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A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

M4A3E8 (75)W-HVSS Sherman - a rare tank... - case report

        My next project will be this rare version of the great family of medium tanks Sherman: the M4A3E8 (75)W-HVSS: The "Easy Eight" with 75mm gun !!!
M4A3E8 (75)W-HVSS  medium tank Sherman           
      The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary battle tank, used by the United States and the other Western Allies in World War II, and proved to be a reliable and highly mobile workhorse, despite being outmatched by heavier German tanks late in the war. Thousands were distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union, via lend-lease. The M4 was the second most produced tank of the World War II era, after the Soviet T-34, and its performance and role in its parent nation's victory was comparable to that of the T-34. It has been the general conception that in the United Kingdom, the M4 was named after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, following the British practice of naming their American-built tanks after famous American Civil War generals, and that subsequently the British name found its way into common use in the U.S.
General William Tecumseh Sherman
           The M4 Sherman evolved from the Grant and Lee medium tanks, which had an unusual side-sponson mounted 75 mm gun. It retained much of the previous mechanical design, but added the first American main 75 mm gun mounted on a fully traversing turret, with a gyrostabilizer enabling the crew to fire with reasonable accuracy while the tank was on the move. The gun was the  L/40 75 mm M3 Gun.
Very early M4A1 - notice the direct vision slots, the two additional .30 machine gun slots on the hull.
Note also the absence of dust cover fitting and of head lamp guards,
the early position of the siren on the left front fender and the gunner's rotor sight device in the turret.
  The designers stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production and maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition in a limited number of variants, and moderate size and weight. These factors made the M4 superior in some regards to the earlier German light and medium tanks of 1939–41.            The M4 ended up being produced in large numbers, and formed the backbone of most offensives by the Western Allies, starting in late 1942.
M4 Shermans under construction...
      When the M4 tank arrived in North Africa in 1942 with his L/40 75 mm M3 Gun , it was clearly superior to both the Panzer III German Medium Tank, with its 50 mm gun, and the versions of the Panzer IV armed with the short barreled 75 mm gun. Against the 75 mm KwK 40 L/43 long-barreled Panzer IV, the match was about even. For this reason, the US Army believed the M4 would be completely adequate to win the war, and no pressure was exerted for further tank development. Logistical and transport restrictions (roads, ports, bridges, etc.) also would complicate the introduction of a more capable, but heavier tank.
A 1st Armored Division M4A1 tank heads for Mateur, Tunisia. April, 1943.
      By 1944, the M4 Sherman and the Tank Destroyers (TD) units proved to be outmatched by the 45 ton Panther tank, and wholly inadequate against the 56 ton Tiger I and later 70 ton Tiger II heavy tanks, suffering high casualties against their heavier armor and more powerful 88 mm L/56 and L/71 cannons. Mobility, mechanical reliability and sheer numbers, supported by growing superiority in supporting fighter-bombers and artillery, helped offset these disadvantages strategically.
      The relative ease of production allowed huge numbers of the M4 to be produced, and significant investment in tank recovery and repair units paid off with more disabled vehicles being repaired and returned to service. These factors combined to enable the Americans numerical superiority in most battles, and allow many infantry divisions their own M4 and TD assets. By 1944 a typical U.S. infantry division had as semi-permanently attached units an M4 Sherman battalion, a TD battalion, or both. By this stage of the war, German panzer divisions were rarely at full strength, and some U.S. infantry divisions had more fully tracked AFVs than the depleted German panzer divisions did, providing a great advantage for the Americans. The Americans also started to introduce the M4A3E8 variant, with Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS) and an improved high-velocity 76 mm gun M1 previously used only by TDs.
      The Sherman tanks had six major variants during production: M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A4 and M4A6. (The M4A5 designation was not used by the Americans, although some use this reference to those made in Canada):

