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I think the Sherman gets a raw deal

Discussion in 'War44 General Forums' started by Prospero Quevedo, Jan 7, 2022.

  1. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Well-Known Member

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    you always hear stories how bad the Sherman was gets hit and goes up in flames. But you watch worlds greatest tanks battles the old tank vets, it seems most tanks went up in flames the Germans talk about having to bail as their tank burned and the Russians. Most talk about the ammunition starting the fires. A British investigation into the cause of fires in the Sherman determined it was when a shell penetrated the armor splinters would puncture the shell casings spilling the propellant and ingniting causing the fires. They came up with the reworked Sherman's with added plate over vulnerable areas to try to lessen hits to the ammo and wet storage to prevent fires. Anyway fires in tanks seemed to be a thing with all tankers. And if it was a problem of the design I really think they would have changed whatever the problem was, but it seems it's just a natural risk of tank warfare. Germans feared of not being able to get out fast enough before their tanks went up in flames as well as Russian tankers.
     
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  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    As I understand it the Shermans ran on gasoline engines was because the available pool of draftee mechanics mostly worked on gas engines. Farm boys would learn to tinker with the tractor's engine to keep it running.
     
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  3. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah the gasoline thing was what I heard too,But the British determined the cause was mostly from the ammo. The Soviet tankers said the same they would get hit and the tank would burn, that was the most feared thing getting caught in your tank when it fired up and they said the usual cause was the ammonthe casings would get punctured and ignite and the tank would burn. The Germans also talked about their tanks burning and if you got hit and the tank was disabled they would bail as fast as they could as many tanks would burst into flames minutes after a hit. They said one of the great things of radios it let you communicate with your other units but it also would let you hear the screams of fellow tankers who's tanks got hit and burst into flames. Isn't fire suppression one of the major things they worked on for all modern tanks. I think I also read they found that certain hydraulic fluid was flammable and switched to one that wasn't. The Sherman wasn't the best tank but most crews loved the tank it was easy to maneuver and one of the fastest on the field. Most tankers passed on the extra armor kits offered because they feared it would bog them down and many believed their survival was because they were so fast so they didn't want anything that might slow them down too much. However very late in the war you donee a few that added the kits in fact I saw a photo of a tank that had two additional front plates welded on looked pretty impressive but I also read that these kits also added more stress on the suspension system. Fire is just something that is a danger to all,tanks, in fact the only Abrams we lost was from a RPGs hit from a rpg59 they say the latest at that time it punched through to the engine compartment and started a fire the crew bailed out with extinguishers and inthinkmtheybsaybthe compartment fire suppression system went off but they still had a time getting the fire out I think they started to tow it but the commander decided they were moving too slow and they had a schedule to keep so they abandoned it and set demolition charges to destroy all top secret equipment onboard they couldn't remove. I believe it was the first Abrams reported lost in combat. The Russians have been doing a lot of progress in developing light infantry anti tank weapons and this new RPGs is one of the reasons for the tusk system to be augmented with that new missile rocket defense system and that new plasma barrier technology. But they say that many feel the days of the tank is over, when the enemy can make a weapon that cost a few hundred and destroy a tank worth multi millions that's hard for the military to swallow but I think discarding tanks is foolish the tank has still,proven itself as a weapon capable of punching thru enemy defenses and lending heavy support. I really don't see how the British think they can be effective on the field with no tanks. Also the marines mothballing their tanks saying they will get their tank support from the army. The two services have had problems joint operations for years I really wonder if they will have smooth operations in the future. The marines started their own close support tank and air because they didn't get satisfactory results from the other branches. England has closed down its tank factory our army has put thousands of tanks in storage and I think new tank production has ended except for any new foreign sales and the factory is still operating breaking down older units to their base modules and remanufacturing them to a new upgrade. I read the army or so officials think the Abrams is too old and they are considering a new battle tank. I thought the whole idea of it being modular was so they could rebuild and upgrade for years like till the year 2030/2040 or so the guys in the pentagon are always trying to find ways to spend huge amounts of money to what end. Yes we need to keep RnD on new systems but are they really needed. The airforce wants a new replacement for the aging f16 saying the F35 is unsuitable because it's too costly well the dolts are the ones that drove the price up, the latest techs, new materials and engines. They kept adding and changing till it got so expensive now they say they can't afford it and want to open another competition for a anther replacement for the f16 screw that they will just do the same they did to the f16 saying they need more advance tech new this and that. I say they have done so many programs to modernize the f16 just go with that they have already spent millions on that and have a number of planes that they say are better than the standard f26 save us tax payers some money and just start full,production on one of those. Then the whole stupid hummer thing they want a new vehicle because the hummv is not a suitable personnel carrier, the thing was never ment to be a personnel carrier it was to be a better replacement for the jeep. The jeep was getting to be not the type of vehicle it was meant to be, amc had been changing the design to make it more appealing to the public market but it was making the vehicle less performing for the army it's crossroad performance and toughness was getting reduced and the engineering of the later models was terrible the vehicles top weight increased causing lots of accidents one model, after a short time of service the army rejected and canceled the contract,mim sure that was one of the nails that headed amc to its demise. Like the jeep was such a simple vehicle way couldn't they handle making a new model. The problem was they narrowed the wheel base to increase the ability to make tighter turns but the narrow wheel base made it more unstable and many soldiers rolled the jeeps and many were injured and killed the army had enough of it and hummer offered a new vehicle with superior all terrain ability and far more stable you can't roll,one as easily as the jeeps were. Anyway I just pissed they spend billions and in many cases they end up wasting lots of money. Like the Sgt. York program 1.5 billion and what nothing they couldn't get it to work, he'll the Russians and Germans did. Maybe we should have consulted the Germans. I saw a thing on a couple of new tanks the army is researching a tank with a rail gun and one that seems to crawl and walk, a walker would be a great advantage as some barriers keep tanks back but a walker might be able to just step over. Anyway the future of tanks they say is in question, but the Russians and Chinese are still full at it building new tanks so as long as they are doing it I think a majority of the world armies will keep building or modernizing they tank fleets.
     
