Sherman a tank or a tin?

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Panther
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Sherman a tank or a tin?

Post by Panther » 26 May 2003 13:38

Hi, I wonder if the american Sherman tank was bad or good? What I have heard, Sherman was rather sheap to produce, and the americans were able to make a lot of them. But they were also bad tanks, not only compared to german battle tanks. The were "death-traps" and few american tank crews wanted to use them. I've also heard that the americans gave many of the to the soviets, perhaps because they were that bad? Greatfull for answers.

/Panther

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Post by Yngwie J. » 26 May 2003 14:39

Tjenare Panther!

Facing war the U.S.Army was i need of a more modern tank. They needed it fast, and in great numbers. The Sherman was designed to meet these requirements, and as such it was nothing short of a success.

Most German tanks was superior in firepower and armor to the Sherman, but the Sherman had other virtues that some of the German tanks lacked.
It was reliable, easy to maintain, agile, and above all easy to use. The latter reduced time needed to train crews, and was an advantage in the chaos of battle.
I think the guns the Sherman utilized had a higher rate of fire than some of the German tank guns as well.

Allthough the M4 Sherman wasn´t the greatest tank of WW2, it wasn´t all bad either. Even if it was the numerical superiority that made the Sherman a war-winning weapon.

mvh
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Post by daveh » 26 May 2003 15:22

Against the Japanese the M4 outclassed everything.

It was at least equal overall to the most common German tank, the Panzer IV. It was equal to or better than the majority of german SP guns including the most common German AFV the StuG III.
It was outgunned, except it its British Firefly form, by the German Panthers and Tigers (I and II).
Its armour was less than many of the heavier German SP (eg Jagdpanther) and Panthers and Tigers (I and II).
However the M4 could and did destroy Panthers and Tigers.
Its gun was fine for use against non armoured targets and remember that was a major part of a tanks use.
Ergonomically it was a sound design, in many waysbetter than contemporaery tanks eg the T34. The M4 was successful against T34/85's in Korea despite poorer armour and less powerful guns

For a wide range of duties the M4 was an effective tank. It had a reasonablygun effective against much of the German armour and certainly against soft skin / infantry targets. Armour was designed for protection against 3.7cm weapons and not the later German AT guns but it could on occasions stand up against heavier German AT guns. Its mobility was reasonable and its general realiability was good.

and of course it was available.

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Post by Yngwie J. » 26 May 2003 16:01

Hello daveh,
It was at least equal overall to the most common German tank, the Panzer IV.
I agree. I believe late production Shermans was even superior to the Panzer IV.
Against the Japanese the M4 outclassed everything.
On Pelileu, Sherman crews had to use HE-rounds to ensure a kill when they encountered Japanese Type 95 tanks as the AP rounds punched through so easily they often failed to detonate!

You´ve made some very good points.
Used in numbers and utilizing the right tactics, the Sherman could be more than a match for any German tank.

Best regards,
Yngwie J.

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Post by Second try » 26 May 2003 20:13

The 75mm M3/M6 L/40 gun when fired high explosive shell was more effective than russian 85mm US 76mm and german 75mm guns.It containde more charge and had thinner shell walls (lower projectile velocity) aid fragmentation.

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Post by Panther » 27 May 2003 07:04

Thank you guys for your valuable comments!

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American Tanks

Post by Panther » 27 May 2003 09:37

Instead of starting a new topic I figure that I might ask this here. Other information about american, japanese, brittish, french, romanian, hungarian etc tanks in that order. And I must give you all credit! Not even in my wildes imaginations could I belive that there was so many crazy historical fans all over the globe! Thank you again for your great work. I'm stunned each time I visit by the great arguments and enthusiasm! :D

/Panther

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Re: Sherman a tank or a tin?

Post by Darrin » 27 May 2003 12:05

Panther wrote:Hi, I wonder if the american Sherman tank was bad or good? What I have heard, Sherman was rather sheap to produce, and the americans were able to make a lot of them. But they were also bad tanks, not only compared to german battle tanks. The were "death-traps" and few american tank crews wanted to use them. I've also heard that the americans gave many of the to the soviets, perhaps because they were that bad? Greatfull for answers.