     These designations do not mean necessarily a linear development : For example, the M4A4 version is not represented to be an evolution of M4A3 model. These designations usually indicate changes in production patterns . In fact, several subtypes of Shermans were often manufactured concurrently at different locations in a contemporary way . The various subtypes differed mainly by the engines, although the M4A1 differed from the M4 by the construction of its hull , cast in one piece and not the engine, it was the same.
      The M4A4 had a engine that needed a bigger engine compartment, which required a more spaced suspension in a longer hull and consequently longer tracks with more links. The M4A6 had a Composite hull ( cast front, the rest of the hull laminate ) longer, similar to M4A4, but equipped with a very different standard U.S. Army (radial diesel). Were produced less than one hundred of these tanks. Although most Sherman had gasoline engines, the M4A2 and M4A6 had diesel engines: the M4A2 used a powertrain consisting of a pair of GMC 6-71 diesel six-cylinder in-line M4A6 and wore a strange radial diesel engine Caterpillar RD 1820. These models, along with the M4A4 model ( A57 Multibank engine built from five car engines Chrysler 4.2-liter, coupled in a single set-clutch transmission), were supplied to Allied countries, by the Lend Lease program.
      Many improvements on the production line like the engine power and increase in armament were made ​​continuously, without changing the designation of the base model. Vehicles with improved suspension (HVSS)  or safer storage ammo (W: Wet), with thicker and / or improved armour (such as M4 Composite and M4A3E2 Jumbo ), were produced.

      An interesting detail is that the British nomenclature differed from North American:
British nomenclature
American nomenclature
Sherman I
Sherman I-B
         M4 (105mm) VVSS
Sherman I-BY
M4 (105mm) HVSS
Sherman I-C
        M4 (17 pdr. Firefly)
          Sherman Hybrid I
            M4  Composite
         Sherman Hybrid I-C
 M4 Composite (17 pdr.Firefly)
Sherman II
M4A1 75 mm
Sherman II-A
M4A1 76 mm  (W)
Sherman III
M4A2 75 mm
Sherman III-AY
M4A2 76 mm (W)
Sherman IV
M4A3 75 mm
Sherman V
M4A4 75 mm
             Sherman V-C
       M4A4 (17 pdr. Firefly)

      The first models of Shermans had the short-barreled medium-velocity 75 mm M3 gun, a weapon not specifically designed for anti-tank combat. Actually, it was a derivation of a French 75 mm gun of World War I. The U.S. Army planned to replace Sherman with a more modern design, but to minimize the problems of exchange of production lines, the Army chose to incorporate elements of other more advanced projects in Sherman. In fact, later models M4A1, M4A2 and M4A3 received the T23 turret, equipped with a high speed 76 mm M1 gun,  with more antitank power, but with a lack of good high explosive (HE) shell.

      Later, M4 and M4A3 were produced with a 105mm howitzer in a standard 75mm turret with modified mantlet to carry the 105mm howitzer.
      The production of Shermans with high-velocity 76mm gun began in January, 1944, with the M4A1 . The Shermans armed with 105mm howitzers M101 were produced from February 1944. In June-July 1944, the Army accepted a limited production of 254 Shermans M4A3E2 "Jumbo", featuring a very thick armoured hull, with 75 mm gun placed in a heavier and more armoured 76mm turret T-23, to fulfill the role of assault gun against fortifications or to lead columns of standard Shermans. Again, because the 75mm HE shell  is better than  76mm HE.  Later, several Jumbos were equipped with a 76 mm gun, to have more punch in the anti-tank role.
      The M4A3 was the first version of Sherman to be produced with improved Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS), with larger tracks for better weight distribution and mobility suspension. The E8 suffix designates the use of this improved suspension and how the tank (M4A3E8) had a smoother ride was nicknamed "Easy Eight". About "Easy-Eights" models, click here:

M4A3E8(76)W-HVSS in action in Germany
The "rare" M4A3E8 (75) W - HVSS  Sherman:
     The US Army wanted to discontinue production of 75mm Shermans at the end of 1943. However, the British & US Marines still had requirements for them in 1944 and on. So, Fisher Body was the sole manufacturer of 75mm M4A3 Shermans with large hatches and wet stowage. It produced 3071 M4A3(75)W's from February 1944 to March 1945.
     The British and US Marines considered the 75mm's High Explosive round to be markedly superior to that of the 76mm gun. Moreover, the British requested more 75mm Shermans with M34A1 gun mounts and Oil Gear Traverse Mechanisms, which they needed for their ongoing Firefly conversion program. In the event, the 75mm Sherman, in the form of the M4A3(75)W continued in production until March, 1945. The standard turret in this vehicles was the D78461 high bustle turret.

      Below, the M4A3(75)W HVSS with D78461 high bustle turret was photographed on the streets of Exeter, England, 1945. While there is no visible USA Number to cross reference, it seems highly likely that this tank was in the UK for Firefly conversion. As yet, no photos of M4A3(75)W HVSS based Fireflies have turned up.
The M4A3(75)W HVSS with D78461 high bustle turret
Photo font: BBC
      The use in ETO of this version was very rare. Just a few pictures of these beasts can be found in action in the European Theatre.
M4A3E8(75)W-HVSS with D78461 high bustle turret
      The use of M4A3E8 75mm would preferably against the Japanese, because the japanese tanks possessed less armour that German tanks. The 75mm shell penetrated the Japanese tanks with relative ease and his projectile HE was more effective against fortifications than the 76mm.
      An interesting production variation took place starting in October, 1944. In order to save foundry capacity, Fisher Body agreed to equip 300 of its M4A3(75)s with earlier D50878 turrets recycled from the retriever conversion program. Baldwin Locomotive Works was one of the donors, and below can be seen some of the turrets left over from their M32B1 ARV conversions:
 D50878  low bustle turrets waiting use - font: Sherman Minutia
 M32B1 Sherman ARV (Armoured Recovery Vehicle)
      The old turrets D50878 recycleds showed various characteristics such as:
          - loader's oval hatch welded in the deck (blue circle)
          - supplementary armour in the turret cheek (red polygon)
          - commander's all round cupola (green arrow)
          - gunner's periscope with heavy  protection (yellow)
         - lower rear corners of the radio bulge cutted to eliminate the interference with the drivers' hatch (lower pic - red rectangle).
Turret D50878 recycled - font: Sherman Minutia
Turret D50878 recycled -  notice the rear area - font: Sherman Minutia
M4A3E8(75)W-HVSS with D50878 recycled low bustle turret
      Due to their late date of manufacture, and average four to five month (factory acceptance to combat issue) shipping times, very few M4A3(75)W with HVSS were shipped overseas during WW II. In fact, 585 were listed in the US Inventory in August, 1948. These tanks were photographed at a staging area near Marseilles on June 19, 1945. They had been processed and sealed for direct shipment to the Pacific, in the event they were needed for the Invasion of Japan.

      Below, the tank in the foreground is equipped with HVSS as evidenced by the extended fender support (red arrows). Curiously, it lacks the "usual" type of gunner's periscope housing as seen on the second and third tanks (green arrows). The identificaton of the tanks as M4A3 W-75 is clear (yellow rectangle).
 The tank in the foreground is equipped with HVSS
 font: Sherman Minutia
M4A3(75)W HVSSs waiting by a possible invasion of Japan
at an Ordnance Depot in Manila, August 1, 1945. - font: Sherman Minutia
Another pic of a row of  M4A3(75) W's in Manila.
      See below, in the close-up of the pic above, that some tanks M4A3E8 (75) W carried the recycled turret low bustle (red arrow) side by side with high bustle (green arrows):
Easy Eights 75 with different turrets...
      Returning to Europe, photos of  operational M4A3E8 (75) W were considered unavailable. But behold, nothing like the research: Two reliable pictures of a M4A3E8 (75) W were found in action.
M4A3E8(75)W - HVSS from 16th Armored Division which entered Pilsen,
Czechoslovakia on May 6, 1945
M4A3E8(75)W - HVSS from 16th Armored Division
Pilsen, Czechoslovakia on May 6, 1945
       This M4A3E8(75)W tank is HARDBOILED (USA 30115711) with some caracteristics:
- spare wheels in the front glacis corner and left rear deck (green arrows)
- schock aborver in the left fender (yellow arrow)
- .50 caliber with very big ammo box (blue arrow)

