By Steven Zaloga
Some tank crews pointed out the yankee M4 Sherman tank as a "death trap." Others, like Gen. George Patton, believed that the Sherman helped win global warfare II. So which was once it: loss of life seize or struggle winner? Armor professional Steven Zaloga solutions that query by means of recounting the Sherman's wrestle historical past. targeting Northwest Europe (but additionally together with a bankruptcy at the Pacific), Zaloga follows the Sherman into motion on D-Day, one of the Normandy hedgerows, in the course of Patton?s race throughout France, within the nice tank conflict at Arracourt in September 1944, on the conflict of the Bulge, around the Rhine, and within the Ruhr pocket in 1945.
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Extra info for Armored Thunderbolt: The U.S. Army Sherman in World War II
In the autumn of 1942, a dynamic new leader, Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery, arrived, along with the first shipments of the new American M4A1 Sherman tank. The Sherman had all of the advantages of the Grant, including its 75mm gun and its automotive dependability, but none of its vices, such as the awkward gun configuration or excessive silhouette. When the second battle of El Alamein started on October 23, 1943, the British armored forces included 270 Shermans and 210 Grants. The Grant remained in service as a battle tank through the end of the Tunisian campaign in May 1943, but in dwindling numbers.
Although infantry support was the traditional role assigned to tanks, visionary thinkers in the 1920s and 1930s had begun to consider the use of the tank as a mechanized equivalent of the cavalry with an independent role on the battlefield. Instead of being tied to the infantry, large tank units could use their mobility to punch through enemy lines and charge deep into enemy territory, encircling and annihilating enemy defenses. The culmination of these debates was evident in the Wehrmacht's new panzer divisions.
William Knudsen, the chief of war production, turned to the "big three" automobile firms, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, and asked them to design a 500-horsepower tank engine from available resources as fast as possible. No obvious commercial sources existed since tank engines had to be significantly more powerful than truck engines and at the same time much smaller than ship and locomotive engines. As a result, the auto plants came up with some ingenious solutions. The M3A3 and M3A5 medium tanks used a pair of two General Motors diesel bus engines mated by a common drivetrain.