Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. The UK currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside of the EMU for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. Regional assemblies with varying degrees of power opened in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1999. - US CIA World Factbook.


Medium A "Whippet" "Tritton Chaser"---Photo by Dr. Georg V. Rauch. Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.---Medium A "Whippet" diagram.

Whippet of the 3rd Battalion during March 1918.---Medium A Whippet Prototype.---A photo of the "high speed" Whippet as modified in France. Note the suspension.

Medium A "Whippet" "Tritton Chaser" - Photo provided by Waut Dooghe---Medium A "Whippet" "Tritton Chaser" - Photo provided by Waut Dooghe---Medium A "Whippet" "Tritton Chaser" - Photo provided by Waut Dooghe
Medium A "Whippet" "Tritton Chaser"

In service with the British Army early in 1918, first saw action in March 1918 and then in continuous use until the end of the war. Approximately 200 were produced. Also used by Japan and in Russia.

Noting the Mark I’s abilities and inability’s, the British War Office called for a lighter, faster tank capable of carrying the traditional cavalry task of exploiting a breakthrough and follow retreating enemy. The idea was for an armored substitute for the hose and Sir William Tritton, the designer of the Mark I and the manager of William Foster & Company of Lincoln, set about designing what he called the "Tritton Chaser", a self explanatory name and one that shows marked humility. Trench crossing was considered less important than with the battle tanks, since the latter would have done the job of placing fascines into the wider trenches. The "Chaser" was thereby reduced in size that ensured a lighter weight as a result. The medium tank was born.

The layout was like an armored car with engine compartment up front and the driver looking out over the engine hood. Behind him was to be a rotating turret containing the commander and gunner. In the production models the rotating turret was dropped to simplify manufacture. This change brought crew difficulties since the commander and his gunner now had to handle no less than four machine-guns in a fighting compartment never intended for such a task.

Sir William Tritton, aware of the power losses caused through steering by brakes, attempted to overcome the problem and designed a system that used a separate engine for each track. Theoretically this is straightforward, in practice anything but! In the Whippet, the driver had a steering wheel connected to the two throttles, and movement of the wheel translated into differential movement of the throttles. In straight-ahead driving he could lock both output shafts. The whole process fiendish to manage and it was common practice for driver to stall one engine and spin the tank on one track. A good idea but on soft ground there was a real possibility that a track would come off. Naturally, this was not desirable under combat conditions. The new layout of the tracks was the first indication of a break away the ideas of running them all round the hull and a return to an older concept. Actually the idea was not new as Tritton himself was involved with the earliest designs including "Little Willie" to which these tracks appear more like. The new mud chutes were a substantial step in helping to clear the tracks and bogies of dirt and thereby reducing maintenance. Unfortunately the bogies were not sprung and true high speed was out of the question. In truth, the quoted top speed could only be achieved on smooth ground. On the battlefields of Flanders the Whippet was nowhere near as fast as a horse.

The 40-mile range was too short for a vehicle intended to follow breakthrough. Whippet crews were noted for carrying gasoline in cans strapped on the outside of the hull - a suicidal habit in action. The normal gas tank was armored but placed in the front of the tank. These early fuel tanks were not self-sealing and fire suppression was not yet a reality. As a result, any shot that pierced the fuel tank resulted in a nasty surprise for the crew.

Despite it’s shortcomings, the Whippet was considered a great success and the Germans set about copying it almost exactly, though they wisely tried to mount a 57mm gun a rotating turret. The Armistice overtook the German design and Sweden purchased the German stock and developed the tank as the M-21. That tank served Sweden for many years showing that it was a successful design. The British abandoned the Whippet design in 1919 and scrapped the 200 that had been made. The Tank Corps' Central Workshops in France installed sprung bogies on a Whippet for a experiment. This improved the ride considerably and when a 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle airplane engine was installed 30mph was easily obtained. This experiment was ignored by the powers in charge and British tank design went forward with the Medium C. Other users included Japan and captured units by Germany.

For further reading, here is a article written by Witold J. Lawrynowicz, author of Renault FT Tank.