M4A3E8(75)W HARDBOILED in detail
       The most interesting is that Hardboiled features a recycled D50878 turret. See, above, the low bustle and the cut in the rear corner of the turret.
M4A3E8(75)W HARDBOILED - turret in detail
      Besides the tank is rare, presents the rarest turret!! Guess which model I'll do??

line drawings: based in D.P.Dyer
Medium Tank M4A3E8(75)W

TypeMedium tank
Place of origin                                   United States
Service history
In service1945 (USA)
Used byUnited States

Production history
Number built651 (?)
Weight33.650 Kg
Length6,27 m
Width2,99 m
Height2,97 m
Crew5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver)

Armor76 mm maximum
75 mm M3 L/40 gun (90 rounds)
.50 cal Browning M2HB machine gun (600 rounds),
.30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns (6.250 rounds)
Ford GAA, gasoline V8 - 18,025 L
450 hp (336 kW) @ 2600 rpm
13.6 hp/tonne
TransmissionSynchromesh, 5 forward  and 1 reverse gear
SuspensionHorizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS)
160 km at 636 L; 80 octane
Speed41 to 48 km/h

The kit:
      To do this project, I used the kit M4A3 Sherman 105mm Howitzer and M1 Dozer Blade, by Academy (kit n° 13207) as donor of the chassis. 
Kit 13207 - M4A3 Sherman 105mm Howitzer and M1 Dozer Blade - Academy 1/35
The Academy Easy-Eight kit...  
        But why I'ii use an Academy kit and not a Tasca /Asuka (you must be wondering) ?? 
       Because I had one of these Academy  in my closet ...and these Academy are very delicious to build ... I've done one and recommend!
      As I chose to build the Shermie HARDBOILED with recycled low-bustle turret , I opted to use a Tamiya D50878-M4A3  turret from my scrap box. The whole secret of this project lies in the turret; So, let's start with that, then ...That's the Academy original high bustle turret:
Academy's turret: high bustle D78461
Side by side: Tamiya's turret (dark) and Academy (light)
The rear view of the turrets...

Time of transplant surgery: cutting the Academy turret to
adapt the loader's hatch in the Tamiya turret
First surgery done: testing the hatch in the Tamiya turret roof...
Marking the area to be operated in the second stage of surgery...
Second surgery done !!!!
Transplantation completed ... time to fill  all scars with putty ...
Plastic surgery in progress...
Healing ...
The new roof in the Tamiya turret: loader hatch in position...
Future surgery: Ccut the lower rear corners of the bustle turret with Dremel.

The 75mm L/40 M3 gun, from RBModels...
Turret hatches. 
The commander hatch with movement...0,3mm drill plus metal wire...
Abrasion with Dremel to cut the lower corners of the bustle...
Abrasion done !!!
The armour cheek (very thick) was done with two parts of Tamiya
in overlapping see the red polygon below

Notice the gunner's periscope housing in scratch....
The recycled turret is 90% done...
    Whew!  Enough turret ... Let's have some fun with the chassis and the wheels:

Closing the upper hull...The Girl was born....
Notice the RBModels .30 in metal, in the front glacis...
Fenders and MG bracket (in scratch)

