Main Armament: 75 mm
Other Armament: .50 cal M2HB Machine Gun
(2) .30 cal M1919A4 Machine Gun
Horsepower: 400 max
Speed: 30 mph (48 km/h)
Weight: 30.3 tons
Length: 19’2” (5.84 m)
Width: 8’7” (2.62 m)
Height: 9’ (2.74 m)
As America’s most produced tank, the needs of the US Army outmatched the production capabilities of a single plant. To meet the demand, multiple plants put the Sherman into production, but with variations in design both due to manufacturing capabilities and different needs in the field. The M4A3 was initially produced exclusively by Ford— until it dropped out of tank production— giving it a V-8 engine, and a welded hull. This sub-denomination became the preferred US Army tank, but it also served the French and Nicaraguan Armies in small numbers.
Did you know?
Throughout the war, “field-expedient tinkerers” and mechanics were constantly experimenting with new retrofits to the Sherman tank. One notable example were 8 Marine M4A3s in Iwo Jima, which were modified to feature flamethrowers. The first modifications involved replacing the machine gun mounted on top of the turret with the flamethrower, though just before the Battle of Iwo Jima, Seabees Navy mechanics managed to incorporate it into the turret to replace the main gun. They only had time to modify 8 tanks, which were nicknamed “Zippos,” but they proved deadly nonetheless. With a range of up to 25 yards (22.8 m), it could throw blasts up to 80 seconds at a time, giving it further reach and longer intervals than individual portable flamethrower packs. The Zippos gave the impression of greater security as well, and they served a supporting role for foot soldiers by forcing Japanese defenders out of underground and fixed defenses.
The name “Sherman” comes from the British tradition of naming its American produced tanks after American Civil War Generals. Named after General William Tecumseh Sherman, the name quickly caught on in the United States, which soon adopted the practice of naming all its tanks after generals.