the ass to keep up to date like in any game. WTs interface is good enough vanilla.
Maps: No game is perfect, but WOT ruined all their good maps.
WOT had some cool maps early on, but even the originals in the game now have been tweaked to reward close in fighting. Almost all the new maps, no matter how cool they looked, tended to be the kinda map that forces fighting in one or two corridors, with maybe a flank option that was easy to guard. Even after physics, they found ways to keep areas off limits in ways that seemed artificial, and ruined light and medium tanks so why bother caring about physics anyway. Another thing sad about WOT is how little of the world is destructible in battles. Sure, a few houses here and there can be knocked down with a tank, but structures that should not stop a tank do in WOT.
War Thunder has some very cool maps and some crappy ones, but they all feature more destructible items, including large buildings that eventually collapse if heavy fighting goes on around them. I’d say the WT maps do not look as good, they have the same slight cartoonish feel, but they are more interesting and varied, and allow a bad tank driver to get places he should not go, a much rarer occurrence in WOTs much more gamed up maps. Surprise flanking happens all the time in WT, the maps are so open in many cases it’s impossible to guard against clever and determined players. I think that’s a good thing, and some of the most fun I’ve had in War Thunder have been cases where I snuck a Sherman or light into the enemies rear and get a bunch of kills before they even know I’m there. I die trying to replicate these games a lot.
Game Modes: WT has multiple modes people actually play so win for it again.
WOT toyed around with various modes, they added a historic battle mode that flopped and they removed. Clan wars were or are a thing but at this point, who cares, the rest of the game is a nightmare. Classic arcade battle mode changed little two sub-modes that could be toggled on being fairly unpopular in particular on maps not designed for the mode.
WT has an arcade mode, with a much tighter tier system. It also has a realistic mode that mixes in Airplanes of the same tier range, and is significantly harder than Arcade mode, and has a big enough following I never wait long on my limited forays into it. The lack of markers alone is huge, spotting something to bomb with a plane is tough. This mode is more rewarding, but slower paced and requires careful attention. I plan to play it more when my crews and tanks are all decked out. There is a simulator mode, even more, hardcore, like rip the wings of a plane off if you maneuver to hard, realistic. This mode is to much trouble for me, but I do not fault the people who want a challenge, and the thing to remember is WOT has none of these modes.
The way the match is set up is different as well since the battle is one by taking objectives, not the player’s flag. The are several variations on the basic them and fewer maps, but also fewer dud maps.
There are Arcade, realistic, and simulator battles dedicated to just air battles as well. There are also a whole series of single player air missions, you can play in any mode, and they offer a few credits and experience, and offer a lot of missions loosely based on real historical ones.
There is also a PVE air and land battle option, that the first time played gives you a booster the better you do, the better the booster once a day, but you can play the mode anytime. I do the land battle one at the Sherman tier, 3.7, and can win if the rest of the team is decent; the M10 GMC is great for that mode. With the PVE modes having a large variety of tanks and crews can be an advantage over having just three. Also, some of the special event modes don’t let you respawn a dead tank, so having a five or six trained tank crews can be good. The PVE mode, in both air and land battle, involves protecting a location from 12 waves of enemy tanks or planes. You can actually make good exp and credits in this mode with a win where you kill lots of stuff.
Three tanks a match versus one life: A second and third chance if you mess up is nice!
One of the biggest differences between WOT and WT in arcade mode is in WOT, if you do something dumb and die early, game over. WT, you can spawn three different tanks, so you can get back in and try and not die like an idiot two more times.
It’s nice to be able to have a few fast games, and then hit the road, but overall, I’ve grown to like running three tanks, and it makes platooning more fun. It also allows good players to have a much greater influence on the match. It also explains why there are so many vehicles, even models of the same vehicle, at the same tier.
Conclusion: WOT is dying, WT is still moving along, and seems to be doing well.
As WT grows, adds countries and vehicle and polishes its system, the game is getting better. This is not the case for WOT, and for the last several years, every patch seems to make the game worse, and Wargaming continues to pump out cheesy premium tanks at outrageous prices to milk the player base. Is anyone dumb enough to buy a T-34 black edition? Anyway, without something changing, I think WOT is slowly going to die off.
