Monthly Archives: January 2016

#46 Gallery V, More Sherman Photos, Some Maybe Not As High Res

Gallery V, More Sherman Photos, more Comments, Maybe Fewer Resolutions.

US Army M4 crew, probably somewhere in the ETO or MTO. The crew are wearing a  HBT coverall that was not all that popular. Later they would would wear the same things the infantry did.  Being color you can see the black on OD green camo used, and a red air ID panel on the back of the tank. The top hat was not standard issue. 
M4 Crab, with the 739th TB.
British Sherman V based Crab, 1944.
M4 Crab Breinig 1944. 
IC Firefly Normandy
A Sherman IC Firefly probably with the British 11th Armored Division, in the town of Putanges, 20 August 1944.
A captured M4A1 75 tank, an early DV model, being tested by the Nazis. This tank was probably captured in North Africa.
An M4A4 based Crab up survives to this day  in Canada.
An M4A2 75 large hatch tank, this is one of the rare dry ammo rack large hatch tanks. It must have been going pretty fast when it hit that mud, note the tanker bar on the left about to fall off.
An M4A3 76w HVSS tank is climbing up a muddy road in this HUGE image. Note the commander has a 1919 mounted in front of him. The caption says 11th US Armored Division Einheiten Der Germany 1945. You can see a Jumbo and another A3 76 tank , this one VVSS in the background.
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M4 Sherman with a M1 Dozer blade drivers through a whole in the Siegfried lines Tank Trap belt. The tank is a M4 75. 
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Close up of the T34 Calliope, being loaded by the crew, it shows lots of detail of the T34 installation. 
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This is an M4 Sherman in Italy that hit a large Anti tank mine, or maybe a pair of them in the same hole.  The tank is a DV tank, with an M34 gun mount. 
This picture was taken during the staging in the UK just before 6 June 1944. Note the left-hand tank has the characteristic arm for mounting a dozer blade (barely visible running along the suspension); the hydraulic jack and blade are missing. 741st Tank Battalion after action reports indicate that among the eight dozer tanks they had scheduled to land in Wave 2, one of them, commanded by LT Kotz, did not have a blade attached. The 741st’s tanks on Omaha Beach came in three flavors. B and C companies had DD tanks. Co. A had M4A1 tanks and the tank dozers (six of their own and two from the 610 Engineer Company) were M4A3s, if I am not mistaken. If these are 741st tanks, then the photo was taken at the Portland ‘hards’ in the UK, where they out-loaded. Also note the M8 armored ammunition trailer. Each of the eight LCTs carrying Co. A embarked two standard tanks and a dozer tank. They also carried an engineer gap assault team and towed an LCM behind. Off the Normandy coast, the engineers boarded their LCM and followed the LCT ashore, where the dozer tank was supposed to support and work under the direction of the gap assault team leader. Also, on the way in, the two standard tanks were to fire over the LCT’s bow ramp, providing suppressive fire as they neared the beach. The ammo trailers were there to ensure they had plenty to shoot. One pair of Co. A’s tanks reported firing 450 rounds of 75mm on D-Day. Love your site. Caption Info, thanks to Chuck Herrick.
M4A3 or A2 76w Sherman somewhere in Europe 1945, that almost looks like Soviet numbering on the side of the turret. 
A pair of M4 small hatch 75mm tanks coming off an LST-77 at Anzio, Italy, May 1944; note the small barge capsized in the background.
A line of French Sherman tanks in Paris after the city was liberated by French forces. The tanks are a mix of small and large hatch Shermans, one is a M4 or M4A3 105 and there is a 76 gun sticking out down the row. Vive La France!
An UK M4 and an M4A1 pass through a fence in an urban area. It could be an M4A4 in front I suppose. 
M4A4 Crab. 
Another Sherman Crab. 
M4A3 based flamethrower tank, probably with the Marines on Iwo Jima.  These tanks used a Navy Mark 1 Flame-Thrower. 
M4A1 76w with extra plate armor added to the front hull, it’s from the 3rd Armored Division on the outskirts of Korbach 30 March 1945, also note the Commanders and loaders hatches have been swapped. There is also a pair of boxing gloves hanging on the front armor! 
An M4A1 76w and an M4A3E2 Jumbo of the 3rd Armored Division, probably during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. 
14th Armored Division M4A1 76W with sandbags, the tank has a threaded and capped M1A1 gun and the split loaders hatch. 
M4A1 North Africa, 1943, the tank appears to be rather dirty. 
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M4 based Scorpion mine clearing tank.
M4 Sherman coming out of a gully, this is a command tank, note the extra antenna on the front right of the hull. 
Soviet M4A2 75’s crew play an accordion and pal around. This tank is another rare large hatch hull with dry ammo racks, you can make out the armor over the ammo racks on t he side of the hull. Most, it not all of these tanks went to Russia. Also note the drivers side head light and guard are nearly ripped off.  
A pair of M4A2 76w Shermans serving with the Soviets, these tanks are just like the one above. 
Crewmen of a M4A3 76w Sherman loads ammo into the floor ammo racks. The manual says the rounds should be stored nose up. 

#45 Gallery IV: You Guessed It, More High Res Photos!

Gallery IV: More photos, high resolution, with comments

More images, with captions, most high res, some sherman chassis based things as well.


A very early M4A1 Sherman, note the pair of M1919s mounted in the middle front of the hull, these were removed fairly quickly from production tanks. It seems to be hanging off a rather high drop off, and this gives us a great view of its belly. 
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A British M4A4 in Athens, during the Battle of Athens, in December of 1944, the tank is supporting the Scottish Parachute Battalion. It’s a later production tank with an M34A1 gun mount. 
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M4A3 76w Sherman with the 12th AD, in Husseren France. The tank is heavily loaded, and even the M2 is stored and covered. With all the mud around, you would think extended end connectors would be installed. 
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An M10 TD somewhere at the beginning of Operation Cobra,  the TD is somewhere in Normandy. Note the branches for camo. Look  at the communication wire running across the street. 
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French 2nd Armored Division M10 near Halloville France November 13th 1944. This looks like a mid production M10. That is some thick mud!
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M4A3 75w named Classy Peg passing a destroyed Japanese tank in Luzon, Philippines, January 17 1945.  These tanks were a terrible threat to the Japanese. 
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Clod hopper, an M4A3 or M4A2, on Iwo jima with the Marines, it was from C Company, 4th Marine Tank Battalion, and was taken out by a Japanese 47mm gun.  I wonder if the road wheels ended up on another tank. 
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A pair of composite hull M4 composite hulls burning. These tanks are US Army Shermans, and they are in the Guam, and I think they were taken out by a 47mm AT gun. The gun was probably behind were the picture was taken from. (Thanks to Russ Amott for help with the caption)
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An M4A1 76w passes through some kind of wall made of tree trunks. This tank has a split loaders hatch. Note the tree branch camo and how the gun is in the travel lock. 
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A Sherman V of the Canadian 29th Reconnaissance regiment(The South Alberta Regiment). The Tank was commanded by Major David Currie(VC), and the tank was named ‘Clanky’. This photo was taken in Normandy around Arromanches in July of 1944. A big Thank you to R.Wagner for the caption info.
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M4 105 serving with the French, tank names La Moskowa, the crew is hamming it up with a girl! 
M4A3 105
Riflemen of the 29th Marine Regiment ride a M4A3 Sherman 105mm of Company A, 6th Tank Battalion during the 6th Marine Division’s drive on Chuda along the west coast of Okinawa. It looks like the west coast of California!
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An M4A3 76w being given a ride across the Rhine River in a LCM, this seems like a precarious way to get a tank across, but maybe it wasn’t all the way loaded. 
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This one is a Marine M4A2 on Betio, Tarawa Atoll, and was named “Commando”(thanks to Russ Amott for the information on the photo caption) , for more information on this battle, see the new book Tanks in Hell by Gilbert and Cansiere.
USMC PVC N.E. Carling in front of an M4A2 tank named Killer. It has a Type 94 TE KE tank on its back deck. Photo taken Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, 2 Feb 1944. Killer seems to have wooden planks added to the sides. 
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Later production small hatch M4 Sherman, probably somewhere in the MTO or ETO. This one seems to be captured and in use by the Nazis. (1)
This is an M4A3 76w tank, with the 784th Tank Battalion (colored) near the Rhine in early 45. 
M4A3 76w Shermans from the 771st Tank Battalion supporting the 17th Airborne Division.  These tanks are sandbagged up, but not as extensively as some other units would go. 
An M4A3 76w from an unknown unit passes by the corpses of Nazi troops. You can soo a wooden AT stick box and one of the deceased Germans seems to by laying on one.
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A M4 being recovered by a pair of  M31 Armored Recovery Vehicles near Saint Fromond France 1944. They are dragging it, since it looks like it has a lot of suspension damage. 
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An M4A3 76w HVSS from the 749th Tank battalion has collapsed a wooden Bridge, in Glossbliederstroff on the Saar, Germany

#44 Gallery III: Even More Random High Res Sherman Photos With Comments.

