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M4 Sherman
M4 Sherman


"Shermans have surrounded us!"
―Rabbit Team
"This tank is a true bestseller! They made 50.000 of this baby! This thing is sturdy and tough and surprisingly comfy! And it's so easy to steer, even a monkey could drive this tank using its foolproof manual!"
―Alisa during her villainous breakdown
"17 pounder-san, ready?"
―Darjeeling to Naomi

The Medium Tank M4 (or M4 Sherman), was an American medium tank that became one of the most successful tank models of all time.

History

The Medium Tank M4 was a further development of the earlier Medium Tank M3, which had been hurriedly built and deployed on the front out of necessity, while a tank with a 75mm gun in a rotating turret was still in developement due American's lack of experience at the time to make a gun turret capable of holding a 75 mm weapon. Five designs were made and on April 18th 1941 the prototype known as T6 using a modified M3 hull and chassis and carrying a newly designed turret mounting the M3 75mm gun was chosen. The prototype was completed on September 2nd 1941, the Sherman was born and would enter production in February 1942.

A huge number of tanks were built, helped by the fact that there were as many 6 distinct versions produced, which differed in the hull (either cast or welded), the engine (either the Continental radial or the Ford GAA inline gasoline ones, or those with Diesel engines). This allowed many factories in America with different production methods to contribute to the M4 tank output. Their designations variated according the engine and hull type, only the M4A1 was using the cast hull, while all others models were using the welded hull (with the exception of the non-deployed M4A6 that used a composite hull, casted on the front and welded on the sides) and were differentiated by their engine: the original Continental engine was in the M4, the twin GM diesel engine was in the M4A2, the gasoline Ford engine was in the M4A3 and the five gasoline Chrysler engines were in the M4A4. There wasn't a M4A5 in US production as it was an administrative placeholder designation for the Canadian produced Ram tank.

In early 1942 even before deployment, the need of a high-velocity gun led the US Ordnance Department to fit a M10 Wolvering 3-inch gun in the M4 turret but was deemed unsatisfactory. They try to fit the 76mm M1 gun in the turret but the concept was found ergonomically unsatisfactory by US Armored Forces. They took the T23 turret design (part of the unsuccessful T20 program, the predecessor of the M26 Pershing) with its ability to hold the 76mm M1 gun and adapted on the Sherman. As a success it was first adapted on the M4A1 becoming the M4A1(76)W (the "W" indicates the usage of wet ammunition storage, by moving all the ammunition in the hull to the bottom and also covered them in a liquid surrounding to prevent fires).

On their side the British was looking to adapt their most powerful anti-tank gun, the successful Ordnance QF 17-pounder on the Sherman due to their Cromwell-based project the A30 Challenger being delayed. After extensive modifications to the 17-pounder design, it was finally fitted into the M4 Sherman tank and employed by the British with the addition of a suffix "C" in the designation (for example Sherman VC), however the design nickname "Firefly" was generally used whatever the version.

Like for the 76mm gun, in early 1942 tests were made to mount a 105mm into its turret, they used a modified version of the M2A1 howitzer called 105mm howitzer M4. After that they modified the turret and the interior of the hull. Ordnance Department expressed its approval of the project and the production began in February 1944 with the M4 and later with the M4A3 becoming both the M4(105) and the M4A3(105). They were employed as assault gun and infantry support as the howitzer had poor anti-armor performance but somehow had HEAT rounds for self-defense.

In May 1944 some M4A3(75)W were converted into assault tank, equipping them with extra armor plates (making them much thicker than others Shermans) and a new more massive T23-style turret. However the increased weight reduced the tank top-speed and tended to stress the suspensions. The tank was labelled M4A3E2 and was better known by its postwar nickname "Jumbo".

The M4 saw its baptism of fire in North Africa, in British service (who christened the tank as "Sherman" naming it Sherman I to V for the M4 to M4A4) during the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. It performed well against German tanks like the Panzer III & IV or Italian tanks such as the M13/40, the Semovente was the only real threat for them. They played no small part in the ultimate defeat of the Axis at El Alamein and then in US service during Operation Torch and in Tunisia.

However in Tunisia it encounter its worst nightmare the German Tiger I heavy tank with its frontal armor nearly impervious to the M4's 75mm gun while the Tiger's 88mm could destroy them at long distance, this coupled with the American disaster at the Battle of Kasserine Pass in February 1943 where many Sherman have been decimated by German, due to their "ability" to catching fire upon penetration cause of the ammunition storage scattered all over the tank hull, where a single penetrating round had a high chance of striking these ammunition. After North Africa the Sherman was also participating to the Invasion of Sicily and Italy.

