M4A3E2 Jumbo - Assault tank - 75 and 76mm versions - case report

Tankers!!!
     Today let's see a different Sherman, built and strengthened especially to lead the way for other Shermans, the M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo Assault tank.

Two M4A3E2 Jumbos Assault tanks of 746th Tank Battalion
accompanied by GIs of the 39th Infantry Regiment,
9th Infantry Division "Old Reliables"
History:
      During early 1944, preparations were intensified for the impending attack on the continent of Europe. It was apparent that a heavily armored assault tank would be required for infantry support during the coming battles. The T14 was no longer in the picture and it was obvious that the new T26E1 would not be available in time.
T14 - Assault Tank
T26E1 - Heavy tank 
      In February, the Army Ground Forces suggested that the standard light and medium tanks be modified for the assault role by the use of auxiliary armor added in the field. Wooden mock-ups were constructed, but the project was dropped in light of later developments. Further study had concluded that the M4A3 could be convened to a satisfactory assault tank by increasing the armor and modifying the tracks and power train. Procurement of 254 such vehicles was authorized and it was designated as the assault tank M4A3E2 by Ordnance Committee action in March 1944.
M4A3E2 Jumbo - notice the normal tracks (not standard)
       The protection was improved by welding an additional 38mm (1-1/2 inches) of rolled armor over the hull front and on the sides of the sponsons. This increased the total thickness in these areas to 101,6mm (4 inches) and 76,2mm (3 inches) respectively.
Glacis (101,6mm) and side armour (76,2mm) of M4A3E2 Jumbo Sherman
Notice the extra-armour welding on the normal armour
      A heavier differential and final drive housing was cast with a maximum thickness of 139,7mm (5-1/2 inches). The remaining parts of the hull retained the standard M4A3 armor.
One piece drive housing of Jumbo M4A3E2
Notice the extra-armour (139,7mm)  casted for this model
      A new turret was cast with walls 152,4mm (6 inches) thick on the front, sides, and rear. A vision cupola and an oval hatch were provided for the tank commander and the loader, but the pistol port was eliminated.
Jumbo's turret. Notice the absence of pistol port in the left side
      The combination gun mount, T110 was a modified version of the M62 used in the standard 76mm gun tanks. In fact, the new gun shield was fabricated by welding a heavy plate to the front of the M62 shield increasing the total thickness to 177,8mm (7 inches).
The massive (177,8mm) Combination gun mount, T110
M4A3E2 Jumbo mantlet
      It was originally intended to mount the 76mm gun, but the 75mm was preferred for infantry support so the latter weapon was installed in all 254 tanks. The HE shell of 75mm was superior in efficiency than the 76mm.
Shermans of 3rd Armored Division in Cologne, 6 March, 1945.
In the foreground an 
M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo 76mm.
Behind that a M4A3 (76) W 
and in the background
an M4A1 (76) W probably a survivor from Normandy.
      Originally the standard 75mm gun was used, but in February of 1945 many of the "Jumbos" were upgunned with the 76mm main gun for better performance in anti-tank engagements. Since the mount was almost identical with the standard M62, it was relatively easy to replace the 75mm by the higher powered 76mm weapon.
M4A3E2 (75) Assault tank COBRA KING - "First in Bastogne"
Crew: First Lieutenant Charles Boggess, Corporal Milton Dickerman and
Privates James G. Murphy, Hubert S. Smith and Harold Hafner.
     The normal Sherman secondary armament was carried including the 50,8mm (2 inch) smoke mortar in the left front of the turret roof. Other equipment also corresponded to that for a wet stowage M4A3 armed with the 75, except that the headlights and siren were omitted. The thick armor increased the combat weight of the M4A3E2 to about 38.000 Kg. To insure adequate performance with that weight, the final drive ratio was increased from 2.84:1 to 3.36:1 reducing the maximum speed to around 35 Km/h. The standard M4A3 power train was used except for the final drive. To reduce the ground pressure, the double pin tracks were assembled using duckbill extended end connectors on the outside. The increased contact area held the ground pressure to approximately 14 psi.
M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo (left) and a M4A3E8 (76)W (right) from 37th Tank Battalion
4th Armored Division enters in Alzey, Germany, 20 March, 1945.
Notice the duckbill extended end connectors in the M4A3E2 Jumbo Assault tank.
      The use of duckbill extended end connectors was the normal, but there are rare pictures of Sherman  M4A3E2 Jumbos without this device in its tracks.
M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo from 4th Armored Division near Pisek (Czech) in May, 9 - 1945
Notice the absence of duckbill extended end connectors. 
      The production of the M4A3E2 began at the Fisher Tank Arsenal in May 1944 with the last of the 254 tanks being delivered in July. Tested at both Aberdeen and Fort Knox, the M4A3E2s were shipped to Europe arriving in the Fall of 1944. Employed throughout the remainder of the fighting, they were considered highly successful.
M4A1 (76) and M4A3E2 (75) in the winter.
Crews relaxing before the battle.
      In early 1945, additional production was requested for the heavily armored M4A3E2 which was to be equipped with the horizontal volute spring suspension and the 76mm gun. A later request changed the armament to the 90mm gun using the turret from the M26 General Pershing. However, since the Pershing itself was already in full production, interest shifted to the design of an assault version of the newer tank. Designated as the T26E5, its frontal armor had a maximum thickness of  279,4mm (11 inches). 