War Thunder I think will continue to grow, and they are in a good place to add even more modern vehicles. I could see them adding attack helicopter and SAM tanks. They already have some hardcore ground attack planes in the game, helicopters would be easier to shoot down.
My conclusion is, WT has a future, if they pull it off, with ships planes and tanks in the same games. I see WOT fading away. But then again, what do I know; I’m just an old gamer and Sherman tank freak. But I did spend a decent chunk of money on WOT, and that’s money Wargaming is not going to see again, and what’s left after the Sherman tank site eats my hobby funds, goes to WT now.
Some Final Though: Things I’d love to see in WT.
There are already infantry models in the game, on some of test flight maps, if you look around the base perimeter, you will spot infantry standing around. You can shoot them, they fall down and fade away. How cool would it be if they added waves of that infantry to the PVE tank mission, that you could machine gun! They could also make infantry a consumable like artillery, you activate them, and they appear and attack the nearest enemy, or even allow the player to pick a target like with artillery. You could even make it so if they got close to a tank they could start shooting bazooka or Panzerschreck rounds at the tanks. I would like to see them add more single-player missions, but for tanks instead of just planes.
I’d also like to see them fix the Corsair line, and it would be easy. What’s wrong with it you ask? Well, they have two F4U-1A models in the game and no F4U-1 model. The F4U-1A was a later model than the F4U-1, the -1 has a canopy with much more bracing and a lower floor, making it harder to see out of. It could be down tiered because of this and over a thousand were produced this way, and these were the planes that first saw combat in the Solomon Islands. The -1A was not even an official model number, but it was the generally used term for the -1 models that got the longer tail wheel leg, the improved valving on the main landing gear oleo struts, and the cockpit with an improved slightly raised seat, with canopy with much less bracing, and the spoiler on the right wing, so the wings stalled at the same time. What the game shows as the F4U-1A and -1A USMC, these two versions could be merged, and the lower battle ratting used on the regular -1 model.
I would also like them to fix the load outs on the Corsairs and P-38s. the -1D Corsair should be able to carry 8 HVARs and two 1000 pound bombs, as should the -4 and 4b. The -38J and L should be able to carry a pair of 2000 pound bombs, and the L 10 HVARS with it. These were documented wartime load outs.
This review got stupidly long, sorry, see you in WT.
I downloaded this PDF, Report on The New Weapons Board 1944, someplace, but since I don’t remember where I hosted it too. The report documents the feedback the troops gave to the board on the various weapons they demonstrated.
The report was put together in early 44 to document feedback from the troops on current weapons, and proposed improvements, and replacements. There is a good amount of information on the M4 medium tank, and US Armor in general. Most of the combat feedback comes from the fighting in Italy, and North Africa.
The report also sheds an interesting light and gives evidence for the view that the US Army didn’t consider the improved early Sherman bad, and only wanted it replaced with something much better. It also gives some interesting insight into the Shermans and what condition they were in when they got to the using units.
Feedback on current equipment and changes.
The first thing is this to note about the Sherman is the first mention of it is praise for the current models. This quote stands out, “No new type is desired unless the improvement in military characteristics is sufficient to warrant the changes and defects in the present standard tanks are avoided.”
They did have a list of improvements they did want either done to the Sherman and to make sure the follow-on model, the T20 series incorporated them.
They wanted a 76mm gun like the 3-inch gun on the M10. The news of the 76mm M1 series and the new Shermans mounting the gun interested the troops a lot. They brought an M4E6 76mm Sherman to show to the troops.
Improved suspension and tracks. It turns out the rubber block tracks with no chevron were not well liked and wore out very quick in rocky, hilly terrain. The steel chevron blocks with rubber backs were well like and lasted much longer. This feedback is mostly from the MTO, the mountainous and rocky landscape was hard on tanks and even the Sherman had some issues. The complaints about the suspension had more to do with width than durability.
