Medium Tank M4(76)W

Medium Tank M4(76)W

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Medium Tank M4(76)W

The Medium Tank M4(76)W was the designation given to a version of the M4 that would have been armed with a 76mm gun, but that was cancelled before any production vehicles were built.

In the summer of 1943 work became on the Medium Tank M4 series (ultimate design), a redesign of the M4 Sherman that included many of the experimental features tested on earlier machines. The 75mm gun was to be phased out on most versions, and wet shell storage introduced.

The M4(76)W would have been armed with the 76mm gun. The dangerous ammo storage racks in the sponsons would have been removed, and 65 76mm shells would have been stored in boxes on the hull floor, protected by 34.5 gallons of water. Six shells would have been stored in a water-protected ready storage rack in the turret. To allow access to the new shell storage most of the turret basket was removed.

One pilot of the M4(76)W was produced by Chrysler, between December 1943 when the detailed plans arrived and February 1944, when the hull was completed.

The M4(76)W was meant to have entered production in the summer of 1945, but production was cancelled after the end of the war in Europe. Production of the M4(75) had ended at the start of 1944, but the basic type remained in production as the howitzer armed Medium Tank M4 (105mm).

Medium Tank M4(76)W - History

Production Order T-9872/2 : 462 M4A3(76)W with VVSS : Serial Number 43766 / USA 30100000 through S/N 44227 / USA 30100461
Production Order T-10151 : 671 M4A3(76)W with VVSS and 2 M4A3(76)W with HVSS : Serial Number 44808 / USA 30101042 through S/N 45480 / USA 30101714
Production Order T-10888/2 : 29 M4A3(76)W with VVSS and 824 M4A3(76)W with HVSS : Serial Number 59719 / USA 3031582 through S/N 60571 / USA 3032434
Production Order T-11168 : 1466 M4A3(76)W with HVSS : Serial Number 60572 / USA 30113594 through S/N 62037 / USA 30115059
Production Order T-14596/1 : 200 M4A3(76)W with HVSS : Serial Number 67501 / USA 30123237 through S/N 67770 / USA 30123436
Production Order T-14596/2 : 125 M4A3(76)W with HVSS : Serial Number 72767 / USA 30136599 through S/N 72891 / USA 30136723

Fisher also manufactured some M4A3(76)W from September to December 1944.

Production Order T-11315/2 : 525 M4A3(76)W with VVSS : Serial Number 62860 / USA 30115882 through S/N 63384 / USA 30116406

The evolution of the M4A3(76) started in early 1942 when the Ford Motor Company was contracted to manufacture Medium Tanks powered by an in house designed 500 HP V8 engine. Since the engine was new and untested, M4A3s initially served as training tanks in the US, giving the company the opportunity to "iron out the bugs." In comparison tests, the Ford GAA engine was found to be superior to the other tank power plants, and in June 1943, it was declared "suitable for overseas supply." It was further decided that production of M4A3s would be reserved for US troops, both at home and abroad. While Ford left the Sherman program in September 1943, it continued to supply engines to Chrysler and Fisher Body for the 1944/45 production of M4A3s and M26s. During WW II, Ford's Lincoln plant (above) produced 26,954 V8 tank engines.

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In August 1942, a few months after Shermans began rolling off the assembly lines, the Ordnance Department began testing the feasibility of mounting a 76 mm gun in the standard D50878 turret (above left). The intention was to produce 1000 76mm armed Medium Tanks by the end of the year. Ultimately, the project was cancelled because it was determined that the small turret was unsuitable. In the meantime, development work was initiated on new Medium Tank designs known collectively as the T20 series. The T23, which mounted a 76mm gun in a larger turret, was never standardized due to various technical problems (above right). However, since the 69 inch diameter turret ring was the same as the Sherman's, the T23's 76mm turret was easily adapted for use on the late 1943 revision of the M4 series.

The original design of the welded hull Sherman featured a rather elaborate glacis made up of armor plate combined with various cast or "fabricated" components such as the drivers' hoods. The photo above shows an October, 1942 production Ford built M4A3(75), and provides an idea of one of the early glacis configurations. Ballistic tests revealed the inherent weakness of the numerous weld joints and protrusions. In March 1943 the Armor Branch determined "that these weaknesses cannot be substantially eliminated by changes in the present designs."

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In the meantime, in February 1943, the Army Medical Research Lab had concluded that the original drivers' hatches were too small, and were the cause of numerous injuries, particularly when crew members attempted to enter or exit their tanks in a hurry. Larger hatch dimensions were submitted, but it was found that "increased size not possible of application to present hull design." Thus, development work was begun to reconfigure the front of the Sherman.
Chrysler Corporation submitted a cast front design that addressed the deficiencies, and in June 1943, the Ordnance Department approved of making all subsequent welded hull Shermans in the so called "Composite" configuration as shown above left. However, in that same month, Fisher Body submitted an alternate large hatch design based on the M10 Tank Destroyer that they had developed in early 1942. It featured a single 2 1/2 inch glacis plate that was mounted at a 47 degree angle, so that the drivers' hatches could be repositioned in the roof of the hull. The "Fisher front end" was found to be superior to the Chrysler Composite concept, and became the basis for the "ultimate" or "second generation" series of welded hull Shermans.

Above is shown the M4A3(76) pilot model, USA 3054892, photographed at Chrysler in early 1944. The Registration Number indicates that this tank was built by Ford as a small hatch M4A3(75) in September, 1943. One can see that a large hatch front casting was retrofitted to this particular prototype, reflecting the very brief competition between the Chrysler and Fisher design concepts during development of the "second generation" series of welded hull Shermans. Of course, production M4A3(76)s would feature the "Fisher front end" as explained above. Note that the pilot's turret was fitted with the less complex, original version of the canvas mantlet cover. This suggests that it was intended to equip 76mm turrets with a mantlet cover from the start. However, we suspect that unresolved issues about the final design of the cover may have delayed its introduction for nearly a year.

The official nomenclature for our subject, as seen on dataplates (inset), is "Tank, Medium, M4A3, 76MM Gun, Wet." "Wet" was shorthand for "wet stowage." Thirteen five round ammunition racks were located on the floor of the hull below the turret. Each five round rack had 3 sealed chambers that were filled with liquid. It was thought that if an ammo rack was penetrated, the liquid would be dispersed, and at least slow the progress of an ammunition fire in order to give the crew a few more seconds to escape. Above, several of the racks are shown in place. We've circled the filler plugs of the liquid chambers, including the one for the six round ready rack mounted on the turret basket floor. Some of the men involved in the wet stowage program were not convinced that the liquid chambers made any difference, and requested additional comparative trials. They noted that relocating the ammo bins to better protected positions on the floor of the hull (as the British had requested as early as June 1942) was the effective part of the wet stowage modification. They also mentioned that tankers wanted to carry as much ammo as possible, and the inclusion of the liquid containers came at the expense of an additional 10 to 12 rounds.

In order to provide the loader with easier access to the ammunition, the turret basket of the 76mm Sherman was essentially cut in half. The view above was filmed at the 725th Ordnance Depot in Korea in May 1951. One can see that the turret basket floor was reduced to a little less than a half round shape. The six round ready rack (1) can be seen to overhang the turret basket floor by a few inches. It is to be noted that the M4A3(75)W retained a full turret basket floor that had ammunition access hatches. Howitzer Shermans were NOT "wet stowage," and some of the ammunition continued to be stowed "up high" on the sponsons, as on the original Sherman design. As an aside, we would point out that maintenance personnel were instructed NOT to use the gun mantlet's lifting rings to hoist the turret, such as shown in the scene above, because it could result in misalignment or other damage to the gun.

Chrysler began manufacturing the M4A3(76) in March 1944. Most of the first 4 months' production was scheduled for automatic shipment to Europe. The tanks were processed at US Depots, and delivered to ports on the East Coast when completed. The first allotment of 48 M4A3(76)s, marked with the shipping code "GLUE," was "afloat" by the middle of June. "GLUE," which can be seen in some period photos and on a few surviving tanks, is described as Zone II for the receipt of cargo in the UK. It "included the southern portions of England and Wales, and the ports of the Bristol Channel and Plymouth, Southampton and London." In the early stages of the Normandy campaign, the tanks continued to be shipped to GLUE, where they were transferred to LSTs, and subsequently delivered over the beaches in Normandy. When port facilities, such as Cherbourg, became available on the Continent, the tanks were shipped direct. Above shows Serial Number 44220, a June 1944 production unit on display in Germany. Unlike most surviving Shermans, this tank is in close to "as built" configuration, although there is evidence that it was retrofitted with a bulldozer blade. We would guess 44220 served with the US Army during WW II, and may have been a battle casualty. "Paint archeology" has revealed what appears to be the original "GLUE" shipping code, as shown in the inset.

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The scene above was filmed in La Cambe on the Normandy coast on August 12, 1944. The 948th Ordnance Motor Vehicle Distribution Company appears to have completed the process of preparing these tanks for issue. The shipping sealant has been removed, although some remaining traces of it can be seen as dark spots. Chalked notes on the foremost Sherman indicate that the radio and "artillery" have been checked, and gasoline has been added. Chrysler shipped these tanks with the USA Number painted on the rear sides rather small in blue drab. In mid 1943, a directive was issued that the number was to be painted on larger and in white. Directives were not always heeded, but most of the US Shermans that took part in the Normandy Campaign can be seen with the larger, white Registration Numbers. We recorded the M4A3(76) in the foreground as USA 3099839, indicating April 1944 acceptance. The USA Number is the brightest thing on these tanks, so we would guess it was painted on by the 948th. Some items of interest are the extra lifting ring (1) and the absence of the machine gun fittings (2) on the turret, the "early" position of the forward cable clamp (3), and the siren (4).

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In Italy, Company A of the 13th Tank Battalion, 1st Armored Division was the one of the first units to receive the new tanks, and the scene above was filmed on a range near Pisa, August 19, 1944. The problem of smoke obscuration is evident, and it was thought that a muzzle brake would provide a remedy. However, tests had shown that, by itself the muzzle brake was insufficient, and "long primer" ammunition was developed at the same time. This combination helped to cut down the smoke and blast effects. Company A's guns can be seen to be the second version of the 76mm - the M1A1C. These were "threaded" to accept muzzle brakes when they became available in late 1944. In the meantime the threads were protected with a "collar." These tanks feature "extra lifting ring" turrets. Of note is that the commander's cupolas are not in their factory installed positions, but have been reoriented so that the hatches open further to the rear. In some correspondence from the Mediteranean Theater of Operations to the Ordnance Department, it was suggested that this should be the standard orientation of the cupola.

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While Ford engined Shermans were reserved for US Army use, the combat debut of the M4A3(76) may have been with the French 2nd Armored Division. The Division was attached to the US Third Army, and received a few of the first M4A3(76)s as replacements in late August . "Champagne," Number 55, served with the 3rd Squadron of the 12th Régiment de Chasseurs d&rsquoAfrique. On August 25, 1944, during the battle for Paris, her crew was credited with firing the "kill shot" that knocked out a Panther in the Place de la Concorde. In general, the French painted out the US Army Registration Numbers of their Lend Lease vehicles, and applied their own "matricule" numbers. However, in the crew snapshot above, one can see that Champagne "still" had the USA Number painted on in the same manner as the tanks seen in the August 12th La Cambe photo. "3099828 S" was the 67th M4A3(76) made by Chrysler, and would have been accepted in April, 1944. (The "S" often seen at the end of USA Numbers is frequently mistaken for a "5," but it signifies that the vehicle was equipped with a Radio Interference Suppression System.). Photo courtesy of Musée de la libération-Jean Moulin-Ville de Paris.

The M4A3(76) on display as a monument in Ville-sur-Illon, France has the serial number 43594 stamped on the rear towing lugs. There is a mathematical correlation between the Ordnance Serial Number and the USA Number of Shermans, and 43594 is an exact match to USA 3099828, confirming that this is the "real" Champagne. She was knocked out on September 13, 1944, not far from where she now stands. The crew managed to escape as the tank caught fire. In the photo above, it can be seen that the intensity of the fire melted most of the rubber from the tracks and road wheels. Champagne was one of the few M4A3(76)s to come equipped with the "unthreaded" M1A1 gun. Pressed Steel Car began M4A1(76) production in January 1944, two months before Chrysler began manufacture of the M4A3(76). An Ordnance Department document states that "All Medium Tanks M4 series (76mm gun) since first 385 produced have been equipped with threaded gun tubes." Thus, the M1A1 is more commonly seen on early M4A1(76)s. Our counting heads method suggests that Chrysler was distributed less than 100 M1A1s, and completed the transition to the threaded M1A1C guns in April 1944, the same month that Champagne was built.

An anomaly seen on many of the early Chrysler M4A3(76)s is the presence of what is informally referred to as "the extra lifting ring" in front the loader's hatch. This is a vestige of Chrysler's abortive T23 program. The T23 featured a boom for lifting the power pack, and the extra lifting ring served to support part of the boom's rigging. While the extra lifting ring did no harm on the Sherman (crews like to hang stuff on it), it was eliminated from subsequent turret molds. As best as can be determined, about 500 "XLR" turrets were mixed in with the first four month's M4A3(76) production at Chrysler. Chrysler was supplied with turrets made by American Steel Foundries & Continental Steel, and their casting logos are the only ones that have been seen on surviving "XLR" turrets. At left, the extra lifting ring as seen on the turret of an actual T23 Medium Tank (photo courtesy of Neil Baumgardner), and the same thing at right on Champagne.

Unlike the early M4A1(76)s, the turrets installed on Chrysler M4A3(76)s were "up to spec" as regards the ventilator and the "standard" loader's split hatch. However, period photos, such as the one taken at La Cambe, show that some of the first Chryslers were "out of spec" as they were missing the L-shape MG barrel stowage brackets on the turret rear. Note that on Champagne, one can see "weld scars" on the ventilator where the machine gun stowage pintle was once installed, but there is no evidence that this tank ever had the L-shaped brackets.

The examination of surviving examples makes it obvious that, at some point fairly early on, it was decided not to machine out, and provide for the forward antenna socket on the turret. The above photos show what local researchers believe to be a combat casualty of B Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division, knocked out on or about December 17, 1944 in Clervaux, Luxemburg. This tank is now on display at the castle in Clervaux. We recorded the serial number from one of the rear tow lugs as 43911, indicating May, 1944 production. Note that "the extra lifting ring" has been eliminated from the turret mold, and that there is only the "ghost" of the former antenna socket, circled in red. The blanks over the smoke mortar hole and other openings were no doubt added for the display, but otherwise this tank, complete with shot gouges, appears to be a true battle relic. The US Army&rsquos Ordnance Maintenance personnel had an excellent record of recovering or salvaging battlefield wrecks. Tanks that had burned were considered unrecoverable, and often left in place. 43911 does not appear to have burned, so we wonder why she was not recovered?

The 2 inch smoke mortar was standard at the beginning of M4A3(76)W production. At Chrysler, the mortar hole was level with the armor at first, but later production units can be seen with a protruding sleeve. A weatherproofing cap with retaining chain was finally added in late 1944. Fisher Body appears to have installed the weatherproofing cap on its entire run of 525 M4A3(76)s. In January, 1945 the Ordnance Department ordered the elimination of the smoke mortar. It is thought that the builders would have implemented this directive in the following months. Any remaining turrets with the smoke mortar hole would have had it covered over or filled in, and later turrets would have been &ldquoundrilled&rdquo for the smoke mortar. Most surviving Shermans can be seen with the mortar hole blanked off or filled in. This would have been done during the course of their post war service, or as part of an early 1950&rsquos remanufacture. Thus, an intact mortar fitting on a surviving Sherman, such as Champagne, is a clue that &ldquotime stopped&rdquo for that tank during World War II.