Specifications
Crew 3
Weight 31,360 lbs
Length 20'
Width 8' 7"
Height 9'
Armor 5 - 14mm
Powerplant 2 x Tyler 6cyl gasoline 45hp
Armament 4 x .303 Hotchkiss MG
Performance 8 mph
Range 40 miles

Medium B
Medium B

Designed in September 1918. Appearing more like a return to the early rhomboid type tanks or at least the designer was influenced by them. Initially an order for 450 was given but with the ending of WW1, this large order was cancelled after 45 had been completed. In service with the British Army early in 1919. Seventeen were sent to Russia to serve with British forces operating with the White Russians. Some units were captured and used by Red Russian forces. The remaining units not sent to the USSR were used for training until 1921. One experimental Male version was built mounting a 2pdr gun in a revolving turret. This tank was noted for having cramped crew condtions.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 18 tons
Length 22.75'
Width 8.85'
Height 8.5'
Armor 6 - 14mm
Powerplant Ricardo gasoline 100hp
Armament 4 x MG
Performance 6.1 mph

Medium C "Hornet"---I recently purchased a great old photograph of British 'Medium C' tanks on parade in Aldershot. The photo is captioned 'Aldershot c 1923'. Note the signal device on the command tank in the foreground. - Photo provided to TANKS! by Paul Hinckley.---Photo provided to TANKS! by Paul Hinckley.
Medium C "Hornet"

The Medium C "Hornet" would have been the main tank in the proposed breakthrough of the German lines in 1919. It combined the experience of the Mark IV and the Medium A (Whippet) into a single machine. Conditions for the crew were greatly improved. The crews were now grouped together in one compartment with voice tubes connecting each position. One man could control the tank, which had been impossible in the Mark IV, and the commander had a small rotating cupola at the back of the turret where he had a good view. The engine was isolated in a compartment at the rear, which lowered the noise level and reduced the amount of smoke inside the vehicle. Ventilation was also improved, and the post-war Medium C tanks had extra armored ventilators in the back of the turret.

The suspension was uninspired, and reflected the designers' involvement with the earlier rhomboidal machines. The tracks ran all round the hull and the bogies were not sprung. The Medium C was the last tank to be so designed, and the speed was low as a result. In fact 7.9mph could only be achieved on smooth, flat grassland or a good road. Track life was also very short. A good point was the provision of mud chutes, which kept the bogies clean, and a Wilson gearbox and transmission.

The turret had mountings for five guns, though only four were fitted. Guns could be shifted from one port to another. Only female tanks were built, but it had originally been intended that there should be a male version with one 6pdr gun. Apparently one was actually made, but never put into service. The 6pdr was mounted in the front of the turret, This gun must have cut down space in the fighting compartment even further. A hatch in the roof could be opened and one of the Hotchkiss guns mounted on a pintle for AA fire, though this completely exposed the gunner.

Extravagant plans were made for the production, begun in September 1918, of the Medium C tank. Once the pilot model had been demonstrated 200 were ordered. In October 1918 a further 4,000 females and 2,000 males were ordered, but immediately cancelled. By February 1919 only 36 of the original 200 had been completed (some sources state that 48 were completed), and all further work was stopped. The remaining half-completed hulls were scrapped. One feature of the Medium C design which was advanced for it’s time was that assemblies and sub-assemblies were intended to be manufactured in different factories, coming together only for final construction. All other tanks had been built wholly under one roof, which was slower and more expensive. Although few Medium Cs were ever made, the design was a significant step in tank history. It was a design between the war-time rhomboids and the future fully-sprung suspensions.Considered the "best of the breed" for this era of design. The few that were built remained in service until 1923.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 43,680 lbs.
Length 25' 1"
Width 8' 11"
Height 9'  8"
Armor 6 - 14mm
Powerplant Ricardo 6cyl gasoline 150hp
Armament 4 x .303 Hotchkiss MG
Performance 7.8 mph
Range 75 miles

Medium D mock up.---Medium D Modified---Medium D Amphibious---Medium D
Medium D

The Medium D was the last British tank design of WW1. Design work was started in October 1918 and only the mock up was finished before the end of the war. With the end of the war, all tank production ceased. It appears that only one was ever created and that was done in 1920 for testing. The Medium D incorporated a new "rope" track system with articulated shoes. A male version was planned using the short 6pdr, but this was never built. Seen as the British post war tank of choice but because of mechanical problems this design was ultimately discarded.

