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"More M4 questions." Topic


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World War Two on the Land

670 hits since 11 Jun 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Fred Cartwright11 Jun 2019 8:09 a.m. PST

Hi guys after some info from the hive mind. When did the narrow M34 mantlet get replaced by the M34A1? Like most things I presume is wasn't an all or nothing and some factories were fitting the narrow mantlet while others had switched, but a rough idea would be handy. Did any narrow mantlet versions make it to NWE or were they all sent earlier to the Med?
Next M4/105's. Were they all on the big hatch hulls and all with the high bustle turret?
Easy Eights next. Did they have a mix of early and late T23 turrets? Did they all have muzzle brakes?
Thanks.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 10:15 a.m. PST

More love for the Sherman!

"The M34A1 was standardized in October of 1942 and it started production between March and April of 1943." This according to"The Sherman Design and Develoment: A complete and illustrated description of the U.S. M4 Sherman tank series in the Second World War" by Patrick Stansell and Kurt Laughlin. Apparently by the 3rd quarter of 1943 it had completely replaced the M34 on new tanks.

Next the 105. Hope you dont mind but included info on the M4A3/105 as well as the M4. Only one factory produced the 105 armed Sherman, the Chrysler Defense Arsenal, which makes tracking easier. There were two basic types of turret. Officially part number D50878 which was popularly known as the Low Bustle Turret and part number D78461 which was known as the High Bustle Turret. All 105 armed Shermans used a modified D78461 turret, or High Bustle. Modifications included substituting the M52 gun mount for the M34 and addition of an additional ventilator at the rear. A total of 800 VVSS and 841 HVSS M4/105s came out of the CDA. 500 VVSS and 2,539 M4/A3 were produced at CDA. All were on big hatch hulls.

Am checking on the T23 turrets but can tell you the design evolved through out production. As to the muzzle brake the original M1A1 76 did not have a muzzle brake. Due to smoke and dust obscuring follow on shot the gun was then threaded for taking a muzzle brake and known as the M1A1C and M1A2. But even these didnt always have a muzzle brake. When the muzzle brake was not fitted a "protector" was screwed on to protect the threads. This can easily be seen on many pictures. One interesting fact is especially with the first 76s without the brake it was suggested the tank commander stand outside the tank to spot rounds and assist the gunner!

Hope this helps

Lee49411 Jun 2019 10:18 a.m. PST

Addressing your question of mantlets one of the issues with Shermans was that New types were intermingled with older models in units at the front. I've seen pictures with various models in the same Platoon. The only model I believe was NOT sent to NWE was the diesel engined version. Hope that helps.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 10:22 a.m. PST

By the way here is a picture of an "Easy Eight" with no muzzle brake and the protector fitted:

picture

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 10:24 a.m. PST

Hate to disagree Lee but in fact a number of M4A2, diesel powered Shermans served with Commonwealth, French and Polish armor units in NWE. In addition a limited amount of M4A2s DID end up in US units due to vehicle shortages.

Fred Cartwright11 Jun 2019 11:19 a.m. PST

By the way here is a picture of an "Easy Eight" with no muzzle brake and the protector fitted:

Thanks Marc. Interesting picture as that is the early T23 turret too, with the split loaders hatch, which Rubicon suggest was not used on the E8, but clearly was.
Thanks for the info on the narrow mantlet. As the bulk of M4's that went to Normandy were 1943 production it is quite possible some were narrow mantlet versions and I have seen pictures of narrow mantlet M4's captioned as in France, but you have to be careful with pictures. The worse one I saw was a picture of a Panther claiming to be Ardennes 1944, despite its quite obvious victim a knocked out T34 in the background!
The reason I asked about the 105mm turrets is that Rubicon give you enough parts to do a high and a low bustle turret on the sprues and all the gun/mantlet options, so I will do the 105's on the high bustle and the 75's on the low bustle. That way I can swap them around.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 12:50 p.m. PST

Always a pleasure Fred. As you can tell the Sherman is one of my things. Besides it is a chance to give back for all the super help I have gotten here over the years.

batesmotel3411 Jun 2019 2:12 p.m. PST

Sherman Minutia link is usually my goto site for M4 trivia and details in general. Wanted to add it as a generally useful reference point.

Chris

Lion in the Stars11 Jun 2019 3:28 p.m. PST

Thanks for that link, batesmotel34!

When I was building my Shermans, I put the narrow mantlet on the DDs, wide mantlet on almost everything else.

Fred Cartwright11 Jun 2019 3:41 p.m. PST

Thanks Chris. Great site.

donlowry11 Jun 2019 5:31 p.m. PST

So about what period/area would the wider mantlet have been common IN SERVICE … or the narrow mantlet have been uncommon?