Small changes were incorporated by Chrysler during the course of production. From the outset until around August 1944, Chrysler M4A3(76)s had what the authors think of as the "early" glacis pattern. This featured inboard hull lifting rings and "long" bullet splashes in front of the drivers' auxiliary periscopes (circled in red). The top edge of the glacis plate was neatly beveled.

Chrysler transitioned to the "mid" glacis pattern around August. The bullet splashes were shortened, and the top edge of the glacis plate was no longer beveled, but simply square cut. The addition of rear view mirrors (circled in red) appears to have been nearly concurrent with this pattern. Pictures courtesy of Vladimir Yakubov at

The "late" or "final" glacis pattern was introduced by Chrysler around November 1944. It was identical to the mid pattern except that the hull lifting rings were repositioned "outboard" to the edge of the glacis.

Based on user feedback, a sheet metal cover to protect the ventilator between the drivers' hatches was introduced around August, 1944. The authors have not found any evidence of modification kits for the covers during WW II, but have noted that many surviving Shermans that obviously didn't have this item factory installed, had it added later during postwar upgrades. The U bolt that can be see on the uncovered example above held the padlocks for the drivers' hatches. Right side photo courtesy of Gary Binder.

The earliest M4A3(76)s were made with two small weep holes in the rear of the turret splash. It was found that the small holes could become clogged with debris, causing water to back up and foul the gasoline supply of the auxiliary generator, and/or cause a build up of dirt in the turret bearing race. It was thought that a single, large hole would alleviate these problems. This transition appears to have been made in July 1944. Some of Chrysler&rsquos early 105 Shermans can be seen to have the gap (1) between the turret splash and the fuel cap bullet splash filled in by welding. We have not seen any evidence of the &ldquoclosed gap&rdquo on any Fisher or Chrysler M4A3(76)s.

From the start of production through about June 1944, Chrysler M4A3(76)s featured one-piece rear most engine deck plates, as seen on Champagne in the photo on the left. Starting around July, the rear plate was divided into two pieces to make it easier for crew members to lift. The large, grated engine deck doors were heavy, and door bumpers (item 1) were added to the "ultimate" M4A3 series. The standard tool stowage arrangement can be seen above right on the restored August 1944 production unit, formerly of the Littlefield Collection. Right side photo courtesy of Chris Hughes.

Another early production clue has to do with the location of the forward cable clamp (circled, above left). Starting around July 1944, Chrysler installed the clamp more towards the front of the tank (above right). We think of this as the &ldquostandard&rdquo position, since it is seen on the vast majority of large hatch, welded hull Shermans. Note that on all of its large hatch Shermans, except for a few of the first M4A2(75)s, Fisher appears to have mounted the cable clamp in the "standard" position from the start.

76mm and 105mm Shermans were equipped with the same gun travel lock. It was about 4 inches taller than the one used on 75mm tanks. Many surviving Shermans have been upgraded with a single piece locking arm, but the less stable WW II configuration consisted of a two "fingers" or "scissors jaw" configuration.

During the course of their M3 Lee program, Chrysler designed the pressed metal type of bogie (1) and idler wheels (3). They used them throughout production on their VVSS equipped Shermans. Their distinctive drive sprocket (2) was also employed throughout, including HVSS production. Both Chrysler and Fisher M4A3(76)VVSS Shermans were equipped with upswept return roller arms (4) from the start of production. Chrysler&rsquos Kercheval plant in Detroit was tasked with assembling bogie units. Anything with a date is valuable to our research, and one of Chrysler&rsquos prime suppliers of bogie bracket castings was the National Malleable and Steel Castings Company, whose logo was an &ldquoN in a circle&rdquo (inset, from another M4A3(76)). They included a production date on their bogie castings. In general, original component parts will predate the acceptance of the tank by several months. So, for instance, we know by the serial number that the M4A3(76) in Clervaux (shown above) was made in May of 1944, and it can be seen that most of its bogies are dated 2-44.

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It is thought that all of the 525 M4A3(76)s manufactured by Fisher Body from September to December 1944 would have featured Vertical Volute Spring Suspension and the late glacis pattern. We estimate that Fisher completed the transition to the D7054366 turret with oval loader's hatch, and the M1A2 gun with muzzle brake in October, 1944. The tank pictured above can be seen to be USA 30116364, indicating December, 1944 acceptance. A couple of clues as to its Fisher (as opposed to Chrysler) origin can be found in the "plain" drive sprocket (1), and the solid concave road wheels (2). By mid 1944, two types of road wheels were prevalent on Fisher VVSS Shermans - the solid, and the "welded spoke with small holes" (inset). The improved T-shaped towing shackles (3) were introduced in October. A close look at the USA Number (4) shows that it was also welded on. This was a practice of the 1st Armored Division in Italy, and indeed their records indicate that 30116364 was issued to the 13th Tank Battalion on April 1, 1945. The photo was taken at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey 3 years later on April 3, 1948. This tank is what we informally call a "bring back." Most likely it would have been retrofitted with HVSS during the remanufacture program of the early 1950s.

Ordnance documents state that the Muzzle Brake, M2 was standardized, and 300 had been produced by the end of August 1944. Production was scheduled at the rate of 100 per day "until requirements are met." Internal items were necessary, including a counterweighted breech guard, to balance the 87 pound muzzle brake. US Armored Forces in Europe began requesting muzzle brake modification kits and long primer ammunition in early September, 1944. In general, priority for new items was given to the tank manufacturers. Modification kits for Tank Depot and Field installation were produced only after manufacturers' requirements were met. When the Ordnance Department informed the ETO that Modification kits would not become available until early 1945, the response was that this was "not satisfactory. Urgent requirement exists." The ETO insisted on the immediate air shipment of 3 stand alone muzzle brakes, and a further 600 by fast water transport, with the note "counterweights can be added by Field Modification." As it was, these items were shipped in late December, just as the first M4A3(76)s with muzzle brakes and HVSS were distributed to troops in Europe. We've reproduced a few pages of the Modification Work Order above. It is dated July 25, 1945, not quite the "early 1945" availability that Ordnance had given to the ETO. No doubt other factors were involved, but it is likely that the diversion and shipment of the 603 muzzle brakes may have played a role in the delayed release of the MWO.

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In the Summer of 1943, the Chrysler Corporation began development of "horizontal volute spring suspension and 23&rdquo center guided tracks for Medium Tank, M4 series." The "E8" modification was an effort to improve the ride and increase the mobility of the Sherman series. The photos above show one of the pilots, a September 1943 Ford M4A3(75), at Chrysler's Tank Arsenal Proving Ground on December 6, 1943. HVSS was released for production in April, 1944, and Chrysler completed the transition to the manufacture of all HVSS Shermans in September. Fisher Body and Pressed Steel Car completed the changeover on January 1, 1945. Fisher produced 525 M4A3(76)s from September through December, 1944, and it is thought that all of them were made with VVSS. Thus Chrysler was solely responsible for series production of the M4A3(76) with HVSS.

The average shipping time of a new tank from factory to combat troops was 4 to 5 months. The first M4A3(76)s with HVSS appear to have been distributed at the end of December, 1944. For instance on December 30, the 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division reported that they had 5 "76mm - new suspension." The Signal Corps photo above is datelined Bastogne, Belgium, January 8, 1945. The caption simply reads, "Tanks of the 4th Armd Div ready for action in front lines." While not the most informative shot, we have included it because it shows what may be the earliest appearance of both HVSS and the muzzle brake in a combat theater. The .50 caliber Machine Gun appears to be positioned pretty far forward and to the left on the turret, suggesting that it may be the earlier D82081 turret, with the MG mounted on the pintel of the loader's split hatch. Chrysler began factory installation of the muzzle brake in October, and introduced the later 7054366 turret with oval loader's hatch in that same month. Due to the transitional nature of the introduction of changes, some examples of earlier turrets can be seen with guns with muzzles brakes, while some later turrets can be seen without them.

The Signal Corps shot a "walk around" of USA 3031867, an October 1944 production M4A3(76)HVSS. The design of the muzzle brake was "borrowed" from the Germans, and in order to avoid friendly fire incidents, an effort was made to alert Allied Troops to the presence of muzzle brakes on new production Shermans. 3031867 was photographed on January 17, 1945 as it was being processed for issue by the 98th Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company (Tank) based near Charmes in the Lorraine area of France. The stencil on the front (1) reads "American Export Modification, November 6, 1944," indicating that this tank was still at a US Tank Depot on that date. The original stars and shipping code have been scrubbed out, but we suspect 3031867 came in through the port of Marseilles, whose destination code was "LEGS." The newly painted "stars in a circle" are much more commonly seen on tanks processed by Ordnance units in Italy and southern France. The automobile style horn (2) replaced the siren in production in the summer of 1944. The shipping brackets (3) on the front and rear bogies were directed to be removed upon final delivery. "Failure to remove this bracket when unloading the vehicle from the freight car often results in damage to the tracks when operated over rough terrain."

This photo of 3031867 provides a good view of the mid glacis. Note the "sharpness" (1) of the square cut upper edge, a characteristic of mid and late glacis plate patterns. The extended smoke mortar (2) is simply taped over. While Fisher Body began to install the smoke mortar cap with retaining chain to its Shermans in July 1944, Chrysler doesn't appear to have added it until December, at about the same time as the introduction of the fittings for the canvas mantlet cover. The T80 tracks (3) were considered greatly superior to Chrysler's original design T66 tracks. Internal correspondence mentions that Chrysler ran short of track, and shipped some of its HVSS Shermans to depots without them. Fisher Body and Pressed Steel Car were accumulating 23 inch tracks in anticipation of their change over to HVSS, and they diverted some of their supplies to the depots, so that the Chrysler tanks could be completed and shipped out.

Second generation Shermans started out with the quick release towing fixtures shown on the left. An Ordnance Dept. "Report of Modifications Entering Production at Facilities" states that the "Cross Bar Towing Hooks" were installed on M4A3(76)s at the Detroit Tank Arsenal starting on December 12, 1944 at Serial Number 60798. We interpret this to be a reference to the T shaped towing shackles shown in our right side photo. A tow cable could be hooked on to the new shackles without removing them. This saved crews a few seconds when attempting to retrieve a tank while under fire. It was no longer necessary to have two tow lugs per side with the new shackles, but the "extra" lugs on the differential were retained since they also provided attachment points for the steps. We suspect that only one rear tow lug was used at or shortly after the introduction of the new shackles. At present, all of the the surviving M4A3(76)HVSS Shermans that we have examined with Serial Numbers 60980 and above have single towing lugs in the rear. Restorers and modelers should note that the T-shaped shackles are not seen in WW II combat photos before 1945.

As mentioned previously, it averaged between 4 and 5 months to deliver a new tank into the hands of combat troops. For all intents and purposes, this rendered the entire US 1945 production of AFVs extraneous to the war effort. Chrysler finally began to install the actual canvas mantlet cover in early 1945. The photo above, dated March 31, 1945, is the earliest one we have found showing the mantlet cover in the ETO. This tank was being processed for issue by the 561st Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company (Tank) in München Gladbach, Germany. It is to be noted that only the "final" version of the mantlet cover is seen on Chrysler M4A3(76)s. The less complex, original version was installed on the 76 mm pilot turret, as well as on Fisher M4A2(76)s made in March and April, 1945 (inset). The final version was almost universally retrofitted to 76mm Shermans in the postwar years.

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The "Report of Modifications. " has it that the "Armor Plate Exhaust Deflector" was installed on Chrysler M4A3(76)s starting January 1, 1945 at Serial Number 61235. We cannot verify that through "counting heads," since this item was retrofitted to large numbers of Ford engined AFVs by a Modification Work Order Kit that became available in April 1945. The photo above shows M4A3(76)HVSS and M4A3(105)HVSS Shermans at the Detroit Tank Arsenal with the new deflectors mostly in the "up" position. Canvas mantlet covers have been installed as well. While most of these units can be seen to have the later T80 tracks, a few have the earlier T66, as evidenced by the protruding center guides on the spares (circled). The center guides were integral on the T66 type, whereas they were separate parts on the T80. Note that the Armored First Aid Boxes are not present on these tanks.

Occupation Zones had been agreed upon at the Yalta Conference, and most US/Commonwealth units were already in the Soviet Zone by late April, when they were ordered to halt and cease offensive operations. Elements of the US Third Army, including the 4th Armored Division, continued to advance during the final days of the war in Europe. Their objective was Prague, but they were ordered to halt in the vicinity of Lnare, Czechoslovakia on May 6, 1945, two days before VE-Day. There are a few period photos that show two different 4th AD M4A3(76)s with HVSS in Czechoslovakia. They may be the only WW II "combat shots" of Shermans with the improved deflector installed. The example shown above was photographed in Strakonice on May 6.

The armored first aid box can be seen in photos of both the M26 and M24 in Europe before VE-Day. Initial supplies were reserved for these new models. They appear to have become available for installation on both new and remanufactured Shermans starting around March, 1945. However, while Chrysler ended M4A3(76) production in April, we have not been able to find any evidence that any units were factory equipped with the First Aid Box. "Counting heads" is complicated by the fact that this item was retrofitted to many M4A3(76)s in the post war years. The photo above shows an M26 of the 14th Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division near Vettweiss, Germany on March 1, 1945. The first aid box is circled, and can be seen more completely in the inset. The few M26s that saw WW II service would have been made by Fisher Body in late 1944, early 1945. Like early M4A3(76)s, they were characterized by an "extra lifting ring" (arrow), which was later eliminated. Chrysler didn't begin M26 production until March, 1945.

It was the intention of the Army to provide its fighting troops with the best possible armor technology as it became available during the relatively brief span of US involvement in World War II. To that end, an attempt was made to distribute improvements such as 76mm guns, muzzle brakes, better ammunition, Ford engined tanks and HVSS on an equal basis. By VE-Day about 2200, or approximately half of the surviving Shermans in the European Theater, were armed with the 76mm gun. About 1000 of those had HVSS. There were about 100 of the Sherman's replacement, the M26, on strength in May, 1945. The docks and depots on the Continent were teeming with thousands of additional AFVs. Many of these would have been reprocessed for direct shipment to the Pacific. The document above shows the March 3rd, 1945 allocation of tanks to the 12th Army Group, and remarks that, "Effort is being made to get the 76mm gun tank in the hands of troops, therefore no 75mm gun tanks are being allocated." In fact, the last allocation of 75mm Shermans was on February 9th.

Click on the photos for larger size

Shipments of M4A3(76)s to the US Fifth Army in Italy were more or less evenly distributed as replacements. By the time of the 1945 Spring Offensive, the US Tank Battalions there had a preponderance of the newer Shermans. Indeed, all but one of the Battalions had collected a company's worth (

17) of reserve M4A3(76)s for immediate replacement of losses. The 752nd Tank Battalion had completely replaced it's 39 M4 and M4A1(75)s with 54 M4A3(76)s by March 7th. However, in early April, the unit put a platoon of M4A3(76)s from each Company in reserve, and replaced them with older 75mm Shermans for use as expendable "point tanks" in the upcoming campaign. The well known Signal Corps photo above was taken in the Plaza Emanuel in Bologna, April 21, 1945. It shows elements of the 752nd with mostly 76mm Shermans, along with the M18s of the 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Loads of Fisher built M4A3(76)s arrived in Italy in early 1945, and we believe the units with the late glacis patterns and muzzle brakes would be some of them. Note the various non standard orientations of the commander's cupolas. Aside from new M4A3s armed with 76mm and 105mm guns, the 752nd had replaced its Company of M5 series Light Tanks with M24s by March 12th. However, in the photo, the Light Tanks can be seen to be M5A1s. Battalion records note that "On the 5th of April, the light tank company lost its new M24s to the First Armored." The wasted training, and the loss of the M24's 75mm firepower occasioned much griping.