Specifications
Crew 3
Weight 20 tons
Length 30'
Width 7' 5"
Height 9'  2.5"
Armor 8 - 10mm
Powerplant Armstrong Siddeley Puma 240hp
Armament 3 x .303 Hotchkiss MG
Performance 23 mph

Light Infantry Tank---Light Tropical Tank---Light Supply Tank
Light Infantry, Tropical, and Supply Tanks

Based on the Medium D and designed in 1921. The purpose of the vehicle was to support infantry when attacking. Using flexable tracks, this tank was nimble, light, and amphibious. No version was ever adopted for manufacture. The tropical version was intended for colonial use. The supply version was to be a companion to the tropical tank. With this design an era passed and a newer generation appeared.

Specifications
Crew ?
Weight 17.5 tons (infantry version)
5.5 tons (tropical version)
Length 22' 3"
Width 7' 5"
Height 9'  2.5"
Armor ?
Powerplant Hall Scott 100hp (infantry version)
Taylor 45hp (tropical version)
Armament ?
Performance 30+ mph (infantry version)
15mph (tropical version)

Vickers Medium Tank Number 01---Vickers Medium Tank Number 01 (rear view)
Vickers Tank Number 01 and Number 02

An idea tested from 1921 to 1922 and based on the Medium B. The vehicle was found mechanically unrealiable and the project was dropped as a result. Still stuck on the idea of Male and Female tanks, Tank Number 01 was a Female and Tank Number 02 was a Male. It did provide valuble knowledge for future applications however.

Specifications
Crew 5
Weight 8.75 tons
Length ?
Width ?
Height ?
Armor .5"
Powerplant 86hp
Armament 3 x Hotchkiss .303 MG (Female)
1 x 3pdr, 4 x MG (Male)
Performance 15mph
Range ?

Mark I.---Mark IA. - 11.9 tons. Improvements included a AA mount for a MG. Width was reduced to 8' 10.5".---Mark IA* (star). Fitted with 3 Vickers .303 MG. No Hotchkiss. Width increased to 9' 10.5" 11.9 tons.

Mark I C.S. - The 3pdr gun was replaced by a 15pdr mortar.---Vickers Medium Mark I Ricardo C.I. - This was an experiment that fitted a Ricardo 90hp Diesel into a Mark I tank.

Mark I Wheel & Track. Able to change from track to wheel in less than 1 minute, this variation was produced in 1926. Not a success owing to lack of stability on wheels. 13.7 tons, 1 x .303 Vickers MG, 8mm armor, 10mph track, 20mph wheels, 9' 6" high on wheels, 21' long with wheels raised. ---Mark I Wheel & Track.---Mark 1 AA - 1924 - Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch

Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch.---Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch.
Vickers Mark I

Developement began in 1922 and the first deliveries began in 1924 to the British army. Beginning service as the Mark I Light Tank, this vehicle was soon reclassified a medium. This was the first British tank to have all round traverse and geared elevation for the gun. Sprung suspension gave the tank a good speed of 15mph. Two special units (not pictured above) were made called The Light Tank Mark I, these were "female" tanks designed specially for India (India Pattern). These two tanks were extra special in that all possible technology was used (fans, asbestos) to keep the interiors cool in the hot climate. These 2 tanks looked and weighed just as the Mark I Medium, but were never reclassified from Light as all others were.

Specifications (for Mark I)
Crew 5
Weight 11.7 tons
Length 17' 6"
Width 9' 1.5"
Height 9' 3"
Armor 6.5mm
Powerplant Armstrong Siddeley 90hp
Armament 4 x Hotchkiss, 2 x Vickers .303 MG
1 x 3pdr
Performance 15mph
Range ?

Vickers Medium MarkII---Vickers Medium MarkII* (star) - Same as a basic Mark II except the Hotchkiss MG were gone, a new coaxial MG was added to the turret, and a commanders cuppola was added.---Vickers Medium MarkII** (star star). 44 were converted to add a radio bustle to the rear of the turret, commanders cuppola added, coaxial MG added.