They wanted armored air cleaners on the M4 and M4A1 tanks. It turns out the Air cleaners mounted under the overhang on the rear hull of the M4 and M4A1 tanks were prone to damage, and this damage was not expected and didn’t pick up until Italy so there was a shortage. All other models had the air cleaners inside the hull. Some units added improvised armor and some were added later in the production runs.
Better ballistic angle around the front of the transmission housing. The old three-part differential is what they are talking about. Most early Shermans had this type, and the armor was thinner than the later cast single piece units. There were two cast versions, an early thinner, but still no worse than the three-piece unit, and a later improved thicker one. There was a demand for add-on armor over this area, but it was never approved.
More power. Yet, when the M4A3 Ford GAA powered Shermans came online, they did not want to swap them in as replacements, and only wanted whole units who trained on them stateside first to be issued the improved tanks. The M4A4 and M4A2 were not big enough improvements to switch to those motors.
Diesel engine. The US Army rejected the GM 6046, claiming it was not as reliable as the R975, but all the nations that did use this motor liked it.
They wanted better sights and fire control equipment. Many tanks in the MTO and NATO(North African Theater of Operation) had not gotten the M34A1 gun mounts with telescopic sights. The mount for the periscope sight had not seen major improvements, though there were field mods to make it work. The using arm was enthusiastic about the changes in the second gen Shermans fire control, but wanted even more advanced features, like rangefinders, and improved telescopes, since the current ones shot loose too!
There is also other tank related info.
The M3 75mm Gun – Though well-liked for infantry support and deemed to be reliable and durable, the using arms almost universally felt the German 75mm PAK 40 guns were much better anti-tank weapons, and a high-velocity 76mm gun was in demand.
75mm ammunition – these fixed rounds came unfixed, sometimes even in their travel packaging. They wanted this fixed. They wanted the WP shells ballistics to match the ballistics of the common HE shell.
Large caliber cartridge cases – Steel cases for the 75mm rounds for the M3 gun were well received and proved more durable. This was not the case for 105mm howitzer rounds.
105mm howitzer armed tanks – This was not a popular notion because the M7 105mm GMC was inaccurate when used for direct fire to support infantry assaults. The new weapons board did not agree, and plans for this vehicle were already in motion, and it would be well liked once issued.
Tank Officers – they wanted a tanker officer in the high-level headquarters to advise Division and higher level officers the best way to use tanks. AA and Tank destroyer officers were already an accepted part of these HQ staffs.
the 17-pdr gun – There was more interest in using this gun in M10s since the install was much simpler, the Sherman install was complicated and cramped and the Army was leary.
Tank Tracks – They show up again and the plain rubber block tracks could wear out in 250 miles in rocky terrain and lacked good off-road traction, and the using arm felt they were only good for training on roads. The T54E1 steel chevron type was preferred and much more durable, but the T48 rubber chevron would work in the MTO but wore out faster than steel types. The T49 bar cleat was also not good on sidehill terrain. The using arm wanted a wider center guided track in the MTO because the side guided tracks on the Sherman were prone to throwing on irregular and rocky side slopes. Extended end connectors were well received by the using arms.
Tank Suspension – Sherman suspension was found to be durable, with few volute springs failing. The biggest problem was the bogie wheels since the rubber tires had an erratic failure rate, and unlike the spring failures, usually sidelined the tank.
Ammunition stowage – They using arms were not interested in changes that reduced the number of ready rounds. The turret ready racks were very popular and crews did not like their removal with the ‘quick fix’ mods. They were willing to risk the higher fire chance, for the faster rate of fire the early storage setup allowed. The crews did not get their way on this one, at least until the M26 went into production.
The Radios – They wanted a better radio in the M32 recovery vehicles and better, more comfortable headphones for the armor crews.
The M10 GMC – This TD was very popular, and received high praise all around. The using arm did not require a replacement, just improved M10s. ♠ One thing to note, most M10 GMCs in MTO lacked the Azimuth indicator and range quadrant. Since the M10s get used as artillery a lot in the MTO, they would like replacements to have them.
Replacement gun tubes – The using arms were very annoyed, that all type of gun barrels from machine gun and mortar, to tank and artillery, were dispensed at a very miserly rate. The using arm argued replacement barrels should be bought at the rate that took into consideration how much ammunition for the same weapon was produced.