Gallery III: Even More Random High Resolution Sherman and Lee Photos with Comments.

British or French M4A2 tanks in the desert. Probably training in North Africa. 
Convoy of tanks, trucks and jeeps from the100th ID, and 781st TB, the photo isn’t detailed enough to get a specific make on the Shermans. 
This M4A1 76w is from A Company, 20th Tank Battalion , 20 Armored Division. They are on the outskirts of Cailly, France on February 24th, they had arrived in country a few days before and had not seen combat yet. The crew is unpacking and taking inventory of all the gear issued with the tank, they probably received the tank with the back deck covered in the boxes. 
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A group of Doughs gathered around the rear of an M4A3 76w, probably somewhere in Germany in 1945. Note how much stuff they have strapped to the back deck. 
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1st Marine Tank Battalion, Okinawa 1945. notice all the extra stuff on the tank. The Marston matting on the hatch is to keep the Japanese infantry from putting a satchel charge or worse right on top of the periscope, a fairly weak spot. They also had magnetic mines they could put on the side of the tank on I bet  the matting on the side helped prevent that. Wood and concrete was also used. It must be the angle, but the pistol port almost looks like it’s missing. 
An M10 serving in the 2nd French Armored Division Hallville France November of 1944.
French crew on the background of the tank Sherman M4A2 (76) W of the 2nd company of the 501st Tank Regiment (2 Compagnie de Chars, 501 RCC)
A French M4A3 76w or M4A2 76w of second company of the 501st Tank Regiment. The French used almost all versions of the Sherman, so without seeing the engine deck, I can’t tell for sure what model it is. 
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M4 Sherman tank named Bell of Little rock, and a Lt R Hoffman looking it over, January of 1944, oddly I can’t find out what unit this tank was with. 
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This seems to be concrete going over sandbags. The tank is either an M4A1 76w or an M4A3 76W. If you have any other info on this image let me know.
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M4A4s on the Burma road. How cool is it to see M4A4 tanks on the Burma road? These M4A4s were probably fairly late production A4s, that had been used in the US for training then overhauled and shipped to the UK. Some M4A4 tanks ended up back in US hands in the CBI when a composite US/Chinese tank unit needed some mediums.  Not the lead tank has some kind of windscreen up for the driver and how heavily loaded the tanks are.  
Behind a destroyed British Sherman M4 near Caen in Normandy, a soldier of the Waffen SS watches the enemy line. Date: 1944
Behind a destroyed British Sherman M4 near Caen in Normandy, a fascist  soldier, of the criminal, Waffen SS watches the enemy line. Date: 1944 The Tank if either an Ic or Vc Firefly, probably the latter since it was the most common Firefly type.
M4A2 76w Lend Lease tank
Our Soviet allies(at the time) using a Lend Lease M4A2 76w. I have no idea what unit these Russian Soldiers are from, but if someone does, let me know. I bet they killed a lot of Nazis to get to there, there being somewhere in Germany 1945
Soviet Lend Lease M3 Lee knocked out. The Germans on it seem to be using it like a jungle gym, though something less wholesome could be going on since some of the fascist, criminal, invaders are in various states of dress.
During a pre war training exercise this M3 Lee collapsed this bridge. The crew is helping the local kids get across so they can get to school. I love this image!
This British M3 Grant Crew is setting up to spend the night in the desert, in egypt, in 1942. I do not understand why two of them are naked. Note the .30 1919 on the roof, and the canvas mantlet cover on the 75mm.
This is the Production pilot of the M3 Lee, photo may have been taken during the demonstration for the factory workers, where the Lee took out an empty Guard shack by accident, by running it over. 
Clearly tanks and bridges are not fond of each other. This M4A3 76w HVSS tank seems to have been a tad much for this one. It was also a German bridge, so it was probably complicated, just adequate for the Job, and prone to failure. =D
Another shot of the prototype Lee at Aberdeen Proving ground.
Another Lend Lease M4A2 76w being used by the Soviets. These tanks were well liked by the Russian crews, they felt they were very lavishly equipped. They were not fond of the .45 ACP round or the submachine guns that used them, and that these tanks came with. 
Even more Russian M4A2 76w tanks, the Russian crews called them ‘Emchas’ and they were unhappy to have to give them up when the war ended. In some case they didn’t, and converted them to tractors. 
Even more even more Russian M4A2 76w tanks, of the various engine types the Sherman could come with, the only ones the Russian would accept were the diesel based  M4A2 tanks. 
French M4A2 coming off an LST, this one is with the 12e RCC, 2e Division Blindee. This was a very famous French Armored Division commanded by the General Philippe LeClerc. This photo was taken on 2 August 1944, on Utah beach. Vive la France!
Fascist troops using a knocked out M4 as a resting spot.  These may have been taken in Italy. 
This huge image is of Sherman M4A2 tanks with the French 12e Regiment De Chasseurs D’Afrique, part of the 2e Division Blindee, commanded by General Philippe LeClerc, taken August of 44 in Normandy. Vive la France!

#43 Gallery II: More Random High Resolution Sherman Photos with Comments.

Gallery II: More Random High Resolution Photos Of The Sherman With Comments. I Plan On Going Through Books To Confirm The Captions On Some Of These. I Know I’ve Seen Most Of Them In Zaloga’s Armored Attack Books.