Vickers Medium MarkIIA - Produced in 1930, 20 were built. Better suspension and rearranged track rollers. Hull MG now ejected empty shells to the exterior. Commanders cuppola added. Left ventilator protected by armor.---Vickers Medium MarkIIA.C.S. - Basically the same as a MarkIIA but armed with a 3.7" howitzer for close support. Armor 8mm, 3 x .303 Vickers MG.---Vickers Medium MarkII Tropical - 5 machines adapted in 1928 and sent to Eqypt. Major adaption was the woven asbestos padding applied and spaced 1.5" from the armor. The steering and clutches were also padded with asbestos.

Vickers Medium MarkII Bridgecarrier - Modified in 1927. Fitted with side brackets so the tank could carry girders to construct an 18' bridge. The bridge was constructed by the tank crew - not engineers. ---Vickers Medium MarkII Command Tank - A standard Mark II fitted with a extra radio set in 1931. The main gun was removed and replaced with a dummy.---MarkII of the 5th Battalion RTC on exercise in Hampshire, England - Date unknown.---Mark 2  AA - 1925 - Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch.

Vickers MarkII, North African desert 1941, captured.---Vickers MarkII, North African desert 1941, captured.---Because of the thin armor, many Mark II tanks ended their days buried up to the turret in the desert of North Africa.

Vickers Medium Mark2, Egypt. - Photo research by Dennis Berkin. Photo ownership clarification by Graham Matthews www.geocities.com/gpmatthews. Photo from the private collection of Chris Evans, www.chrisevansbooks.com
Vickers Mark II

An important and often overlooked developement. Vickers introduced the Mark II in 1925 as a follow on to the Mark I. Improvements included thicker armor, better driver vison, and armor skirting that provided protection for the suspension. This tank would remain in service until 1939 and after that year the tank was used for training - at least everywhere but North Africa. Due to an true shortage of armor, the British employed everything at hand, including these tired old machines. Against Italian armor they aquited themselves well, against German armor they were no match. These machines were armed basically as a Mark IA. Not shown above is model Mark IIA*. This model was basically the same as the Mark IIA but fitted with an armored wireless radio container. Not shown above is the small quanity of Mark IIA tanks modified specially for the USSR. The Soviets called this tank the "English Workman". Not shown is the Mark II "Special" designed for Australia (see the Australia section).

Specifications
Crew 5
Weight 13.2 tons
Length 17' 6"
Width 9' 1.5"
Height 8' 10"
Armor 6.5mm
Powerplant Armstrong Siddeley 90hp
Armament 4 x Hotchkiss, 2 x Vickers .303 MG
1 x 3pdr
Performance 15mph
Range ?

Medium Tank Mark III---Medium Tank Mark III---Medium Tank Mark III---A Medium Mark 3 action shot. - Photo provided by Ion Fonosch.

Mark 3 Medium. - Photo thanks to Dennis Berkin
Medium Tank Mark III

Only 3 pilot models were made of this tank after a call for a new design was issued in 1930. Two of the pilots were built by the Royal Ordnance Factory, and the third by Vickers.

Specifications
Crew 7
Weight 16 tons
Length 21' 6"
Width 8' 10"
Height 9' 8"
Armor 9 - 14mm
Powerplant Armstrong Siddeley 180hp V8
Armament 4 x Hotchkiss, 2 x Vickers .303 MG
1 x 3pdr
Performance 30mph
Range ?

A6E1 - Weight: 17.5tons, Crew: 7, Weapons: 1 x 3pdr, 5 x .303 Vickers MG, Armor: 9 - 14mm, Engine: Armstrong Siddeley V8 180hp, Performance: 30mph, Length: 21'6", Width: 8' 9", Height: 9' 2".---A6E2 - Weight: 17.5tons, Crew: 7, Weapons: 1 x 3pdr, 5 x .303 Vickers MG, Armor: 9 - 14mm, Engine: Ricardo 180hp Diesel (later replaced with an Armstrong Siddeley), Performance: 30mph, Length: 21'6", Width: 8' 9", Height: 9' 2".---A6E3 - Weight: 17.5tons, Crew: 7, Weapons: 1 x 3pdr, 5 x .303 Vickers MG, Armor: 9 - 14mm, Engine: Armstrong Siddeley V8 180hp, Performance: 30mph, Length: 21'6", Width: 8' 9", Height: 9' 2". Same as the A6E1 and 2. Fitted with various improvements. In 1937 the engine was replaced with a 500hp Thorneycroft RY12.

