Lend-Lease Sherman tanks

Infobox Weapon
name=Medium Tank M4A2 "Sherman III"

caption=Medium Tank M4A2 "Sherman III". Most of these, the only large-production diesel variant, were Lend-Leased to the Allies
origin=flagcountry|United States
length=5.92 m (19.42 ft)
width=2.62 m (8.6 ft)
height=2.74 m (8.99 ft)
weight=29.94 tonnes (66,000 lbs empty (late production))
armour=13 - 108 mm (0.5 - 4.25 in) (late production)
primary_armament=75 mm M3 L/40 Gun
97 rounds
secondary_armament=.50 Browning M2HB machinegun
300 rounds
.30-06 Browning M1919A4 machineguns
4,750 rounds
engine=General Motors 6046, 12-cylinder, diesel
engine_power=410 hp gross @ 2900 rpm
375 hp net (280 kW) @ 2100 rpm
suspension=Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS)
speed=48 km/h (30 mi/h) brief level
pw_ratio= 12.89 hp/tonne
range=240 km (150 miles) @ 148 gal/40 cetane

The United States provided tens of thousands of its "Medium Tank M4," nicknamed the Sherman, to many of its Allies during the Second World War, under the terms of Lend-Lease Act.

British Nomenclature

The British received far more M4 medium tanks, approximately 17,000 (roughly 34% of all M4s produced), than any other Allied nation. The British practice of naming American tanks after American Civil War generals was continued, giving it the name General Sherman after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, usually shortened to Sherman. The US later adopted the name and the practice of naming tanks after generals. In British usage, Sherman I=M4, Sherman II=M4A1 and so on. Additional letters denoted other features; A for 76 mm M1/M1A2 L/55 gun, B for the 105 mm M4 L/22.5 howitzer, C for the OQF 17 Pounder gun, and Y for the wider tracked HVSS type suspension.

*Sherman I - M4 with 75 mm M3 L/40 gun
**Sherman Hybrid I - Sherman I with composite hull (cast front, welded rear)
**Sherman IB - Sherman I with 105 mm M4 L/22.5 howitzer
***Sherman IBY - Sherman IB with HVSS
*Sherman II - M4A1 with 75 mm M3 L/40 gun
**Sherman IIA - M4A1(76)W, Sherman II with 76 mm M1 L/55 gun
***Sherman IIAY - M4A1(76)W HVSS, Sherman IIA with HVSS
*Sherman III - M4A2 with 75 mm M3 L/40 gun
**Sherman IIIA - M4A2(76)W, Sherman III with 76 mm M1A2 L/55 gun (unlikely to have been used by UK troops)
***Sherman IIIAY - M4A2(76)W HVSS, Sherman IIIA with HVSS (not used operationally by UK troops)
*Sherman IV - M4A3 with 75 mm M3 L/40 gun (no Sherman IVs used operationally)
**Sherman IVA - M4A3(76)W, Sherman IV with 76 mm M1A2 L/55 gun
**Sherman IVB - M4A3(105), Sherman IV with 105 mm M4 L/22.5 howitzer
***Sherman IVBY - M4A3(105) HVSS, Sherman IVB with HVSS.
*Sherman V - M4A4 with 75 mm M3 L/40 gun
*Sherman VI - M4A5 (paper designation to prevent confusion with Canadian production)
*Sherman VII - M4A6 with 75 mm M3 L/40 gun (delivered to British with Ordnance RD-1820 diesel engine)
*Sherman II ARV III - M32B1 TRV (M4A1 Sherman II chassis) recovery vehicle

Allied Variants

Conversions and modifications of the M4 by their foreign users included the British-Commonwealth "Firefly" with potent British QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) anti-tank gun; "Adder", "Salamander", "Crocodile", and "Badger" [R. P. Hunnicutt, "Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank", Presidio Press, Novato, CA, 1994, p. 420-421.] flame-throwing Shermans; "Kangaroo" armoured personnel carrier; Armored Recovery Vehicles (ARV); gun towers, and the specialist military engineering vehicles of "Hobart's Funnies" designed specifically for Operation Overlord ("D-Day") and the Battle of Normandy. In 1945, the 1st Coldstream Guards at the Rhine fitted Sherman turrets with two 3-inch (60lb) RP-3 rockets on rails to create the Sherman "Tulip". Canada created a prototype anti aircraft vehicle with four 20 mm Polsten cannons mounted in a turret on Canadian-made M4A1 hull called Skink. The Soviets reportedly replaced the US 75 mm gun on some M4A2s with the 76.2mm F-34 gun of the T-34 medium tank to create the M4M but discontinued the practice when assured of US ammunition supply .