The photo above is dated March 24, 1945 at the Peninsula Base Section Vehicle Park near Livorno, Italy. The M4A3(76)HVSS can be seen as USA 30114244, indicating that it was accepted in early January, 1945. 1945 production AFVs "in theater" are rare, and in fact, this is the highest M4A3(76) Registration Number we have recorded from an overseas WW II photo or unit roster. Oddly, considering that there would have been sufficient time to distribute this tank, we have no evidence that any units of the Fifth Army employed any M4A3(76)HVSS before the German surrender in Italy on May 2nd. The M4A3(76)VVSS Shermans in the photo can be identified as Fisher built by their "plain" drive sprockets, along with the concave and/or "small holes" type road wheels. One example is equipped with the T49 &ldquointerrupted parallel type grouser&rdquo steel tracks. At least 2 M4A3(105)s can be seen. As they became available, they replaced the M7 Priests in the US Tank Battalions of the Fifth Army. It might be noted that, due to the mountainous terrain of Italy, many crews preferred the open top of the M7 over the turreted M4A3(105).

While no 76mm Shermans, (or M26s for that matter) were used in combat in the Pacific Theater, plans for the Invasion of Japan envisioned the employment of 12 or more Tank Battalions, equipped with the most modern AFVs. It was intended to outfit each Army Battalion with M26s, M4A3(76)s and M4A3(105)s with HVSS, and M24 Light Tanks as shown in the proposed July 1945 TO&E reproduced above. The Marines continued to prefer the 75mm Sherman over the 76, and their plans included the use of M4A3(75)s and M4A3(105)s with HVSS in the 3 Battalions slated to take part. Documentation courtesy of Trent Telenko. For more information about the plans for the invasion of Japan, see his &ldquoSecrets of the Pacific Warfare Board -- Pershing Tanks for Operation Olympic.&rdquo

M4A3(76) production was terminated in April 1945 after 4542 units had been built. Officially, 1925 were VVSS models and 2617 were HVSS. The planners had to assume that there would be an invasion of Japan, and that the campaign might drag on for many months or even years. To this end, Fisher Body and Chrysler were contracted to produce 7500 M26s to replace the Sherman as the Army's main battle tank. As it turned out, M26 production was terminated in October 1945, after only 2202 had been manufactured. With the onset of the Cold War, it was realized that this number would be insufficient to meet the Army's requirements, and thus the M4A3(76)HVSS was continued in service as an acceptable substitute for the M26. The photo above shows the M24, the M4A3(76)HVSS and the M26 - "the three primary tanks of the Army" at Camp Hood, Texas in October, 1947.

Medium Tank M4(76)W - History

Pool's "In The Mood" - but which one? Read below.

The above photo is the only known side angle of Pool's IN THE MOOD Sherman M4A1(76)W. A number of private collectors and 3AD WWII veterans have prints of varying quality made from the same, original, apparently long-lost negative, but the above image is the most-detailed and sharpest that we know of. The photographer, probably a G.I. amateur, is unknown. The original negative suffered from some blurriness at the bottom left that is probably a camera lens problem. The Sherman, painted camouflage (barely apparent in black & white), appears to be in motion, and Pool is assumed to be in the commander's hatch.

After looking through some of what is published about S/Sgt Lafayette Pool's tanks named IN THE MOOD, the case can be made that the M4A1 76mm Sherman pictured above is in fact the third tank commanded by Pool to be named IN THE MOOD.

From the 22 September 1944 edition of YANK magazine, in an interview with Pool's driver Cpl. Wilbert Richards and bow gunner Pfc. Bert Close, we are given the locations that the tanks were lost. The first M4 Sherman named IN THE MOOD was lost near the town of La Forge Bois de Bretel, France. The second in the town of Fromentel, France. The third was lost near Munsterbusch, Germany.

From the division history published in 1946 entitled SPEARHEAD IN THE WEST, in its G-3 Supplement, we find the dates that the 3rd Armored Division was operating in those areas named in the YANK article. On 29 June 1944 the Division's Task Force X, CCA (Combat Command "A") advanced to La Forge Bois de Bretel. This would be the day the first IN THE MOOD was lost. On 17 August 1944, as the Division moved north to close the remaining avenue of retreat for the Germans out of the Falaise pocket, the second IN THE MOOD would be lost in a "friendly fire" incident when the USAAF bombed elements of CCA in the town of Fromentel.

Lastly, in a book authored by noted military historian Steve Zaloga and published in 2003 entitled M4 (76mm) Sherman Medium Tank 1943-65 , it's recorded that the first M4A1 76mm was not issued to the 3rd Armored Division until mid-July 1944. This information, plus the information above, show that the first and second Shermans commanded by Pool could not have been the type pictured in the above photo since they were both issued well before the M4A1 76mm became available. So we must come to the conclusion that the picture shows the third of Pool's tanks named IN THE MOOD.

Loza's M4-A2 Sherman

Reload Times
Nominal: 3.3 s
50% Crew: 4.09 s
75% Crew: 3.57 s
100% Crew: 3.16 s
Rammer: 2.84 s
Vents: 3.09 s
Both: 2.78 s
Both and BiA: 2.72 s
Both and Max Crew %: 2.61 s

See Crew, Consumables, or Equipment for more information.

Reload Times
Nominal: 3.3 s
50% Crew: 4.09 s
75% Crew: 3.57 s
100% Crew: 3.16 s
Rammer: 2.84 s
Vents: 3.09 s
Both: 2.78 s
Both and BiA: 2.72 s
Both and Max Crew %: 2.61 s

See Crew, Consumables, or Equipment for more information.

Using Shell Type 1 (115 Damage):

Theoretical Damage Per Minute
Nominal DPM: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
50% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
75% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew
Vents: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Rammer: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and BiA: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and Max Crew %: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

Advantageous Damage Per Minute
First-shot DPM: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
50% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
75% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew
Rammer: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Vents: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and BiA: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and Max Crew %: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

See here, here, or here for more information.

Using Shell Type 2 (115 Damage):

Theoretical Damage Per Minute
Nominal DPM: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
50% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
75% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew
Vents: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Rammer: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and BiA: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and Max Crew %: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

Advantageous Damage Per Minute
First-shot DPM: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
50% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
75% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew
Rammer: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Vents: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and BiA: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and Max Crew %: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

See here, here, or here for more information.

Using Shell Type 3 (185 Damage):

Theoretical Damage Per Minute
Nominal DPM: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
50% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
75% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew
Vents: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Rammer: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and BiA: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and Max Crew %: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

Advantageous Damage Per Minute
First-shot DPM: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
50% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
75% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
100% Crew
Rammer: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Vents: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and BiA: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.
Both and Max Crew %: Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

Sejarah operasional [ sunting | sunting sumber ]

Alokasi [ sunting | sunting sumber ]

Selama Perang Dunia II, sekitar 19.247 Sherman diserahkan untuk Angkatan Darat AS dan sekitar 1.114 untuk Korps Marinir AS. ⎡] AS juga memasok 17.184 tank ke Inggris Raya (beberapa di antaranya diserahkan ke Kanada dan Polandia Bebas), sementara Uni Soviet menerima 4.102 ⎢] dan diperkirakan 812 tank ditransfer ke Tiongkok. ⎣] Angka-angka ini didistribusikan lebih lanjut ke negara-negara sekutu dari masing-masing negara.

Korps Marinir AS menggunakan M4A2 bertenaga diesel dan M4A3 bertenaga bensin di Pasifik. Namun, Kepala Pasukan Lapis Baja Angkatan Darat, Letjen. Jacob L. Devers, memerintahkan agar tidak ada Sherman bermesin diesel yang digunakan oleh Angkatan Darat di luar Zona Dalam Negeri (benua AS). Angkatan Darat menggunakan semua jenis tank untuk pelatihan atau pengujian di Amerika Serikat, tetapi menjadikan M4A2 dan M4A4 (dengan mesin Multibank A57) sebagai ekspor utama Lend-Lease.

Pertempuran pertama [ sunting | sunting sumber ]

Sherman disebarkan dalam jumlah kecil untuk sosialisasi awal kepada divisi lapis baja AS ketika terjadi peristiwa kampanye Gurun Barat. Pasukan Poros telah merebut Tobruk dan maju ke Mesir sehingga jalur pasokan Inggris melalui Terusan Suez terancam. AS mempertimbangkan untuk mengumpulkan semua Sherman bersama-sama sehingga dapat mengirim Divisi Lapis Baja ke-2 di bawah Patton untuk memperkuat Mesir, tetapi mengirimkan Sherman secara langsung ke Inggris lebih cepat dan lebih dari 300–kebanyakan M4A1, tetapi juga termasuk M4A2–telah tiba di sana oleh September 1942. ⎤] ⎥]

Sherman dimodifikasi untuk peperangan di padang pasir dengan pelindung pasir di atas rel dan penyimpanan lainnya. Sherman pertama kali terlibat pertempuran di Pertempuran El Alamein Kedua pada Oktober 1942 dengan Tentara ke-8 Inggris. Pada awal serangan, ada 252 tank yang siap untuk beraksi. Tank-tank ini melengkapi Brigade Lapis Baja ke-9 Inggris (dengan Divisi Selandia Baru), Brigade Lapis Baja ke-2 (Divisi Lapis Baja Pertama) dan Brigade Lapis Baja ke-8 dan ke-20 (Divisi Lapis Baja ke-10). Pertemuan pertama mereka dengan tank musuh adalah ketika melawan tank Jerman, Panzer III dan IV dengan meriam 50 mm dan 75 mm laras panjangnya pada jarak 2000 yard (1800 m). Jatuh korban di kedua belah pihak. ⎦]

Sherman AS pertama dalam pertempuran adalah M4 dan M4A1 pada Operasi Torch pada bulan berikutnya. Pada tanggal 6 Desember, dekat Tebourba, Tunisia, satu peleton dari Batalion ke-2, Resimen Lapis Baja ke-13 dikalahkan oleh tank-tank musuh dan senjata antitank. ⎧] M4 dan M4A1 tambahan menggantikan M3 di batalion tank AS selama kampanye Afrika Utara.

M4 dan M4A1 adalah tipe tank utama di unit AS hingga musim gugur 1944, ketika Angkatan Darat mulai menggantikannya dengan M4A3 yang memiliki mesin 500 hp (370 kW) yang lebih kuat. Beberapa M4 dan M4A1 tetap dioperasikan pasukan AS selama perang. Sherman pertama yang memasuki pertempuran dengan meriam 76 mm pada bulan Juli 1944 adalah M4A1, diikuti oleh M4A3. Pada akhir perang, sekitar setengah dari Sherman Angkatan Darat AS di Eropa memiliki meriam 76 mm. Sherman yang dilengkapi HVSS pertama yang melihat pertempuran adalah M4A3 (76) W pada bulan Desember 1944.

Front Timur [ sunting | sunting sumber ]

M4A2 yang digunakan oleh Tentara Merah dianggap jauh lebih aman dari kebakaran karena peledakan amunisi daripada T-34/76 mereka, tetapi memiliki kecenderungan yang lebih tinggi untuk terbalik dalam kecelakaan dan tabrakan di jalan atau karena medan yang kasar karena memiliki pusat gravitasi yang tinggi. ⎨]

Di bawah program Lend-Lease, 4.102 tank medium M4A2 dikirim ke Uni Soviet. Dari jumlah tersebut, 2.007 dilengkapi dengan meriam 75 mm yang asli, sedangkan 2.095 sisanya dilengkapi meriam 76 mm yang lebih kuat. Jumlah total tank Sherman yang dikirim ke Uni Soviet di bawah program Lend-Lease mewakili 18,6% dari semua Sherman Lend-Lease. ⎩]

Sherman M4A2 bersenjata 76 mm pertama mulai berdatangan di Uni Soviet pada akhir musim panas 1944. ⎪] Pada tahun 1945, beberapa unit lapis baja Tentara Merah distandarisasi untuk sepenuhnya bergantung pada Sherman. Unit-unit tersebut meliputi Korps Mekanik Pengawal ke-1, Korps Mekanik Pengawal ke-3, dan Korps Mekanis Pengawal ke-9, di antara yang lainnya. Sherman sangat dihormati dan dipandang secara positif oleh banyak awak tank Soviet, dengan pujian yang diberikan atas keandalannya, kemudahan perawatan, daya tembak yang umumnya baik (merujuk terutama pada versi senjata 76 mm) dan perlindungan perisai yang layak, ⎫] sebagai serta unit daya tambahan (APU) untuk menjaga agar baterai tank tetap terisi tanpa harus menjalankan mesin utama untuk sementara tank T-34 milik Soviet harus menyalakan mesin untuk dapat mengisi baterainya. ⎬]

Palagan Pasifik [ sunting | sunting sumber ]

Sementara pertempuran di Teater Operasi Eropa (ETO) sering kali terdiri dari perang lapis baja berintensitas tinggi, sifat utama dari Teater Operasi Pasifik (PTO) yang erat dengan pertempuran laut menurunkan peran tank pada status sekunder untuk Sekutu dan Jepang. Sementara Angkatan Darat AS menurunkan 16 divisi lapis baja dan 70 batalion tank terpisah selama perang, hanya sepertiga dari batalion dan tidak ada divisi tank yang dikerahkan ke Teater Pasifik. ⎭] Angkatan Darat Kekaisaran Jepang (IJA) hanya mengerahkan Divisi Tank ke-2 mereka ke Pasifik selama perang. ⎮] Kendaraan lapis baja dari kedua belah pihak sebagian besar beroperasi di medan hutan yang tidak cocok untuk perang lapis baja. Untuk jenis medan ini, Jepang dan Sekutu menemukan fakta bahwa tank ringan lebih mudah diangkut dan digunakan. ⎯]

Selama tahap awal pertempuran di Pasifik, khususnya Kampanye Guadalcanal, tank ringan M2A4 dari Korps Marinir AS bertarung melawan tank ringan Tipe 95 Ha-Go yang setara, keduanya dipersenjatai dengan meriam utama 37 mm. Namun, M2 (diproduksi pada tahun 1940) lebih baru lima tahun daripada tank Jepang. ⎰] Pada 1943, IJA masih menggunakan tank medium Tipe 95 dan Tipe 97 Chi-Ha, sementara pasukan Sekutu dengan cepat mengganti tank ringan mereka dengan M4 bersenjatakan 75 mm. ⎱] Pasukan Tiongkok di India menerima 100 M4 Sherman dan menggunakannya untuk memberikan efek besar pada serangan 1944 dan 1945 di Palagan Tiongkok Burma India.

Untuk melawan Sherman, ⎲] Jepang mengembangkan Tipe 3 Chi-Nu dan Tipe 4 Chi-To yang lebih berat, kedua tank itu dipersenjatai dengan meriam 75 mm, meskipun dari jenis yang berbeda. Hanya 166 Tipe 3 dan dua Tipe 4 yang dibangun, dan tidak ada yang terlibat pertempuran. Tank-tank itu disimpan untuk pertahanan pulau-pulau pusat Jepang, meninggalkan tank ringan dan medium usang tahun 1930-an untuk bertempur melawan tank ringan dan medium Sekutu buatan 1940-an.