/Panther

The US made almost 55,000 shermans and gave 4,000 to the rus. The giving them away to the rus because they were so bad isn´t accurate. Otherwise the us whould be left just with stuarts and tank des as well. Many of the early shermans went to the CW since they up till dday were fighting the war first. Now the Lee or grant crtainly wasn´t a great design and was only used to supply LL tanks to the CW and rus untill the sherman became avilable. The US rarly operated these later vehicles themselves.

While the number of western shermans might seem impresive don´t assume all of them made it to combat. The US had about 100 army and mar div by the end of the war of which only 16 were actual armoured divs. Including indep tank and tank des bats. The western TOE of shermans was probably around 25% of the actual numbers made. But the shermans did outnumber the ger tanks on the western front probaly around 3x for shermans alone and 4x if we include TDs and sturats.

Now only 25% of the shermans were des during the war. The loss rate was not that excessive. While the allies were able to maintain the sherman better it may have more to do with certain allied adv and ger dis adv. The ger tanks by 44 were certainly less reliable then the sherman but the diff was probably less then op % might indicate.

The sherman was not as cheap to produce as some would say. An avg sherman cost around $50,000. Although it is difficult to compare 1 cost with another It seems the ger PzIV was as cheap as a sherman.

The rus actually seemed to like the shermans. At wars end a third of thier guard mech corps were equiped with them. The elite of thier elite mech form including one that was equipped with T34-85s but was reequipped with shermans.

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Post by Darrin » 27 May 2003 13:31

The problem with the sherman was its 75mm gun that most of the USA shermans had until after the war. This gun could pen at most 100mm of armour and no HVAP rounds were made it was just normal AP. The panther and tiger fronts were invulnerable and while the panther could be hit in the side the tiger had to be at point blank range for a side hit to pen. Even the late war panzer IVs needed to be at point blank range to pen thier hull fronts. Only their turrent fronts with 50mm of arm were able to be pen by a US 75mm round.

The 76mm sherman, panzer IVs and T34-85 were very much equivalnat. Just difering in reliability and crew taining/exp.

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Post by daveh » 27 May 2003 15:33

A selection of links for you panther

British tanks

http://www.geocities.com/monkeyspankert ... ision.html

Hungarian armoured vehicles

See these posts in this forum

Hungarian armoured vehicles Horthy : includes the link
http://www.freeweb.hu/gamma21/ hungarian tanks has an english section

Hungarian Tas tank daveh

The above include pics and some discussion and references.

Japanese AFV

http://member.nifty.ne.jp/takixxx/tanks.htm

Rumanian AFV

http://members.tripod.com/~Sturmvogel/r ... l#Heading7

museums

http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Bunke ... armor.html vehicles at ther aberdeen proving ground

AFV by country

http://users.swing.be/tanks.edito/edito/2046.html#2046

http://www.wargaming.net/tanks/index.htm links to AFV sites be warned not all are still available.

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/

a start at least :)

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Post by David Lehmann » 27 May 2003 18:24


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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 28 May 2003 00:31

I would hope the Sherman was superior to a Pz IV, It was alot bigger
35-37 tons as opposed to 22 tons, but it was not until it got the 76.2mm gun and water jackets and extra armor .

The Sherman really was nothing more that an upgraded M2 tank from the 1920's. Because of Armor School doctrine enforced by Patton, a new tank did not reach the troops in numbers until 1945, the M26

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Post by Second try » 28 May 2003 20:20

Darrin wrote:The problem with the sherman was its 75mm gun that most of the USA shermans had until after the war. This gun could pen at most 100mm of armour and no HVAP rounds were made it was just normal AP. The panther and tiger fronts were invulnerable and while the panther could be hit in the side the tiger had to be at point blank range for a side hit to pen. Even the late war panzer IVs needed to be at point blank range to pen thier hull fronts. Only their turrent fronts with 50mm of arm were able to be pen by a US 75mm round.