Improved fire control for all relevant vehicles – They wanted built-in rangefinders, or portable ones supplied. Better periscope and telescope sights and all vehicles that could be used for indirect fire to receive the full suite of tools to perform the task. I had never heard that some Shermans did not get these automatically. I’m not sure why some Shermans and TDs didn’t have the Azimuth indicator M19 and elevation quadrant M9. Maybe the crews dumped them to save space, maybe the tanks were rushed and built and approved without them I’ll try and find out. They mention 75% of the tanks in England had these items, but less 50% had them in the MTO. Tank units were much more commonly used for indirect fire in the MTO than they would be in the ETO.
Engines – The R975C-1 was getting around 200 hours before needing replacement. This was fine with the using arm, though they would like 60 to 100 more horsepower. The R975 needed little maintenance to reach the expected 200 hours and many run much longer. The lack of liquid cooling system has some advantages.
Powertrain – There was a higher than expected rate of clutch failure in the desert campaigns. The clutch system was also improved on the production like with improved leverage to lower the clutch pedal pressure. Many MTO units did not receive the improved clutches or linkages. The better clutches lead to better transmission life and better shifting, and even without the improved clutches, transmission life went up in Italy. The powertrain offered excellent service and generally outlived the engines by several overhauls if not damaged.
Crew comfort – the Driver and Co-drivers seats in the Sherman were found to be ok, but higher seat backs were requested along with deeper seat cushions. The Gunners seat was found to be ok but could use the same improvements as the driver’s seats but the Command and Loaders seats were deemed all but useless. These would be improved in the later models of the Sherman and various TDs. Crews do not use their seatbelts, fearing it complicating bailing out, and more padding inside was not wanted because the crews felt it was a fire hazard. The M4 and M4A1 tanks were praised for good ventilation. There was also some discussion about the value of turret baskets, and if they were needed at all.
Ammo Storage – The early Sherman ready racks in the turret were well liked by the using arms, but they felt the sponson and hull ammo racks were no good and didn’t support the 75mm Shells enough. They would often separate and dump a bunch of gunpowder inside the tank making a deadly mess to clean. The using arm tends to stuff the tank with extra rounds, adding to the shell durability problems. These problems would be addressed in the second gen improved hull tanks.
General storage – The current storage space on the Sherman was deemed ok, but better, easier to access bins were requested. They also wanted any storage in the floor to be resistant to getting filled with dirt or water.
Machine guns – The bow machine gun saw a lot of use, but its usefulness would be improved by a sighting system. One was in the works, but not at the point of this report. The M1919 machine guns, both bow, and co-ax were reliable as long as the crew was careful with the ammo. Long road trips could vibrate rounds loose in the belts and cause problems, but under normal conditions, this was rarely a problem with well-trained crews. The crews wanted a better adjustment method for matching the co-ax gun to the gunner’s site, the current one was not very good. The .50 AA mount was not well liked or considered important. Requests were made for a better mount for ground targets.
Turret hatches – The current split hatch was deemed ok, but the crews like the looks of the new all around cupola and were also enthusiastic about a loader’s hatch on the new 76 armed tanks.
Armor – There does not seem to be a consensus on how much armor a tank should have by the using arms. Armored Force troops felt the current level on the Sherman was fine, but wouldn’t mind more as long as it did not negatively affect flotation, maneuverability, and speed. ♠The British generally wanted heavier armor than the US Army. ♠♠Combat in Italy showed the differential was taking more hits than anything, and another request was made for add-on armor for the area.
Sand Shields – The general consensus on these was they were useless in any theatre and needed to be redesigned. They needed to be easier to install, and designed to not trap mud.
Flotation – The using arms wanting tanks around 10 pounds per square inch. This was very optimistic since even the HVSS Shermans came in around 11 PSI, the basic 75 VVSS Sherman around 13. It seems the Germans flooded fields in Sicily and Italy when they retreated, and Shermans got bogged down most of the time. They offered the suggestion of just stretching the Sherman since more length would help, and the British M4A4 tanks, the longest production Shermans, had no maneuverability issues.