A6E1 - Photo thanks to Dennis Berkin.
The A6 Medium Tank Series, 16 Tonners

These multi-turret tanks were based on the Independent and built at the request of the War Office in an effort to find the next generation of tanks to replace the Mark I and Mark II. They were nicknamed "16 Tonners" because of the weight limitations imposed upon the design but in reality, this weight was exceeded when the test models were produced. Due to drastic cutbacks in military spending due to the worldwide depression, none were ever produced in series. These 3 produced units were used as test beds for a variety of ideas up to 1938.


A7E1 - Weight: 14tons, Crew: 5, Weapons: 1 x 3pdr 2 x .303 Vickers MG, Armor: 9 - 14mm, Engine: Armstrong Siddeley 120hp, Performance: 25mph.---A7E2 - Weight: 14tons, Crew: 5, Weapons: 1 x 3pdr 2 x .303 Vickers MG, Armor: 9 - 14mm, Engine: Armstrong Siddeley 120hp, Performance: 25mph. - Transmission and running gear modified. Turret modified to accept the new 2pdr gun.---A7E3 - Weight: 18.2tons, Crew: 5, Weapons: 1 x 3pdr 2 x .303 Vickers MG, Armor: 14mm, Engine: 2 x 252hp AEC CI Diesel, Performance: 25mph, Length: 22' 6", Width 8' 11.5", 9' 1". - An important model. This tank employed all the knowledge of the Mark III, the A6E3, and the A7E2. This tank shows it's bloodline as the father of the Matilda II.
The A7 Medium Tank Series

As with the A6 series, these tanks were used for testing toward finding a next generation of armor for the Royal Tank Corps. Design and testing began in 1931 and all models were declaired obsolete in 1936. Mechanical faults plagued this series.


Vickers Medium Mark C
Vickers Medium Mark C

A 1926 Vickers design for export. Prototypes were sold to Ireland and Japan. The Japanese, in turn, used this tank as a basis for their Type 89 Medium Tank.

Specifications
Crew 5
Weight 11.5 tons
Length 18' 4"
Width 8' 4"
Height 7' 11"
Armor 5 - 6mm
Powerplant Sunbeam 132hp 6cyl
Armament 1 x 6pdr, 4 x Vickers .303 MG
Performance 20mph
Range ?

Grant---Grant Command Tank - This tank carried an extra radio and a dummy 37mm gun.---Grant Scorpion Mark 4 - Two Dodge engines supplied power for the flail.---Grant CDL

Photo by permission of Rodolfo Torres Vazquez.---Photo by permission of Rodolfo Torres Vazquez.---Photo by permission of Rodolfo Torres Vazquez.---Photo by permission of Rodolfo Torres Vazquez.---Photo by permission of Rodolfo Torres Vazquez.

Photo by permission of Rodolfo Torres Vazquez.
US Lee 1 - 6, Grant 1 - 4

US M3 tanks had been supplied to the UK under the lend lease program, but the Grant modification was a outright purchase. The Lee, named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was the unmodified US M3 version. The Grant was named after Union General and US President Ulysses Simpson Grant. The modifications were directed by the British Tank Commission that was sent to the United States based on experiance. The outright difference was a longer turret with a bustle for radio storage. On it's battlefield debut against the Germans in North Africa the tank performed beyond all hopes. German general Erwin Rommel noted that the tank tore gaps in his line and their 50mm AT shells bounced off the hulls.

