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Tank M-4 "Sherman"

Probably one of the best known tank series to emerge from World War II is the M4 "Sherman" tank. Mass produced for the war effort in many variations, the "Sherman" tank saw combat action in North Africa, Europe and Pacific campaigns as an infantry assault, engineering tank-dozer, rocket launcher, mine-clearing or armor recovery vehicle. Operated with a crew of (5), the M4 was equipped with either a gasoline or diesel 500 hp engine, having a maximum speed of 25 mph and a operational range 100 miles. Thickness of armor was from .5 to 3 inches and it could span a 7.5 foot trench. Its turret could transverse a full 360 degrees and incorporated a 75mm cannon and externally operated .50 caliber machine gun. In addition, a .30 caliber machine mounted in its front hull was operated from inside.
Critics of the M-4 tank have mentioned its silhouette was too high creating a easier target and the armor was thin requiring crews to place sand bags on the exterior to beef up protection. Especially in Europe the M4 tank was often out gunned and had insufficient armor thickness when confronting German tanks. However, tactically by presenting greater numbers of "Sherman" tanks, the odds on the battlefields increased. Later versions had their armor thickness increased up to 4 inches and upgraded to the 76mm cannon or 105mm howitzer. Over 40,000 variants of M4 tanks were produced from 1941 to wars end in 1945 and continued to serve during the Korean War. A major problem for the M4 series was with all the different variants, repair and maintenance was logistically a nightmare to provide replacement parts or simply prevented the interchanging of parts between similar looking units.



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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net