The 76mm sherman, panzer IVs and T34-85 were very much equivalnat. Just difering in reliability and crew taining/exp.
Face-hardened front driver plate (85mm/9 degree slope) of a head on PzIVH could be pierced with M61 APCBC-He-T at 940 meters as all the homogenous frontal armor of PzIVJ coud be pierced only at 150 meters.All front turret was 50mm that was partially overlapped by a cast unsuppported 50mm thin gun shield.

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Post by Caldric » 28 May 2003 20:39

Darrin wrote:The problem with the sherman was its 75mm gun that most of the USA shermans had until after the war. This gun could pen at most 100mm of armour and no HVAP rounds were made it was just normal AP. The panther and tiger fronts were invulnerable and while the panther could be hit in the side the tiger had to be at point blank range for a side hit to pen. Even the late war panzer IVs needed to be at point blank range to pen thier hull fronts. Only their turrent fronts with 50mm of arm were able to be pen by a US 75mm round.

The 76mm sherman, panzer IVs and T34-85 were very much equivalnat. Just difering in reliability and crew taining/exp.
Hi Darrin as always great information. I forget right off, but when did the 76MM main gun start replacing the older 75? I know there were 75'sall the way to the end of the war. However the 76mm sent to the Russians with HVSS suspension were well liked and made few Soviet Aces. The Soviets if I remember correctly actually liked the 75mm because they had no shortage of ammo for it. Also they like the diesel version because unlike the US (Navy had first call on all Diesel engines) they had plenty of fuel for D versions. Do you know how many Diesel equiped went to Russia LL?

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Post by Darrin » 29 May 2003 17:03

Caldric wrote:
Darrin wrote:The problem with the sherman was its 75mm gun that most of the USA shermans had until after the war. This gun could pen at most 100mm of armour and no HVAP rounds were made it was just normal AP. The panther and tiger fronts were invulnerable and while the panther could be hit in the side the tiger had to be at point blank range for a side hit to pen. Even the late war panzer IVs needed to be at point blank range to pen thier hull fronts. Only their turrent fronts with 50mm of arm were able to be pen by a US 75mm round.

The 76mm sherman, panzer IVs and T34-85 were very much equivalnat. Just difering in reliability and crew taining/exp.
Hi Darrin as always great information. I forget right off, but when did the 76MM main gun start replacing the older 75? I know there were 75'sall the way to the end of the war. However the 76mm sent to the Russians with HVSS suspension were well liked and made few Soviet Aces. The Soviets if I remember correctly actually liked the 75mm because they had no shortage of ammo for it. Also they like the diesel version because unlike the US (Navy had first call on all Diesel engines) they had plenty of fuel for D versions. Do you know how many Diesel equiped went to Russia LL?

As far as I know all the shermans sent to rus were diseal as were all shermans that served in the marines via indep Tank bats. The main reason in addition to shortages of diseal engines was also logistics. Every other army engine used gas to keep logistics as simple as possible they stayed the same.

By op cobra the first US 76 mm shermans were assigned. About 150 overall 50 to two arm divs and 50 in reserve. By fall every arm div arriving on the contenit got equiped with 76mm shermans but not indep tank bats or preexisting bats and divs. The latter got reuipped more slowly but eventually all US arm divs had a large % of 76mm shermans.

The US until just after normandy had no req for a 76mm shermna so the development was slow and initial production assigned to CW and USSR forces. The US had thier indep TD bats which the CW never used as much. Each TD had at least a 76mm gun and a few later in the war had a 90mm gun. There were in total roughly 60 bats of 35 TDs each of which by the battle of the bulge 30 were present. These combined with over half of the ATGs being 76 mm were supposed to be the main tank killer.

A US arm div might have 250 shermans and sturats but if it had 1 att td bat it was a bit over 10% of the tank total. It and the ATGs esp when attacking were ineffective and like a drop in a bucket of water. And when they got thier they only had a slight adv in gun and were more poorly arourmed then the shermans as well as open toped. The 76mm gun meant you could kill a tiger side and panzer IV hull at respectable distance but still only get point blank against the tiger I front. The tiger II and panther front were still invul to most allied guns. The one adv the TDs did have was a very limited quanity of APCR type ammo for the 76mm gun which was designented first for the TD bats. Made the front of a tiger I more vulnerable but still did nothing against the the tiger II or panther front.

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