In this very nice Signal Corps photo an M4A3 75w, late 44 early 45 somewhere in Europe. This tank also has the M1 dozer blade kit installed. The Sherman, burned out in the background, is also an M4A3 75w. There is an M32 in the background and several Half tracks. The tank appears to be from the 8th Armored Division, 36th Tank Battalion, and it’s tank C17, probably one of the HQ platoon tanks. This is based off the markings on the gun mantlet. Note all the junk on the front of the tank, a como wire reel, a oil lantern, and some other things I can’t make out. 
M4A3 75w, burned out late war Europe, the tank looks like it was loaded up, note the large metal basket on the rear of the tank. The basket looks like it was filled with some ration boxes, and a jerry can. 
M4A3 76w Sherman with a threaded and capped M1A1 gun, and split loaders hatch. Oddly this tank has T51 tracks, when the T48 rubber chevron track would be more common or The T54E1 steel chevron track. This Sherman also has concrete armored added to the front hull. Looks to be from the 2nd Armored Division 1945.
This one is another M4A3 75w, the caption says hurtgen 1944, but is wrong. The tank is with the 746th Tank battalion, they are attaching ‘corduroy logs’ logs wired together, to the front of the tank. This was on the Roer front, December of 44.  it was very muddy.  The infantry in the picture are from the 39th infantry, 9th Division. The 746th would be supporting them on offensive operations, this was the first day. Oddly, this tank lacks duck bill end connectors, and they would help with the mud. The logs on the front hull would be used to get the tank unstuck from the mud. 
This huge image of a M4 and M10, photo caption says Aachen 1944. The M4 is with the 745th Tank Battalion. This photo was taken on October 20th. The Germans surrendered the next day when an M12 155mm Gun Motor Carriage was brought in to shell the Germans command bunker at point blank range.  The M12 used the M4 chassis. The tracks on the M4 look almost worn out, and everything on the back is wrapped in tarps, other than the ration boxes. The tank is also wet from recent rain. 
Yanks and Limeys in one place!! M4A3 75w, and some kind of Churchill. This was a rare occurrence, the two nations working so close. This was units of the US 9th Army and British 21st Army Group, in January of 45, near Brachelan. note the use of white tarps as snow camouflage. 
This huge image is of a small hatch M4 75, with a lot of infantry around it. On closer inspection, the tank is an for sure an M4, and it’s named Jinx, and the troops on the ground around the tank and are colored. The tank is also carrying spare ammo and some of the Doughs gear. With the help of Russ Amott, we now know this tank  is with the 754th Tank Battalion and troops are with the 24th Infantry, and the location is Bougainville Island, one of the northern most islands in the Solomon Islands, in the Pacific, so my MTO guess was way off!  Thanks again Russ for the photo caption help!
The crew of this 14th Armored Division M4A3 76w, with a M1A1 that is threaded and capped. The tank has sandbag armor. I think this was a big thing in the 14th. Do these guys look bored or what? All the daily chores the tank required must be done already.
M4A3 76w with a split loaders hatch and a M1A1 with threaded and guarded tube. Caption says Rittershoffen, but you never know, also could it be a 14AD tank? Look at all the communication wire they are holding up for the tank to drive under.  Look at all of it coming out of the house and running across the front  of it. So I found this photo in Armored Attack 45, and it was a 14AD tank, but in Niederbetsdorf. Note the sandbags are larger, and sloppier than the previous or following tanks. 
A very nice photo of a M4A3 76w with HVSS, or Easy 8 Sherman, with the 14AD, if had to guess, the 25th battalion, B Company, the Company commander’s tank B17, and the crew is messing around with a BC-603 Radio Receiver 14 March of 45, the tank is sandbagged and camoed, the typical black and olive drab, and note the M1 Carbine leaning on the turret. This tank would have 5 M3A1 submachine guns normally. 
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A knocked out and burned M4A3 76w from the 48th Tank Battalion, 14th Armored Division. This picture is a little disturbing, and I toyed with not putting it in, but in the end, it stays, because war is ugly, and the Sherman was a machine of war.
SNIPER!!!! Does anyone see the sniper!! At least that what it looks like to me. I bet the gunner or commander is in the gunners seat looking at all the windows in that house with an HE round ready to go. Most if not all the men outside the tank are the tanks crews. The Sherman on the left is an M4A3 76w HVSS tank. These tanks belong to the 745th Tank Battalion, they were supporting the 1st Infantry Divisions assault on St Andreasberg on 14 April 1945. Note the M4A3 76w VVSS tank has one mismatched road wheel.  The extended end connectors on this tank are also in bad shape.
M4A1 75 with add on steel armor passing a knocked out PIV. The M4A1 is a late production small hatch tank. 
This Sherman is an M4A1 made by Pressed Steel Car, the tank was named ‘Honky Tonk’  and was with 3rd battalion, 1st armored regiment, 1st Armored Division, this tank was lost in the infamous Kasserine Pass battle. Thanks for the info on the photo Russ Amott. For a few more shots, and more info on this tank, see the wonderful Sherman Minutia site.
M4A3 75w, with a T-34 Calliope actually firing. That’s not all that’s interesting though. This tank has two spare old style road wheels on the front hull, plus the track linking tools, and some large boxes. It also has a full set of duckbill end connectors. The whole Calliope Launcher could be jettisoned in a few minutes. 
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This M4A3 76w tank is supporting infantry from the 75th Infantry Division, so it would be whatever independent tank battalion supporting them. The tank is a fairly early production M4A3 76w, since it has the split loaders hatch and the threaded and thread guarded M1A1 gun. Photo caption says Riedwihr 1945, the tank is from the 709th Tank Battalion. Note the lack of duckbill end connectors on the Sherman, and the tarp covered M2 .50 on the rear of the turret. 
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This massive photo is an M4A1 75 small hatch tank with an M1 dozer kit. It’s being used to clean up debris in Lonlay-L’abbaye on August 15th during the chase of the German Army towards Paris. The M4 and M4A1 were the least desirable tanks to have the dozer blade installed on. 
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Jungle tanking! This PSCC M4 Sherman is a fairly late production M4. This photo was taken on Bougainville 1944, and this would be the last of the major Solomon Islands taken. The tank was serving with the 754th Tank Battalion. These guys were true jungle tankers, and the environment in the Solomons was harsh and nearly as big an enemy as the Japanese.  They would go to great lengths to get Shermans to Japanese strong points, because the firepower the Sherman offered was very hard for the Japanese to counter. 
A US ‘Dough’ checking out a firefly Ic , probably lost during Market Garden, it was indeed supporting US paratroops, near Eerde, near Veghel, in the 101st AB AOO. (thanks to Crash_over-ride and ww2Colorizations over on reddit for the correction).
M4A3 76w with a split loaders hatch and a thread a thread guarded M1A1 gun driving through a bunch of wrecked Nazi equipment. Notice how the gunner, and loader are both standing in the loaders hatch. Note the modification to the commanders vane sight. This looks like a 14th AD sandbag job. 
M4A1 75 small hatch tank. with the 753rd Tank Battalion. Knocked out near Crane France, after seeing action in the MTO. This was a pretty early tank judging from the M34 gun mount. Note the .30 1919 on the commanders hatch. 
A pair of knocked out M4 tanks from the 756 Tank Battalion, probably knocked out in a combo Mine field/AT gun trap, lost in the fighting on 12 september near Vesovi. B17 may have been the CO of B company’s tank. 
Small hatch M4 75 tank passing through a town in Europe somewhere.  You can make out XX-735-c-11 on the drivers armor, maybe indicating C company 735 Tank Battalion. Note all the extended end connectors piled on the front hull. 
This huge photo shows an large hatch M4A3 75w this photo was taken on Okinawa. The crew seems to be hamming it up for the photographer, so not in combat. This tank has two large plates welded onto the front plate, these are probably for the T6 Floatation Device, also known as the M19, basically large solid, semi modular floats attached by cable to the front and rear of the Sherman, with side sections to give it so rigidity.  The whole thing dropped off when the cables holding it place were cut.  I could only find one image of it. A big thank you to Michel E for the info for this photo.
M4 with T6 Flotation Device
An M4A3 76w from the 778th Tank Battalion caption Lampaden 1945. The has an M1A1 gun with a threaded and protected barrel. With all the hatches open, it looks like most of the crew may have made it out.
M4 small hatch 75mm Sherman with the 6th Armored Division. The photo is captioned Belgium 1945, and it was right, Margaret, Belgium, January 1945. This tank was knocked out with a panzerfaust.
A small hatch M4 and an M4A1 both 75mm tanks. Image had no caption, looks like somewhere in the ETO. These are British tanks. 
This is a M4 composite hull or M4A1 75W only 100 were produced before they were replaced with the M4A1 76w on the production line. It has a “Richardson Device” hedgerow cutter, and is passing a knocked out, most over rated weapon of the war, the 88mm Flak 36. The tank is with the 3rd Armored Division and the photo was taken in August of 44 during Cobra.
Inflatable Sherman, still more reliable than the non inflatable Panther. They were meant to be detailed enough to fool recon airplanes. 
M4 75, in Italy, 1944. Tank is with the 755th Tank Battalion, and it looks like it’s being used as Artillery. The tank is an early production M4, not the gun mantlet.  It also looks very muddy there, and explain the tanks use as artillery. This is something some tank Battalions became very adept at.
Huge image, not sure the make of Sherman, not sure why one of the crew is out with his pistol. Looks like American kit on the crewman. The tank was named Hun Chaser, that sounds British. Update, commenter John Berwick pointed the odd armor near the fuel caps indicates this is an M4A4, and also mentioned the wheel spacing, and it does look like an A4, so good catch John! 
British Shermans in the desert. This is a Sherman I with the 3rd CLY, at the end of the north African Campaign. These tanks have a standard camouflage scheme in use by June of 43, of Blue-Black over Light mud.
Another huge image, no caption, but Im pretty sure this one is in the PTO, maybe the Philippines. The Sherman looks like an M4 Composite hullThis huge photo is an action shot, note explosion. 
This appears to be a mix  British M4A2 an M10 and M4A1s or Sherman IIIs, IIs and IIa. The caption only said 5th army.
Concrete armor being installed on an M4 105 tank.
Nazis surrendering and running to the rear. Tank is an M4A4 so it must be a Brit Sherman.
14th Armored Division M4A3 with a T34 Calliope installed. This also has the 14th typical sandbag armor, it also appears to a girl painted on the turret. The name looks like ‘Annabelle’ under it.
750th Tank Battalion M4A3` 105 near Manhay, some battalions pooled all the 105 tanks into a battery, since there are three in the field, that may be whats going on here. 
An M4 with Brigadier Tom Rutherford 1st Armoured Brigade standing in front of it.
A nice color shot of an M4A4 with some hay on it.
The same hay covered M4A4 now moving around.
The same hay covered M4A4 now moving around again. (i43)
The same hay covered M4A4 now more hamming for the photographer.
The same hay covered M4A4 on the move again.


British M4A2 Sherman wrecks
A pair of knocked out British M4A2 tanks.
M4A1 with bow mounting MG somewhere in ETO, tank looks like it came out of a repair depot, note all the chalk writing on the side of the hull
M4A1 76w with bow mounted flamethrower in use. Note the interesting writing in chalk on the side of the tank. The Flamethrower was an E4-5 and the tank is from the 70th Tank Battalion, testing it out.  With a limited range of 25 yards and a low fuel load, it was deemed not worth the effort
M4A1 with a bow mounted flame thrower, huge image. 
Massive image of a British M4A4 and troops. 
A British M4A2 Sherman coming out of an LST on the dock they can make. There is water under the Sherman. That causeway could be several hundred yards long.
736th Tank Battalion M4 105 loading up on ammo in Neuss 1945, these are the HQ 105 tanks loading up to support the 83rd Division on March 3th.
A snow and ice covered Sherman. It appears to be an M4A3 75w. The crew is hooking a tow cable up, so the tank was probably disabled and abandoned by the crew. 
An M4A1 entering Fort Santiago in Manila,  during the campaign to retake the Philippines from the Japanese.  Thanks to Michel E for the info on this image!
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These look like M4A1s maybe the ones the Marines used on Cape Gloucester.
Canadian Major General Bertram Meryl (bert) Hoffmeister in front of his M4A4 command tank “Vancouver”  (Thanks R.Wagner!).
84ID_Geilenkirchen_44 (1)
84th Infantry Division in Geilenkirchen 1944, being supported by an British M4A4, the town was on  the border between the US an British areas.
M4 Shermans fighting on Guam 44.
A Soviet M4A2 76w in Europe.
An M4A1 and an Inflatable Sherman at Anzio in 1944.


