M4A3E8 Sherman

The M4A3E8 was the last modification of the US Sherman tank series during WWII.  This variant also known as M4A3(76)W HVSS featured a welded hull armed with a 76mm gun and had wet ammo storage (“W”) where the ammo racks were surrounded by separate small containers of a mixture of water, ethylene glycol, and a rust inhibitor, known as “Ammudamp” which prevented the ammo from igniting when the tank was hit.  The improved Horizontal volute spring suspension (HVSS) and the cast steel, center guide, single pin, double arc, 23 inch wide T-66 tracks reduced the ground pressure and provided better mobility in snow and over soft terrain.  Starting in March 1944, Chrysler produced 2,617 M4A3E8s by the end of WWII.  After units received the new tanks, the greatly improved ride over the earlier models earned the nickname “Easy Eight”.

 
Tamiya 1/35 35346 U.S. M4A3E8 Sherman Easy Eight (European Theater) – 2015
Tamiya 1/48 32595 U.S. Tank M4A3E8 Sherman `Easy Eight` – 2018

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Kit Marking Option 1

US 4th Armored Division, Bastogne, Belgium, January 1945

On 19-20 December 1944, 4th Armored Division began moving north towards Belgium.  On 23 December, the 37th Tank Battalion knocked out a German operated Sherman tank and two 75mm SPs near Begonville.   On 26 December, the 4th Armored reached the besieged US 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne and took up positions around the perimeter defenses.   German units counter attacked around Bastogne and the last attack began on 4 January 1945 which stalled very quickly. Further small actions continued until 8 January and the German hold on Bastogne was finally broken.  The 4th Armored Division received new M4A3E8s to replace the tanks lost during the drive to relieve Bastogne.

 

This new M4A3E8 tank is covering highway H-4 outside Bastogne, Belgium on 8 January 1945.  The tank is parked at the edge of a field along the highway in a hull down position.

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This new M4A3E8 still has fenders fitted on the left side.  The crew probably is sleeping inside the tank and fresh snow had fallen overnight.

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This new M4A3E8 named “Block Buster 3rd” belonged to Captain James Leach the commander of B company, 37th Tank Battalion, US 4th Armored Division in Bastogne. Note that the tank was completely whitewashed leaving only the name intact.

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Kit Marking Option 2

US 5th Armored Division, Germany, April 1945

 
This US 5th Armored Division M4A3E8 crew rests near the bridge at Tangermunde, Germany.   The division advanced 50 miles (80.47 km) on 12 April 1945 from Magdeburg but was held up at the Elbe River on the outskirts of the town when the Germans blew up the bridge leaving them only 45 miles (72.42 km) from Berlin.   On 16 April, the 5th Armored moved to Klotze where it wiped out the Von Clausewitz Panzer Division and again drove to the Elbe to the vicinity of Dannenberg.   The division then mopped up in the US 9th Army sector until VE-day.

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Film:  US Army Combat Action and Advance in Tangermünde, Germany (April 12, 1945)

 


Additional Armor Protection

Besides the panzers, during the last months of the war about 70% of Allied tanks knocked out were hit by Panzerfausts, Panzerschrecks or other infantry AT weapons at close ranges during urban fighting.   Due to dissatisfaction over the poor armor protection of the M4 series tanks, many US units added improvised armor to their tanks and the most common method was the use of sandbags.

 

The crew of this new M4A3E8 of the 48th Tank Battalion, US 14th Armored Division is preparing their tank before advancing to the front line in Belgium.  The divisional workshop already added the shelves and frames for holding the sandbags around the hull of the tank.

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After Market PE:   Eduard 28061 1/48 M4A3E8 Sherman sandbag hull protection

 

This is one of the first 14th Armored tanks with added sandbag armor in February 1945.  Bands of whitewash and black camouflage was painted over the OD finish and the sandbags.

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General George S. Patton disapproved of the use of sandbag armor believing it was not effective and that the extra weight affected the tank’s automotive performance which led to premature breakdowns.   An angry looking Patton just reprimanded the crew of this sandbag covered 14th Armored Division M4A3E8.

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Film:   General Patton and other commanders read maps

Seen on the gun barrel in the film, the M4A3E8 was tank number 10 of B Company, 47th Armored Battalion, US 14th Armored Division.

 
This new M4A3E8 of the US 12th Armored Division crosses a railroad track near
Untertaimbach on the main highway to Neustadt am der Aisch on 20 April 1945.
Note the section of corduroy matting on the hull side which in this case had a dual
purpose. While hanging on the tank it provides additional protection and the logs
can be used for unditching or filling in obstacles.

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Film:  What to do if your Sherman tank gets stuck in the mud & other “Field Expedients” 1944

 

In February-March 1945, the US 12th Armored Division added concrete slabs (contained internal steel reinforcement bars or rebar) on the hull front and sides of some of its tanks.   The tunnel on the front is for the hull MG.

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This close up shows the thickness of the concrete slabs.   Maybe the ordnance workmen scratched their initials into the drying concrete.

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Ordnance officers of the US 3rd Army discouraged the use of sandbag armor but to due heavy losses they began to upgrade their tanks in February 1945 with applique armor plates cannibalized from knocked out US and German tanks.   This M4A3E8 belonged to the US 11th Armored Division.

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This is the side view of the same M4A3E8 above.   Note the painted out star on the hull side and the M1 Carbine rifle hanging off the end of the 76mm cannon.