     Specs:

M4A3E2 Assault Tank 
Type
Assault tank / Medium tank
Place of origin                                 
United States
Service history
In service
1944–55 (U.S.)
Used by
United States and France
Production history
Designer
U.S. Army Ordnance Department
Designed
1944
Manufacturer
 Fisher Tank Arsenal
Produced1944–45
Number built254
Specifications
Weight38.000 Kg
Length7,54 m
Width2.90 m
Height2.95 m
Crew
5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver)

Armor
101mm (max. hull) to 152mm (turret)
Main gun
75 mm M3 L/40 gun (104 rds)
Secondary
armament


.50 cal Browning M2HB mg (300 rounds),
(4,750 rounds)
Engine
Transmission
Spicer manual, synchromesh, 5 forward and 1 reverse gear
Suspension
Fuel capacity630 litres - 80 octane
Operational
range
161 km - road
Speed
35 km/h - max. sustained

The kits:
      Again, today we have excellent kits for this version, such as  Tasca/Asuka US Assault Tank M4A3E2 Sherman "Jumbo")...
Tasca Jumbo kit. Superb...
Asuka's version of the same kit...

... but in 2005, when I built these girls, the only option was the awfull  Tamiya (#35139).
Tamiya kit . Horrible!!!
     Well...as said before, as the Tamiya was my only option, I decided to turn lemons into lemonade. Building in old-school style !!! Some TWS stuff:


            Let the work begin. Tamiya and Tank Workshop (TWS)  parts in the worbench. My idea was built two versions of Jumbo kits in parallel, to save time. One with 75mm (and spocked wheels)  and another with 76mm main gun (with dished road wheels).


TWS dished road wheels and idlers and
Tamiya return rolers
   Although COBRA KING had spoked wheels, the idler wheels were dished road type. I'm going to have to improve the idler roads of Tamiya, because I only had one TWS conversion set.
The Tamiya's idler wheels needed a small detailing...

Compare what a little detail can do ...
      The worst problem of the Tamiya kit is the turret, which does not match the correct contour of the M4A3E2 version ... Time to rectify and reshape the sides of the tower, with plasticard and putty:
The real and the Tamiya turret...
Surgery in green...

Surgery done in the 75mm kit

 Notice the TWS uparmored transmission cover

Adding a small roughness to the hull vertical armour. Not much ... just a little bit ...
Putty with cetone...
I know the handles stay flat on the engine covers, but I build them so I can tie things up on the rear deck.
If you do not use them, I force them down...
M4A3E2 (75) - side view
M4A3E2 (76) - side view. Notice the dished road wheels...








