Despite the fact that in 20-30 years of the twentieth century, Americans were quite intensive work in the field of tank development, and the famous "Christy" routinely submitted by all new and new ideas, the real values of the tanks there gave a little. So, by the beginning of World war II in the U.S. army, there were not more than 400 machines of this type, and only 18 of them were classified as medium.
But after Germany invaded Poland and France and the following events relevant to the vehicles has changed dramatically. Already in 1941, the company started manufacturing the model M-3. This tank was quite original, since he had two guns: gun 75 mm gun and 37-mm. as the first one was installed in the sponson, really only used 37-mm gun, although you could turn. In addition, the height of over three meters, was doing a "General Lee" a great gift to the German gunners.
Realizing this, the Americans already in the autumn of the same year, started intensive work in the development of new, more maneuverable and adapted to the modern battle machine. So there was a tank "Sherman". Perhaps, it was the best American armored vehicles of that period.
New approach to the creation of the body
To simplify and accelerate the production body made from rolled sheets of steel armor. Unlike the "straight" of the Germans, U.S. engineers placed the top sheet at an angle of 47°, its thickness was 50 mm. Feed plate located at an angle of 10-12°, the sides were straight.
The thickness of the side and stern sheets was 38 mm, the roof is only 18 millimeters. Mount the bow of the hull to force the bolt elements. Note that the front part was going from seven rolled blanks, so that before the manufacturers had a difficult task to ensure the highest quality welds. We can say that with the job they handled it very well.
Why such a conclusion? In the small village of Snegiri there is a monument of two Shermans. Their hulls were rusty from the rust layer for a long time, but the welded joints are still in perfect condition.
It should be noted that the tank "Sherman" release of 1943-1944 has an additional armor plate on the starboard side. This was done in order to place on the floor of the fighting compartment, extra set of shells (for ensuring the security of the ammunition). One plate is welded to the left side.
However, against the cannons of the "Tigers" it helped not particularly: history of the tank "Sherman" knows many cases when their shells break through the machine right through. But that can be said about any tank the allies, with the exception of IP-2 and "Pershing", which appeared at the very end of the war.
We can say that a duel – tank "Sherman" against the "Tiger" in most of the cases ended with the victory of the latter. Gun M-3 was shot the model of a German tank almost the distance of a pistol shot, while the gun KwK 36 L/56 in "German" could effectively hit, "Sherman" about a kilometer.
Tower in the tank "Sherman" cast, cylindrical shape. Mounted on the hinge support. Its frontal and side part was protected by armor thickness of 75 and 50 mm. Forage tower had a thickness of 50 mm, roof 25 mm. Mask the guns were protected as well as the thickness of the armor in this place was 90 millimeters.
As you can see, the tank "Sherman" (the drawings of which is in the article) are not very different in terms of the protection from the legendary Russian T-34. Despite claims by American designers on the invulnerability mask guns during the war there have been cases when the enemy projectiles punched right through the mask. It is usually served as a cause of death charging.
This was highlighted in Normandy: "Panthers" and "Tigers" were easily struck by the tank "Sherman". Rage General Eisenhower was beyond description. Allegedly, he forced scientists and engineers to hasten the development of a normal tank with a good gun that would be able to fight on equal terms with German counterparts.
In principle, in particular the General success has not been achieved: "Pershing" appeared only at the end of the war, and heavy tanks he treated pretty conventionally.
American tank "Sherman" was armed with the standard:
- The main weapon is the M3 gun. Caliber 75 mm, subsequently introduced a long-barreled modification on 76mm.
- Heavy machine gun "Browning" М2НВ located right above the hatch of the tank.
You play "world of Tank"? The Sherman in this game for the balance of the weapons is approximately T-34, which reflects the real situation. So, armor-piercing projectiles "American" was much better domestic, but punched a smaller thickness of the armor. On the other hand, the domestic products were better ballistics, so only do tankers such shots rarely seen as tungsten carbide, used in their manufacture, were very scarce and expensive.
Useful properties of armor
Tank "Sherman" had a domestic tank with a good name. And it's not only the convenience of internal equipment. So, the Americans did not have problems with armour Nickel and other additives. As a result, the armor they were binding even in case of breaking of the casing, if the projectile didn't kill someone from the crew or disabling the engine, the tank continued to carry out combat missions.
Domestic car armor was solid. If the projectile punched her (even in the field, free from the engine, or crew), inside the machine raged a hurricane of small fragments of scale. A lot of tankers were killed or injured for this reason.