Selama tahun-tahun terakhir perang, amunisi berdaya ledak tinggi serba guna lebih disukai untuk melawan tank-tank Jepang karena peluru-peluru penembus perisai yang telah dirancang untuk menembus baja yang lebih tebal sering kali menembus perisai tipis Tipe 95 Ha-Go (tank Jepang yang paling sering ditemui) dan keluar dari sisi yang lain tanpa berhenti. Meskipun meriam berkecepatan tinggi dari penghancur tank berguna untuk menembus perkubuan, M4 yang dipersenjatai dengan penyembur api sering digunakan, karena tembakan langsung dari meriam jarang menghancurkan benteng Jepang dengan efektif. ⎳] ⎴]

Pasca Perang Dunia II [ sunting | sunting sumber ]

Setelah Perang Dunia II, AS mempertahankan M4A3E8 '"Easy Eight" dalam pelayanan, dilengkapi dengan meriam 76 mm atau 105 mm M4 howitzer. Sherman tetap menjadi tank utama AS dalam Perang Korea, di mana ia bertempur bersama Pershing M26 dan M46 Patton. M4A3 (76) W HVSS Sherman dan T-34-85 adalah tank yang sebanding dan dapat menghancurkan satu sama lain pada jarak pertempuran normal, meskipun penggunaan amunisi High Velocity Armor Piercing, optik canggih, dan pelatihan kru yang lebih baik memberi Sherman keunggulan. ⎵] M4A3(76)W HVSS Sherman, menggunakan amunisi HVAP 76 mm, menghancurkan 41 tank musuh sejak Juli-November 1950. Tank M4A3(76)W HVSS yang lebih ringan menjadi tank AS yang lebih disukai di fase akhir Perang Korea, karena keandalan mekanis dari M4, kemudahan perawatannya, dan kemampuan kendalinya dibandingkan dengan tank M26. ⎶]

Pasukan Pertahanan Israel menggunakan Sherman sejak berdirinya negara itu pada tahun 1948 hingga 1980-an, setelah pertama kali memperoleh satu M4A2 yang tidak memiliki persenjataan utama dari pasukan Inggris ketika mereka menarik diri dari Israel. ⎷] Popularitas tank (yang sekarang telah dipersenjatai kembali) dibandingkan dengan tank ringan antarperang Prancis Renault R35 1937 yang sudah usang dengan meriam 37 mm laras pendeknya yang menjadi bagian terbesar dari pasukan tank IDF menyebabkan pembelian 30 M4 (105mm) tanpa senjata dari Italia. ⎷] Tiga di antaranya, ditambah M4A2 yang asli, terlibat secara signifikan dalam perang kemerdekaan 1948-9. Sisanya kemudian diservis dan dipersenjatai kembali dengan meriam 75 mm, menyusun sebagian besar pasukan tank Israel selama delapan tahun ke depan. Sherman yang bersenjatakan meriam 75 mm digantikan oleh M4A1 (76 mm) Sherman yang diimpor dari Perancis sebelum Krisis Suez 1956, setelah disadari bahwa penetrasi perisai baja dari meriam 75 mm tidak cukup untuk bertempur melawan tank-tank baru seperti IDF Centurion dan juga T-34-85 yang dikirim kepada pasukan Mesir. ⎸] Selama peningkatan lebih lanjut, militer Prancis membantu mengembangkan kit konversi untuk meningkatkan sekitar 300 Sherman dengan memasang meriam 75 mm CN 75-50 kecepatan tinggi yang digunakan oleh AMX-13. Tank modifikasi ini disebut Sherman M-50 oleh Israel. Sebelum Perang Enam Hari pada tahun 1967, Angkatan Darat Israel meningkatkan sekitar 180 M4A1 (76) W HVSS Sherman dengan meriam 105 mm Modèle F1 Prancis, mengganti mesinnya dengan mesin diesel Cummins dan menamakan tank modifikasi ini sebagai Sherman M-51. Tank-tank Sherman ini bertempur bersama tank Centurion Sh'ot Kal 105 mm dan M48 Patton mampu mengalahkan tank T-34/85, T-54/55/62, dan IS-3 yang digunakan oleh pasukan Mesir dan Suriah dalam Perang Enam Hari 1967. ⎹]

M4A3 juga digunakan oleh pasukan Inggris di Indonesia selama Revolusi Nasional Indonesia hingga tahun 1946, ketika tank-tank itu diteruskan ke KNIL yang menggunakannya hingga tahun 1949 sebelum diserahkan kepada Angkatan Darat Indonesia. ⎺]

US variants [ edit | edit source ]

M4. Note the large bulge behind the turret.

M4A1. Note the rounded edges of its fully cast upper hull.

A M4A3E2 Jumbo with extra armour.

M4A3E8 at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, 2003.

US M4 sub-types [ edit | edit source ]

US Sherman-based vehicles [ edit | edit source ]

Variants without the M4 designation but built on the M4 medium chassis (While some began on the M3 chassis, some subvariants were switched to the M4 chassis during production. These are the models listed here):

    - self-propelled 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (HMC) based on the M4A3 Sherman chassis. - self-propelled 155 mm Gun Motor Carriage (GMC). - Cargo Carrier (an M12 with crew and ammunition space in lieu of the gun). - self-propelled 155 mm GMC (Either M1A1 or M2 gun) based on the M4A3 (HVSS) chassis.
  • 8in Howitzer Motor Carriage M43 - self-propelled 8 inch HMC (standardized post-World War II). - tank destroyer based on the M4A2 Sherman chassis.
    • 3in Gun Motor Carriage M10A1 - Same as the M10, but based on the M4A3 Sherman chassis.
    • 90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36B1 - tank destroyer based on M4A3 Sherman hull and chassis expedient model.
    • 90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36B2 - tank destroyer based on M10 hull (M4A2 chassis, diesel) expedient model.

    M32A1B1 Armored Recovery Vehicle at the Patton Museum, 2003.

    M74 Tank Recovery Vehicle.

    • Tank Recovery Vehicle M32
      • Tank Recovery Vehicle M32B1 - M32s converted from M4A1s.
        • Tank Recovery Vehicle M32A1B1 - M32B1's with HVSS, later removing the 81mm Mortar and incorporating crane improvements.
        • Tank Recovery Vehicle M32A1B3 - M32B3's brought to the same standard as the M32A1B1.
          • M74B1 - Same as the M74, but converted from M32B3s.

          US Special Attachment variants [ edit | edit source ]

          M4 with 105 mm howitzer and an M1 dozer blade.

          Rocket-firing, flame-thrower, mine-clearing, amphibious, engineer mostly experimental (indicated by T instead of M)

          • Sherman DD (Duplex drive) - Amphibious M4.
          • M4 Mobile Assault Bridge.
          • M4 Dozer - fitted with M1 (side arm) or M2 (hydraulic mount) dozer blade.
          • T15/E1/E2 - Series of mine resistant Shermans based on the T14 kit. Cancelled at war's end.
          • Mine Exploders / Mine Excavators - fitted with various mine exploding devices including plungers, rollers, mortars. Most of those remained experimental vehicles.
            • Mine Exploder T1E1 Roller (Earthworm) - Discs made from armor plate.
            • Mine Exploder T1E2 Roller - Two forward units with 7 discs only. Experimental.
            • Mine Exploder T1E3/M1 Roller (Aunt Jemima) - Two forward units with 5 10' discs. Most widely used T1 variant, adopted as the M1.
            • Mine Exploder T1E4 Roller - 16 discs
            • Mine Exploder T1E5 Roller - T1E3/M1 w/ smaller wheels. Experimental.
            • Mine Exploder T1E6 Roller - T1E3/M1 w/ serrated edged discs. Experimental
            • Mine Exploder T2 Flail - British Sherman Crab I mine flail.
            • Mine Exploder T3 Flail - Based on British Scorpion flail. Development stopped in 1943.
              • Mine Exploder T3E1 Flail - T3 w/ longer arms and sand filled rotor. Cancelled.
              • Mine Exploder T3E2 Flail - E1 variant, rotor replaced with steel drum of larger diameter. Development terminated at war's end.
              • Mine Exploder T9E1 - Lightened version, but proved unsatisfactory because it failed to explode all mines.

              T34 rocket launcher in France.

              A M4A3R3 used by the USMC during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

              • Rocket Launchers:
                • Rocket Launcher T34 (Calliope) - armed with 60 4-6" rocket tubes mounted above the turret. Saw limited combat in 1944-1945.
                • Rocket Launcher T34E1 - T34 with 14 tubes in the 2 bottom units.
                • Rocket Launcher T34E2 - T34 modified to accept 7.2" rockets.
                • Rocket Launcher T39 - Enclosed box mount with doors, with 20 7.2" rockets.
                • Rocket Launcher T40/M17 WhizBang - armed with 20 7.2" rockets. Saw limited combat in 1944-45. A short variant of the T40 was also developed, but saw little usage.
                • Rocket Launcher T72 - T34 short tube variant. Never used.
                • Rocket Launcher T73 - Similar to the T40, but with only 10 tubes. Never used.
                • Rocket Launcher T76 - M4A1 w/ 7.2" rocket launcher in place of main gun. Never used.
                • Rocket Launcher T105 - M4A1 w/ rocket case instead of main gun. Never used.
                • Multiple Rocket Launcher T99 - 2 box mounts with 22 4.5" rockets, mounted on the turret. Never used.
                • M4A3R3 Flame thrower - Also known as "Zippo tanks" or more commonly Flame tanks.

                Medium Tank M4(76)W - History

                Wartime History
                Built as a M4 "Large-Hatch" composite hull Sherman. Delivered to the U.S. Army as M4 Sherman Medium Tank hull number unknown. Assigned to the 710th Tank Battalion, A Company, 1st Platoon. Nicknamed "Fly'in Home" after the song of the same name. On the side of the hull and turret was a U.S. star and on the rear side was "U.S. Army" stenciled in white. Loaded as cargo and transported across the Pacific with the 710th Tank Battalion.

                Eric Mailander adds:
                "The nickname 'Honeysuckle Rose' was the name of Lt. Gilbert Lindoff's command tank. The name of this tank sent in to assist the pinned down Marine company was "Flyin Home". Seth and I visited NARA and were able to get some archival photos of that same tank entering the confines of the Horseshoe during the October 7, 1944 battle."

                On September 17, 1944 this tank along with the rest of the A Company, 1st Platoon landed on the left flank of Blue Beach on Anguar Island with the 2nd Platoon and 3rd Platoon landing at the center and right flanks support the U.S. Army 81st Division. After landing, A Company with infantry cleared the southern end of the island and met little resistance. Afterwards, A Company tanks were held in reserve.

                On September 23, 1944 this tank was loaded aboard an LST and transported with the 81st Infantry Division, 321st Regimental Combat Team (321st RCT) on Peleliu Island to support the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), 1st Marine Division.

                On October 7, 1944 this tank supported the attack against "The Horseshoe" as part of a diversionary attack from the East Road. During the attack, the tanks fired on all identifiable targets on the western face of Hill 100 and the Five Sisters. After their ammunition was expended, the tanks withdrew, rearmed and returned with an LVT flamethrower tank and were support by infantry during the attack that was credited with killing many Japanese in caves and silencing heavy weapons emplaced inside caves.

                Mission History
                On October 18, 1944 this tank was ordered forward by Lt. Gilbert Lindoff (C. O. 710th Tank Battalion) to support U.S. Marines on Peleliu Island. Before advancing, regular assistant driver Charles Erazmus was pulled out of the tank by Lt. Lindloff because he was one of the few men that was not sick and was held in reserve in case they needed a second tank to be dispatched.

                Minutes later, this tank began advancing near Hill 210 on Bloody Nose Ridge with USMC Captain Henry Will Jones riding on the back as a guide to point out Japanese positions in caves. While advancing, this tank ran over a buried Japanese aerial bomb used as an improvised mine that detonated and punctured the bottom of the tank, set it on fire and killed everyone aboard with the exception of the commander who was blown clear. The explosion penetrated the bottom of the tank but did not flip it onto its side. Afterwards, the tank burned for hours.

                Eric Mailander adds:
                "Gil Lindloff, who's crew died in the tank, mentioned the souvenir hunter account. He of course, was not there but his memory was very sharp. My only explanation to his account (nothing is mentioned in any of the official reports of souvenir hunters) is that a few Navy personnel were fired upon, perhaps looking for souvenirs, by Japanese snipers who infiltrated the area. The official reports noted that an aid station was being fired on, and that action sparked the deployment of a Marine Company to deal with them. Interestingly enough, I Company was the first to route the Japanese snipers but pulled out the next morning and L Company replaced them (or the survivors). You will recall that L Co, 7th Marines were ambushed Oct 4th and nearly wiped out by the Japanese near or on Hill 120.

                This battle was a full-out battle with over a 50 Japanese and Capt Jones of L Company, 7th Marines requested the tank to extricate his pinned down company that were being hammered by machine gun fire. The tank's initial role was to assist, as a shield of sorts, so wounded Marines could be evacuated, not Navy souvenir hunters. I interviewed one of the wounded Marines. As a matter of fact, I conducted extensive interviews with about eight Marines from Company L who were involved in the tank event. Everyone of them was 25 to 50 yards away when the tank struck the aerial bomb. All agreed that the tank did not overturn during the blast. This is confirmed with an aerial picture I have taken shortly after the event showing the tank right side up. Since there are no treads or tracks on the tank, I assumed the salvage tank turned 'Flyin Home' over to remove the badly needed steel tracks. I also interviewed the stretcher bearer who carried Howard Dahm's out of the draw."

                Seth Erazmus adds:
                "This story of 'Two Naval Airmen Hunting Souvenirs Story' is story told to tourists by the historical tours on Peleliu today. This story seems to originate with men of Gilbert Lindloff's 1st Platoon/A Co.. Both my grandfather (Lindloff's assistant driver) and Lindloff recounted this story over the years. Neither were there when the tank was destroyed on 10/18 as they stayed behind at the motor pool area just north of Peleliu Airfield. There are several books, reports, field reports of various USMC and Army units that corroborate the version of the story."

                Fates of the Crew
                Commander Prehm was wounded and blown clear of the tank and survived. Dahms suffered extensive burns and was taken to a field hospital where he later died of his wounds. The rest of the crew died in the explosion.

                Recovery of Remains
                After the fire subsided, the bodies of the crew killed in the explosion were recovered and buried on Peleliu Island. Postwar, they were exhumed and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

                After the battle, the tank was pushed over onto the left side, likely by a salvage tank or other heavy equipment to allow both treads, some of the road wheels and other parts to be salvaged for use as a badly needed spare parts due to shortages.

                Following the salvage, the hull of the tank was abandoned laying on the left side. The coaxial machine gun was not removed because it was bent by the force of the explosion. Today, the tank remains where it was abandoned on Peleliu Island.

                Eric Mailander adds:
                "After extensive research, I was able to track the history behind that tank and locate the only survivor. The former tank commander accompanied me back to Peleliu in 1999 and visited the tank site. Now the complete story can be told. Today a plaque is mounted near the site honoring the six crew members killed in the tank."

                The crew members killed were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Each crew member and Jones earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

                Two of the crew are buried at Manila American Cemetery. Hesselbarth at Plot D Row 1 Grave 12. Lopes at Plot L Row 13 Grave 91.

                Valentino was buried at Saint Peters Cemetery in West New Brighton on Staten Island in NY.

                Jones is buried at Marietta National Cemetery at section Q site 22-B.

                On October 18, 1997 bronze plaque was placed at the tank by veterans of the 710th Tank Battalion. The plaque reads: "In Memory T/4 Otto Hesselbarth, Cpl Michael Valentino, Pfc George Lopes, Pfc Howard Dahms, Men of the 1st Platoon Co. A 710th TK dead here 18 Oct. 1944 after hitting a land mine. Having saved two navy airmen, the tank, upon returning to fire into the Jap held caves, was hit. Capt. H. W. Jones 1st Marine Div was also killed. Erected by Veterans of the 710 Tank TK. Dedicated 18 Oct. 1997"

                Seth Erazmus (grandson of Charles Erazmus)
                "Charles Erazmus is still alive and doing well. He was the assistant driver on the lead tank in A-Company of the 710th tank battalion. Shortly before the tank left on the morning of October 18th 1944, Charles was pulled out of the tank by Lt. Lindloff. This was because he was one of the few other men in camp that was not sick. He was to be held in reserve in case they needed a second tank to be dispatched. Minutes later the tank was destroyed."