9th Armored Division, Westhousen, Germany, 10 April 1945
M4A3 75w tanks of the 9th Armored Division, Westhausen, Germany, 10 April 1945
M4 composite hull flame thrower. Somewhere in the PTO. Russ Amott was nice enough to point out these tanks were with the 763rd TB and the location was Okinawa, so I was at least right on the location this time!
Another composite hull flame thrower with the 763rd Tank Battalion, on Okinawa. Thanks again Russ. 

8009931518Marine supporting an M4A2 maybe on Saipan

An M4 Sherman with wading kit.
Marine M4A3  flamethrower tank, Iwo Jima Ron H a commenter posted this info  “The pic was taken on Iwo Jima. It appears in Bill D. Ross’ book “Iwo Jima” (ISBN 0-394-74288-5) with the caption, “Flame-thrower Sherman tank burns pillbox near base of Suribachi as infantry waits to attack.” The photo is credited to Mark Kaufman. Ross, the book’s author, was a Marine combat photographer on Iwo.
The infantry in question were the 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division. The 28th Marines’ 2nd Battalion (2/28) was assigned to take Suribachi itself, while the regiment’s other two battalions (1/28 and 3/28) fought northward toward Airfield No. 1. It’s not clear from the photo which battalion the tank is supporting.”

Thanks again Ron!

M4A1 75 passing knocked out or broken down, or just abandoned, or out of gas PIVs. This tank is with an unknown unit supporting the 30th ID outside of St. Lo ion July of 44
Massive photo of a road, that has an M4A1 76w on it.
This Sherman in a Marine, M4A2, part of the tank company attacked to the 4th Marines, 1st provisional Marine Brigade on Guam. You can just make out the Rhino painted on the side of the tank.  (Caption info from Russ Amott,  Thanks again Russ!)
The Sherman is a large hatch 75mm Sherman, it could be an M4A2 or A3, and I’m betting it’s the PTO and the Philippines
Color shot from Probably an M4.
French Sherman M4 105, with crew posing for Camera.
A French M4 crew hamming it up for the Camera.

#42 Sherman Tank Site Gear!

Sherman Tank Site logo

So I made a few things on CafePress, and decided if my and I were willing to wear them, other may want to as well, so here they are.  I do not make any money on these, I just made them up for personal use, and decided to post them here, just in case.

Sherman T-Shirt MkII
Sherman T shirt Mk III
Sherman Tank Hat MK I

The Sherman Tank Sticker MK I

Anyway, if you see a stout middle aged dude in Marin wearing a hat or t-Shirt, it’s probably me.


#41 Gallery I, Mixed High Res Sherman Photos, With Comments.

Gallery I, Mixed High Res Sherman Photos: With comments!

A nice color photo of an M4 stuck in Italy. It’s hard to tell if it is knocked out or just stuck, for the purposes of the fight it was in there is no difference though. The tank still has the M34 gun mount, but is a non-DV hull and has the cast differential cover.
A burned out M4A3 76w in Neumarkt, Germany April of 1945. This photo is a testament as to why Armor needs a heavy infantry presence in urban warfare. 
A knocked out M4A3 75W with concrete armor, in front of an M4A3 76w with similar armor, in the back also knocked out. This is Arnoldsweiler Germany, tank unit unknown, the Doughs(wartime slang for Infantry) are from the 415th regiment of 104 Infantry Division.
M4A3 75 from the 761st Tank Battalion supporting the 103rd ID near Nieffer France, this could be a small hatch M4A3 from the first batch Ford made, but its hard to tell from this angle. It looks like the tank has all the qucik fix upgrades. 
747 Tank Battalion, Schleiden, 1945
A pair of up-armored, with layers of steel track and sandbags, M4A3 76w Shermans, with the 747th Tank Battalion, Schleiden, 1945. All the added stuff would be removed just about as soon as the war ended.
14th AD M4A3 76w column Hochfeld France 45
A huge pile of rocks, with an M4A3 76W HVSS tank with add-on Armor, parked off to the side. The Easy 8 looks like it’s from the 4th AD, 37th Battalion. it looks like the rocks may be from fortifications German troops made. If you look close, this tank has the up armored front armor and it looks like it has the cheek armor added to the turret as well. 
M4A3 with the 12th AD in Schneeberg Germany 1945, this tank has a threaded and capped M1A1C and a split loaders hatch.
9th Armored Division, Westhousen, Germany, 10 April 1945
M4A3 75w Shermans with the 9th Armored Division, Westhousen, Germany, 10 April 1945, this picture is interesting, there’s a lot of garbage around the tanks, I wonder how many days they were there? This image shows what was almost the ultimate 75mm Sherman, it has the improved large hatch hull, with Ford GAA motor and wet ammo storage, improved stabilizer, improved periscope sight, all around vision cupola, and oval loaders hatch. All it needs is HVSS suspension, and a large number got that too, though most of the 75mm HVSS tanks had 76mm turrets swapped onto them post-war by the US Army. 
A pair of 3rd AD M4A1 76w tanks in Schevenhutte 1944, parked in front of St Josef church on September 22, 1944, the wires hanging down are probably communication wires. The tracks on the M4A1 to the right look almost worn out, and it has an unthreaded M1A1 gun. This is very much like the ones issued for Cobra. 
3rd Armored Division, Stolberg, 1944
M4 tank 3rd Armored Division, Stolberg, 14 October 1944. The men on the tank are from the 36th infantry. This is when sandbagging started, as more and more encounters with German infantry with panzerfausts and panzerschreck began happening.  Note the interesting beams welded to the differential cover, probably from some form of hedge cutting device. 
A pair of burnt out Canadian M4A2 Shermans of the 10th Armored Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse) at the foot of the church at Rots – June 1944 (Huge Image)
3rd AD M4 in Stolberg 1945, if you look close there is an M3 Lee based M31 in the background.
A nice photo of an Easy 8s, or M4A3 76w HVSS tank, and what looks like an M4A1 76w in the background. The M4A1 had the split loaders hatch, with the hatch doors that only opened to 90 degrees.
A nice photo of a 2nd Armored Division M4 coming off an LST on Utah Beach Normandy June 8th.  I love this photo, and always, wonder if the Sailor sitting up above the tank to the right, has an official job, or if he was just enjoying the show. The LST was a really amazing ship for the time, a technological wonder, that does not get much credit for being one. 
A Badly damaged M4A3 76w tank that looks like it had a dozer blade. It’s from the 1st Armored Division in Italy 1944.  You can tell it’s a 1st AD tank because of the two bands on the barrel near the gun mantlet. 
An M4A1 in Italy on the Gothic line, town of Ponsacco, 1944, I wonder what this street looks like today. Note, this tank is an early M4A1, still in use in 1944 and it has none of the quick fix updates and still has the M34 gun mount. 
An M4 in Milan Italy in front of the Piazza Del Duomo. There seems to be a gas gun, cut in half, handing from the rear hull overhang.  Maybe they used it as a funnel?
An M4 showing its off-road prowess.
An M4 doing M4 things, in some ruined town in Europe. I think the tank is with B Company 37th Tank Battalion, 4th AD.
A well camouflaged M4 is the subject of this beautiful high res photo.
A nice high res photo of an M4 Composite driving down a street in Avranches, on August 4th, 1944, during Operation Cobra.  The town is in ruins and was  important because it was the gateway into Brittany from Normandy, this tank is most likely with the 6th AD, (thanks to Russ Amott for more info on the photo)
A small hatch M4 somewhere in Europe. 
A nice high res photo of an M4A4 probably about to be shipped to England, or just arrived there. Notice the ‘Comb’ device on the front differential cover, it has a wire going from it to through the bow gun mount to the tanks brake levers, so the brakes could be released without opening the extensive weatherproof packing they have done. Look at all that duct tape!!
A nice high res photo of an M4A1 with a strange rocket launcher setup. Could these be aircraft rocket tubes adapted for ground use?
A nice color shot of an M4A1,  note the M34 gun mount. 
A nice high res photo of an M4A2 76 wet, a pretty late production one, much like the one fished out of the ocean in the sunken Shermans post. Most of these tanks went to the Soviet Union. 
I high res pic of what looks like a couple of platoons of small hatch M4 and M4A1s parked on a street somewhere in Europe.
A very nice high res pic of an M4 being used as an artillery piece, near Vicht Germany 17 November 1944. Unit unknown. The M4 was named ‘Ink spot’. All M4 Sherman tanks had the equipment to fire their main gun as an indirect fire weapon, and it was not uncommon to have a unit at rest tied into the artillery radio net answering calls for fire. 
Marine M4A2 on Peleliu, I think.
Shermans at rest in a pretty flower field in Italy.