Maneuverability – In the US Army there was a desire across the board for more maneuverability, in tanks. One thing to keep in mind though is the tanks in the MTO were older and most had single anchor steering brakes, the double anchor made the tanks easier to maneuver requiring less lever pressure. The ability to skid turn was not something US troops seemed interested in.
Accessories – The troops had a lot of feedback here. ♠ The instruments and gauges in medium tanks were not good quality, if they worked they didn’t work long. Oil pressure gauges fail, and no one worries about the motor until both oil pressure gauges die and a low oil pressure light comes on. This seems to be US feedback, I don’t recall hearing complaints from the Brits about Gauge quality. I wonder if the different tank plants sourced gauges from different companies. ♠♠ The compasses on US tanks would not stay calibrated. This would be a very annoying problem but eventually solved on second gen Shermans. ♠♠♠ Armor for the air cleaners on the M4 and M4A1 comes up again. ♠♠♠♠ The Auxiliary giving good service, and are well liked, but the using arms would like the area around the fuel tank filler for the Aux motor to be waterproofed better. They also noted replacements were hard to come by.
Modifications – ♠ The jist on this one was, in many cases modifications can be seen by inspecting a vehicle, but in others, access panels or more might have to be removed to check. The using arms proposed a record imprinted on a brass plate, attached to the vehicle, listing all the modifications that had been applied. ♠♠ They also wanted to emphasize that they did not want any modifications that would not ‘materially increase the efficiency of the vehicles’
Development – The using arms were curious about the items in development, and finding out a large organization was working to improve almost everything was a morale booster. There was also interest in the T-20 series and if any test vehicles would be sent over for some for feedback like the M4A1 prototype has been.
Information and feedback on future equipment.
The M4E6 or pre-production M4A1 76w – ♠ This improved version was well liked by everyone who checked it out. The bigger turret was a big hit, though not much bigger, it seemed roomier. ♠♠ The improved fire control gear was very well liked and considered an ‘outstanding improvement’. The 76mm gun was well liked, and everyone seemed to agree needed. ♠♠♠ The only real concern was the less effective HE round, but it was hoped they would make a better one.
The M18 76mm GMC – The first and bad impression this vehicle lefts was it had no armor, and seemed very mechanically complicated. The fire control gear was well liked. When the vehicle was demonstrated, the tracks and unthrowable tracks also got a lot of attention. No one was sure if the speed would be useful, but the maneuverability was well liked. ♠ The same story with interest in deployment, not as a replacement vehicle, but fulling trained units from the ZI would be ok. ♠♠ This vehicle was not wanted by M10 units already deployed. Units equipped with it in the ZI then deployed were better received, the M10 was still more popular. An M10 with a 90mm gun was the preferred replacement.
M4A3 75W – Even though the Ford GAA was a big improvement, it was not enough of an improvement to take them on as replacement vehicles. They were fine for them to be brought with units already fully trained on them.
The M1 Dozer blade kit – This kit was an instant hit and would have many uses, including clearing rubble after heavy artillery reduced a strong point. Currently, this has to be done by an unarmored bulldozer and casualties were high. it was hoped they would work well enough to help tanks dig in or SPG prepare a position. ♠ Through testing, they found this kit could be installed on any Sherman tank type.
This report goes into detail in the appendixes listing all the items demonstrated, and where they were demonstrated. They also include data on how many of the various items demonstrated were ordered by the various theatres.
I think it’s pretty clear the MTO was a backwater. The general shortage of spare parts in the MTO and a shortage of personnel to staff the proper echelons of repair and salvage system are also indicators of this. As they got ready for the June of 44 landings, the troops in England would be getting top priority and supplies and spares.
There is a lot of info on other weapons like artillery and small arms, not directly Sherman related and therefore, uncovered here. The report is definitely worth a download and re through. I think it offers a good insight into the thinking involved on not swapping to 76mm armed Shermans before the Normandy landings.
Sherman Tank Site: News Post 12, things have been changing, its all behind the scenes.