  4. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    The Sherman was a superbly reliable tank. Every aspect is comparatively simple when considered with many of its contemporaries which the "World of Tanks" and "War Thunder" crowd place on a pedestal. I've spent hundreds of hours working on Shermans and firmly believe that in terms of robustness and servicability, the Sherman is THE outstanding tank of the war. A tank is of little use should it not need the reliability and operability requirements of the military which employs it.

    The following write-up by then-LtCol "Al" Irzyk is worth reading. Irzyk explains performance of American tanks in World War II
     
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  5. ltdan

    ltdan Active Member

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    The problems that earned the Sherman the nickname "Ronson" or "Tommykocher" were primarily due to inadequate ammunition protection. (Incidentally, burnup of the propellant charges was the main cause of internal fires in practically all tanks: gasoline does not ignite until sufficient oxygen is added; for an explosion to occur, an aerosol must first have formed). After the introduction of the wet ammo stowage in the Sherman, the losses due to ammunition burnup decreased significantly.
    With the T-34, the problem was circumvented by storing the ammunition in the turret floor - which in turn made reloading more difficult...
    But, hey ho: There's always something!
     
  6. Riter

    Riter Well-Known Member

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    Wet stowage prevented the cookoffs. The Sherman wasn't the best tank but it was the tank we won the war with. Unlike the heavy German cat tanks, the Sherman was reliable.

    Now if we had that French 105 mm like what the Israelis used, it would have had a better chance as a fighting machine. The 90 mm that was mounted on the M36 was mounted on the Sherman and the Sherman/M36B1 had the firepower of the M36 with the armor (except for the turret) of a M-4A3. Its open turret also allowed for greater visibiilty but made bailing out easier. The disadvantage is that the gun crew and commander were more exposed to shrapnel/grenades and small arms fire.
     