Putty + acetone to increase the turret's texture

Ready for primer...
      My M4A3E8 will look like:
M4A3E8(75)W - Sherman
Starting the painting...
Primer Vallejo: Olive drab...
      I always use the Archer's embossed decals ( Casting symbols Surface Details) AFTER the first layer of paint. They are sharper ....
Embossed decals in the turret will receive a layer of paint ...
The D-Day shipping stencils not, of course!!
Casting markings in the mantlet...
...and in the turret bustle.
Notice the mantlet with a new layer of paint.
Decals from my spare box
16th Armoured Division - 16th tank battalion

The gloss area is Future...
Here are the tracks on vinyl, from AFV Club.
AFV Club T-66 vinyl tracks
      I even see some purists twisting the nose to the vinyl tracks, but when they are good, they save me a lot of work ... And since I am essentially lazy, I'm sorry, but I will use this material:  the tracks are excellent.
AFV tracks. very good and are assembled with cyanoacrylate.
      And the Girl with new shoes:
M4A3E8 (75) W - HVSS - HARDBOILED - left side
M4A3E8 (75) W - HVSS - HARDBOILED - right side
M4A3E8 (75) W - HVSS - HARDBOILED - rear view
Putting some load on the rear deck of the Sherman: Value Gear stuff...Excellent !!!
      It was very common the use of tarp over the rear cargo. I made my canvas with tracing paper pasted with a solution of white glue + water (50% - 50%)
Covering the roll beds...

After the paper is dry, painting with Buff...
Rear view...
The Girl is almost ready....helmets from Italeri...
headlights with MV lenses....

Next step: chipping, final weathering and...
Finally, I finished this project....Sorry about the delay, but the guilty one was the mail ! I always wanted to build this rare Sherman, even more with a different turret ... and here's the result:
 Sherman M4A3E8 (75) W - (recicled turret) -  HVSS - HARDBOILED - 16th Armored Division - 16th Tank Battalion - Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, 1945.
Sherman M4A3E8 (75) W - (recicled turret)
Sherman M4A3E8 (75) W - (recicled turret) - HVSS -
HARDBOILED - 16th Armored Division - 16th Tank Battalion
Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, 1945.

Sherman M4A3E8 (75) W - HVSS - right side

Sherman M4A3E8 (75) W - HVSS - rear view

Sherman M4A3E8 (75) W - HVSS  with Kojak

Sherman M4A3E8 (75) W - (recicled turret) - HVSS -
HARDBOILED - 16th Armored Division - 16th Tank Battalion
Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, 1945.
Thanks Gents, for visiting !!!

13 comentários:

  1. Waouw ! I never seen this variant before and however I'm a Sherman'fan.
    It's a real pleasure to read your very detailed post. Many thanks.

  2. Merci, Alain...It's an oddball , indeed !!!

    merry X'mas !!!

  3. Documentación, trabajo y resultados, todo de primera. Fantástico Marcos!!!!!!


  4. Gracias, Jose !!!

    Muchas gracias por las palabras y el estímulo ...Un abrazo grande y la casa es tuya ...

  5. Hello, you have done a little mistake. The lifting rings on the front glacis are located "inboard" like on early glacis (http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/manufacturer/m4a375w/m4a375w_1.jpg), they should be located near the edge on the glacis like here http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/manufacturer/m4a375w/m4a375w_3.jpg. Anyway nice model !!

  6. Thanks, Bibi...thanks for the tip !!

  7. was the m4 composite hull sherman ever produced with the hvss suspension? i have an article from afv g2 magazine that claims it was so fitted. however, no sources were quoted, and no photos were included. revell's m4 sherman has hvss. were did revell get its information?

  8. @Unknow: Never hear about composites with HVSS suspension. In WWII, I belive.... Pos-WWII anything is possible, but in WWII...nop...I never see...