British Specifications
Model Fighting
Weight
Length Height Width Hull Engine Performance
Lee 1 61,500 lbs 18' 6" 10' 3" 8' 11" Riveted Wright 21mph
Grant 1 62,000 lbs 18' 6" 9' 11" 8' 11" Riveted Wright 21mph
Grant 2 64,000 lbs 18' 6" 10' 3" 8' 11" Riveted Twin
GMC
Diesel
25mph
US Specifications - Remarks For British In Red
Crew 6
Weight Approx. 60,000 lbs. depending on the model
Length Approx. 18' 6" depending on the model
Width Approx. 10' 3" depending on the model
Height Approx. 10' 3" depending on the model
Engine Wright 973 radial 340hp though differences occurred in some models.
M3 Riveted construction and side doors. 4942 M3 units were built including 600 special units known as "Lee" for the British.
M3A1 A limited production of 300 to test a cast upper hull. Late models did not have side doors or a hull floor escape hatch. Used for training only.
M3A2 A limited production of 12 (or 14 depending on the source) to test an all welded upper hull with a cast turret. Used for test vehicles only.
M3A3 Welded hull powered by twin GMC diesel engines. 322 were built. Some went to the U.S.M.C. and the rest were sent "Lend Lease". The M3A3 designation was later restricted to vehicles with welded hulls.
M3A4 Riveted hull powered by the Chrysler 30cyl "Multibank". 109 were built. The hull (including tracks and chassis) was increased to just over a foot longer to accommodate the engine. No side doors.
M3A5 Riveted hull with no side doors on late models. Powered by twin GMC diesel engines. 591 were built. Some went to the U.S.M.C. and the rest were sent "Lend Lease".
Grant 1 The M3 with a turret designed to British requirements.
Grant 2 British designation for M3A5 with original American turret.
Grant ARV British conversion of both the Grant 1 and 2. Guns removed and a towing winch with an "A" frame hoist added.
Grant Scorpion 3 & 4 British conversion. A flail type of minefield clearing device was fitted and the 75mm gun removed. An external motor to drive the flail was added to the rear of the tank. Model 4 had two motors.
Grant Command British conversion. Additional radio. Sometimes the guns were removed and replaced with dummys.
Grant ARV Mk. 2 Austrailian conversion of a Grant into a recovery vehicle.
Grant CDL British conversion. A secret weapon. The turret was removed and replaced by a armored searchlight with 13 million candlepower.
Lee 1 British designation for the M3
Lee 2 Designation for the M3A1
Lee 3 Designation for the M3A2 (none were delivered to the British)
Lee 4 Designation for the M3A3 with a Continental engine.
Lee 5 Designation for the M3A3 (diesel)
Lee 6 Designation for the M3A4

Sherman IBY---Sherman IIA---Sherman IIC---Sherman IIIAY

Sherman IV---Sherman IVC---Sherman V Adder - Designed in 1944, the Sherman V Adder, originally known as the Sherman Cobra, had a flame projector on a movable base mounted over co-driver's hatch. An armored container on the rear of the tank held the fuel. Another Sherman flame variant was the Salamander. There were 8 versions of the Salamander made.---Sherman VC

Sherman VC---Sherman AMRCR Number 1A Mark1---Sherman Bullshorn Mark 3 Plough---Sherman CIRD - CIRD = Canadian Indestructible Roller Device

Sherman Crab I---Sherman Crab II---Sherman Crab at LeHavre in September, 1944.

Sherman Crab at Normandy 6 June, 1944.---Sherman Crocodile - The Sherman Crocodile was designed at the request of the US Army. To retain the bow Machine Gun, the flame projector was mounted on a base to the right of the hull gunner's hatch. Four were made and all were used in the European campaign (1944-45).---Sherman DD---Sherman DD

Sherman FireFly at Normandy.---Sherman Jeffries Plough---Sherman Lobster---Sherman Lulu - Sherman Lulu was a experimental anti-mine device. The rollers were made of wood that contained a mine detector coil attached to an indicator inside the tank.

Sherman Lulu - Sherman Lulu was a experimental anti-mine device. The rollers were made of wood that contained a mine detector coil attached to an indicator inside the tank.---Sherman Pram Scorpion - Sherman Pram Scorpion was a prototype only.---Sherman Rocket Projector - The rocket projector was a field improvised device used by the British Guards Armored Division and used Typhoon Aircraft Rocket Launchers attached to the turret sides.---Sherman Scorpion

British 79th Division in Brussels, sometime in 1944 - Photo contribution by Dennis Berkin.
The T6, M4, Sherman and variations

 

Initially known as the T6 Medium Tank, the M4 "General Sherman" would go on to become one of the most important and most produced tanks of WW2 and was only out produced by the Soviet T34. Seeing battle on all fronts and in a plethora of forms, the tank would become one of either fond or awful memory to the soldiers who handled it. Often misused and asked to handle tasks usually assigned to heavy tanks in other armies because there was nothing else available. The tank was nimble, reliable, and had superior gun controls - which is part of the reason it was kept around when it should have been replaced. The initial production model's armor and 75mm gun were excellent but fluid battlefield conditions would render it weak and finally obsolete barely a year after introduction in Europe. In the East, the M4 would remain peerless throughout the war.