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                Sherman vycházel z dřívějšího amerického tanku M3, na rozdíl od svého předchůdce však nesl 75mm kanón ve věži, nikoliv v korbě. První prototyp byl dokončen dne 2. září 1941 a z tanku M3 si ještě zachoval boční průlez, který však byl pro sériovou výrobu odstraněn. Konečný konstrukční model T6 se stal standardizovaný jako M4 a v říjnu 1941 začala jeho výroba.

                V průběhu války prošel tank M4 několika změnami. Některé modely nahradily původní 75mm kanón M3 houfnicí ráže 105 mm, pozdější stroje byly často vyzbrojeny 76mm kanónem M1, tanky britských jednotek byly někdy osazeny výkonným protitankovým dělem Ordnance QF 17 pounder pod názvem Sherman Firefly. Vedle standardních variant byly v malém množství vyrobeny i speciální verze, například obojživelné Shermany DD, které byly použity při vylodění v Normandii, nosiče raket T34 Calliope či verze se zařízením na ničení minových polí.

                Shermany zůstaly v americké výzbroji i dlouho po druhé světové válce, model M4A3 byl nasazen v korejské válce, kde doplňoval těžší tanky M26 Pershing a modernější stroje M46 Patton. Ještě delší život měly v armádách jiných států, například Izraelské obranné síly používaly vylepšené varianty M51 Sherman v Šestidenní válce v roce 1967 a v jejich výzbroji zůstaly až do osmdesátých let.

                Bojovou premiérou Shermanů byla druhá bitva u El Alameinu v říjnu 1942, kde si vedly dobře proti německým a italským tankům. Coby nejpočetnější americký tank bojoval na všech frontách války, důležitého nasazení se dočkal při osvobozování Francie a Beneluxu a v bitvě v Ardenách.

                Tanky M4 používala americká i sovětská armáda při osvobozování Československa v roce 1945. K nejznámějším městům osvobozeným tanky M4 patří Plzeň. Rudá armáda používala tanky M4 např. při osvobozování Brna. V roce 2015 se v České republice nacházely tři exempláře tanku M4 Sherman. Jeden je vystaven v areálu Zoologické zahrady Plzeň, [2] další dva ve Vojenském muzeu Lešany. [3]


                Previous developments Edit

                Through the 1960s the US Army and German Army had collaborated on a single design that would replace both the M60 Patton and the Leopard 1. The overall goal was to have a single new design with improved firepower to handle new Soviet tanks like the T-62, while providing improved protection against the T-62's new 115 mm smoothbore gun and especially high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. [11] [ failed verification ]

                The resulting design, the MBT-70, incorporated new technologies across the board. A hydropneumatic suspension provided excellent cross-country ride quality and also allowed the entire tank to be raised or lowered by the driver, with the lowest position placing the top of the tank only 6 feet (1.8 m) off the ground. New 1,500 hp-class engines powered the designs which could both reach 43 miles per hour (69 km/h), two new guns were introduced, a US 152 mm design whose primary long-range weapon was the Shillelagh missile, while the Germans introduced a new 120 mm smoothbore design. [11]

                While the design was highly capable, its weight continued to grow, as did its budget. By 1969, the unit cost stood at five times the original estimates. [11] In August 1969 the Senate halted funding of the program until the Government Accounting Office could undertake an audit of the program. [12]

                Starting afresh Edit

                As a result of the problems with the MBT-70, the U.S. Army introduced the XM803, using some technologies from the MBT-70 but removing some of the more troublesome features. This succeeded only in producing an expensive system with capabilities similar to the M60. [13] Congress canceled the MBT-70 in November and the XM803 in December 1971 but permitted the Army to reallocate $20 million remaining funds to develop a new main battle tank. [14]

                The Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) began examining specific goals. After several rounds of input, the decision was made to provide armor to defeat the "heavy threat" posed by the T-62's 115 mm gun using projected improvements of their APFSDS ammunition through the 1980s, and the new 125 mm gun of the T-64 and T-72 firing high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. [15]

                To this end, a new design basis emerged in February 1973, LK 10372. It had to defeat any hit from a Soviet gun within 800 meters and 30 degrees to either side. The tank would be armed with the 105 mm M68 gun, a licensed version of the Royal Ordnance L7, along with a coaxial 20 mm version of the Bushmaster. [4]

                Examining the experiences of the Yom Kippur War that year, a number of design changes were made. The newly created "Burlington" armor from the British Army's labs was incorporated to improve protection, especially against HEAT, and to incorporate the new armor package, the original goal of keeping weight under 50 short tons (45 t) was abandoned. The Bushmaster was seen as superfluous and was replaced with a M240 machine gun, the US version of the FN MAG. As TACOM continued to improve the detailed design, initial samples of the armor system were sent to the Ballistics Research Laboratory for testing. [15]

                At the time, the US military's procurement system was beset with problems being caused by the desire to have the best possible design. This often resulted in programs being canceled due to cost overruns, leaving the forces with outdated systems, as was the case with the MBT-70. There was a strong movement within the Army to get a new design within budget to prevent the MBT-70 experience from repeating itself. For the new design, the Army stated the unit cost was to be no more than $507,000 in 1972 dollars (equivalent to $3,136,785 in 2020) and gave the contract out to the industry. Chrysler and GM entered bids. [16]

                More changes Edit

                Through the period while the initial prototypes were being built, a debate broke out between Germany and US about the use of the 105 mm gun. The Army was planning on introducing several new types of ammunition for the 105 that would greatly improve its performance, notably, the XM-774 using depleted uranium. These rounds would give it the performance needed to defeat any Soviet tank with ease. There was some concern that depleted uranium would not be allowed in Germany, perhaps just in peacetime, so improvements to the tungsten cored M735 were also considered.

                Through this same period, there was an ongoing effort to improve NATO logistics by standardizing ammunition to the maximum possible degree. The Germans were moving ahead with their 120 mm gun on the Leopard 2K, and noted that the British had also introduced a 120 mm gun of their own in keeping with their long-range combat doctrine. Although initially skeptical of the need for a 120 mm gun, at some point the issue was raised that the Soviets might introduce a tank with composite armor. In this case, the 120 would give them the performance needed to defeat such a development even without depleted uranium.

                By 1977 the decision had been made to eventually move the new tank to a 120 mm gun. After head-to-head testing between the Royal Ordnance L11A5 and the Rheinmetall Rh-120, the latter was chosen. The turret designs of the two prototypes were modified to allow either gun to be fitted. Although the L11/M256 120mm gun was chosen to be the main weapon of the M1 Abrams in 1979, the improved ammunition for the gun still was not fully developed, thus delaying its fielding until 1984. [17] The early production versions of the M1 Abrams (M1 & IPM1) were armed with the M68A1 [18] for two reasons. First was due to the large number of M60 Patton tanks with the M68E1 gun still in widespread US service in the 1980s and a large on-hand stockpile of 105mm munitions. Fitting the M1 with the M68A1 gun was viewed as an economical and practical solution that allowed for commonality in ammunition among the two types of tanks. [19] Secondly was that the M68A1 could employ the newly developed M900 APFSDS [20] depleted uranium round that had improved penetration performance in comparison to the M774. [21]

                Prototypes Edit

                Prototypes were delivered in 1976 by Chrysler Defense and General Motors (GM) armed with the license-built M68E1 version of the 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7. They entered head-to-head testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, along with a Leopard 2 "2K" prototype for comparison. The testing showed that the GM design was generally superior, offering better armor protection, and better fire control and turret stabilization systems. [16] These early preproduction prototypes were provisionally armed with the M68E1 105mm main gun while a preferred 120mm gun and its ammunition were in their design and component development phase. These prototypes used a combination mount that allowed for the evaluation of both 105mm and 120mm guns. [22]

                During testing, the power packs of both designs proved to have issues. The Chrysler design used a gas turbine engine from Lycoming Engines, the AGT1500, which had extensive heat recovery systems in an attempt to improve its fuel economy to something similar to a traditional internal combustion engine. This proved not to be the case the engine consumed much more fuel than expected, burning 3.8 gallons per mile. The GM design used a new variable-compression Diesel design which proved to be problematic. [16] There is no evidence that GM considered using the MTU engine of the MBT-70, which outperformed both and had been chosen for the Leopard 2K.

                By spring 1976, the decision to choose the GM design was largely complete. In addition to offering better overall performance, there were concerns about Chrysler's engine both from a reliability and fuel consumption standpoint. The GM program was also slightly cheaper overall at $208 million compared to $221 million for Chrysler. In July 1976, Lt. Colonel George Mohrmann prepared a stack of letters informing Congress of the decision to move ahead with the GM design. All that was required was the final sign-off by the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. [16]

                In January 1978, a program was initiated [23] to develop an enhanced version of the 105mm gun, the M68A1 [24] as a possible alternate weapon for the M1 Abrams. The new XM24/L55 gun barrel was 18 inches (45.72 cm) longer in comparison to the XM24/L52 barrel used on the M60 tanks. [25] It has a higher chamber pressure, [26] reinforced breech [a] and a higher muzzle velocity. [27]

                Chrysler is chosen Edit

                On 20 July, United States Secretary of the Army Martin Hoffman and a group of generals visited Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Clements and Director of Defense Research and Engineering Malcolm Currie on their decision. They were surprised when Clements and Currie criticized their decision and demanded the turbine be selected. Donald Rumsfeld heard arguments from both in the afternoon and asked for twenty-four hours to review the issues. The Army team spent the night writing briefs and presented them to Rumsfeld the next morning, who then announced a four-month delay. [16]

                Within days, GM was asked to present a new design with a turbine engine. According to Assistant Secretary for Research and Development Ed Miller, "It became increasingly clear that the only solution which would be acceptable to Clements and Currie was the turbine. It was a political decision that was reached, and for all intents and purposes that decision gave the award to Chrysler since they were the only contractor with a gas turbine." [16] However, the Chrysler design had the advantage that the entire power pack had room to be replaced by any number of engine designs, including a Diesel if needed. [15]

                The turbine engine does not appear to be the only reason for this decision. Chrysler was the only company that appeared to be seriously interested in tank development the M60 had been lucrative for the company and relied on that program for much of its profit. In contrast, GM made only about 1% of its income from military sales, compared to 5% for Chrysler, and only submitted their bid after a "special plea" from the Pentagon. [16]

                On 12 November 1976, the Defense Department awarded a $20 billion development contract to Chrysler. [16]

                Production starts Edit

                Low initial rate production (LIRP) of the vehicle was approved on 7 May 1979. [4] In February 1982, General Dynamics Land Systems Division (GDLS) purchased Chrysler Defense, after Chrysler built over 1,000 M1s. [28] The M1 Abrams was the first vehicle to adopt Chobham armor.

                A total of 3,273 M1 Abrams tanks were produced during 1979–1985 and first entered U.S. Army service in 1980. Production at the government-owned, GDLS-operated Lima Army Tank Plant in Lima, Ohio, was joined by vehicles built at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in Warren, Michigan from 1982 to 1996. [1] The U.S. Army Laboratory Command (LABCOM), under the supervision of the United States Army Research Laboratory (ARL), was also heavily involved with designing the tank with M1A1 armor resistant shells, M829A2 armor-penetrating rounds, and improved weapon range. [29] The M1 was armed with the license-built M68A1 version of the 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 gun. The tank featured the first of its kind Chobham armor. The M1 Abrams was the first to use this advanced armor. It consisted of an arrangement of metal plates, ceramic blocks and open space. [30] An improved model called the M1IP was produced briefly in 1984 and contained small upgrades. The M1IP models were used in the Canadian Army Trophy NATO tank gunnery competition in 1985 and 1987.

                About 5,000 M1A1 Abrams tanks were produced from 1986 to 1992 and featured the M256 120 mm (4.7 in) smoothbore cannon developed by Rheinmetall AG of Germany for the Leopard 2, improved armor, consisting of depleted uranium and other classified materials, and a CBRN protection system. Production of M1 and M1A1 tanks totaled some 9,000 tanks at a cost of approximately $4.3 million per unit. [31] By 1999, costs for the tank were upwards of US$5 million a vehicle. [2]

                In 1990, Project on Government Oversight in a report criticized the M1's high costs and low fuel efficiency in comparison with other tanks of similar power and effectiveness such as the Leopard 2. The report was based on data from U.S. Army sources and the Congressional record. [32]

                As the Abrams entered service in the 1980s, they operated alongside M60A3 within the U.S. military, and with other NATO tanks in various Cold War exercises which usually took place in Western Europe, especially West Germany. The exercises were aimed at countering Soviet forces. However, by January 1991, the Berlin Wall had fallen and the Abrams was deployed in the Middle East.

                Adaptations before the Persian Gulf War (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm) gave the vehicle better firepower and NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) protection.

                Persian Gulf War Edit

                The Abrams remained untested in combat until the Persian Gulf War in 1991, during Operation Desert Storm. A total of 1,848 M1A1s were deployed to Saudi Arabia to participate in the liberation of Kuwait. The M1A1 was superior to Iraq's Soviet-era T-55 and T-62 tanks, as well as T-72 versions imported from the Soviet Union and Poland. [33] Polish officials state no license-produced T-72 (nicknamed Lion of Babylon) tanks were finished prior to the Iraqi Taji tank plant being destroyed in 1991. [33] The T-72s, like most Soviet export designs, lacked night vision systems and then-modern rangefinders, though they did have some night-fighting tanks with older active infrared systems or floodlights. A total of 23 M1A1s were damaged or destroyed during the war. Of the nine Abrams tanks destroyed, seven were destroyed by friendly fire, and two were purposely destroyed to prevent capture after being damaged. [34] Some others took minor combat damage, with little effect on their operational readiness. Very few M1 tanks were hit by enemy fire and none were destroyed as a direct result of enemy fire, none of which resulted in any fatalities. [35]

                The M1A1 could kill other tanks at ranges in excess of 2,500 metres (8,200 ft). This range was crucial in combat against previous generation tanks of Soviet design in Desert Storm, as the effective range of the main gun in the Soviet/Iraqi tanks was less than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). This meant Abrams tanks could hit Iraqi tanks before the enemy got in range—a decisive advantage in this kind of combat. In friendly fire incidents, the front armor and fore side turret armor survived direct armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS) hits from other M1A1s. This was not the case for the side armor of the hull and the rear armor of the turret, as both areas were penetrated on at least two occasions by unintentional strikes by depleted uranium ammunition during the Battle of Norfolk. [36]

                During Operations Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm some M1IP and M1A1s were modified locally in theater (in the war zone) by modification work orders (MWO) with additional rolled homogenous armor plating welded on the turret front. [ citation needed ] The M1 can be equipped with mine plow and mine roller attachments.

                Lessons from the war improved the tank's weapons sights and fire control unit.

                Upgrades Edit

                The M1A2 was a further improvement of the M1A1, with a commander's independent thermal viewer, weapon station, position navigation equipment, and a full set of controls and displays linked by a digital data bus. These upgrades also provided the M1A2 with an improved fire control system. [37] The M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP) added digital maps, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Linux communications system capabilities for commanders, and an improved cooling system to compensate for heat generated by the additional computer systems. The M1A2 SEP also serves as the basis for the M104 Wolverine heavy assault bridge. The M1A2 SEPv2 (version 2) added Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS or CROWS II) support, color displays, better interfaces, a new operating system, better front and side armor, and an upgraded transmission for better durability. [38] Further upgrades included depleted uranium armor for all variants, a system overhaul that returns all A1s to like-new condition (M1A1 AIM), a digital enhancement package for the A1 (M1A1D), and a commonality program to standardize parts between the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps (M1A1HC). The development for the improved M1A3 variant was known since 2009. [39] [40] [ needs update ]

                Iraq War Edit

                Further combat was seen during 2003 when U.S. forces invaded Iraq and deposed Ba'athist Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the Iraq War's Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the invasion, at least nine Abrams tanks were put out of action by fire from rocket propelled grenades. [41] By March 2005, approximately 80 Abrams tanks were forced out of action by enemy attacks [42] 63 tanks were restored, while 17 were damaged beyond repair [43] with 3 of them at the beginning of 2003. [44] From August 2005 to April 2008, at least 20 tanks of this type were destroyed. [45] [ verification needed ]

                One achievement of the M1A1s was the destruction of seven T-72s in a point-blank skirmish (less than 50 yards (46 m)) near Mahmoudiyah, about 18 miles (29 km) south of Baghdad, with no U.S. losses. [46] This was in the face of inadequately trained Iraqi tank crews, most of whom had not fired live ammunition in the previous year due to the sanctions then in operation and made no hits at point-blank range. [41] In addition to the Abrams's heavy armament, some crews were also issued M136 AT4 shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons under the assumption that they might have to engage heavy armor in tight urban areas where the main gun could not be brought to bear.

