#67 The RAM: The Shermans awkward Canadian Cousin.

The RAM: Canada’s Tank

UPDATE!

Thanks to reader and friend of the site Bobby C from down under, I have a pair of very interesting PDFs on the 6 pounder mount on the RAM. The massive image of a storage diagram below is from that very doc!

The Lee was a bit of a red headed step child, except it had a soul, and no one really wanted it. Even before production started, both the US Army, and British, working with Canadians, was working on a replacement design.  The British did not like the dual purpose M3 75mm gun on a cruiser tank, they  wanted a tank with their 57mm six pounder gun, because it had slightly superior AP performance, and their cruiser tanks were assigned the task of fighting other tanks, not infantry. The American Tank designers and Army Officers didn’t agree, and planned on using the M3 75mm gun and their stubbornness led the Brits to try and beat them to the punch, and they did, but the punch wasn’t there, literally.

This massive diagram comes from ‘Mounting practice and installation of 6 pounder gun in ram tank. This doc came to us from Bobby C, click to view the full version or save it and look at it in a image viewer.
More from the manual MP&I of 6 pounder gun
A not very good pic of a RAM I

The model they sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds for the US Army to test, was a MK I model with a 37mm gun.  This was in June of 1941, while the Sherman pilot was probably being built, and the pilot Sherman arrived in early September. They did this because they had some problems with a suitable mount for the 57mm 6 pounder. They probably sent one with a 6 pounder later, but I’m sure once the US Army had the Sherman pilot, most of the interest in the Ram would have died off, since there was zero chance of the RAM II winning out over the Sherman. They did produce nearly 2000 of them though, and the chassis was used in other roles, most notably as an APC and Command Tank.

A very nice color shot of an early RAM II

It is interesting it saw no combat use as a tank, it was certainly better than the Lee, at least on paper, but the Lee soldiered on in secondary theaters, the Ram was never given a shot. Like the Lee, it went through some fairly major changes during its production run. The Ram started life with a little machine gun turret on the front, where the driver should be, just like the Lee’s commanders cupola. This would be a feature it shed; getting a more traditional bow mounted machine gun, late in the run. It was still on the wrong side though.  It had side doors, with a little DV port, armored flap, like the Lee. The view port was replaced with a ventilator, and then the whole door was removed. They also removed the periscopic sight for the gunner and replaced that with a ventilator as well.

This is a later production RAM II, note the ventilator on the crew side door, but it still has the mini turret.

Since the RAM was based on the Lee, it was pretty much Lee from the top of the treads down, and used the same R975 radial the basic M3, and M4 and M4A1 tanks used. It used the same suspension as the early Shermans and Lees, with the single overhead roller and could use the same VVSS tracks as the Sherman. It was certainly better or equal to any tank the Brits had with the same gun, but by the time it was available in numbers, the Sherman was as well, and it was superior tank, and because of its larger turret ring, had room to grow because it could take bigger guns.

A late production RAM II at the Museum at Canadian Forces Base Borden. This is a massive photo, click for the full size.
Another early RAM at Canadian Forces Base Borden

It wasn’t all a waste of time, and steel, the hulls were used for Kangaroo APCs, and a number were built or converted to command or observation post tanks, and they were used as ammo carriers. The Ram also made a good training tank allowing Shermans to be sent to combat units. The observation or command version was interesting. They removed the main gun, and put a dummy in its place, put in extra seats, so six men could fit, added an observation port, map table and extra radios. The APC and Command versions saw extensive use by Canadian troops in the ETO.

Early RAM II being used in training.

There is a fantastic web page on the subject, it called, RAMTank.CA  A Registry of Canada’s Tank. This website has a more detailed history, a complete serial number list, and tons of pictures; it’s really worth checking out. I’ll be adding it to the links section as well. It also has a little bit of Sherman history too, since it covers the M4A1 Grizzly, the tank that replaced the Ram on the production line when the RAM was canceled, and the Sherman Skink AA vehicle, and Sexton. It also has an M4A2E8, Churchill and Centurion registries. Having just discovered the website, doing research for this post, I’ll be spending  a few hours at least checking it out.