Some 300 of these trusty and robust tanks first went into British service during the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. From that point, the General Sherman, or simply "Sherman", quickly became the principle tank of the British armored force during WW2. These tanks came initially armed with US 75mm, 76mm, and 105mm guns, however, it was the British conversion to the Firefly design that made this tank a real battle winner. In 1943 it was decided to place the highly successful 17pdr gun in the Sherman. The British redesigned the turret slightly, mounted a 17pdr on it's side and then adapted it for left handed loading. The original trunnions were used with a new mounting, recoil, and elevation gear. Since the breech nearly filled the whole turret, a hole was cut in the rear of the turret and a box was added to hold the radio gear. The armored box also acted as a counterweight. The most converted vehicle was the M4A4 (Sherman V) followed by the M4 (Sherman I). A small number of Sherman II, III, and IV were also converted.

The British numbering system worked as follows:

Sherman I - M4
Sherman II - M4A1
Sherman III - M4A2
Sherman IV - M4A3
Sherman V - M4A4

Blank - 75mm Gun
A - 76mm Gun
B - 105mm Gun
C - 17pdr
Y - Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS)

A Sherman IBY would be translated to mean a M4 armed with a 105mm Gun, using HVSS. A Sherman IIA would be translated to mean a M4A1 armed with a 76mm Gun using normal suspension.

M4 Production Feb. 1942 - Jun. 1945
Detroit Tank Arsenal M4 - 1,676
M4(105) - 1,641
M4A3(76)W - 4,017
M4A3(105) - 3,039
M4A4 - 7,499
M4A6 - 75
Fisher, Grand Blanc Arsenal M4A2 - 4,614
M4A2(76)W - 2,894
M4A3(75)W - 3,071
M4A3E2 - 254
M4A3(76)W - 525
Canadian Pacific Railway Montreal Angus Works M4A1 - 188
Lima Locomotive Works M4A1 - 1,655
Ford Motor Company M4A3 - 1,690
Federal Machine and Welder Company M4A2 - 540
Baldwin Locomotive Works M4 - 1,233
M4A2 - 12
American Locomotive Company M4 - 2,150
M4A2 - 150
Pressed Steel Car Company M4 - 1,000
M4A1 - 3,700
M4A1(76) - 3,426
M4A2(76)W - 21
Pullman Standard Manufacturing Company M4 - 689
M4A2 - 2,737
Specifications - Remarks For British In Red
Model Fighting
Weight
Length Height Width Hull Engine (2) Performance
M4(75)
M4(105)
Sherman I
Sherman Hybrid I
66,900
lbs
19' 4" 9' 8' 7" Welded Wright 24mph (5)
M4A1
M4A1(76)W
Sherman II
Sherman IIC
Canadian
Grizzly I
66,800
lbs
19' 2" 9' 8' 7" Cast Wright 24mph (6)
M4A2
M4A2(76)W
M4A2(76)W-HVSS
Sherman III
Sherman IIIC
70,200
lbs
19' 5" 9' 8' 7" Welded Twin
GMC
Diesel
29mph (7)
M4A3
M4A3(75)W
M4A3E8(76)W-HVSS
M4A3(105)
Sherman IV
Sherman IVC
66,700
lbs
19' 5.5" 9' 8' 7" Welded Ford 26mph (8)
M4A3E2 82,000
lbs
19' 5.5" 9' 8' 7" Welded Ford 22mph (4)
M4A4
Sherman VC
69,700
lbs
19' 10.5" 9' 8' 7" Welded Chrysler
Multibank
25mph (9)
M4A5
Canadian Ram I
Canadian Ram II
see
Canada
Section
see
Canada
Section
see
Canada
Section
see
Canada
Section
see
Canada
Section
see
Canada
Section
(10)
M4A6 78,000
lbs
19' 10.5" 9' 8' 7" Welded or
Cast &
Welded
Wright 30mph (1)
Engines
WRIGHT A 9 cylinder radial air cooled gasoline engine Model R975 (also built by Continental Motors), 973 cubic inch rated 400 horse power @ 2400 revolutions per minute. About 18,066 units were built with this engine.
TWIN GMC DIESEL Each a 6 cylinder liquid cooled Model 6-71, 425 cubic inch rated 180 horse power @ 2100 revolutions per minute. About 9,507 produced for Lend Lease excepting a small number going to the USMC.
FORD A liquid cooled V8 Model GAA, 1,100 cubic inchs rated 500 horse power @ 2,600 revolutions per minute. About 9,507 were produced for US Army use.
CHRYSLER MULTIBANK A liquid cooled 30 cylinder engine made by combining five 6 cylinder gasoline automobile engines with a common power output. 1,253 cubic inches rated at 425 horse power @ 2,850 revolutions per minute. About 7,499 were built for Lend Lease.
CATERPILLAR RD-1820, liquid cooled, diesel, 9 cylinder radial. 450 horse power @ 2,000 revolutions per minute. This engine found it's way into some Shermans to fulfill orders, but was not the main diesel of choice.
Transmission Manual - 5 forward and reverse