                Following lessons learned in Desert Storm, the Abrams and many other U.S. combat vehicles used in the conflict were fitted with Combat Identification Panels to reduce friendly fire incidents. These were fitted on the sides and rear of the turret, with flat panels equipped with a four-cornered 'box' image on either side of the turret front. Some Abrams tanks were also fitted with a secondary storage bin on the back of the existing bustle rack on the rear of the turret (referred to as a bustle rack extension) to enable the crew to carry more supplies and personal belongings.

                Several Abrams tanks that were irrecoverable due to loss of mobility or other circumstances were destroyed by friendly forces, usually by other Abrams tanks, to prevent their capture. [47] Some Abrams tanks were disabled by Iraqi infantrymen in ambushes during the invasion. Some troops employed short-range anti-tank rockets and fired at the tracks, rear and top. Other tanks were put out of action by engine fires when flammable fuel stored externally in turret racks was hit by small arms fire and spilled into the engine compartment. [48] [49] By December 2006 more than 530 Abrams tanks had been shipped back to the U.S. for repair. [50]

                Vulnerabilities exposed during urban combat in the 2003 invasion of Iraq were addressed with the Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) modifications, including armor upgrades and a gun shield, issued to some M1 Abrams tanks. It added protection in the rear and side of the tank to improve fighting ability in urban environments. [52]

                In May 2008, it was reported that a U.S. M1 tank had also been damaged in Iraq by insurgent fire of a Soviet-made RPG-29 "Vampir", which uses a tandem-charge high explosive anti-tank warhead to penetrate explosive reactive armor (ERA) as well as composite armor behind it. [53] The U.S. considered the RPG-29 a high threat to U.S. armor and refused to allow the newly formed Iraqi Army to buy it, fearing that it would fall into the insurgents' hands. [54]

                Iraqi Army service Edit

                Between 2010 and 2012 the U.S. supplied 140 refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks to Iraq. In mid-2014, they saw action when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched the June 2014 Northern Iraq offensive. During three months, about one-third of the Iraqi Army's M1 tanks had been damaged or destroyed by ISIL and some were captured by opposing forces. By December 2014, the Iraqi Army only had about 40 operational Abrams left. That month, the U.S. Department of State approved the sale of another 175 Abrams to Iraq. [55] [56] [57]

                Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite Kata'ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades) reported to operate M1 Abrams, and released publicity showing the tanks being transported by trucks to take part in the battle of Mosul. It is not known whether the tanks were captured from ISIS, seized from Iraq's military, or handed over. [58]

                One Iraqi-operated Abrams has been nicknamed "The Beast" after it became the lone working tank when taking back the town of Hit in April 2016, destroying enemy fighting positions and IED emplacements. [59]

                In October 2017, Abrams were used by the Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces (also called Al-Hashd al-Shaabi) in assaults against the Kurdistan Regional Government Peshmerga in the town of Altun Kupri (also called Prde). It was claimed by Kurdish commanders that at least one Abrams was destroyed by the Peshmerga. [60]

                War in Afghanistan Edit

                Tanks may have limited utility in Afghanistan due to the mountainous terrain, although Canada and Denmark have deployed Leopard 1 and 2 MBTs that have been specially modified to operate in the relatively flat and arid conditions of southwestern Afghanistan. In late 2010, at the request of Regional Command Southwest, the U.S. Marine Corps deployed a small detachment of 14 M1A1 Abrams tanks from Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), [61] to southern Afghanistan in support of operations in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. [62]

                2015 Yemen Civil War Edit

                After the start of the Saudi Arabian intervention in Yemen during the 2015 Yemeni Civil War, Saudi Arabian M1A2 MBTs were deployed near the Saudi Arabian/Yemeni border. [ citation needed ] In August 2016, the U.S. approved a deal to sell up to 153 more Abrams tanks to Saudi Arabia, including 20 "battle damage replacements", suggesting that some Saudi Arabian Abrams had been destroyed or severely damaged in combat in Yemen. [63] [64] [65]

                Production shutdown Edit

                The U.S. Army planned to end production at the Lima Army Tank Plant from 2013 to 2016 in an effort to save over $1 billion it would be restarted in 2017 to upgrade existing tanks. General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), which operates the factory, opposed the move, arguing that suspension of operations would increase long-term costs and reduce flexibility. [66] [67] Specifically, GDLS estimated that closing the plant would cost $380 million and restarting production would cost $1.3 billion. [68]

                By August 2013, Congress had allocated $181 million for buying parts and upgrading Abrams systems to mitigate industrial base risks and sustain development and production capability. Congress and General Dynamics were criticized for redirecting money to keep production lines open and accused of "forcing the Army to buy tanks it didn't need." General Dynamics asserted that a four-year shutdown would cost $1.1–1.6 billion to reopen the line, depending on the length of the shutdown, whether machinery would be kept operating, and whether the plant's components would be completely removed. They contended that the move was to upgrade Army National Guard units to expand a "pure fleet" and maintain production of identified "irreplaceable" subcomponents a prolonged shutdown could cause their makers to lose their ability to produce them and foreign tank sales were not guaranteed to keep production lines open. There is still risk of production gaps even with production extended through 2015 with funds awarded before recapitalization is needed, budgetary pressures may push planned new upgrades for the Abrams from 2017 to 2019. [69] In December 2014, Congress again allocated $120 million, against the wishes of the Army, for Abrams upgrades including improving gas mileage by integrating an auxiliary power unit (APU) to decrease idle time fuel consumption and upgrading the tank's sights and sensors. [70] [71]

                In late 2016, tank production/refurbishment had fallen to a rate of one per month with less than 100 workers on site. In 2017, the new administration made rebuilding the military a priority. It was reported in 2018 that the Army had ordered 135 tanks re-built to new standards with employment at over 500 workers and expected to rise to 1,000. [72]

                Future plans Edit

                The tracked M8 Armored Gun System was conceived as a possible supplement for the Abrams in U.S. service for low-intensity conflict in the early 1990s. Prototypes were made but the program was canceled. The eight-wheeled M1128 Mobile Gun System was designed to supplement the Abrams in U.S. service for low-intensity conflicts. [73] It has been introduced into service and serves with Stryker brigades.

                The U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems XM1202 Mounted Combat System was to replace the Abrams in U.S. service and was in development when funding for the program was cut from the DoD's budget.

                Engineering Change Proposal 1 is a two-part upgrade process. ECP1A adds space, weight, and power improvements and active protection against improvised explosive devices. Nine ECP1A prototypes have been produced as of October 2014. ECP1B, which will begin development in 2015, may include sensor upgrades and the convergence of several tank round capabilities into a multi-purpose round. [74]

                The M1A2 SEP TUSK Abrams and a modernized M1 Abrams were included in the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Analysis of Alternatives (AOA). Vehicles included in the AOA were determined to be inferior to the planned GCV. [75] The U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli commended the M1 Abrams program and recommended a similar approach for the GCV program. [76] The Ground Combat Vehicle family of vehicles was the planned successor to the M1 as well as many other U.S. Army vehicles. However, the Army anticipates that the remaining M1A1 fleet will remain in U.S. service until at least 2021, and the M1A2 to beyond 2050. [77]

                The M1A3 Abrams was in the early design period with the U.S. Army in 2009. At that time, the service was seeking a lighter tank version with the same protection as current versions. It aimed to build prototypes by 2014 and begin fielding the first combat-ready M1A3s by 2017. [40] [78] [ needs update ] In March 2017, it was reported that the new version, the M1A2 SEP v4, is to begin testing in 2021. [79] Additionally an all new version for the U.S. Army has been in planning and development for several years. [80]

                As of 2020 the Marine Corps has been pursuing a force restructuring plan named Force 2030. Under this directive all US Marine tank battalions are to be deactivated and its M1A1 tanks transferred to the Army by the end of 2021. [81] [82]

                Countermeasures Edit

                Camouflage Edit

                Earlier U.S. military vehicles, used from World War I through the Vietnam War, used a scheme of "olive drab", often with large white stars. Prototypes, early production M1 (105 mm gun) and M1-IP models switched to a flat forest green paint scheme. The large white insignia stars have also transitioned to much smaller black markings. Some units painted their M1s with the older Mobility Equipment Research and Design Command (MERDC) 4-color paint scheme but the turn-in requirements for these tanks required repainting them to overall forest green. Therefore, even though a large number of the base model M1s were camouflaged in the field, few or none exist today.

                M1A1s came from the factory with the NATO three color camouflage Black/Med-Green/Dark-Brown Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) paint jobs. [ citation needed ] Today M1A1s are given the NATO three color paint job during rebuilds. M1s and M1A1s deployed to Operation Desert Storm were hastily painted desert tan. Some, but not all, of these tanks were re-painted to their "authorized" paint scheme. M1A2s built for Middle Eastern countries were painted in desert tan. Replacement parts (roadwheels, armor skirt panels, drive sprockets, etc.) are painted olive green, which can sometimes lead to vehicles with a patchwork of green and desert tan parts.

                Australian M1A1s were desert tan when delivered but have undergone a transition to the Australian Army vehicle standard 'Disruptive Pattern Camouflage' a scheme that consists of black, olive drab, and brown. [83] [ self-published source? ] [84]

                The U.S. Army can equip its Abrams tanks with the Saab Barracuda camouflage system, which provides concealment against visual, infrared, thermal infrared, and broad-band radar detection. [85]

                Concealment Edit

                The turret is fitted with two six-barreled M250 smoke grenade launchers (USMC M1A1s use an eight-barreled version), with one on each side. When deployed, the grenades airburst, creating a thick smoke that blocks both visual and thermal imaging. The engine is also equipped with a smoke generator that is triggered by the driver. When activated, fuel is sprayed into the hot turbine exhaust, creating the thick smoke. However, due to the change from diesel as a primary fuel to the use of JP-8, this system is disabled on most Abrams tanks today because of a slightly elevated risk of fire damage to the engine compartment.

                Armor Edit

                In July 1973, representatives from Chrysler and General Motors traveled to the United Kingdom, and were escorted by personnel from the Ballistic Research Laboratory and XM1 Project Manager Major General Robert J. Baer to witness the progress of British developed Chobham armor. [86] They observed the manufacturing processes required for the production of Chobham armor, which was an arrangement of metal plates, ceramic blocks and open space [30] and saw a proposed design for a new British vehicle utilizing it. HEAT and sabot rounds enter the beginning layers of armor but are unable to penetrate the crew compartment. Ceramics have the ability to absorb a great deal of heat, and can blunt physical blows by cracking and deflecting the force. The remaining hot gasses and metal shrapnel spread out or settle in empty air pockets. Both contractors reevaluated their proposed armor configurations based upon the newly obtained data. This led to major changes in the General Motors XM1, the most prominent of which is the turret front changing from vertical to sloped armor. The Chrysler XM1 on the other hand retained its basic shape although a number of changes were made. The Ballistic Research Laboratory had to develop new armor combinations in order to accommodate the changes made by the contractors. [87]

                Similar to most other main battle tanks, the M1 Abrams feature composite armor only on the frontal aspect of the hull. However, the Abrams' turret features composite armoring across both the front and the sides. In addition, the side skirts of the frontal half of the hull are also made of composite, providing superior ballistic protection against chemical energy munitions such as HEAT rounds. The composition of the Abrams' composite armor consists of sandwiched plates of non-explosive reactive armor (NERA) between conventional steel plates. The NERA plates feature elasticity, allowing them to flex and distort upon perforation, disrupting the penetrating jets of shaped charges and providing more material and space for a kinetic round to pass through, thus providing increased protection compared to conventional steel armor of similar weight. [ citation needed ]

                For the base model M1 Abrams, Steven J. Zaloga gives a frontal armor estimate of 350 mm vs armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS) and 700 mm vs high-explosive anti-tank warhead (HEAT) in M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank 1982–1992 (1993). [88] In M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural (2009), he uses Soviet estimates of 470 mm vs APFSDS and 650 mm vs HEAT for the base model Abrams. He also gives the Soviet estimates for the M1A1, 600 mm vs APFSDS, and 700 mm vs HEAT. [89]

                Armor protection was improved by implementing a new special armor incorporating depleted uranium and other undisclosed materials and layouts. [30] This was introduced into the M1A1 production starting October 1988. This new armor increased effective armor particularly against kinetic energy rounds [90] but at the expense of adding considerable weight to the tank, as depleted uranium is 1.7 times more dense than lead. [91] The first M1A1 tanks to receive this upgrade were tanks stationed in Germany. US-based tank battalions participating in Operation Desert Storm received an emergency program to upgrade their tanks with depleted uranium armor immediately before the onset of the campaign. M1A2 tanks uniformly incorporate depleted uranium armor, and all M1A1 tanks in active service have been upgraded to this standard as well. [92] This variant was designated as the M1A1HA (HA for Heavy Armor). [93] The M1A1 AIM, M1A2 SEP and all subsequent Abrams models feature depleted uranium in both the hull and turret armor. [94] Each Abrams variant after the M1A1 have been equipped with depleted uranium armor of different generations. The M1A1HA uses 1st generation armor, while the M1A2 and M1A1HC use 2nd generation depleted uranium. The M1A2 SEP variants have been equipped with third generation depleted uranium armor combined with a graphite coating. The M1A2C also features increased physical line-of-sight turret armor. [95]

                For the M1A1HA, Zaloga gives a frontal armor estimate of 600 mm vs APFSDS and 1300 mm vs HEAT in M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank 1982–1992, nearly double the original protection of the Abrams. [93] In M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural, he uses different estimates of 600 mm vs APFSDS and 700 mm vs HEAT for the front hull and 800 mm vs APFSDS and 1300 mm vs HEAT for the front of the turret. [89] The protection of M1A2 SEP is a frontal turret armor estimate of 940–960 mm vs APFSDS and 1,320–1,620 vs HEAT, glacis estimate of 560–590 mm vs APFSDS and 510–1,050 vs HEAT, and lower front hull estimate of 580–650 mm vs APFSDS and 800–970 vs HEAT [96]

                In 1998, a program was begun to incorporate improved turret side armor into the M1A2. This was intended to offer better protection against rocket-propelled grenades more modern than the baseline RPG-7. These kits were installed on about 325 older M1A2 tanks in 2001-2009 and it was also included in upgraded tanks. [97]

                The Abrams may also be fitted with explosive reactive armor over the track skirts if needed (such as the Tank Urban Survival Kit) [98] and slat armor over the rear of the tank and rear fuel cells to protect against ATGMs. Protection against spalling is provided by a kevlar liner.

