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What The Sherman Could Have Been

Proposed WW2 and after mods

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#1 Special-K

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 1657 PM

http://www.thesherma...nto-production/

 

 

I just found the above article and thought I would share it here.  I can't vouch for any of what is in the article, and I apologized if this has been covered before - or if this belongs in a different section. 

 

The article is too long for me to cut and paste the entire piece, and there are quite a number of photos.  Interesting concepts, such as up-armoring, a hedgehog like anti-Panzerfaust array, anti-personnel measures, and a power cupola with twin M-2 or M-1919 machine guns.  

 

Thoughts/opinions?  Derision and scorn for bringing it up perhaps?  

 

 

 

 

-K


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#2 Special-K

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 1700 PM

Some excerpts from the above article:

 

Bolt-on armor kits: CDA was asked to develop a set of bolt-on armor for the Sherman, there are pictures of wooden mockups, but this program was canceled before the second gen large hatch hulls started production. At this point, the best source for info on this program is R.P. Hunnicutt’s Sherman. He does not note why it was canceled. It seems like with the success of the M4A3E2 Jumbo, and it’s only marginal effect on the reliability of the automotive components of the Sherman, this would have been a hit with the troops.

Up-armored differential covers: There was another program to improve the armor of the early differential covers. Both the early three-part bolt-together designs and the early one-piece cast designs, were found to have areas more vulnerable to penetration than the rest of the differential cover. They came up with add-on armor for each type. After testing these kits were found to be good enough to make the differentials the best protected front area of the tank after installation. The Army approved them, but no evidence of any being used has been found. The final production cast differential cover was improved and would not have needed these kits. That may have been the reason the kits didn’t get used since they could just use the ultimate production casting when doing rebuilds.

 

Plastic armor and spikes: When the threat of AT sticks like the panzerfaust become more prominent, an add-on armor kit made from called the HCR2 plastic armor kit was developed. It was made from a mixture of quartz gravel and a mastic compound made from wood flour and asphalt. It was held on by cables and could be jettisoned with ease. The armor from this kit protected the Shermans turret well, but sponson penetrations could still happen. It also offered a little extra ballistic protection. It also did not cover the front of the hull or turret.

Another attempt to defeat shaped charged weapons involved installing spikes in lengths varying from 7 to 8 inches all over the armor. The idea behind this was to break up a heat warhead before it could detonate properly.  Testing on this continued after the war.

 

Fragmentation grenade mounts, mines, and pipe bombs: The Army decided to try mounting these on tanks and test how they would work to combat close in enemy infantry as a kind of last resort weapon. This did not work very well and only the grenades were found to have an effective fragmentation effect. They all risked damage to the tank so they were dropped. Shielding to protect the tank made them even less effective.  None of these worked as well as having close infantry support, and the idea was dropped.

 

The Scorpion/Skink anti-personnel flame projectors: This might have seen use if the war had gone on. This is just the type of thing to use on Japanese suicide troops if they have scared or killed off all your close infantry support. This system had four self-contained, phosphor based, flame projectors mounted at each corner of the tank. Each one could let off 20 to 30 bursts of the flaming phosphorus in a fan from each device, giving great coverage all around the tank. They could be fired off individually or all at once from inside the tank.

 

-K


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#3 Markus Becker

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 0824 AM

What people forget is that the M4 was overkill on steroids.

 

In 1940 the Germans were driving around in 10 to 15 ton tanks, with 30mm of vertical armor and 37mm pea shooters. The American reaction, a 30 ton tank with a gun twice as big and three times the effective armor. Not surprisingly this tank gave no cause for complaints as late as 1943 even though German armor was very different now. Thus no M4 Improved. Sloped side armor is no improvement BTW.

Things only began to change mid 1944, first for the British, later for the Americans too and from what I learned it was too late to do many things. Even if this or that has already been developed and tested, it needs to be shipped.

 

With regard to the specific upgrades. I’m not sure I share the assessment that the automotive parts of the so called “Jumbo” still worked ok despite the added weight. The VVS suspension showed its limits even with the original 30 ton weight, thus HVSS.

 

HEAT protection. When was that ready? It looks like the Allies didn’t run into the Panzerfaust until mid 44 and at first not a lot. So unless that was done much earlier in case “the German have a Bazooka too” it’s nothing that could have been used during the war.


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#4 Adam_S

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 0725 AM

Fundamentally, anything that interferes with the ability to produce absolutely shit loads of them or that makes the tank significantly less mobile and/or reliable is probably not worth the bother.

 

The Alliies were perfectly capable of producing large numbers of Jumbo Fireflies. Would they have been better off with them though?


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#5 Rich

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Posted Today, 05:02 PM


The Alliies were perfectly capable of producing large numbers of Jumbo Fireflies. Would they have been better off with them though?

No, they weren't necessarily capable of doing that. 17-pdr was not produced in the U.S. M4A3E2 manufacture required M4A3. To install the 17-pdr, assuming sufficient quantities were manufactured in Britain, shipped to the US, installed in M4A3, and then shipped back to the ETOUSA required the M4A3(75)w or the M4A3(105). The later was desperately wanted by the troops to fill the doctrinal assault gun role spelled out in 1943. The former began production in February 1944, just before the decision to build the M4A3E2. So the problem, aside from the back and forth of 17-pdr, was that the 17-pdr would fit in the turret of the M4A3(75)w and possibly the M4A3(105), but not in the M4A3(76)w. Except that the E2 used a modified version of the M4A3(76)w turret...it is unclear to me if an uparmored casting of the M4A3(75)w was practical?

 

See the complications?


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