#40 The Small Arms Of The US Army Tanker: What They Were Issued And What They Actually Carried.


An M1928A1

The Small Arms Of The US Army Tanker: Tankers Were Issued Gear, But Once In The Field, They May Have Used Other Than Issued Small Arms.

The US Army issued early Sherman tanks with a single Thompson M1928A1 .45 caliber submachine gun. The tank also had two boxes to hold a total to twelve hand grenades of various types. Two smoke and two thermite grenades were kept in a box on the left side turret wall, and there was another box under the gunner seat that held 2 smokes grenades, 4 M2 fragmentation grenades, and 2 M3 offensive grenades.  The tank also had a pair of M1919A4 machine guns and the M2 HB that could be mounted on the pair of tripods issued with the tank.  They had 600 rounds of .45 ACP and 4750 rounds of .30 caliber, and 300 rounds for the M2 HB. This was what the tank could officially carry, but crews often carried more .30 caliber rounds, and even main gun ammo on the floor of the tank, and they would also store small arms ammo on the outside of the tank

An M1919A4 on a Tripod, the M4 Sherman tanks had between 2 and 3 of this machine gun, but only one tripod for it.
An M2 HB on a tripod, these machine guns were mounted on the turret of all American Shermans. The tripod was stored on the tank when the gun was mounted on the turret roof. There was also a mount for it on the back of the turret for when it was not in use, and the barrel was removed.
An M3, note the charging lever, just behind the magazine, a problematic feature eliminated in the M3A1.

Later versions of the Sherman were issued with a slightly different setup. The single M1928A1 Thompson was replaced with 5, M3 submachine guns.  The other major change was, all the machine guns were provided with more ammo, 600 .50, 6250 .30, and the same 600 rounds of .45 for the new SMGs. The tank was also issued with a small number of spare parts that commonly broke on all the weapons and specialized tools to service the tanks weapons.

In all cases, each member of the Sherman crew would have been issued a M1911A1 pistol as a side arm, but that was their personal weapon, and not part of the tanks gear.

Let’s talk about these weapons a little, first the Machineguns.

from the movie tank
Jenilee Harrison charging he M2 HB on the top of the small hatch M4A3 used in the movie Tank
M2HB on M4 being used
M2HB Machine gun on Sherman in use

M2 HB .50 caliber machine gun: Who doesn’t know about this machine gun, developed before WWII, it was a legend by the end of the war and is still being used. It saw use everywhere the US Military fought. If it could mount a heavy Machine gun or guns, the Americans put one of these on it.  The Sherman had one, The M16 halftrack had four, the P-47 Thunderbolt had eight! They used them on ships, jeeps, aircraft, with the infantry, and as AA guns. There is a reason this machine gun, designed by maybe the greatest firearms inventor of all time, John Browning, is still in use, its a great gun, firing a pretty good round. It’s so well liked, slightly improved version still serve with the US Military and to many other Nations around the world to list here.

The versions issued on the Sherman had a 450 to 550 RPM, and a quick change barrel that still required it to have its headspace adjusted, so not all that quick. Someone who knew what they were doing could keep the barrel from overheating by firing in short controlled bursts though, and on the Sherman, since the ammo supply was fairly small, you had to use it sparingly anyway.  The machine gun would rarely leave the tank, were the lighter M1919s might be pulled and mounted on a tripod for some reason, if the crew had to fight on foot, or to setup around a perimeter at night maybe. In the Pacific, they would build a bunker under the tank and have a sandbagged enclosure at the front they could crawl into with the .30 mounted on a tripod.

An M1919A4 in the bow mount of an M4 Sherman

M1919A4 .30 caliber machine gun: The Sherman crew was provided with two, sometimes three of these guns. They like their bigger, little brother, the M2, were designed by John Browning. For The US Military in WWII and Korea, .30 caliber meant the 30-06 cartridge.  This was a pretty decent round as .30 caliber rounds go, and would serve as the Army rifle and light/medium machine gun chambering until the adoption of the 7.62 NATO round. This gun spat rounds at between 450 and 550 round per minute and it was a reliable and well liked gun.  If it had a flaw, it was it was not easy to swap barrels on, for the same reasons as the M2, and it was a tad heavy for a light/medium machine gun, these are minor flaws for a vehicle mounted MG, though, in longer fights, the co-ax M1919 would burn out their barrels before the fighting was over.

The M1919 served with the US Army, and Marine Corps well into the 50s, they were eventually replaced by the M60 machine gun.  These machine guns have a long and well recorded history, and my goal here is to talk about them without causing any new myths or bad information.

Now let’s talk about the Submachine guns.

A Thompson in a Violin case. Was this a factory option?

M1928A1, .45 ACP submachine gun: This SMG is another American Classic, and it was a classic by WWII all on its own. Originally developed for use in WWI, it missed the war, and any Military contracts, but the gun was sold on the civilian market. Enough sales trickled in from a few small government and police agencies, along with foreign sales to keep Auto-Ordnance alive between wars. The weapon was sensationalized by the media after it was used by prohibition era gangsters and a few notable regular criminals, and this inspired some of the nation’s first federal gun control laws. In 1934 the National Firearms Act went into effect after being passed by Congress. It limited the sale of Machine guns to civilians and made the ones already in Civilian hands have to be licensed.

There was already one huge limiting factor on Thompson sales, if you were not a government agency; you had to be pretty rich to buy one. Sure, a few criminals were, but what normal Joe of the 1920s could spend $200 bucks on a machine gun when a new car cost around $400?  That 200 bucks was for the basic 1921 m model with 1 magazine.  When you started adding things like the wood front pistol grip, deluxe wood furniture and drum magazines and fancy cases, the price could run into luxury car range.

The M1928A1 was not all the different from the M1921, and still used the odd Blish lock and could still take the drum magazines but had dispensed with the front pistol grip. If it had a drawback it was that it was large and heavy for a SMG, but you would think this would help control it.

The Army would go on to have even simpler version of this SMG produced, but as far as I know only the M1928A1 was issued with early to mid production Sherman tanks.


M3A1, not the bigger dust cover, and thumb hole in the bolt.

M3 and M3A1 .45 ACP submachine gun:  This SMG was designed to be the easiest to manufacture and cheapest SMG that could still perform as well as the M1928A1 and the M3 was born. After some use, the M3A1 came about to solve all the problems with the basic M3.  The M3 looks a little like a grease gun, so that name stuck, and the weapon would go on to serve into the 1990s as tank crewmen’s weapon.

The M3A1 was a simple no nonsense weapon that filled the tank crewmen dismounted weapon role fairly well, and that’s why it no one bothered to replace the thing.   It was replaced with the MP5.

From the Sherman crewman perspective, I bet they’d say, five M3A1s is better than one M1928A1.

Next up, let’s talk about the pistol.

WWII M1911A1

So much has been said about the 1911, I’m not going to say much, but I’ll note for those who don’t know, John Browning designed it too. I will say this, it is not the finest handgun ever produced, nor is it even close to the worst. It is probably the most popular handgun in America, and I own two. What it was, was a reliable, tested, accurate enough handgun for soldiers, pilots, officers or anyone else who needed one.  Like all handguns, it should be viewed as a last resort, and the M3A1 or M1928A1 would be more useful in all but the most close of encounters for a tank crewman.

It also may be the most written about firearm ever as well, since every issue of Guns&Ammo, Guns, Shooting, etc. had at least two stories about some variant of the gun.  I would be surprised if it isn’t the most popular handgun type in the United States. The only guns that seem to rival it are made by Glock.

. . .


Modern shortened Springfield Armory M1911 copy.

. . .

Now so far, we’ve only been talking about the weaponry issued with the tank or to the crew. Soldiers and marines being soldiers and marines means as soon as they were out of an environment where the tank the tank was being inspected on a regular basis they would have started acquiring extra things for the tank.  Crews of early Shermans probably worked pretty hard to get more Thompson SMGs, or used captured German or ones; the MP-40 with its folding stock was nice for tank use.  I’m sure they stuffed extra grenades all over the tank along with extra .30 cal and .50 cal ammo. Depending on unit discipline and how aware they were of the risk, some crews might have carried extra main gun ammunition as well, but unprotected main gun rounds were very dangerous to the crew.  It wouldn’t be impossible for something like an M1 Garand or M1 Carbine to make an appearance as well. Mounting extra machine guns on the turret for the loader was a fairly popular modification as well.