                Damage control Edit

                The tank has a halon firefighting system to automatically extinguish fires in the crew compartment. The engine compartment has a firefighting system that is engaged by pulling a T-handle located on the left side of the hull. The Halon gas can be dangerous to the crew. [99] However, the toxicity of Halon 1301 gas at 7% concentration is much less than the combustion products produced by fire in the crew compartment, and CO2 dump would be lethal to the crew. The crew compartment also contains small hand-held fire extinguishers. Fuel and ammunition are stored in armored compartments with blowout panels to protect the crew from the risk of the tank's own ammunition cooking off (exploding) if the tank is damaged—the main gun's ammunition is stored in the rear section of the turret, with blast doors that open under power by sliding sideways only to remove a round for firing, then automatically close. Doctrine mandates that the ammunition door must be closed before arming the main gun. [100]

                Tank Urban Survival Kit Edit

                The Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) is a series of improvements to the M1 Abrams intended to improve fighting ability in urban environments. [101] [98] Historically, urban and other close battlefields have been poor places for tanks to fight. A tank's front armor is much stronger than that on the sides, top, or rear. In an urban environment, attacks can come from any direction, and attackers can get close enough to reliably hit weak points in the tank's armor or gain sufficient elevation to hit the top armor.

                Armor upgrades include reactive armor on the sides of the tank and slat armor (similar to that on the Stryker) on the rear to protect against rocket-propelled grenades and other shaped charge warheads. A Transparent Armor Gun Shield and a thermal sight system are added to the loader's top-mounted M240B 7.62 mm machine gun, and a Kongsberg Gruppen Remote Weapon Turret carrying a 12.7 mm (.50 in) caliber machine gun (again similar to that used on the Stryker) is in place of the tank commander's original 12.7 mm (.50 in) caliber machine gun mount, wherein the commander had to expose himself to fire the weapon manually. An exterior telephone allows supporting infantry to communicate with the tank commander.

                The TUSK system is a field-installable kit that allows tanks to be upgraded without needing to be recalled to a maintenance depot. While the reactive armor may not be needed in most situations, like those present in maneuver warfare, items like the rear slat armor, loader's gun shield, infantry phone (which saw use on Marine Corps M1A1s as early as 2003), and Kongsberg Remote Weapons Station for the 12.7 mm (.50 in) caliber machine gun will be added to the entire M1A2 fleet over time.

                On 29 August 2006, General Dynamics Land Systems received a U.S. Army order for 505 Tank Urban Survivability Kits (TUSK) for Abrams main battle tanks supporting operations in Iraq, under a US$45 million contract. Deliveries were expected to be completed by April 2009. [102] Under a separate order, the U.S. Army awarded General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products (GDATP) US$30 million to produce reactive armor kits to equip M1A2s. The reactive tiles for the M1 will be locally produced at GDATP's Burlington Technology Center. Tiles will be produced at the company's reactive armor facility in Stone County Operations, McHenry, Mississippi. On 8 December 2006, the U.S. Army added Counter Improvised Explosive Device enhancements to the M1A1 and M1A2 TUSK, awarding GDLS $11.3 million contract, part of the $59 million package mentioned above. In December, GDLS also received an order, amounting to around 40% of a US$48 million order, for loader's thermal weapon sights being part of the TUSK system improvements for the M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams Tanks. [102]

                Active Protection System (APS) Edit

                In addition to the armor, some USMC Abrams tanks [ needs update ] are equipped with a Softkill Active protection system, the AN/VLQ-6 Missile Countermeasure Device (MCD) that can impede the function of guidance systems of some semi-active control line-of-sight (SACLOS) wire- and radio guided anti-tank missiles (such as the Russian 9K114 Shturm) and infrared homing missiles. [103] The MCD works by emitting a massive, condensed infrared signal to confuse the infrared homing seeker of an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). However, the drawback to the system is that the ATGM is not destroyed, it is merely directed away from its intended target, leaving the missile to detonate elsewhere. This device is mounted on the turret roof in front of the loader's hatch, and can lead some people to mistake Abrams tanks fitted with these devices for the M1A2 version, since the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer on the latter is mounted in the same place, though the MCD is box-shaped and fixed in place as opposed to cylindrical and rotating like the CITV.

                In 2016, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps began testing out the Israeli Trophy active protection system to protect their Abrams tanks from modern RPG and ATGM threats by either jamming (with ATGMs) or firing small rounds to deflect incoming projectiles. [104] The Army planned to field a brigade of over 80 tanks equipped with Trophy to Europe in 2020. [105] It is planned for up to 261 Abrams to be upgraded with the system, enough for four brigades. [106] [107] In June 2018, the Army awarded Leonardo DRS, U.S. partner to Trophy's designer Rafael, a $193 million contract to deliver the system in support of M1 Abrams "immediate operational requirements." [108] U.S. Army M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams tanks deployed to Germany in July 2020 fitted with Trophy systems. [109] Deliveries to equip four tank brigades were completed in January 2021. [110]

                Armament Edit

                Primary Edit

                M68A1 rifled gun Edit

                The main armament of the original model M1 and M1IP was the M68A1 105 mm rifled tank gun firing a variety of armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot, high explosive anti-tank, high explosive, white phosphorus rounds and an anti-personnel (multiple flechette) round. This gun used a license-made tube of the British Royal Ordnance L7 gun together with the vertical sliding breech block and other parts of the U.S. T254E2 prototype gun. However, it proved to be inadequate a cannon with lethality beyond the 1.9-mile (3 km) range was needed to combat newer armor technologies. To attain that lethality, the projectile diameter needed to be increased. The tank was able to carry 55 105 mm rounds, with 44 stored in the turret blow-out compartment and the rest in hull stowage.

                M256 smoothbore gun Edit

                The main armament of the M1A1 and M1A2 is the M256A1 120 mm smoothbore gun, designed by Rheinmetall AG of Germany, manufactured under license in the U.S. by Watervliet Arsenal, New York. The M256A1 is a variant of the Rheinmetall 120 mm L/44 gun carried on the German Leopard 2 on all variants up to the Leopard 2A5. Leopard 2A6 replaced the L/44 barrel with a longer L/55. Due to the increased calibre, only 40 or 42 rounds are able to be stored depending on if the tank is an A1 or A2 model.

                The M256A1 fires a variety of rounds. The primary APFSDS round of the Abrams is the depleted uranium M829 round, of which four variants have been designed. M829A1, known as the "Silver Bullet", saw widespread service in the Gulf War, where it proved itself against Iraqi armor such as the T-72. The M829A2 APFSDS round was developed specifically as an immediate solution to address the improved protection of a Russian T-72, T-80U or T-90 main battle tank equipped with Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor (ERA) as previous rounds were found to be incapable of defeating such armor. [111] Later, the M829A3 round was introduced to improve its effectiveness against next generation ERA equipped tanks, through usage of a multi-material penetrator and increased penetrator diameter that can resist the shear effect of K-5 type ERA. [ citation needed ] As a counter to that, the Russian army introduced Relikt, the most modern Russian ERA, which is claimed to be twice as effective as Kontakt-5. [112] Development of the M829 series is continuing with the M829A4 currently entering production, featuring advanced technology such as data-link capability. [113] The Abrams also fires high-explosive anti-tank warhead shaped charge rounds such as the M830, the latest version of which (M830A1) incorporates a sophisticated multi-mode electronic sensing fuse and more fragmentation that allows it to be used effectively against armored vehicles, personnel, and low-flying aircraft. The Abrams uses a manual loader. The fourth tank crew member on the Abrams also provides additional support for maintenance, observation post/listening post (OP/LP) operations, and other tasks.

                The new M1028 120 mm anti-personnel canister cartridge was brought into service early for use in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It contains 1,098 3 ⁄ 8 -inch (9.5 mm) tungsten balls that spread from the muzzle to produce a shotgun effect lethal out to 600 meters (2,000 ft). The tungsten balls can be used to clear enemy dismounts, break up hasty ambush sites in urban areas, clear defiles, stop infantry attacks and counter-attacks and support friendly infantry assaults by providing covering fire. The canister round is also a highly effective breaching round and can level cinder block walls and knock man-sized holes in reinforced concrete walls for infantry raids at distances up to 75 meters (246 ft). [114] Also in use is the M908 obstacle-reduction round. It is designed to destroy obstacles and barriers. The round is a modified M830A1 with the front fuse replaced by a steel nose to penetrate into the obstacle before detonation. [115]

                The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) conducted a thermal analysis of the M256 from 2002 to 2003 to evaluate the potential of using a hybrid barrel system that would allow for multiple weapon systems such as the XM1111 Mid- Range munition, airburst rounds, or XM 1147. The test concluded that mesh density (number of elements per unit area) impacts accuracy of the M256 and specific densities would be needed for each weapon system. [116]

                The Army is developing a new round to replace the M830/M830A1, M1028, and M908. Called the Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) round, it will have point detonation, delay, and airburst modes through an ammunition data-link and a multi-mode, programmable fuse in a single munition. Having one round that does the job of four would simplify logistics and be able to be used on a variety of targets. The AMP is to be effective against bunkers, infantry, light armor, and obstacles out to 500 meters, and will be able to breach reinforced concrete walls and defeat ATGM teams from 500 to 2,000 meters. [117] [118] Orbital ATK was awarded a contract to begin the first phase of development for the AMP XM1147 High Explosive Multi-Purpose with Tracer cartridge in October 2015. [119]

                In addition to these, the XM1111 (Mid-Range-Munition Chemical Energy) was also in development. The XM1111 was a guided munition using a dual-mode seeker that combined imaging-infrared and semi-active laser guidance. The MRM-CE was selected over the competing MRM-KE, which used a rocket-assisted kinetic energy penetrator. The CE variant was chosen due to its better effects against secondary targets, providing a more versatile weapon. The Army hoped to achieve IOC with the XM1111 by 2013. [120] However, the Mid-Range Munition was cancelled in 2009 along with Future Combat Systems. [121]

                Secondary Edit

                The Abrams tank has three machine guns, with an optional fourth:

                1. A .50 cal. (12.7 mm) M2HB machine gun in front of the commander's hatch. On the M1 and M1A1, this gun is mounted on the Commander's Weapons Station. This allows the weapon to be aimed and fired from within the tank. Normal combat loadout for the M1A1 is a single 100-round box of ammo at the weapon, and another 900 rounds carried. The later M1A2 variant had a 'flex' mount that required the tank commander to expose his or her upper torso in order to fire the weapon. In urban environments in Iraq, this was found to be unsafe. With the Common Remote Operated Weapons System (CROWS) add-on kit, an M2A1 .50 Caliber Machine gun, M240, or M249 SAW can be mounted on a CROWS remote weapons platform (similar to the Protector M151 remote weapon station used on the Stryker family of vehicles). Current variants of the Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) on the M1A2 have forgone this, instead adding transparent gun shields to the commander's weapon station. The upgrade variant called the M1A1 Abrams Integrated Management (AIM) equips the .50 caliber gun with a thermal sight for accurate night and other low-visibility shooting. [122]
                2. A 7.62 mmM240 machine gun in front of the loader's hatch on a skate mount (seen at right). Some of these were fitted with gun shields during the Iraq War, as well as night-vision scopes for low-visibility engagements and firing. This gun can be moved to the TC's position if the M2 .50 cal is damaged.
                3. A second 7.62 mm M240 machine gun in a coaxial mount (i.e., it points at the same targets as the main gun) to the right of the main gun. The coaxial MG is aimed and fired with the same computerized firing control system used for the main gun. On earlier M1 and M1A1s, 3000 rounds are carried, all linked together and ready to fire. In later models, this was reduced slightly to make room for new system electronics. A typical 7.62mm combat loadout is between 10,000 and 14,000 rounds carried on each tank.
                4. (Optional) A second coaxial .50 cal. (12.7 mm) M2HB machine gun can be mounted directly above the main gun in a remote weapons platform as part of the TUSK upgrade kit.

                Aiming Edit

                The Abrams is equipped with a ballistic fire-control computer that uses user and system-supplied data from a variety of sources to compute, display, and incorporate the three components of a ballistic solution—lead angle, ammunition type, and range to the target—to accurately fire the main gun. These three components are determined using a laser rangefinder, crosswind sensor, a pendulum static cant sensor, data concerning performance and flight characteristics of each specific type of round, tank-specific boresight alignment data, ammunition temperature, air temperature, barometric pressure, a muzzle reference system (MRS) that determines and compensates for barrel drop at the muzzle due to gravitational pull and barrel heating due to firing or sunlight, and target speed determined by tracking rate tachometers in the Gunner's or Commander's Controls Handles. All of these factors are computed into a ballistic solution and updated 30 times per second. The updated solution is displayed in the Gunner's or Tank Commander's field of view in the form of a reticle in both day and Thermal modes. The ballistic computer manipulates the turret and a complex arrangement of mirrors so that all one has to do is keep the reticle on the target and fire to achieve a hit. Proper lead and gun tube elevation are applied to the turret by the computer, greatly simplifying the job of the gunner. [ citation needed ]

                The fire-control system uses this data to compute a firing solution for the gunner. The ballistic solution generated ensures a hit percentage greater than 95 percent at nominal ranges. [ citation needed ] Either the commander or gunner can fire the main gun. Additionally, the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) on the M1A2 can be used to locate targets and pass them on for the gunner to engage while the commander scans for new targets. In the event of a malfunction or damage to the primary sight system, the main and coaxial weapons can be manually aimed using a telescopic scope boresighted to the main gun known as the Gunner's Auxiliary Sight (GAS). The GAS has two interchangeable reticles one for High-explosive anti-tank warhead and MPAT (MultiPurpose AntiTank) rounds and one for APFSDS and STAFF (Smart Target-Activated Fire and Forget) ammunition. Turret traverse and main gun elevation can be accomplished with manual handles and cranks in the event of a Fire Control System or Hydraulic System failure. The commander's M2HB .50 caliber machine gun on the M1 and M1A1 is aimed by a 3× magnification sight incorporated into the Commander's Weapon Station (CWS), while the M1A2 uses either the machine gun's own iron sights, or a remote aiming system such as the CROWS system when used as part of the TUSK (Tank Urban Survival Kit). The loader's M240 machine gun is aimed either with the built-in iron sights or with a thermal scope mounted on the machine gun. [ citation needed ]

                In late 2017, the 400 USMC M1A1 Abrams will be upgraded with better and longer-range sights on the Abrams integrated display and targeting system (AIDATS) replacing the black-and-white camera view with a color one and adding day/night thermal sights, simplified handling with a single set of controls, and a slew to cue button that repositions the turret with a single command. Preliminary testing showed the upgrades reduced target engagement time from six seconds to three by allowing the commander and gunner to work more closely and collaborate better on target acquisition. [123] [124]

                Mobility Edit

                Tactical Edit

                The M1 Abrams's powertrain consists of a Honeywell AGT 1500 (originally made by Lycoming) multifuel gas turbine capable of 1,500 shaft horsepower (1,100 kW) at 3,000 rpm and 3,950 lb⋅ft (5,360 N⋅m) at 1,000 rpm, and a six-speed (four forward, two reverse) Allison X-1100-3B Hydro-Kinetic automatic transmission, giving it a governed top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) on paved roads, and 30 mph (48 km/h) cross-country. With the engine governor removed, speeds of around 60 mph (97 km/h) are possible on an improved surface however, damage to the drivetrain (especially to the tracks) and an increased risk of injuries to the crew can occur at speeds above 45 mph (72 km/h). The tank was built around this engine [125] and it is multifuel–capable, including diesel, kerosene, any grade of motor gasoline, and jet fuel (such as JP-4 or JP-8). For logistical reasons, JP-8 is the U.S. military's universal fuel powering both aircraft and vehicle fleets. On the other hand, Australian M1A1 AIM SA burn diesel fuel, since the use of JP-8 is less common in the Australian Army.