Armament Conversions

A number of Sherman tanks were converted to carry different armament than that with which the tank was orinally manufactured. Among these were:
*Tank AA, 20 mm Quad, Skink - Canadian prototype anti-aircraft vehicle with four 20 mm Polsten cannons mounted in a turret on a Grizzly hull (tank made in Canada, not Lend-Leased). [http://www.geocities.com/pentagon/bunker/3351/allweps/skink.html]
*Sherman DD ("Duplex drive") - British-developed swimming gear fitted to British, Canadian, and US Shermans.
*Sherman Firefly - British Sherman I or V re-armed with 17 pounder (76.2 mm) gun with "C" added to designation (as in Sherman IC or VC).
*Sherman Tulip - British Sherman with two 3-inch (60lb) RP-3 rockets on rails fitted to the turret. Used by the 1st Coldstream Guards at the Rhine in 1945.
* M4M— Soviet M4A2s reportedly converted to 76.2mm F-34 gun, as mounted in the T-34. There was no shortage of U.S. 75 mm ammunition, however, so there was little need to continue converting Shermans.

Engineer Vehicles

*Sherman Bridgelayer - British developments for Shermans included the fascine (used by 79th AD), Crib, Twaby Ark, Octopus, Plymouth (Bailey Bridge), and AVRE (SBG bridge)
*Sherman CIRD - Canadian Indestructible Roller Device landmine exploder
*Sherman Crab - British Sherman with mine flail, one of a long line of flail devices

Recovery Vehicles

*Sherman III ARV I - British Amoured Recovery Vehicle conversion of Sherman III (M4A2), similarly Sherman V ARV I and ARV II
*BARV - British Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle

Artillery Tractors

*Sherman Gun Tower - British field conversion in Italy by removing turrets from M4A2 Sherman tanks to tow 17 pdr AT gun and carry crew with ammunition

Personnel Carriers

*Sherman Kangaroo - Canadian Sherman converted into "Kangaroo" armoured personnel carrier

ervice History


The British Empire received 17,184 Sherman tanks under Lend-Lease, roughly 78% of all Shermans provided world wide under this program. This includes Sherman tanks used by all members of the British Empire. The first Shermans received by the UK were equipped with two driver-operated fixed machine guns in the hull. This was a standard feature of very early Shermans and was one of the first things to be dropped from the design. The first Shermans to see battle were with the British 8th Army at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. British and Commonwealth use in Europe was comprehensive, the Sherman replaced the General Grant and General Lee tanks and was in the majority by 1944 - the other main late-war tanks being the Churchill and Cromwell. The British largely used M4, M4A1, M4A2, and later became the primary user of the M4A4. The Sherman Firefly variant was converted mostly from M4s and M4A4s, and was used both in Sherman and Cromwell-equipped units to add extra anti-tank capability. A 1944-pattern British armored squadron (equivalent to a US company) had one Firefly "per" troop (platoon) of 4 Shermans. Later when the Sherman was being replaced in some British units by the Cromwell, the Firefly was retained in Cromwell units until the introduction of the Comet which carried the 77mm HV, a shortened version of the OQF 17 pounder.

New Zealand

The 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade operated approximately 150 M4A2 Sherman tanks from late 1942 until the end of the war. The 4th Brigade formed part of the New Zealand 2nd Division and was converted from an infantry brigade. The 4th Armoured Brigade saw action during the Italian Campaign. [The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, edited by Charles Hazlitt Uphman, 1966 edition. Available on-line at: http://www.teara.govt.nz/1966/W/WarsSecondWorldWar/TheArmy/en]


Although the Australian Army received 757 M3 Lee/Grants in 1942 it only received three Sherman tanks. These three tanks were supplied by the UK and were only used for trials purposes. When the Australian Cruiser tank programme was cancelled in 1943 a proposal was made to replace the entire order of 775 Australian Cruiser tanks with 310 Sherman tanks. This proposal was not acted on, however.

Australia's first Sherman, an M4A2, arrived in Australia in 1943 with a further two M4s (sometimes mis-labeled as M4A1s) arriving for tropical trials in New Guinea in 1944. The results of these trials showed that the British Churchill tank was better suited to jungle warfare's low-speed infantry support than the Sherman. As a result of these trials the Australia Government ordered 510 Churchills (of which 51 were delivered before the order was cancelled at the end of the war) and did not order any further Shermans. Following the war the three tanks were placed on display at Australian Army bases and one of the tanks was later destroyed after being used as a tank target. [Paul D. Handel [http://anzacsteel.hobbyvista.com/Armoured%20Vehicles/australianshermansph_4.htm Australian Shermans] Accessed 30 June 2006.]


