An American Classic
|Class||Advanced Medium Tank|
|“|| If needed, sir, we could replace our old Lee tanks with those new Shermans.|
- Kowalski, Utah Beach
The M4 Sherman is an American advanced medium tank in R.U.S.E. Development of the M4 began in 1940, but production was delayed until 1941 due to issues installing the 75mm cannon into a rotating turret. Replacing the rushed M3 Lee, the Sherman was at first impervious to nearly all Axis AT guns, while being capable of knocking out Axis armor such as the Panzer IV at distances of well over 2km. However by late 1943 new German advances in AT guns and armor had minimized the Sherman's advantages in armor and rendered the 75mm cannon virtually useless against the uparmored Panzer IV and the new Tiger and Panther tanks. Advances in German armor and AT capabilities had not been unforeseen by U.S. planners who had developed the 76mm in 1942. However issues with poor firing visibility and an unbalanced turret saw delivery of the 76mm delayed until the Autumn of 1943.
The 76mm, in contrast to the 75mm, had been more than capable of penetrating the frontal glacis of the Tiger and Panther at ranges exceeding 1.5km in testing, but saw lackluster performance during the Normandy campaign in which ranges had been revised to 600m and 800m. The cause for this reduction of performance laid with the M63 shell whose early production saw a poor brindle hardness rating used as a ballistics cap. Quality controls rectified production defects by 1943, but large quantities had continued to remain in use for the duration of the war.
Designed as a replacement for the M3 Lee medium tank, the plans for the M4 were submitted to the US and Canadian Army Ordnance Department on August 31, 1940. Approved the following April, the goal of the project was to create a dependable, fast tank with the ability to defeat any vehicle currently in use by Axis forces. In addition, the new tank was not to exceed certain width and weight parameters to ensure a high level of tactical flexibility and permit its use over a wide array of bridges, roads, and transportation systems.
During its 50,000-unit production run, the US Army built seven principle variations of the M4 Sherman. These were the M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A4, M4A5, and M4A6, (M4A3E8 Sherman Canadian) These variations did not represent a linear improvement of the vehicle, but rather references to changes in engine type, production location, or fuel type. As the tank was produced, a variety of improvements were introduced such as a heavier, high velocity 76mm gun, "wet" ammunition storage, a more powerful engine, and thicker armor.
In addition, numerous variations of the basic medium tank were built. These included a number of Shermans mounted with a 105mm howitzer instead of the usual 75mm gun, as well as the M4A3E2 Jumbo Sherman. Featuring a heavier turret and armor, the Jumbo Sherman was designed for assaulting fortifications and aiding in breaking out of Normandy. Other popular variations included Shermans equipped with Duplex Drive for amphibious operations and those armed with the R3 flame thrower. Tanks possessing this weapon were frequently used for clearing enemy bunkers and earned the nickname "Zippos" after the famous lighter.
Entering combat in October 1942, the first Shermans saw action with the British Army at the Second Battle of El Alamein. The first US Shermans saw combat the following month in North Africa. As the North Africa campaign progressed, M4s and M4A1s replaced the older M3 Lee in most American armor formations. These two variants were the principle versions in use until the introduction of the popular 500 hp M4A3 in late 1944. When the Sherman first entered service, it was superior to the German tanks it faced in North Africa and remained at least on par with the medium Panzer IV series throughout the war.
With the landings in Normandy in June 1944, it was found that the Sherman's 75mm gun was incapable of penetrating the front armor of the heavier German Panther and Tiger tanks. This led to the rapid introduction of the high velocity 76mm gun. Even with this upgrade, it was found that the Sherman was only capable of defeating the Panther and Tiger at close range or from the flank. Utilizing superior tactics and working in conjunction with tank destroyers, American armor units were able overcome this handicap and achieved favorable results on the battlefield.
Some Sherman crews placed extra armor on their tank to protect it. One crew went so far as to place 90mm of armor on their Sherman, greater than a Tiger's.
Due the nature of the war in the Pacific, very few tank battles were fought with the Japanese. As the Japanese seldom used any armor heavier than light tanks, even early Shermans with 75mm guns were able to dominate the battlefield.
Following World War II, many Shermans remained in US service and saw action during the Korean War. Replaced by the Patton tank series in the 1950s, the Sherman was heavily exported and continued to operate with many of the world's militaries into the 1970s.
This is a good unit when trying to Spam or overrun the enemy as it is cheap and can be produced at a good speed. It is smarter to make some infantry units to defend the towns or tree lines near the Armor Base while they are being built then to store them behind your line while they are being built to have a force together instead of sending 1 at a time. It is also a good idea to when ever fighting near trees or town to have infantry support them at close range or to send small groups of around 2 or 3 of infantry to be with 1 tank. Or to have a group of 5 tanks to be supported by 10 Infantry. As in real life it will be needed for the infantry to make it to a town or location much easier if fighting the enemy on their way there. It would also be smart to add a flamethrower unit or bomber plane to strike a forest in the path of the tanks to open it as tanks cannot cross tree lines. But this also works both ways as the enemy would also be able to get through the woods. Holding a key location such as a bridge over a river is also smart when using these tanks due to that they can sit on the bridge or on the coast.
Medium cal. HE shell
Medium cal. AP shell
.30 cal. Machine-gun
- This version is either a M4A2, or M4A3, without extra armor, or the longer gun length on later versions.
- Wikipedia: M4 Sherman
- Lee - Precursor tank
- Firefly - British tank destroyer variant
- Calliope - Rocket-launcher variant
- Crocodile - Flamethrower variant
- Wolverine - tank destroyer based on chassis