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  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the American Sherman (M4, M4A1, and M4A3) ran on gasoline engines because after six years of developing a diesel tank engine Ordnance was told by the Armor Force on 13 January 1942 that they had no interest in diesel-engined tanks, just four months after the Armored Force Board recommended the Guiberson T1400 as a “more suitable engine for use in medium tanks than the Wright 975 engine”. And also three months after the War Department funded construction of a Guiberson plant in Garland, Texas to produce the T1400. Exactly why the decision was made remains a mystery, but it certainly wasn't due to a lack of diesel mechanics in the Armed Forces. Diesels were widespread in the Army and Navy...just not in the Armored Force.

    Meanwhile, the M4A2 ran on diesel and it was intended the M4A6 would too.

    Of course the M4A4 ran on gasoline too, but the Armored Force was opposed to its use as well, possibly because they thought its Chrysler Multi-bank was too complex for the available pool of draftee mechanics even if they had mostly worked on gasoline engines. Never mind that British and Commonwealth draftee mechanics apparently had no trouble working on them and considered it to be very reliable.
     
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  8. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah even allied tankers said they knew she wasn't the best but she was a good tank and you hear all the vets talk about their tanks they loved the Sherman they felt it got them where they had to go and fought hard and many times won the battle. Like on German said you could knock out a hundred Sherman's tomorrow there'd be a hundred more. I have to commend the repair stations they would get tanks towed in and get many back in combat in a days time some more but they would get them out pretty fast. They say it was because they would have a huge supply of new parts whole trans and engines setup for fast installation. A tank took a turret hit well that one took a hull hit just switch turrets to get one back in action gun disabled pull one from s tank that the gun is good. They'd swap parts to get whatever numbers back in action. I bet after the Brit Canadian attack of the gap they had their hands full repairing about five hundred tanks.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Well, you can always choose,too. Sherman and total air power, Tiger and no air power. The famous invisible Luftwaffe....
     
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  10. eliobaresi

    eliobaresi New Member

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    Wow! That an interesting information.
    Didn't know that. Thank you for sharing.
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Colonel and Hero of the Soviet Union Dmitri Loza was quite enthusiastic about the Sherman, citing features like the interior space, auxiliary generator, and excellent radios that don't show up in tables of armor penetration etc. but were important to the men who had to fight in them. See his books Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks and Fighting for the Soviet Motherland.
     
  12. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    My uncle Melvin served in the Korean 'Conflict' on a Sherman. If I remember correctly with the 3rd Armored. Saw a picture once of him and the crew standing and & sitting on one.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    "Our Tiger could kill four Shermans, but you always had five." German Track Toad.
     
  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Maybe a tank battalion attached to the 3rd Infantry Division? We had no armored divisions in Korea, but the infantry divisions usually had a tank battalion with either Shermans or Pershings. The lighter Shermans were often handier in the mountainous terrain, and they were a fair match for the enemy T-34s if they encountered them.

    As the war went on, we also began attaching tank companies to infantry regiments; these were sometimes Shermans salvaged from Pacific battlefields and repaired in Japan.
     
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  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Should have deployed a battalion of kaiju.
     
  16. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    Thanks for that. Only reason that led me to the 3rd Armored was another picture I saw many years ago of an armored division patch of his. Could have been the 1st, 2nd or 3rd ? I'm thinking the 2nd - Hell on Wheels.
    He did teach me "Kenichiwa but knowing uncle Melvin I was afraid to use it.
     
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  17. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    No Armored Divisions in Korea. The 1st Armored Division was not reactivated until 7 March 1951 and stayed at Hood. The 2d Armored Division remained active postwar, but was at Hood until it went to Germany in 1951. Not the 3d AD, it was reactivated in 1955 at Fort Knox - I should know, I was a reactivation baby, I was born there.

    I suspect what you saw was a Tank Battalion DUI, which looked exactly the same as an Armored Division, but would not have a scroll with motto. It would be the 70th, 72d, 73d, or 89th if he served in a Medium Tank M4.
     
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  18. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    I think the Sherman used to get a raw deal.
    The pendulum's swung over the last decade & now anyone sensible with more than a passing interest appreciates it did the work put in front of it & was a remarkable achievement given development pressures and the immense industrial effort required.

    Anyone sneering at it in a Cooper or DeJohn style these days is likely to get quite thoroughly fisked by more serious & objective responses.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Golan Heights redeemed the Sherman IIRC.
     

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