                The gas turbine propulsion system has proven quite reliable in practice and combat, but its high fuel consumption is a serious logistic issue (starting up the turbine alone consumes nearly 10 US gallons (38 L) of fuel). [126] The engine burns more than 1.67 US gallons (6.3 L) per mile (60 US gallons (230 L) per hour) when traveling cross-country and 10 US gallons (38 L) per hour when idle. [8] The high speed, high temperature jet blast emitted from the rear of M1 Abrams tanks makes it hazardous for infantry to take cover or follow behind the tank in urban combat. [127] The turbine is very quiet when compared to diesel engines of similar power output and produces a significantly different sound from a contemporary diesel tank engine, reducing the audible distance of the sound, thus earning the Abrams the nickname "whispering death" during its first Reforger exercise. [ citation needed ]

                Honeywell was developing another gas turbine engine with General Electric for the XM2001 Crusader program that was to be a replacement for the Abrams's AGT-1500 engine. [128] The new LV100-5 engine was lighter and smaller (43% fewer parts) with rapid acceleration, quieter running, and no visible exhaust. [129] It also featured a 33% reduction in fuel consumption (50% less when idle) and near drop-in replacement. [130] The Abrams-Crusader Common Engine Program was shelved when the Crusader program was canceled, however Phase 2 of Army's PROSE (Partnership for Reduced O&S Costs, Engine) program called for further development of the LV100-5 and replacement of the current AGT-1500 engine. [131]

                General Dynamics has been working on a drop-in diesel engine to replace the gas turbine engine. It is smaller than the turbine, 14% cheaper to operate per mile, and has a four-fan cooling system that is to greatly reduce the tank's heat signature. [132] General Dynamics is offering the Tognum America/12V883 diesel engine with new Diehl 570P3 tracks. The engine represents advancements in diesel engine design since the Abrams was first designed, including a common rail fuel injector system where fuel is pressurized and atomized in the cylinder rather than mechanically sprayed. It also has greater torque, an altered nuclear, biological, and chemical protection system that operates independently of the engine, uses less fuel while idle, is quieter, and gives off significantly less heat and pollutants. Incorporating the diesel engine into the Abrams would decrease the operating cost of an armored brigade combat team by 14 percent per mile, increase its operating range from 205 miles to 300+ miles, and use half the amount of fuel on a combat day than the turbine engine. The tracks are a version of the Leopard 2's tracks with different rubber pads and a larger center guide. The improved engine and tracks are not part of an Army upgrade program, but may be included in a near-term engineering change proposal (ECP) phase. [133] [134]

                An 220-pound (100 kg) Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) was designed by the Army's TARDEC, replacing an existing battery pack that weighs about 500 pounds (230 kg). It uses a high power density 330 cc (20 in 3 ) Wankel rotary engine modified to use diesel and military grade jet fuel. The new APU will also be more fuel efficient than the tank's main engine. [135] Testing of the first APUs began in 2009.

                Although the M1 tank is not designed to carry riders easily, provisions exist for the Abrams to transport troops in tank desant with the turret stabilization device switched off. A battle equipped infantry squad may ride on the rear of the tank, behind the turret. The soldiers can use ropes and equipment straps to provide handholds and snap links to secure themselves. If and when enemy contact is made, the tank conceals itself allowing the infantry to dismount. [136]

                Strategic Edit

                Strategic mobility is the ability of the tanks of an armed force to arrive in a timely, cost effective, and synchronized fashion. The Abrams can be carried by a C-5 Galaxy or a C-17 Globemaster III. The limited capacity (two combat-ready tanks in a C-5, one combat-ready tank in a C-17) caused serious logistical problems when deploying the tanks for the first Persian Gulf War, though there was enough time for 1,848 tanks to be transported by ship.

                Marines transport their Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF)-attached Abrams tanks by combat ship. A Wasp-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) typically carries a platoon of 4 to 5 tanks attached to the deployed Marine Expeditionary Unit, which are then amphibiously transported to shore by Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) at 1 combat-ready tank per landing craft.

                The Abrams is also transportable by truck, namely the Oshkosh M1070 and M1000 Heavy Equipment Transporter System (HETS). The HETS can operate on highways, secondary roads, and cross-country. It accommodates the four tank crew members. [137]

                The first instance of the Abrams being airlifted directly into a battlefield occurred in October 1993. Following the Battle of Mogadishu, 18 M1 tanks were airlifted by C-5 aircraft to Somalia from Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. [138] [139]

                • XM1-FSED: Preproduction test model. Eleven Full-Scale Engineering Development test bed vehicles were produced in 1977–78. These vehicles were also called Pilot Vehicles and numbered PV-1 through PV-11.
                • M1: First production variant. Production began (at Chrysler) in 1979 and continued to 1985 (at General Dynamics) (3,273 built for the US). The first 110 tanks were Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) models, still called XM1s, because they were built prior to the tank being type-classified as the M1.
                  • M1IP (Improved Performance): Produced briefly in 1984 before the M1A1, contained upgrades and reconfigurations like new turret with thicker frontal armor, new turret is referred as "long" turret instead of older "short" turret, armor upgraded from

                  650mm line of sight thickness to

                  • M1A1HA (Heavy Armor): Added 1st generation depleted uranium armor components. Some tanks were later upgraded with 2nd generation depleted uranium armor components, and are unofficially designated M1A1HA+.
                  • M1A1HC (Heavy Common): Added new 2nd generation depleted uranium armor components, digital engine control and other small upgrades common between Army and Marine Corps tanks.
                  • M1A1D (Digital): A digital upgrade for the M1A1HC, to keep up with M1A2 SEP, manufactured in quantity for only 2 battalions.
                  • M1A1 AIM v.1 (Abrams Integrated Management): A program whereby older units are reconditioned to zero hour conditions [140] and the tank is improved by adding Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) and Far Target Locate sensors, a tank-infantry phone, communications gear, including FBCB2 and Blue Force Tracking to aid in crew situational awareness, and a thermal sight for the .50 caliber machine gun. [122]
                  • M1A1 AIM v.2/M1A1 SA (Situational Awareness): Upgrades similar to AIM v.1 tanks + new 3rd generation depleted uranium armor components. Configuration for the Royal Moroccan Army, which is almost identical to the Australian variant, except exportable turret armor is installed by General Dynamics Land System to replace the DU armor. [141]
                  • M1A1 FEP (Firepower Enhancement Package): Similar upgrade to AIM v.2 for USMC tanks.
                  • M1A1KVT (Krasnovian Variant Tank): M1A1s that have been visually modified to resemble Soviet-made tanks for use at the National Training Center, fitted with MILES gear and a Hoffman device.
                  • M1A1M: An export variant ordered by the Iraqi Army with depleted uranium armor removed and older thermal imaging system with lower resolution used. [142]
                  • M1A1 (AIDATS upgrade): Upgrade-only variant to all USMC General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams tanks to improve the tank commander's situational awareness with an upgraded thermal sight, color day camera, and a stationary color display. [143]
                  • M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package): Has upgraded third-generation depleted uranium armor components with graphite coating (240 new built, 300 M1A2s upgraded to M1A2 SEP for the US, also unknown numbers of upgraded basic M1s and M1IPs, also 400 oldest M1A1s upgraded to M1A2 SEP).
                  • M1A2S (Saudi Package): Saudi Arabian variant upgrade of the M1A2 based on M1A2 SEP, with some features, such as depleted uranium armor, believed to be missing and replaced by special armor. (442 M1A2s upgraded to M1A2S). [146][147]
                  • M1A2 SEPv2: Added Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station as standard, color displays, improved interfaces, a new operating system, improved front and side armor with ERA (TUSK kit), tank-infantry phone as standard, and an upgraded transmission for better durability. [148]
                  • M1A2C (SEPv3): Has increased power generation and distribution, better communications and networking, new Vehicle Health Management System (VHMS) and Line Replaceable Modules (LRMs) for improved maintenance, an Ammunition DataLink (ADL) to use airburst rounds, improved counter-IED armor package, improved FLIR using long- and mid-wave infrared, a low-profile CROWS RWS, Next Generation Armor Package (NGAP), [149] and an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) under armor to run electronics while stationary instead of the engine, visually distinguishing the version by a small exhaust at the left rear. More passive ballistic protection added to the turret faces, along with new Explosive Reactive Armor mountings (Abrams Reactive Armor Tile (ARAT)) [150] and Trophy Active Protection systems added to the turret sides. Prototypes began testing in 2015, [151][148][152] and the first were delivered in October 2017. [153] The first unit received them in July 2020. [154]
                    • M1A2T: Special configuration variant of the M1A2C reportedly being offered for sale to Taiwan as of March 2019 and approved by US State Department as of July 2019. [155] Per DSCA statement, it is roughly equivalent to M1A2C, except depleted uranium armor is replaced by FMS export armor. There is no mention of the Trophy APS system. The new-built tanks will be produced at Anniston Army Depot, Anniston, Alabama, and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, Lima, Ohio. [156][157]
                    • M1 TTB (Tank Test Bed): Prototype with unmanned turret, 3 crew members in armored capsule in front of the heavy armored hull, main armament was 120 mm smoothbore gun, M256 derivative or modification, mechanical loading system under turret, never fielded.
                    • CATTB: The Component Advanced Technology Test Bed was an experimental model with a XM291 140 mm smoothbore cannon, [169] heavy armored turret and upgraded hull based on the M1 chassis. It had a mechanical loading system in turret bustle, a new engine and probably other upgrades, never fielded. The tank went into trials in 1987–88. [170]
                    • M1 Thumper: Experimental variant by Lockheed Martin, equipped with the 140 mm XM291 ATACS smoothbore cannon. Similar to the CATTB, it included a larger, elongated turret to offer protection levels comparable to the M1A2 while allowing the mounting of the larger cannon and its longer ammunition. Cancelled with the end of the Cold War, and never fielded. [171][172]
                    • M1 AGDS (Air Ground Defense System): Proposed air defence variant of the Abrams equipped with dual 35 mm Bushmaster III autocannons, 12 ADATS missiles and advanced electro-optical and radar targeting systems derived from the ADATS. It was supposed to be capable of both air defence and anti-tank purposes with the ADATS MIM-146 missiles which was a dual purpose ATGM/SAM. The proposal never saw consideration and was never developed further. [173]

                    Specialized Edit

                    • M1 Grizzly Combat Mobility Vehicle (CMV). [174][175]
                    • M1 Panther II: A remote controlled mine clearing vehicle with turret removed, mine rollers on front, and the Standardized Teleoperation System. [176]
                    • M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge[177]
                    • M1074 Joint Assault Bridge (JAB): Bridgelayer combining a heavy "scissor" bridge with the M1 Abrams chassis. Expected to reach low-rate initial production in 2019 to replace the M60 AVLB and M104 Wolverine. [178]
                    • M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV): Assault variant for the USMC. Based upon the M1A1 Abrams chassis, the Assault Breacher Vehicle has a variety of systems installed, such as a full-width mine plow, two linear demolition charges, and a lane-marking system. Reactive armor has been fitted to the vehicle providing additional protection against High-explosive anti-tank warhead-based weapons. The turret has been replaced by a new smaller one with two MICLIC launchers at its rear. A M2HB .50 machine gun in a remote weapons station is mounted on the commander's cupola and a bank of grenade launchers are fitted to each side of the superstructure to cover the frontal arc for self-protection. [179][180]
                    • M1 Armored Recovery Vehicle: Only a prototype produced.
                    • M1A1 Mine Clearing Blade System (MCBS): (LIN B13228) [b] It is electrically operated and is capable of clearing surface or buried mines up to 6 feet in front of the tank's path. The plough produces a windrow of soil that is filled with mines. This windrow must be reduced using a mine rake or by laying a MICLIC alongside the windrow and detonating it. The plough is also capable of pushing up berms, clearing trench-lines, and proofing lanes and staging areas. It can be adapted for use on the M60A1 MBT. [181]
                    • Self Protection Combat Roller (SPCR): (LIN M53112) The Self Protection Combat Roller (SPCR) exerts high pressure onto the ground ahead of the tracks of the host vehicle to target pressure activated explosive devices in order to actively prove routes. It is designed to operate on concrete, asphalt, gravel and hard dirt roads. The system comprises two 4-wheel roller gangs to protect the vehicle tracks which stow neatly to minimize its impact on vehicle operation ability and mobility when not in use. The rollers are able to steer left and right to provide a level of coverage during cornering. An optional Magnetic System Duplicator (MSD) can be fitted to help protect the equipment from the effect of magnetic influence fused mines. [182]
                    • Surface Clearance Device (SCD): (LIN B17484) The SCD is employed to clear surface laid mines and IEDs from roads, trails and rough terrain. There are two versions of the SCD a V-blade optimised for clearing routes and a straight angle-blade which is optimised for clearing staging and assembly areas. [183]
                    • Vehicle Magnetic Signature Duplicator(VEMSID): (LIN V53112) The VEMSID increases the effectiveness and survivability of countermine equipment by causing the stand-off detonation of magnetic influence mines at a safe distance ahead of the tank. It generates a multi-axial magnetic signature optimized for passively fused magnetic influence fused mines. The system comprises four emitter coils, two associated power boxes and a MSD Control Unit (MSDCU). [184]
                    Abrams specifications [185] [186]
                    M1 M1IP M1A1 M1A2 M1A2 SEP
                    Produced 1979–85 1984 1985–92 1992 on 1999 on
                    Length 32.04 ft (9.77 m)
                    Width 12 ft (3.7 m)
                    Height 7.79 ft (2.37 m) 8.0 ft (2.4 m)
                    Top speed 45 mph (72 km/h) 41.5 mph (66.8 km/h) 42 mph (68 km/h)
                    Range 310 mi (500 km) 275 mi (443 km) 288 mi (463 km) 265 mi (426 km) 264 mi (425 km)
                    Power 1,500 shp (1,100 kW)
                    Weight 61.4 short tons (55.7 t) 62.8 short tons (57.0 t) M1A1: 61.5 short tons (55.8 t)M1A1 SA: 67.6 short tons (61.3 t) 68.4 short tons (62.1 t) SEP v1: 69.5 short tons (63.0 t) SEP v2: 71.2 short tons (64.6 t)

                    M1A2C (SEP v3): 73.6 short tons (66.8 t)

                    M1A1 AIM/SA: Depleted uranium inserts in hull and turret

                    Improved Chobham armor and increased turret armor
                    Additions of ARAT ERA, slat armor
                    Some tanks being equipped with Trophy APS

                    Ugandan M4A1(76)W / M1 Sherman

                    In the 1960s Israel and Uganda developed a brief but surprisingly close relationship. Uganda’s location was of value to Israel due to its border with Sudan, an opponent of Israel having sent troops to fight against it during the 1948 war of Independence. Access to the southern Sudanese border provided Israel a supply route to aid the separatist Southern Sudanese liberation movement and undermine the ruling government. In return Uganda benefited from Israeli expertise and aid. This included military advisers and some military equipment.

                    In 1969 Israel agreed to supply Uganda with 12 WWII era Sherman tanks which were delivered the following year (SIPRI). These are believed to be the first tanks ever in Ugandan military service.

                    These were all believed to be the M4A1(76)W variant of the Sherman. Some of these examples had the early suspension (VVSS), whilst others featured the later suspension with wider tracks ( HVSS) . In Israeli Defence Force service these would have been collectively known under the designated M1, presumably in reference to the 76mm M1 main gun. By the late 1960s these M1s had received some minor Israeli modifications, primarily in the form of turret additions. These included two pairs of smoke dischargers, a search light mounted on the gun mantle and spare track links. The search light does not however appear to of been fitted to Ugandan examples, though the mounting brackets remain.

                    The following series of video captures are taken from 1974 French documentary on Idi Amin. During this scene he describes how he would retake the Golan Heights from Israel.

                    This rare footage provides the only colour images of Ugandan Shermans in actual operational service. They clearly show an overall dark green, perhaps even a bronze green, paint scheme. Registration numbers appear in white on a black rectangular background and are located centrally on the front and back of the vehicle. Large painted squares/rectangles split diagonally into green and red are also present on several locations and may represent unit markings.

                    ten) of WWII era T-34/85 were also delivered, probably from Libya (SIPRI). Other armoured vehicles were procured during this period.


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