  9. Aside from the suspension, did you know it has been proved that a Canadian Sherman with a 75 mm gun in ambush position and not a Sherman Firefly with a 17 inch gun or a Typhoon firing rockets killed Michael Whitmann and his crew in their Tiber E, and that Tiger B, 332 which is now at Fort Benning Georgia was abandoned because an American Sherman firing a phosphorus shell at it? The small tank, M24 Chaffee, with a 76 mm gun also killed a Tiger B with a phosphorus shell. So, apart from getting into a regular tank duel, under gunned American tanks could kill the big German cats for sure. But the easiest way for an American tank to kill a Tiger was for it to call down Thunderbolts which had some amazingly lethal ways of killing concrete bunkers and Tigers, would, upon call, fall upon the German tanks and destroy them just as well as a Tiger could kill anything in its path. "Combined Arms" was the way the Americans came to fight the war and everything I have read from German veterans who survived the war and had fought against the Russians as well, came to fear war that the Americans laid down on them more than the Russians, and were therefore much more likely to surrender to Americans.

    1. Hi, Cliff... Amazing!! Exactly ... the combination of forces was one of the great experiments that worked well in WWII. Thanks for your care and contribuition, my friend. The Bunkers is ours!!!

    2. I wonder if the overall 75 gun became more accurate with the new suspension? When the British put U.S. 75s in the Churchill 4 (did they call it the Churchill 5 after they made enough of them?) in Italy they found that with a more stable platform provided by the Churchill, the 75 was capable of more accuracy and was a lot more lethal at a longer range. The Easy 8 suspension widened the Sherman's ground profile, so it would make sense if the new suspension would have given the Americans the same experience as the British had.

    3. Thanks Panzerman. Here is an unrelated question, caused by seeing the word "Thunderbolt" in relation to the plane, not the tank. I have recently read a book about German experiences in Normandy, written originally in 1954 by a German propaganda field correspondent who had interview the same men much earlier before the invasion. One mentioned falling back from the beach fortifications to another set of concrete bunkers which were the second line of defense. The veteran said that the bunker filled up with men and just about the time that the first Allied tanks came into view, a line of Thunderbolts (flying tank, as they were often called) attacked the bunker one at a time, dropping a bomb that would bounce on the ground and explode against the bunker. The bombs must have been filled with phosphorus and napalm ( mixed together in each bomb) which lit up and seeped into every crevasse and gun opening, so that the men at the gun positions died first and then, a millisecond later, other men began to be overwhelmed by the fire, often burning from the inside out... hence, napalm and phosphorus or perhaps just phosphorus. The veteran said that this completely demoralized the survivors, although some managed to get out into the ruins and fire panzerfausts at the Shermans. Another veteran who had been in the military police was sent to a crossroads behind the front in order to stop the units retreating in a rout. He was trying to wave them back but they would not respond so me moved forward to physically stop them, but he saw a Thunderbolt coming at them and he jumped into a roadside ditch and tried to get the 100's of retreating men to do the same thing. When he saw the Thunderbolt release a bomb, he ducked down and heard a massive explosion which took his breath away. When he raised up to ground level, there was not one man visible because all of them had been blown to bits.
      Well, this is not about the Thunderbolts but about the bunkers which existed behind the beach lines where the Germans were hit with the phosphorus. I know that the Germans prepared defenses in lines, so this would have been the second line of defense. What I want to know is if you might know of any photos or good maps which show that second line of defense. All the defenses that I have seen photos or maps of are along the beach, plus some Torbuks that were in fields seemingly alone, situated in open fields. That story from the first veteran reads like there were some large bunkers close enough to be able to protect each other with interlocking fields of fire. So you know anything about these?

    4. About accuracy of the 75mm gun in the HVSS suspension, this detail is very important.... In the books I researched about this particular model, no mention is made of this increase in stability, but its arguments are perfectly logical. Many thanks, Cliff !!
      About the P-47 bomber fighters with incendiary bombs, it really is an impressive story. Thank you for your contribution. And about the staggered layout of the bunkers, this always sought, but not always achieved. Unfortunately, my research material does not meet your request... Maps and diagrams of fortifications are not my specialty ... A big hug, my friend... It is always a pleasure to have your historical inclusions !!!