The M4 most famous deployment was during the Invasion of Normandy on June 1944, where it was used by Americans, French, British and Polish Armies. Its performances during the landing and the aftermath defied expectations, while the M4 was vulnerable and outgunned by almost all German tanks (such as long-barreled Panzer IVs, Panthers, Tigers, Jagdpanzer IV...), thanks to Allied logistics and tactics M4s were able to outperform the better German tanks, this was also due to the weak number of Tigers encountered. The Panther on its part was a nasty surprise as American intelligence considered it to be just another heavy tank and didn't expect them to be encountered in number, they soon realized it was a new medium tanks meant to make up the bulk of the German Panzer Divisions. On their side, Britishs had good result with their Fireflies as with its 17-pounder is was able to engage and defeat Panthers and Tigers at combat range.

By the end of 1944, the German launched the Ardennes Offensive, while initialy the Americans weren't prepared and weakened, facing the superiors Panthers and Germany's new heavy tank the mighty Tiger II, their resilience and German fuel shortage turn the tide on their favor. But in Bastogne the M4 was the subject of scandal as they were swept aside easily by the heavily armored and gunned German tanks, even reaching towards public press on the home front. However this battle showed some of its greatest traits, they were very reliable on the battlefield, could drive hundred of miles with minimal breakdowns and showed a great maintenance ease and ability to supply due to the abundant numbers. After the Battle of the Bulge, the German armored forces is almost bled dry and heavy tanks became very rare, the M4 was still widely used on the battlefield, despite the arrival of the better armored and gunned M26 Pershing in February 1945, it was prefered over the M26 which was more heavier, underpowered and more prone to breakdown.

The M4 saw a limited deployment in the Pacific theater in US Marine Corps, replacing the M2 light tanks and M3 Stuarts and was first used as infantry support during the Battle of Tarawa in November 1943. They didn't have really much opposition as their armor was too thick for Japanese tanks such as the Type 97 Chi-Ha and Type 95 Ha-Go. These were so lightly armored that the tank crew were nearly forced to use HE shells against these tanks as the normal AP shells often over-penetrate the tank with relatively little damage. No 76mm-gunned Sherman were used as the 75mm was more than efficient.

Some 4,000 Shermans (nicknamed Emcha and mostly the M4A2 diesel variant) were also delivered to the USSR as part of the Lend-Lease act in the late summer 1944. While less adapted to the harsh conditions of the Eastern Front as is Russian counterpart the T-34, it was kind of appreciated by its crews. By 1945 in view of improving standardization of ease maintenance only-Sherman units were formed such as the 1st, 3rd and 9th Guards Mechanized Corps.

Some M4s were captured by Germany and used under designation Panzerkampfwagen M4 748(a) (for American M4s) and Panzerkampfwagen M4 748(e) (for British Shermans).

After the war the M4 was kept in service in the U.S. for some years, though being slowly phased out as the M26 Pershing and M46 Patton were slated to be its successor. During the Korean War, the M4 Sherman (predominately the M4A3(76)W variant) retained a prominent role throughout the conflict, especially so after the M26 Pershing continued to have reliability and mobility problems in the region. There the American forces commonly met the T-34/85 supplied by the USSR to the North Korea. While the M26 Pershing was more than a match to these tanks, the M4 was considered an equal. After the Korean War, the M4 was officially replaced in US inventory by the Patton tanks.

The M4 was also supplied in numbers to many countries around the world during the Cold War. The final hurrah of the M4 Shermans was in Israel, where a joint project with France produced the "Sherman M-50" and "Sherman M-51" (or more commonly known as Super Shermans). The M-50 used a long 75mm SA50 gun based off the French AMX-13 light tank, while the M-51 used a powerful French 105mm Modele F1 gun used in the AMX-30. These designs showed the great adaptability of the Sherman to take on such upgrades to remain relevant. Both Super Shermans saw action in the 1967 Six Days War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War and were effective on fighting the various T-34/85, T-54 series and T-62 it encountered, which showed how the M4 tanks can remain very useful war weapons with dependence on crew training and tactical usage. The Israelis phased out their M4 Shermans by the 1990s.

The Sherman also fought in numerous wars from the late 1940s to the 1990s, such as the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani Wars, the Iran-Iraq war, the First Indochina War, Yugoslav Wars... Paraguay had fifteen Shermans (delivered from Argentina in 1980) reinstalled in active duty in 2016 until their retirement in April 2018.

In Girls und Panzer

Anime

Saunders University High School possesses a huge arsenal of M4 Shermans in many variants (from the basic M4 to the M4A1 even having some rare M4A6) and even one Sherman VC.

Saunders fielded ten Shermans (eight M4, one commanded by Kay, one Sherman VC commanded by Naomi and one M4A1(76) as flag tank commanded by Alisa) during the tournament first round match against Ooarai Girls Academy. During the first half of the match all Shermans (except the M4A1 and the Firefly) harassed Ooarai thanks to Alisa's intels. Two M4s are caught in a trap by Ooarai where one get destroyed by a joint fire of the Panzer IV, StuG and M3 Lee while the other one escape. The Type 89 coincidentaly stumble on the flag tank, this will end in a pursuit during which the M4A1(76) will be blinded by smoke bombs before falling into a trap. For the M4A1 the rest of the match will be spend being persued by Ooarai, on her side Kay after discovering Alisa's lack of fair play decided to take only four Shermans to Ooarai's pursuit including the Firefly. During the pursuit the the Type 89 and the M3 are destroyed by the Firefly and when the Panzer IV go uphill to take aim at their flag tank, the Firefly destroyed the Panzer IV but failed to do it before it gunned down the flag tank.

