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"M4A1 Shermans" Topic

15 Posts

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©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
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Captain Pete22 Apr 2021 4:57 p.m. PST

I just finished 12 more M4A1 Shermans by GHQ. I now have 23 M4A1s which is enough for a full company of 17 plus 6 extra which eventually will become part of a 2nd Company.

William Warner22 Apr 2021 5:56 p.m. PST

I like the way you've used different shades of olive drab. Looks very believable

Oddball22 Apr 2021 6:02 p.m. PST

They look great. I could never get micro-armor to look that good.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2021 7:10 p.m. PST

Very nice.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2021 5:43 a.m. PST

Love em, and still can't get over your awesome antennas! :)

Zeelow23 Apr 2021 7:05 a.m. PST

Nice modeling, Capt.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2021 8:03 a.m. PST

En masse very impressive, but close up, simply amazing.

Dumb question, which shows that WWII leaves me a bit out of my depth. Would the Cast hull M4A1s be allocated throughout a unit, at least on first equipping? I imagined a mixture of cast and welded, in what seems an almost random pattern based on what is available, well for the Free French units anyway. I can see an obvious advantage in uniform equipment for a given unit, but equally the challenge in maintaining that.

Captain Pete23 Apr 2021 8:26 p.m. PST

Thank you all very much! I do appreciate it.

I'm glad you like the antennas, FlyXwire, although I don't do them for all my tanks. For some reason, I feel the need to put them on my Shermans. While a bit fiddly and prone to bending, they can be easily replaced as well.

Hi Deadhead! The M4 and M4A1 used the same aircraft radial engine as their powerplant. The M4A1 ceased production in December 1943 and the M4 in January 1944. I cannot say with certainty either way that the M4 and M4A1 were mixed together.

I would assume that a battalion would generally receive one or the other but perhaps would receive some of the other type as replacements at some point. The only difference between the M4 and M4A1 really were that the M4 had the welded hull and the M4A1 had the cast hull. The M4A1 actually was produced first.

All U.S. Army Shermans in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Normandy until late summer 1944 were either M4 or M4A1 types.

The M4A2 was Diesel powered and used by the Marine Corps and Lend Leased to Great Britain, Russia and I believe the Free French had some as well.

The M4A3 did not really see action in Europe until late Summer or Fall of 1944. The first type was dry stowage and used for training in the U.S. The later wet stowage equipped several later arriving units in the European Theater. Some dry stowage arrived later as replacements.

The M4A4 was primarily used by the British and had a lengthened hull to accommodate the large engine.

Mk1 is a great source of knowledge on all things Sherman and I respect any input he might provide.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 5:30 a.m. PST

Pete, I've done a few antennas, but mainly just for British 8th Army tanks and their unit flags.

In the larger scales, I've seen them sometimes interfere with hands motioning across the tabletop (like cow tipping). :)))

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 9:17 a.m. PST

That summary of Sherman types was really useful to a novice.

The M4A2 I know so well from 2eDB. I have two in 1/72 with two more to make. M4A1 is easy enough to spot, but strangely the 2eDB did not get them until the end of the war…reconditioned and upgraded. It is once you get to the large hatch variants that I get confused. Stick a 76mm gun on and it gets easier, but, even then, is it on an M4A3 or on an M4A1. As for the 105 Howitzers, I get it wrong every time

Mark 108 May 2021 3:02 p.m. PST

Deadhead you are putting the pieces of the puzzle together very well.

And Pete, your accounting is pretty much spot-on. Certainly for the major parts. In the details, well, in terms of who got what version, just about anything that could have happened probably did happen at least once, somewhere. But in general Pete's description is a good guideline.

As for the 105 Howitzers, I get it wrong every time

The Sherman 105s are probably the least complicated of the whole bunch. They were only built on the M4 and M4A3 chassis. They were assigned to units according to the dominant engine type of the other Shermans in the unit (for the sake of logistics and repair simplification). So units operating M4 and M4A1 units got M4 105 Shermans. Units operating M4A3 got M4A3 105 Shermans.

By the time it was in production the USMC was already transitioning from the M4A2 to the M4A3 (the Marines took whatever version was most readily available to them, and by early 1944 the M4A3 dominated all versions of Sherman production). As to lend-lease, well a few went out, but I don't know how the using forces assigned them, and in general it was not a major lend-lease item.

In general US Army units were equipped with one type: M4, M4A1 or M4A3. M4 and M4A1 were provided to units raised in 1941 and 1942. As 1943 progressed, more and more units were equipped with the M4A3 as they were raised. In the armored divisions that means that from the 5th Armored Division and beyond it was M4A3s (fingers crossed that I got that right). Among the GHQ Tank Battalions again higher numbered units would have greater probability of M4A3s, but I can't say about what number might be the transition point. I'll try to get to Yiede's excellent book on "The Infantry's Armor" to see if I can find it.

Once in theater, though, well when you needed a replacement tank you were probably not too picky. In general there was a strong effort to keep engine types common. But M4 vs. M4A1 (both with the radial engine) were pretty much interchangeable as far as the using formations were concerned. However, if a unit with M4s got an M4A3 as a replacement, well there wouldn't be anyone in the unit that would be familiar with it for repairs, and the parts would not be "on the shelf" in the depots, so all kinds of complexity would be added.

Doesn't mean it didn't happen, though. Particularly with the Sherman 76s, units pretty much took whatever they could get (or got whatever was available, as the case may be). The first 76s into ETO were all M4A1 76s, and they wound up in several units with M4A3s. Then production on the M4A3 76 started to flow in, and M4A1 76 production was sent to MTO, so in ETO units might have either type, or even both types, by the end of 1944.

I don't have any trouble spotting M4A1s, even the large-hatch varieties. But I'm still challenged to distinguish the M4s from the M4A2s. The M4A3s are a bit easier for me to spot. Side-by-side the M4A4s are a cinch, but standing off alone it takes a closer inspection.

Oh, and really beautiful Shermans there, Pete. As always, but still worth saying, the painting, the detailing, the weathering, and the decals are all just so nice. And the antennas just put the icing on the cake, as it were.

(But you ought to toss in an M4 105 or two, you know…)

(aka: Mk 1)

Captain Pete08 May 2021 7:46 p.m. PST

Thanks very much, Mark! As always, your input on all things Sherman and many other things as well is greatly appreciated.

I would love to see GHQ do the M-4 series with an early, a later, and a 105 version. That would definitely be the icing on the cake.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2021 4:05 a.m. PST

Yes, let me also add my thanks for Mark I's expert summary.

rob polymathsw12 May 2021 6:11 a.m. PST

Great work, they look awesome as a collection, love the little differences in shade!

Captain Pete13 May 2021 12:36 p.m. PST

Thank you very much, rob polymathsw!

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