Notice the M1 Carbine leaning on the turret next to the gun mantlet on the M4A3E8 with the 14th AD

#39 The LST or Landing Ship Tank, a Ship That Could Land Tanks

The LST or Landing Ship Tank a ship Only The Allies Had:  The Ship That Could Deliver A Tank Right To The Beach!

an LST delivering an M4A1 Sherman to Cape Gloucester
an LST delivering an M4A1 Sherman to Cape Gloucester

When most people think about a tank being used in a beach assault, they think the Duplex Drive Sherman, or tanks getting delivered by LCM or LCT.    There were many other specialized landing craft, and they all had similar flaws. The main being they were small, and not really capable of long ocean voyages. They also couldn’t haul a useful amount of cargo for use in an efficient shipping system.  The LST or Landing Ship Tank was the solution.

The LST a large ocean-going vessel, and though they reputed to have a horrible ride, were capable of crossing the Pacific or Atlantic oceans with their own fuel stores.  There were several classes of LST but the differences between them were fairly minor unless you want to get into the British made LSTs, but we’ll do that later.  For our purposes we are going to use LST-808 as our example, she participated in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She was lost to a Kamikaze towards the end of the war.


Class: LST-542


1,625 tons

4,080 tons (sea-going draft w/1675 ton load)

2,366 tons (beaching displacement)

Length: 328 feet      Beam: 50 feet


Light:  2′ 4″ front, 7′ 6″ aft

Sea-going:  8′ 3″ front, 14′ 1″ aft

Landing: 3′ 11″ front, 9’ 10″ aft (landing w/500 ton load)

Limiting: 11′ 2″

Maximum navigation: 14′ 1″

Speed: 11.6 knots. (trial)  Endurance:  24,000 miles at 9kts, while displacing 3960 tons


13 officers, 104 enlisted

Troop Accommodations:

16 officers, 147 enlisted

Boats:  2 LCVP

Cargo Capacity:  (varied with mission – payloads between 1600 and 1900 tons)

Typical loads:

One Landing Craft Tank (LCT), tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment and military supplies. A ramp or elevator forward allowed vehicles access to tank deck from the main deck

Additional capacity included sectional pontoons carried on each side of vessel amidships, to either build Rhino Barges or use as causeways. Married to the bow ramp, the causeways would enable payloads to be delivered ashore from deeper water or where a beachhead would not allow the vessel to be grounded forward after ballasting

Armament:   2 – Twin 40mm gun mounts w/Mk. 51 directors,  4 – Single 40mm gun mounts, 12- Single 20mm gun mounts

Fuel Capacity:  Diesel 4,300 Bbls (approximately 180600 gallons of fuel.)

Propulsion: Two General Motors 12-567A, 900hp Diesel engines, Single Falk Main Reduction Gears

Two propellers, 1700shp,    Twin rudders

Three Diesel-drive 100Kw 230V D.C. Ship’s Service Generators

808 sinking may 20th 1945
LST-808 grounding and burning may 18th 1945
808 sinking may 20th 1945
LST-808 sinking May 20th

As you can see from the specifications, these ships, were pretty big and over a football field long. The tank deck had a massive capacity; it could take up to 20 Sherman tanks, 39 M3/M5 light tanks or 70 trucks or anything else that would fit up to 1900 tons. Not only did they have the ability to carry the vehicles, there were accommodations aboard for the crews and troops that would be riding the ship.

The LSTs were longships, and their front hull had a much shallower draft than the rear. The front of the hull was made up from a pair of huge doors that opened out, and behind them was a ramp that was dropped. If shore conditions were right, the ramp could be dropped in the shallow surf and vehicles drove right off and onto the beach.  If beach conditions were not right, like a sandbar or reef stood in the way, they could use floating pontoon docks to make a causeway that tanks or anything else could drive to shore on. These causeways would be held in place by LCMs.  The LST could carry large numbers of the pontoons as deck cargo. They would know ahead of time what the beach conditions were going to be and what they would need to bring. This ingenious system was something only the allies, and specifically, the US and the UK came up with. Nazis were not good at logistics.

The LST used a system of pumps to fill or pump out large numbers of compartments all around the hull to raise or lower the ship in the water. When they were about to beach the front of the ship, the would need to be as high in the water as they could, but at sea, they would want many of the void spaces flooded to keep the flat-bottomed LST from rolling around so much in even mild weather. Even loaded up and with the ballast spaces as full as was safe, the LST’s still had a less than ideal ride. Very few were lost to weather though.  I don’t have a good breakdown of the numbers but the US had 933 LST(2) and 26 were lost to enemy action. They lost another 13 to fires, collisions, explosions, storms, and groundings. The rest were worked to death in the decades after the war with a few exceptions.

One of those exceptions is LST-325, she is still around, and a museum ship, but the best kind of museum ship, the kind that can still get underway!  Check out LST-325s webpage, they may be coming to a city near you!



LSTs delivering stuff to Iwo Jima
LSTs Iwo Jima
Another shot of LSTs on Iwo, what’s that mountain!?

Being an LST captain was not something a career naval officer would have wanted, and most officers were reservists. Some joined their ship while it was being built, and would stay with it until wars end, or it was sunk. The LSTs were not the worst ships to serve on, they had a nicely appointed galley, and served with the same men the whole war, including the enlisted crew. The LST proved to be pretty safe and durable because of how they were built, with a lot of reserve buoyancy. They also had the capacity to produce a lot of fresh water.

The tank deck had to be ventilated so the tanks could be run, early LSTs had hoses that were hooked up the tanks or other vehicles exhaust. That setup did not work well, so twelve, eight-foot-tall ventilation stacks, with a fan in each were installed. These could clear the tank deck of vehicle exhaust even with the bow doors closed. There was an elevator on early LSTs, but it was slow and not all that reliable, so it was replaced with a simple hinged ramp.

LST delivery an M4A1 to the beach, probably a 1st Armored Division tank to North Africa
LST delivery an M4A1 to the beach, probably a 1st Armored Division tank to North Africa

The ships were also well appointed with shops including a machine shop with a full complement of metalworking tools, and there was probably an electrical and hydraulic shop as well. The Captain would be a full Lieutenant of the Navy, and the XO a JG. As mentioned before in many cases these men joined the ship while it was being finished, right after they finished they Navy Officer or Boot Camp, and a few cases specialty schools. They would work with the builder to get their LST working and get it commissioned and then take it out, often right to a combat area but they might stay stateside for more training.

The Army Armor base at Fort Knox built a replica of a tank deck on the base so tank crews could practice loading and offloading. The US Navy built 1051 LSTs were built in the US. Most of them served with the US, but some went to the UK, and the Greeks even operated some.  After the war, the surplus LSTs were bought up by commercial interests right away. They are very useful for delivering heavy cargo to areas with no heavy port facilities. A few survive to this day.


Now for my obligatory section on why this ship was something the Germans had nothing like. The Germans also lacked the ability to build all the different landing craft the allies used in their multiple successful amphibious landings. Germany was short of resources, and even if they had been given the plans for the LST and all the various other landing craft you need to land on an enemy shore, they didn’t have the naval construction capacity or natural resources to produce them. Maybe if they had not built their silly battleships, but that gets to the other problem, they never achieved air superiority, nor naval supremacy in a time frame they would have needed to pull off operation sea lion.  Nazi Germany was bad at boats and planes, but great at propaganda, some people still buy into even today.

A very nice cutaway of an LST
A very nice cutaway of an LST, showing the ship with the ramp and elevator

Omaha Beach-1

LST high and dry at Normandy, click the image to see if LST-325 is going to be at a city near you!

#38 The Shermans Flaws:  What Was Wrong With The Tank, and Stayed Wrong.

The Shermans Flaws:  Yeah, I know the Sherman Had Flaws. It Just Had So Many Fewer Than Any German Tank!

The Sherman tank, like anything man produces, was series of compromises to meet the US Army’s design specifications. The Sherman was also designed by a country with little tank making experience.  The British, who were already at war, helped a great deal with the Sherman design with feedback from their combat experience. Some of the lessons learned about the Lee/Grant design did not come in time to affect the very early Sherman design, but improvements made it into the production line fairly fast.