Der Film

Saunders comes with three Shermans to help Ooarai against All-Star University Team (one M4, one M4A1(76) and one Firefly), they were assigned to Morning Glory Platoon commanded by Kay. During the engagement against Azumi's platoon in the forest, the Firefly took some shot preventing it from supporting its allies while the M4A1(76) took a hellish bombardment from the Pershings damaging its tracks, transmission and turret but was still operationnal.

After the retreat in the theme park, the Shermans were stationned in the central plaza. When the University Team broke out in the eastern utility gate they were send on backup but ultimately had to fled unable to harm the T28. During their escape the Firefly knocked out one Pershing, but the Shermans were trapped and surrounded at the amphitheater alongside others, they only managed to escape thanks to Rabbit Team intervention.

The Firefly opened a breach in a bridge to allow the Churchill to strike at the T28's belly. After Azumi, Megumi and Rumi went "Bermuda Attack" the end was near for the Sherman as they all perished at the guns of the Trio's Pershings while attempting to stop them, Alisa from Rumi, Naomi from Megumi during a triple drift and finally Kay was overkilled by the trio.

Fierce Fight! It's the Maginot Battle!

Prior to their match against Ooarai, Maginot Girls' Academy had a practice match against Saunders where their R35s were crushed by Shermans.

Gekkan Senshado Magazine

BC Freedom High School is said to possesses some M4A1 and M4A2 Shermans.

BC Freedom fielded one M4A1 Sherman as flag tank during the tournament first round match against St. Gloriana Girls College. Unable to use their Wolverine due to its open turret, BC Freedom dismount the M-10 3-inch gun and mount it on their Sherman. The Sherman remained in the city waiting for ambush at a crossroad, Darjeeling passed the intersection at full speed with no harm but Nilgiri wasn't so lucky as her Matilda took a direct hit from the Sherman but it was then gunned down by the Churchill and another Matilda.

Waffle Academy fielded two M4(105) Shermans during the tournament first round match against Yogurt Academy. While the Shermans 105mm howitzer was ill-suited for close-combat and unable to deal with Yogurt's StuG, Panzer IV or Panthers, they managed to open a breach in Yogurt lines but as Waffle failed to take the opportunity to scramble their opponent ranks, the Shermans were likely destroyed alongside the others tanks.

The Witch with Wings of Fire and Iron

Saunders fielded two Shermans, a M4 and a M4A1(76) (apparently commanded by Alisa), in a match against Count High School.

Trivia

  • While only named M4 Medium Tank by Americans, Britishs give it the name M4 Sherman in honor of Union General WIlliam T. Sherman.
  • For some reasons, Saunders that mainly operate American tanks has a Sherman VC in their arsenal, which was, even if the tank base was American, a British modification. It's possible that the inclusion was based off a US Army order of 100 Firefly tanks in 1945, but those were never delivered.
  • Saunders' M4 was featured as a Skin Mod along with the other tanks as a Collaboration Event of Girls Und Panzer and World of Tanks (excluding the Sherman Firefly).

Gallery

Main article: M4 Sherman/Gallery
Tanks ☰ 
Light Tanks and Tankettes Poland7TPFranceAMR-35FinlandBT-42UKCrusaderItalyCV.33FranceFT-17UKHarry HopkinsUnited StatesM22 LocustUnited StatesM24 ChaffeeUKMark VIGermanyPanzer IICzechoslovakiaPanzer 38(t)FranceR35SovietT-60SovietT-70UKTetrarchPolandTK TanketteJapan2Type 95 Ha-GoJapan2Type 97 Te-Ke
Medium Tanks UKCenturionUnited StatesM3 LeeUnited StatesM4 ShermanItalyM13/40UKMatilda IIItalyP26/40GermanyPanzer IIIGermanyPanzer IVGermanyPanzer V "Panther"FranceSOMUA S35SovietT-34SovietT-44Japan2Type 89BJapan2Type 3 Chi-NuJapan2Type 97 Chi-Ha
Heavy Tanks FranceARL 44FranceB1 BisUKBlack PrinceUKChurchillSovietIS-2SovietKV-2United StatesM26 PershingUKMark IVGermanyPanzer VI "Tiger"GermanyPanzer VI Ausf. B "Tiger II"GermanyPanzer VIII "Maus"GermanyVK45.01 Porsche Tiger
Tank Destroyers GermanyElefantGermanyHetzerSovietISU-152GermanyJagdpanzer IVGermanyJagdpantherGermanyJagdtigerItalySemovente da 75/18GermanyStuG IIIUnited StatesT28 Super-Heavy Tank
Self-Propelled Artillery GermanyKarl-Gerät 040
Main Battle Tank Japan2Type 10