Mark 111 Jun 2019 6:27 p.m. PST

So about what period/area would the wider mantlet have been common IN SERVICE …

For my own force, I have the M34 (narrow) mantlet on M4A1s for Tunisia and Sicily.

I have the M34A1 (wide mantlet) after that.

I have had some difficulty finding mid-war (narrow hatches, M34A1 mantlet, add-on armor) M4A1 Shermans in my scale. These would be my preferred model for D-Day and the romp across France. For Italy I would mix these with the earlier M4A1s without the upgrades. I believe that these may also appear in ETO, but in lower numbers and only in some divisions or GHQ battalions. In MTO the upgrades would have come as replacements for lost vehicles, but not as a wholesale swap-out.

There were fewer new divisions in MTO than in ETO, and the new divisions would have been more likely to be all new production tanks.

In ETO there were also new divisions ashore by September that were all M4A3s, and by late fall / early winter even those running M4s or M4A1s started to fill in replacements with M4A3s (that whole Sherman shortage thing led to prioritizing getting ahold of running tanks over the "one type per battalion / division" model).

So if I specifically wanted all M34A1 (wide mantlet) tanks, I would go ETO after September. If I wanted an eclectic mix (ie: use all the different Shermans I may have) I can justify that in ETO as well.

And if I weren't pushing full companies and battalions (as I do), I would feel I could justify all wide mantlets in a given platoon at any time in ETO, although I'd still be tempted to mix in narrow and wide in Italy, and I'd still go all narrow in Sicily.

Your tankage may vary.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Fred Cartwright12 Jun 2019 6:41 a.m. PST

I have had some difficulty finding mid-war (narrow hatches, M34A1 mantlet, add-on armor) M4A1 Shermans in my scale. These would be my preferred model for D-Day and the romp across France.

Why M4A1's Mark? If the photos are to be believed the bulk were good ‘ol welded, narrow hatch M4's with the M34A1 mantlet and appliqué armour, with a smattering of M4A1's mixed in.

donlowry12 Jun 2019 8:36 a.m. PST

Thanks, Mark 1; that's about what I figured.

Mark 112 Jun 2019 11:34 a.m. PST

Why M4A1's Mark? If the photos are to be believed the bulk were good ‘ol welded, narrow hatch M4's with the M34A1 mantlet and appliqué armour …

All of my research indicates that the M4 and M4A1 were about co-equal in their distribution among US Army formations. Not exactly equal, but enough so to make it a fair either/or choice.

But alas, while GHQ makes some lovely early M4A1 75mm Shermans, their mid/late M4A1 75mm Shermans are not right -- they have applique armor (oh good!) but they have a CO's cupola (not good!). Should have a flat split hatch.

So I have in fact bought M4 75mm Shermans s with M34A1 mantlets from C-in-C. Lovely models (as good as GHQ on the casting quality), and the turrets have the flat split-hatch (oh good!). But I have not painted them up yet. Two reasons…

1) The models (C-in-C) don't have applique armor (not good!). So I'm going to have to kit-bash some up. Bit of a chore at 1/285.

2) I have lovely M4A1s with M34 mantlets for Tunisia and Sicily. If I had some mid-war M4A1s I could do the "eclectic mix" that I would rather like to have, mixing some of the narrow mantlet M4A1s in among the wide-mantlet M4A1s.

OK, there's a third reason too …

3) I'm just not getting enough done, and my lead pile grows faster than my finished forces box.

As an alternate approach to kit-bashing the add-on armor, I'm thinking of buying GHQ M4A1s and putting C-in-C turrets on them (provided they fit).

Sigh. Maybe I'm just being too obsessive?


I mean, I have managed to accept the M4A1 Sherman 75mm with narrow hatches, applique armor, and a commander's cupola (!) for my gaming at another scale. Yet I still want just the right Sherman for my 6mm ETO force.

Sigh.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Fred Cartwright12 Jun 2019 12:09 p.m. PST

All of my research indicates that the M4 and M4A1 were about co-equal in their distribution among US Army formations. Not exactly equal, but enough so to make it a fair either/or choice.

Interesting as the photo record doesn't support that. At least what I have found.

Lion in the Stars12 Jun 2019 2:43 p.m. PST

M4 and M4A1s both had the same engine, so my understanding is that they could be found in the same units, clear down to battalion or company level.

M4A3s had a different engine, so were … much less likely to be found mixed into a unit of M4/M4A1s.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2019 4:45 a.m. PST

All I can say is that I am heading over to Mark's house. He does 1 to 1 scale the right way based on that picture!

donlowry13 Jun 2019 8:55 a.m. PST

Yes, but how big is his table??

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2019 9:10 a.m. PST

Sigh. Maybe I'm just being too obsessive?

Not possible!

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