Let’s start with the early Shermans, and by early, I mean all small hatch hull tanks. The automotive systems on all the early Shermans were good. All the major issues with the four major power plants had been resolved in the Lee.  This is true of on the early VVSS, it was replaced with the heavy duty VVSS used first on the M3A4. The narrow tracks were a flaw, in soft terrain and mud the Sherman with VVSS, and 16-inch tracks, was at a disadvantage compared to the Pather, but this flaw was resolved in two ways before the end of the war. The first was duckbill end connectors on the 16-inch tracks, lowering ground pressure, and then HVSS came along in late 44, with 23 inch wide tracks that resolved the problem completely, the HVSS Sherman could go anywhere a Panther went, without risk of breaking down constantly.

The Powertrain was so good it remained largely unchanged throughout the Sherman production run, I would say it was pretty close to flawless.  The very early Shermans had direct vision ports, this was solved pretty quickly on the production line in most cases, and the tanks produced with the DV ports had upgrades that could be installed in the field to solve the problem of them being a weak point in the frontal armor. The complicated multi-piece front plate was not great, since the welds took extra time to manufacture, and they were ballistic weak spots as well; it was simplified on late production small hatch tanks by reducing the number of plates and was replaced by a single plate when they updated the hull with the large driver and co-drivers hatches.

The 75mm M3 gun was good; though some would argue it was a flaw, based on its lack of ability to pen the front of the Panther and Tiger tanks.  For the first year or more, the Sherman saw combat its gun was very good for both anti-tank work and infantry support. German tanks, even in the mid part of the war were relatively rare compared to AT guns, and the 75 M3 was a much better gun for taking those out.  The US Army did see a need to improve the AT performance and began working on installing the M1 76mm gun into the Sherman, and they began this process before the Tiger or Panther showed up. By the time the Panther showed up in large numbers, Shermans with 76mm guns were showing up in large numbers as well.  So this flaw was addressed as well, though, not fully, since the M1A1 gun was not all that it was cracked up to be. The truth is, by the time the US was facing Panthers on a regular basis, the crews in them were so green, and the tank itself so complicated and hard to fight, even Sherman 75s had little trouble handling them.

Yes, its early ammo storage was a flaw, storing ammo in the sponsons, and all around the base of the turret basket made it easy to brew the tank up with an ammo fire. They figured this out, and changed the ammo configuration and put it all in armored boxes. Most tanks already issued received these changes in kit form.  When the large hatch hull went into production, for the most part, these tanks got wet storage in the hull, under the turret basket, with water jackets. This location proved to be a very good place for the ammo, and fires in penetrated Shermans went down drastically. The location was far more important than the wet part of the storage, and it was dropped post-war.  Some crews objected to the changes in ammo storage, a pre quick fix Sherman with 12 to 14 ready rounds within easy reach of the loader could pump out a very large volume of fire for a fairly long time, the new ammo layout really slowed the rate of fire down in a sustained fight. Because of this, some crews ignored the new ammo regulations and stored as much loose ammo as they could in the turret basket.  These crews were willing to risk the higher chance of catastrophic fire, to keep that higher sustained rate of fire.

Some like to say it’s reliance on gas engines was a flaw, most of the people who like to point this out don’t understand that the Sherman had a diesel version, and American gas-powered tanks were no more likely to burn than anyone’s gas-powered tanks and were much less prone to fire than German tanks like the Panzer IV, it was the worst of the war, all  German tanks were gas powered as well. Hell for most of its life, the Panther didn’t need any help from the allies to light itself on fire. I do not call the US Armies reliance on gas a flaw, it was a choice, the US Army could have kept all the A2s if they wanted diesel tanks.  In fact, from the automotive standpoint all the motors the Sherman used, even the A57 multibank, were more reliable than any motor the Germans produced for use in a tank.

The armor, here you can make a pretty good argument the tank was flawed. It had better armor than all other mediums in its weight class, but that, of course, won’t save it from guns like 75mm L70 or the 88mm L71 guns. No tank in its weight class could, nor could the heavier German tanks like the Tiger or Panther for that matter. In most cases, medium tanks don’t have enough room left in their design to take much more weight of armor. This is one of the things that ruined the Panther, all the extra weight from armor, but no upgrades to the powertrain.

Now, the Sherman design is a special case, the powertrain, and suspension were so well designed; they could take the extra weight of more armor, without compromising reliability.  The Jumbo, and all the field mods, including the field mod Jumbos like Thunderbolt VII, an M4A3 76W HVSS tank, that had extra armor cut from knocked out Shermans onto its hull and turret, prove it. The Army was aware it could take these upgrades, as the Jumbo program, and their toying with add-on armor kits shows.  Even the Jumbo couldn’t stand up to the 88L71 for long, and more armor than the jumbo tanks had, would have compromised the tanks automotive bits.  So the armor was good enough, because armor that could stop the big AT guns it was facing was not practical, and would have caused automotive problems. But the basic Sherman could have had significantly thicker armor without affecting the Shermans reliability or producibility. This would have made an already good tank better, but there also may be reasons why they couldn’t, the War Production Board always had a say in these things, maybe they didn’t want to shift over more steel production when they were desperate for it in the Landing Craft/Ship program, when talking about American War production, you can never consider just that item, because they didn’t every program fought for priority in the system.

No, to really get into the Shermans flaws, you have to look at the things that could not be addressed with simple upgrades. The tanks height, front drive, and sponsons, and all these had to wait until the T20 series ended in the M26.  The front drive and suspension from the M2/M3 series got carried over to the M4 series because they hadn’t even solved the turret ring problem, so they really hadn’t spent much time looking into rear drive. Men and women were designing these tanks and their parts on drafting tables using slide rules. The Greatest Generation and the one before they were so good at math it’s mind-boggling. The tanks designed to replace the Sherman all used rear drive, with the motor, tranny as one big unit in the rear of the hull.  These designs also eventually got torsion bar suspension, but it was deemed so little of an improvement in the M4 series as to not be worth changing production lines, but it was good for the newer tanks. There is some debate about torsion bars being the best way to go, the US Army said yes, and every tank up until and including the M1 Abrams use torsion bars. This was not the only choice, the British used improved, but very Sherman like Bogie systems on the Centurion and they upgraded that tank for decades. The torsion bar system takes up space in the hull, bogie type systems don’t and bolt on suspension is easy to repair, torsion bar systems are notoriously not easy to fix on any tank that has them.  I’ve read M48 repair crews in Vietnam would use C4 to blow the axle stubs out of the hull, instead of doing it the normal way, to save time.

Tiger II and it's better, a M4A3 76 w Sherman tank, the best tank of the war.
Tiger II and M4A3 76 W Sherman side by side, that Tiger may not run, but the Sherman surely does. They share the same design flaw, the powertrain in the front, the motor in the back, with a drive shaft running through the fighting compartment. This forces the turret basket up and the whole tank to be taller. Also, note that both tanks have sponsons, these were largely eliminated from future tank designs by everyone because they add volume to the hull the dilutes the overall armor thickness. Final note, that Sherman has all its ammo stored in the floor in wet ammo racks, the Tiger II has its ammo in the sponsons and rear of the turret. In dry unarmored racks. Making the Tiger prone to catastrophic ammo fires, it seems like Nazi tank designers didn’t learn that lesson very well. The Tiger II may look impressive, but its combat record is not, if you read accounts not written by Nazis. The first losses on the eastern front were to the humble T-34-85, and they killed several of these silly beasts without loss. 

The Shermans tallness, one of its real flaws, though one that’s always exaggerated, was also caused by the Shermans front-drive layout. This was because this layout required a drive shaft from the motor, to the tranny to run through the fighting compartment, thus forcing the turret basket up and making the tank taller, and in the Shermans case the first engine choice the R975 was a big motor, and forced a large tall engine compartment on the design.  There was not much that could have been done to solve this problem short of putting one of the T20 series into production, but they wouldn’t have produced a tank that was really much better.  This was a design flaw all the German cats, and pretty all German tanks had. They don’t have the R975 as a reason, they were just bad at engine layout and cooling systems and wasted a lot of space there.

The final flaw is a minor one, the hull having sponsons added area that had to be protected with armor. Had they been eliminated, their weight in armor could have been added to the front of the hull and turret making for slightly more armor, but a much more cramped tank. This is a pretty minor flaw overall, and the Sherman would be the last US tank design to have them.

So overall all, the majority of the Shermans flaws were solved over its production life. The ones that couldn’t be were resolved in the next tank design. I have to say, all in all, that’s a very small list of serious flaws and it is far outweighed by the Shermans pluses.  This does nothing but reinforces my view that the Sherman tank was the best tank of the war.

If you came by this article from that terrible Cracked article, 5 Things about War you thought were true because of War movies, forget the garbage you just exposed yourself to and stick around and read up on the most important allied tank of the war, the M4 Medium Tank, AKA the Sherman.

Start here:   The Conclusions: Was The Sherman Good Enough? Hell, Yes, It Was!