I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of manuals, and they are all great for gathering info on the Sherman, because you can almost always read them. The picture quality varies a huge amount depending on how it was created. There are some very common and easy to find Sherman manuals with terrible pictures. For example the two I have on the M4A3, and the manual on the Ford GAA, both were probably photocopied multiple times, then scanned on a really early scanner.
This means, the pictures at best, are mostly black blobs, and even the text isn’t great. All isn’t lost with these, as the line drawings usually come through ok. In some cases the manuals being sold online are these terrible photo copies printed into a cheap book with no improvements to the quality at all.
Some of these manuals have been scanned in by people with decent scanners, and these though much larger, have much nicer photo quality. Even if the scans are good, the original has to be good as well, and in some cases that’s really mixed. I have several, scanned at very high resolution, making them restorable, to some degree.
I’ve done the most work on the Ford GAA imaged I have, and the tranny. Here is a selection of the ones I’ve done, but not all. Check out the power train and GAA pages for all of them. These are relaxing to do, and I have a ton to work with so keep checking around the site!
The Chrysler Engine that could have been: The A-65 V12, if the war had gone on, there could have been some hotrod Shermans.
Chrysler Corporation had a big impact on the war, and US Tank production. They produced the first, and the model for the others, Tank Arsenal CDA. They also came up with the A-57 multibank tank motor, that powered a significant number of Sherman tanks. They produced this fantastically complicated, but also reliable motor in a very quickly, and even though the US Army and Marine Corps thumbed their noses at it, it was well liked by the British.
Chrysler on their own dime came up with a water cooled, V12, tank motor, and offered it to the Army. It took them about a year to come up with three trial motors. These 1568 cubic motors started out at 650 horsepower at 2600 RPM and 1485 pounds of torque at 1600 RPM on the test stand. They came in around 3840 pounds, but there was a proposed all aluminum version that have dropped nearly 1000 pounds. Designing and producing the prototypes, cost a grand total of 358,000 bucks, that’s over 5 million in today’s dollars. During the dyno testing period, they had a few problems with the fan drives, but these were solved with improved oiling and rolling bearings, and these seemed to have solved the problems.
They used an M4A4 as a test vehicle, and had to stretch it another 9 and 1/2 inches to fit the new motor. Installed and ready to roll the thing came in at 69,170 ponds, and a stock M4A4 came in at 69,640 pounds! Installed, the early versions had 549 horsepower, but they upped the compression ratio and got it to 580, and it was improved even more with some carburetion changes. They made the compression change by swapping and a cam change during the in vehicle testing phase. Further testing led to the intake and carb changes. All the while the motor was being swapped in and out, and driving tests done.
The automotive tests were very successful, and that was using the stock powertrain of the Sherman, though with so much power, they decided a gear change would help. By swapping the original 3:53:1 gears for 3:05:1 gears, they A65 was still able to beat an M4A43 in a drag race! The engine was so promising, it’s an interesting mystery why the Army never developed it further. Much like the GAA, there was much more performance potential in this motor, and the Army never took it any further.
I suspect what ultimately killed this motor, was the same thing that killed the GAA, the Army was looking at air cooled motors for the future, because you can save a lot of weight, if there is not liquid cooling system needed.
Special thanks goes out to Chris R, one of our readers and a source contributor, sent me a nice little history on the motor. Thanks again Chris, sorry it took so long!!
Shermans Tanks In real Life: The Planes of Fame of fame Air Museum
Owning and flying WWII airplanes has been a thing much longer than restoring running tanks, and to this day, WWII aircraft tend to get more attention from Americans than armor or ships. That’s changed a lot over the years, and armor is more popular than ever with collectors, museums and the general public. There are several Tank museums or businesses around the country with running Shermans. The one we are going to talk about today is the Planes of Fame Air Museum, it is legendary in the Warbird world, because it has so many interesting and rare aircraft. It also has a long, history, and saved some amazing planes along the way, and one tank.
