Monday, October 27, 2014

In re: Fury.

The M-4 Sherman Tank Was Hell on Wheels - And a Death Trap


Anonymous said...

Whomever wrote that piece did not do their research properly. German tanks in WW2 had GASOLINE engines, not diesel. The Russian tanks were also gas powered. The only diesel powered tanks were Sherman tanks! that were not shipped to Europe because Eisenhower wanted uniformity of fuels. The diesel tanks were used by the Marines in the pacific but there were not many of them.

The flammability of the Sherman came about because of the Ammo storage and not the fuel. The ammo was stored in the hull where it was easily set off when the tank was hit. Later models had extra armor welded over the ammo storage and even a water bath around the ammo.

The easy eight had a 76 mm gun that could take out all but the Tiger 2 tanks and then only the front.

Th M2 50 cal was not a coax, but an anti aircraft mount, the coax was a 30-06 browning as was the hull gun.

Anonymous said...

General G.C. Marshall knew that the M-4 was a death trap as early as 1942. The Army decided that people were expendable and as ALL the rest of the Army used gasoline ,so would the tanks (The US Army kept gasoline powered tanks and APC's in production until the late 50's M-48's M-113's and M-114's were all equipped with V-8 gasoline power plants right up to the Vietnam war) There WAS a diesel M-4A3 in production by 1943. Only the Russians and the USMC used them.

California Midwesterner said...

Before I even open the article: If they relied on Belton Cooper's book, then they're frankly wrong.
Cooper makes an entertaining memoir, but not a reliable data source.

Ol' Remus said...

Most of the 49,234 Sherman medium tanks produced were powered by gasoline engines. The Sherman M4A2 however was powered by two cojoined GMC 6–71 straight six diesel engines, 10,968 were produced in 1942-1945. A less successful variant was the Sherman M4A6 powered by a Caterpillar RD1820 diesel engine, 75 produced in 1943-1944. So roughly 22% of all Shermans produced were diesel powered. The Russian T-34 was powered by a V12 Diesel engine developing 500 hp. A total of 84,070 were produced. But we weren't fighting the Russians, so let's look at the tanks Germany fielded in World War II and their powerplants, starting with medium tanks:

Panzer III

5,994 produced, 1939-1945
50mm & 75mm main gun
Powered by Maybach HL 120TR V12 gasoline engine

Panzer IV

8,569 produced, 1936-1945
75mm main gun
12-cylinder Maybach HL 120TRM V12 gasoline engine

And, going up a class into their heavy tanks:

Tiger I

1,347 produced, 1942–1944
88mm main gun
Powered by Maybach HL230 V12 gasoline engine

Tiger II

492 produced, 1943-1945
88mm main gun
Powered by Maybach HL230 P30 V12 gasoline engine

Anonymous said...

The Germans were simply out-produced by the American, Russian and British CommonWeath economies and brought to their knees by lack of fuel.

RogerC said...

As the first Anonymous wrote, it was the ammo storage that made the early Sherman models so inferior to the heavy German tanks. Water jackets ("wet storage") reduced the incidence of fires dramatically, and later models also moved the ammunition storage to the floor of the tank, largely taking it out of the line of fire.

On the upside, it was reliable, mobile, roomy (for a tank), easy to produce, easy to work on and featured a gyrostabilised main gun and notably quick turret traverse. Up-gunned versions such as the Easy Eight and Firefly posed a significant danger even to the German heavy tanks.

The US did possess a heavy tank roughly equivalent to the Tiger and Panther, the M26 Pershing. It suffered from the same issues of mobility and reliability as the German heavies did and saw only limited combat.

Anonymous said...