The United States officially did not list Canada as a Lend-Lease recipient, but did create the 1941 Joint Defense Production Committee with Canada so "each country should provide the other with the defense articles which it is best able to produce" and American Locomotive Company enabled its Canadian subsidiary (Montreal Locomotive Works) to build M4A1 variants in Canada. Canada received four Shermans under Lend-Lease; the mechanism of this is not fully understood. ["Lend-Lease Shipments: World War II," Section IIIB, Published by Office, Chief of Finance, War Department, 31 December, 1946, p. 8.] The MLW built 188 Shermans called the Grizzly in Canadian service, which was restricted to training. In European combat the Canadian Army used American-built Shermans armed with 75mm, 105mm and 17-pounder guns. [Guthrie, Steve "The Sherman in Canadian Service" Service Publications, Ottawa, ON. ISBN 1-894581-14-8]


Poland was not a receipient of Lend-Lease aid directly from the United States, however, Polish forces also used a wide variety of Shermans redirected from Lend-Lease shipments to the British Empire. The Polish 1st Armored Division entered the Battle of Normandy mostly equipped with Sherman Vs (M4A4s) with 75 mm guns, and Firefly VC Shermans. After heavy losses closing the Falaise Pocket and Dutch campaign, the division was re-equipped, largely with Sherman IIA (M4A1 (W) 76 mm) models.Many of the tanks had their entire glacis plate and turret front covered by spare track links in an attempt to improve the tank's armor.The Polish II Corps, fighting in Italy, primarily used M4A2s (Sherman III) that had been used by the British army in Africa. However, some Firefly ICs and Sherman IB (M4(105mm)) howitzer tanks were also used. Parts of the Polish First Army also briefly used M4A2 (W) (76mm) borrowed from the Soviet armies after heavy losses in the liberation of Gdansk. After receiving replacements, the army was re-equipped with T-34sFact|date=February 2007


Free French Forces used several versions of the M4 medium tank. Tanks were provided by the U.S. under Lend-Lease. French armored divisions were organized and equipped the same as U.S. Army, light armored divisions. In 1943, the French decided to create their new army in north Africa, and had an agreement with the Americans to be equipped with US modern weapons. The French 2nd Armored Division ( _fr. Division Blindée, DB) entered the Battle of Normandy fully equipped with M4A2s. The 1st and 5th DB, which entered S. France as part of the First French Army were equipped with a mixture of M4A2 and M4A4 medium tanks. The 3rd DB, which served as a training and reserve organization for the three operational armored divisions was equipped with roughly 200 medium and light tanks. Of these, 120 were later turned in to the U.S. Army's Delta Base Section for reissue. Subsequent combat losses for the 1st, 2nd, and 5th Armored Divisions were replaced with standard issue tanks from U.S. Army stocks. [(Vigneras, Marcel, "Rearming the French," Office of the Chief of Military History, Dept. of the Army, (Washington, DC GPO) 1957, p. 244-246.)]


During the war, Brazil received a total of 53 Sherman tanks, all equipped with the 75 mm gun, under Lend-Lease.Fact|date=February 2007


The Soviet Union's nickname for the M4 medium tank was "Emcha" because the open-topped figure 4 resembled the Cyrillic letter "che" or "cha" (Ч ).

A total of 4,102 M4A2 medium tanks were sent to the U.S.S.R. under Lend-Lease. Of these 2,007 were equipped with the 75 mm gun, and 2,095 carried the 76 mm gun. The total number of Sherman tanks sent to the U.S.S.R. under Lend-Lease represented 18.6 percent of all Lend-Lease Shermans. [("Lend-Lease Shipments: World War II," Section IIIB, Published by Office, Chief of Finance, War Department, 31 December, 1946, p. 8.)]

Combat Performance

The best anti-tank gun on a WWII combat Sherman was the British QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) gun, a very high-velocity weapon firing APDS shells capable of defeating the heavier German tanks. The 17 pounder had already shown its value in 1943, in Africa as a towed anti-tank gun. It proved an effective weapon against German AFVs. With the APDS developed for the 17 pounder, the Firefly's performance was increased again. Although the 17-pounder was an excellent anti-armor weapon, initially the HE shell provided was weak, making it a poor general-purpose tank gun. However, the HE shell problem was later resolved.

ee also

*Postwar Sherman tanks
*Brazilian Expeditionary Force
*Polish contribution to World War II
*Hobart's Funnies
*79th Armoured Division
*Allied Technological Cooperation During WW2


* M4 Sherman photo galleries at ww2photo.mimerswell.com: [http://ww2photo.mimerswell.com/tanks/usa/med/m4/m4.htm] , [http://ww2photo.mimerswell.com/tanks/usa/med/m4/m4spec.htm] , [http://ww2photo.mimerswell.com/tanks/usa/med/m4/sher/sher.htm]


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