The working conditions of the crew
By the way, how do feel the crew of the tank "Sherman"? Pretty well, when compared with the Soviet machines. First, all commented on the high quality of observation devices, which the tankers always had a lovely review. In addition to the main engine, the tank was mounted a small gasoline engine for generator charging stations. Than it was worth?
The fact that the tank has always required a charged battery. To load it on the T-34 in terms of Parking, had wasted to drive the main engine. As a result, a huge waste of fuel and the depletion of already meager lifespan. Finally, inside the tank "Sherman" was much more spacious, and finish quality was higher.
In the back of the case, "Sherman" had a niche, where nominally radio station. Hatch located on the roof of the tower and closed the double cover. There was mounted a turret anti-aircraft guns. This tank "Sherman" was different from the Soviet machine, which the machine gun began to mass-put only after the appearance of the is-2. Since 1943, the tower became complete oval manhole, intended for the landing charging.
The fact that he loader, radio operator and even corny mechanic could not get out of one hatch. Why through it out more and the driver? It's simple: often the gun was jammed as a result of successful contact with the enemy, then the driver would not be able to use it intended for output.
Soviet tank T-34 suffered heavily from the gas tower. The fact that the fans, derived from BT, "hanging out" somewhere in front of the tower, while the breech of the gun much published ago. The capacity of the plant was so-so, but because a large part of the propellant exhaust stayed the same.
The Americans with their M-3 were approximately the same problem. But she decided just the same, "Sherman", setting of the fan, protected by armor caps.
Differed from each other various modifications of the tank?
Note that during the Second World war, there was the following modification of the tank "Sherman":
- M4. Differed carbureted engine Continental R-975 and simple welded body.
- M4A1. The engine is the same as in the previous case, but the casing is cast.
- M4A2. Different diesel engine General Motors 6046 (it loved the Soviet tanks), the case is welded.
- M4A3, ("Sherman 3"). The tank was completed with the power unit Ford GAA carburetor type. Standard body, manufactured by welding.
- Tank "General Sherman" M4A4. Again, diesel RD-1820. Also made by welding.
- M4A6. Similar to the previous species in all. Represents late, post-war modification. Differs more adaptability and workmanship, the best radio station was installed on the machine.
In addition, there were "theoretical" model of the tank "Sherman", М4А5. This name was reserved in case the company that produces American cars, will be open in Canada. These plans were not implemented, but the name was never used. More precisely, the canadian version (Grizzly 1) really was produced from September 1942 to autumn 1943, but the release was scrapped as U.S. supplies more than covered the needs of the country.
Despite this diversity, these models from each other is virtually identical (except that was a great form tower). The exception is the M4A1, which stood out sharply against the background of other its cast casing. The placement of units, weapons and undercarriage parts for all "the Shermans" was exactly the same. It should be noted that American cars are much different from their Soviet and German counterparts because they were regular patch sets of armor.
Tanks of the first series had a viewing slit in front of the compartment. Then they completely closed the covers and put the periscopes. Subsequently also significantly changed the slope of the frontal armor: was 47°, and was 56°. For this reason, the average characteristics has a machine in the game "World of tanks". "Sherman" is there more than meets T-34. However, this is true (judging by the opinion of veterans).
Generally, the tank M4 "Sherman" – a phenomenon unique in some way, as so many motors that were installed, there was none. What was the reason? It's simple. Until the Second World war the Americans thought that medium and heavy tanks they do not need in principle. The emphasis was on the development of air force and Navy, and in this area they have done very well.
When needed medium tanks, the question arose about what for them to use the engines? Aviation, of course, as it is aircraft-factories in America were in abundance. By the way, it is because of star-shaped engine, which was mounted on the first "Sherman", the machine was high, as otherwise the motor would be there just didn't fit.
We also used "civilian" transmission originally fitted to the mass and cheap trucks. It was great, so as the designers in this case did not particularly bother her compact. However, the Sherman tank, whose characteristics are quite consistent with the spirit of the time. In particular, the Germans also massively used parts from trucks in the development of the Pz.II, one of the most popular cars of the era.
Why was used the number of power plants? All too easy. During the war Americans not only needed in the aircraft, but also supplied their allies. Accordingly, those enterprises who manufactured the engines are worked to the limit. Often tanks simply did not have planned in construction of motors, which had to look for analogues. However, everything in order.