(1) HVSS M4s were built with Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension and wide center guide track.

(2) M4s were manufactured with non-interchangeable engines.

(3) Transmissions: Manual, 5 speed forward and reverse.

(4) The M4A3E2 was a special limited production model with extra heavy armor. A total of 254 were built for use in the European Theater of War by the U.S. Army. Some had their 75mm guns replaced with the 76mm prior to combat. Nicknamed "Jumbo".

(5) Early vehicles had a three piece bolted nose and narrow M34 gun mount. Late units had a combination cast/rolled hull front. "105" designator means that the tank was made with both 75, 105mm cannon. British called the late units a Hybrid.

(6) Early units had M3 type bogies, M2 75mm gun and counterweights, twin fixed MGs in hull front. Nose altered from the three piece bolted to once piece cast. M34A1 gun mount and sand shields added later. "W" designator denotes wet storage of ammunition to reduce fire hazard. The ammunition was stowed in water protected racks below the turret instead of in the sponsons. Ten boxes on the hull floor held 100 rounds and needed 37.1 gallons of water. a further gallon was needed to protect the four ready rounds. The water contained ethylene glycol to prevent freezing and a corrosion inhibiter known as "Ammudamp". "75" and "76" designator means that the tank was made with both 75 and 76mm cannon. "C" designator indicates British conversion to Firefly model - mounting a British 17pounder main gun. See the Canadian Section of TANKS! for details on the Canadian Grizzly.

(7) Most produced M4 model with the majority produced leaving Lend Lease to the British and Soviets. Never had cast/rolled hull. "W" designator denotes wet storage of ammunition to reduce fire hazard. The ammunition was stowed in water protected racks below the turret instead of in the sponsons. Ten boxes on the hull floor held 100 rounds and needed 37.1 gallons of water. a further gallon was needed to protect the four ready rounds. The water contained ethylene glycol to prevent freezing and a corrosion inhibiter known as "Ammudamp". "75" and "76" designator means that the tank was made with both 75 and 76mm cannon. Some units produced with HVSS suspension. "C" designator indicates British conversion to Firefly model - mounting a British 17pounder main gun.

(8) One piece cast nose. Mainly retained for U.S. Army. "W" designator denotes wet storage of ammunition to reduce fire hazard. The ammunition was stowed in water protected racks below the turret instead of in the sponsons. Ten boxes on the hull floor held 100 rounds and needed 37.1 gallons of water. a further gallon was needed to protect the four ready rounds. The water contained ethylene glycol to prevent freezing and a corrosion inhibiter known as "Ammudamp". "75", "76", "105"  designator means that the tank was made with both 75, 76, and the 105mm cannon. Units produced with HVSS suspension were called "Easy Eights". "C" designator indicates British conversion to Firefly model - mounting a British 17pounder main gun.

(9) Three piece bolted nose.

(10) Named M4A5 on the American books, the chassis was actually a very heavily modifed M3. No M4A5 tanks were made in the United States or used by American soldiers.


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Last Update: Thursday, February 20, 2003