The two Jumbo girls, side by side...
Now is the time to make that wooden "shelf" that most Shermies show on their snouts, to carry things: balsa wood !!
Wooden shelf under construction...
      The "skirts" of screws that received the sandshields, which normally removed from the Shermies:  aluminum beer cans foils...
Another good use of a beer ...

      See below the sirts of screws and the weld line in the armour...
Vertical weld line - right side

Vertical weld line - left side

Weld lines made with soldering iron with scalp
      Now, it's painting time: after the primer, olive-drab!!!
Olive-drab rules...

Notice the wooden shelf brackets... 75mm

Notice the wooden shelf brackets... 76mm.
Field adaptation. Not standardized...

The girls with wooden racks...

Upgrading the exhaust vanes from Tamiya!!!
      I put the decals on the Jumbos ... and I honestly hated the final results. This made me so upset that I stored this double Jumbo project in a corner of my closet for many, many years.
Almost done...and disgusting... I hated those girls...
      But now, I decided to reincarnate this pair of Jumbos with new layer of paint and new markings: 9th Armoured Division (Phantom Division) and 2nd Armoured Divisions (Hell on Wheels):
M4A3E2(75) Jumbo


M4A3E2(76) Jumbo


      First of all, I closed the Commander and Driver hatches... After that, a new layer of primer and Olive Drab with new decals:
M4A3E2 Jumbos: 76mm and 75mm

right side

9th Armoured Division (Phantom Division)

2nd Armoured Divisions (Hell on Wheels)
      Last week, I received an order from Value Gear Details and was very anxious to test: the Sherman Engine Deck sets. Let's test the positioning of the partss ...
Testing the Value Gear stuff in the M4A3E2 (75)
Allied Sherman Engine Deck set #2

Testing the Value Gear stuff in the M4A3E2 (76)
Allied Sherman Engine Deck set #16
       I confess that I looked half-suspicious at the tied tree trunks. I usually use pomegranate branches for such details, but this time, I decided to give a vote of confidence to the manufacturer. I will try to paint these logs and see the final result ...
The resin details under white primer

After my painting... loved the logs!!
The tree logs looks very natural ...

M4A3E2 (75) with Allied Sherman Engine Deck set #2



M4A3E2 (76) with Allied Sherman Engine Deck set #16




Notice the logs...amazing!!!
  And finally, the Jumbo girls were ready... First, the early one...


M4A3E2 (75) Jumbo Assault Tank - tank n. 6 of A Company - 747th Tank Battalion
9th Armoured Division (Phantom Division) - Germany - February 1945.









M4A3E2 (75) Jumbo Assault Tank with Kojak
and Rover, the dog.

M4A3E2 (75) Jumbo Assault Tank - tank n. 6 of A Company - 747th Tank Battalion
9th Armoured Division (Phantom Division) - Germany - February 1945.



M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo Assault Tank - tank n. 9 of B Company, 1st Battalion
67th Armoured Regiment - 2nd Armoured Divisions (Hell on Wheels)
Schonebeck (Elbe), Germany - April, 1945.









M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo Assault Tank with Kojak
and Rover, the dog.

M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo Assault Tank - tank n. 9 of B Company, 1st Battalion
67th Armoured Regiment - 2nd Armoured Divisions (Hell on Wheels)
Schonebeck (Elbe), Germany - April, 1945.
      The two girls, togheter:
M4A3E2 (75) Jumbo Assault Tank and M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo Assault Tank.


M4A3E2 (75) Jumbo Assault Tank and M4A3E2 (76) Jumbo Assault Tank.

Thank you for joining us, Tankers!!

4 comentários:

  1. Belíssimo trabalho! Obrigado por compartilhar :)

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  2. Much better than the previous paintjob.

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    Respostas
    1. Thanks, Alain... Indeed... The old paintjob was very, very odd.... Hugs, my friend!!!

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