An early RAM II
a very nice color shot of mid production RAM IIs being used in training.

Sources: Sherman by Hunnicutt, RAMTank.CA  

1664990 Mounting practice and installation of 6 pounder gun in Ram tank

 

10 thoughts on “#67 The RAM: The Shermans awkward Canadian Cousin.

  1. The 6 pounder was not an issue. It was a better A/T round than the 75mm and could be replaced in production with the ROF 75mm gun which was a 6 pounder with a larger bore using the US 75mm ammunition.

    The Dutch bought several post war from the Canadians and these were still in service in the 1970’s dug in as pill boxes when mechanics were worn out. Came with the Canadian style track and sprockets IIRC.

  2. I actually paid to have that document scanned last year and put up 😉
    http://i.imgur.com/RjLcwqy.png

    Recently just had them add the other files they had hoping for more drawings unfortunately it’s mostly just a copy of the first. for some reason the cost was quite a bit higher for that for even less then what the first contained.

    Here’s some more interesting things I have dug up out of archives

    spec sheet (note the large difference compared to secondary sources like Hunnicutt)
    http://i.imgur.com/Q71FBQZ.jpg

    some manual images
    http://imgur.com/a/wd1OA

    wiring from manual
    http://i.imgur.com/63xWtYl.png

    Drawings and dimensions from Data book tank type vehicles of Canadian manufacture
    Army engineering design branch
    department of munitions and supply
    1945

    Ram 1
    http://i.imgur.com/0qXv5Gx.png

    Ram 2
    http://i.imgur.com/KbKIO5Z.png

    Dimensions (note the indication of the ability to use a one piece lower front)
    http://i.imgur.com/a6larln.png

    Some images from firing tails done in 1942 on one of the first 6 pdr tanks.

    http://i.imgur.com/wTkNbVP.png

    http://i.imgur.com/y9ST8zU.png

    Cover plate
    http://i.imgur.com/gUZ2YAN.png

    Mantlet
    http://i.imgur.com/8H7QDWW.png

    inner side
    http://i.imgur.com/2P1osgS.png

    1. Whelm,
      Good to hear from you again, thank you for your efforts on acquiring the docs. It must be frustrating to pay for a duplicate doc, but you have dug up some very interesting info, I love diagrams showing all the things they stuffed inside these tanks!

      On this image, you not it indicates it could use a the one piece differential cover, and it seems to show it have the later heavy duty bogies as well, do you know if any Rams were produced with them?

      Lots of very interesting stuff in this post too!

      1. They switched to the heavy duty late sherman VVSS suspension yes. They may have been using the Canadian reinforced bogie assembly as well on later ones like the sexton and grizzlies had.

        http://i.imgur.com/Utah4Fr.jpg

        But even before that they were using stronger springs before the US started to.

        http://i.imgur.com/Rbmjhak.jpg

        Pound for pound the Ram offered better protection then the early M4’s. The turret was a complicated mess but the front plate was at least 76mm (Some sources state 85-89mm) then you have the inner mantlet that covered the inside and that was most likely following British practice which would have it about the same thickness.

        The Ram was designed with the 75mm in mind, but for whatever reason they never mounted the US version. They did convert a number to the bored out 6 pdr/75mm in 1943.

        1. It is interesting they never used it, it certainly would have done as well or better than the Lee in Tank V Tank fighting. I know there’s a fair number as gate guards/monuments Ram tanks, is there a runner anywhere though? I know there a number of running Grizzly M4A1 tanks in private hands that run.

  3. Greetings from ‘Down Under’
    I have come across a recently released document from Australian Archives entitled ‘Gun – 6 pounder in Ram tank – drawings’
    52 page document with detailed drawings, parts lists & a check list & positions of items carried in Internal & external storage – 18 mB PDF
    If you would a copy please let me know & I can send by email or leave in a file dropbox – which ever woud be convenient for you.

    Regards,

    Bobby,
    Adelaide, Australia

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