The Planes of Fame air museum has been around so long, it surely had a hand it kicking off the interest in Warbirds that has been popular in the United States since WWII. My Dad, a Baby Boomer, loved warbirds, and his love transferred right over to me, and I ran with it buying more books on airplanes, and tanks than he ever did, and I still have them al. When I was a kid, we went to the Reno Air Races, and I probably saw Steve Hinton, the President of Planes of Fame flying a racer. There is something about the roar of a warbird flying by that really gives you a sense of what seeing planes like that filling the sky in the mid-40s must have been like. They have a special sound, and hopefully this is a sound we will hear for decades to come.
Planes of fame got started in the 50s when Ed Maloney started collecting airplanes on a minuscule budget, his museums moved around, but really took root at Chino Airport, where Planes of Fame is to this day. Mr. Maloney had fallen in love with airplanes in high school, and just missed WWII. Shortly after the war he began collecting anything with wings on a shoestring budget for his future airplane museum. He was saddened and disgusted to see the warbirds that helped win WWII unceremoniously melted down for Scrap or for a lucky few to rot away on a remote part of an airport. I know the feeling, it makes me deeply sad to see the piles of P-38s bulldozed off a cliff in the Philippines, because flying them home was a waste of time and money…
By the 60s Ed Maloney had achieved his goal of building a museum and around the same time found a Sherman tank on range on Edwards Air Force base while he was scrounging for B-17 parts. He managed to buy the tank for $1! That’s not even the best part of the story! The Sherman, a very early production M4A1 75 tank, still ran! It had been sitting on Edwards for at least a decade untouched, and they got it running. The tanks interior was not gutted, though some things like the hull ammo boxes had been removed a lot of the important parts were still there. They collected more parts over the years, and serious restoration started in the 80s and continues even now.
Ed died in 2016, and it was a huge loss for the aviation community. Sometimes, when a man with a love for, and a collection of things like airplanes or tanks, when the man passes on, his labor of love dies with him, I know of a least two cases. The Littlefield collection only lasted a few years before his widow grew tired of it and donated it to a great museum on the east coast, but to build a place to keep it they sold most of it off, and now can’t build the new facility because of zoning problems. That wasn’t a worry of Ed Maloney, because PoF is a family affair. Steve Hinton, who took thinks over when Ed passed, has been around the place since he was a kid, and his best friend was Ed’s son. I’m also pretty sure Steve married Ed’s daughter! Planes of Fame lives on, stronger than ever, and with another generation working and flying the planes, I think they have a bright future.
Now you might be wondering how a bunch of airplane people can keep a tank working, but trust me, they have guys there who can keep an F4U-1 Corsair, with a magnificent Pratt and Whitney R-2800 running, they can figure out a simple Sherman. The nice thing about a Tank is it handles the weather a lot better than an Airplane, though being stored outside unprotected still isn’t good for them. The Sherman in particular has some very sturdy components, and more often than not, if the powertrain remained sealed up, even after decades on the firing range, if it didn’t get penetrated, they rarely needed much work to be operational again. The engines are a bit less robust, but in a nice warm dry environment, they could last a surprising amount of time as well.
Currently the Planes of Fame M4A1 is about 50% complete, and they restore a little more every year, as money and parts allow. I’m sure in some cases things have to be fabricated. It has a little Joe back auxiliary generator inside, has a working stock electric traverse system, but the stabilizer needs a little more work. The electric firing system works, and though the main gun is de-milled, it can still fire 75mm blanks. A blank firing co-ax M1919 machine gun can be fired with the foot switch, just like the main gun. The intercom is complete and works at all stations, as does all the interior lighting. A place like PoF probably has little trouble keeping the R-975 radial running either.
This summer the turret comes off, new ammo boxes go in and they will complete the interiors restoration. The M4A1 is already a part of their shows, but it is also available to rent, TV, Movies, Weddings, you name it, I could see an M4A1 being a cool addition! I hope to get down there sometimes in the next year or two and check the place out.
If you are in the area and have even the smallest interest in aviation, you owe yourself a trip to Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino California. The Sherman tank is of course going to see all on its own, but they also have a real Japanese Zero, with its correct engine and it flies! Even crazier? It was used in the Ben Aflack movie Pearl Harbor! Steve did all the flying, but they wouldn’t let him shoot Ben down for real!