Characteristics of power plants
In the first modification, i.e. M4 and M4A1, put a radial aircraft engine Continental R975 C1. He developed 350 horsepower, the rpm was equal to 3500 Rev/min For comparison, In-2 the legendary T-34 has developed an operational capacity of 400 horsepower, giving 1700 rpm.
Detailed history of the engine "Wright" (Continental)
Originally this motor was used for light airplanes. To make it the engine of the tank "Sherman", the engineers took a lot of work. For example, it was necessary to fasten gearbox, which is the plane, for obvious reasons, was not needed. In addition, it was necessary to dramatically increase torque at low rpm and also to create a normal air purification system (in the sky rare clouds of dust), simultaneously reducing the volume consumed by the engine oil.
After a year of work has been carried out bench tests on which the engine showed quite acceptable results. In 1940, at Aberdeen proving ground tested passed M2, the common ancestor of "Lee" and "Sherman" with the engine "Wright". In addition, the tests involved the English machine, which is next to the American tank seemed "sluggish". The military were satisfied, they liked the model that was later called the tank "Sherman". The reviews were very good, recommended to adopt the machine into service.
The total weight of the power plant amounted to 515 kg. it Should be noted that as the fuel needed to use aviation fuel with an octane rating of at least 92. The compression ratio was 6.3:1.
However, further testing showed that the military rejoiced too early: at the slightest increase in mass of the test machine began to feel the lack of power, and the cooling system did not cope with the increased workload. In addition, due to the increase in temperature in the carburetor dramatically decreased the density of the entering air in there, causing a dangerous falling power. In such circumstances, the engine of the tank "Sherman" could work only 100 hours, after which he took a complete overhaul.
Reorientation of production
Due to this fact the production decided to take the "Wright" and to pass the issue the larger the firm "continental". It was assumed that plants will be made at least a thousand of motors every month. By the way, for all preceding time, "Wright" released only 750 motors.
New engineers eagerly took to remove the flaws of the design. First, was re-designed cooling system. Second, they have developed a new air filter. Finally, the production set stringent requirements on the tolerances of parts produced, causing the overall quality of the engines has increased significantly.
On the M4A2 was to spark a six-cylinder diesel GM 6046. Motor developed capacity of 375 horsepower. The number of speed – 2100 Rev/min. As we have said above, the motor liked our tankers for its ruggedness, reliability and maintainability. Moreover, its service life is several times higher than that of the T-34. In fairness it should be noted that these two medium tanks rarely carried more than three or four fights in the beginning of the war.
To 1944-1945 and 1946 years (war against Japan) V-2 engine a few brought to mind, so the difference was not so noticeable. So, the tanks "Sherman" in the red army together with the Soviet equipment on their own came to Manchuria. Special claims to the machinery of Soviet or American manufacture was not.
Tanks with what engines were delivered to our country?
Officially, in the USSR on lend-lease was delivered only this model. But some Soviet tanks, describe the tank M4 "Sherman", saying that "he flared up like a match." Often there are also mentions of gasoline engines. All this suggests that in the Soviet Union also supplied M4 or M4A1.
In addition, we can assume that a certain amount of gasoline, "Sherman" came to our country from England, where the US was supplying both diesel and petrol versions (the British troops were still provided with gasoline and diesel fuel). The Americans themselves used mostly petrol modification. The only exception was the marine corps that had an unlimited supply of vehicular diesel fuel.
Actually, that's why in our country so popular was diesel "Sherman". The tank in the USSR (as in USA) to approximately 30s was considered an auxiliary unit, consumable. When it took something more serious, it became clear that for tank hordes simply not enough gasoline. Had to use diesel fuel, which in those years was considered a waste of oil refining.
The most "advanced" was the M4A3 model. For it was specially designed V-shaped eight-cylinder engine Ford GAA. Its output was 500 horsepower. The most complicated was the design of the M4A4: five automobile engines (regular, continuous) led the tank into motion. Just imagine that and as the poor mechanics that had to fix this engineering marvel in case of breakdowns.
Where are these cars?
And where today you can see the tank "Sherman"? "Fury" (the historical facts in this movie more or less close to reality) shows these machines in the cinema. The troops of Paraguay (as of 2013) still has as many as four of these tanks. Many waterlogged and half-broken machines found on the coast of the Philippines, where the "Sherman" is massively used to break the defense of the Japanese. "Advertises" the tank "Sherman" game World of Tanks, where it is quite popular.