Then stick around, you can actually learn something from this site.

#37 Dozers: The M1 and M1A1 Dozer Blade Kit.

This M4A3 105 tank has an M1 bulldozer blade installed.

  Dozers: Turn Your Tank Into A Bulldozer!

This dozer blade came in kit form and could be installed on any Sherman. They came two to a crate, an M1 and an M1A1 each per crate. The difference between a M1 and an M1A1 Dozer blade was pretty minor, and an M1A1 dozer blade was universal, but the M1 blade only worked on Shermans with VVSS. This is because the M1A1 blade was wider. Here is some data on the blades. The reason the wider blade worked on the narrower VVSS tanks was because the kit came with spacers to fill the gap left by the wider A1 blade when used on a VVSS tank.


Blade Data

Blade Height: —————————————————————————————-48 inches

Overall width M1:———————————————————————————124 inches

Overall width M1A1:——————————————————————————138 inches

Added weight to tank M1:————————————————————————-7100 lbs.

Added weight to tank M1A1:———————————————————————-7400 lbs.

Lift height of blade M1:———————————————————————18 to 30 inches

Lift height of blade M1A1:——————————————————————18 to 42 inches

Lift Load, M1:——————————————————————————————- 4000lbs

Lift Load M1A1:—————————————————————————————–5000lbs

The TM for the kit makes it sound like it was installed on tanks at the Depot Level and then the tank was issued to a unit with the blade kit installed and ready to go. After reading through the tech manual, it could be done by the tank crew without to much trouble, though a small crane would be nice for the installation of the hydraulic cylinder, but that seems like it would be a rare occurrence. If the kit had a drawback, it was that the blade blocked the bow Machine gun.

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 4 –bulldozerpic from TM9-719 5

The kit broke down into several major parts groups.

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 7

Hydraulic Group: Was made up from external and internal parts that were a part of the Hydraulic system including the pump, an oil reservoir, and all the brackets to install these parts. There were also hoses and fasteners of various types. It also included a special wide angle periscope for the driver. Once

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 2bulldozerpic from TM9-719 3bulldozerpic from TM9-719 10

To install these parts a few things had to be removed from the interior. As this pictures show, the pump and tank assembly was fairly large. Essentially the tray for the spare periscope head box and the box had to be removed. The several brackets and guards had to be removed, and then the generator itself and its mount had to be pulled. It also involves disconnecting the transmission side of the propeller shaft, and installing a new pulley on it to run the hydraulic pump from. Once everything was installed, it did not impede the crew any more than when it wasn’t there since nothing took up the space right above the transmission.

   A few parts from the hydraulic group did get installed outside the tank, the hydraulic hose, run through the left headlight mount. A guard for the hose and a cable running from a handle on the inside, used to jettison the blade in an emergency. All these parts are universal to all models of Sherman, though a few brackets could require a little modification for everything to fit right do to the way some hoses and belts were run.

The hydraulic jack and the framework attacking it to the tanks tow points on the front of the tank are also in the hydraulic group.  There were several bracket sets for use with the different kinds of differential housing the tanks could have.  There was a cover assembly/bracket to protect the mount, and hoses, and help position the jack

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 11 bulldozerpic from TM9-719 8bulldozerpic from TM9-719 10

Suspension Mounting Bracket Group: This group used already existing bolt holes in the suspension to make installation easier.  Each kit came with brackets to make it work with VVSS or HVSS. The VVSS bracket could be adapted to work with either the M1 or M1A1 blades, the HVSS Brackets could only be used with M1A1 blades, because the M1A1 blade was wider to accommodate the wider HVSS. This bracket and had the pivot points for the blade.

The VVSS mounts used a replacement suspension cap built onto the blade mounting bracket, and another replacement cap with bolt holes. Another part of the vertical suspension mounting bracket bolted to the unused return roller holes on the middle boggie assembly, the same one that used the built in replacement caps. The replacement cap with extra bolt holes replaced the cap in the front boggie assembly.

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 12

The HVSS mounts were simpler. You just removed four bolts in the first and second suspension arm supports and install the horizontal suspension mounting bracket with longer bolts and lock washers. This is a much easier install than the VVSS mounts, but neither seems overly hard.

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 13

Once you have the mounting brackets on, you get to move onto the…

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 bulldozerpic from TM9-719 14

Bulldozer Blade Group: This group is basically the blade and it arms that mount to the pivot points on the suspension brackets.  This part of the job is where you could really lose fingers or toes. You need a nice flat area, the area you stated in hopefully, and then you drive the tank up to the blade, careful to keep it centered. The tank stops to feet from contact with the blade, and the driver raises the jack piston to the same as the connecting pin on the Blade group.

This is a multi-person Job, since the co-driver has to hold the quick release cable, in the release position, while the tank is driven into the Jack arms pivot points, and then let the pin close on the eye on the Jack head. The co-driver, while doing this is also guiding the tank into place on the blade arms. At this point the latches on the pivot points can be locked down, a large hammer may be needed and the quick disconnect cable fed into place and loosely connected in the interior of the tank. When it’s pulled the whole assemble will come lose and can be backed out of.  You can see some of this in a video in the Shermans in motion section.

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 16

The final step would be installing the M14 periscope in the drivers position, filling the system with fluids and testing it out. The system was easy to use, and had dual controls, so the co-driver could operate the blade if the driver really needed both hands. The controls were a simple lever used to raise and lower the blade, raising it by hydraulic pressure, lowering it by cutting the hydro pressure and letting the weight of the blade bring it down. Removing the blade was as simple as pulling the quick release cable. If you planted the blade in the ground just right before release, so it wouldn’t move, you could drive the tank right back up to it, hammer the pivot point latches in place, put the pin in the jack and go.

I have to say this is a very impressive kit. It did make the tank a bit front heavy and probably shortened the life of the front springs, it was not a problem in any real way or the Army would have had modifications made to solve these problems. This kit saw prolific use with the US Army and Marines, and since it worked on any Sherman model, probably everyone else who used Shermans and could get their hands on it. This dozer kit was the most effective way of punching through hedgerows as well, working much better than the dedicated hedge row cutters. A tank company would get one dozer blade equipped tank into the HQ platoon, if there were enough kits to go around. There might be another one in the Battalion HQ platoon.

bulldozerpic from TM9-719 15

The Lone Sentry has published a report from Shortly after WWII called the Armored Special Equipment report.

This report covers all the armored funnies, or specialty vehicles from Hedgerow cutters, DD tanks, and Crab modifications. Our interest from this article is the feedback on the Dozer blade setup.

This was the feedback on its combat use:

The tank dozer was employed extensively for numerous purposes commencing immediately after D-Day. Some of the missions for which the tank dozer was employed in the European Theater are outlined below:

(1) Shortly after D-Day a platoon of four tank dozers of the 741st Tank Battalion operating on the beaches under intense fire, removed beach obstacles, opened roads and pushed off beached landing vehicles.4

(2) The tank dozer was used to break through hedgerows, broaden existing gaps and gaps blown with explosive charges; and thereby facilitated the use of other than normal entrances through hedgerows.5

(3) Tank and gun emplacements were prepared.

(4) Roadblocks were cleared; and in addition, rubble, wrecked vehicles, and snow were removed, and craters filled. It was found necessary in many instances to provide a tank dozer for these purposes to work in conjunction with the roller type mine exploders in sweeping roads and shoulders.

(5) In connection with the Roer and Rhine River operations, bridge approaches were built, launching sites for LCM’s and LCVP’s and crane sites were prepared, and cuts dozed in the river dikes.

The Tank Dozer has the following merits and deficiencies:

(1) Merits:

(a) The tank dozer provides armored units with a standard vehicle that can be readily employed to reduce obstacles and assist in the advance of units or to assist in the preparation of defensive positions.

(b) Armor protection is provided for the crew.

(c) The tank dozer can also be employed as a fighter tank.

(d) The tank dozer installation is simple, reliable, and its maintenance demands are negligible. 

(2) Deficiencies:

(a) The tank dozer installation overloads the front of the tank suspension system and increases bogie tire failures and suspension maintenance demands.

(b) The tank dozer installation materially limits the driver’s field of vision.

(c) There is insufficient clearance between the track and dozer blade arm to ensure safe operation with the addition of the standard 3-5/8 inch track extended end connectors.

(d) Sufficient dozer blade accessories were not available so that dozer blades salvaged from burned tanks could be readily reinstalled on other tanks.


I found this very interesting, please check out the Lone Sentry Web site, it’s a very informative place.

The source for this post was almost exclusively Tech Manual 9-719 Tank Mounting Bulldozer (M1 and M1A1). The TM can be found in our download section and the report on the lone Sentry.

Here’s a video from the army on how to install this dozer blade kit.