English 010 3:00pm
April 16, 2018
Before the start of ww2, United states designed a versatile medium tank that was capable of fighting the majority of enemy tanks and armored vehicles at the time. This same tank would serve as American main battle tank for the entirety of the war, even going as far as serving with the British, French, Soviet and Italian forces. During the short production run of the 4 years , it was estimated that over 50,000 tanks being produced in variety of models and would even see serve in the Cold War ,as they were plentiful and easy to transport overseas. The tank I am referring to, is known as the M4A1 Medium tank or as you might know it, The Sherman. For the purpose of this review , I will be focusing on five separated section of the tank , rated from 1-10 stars. The five categories will be firepower, armor, maneuverability, reparability and overall effectiveness .
The M4 Primary armament was the 75 mm M3 gun that was originally intended to be use as an anti-infantry role, with most tanks carrying about 90 rounds of a combination of HE (high explosives , used for Infantry), AP ( armor penetrating used for anti-tank) and smoke shells. But once again , this gun was originally meant to fire a shell at very low velocity. Due to this , the Gun did not have the punching power of a dedicated anti-tank gun. This problem was not so much of an issue at first as other countries at the time had the same idea. As the war progressed allied and axis nations started production of several newer tanks deigns that would mound heavier and heavier armor . One of which is the Panzer 4 , built to do a similar job , early panzer 4s mounted the low-velocity 75 mm Kampfwagenkanone 37 L/24 gun that suffered from the same draw backs as the Sherman main gun. However , during the war the Panzer 4 received several upgrades , including the removal of the Kampfwagenkanone 37 L/24 gun , in favor of the 75 mm KwK 40 L/43 high-velocity gun. This upgrade made the Sherman M3 gun out of date overnight. The M3 gun would continue to serve , even though it was outgunned. For this reason, I give the Sherman Main gun 4 out of 10 for its lack of penetration power and its out of date design as the war progressed , and the Panzer will revive a 10 out of 10 , being able to reliably penetrate the Sherman’s armor.
Armor is next on my list still comparing the 2 tanks side by side, the Sherman at the beginning of the war started its life out with 3 inches of sloped armor , which was sufficient at the time to combat other vehicles currently in development at the time. German Panzer 4 that was also currently being designed only had about 1.5 inches of non-sloped armor. This gave the Sherman an edge in the early war , but once again , the Panzer was upgraded mid-war and the Sherman was not. The panzers chassis was originally designed with further upgrades in mind and was increasing steadily until reaching a maximum of about 2.5 inches of non-sloped armor in 1944. The armor would not surpass the Sherman’s , but the M3 gun that would still be fitted to the Sherman had a hard time getting thought the up-armored Panzers as the Panzers new gun would cut right through the Sherman like butter. The Sherman shall receive a 2 out of 10 for armor , and the Panzer a 9 out of 10.
The maneuverability of both tanks are quite comparable. The Sherman would receive many different variations of power plants , some including aircraft engines that would prove to be the eventual standard for the tank. The Sherman powerplant was a Continental R975 9-cyl. air-cooled gasoline, 400 hp aircraft engine that propelled the Sherman at an impressive 30mph , this gave the Sherman an advantage as the Panzer 4 became heavier and heavier with every upgrade. The Sherman had received few to no upgrades so the maneuverability of the tank did not suffer. There were some attempts to upgrade the Maybach HL 108TR, that only developed 250 hp with little success. As a result of the Panzer 4 increased weight, the tank would only make 26 mph. based on this , I would have to rate the Sherman 7 out of 10 and the Panzer 4 out of 10.
Reparability comes next on my list , this section is based entirely on maintaining the tanks and repairing them after seeing action , assuming they are not knocked out of action in battle. The Sherman was designed for men that had experience working on farms. This meant that the tank was overly simple and was easier to repair on site. How ever , the Panzer 4 was a vesical they was intended to be manned by specialized men that were capable of operating a much more complicated tank. These traits would make themselves known as a lot of repair work had to be done at the factory the tank was produced at. Meaning that the tank that was damaged would have to shipped back to the factory for repairs , this took time , resources and most importantly , it has to leave the front line. Even then depending on the battle damage , the tank would not be returned to the front lines in exes of several months. This gave the Sherman an advantage as the damaged parts could be switched out in a couple of hours , thanks to spare parts being readably available and the tank could return to fighting condition in less then a couple of days. As a result of this I would have to rate the Sherman a 9 out of 10 and the Panzer 4 a 3 out of 10.
Overall effectiveness is a rather big turning point for both tanks as they both served threw out the war. The Panzer having a higher quality and constant upgrades made the tank a very potent single adversary to face in a single Sherman on the other had , Sherman’s never fought alone , usually they would be put into platoons of 4 our higher as , Panzer would fight in tandem. Not to mention that about 50,000 Sherman’s would eventually be built threw the war, as the Panzer 4 would see number of a bout under 9,000 being produced. This must be taken into consideration for the end result and would score the Overall effectiveness 8 out of 10 for the Sherman and a 5 out of 10 for the Panzer.
In conclusion the M4 Sherman was a out dated design that was in desperate need of either replacing or upgrade during the war , it fought to the past to its ability’s against the enemy it was forced to face. Even though the Panzer being a superior design by the end of the war would not be enough to turn the tides of war and just could not handle the tidal wave of Sherman’s that America was capable of producing.
Laurier, Jim. “Quantity as Quality.” World War II, vol. 27, no. 4, Nov/Dec2012, pp. 62-63. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=80417625&site=ehost-live.
“Medium Tank M4 Sherman.” Tank Encyclopedia, 6 Apr. 2018, http://www.tanks- encyclopedia.com/ww2/US/M4_Sherman.php.
“Panzer IV.” Tank Encyclopedia, 14 Apr. 2018, http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/nazi_germany/Panzer_IV.php.