The Sherman M4A1 76W: This first 76 Sherman into Combat in US Hands
The M4A1 76W tank was the first of the Sherman 76 tanks to see combat in US hands. These tanks were actually in depots in England, in time to be issued to units for D-Day, the Normandy Landings, but no one wanted them at the time. There were good reasons for this, the main being a lack of time to train on them before the landings, and no one wanted the added supply problems feeding the M1A1 gun would have caused.
These early M4A1 76w tanks had unthreaded M1A1 gun, and split loader’s hatches. Squirrel, a beautifully restored M4A1 76w tank, is of slightly newer vintage than the Operation Cobra tanks, since it has a threaded barrel. The tank is owned by Panzerfarm, The Kęszycki Brothers Collection in Poland. The tank probably saw service in WWII and use with the South African military.
There were some complaints about the flash and smoke, plus the dust stirred up since the gun had no muzzle brake, made it hard to track a shot and correct on it, this was solved by adding a muzzle brake in later production tanks.
Eventually M4A1 76 tanks would get all the upgrades all the late second gen Shermans got, including HVSS, but the HVSS tanks did not see combat in WWII.
M4A1 76w Gallery