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This is another M4A3E8 with applique armor plates.   Note the armor plate on the hull side and the oval loaders hatch.  A M5A1 Stuart light tank is in the ditch behind it.

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This is a rare M4A3E8 (105mm) assault gun of the US 786th Tank Battalion moving through Alterhundem on 10 April 1945 while supporting the US 99th Infantry Division in the Ruhr pocket.   Assault gun tanks usually towed a M10 ammunition trailer.

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After market:   Tank Workshop TWS48031 1/48 WW II U.S. M4 Sherman 105mm Howitzer Turret

 


1/48 Markings for “Flat-Foot Floogie” and “Thunderbolt VII”

After Market:

Peddinghaus 3213 1/48 Sherman Tank Markings in Pacific and Europe WWII (7 tanks)

(Peddinghaus decals are usually printed on a solid sheet of very thin transfer film.   It is recommended to cover the sheet with Microscale Liquid Decal Film first and let dry. Then carefully cut out each decal close to marking and then apply it.  First test it with an unwanted decal on the sheet.)

 

 

This M4A3E8 was the first tank crew of the US 3rd Army to reach the Rhine river on 21 March 1945.   Unit:  1st Platoon, F Company, 41st Tank Battalion, US 11th Armored Division “The Thunderbolt division”.   The name “Flat-Foot Floogie” was a 1938 jazz song of that name and note the additional armor on the front hull.

Crew members were: Cpl. William Hasse, Palisades Park, New Jersey; Pvt. Marvin Aldridge, Burlington, North Carolina; T/4 John Latimi, the Bronx, New York; Cpl. Vincent Morreale, Trenton, New Jersey; and Cpl. Sidney Meyer, the Bronx, New York.

The 11th Armored had an unique method of identifying its battalions.  Small red bands were painted on the arms of the turret and hull star identified the battalion:  22nd Tank battalion (12 o’clock arm), 41st Tank battalion (7 o’clock arm), 42nd Tank battalion (9 o’clock arm).  The number of bands indicated the company.  6 bands was F company.  The position of the small circle next to the star indicated the platoon.  This photo was colorized.

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On March 21, the 11th Armored swept through the historic Rhine River city of Worms which the RAF had bombed into rubble.   The Thunderbolts were especially fond of Worms where they “liberated” a winery of several thousand gallons of fine Rhine wine.

 

M4A3E8 “Thunderbolt VII” was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams, the commander of the 37th Tank Battalion, US 4th Armored Division (later became General and US Army Chief of Staff).   Note the spare tire on the front of the jeep on the left edge of the photo where the tire was slid down the cable cutter bar mounted on the front bumper.

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Note both “Flat-Foot Floogie” and “Thunderbolt VII” had the T-23 turret with the split loaders hatch.

After market:   Tank Workshop TWS48032 1/48 WW II U.S. M4 Sherman Early T-23 76mm Turret  or kit bash the turret from the Hobby Boss 84801 1/48 U.S. M4A1(76)W Medium Tank.

 

On 5 April 1945, the US 6th Armored Division captured the city of Muhlhausen and this M4A3E8 with applique frontal armor is standing guard over a group of German POWs.

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On 6 April 1945, the 15th Tank Battalion, US 6th Armored Division captured the Langensalza airbase near Muhlhausen southwest of Berlin.  Some 30+ Ju88 G-6 night fighters of a Nachtjagdgeschwader are parked on the field and in the hangers.

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Three M4A3E8s and an early M4 of the 14th Armored Division move through the rubble of the northern area of Nuremburg on 20 April 1945 the day the garrison finally surrendered.   In a counter-attack on the 15 April, Gruppe Grafenwoehr struck
the 94th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron of the 14th Armored but reinforcements rushed from the reserve combat command (CCR) helped repelled the attack and within two days Gruppe Grafenwoehr had ceased to exist.  Gruppe Grafenwoehr consisted of about 35 panzers gathered from local factories.

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Two M4A3E8s of A company, 18th Tank Battalion, US 8th Armored Division in the Harz Mountains in April 1945.   Note the unit codes painted on the tank mantlets and the skull insignia painted on the front hull.

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KOREAN WAR

These Shermans are waiting inspection near Seoul in October 1948.   They belonged to the 77th Tank Battalion of the US 7th Infantry Division which was part of the occupation forces in Korea since the end of WWII.   When the unit redeployed to Japan these tanks were deactivated and sent to storage depots in the Pacific area and they were replaced with M24 Chaffee light tanks which would not damage the roads and bridges in Japan.

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On 25 June 1950, North Korean Army invaded South Korea crossing the DMZ at the 38th Parallel with a powerful armor force equipped with T-34s and SU-76s.  US troops were sent to South Korea with ill-prepared M24 Chaffee tanks to repel the advancing North Koreans but to no avail.  UN forces were pushed to the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula around the port of Pusan.  The UN troops, consisting mostly of forces from the Republic of Korea (ROK),  United States and United Kingdom mounted a last stand around the Pusan Perimeter fought off repeated North Korean attacks for six weeks around the cities of Taegu, Masan, and P’ohang, and along the Naktong River. The US Army Medium Tank Battalions in southeast Asia and the Pacific were under strength and unprepared since the end of WWII.  Sherman tanks collected from depots and scrap yards around the Pacific (including gate guards) were repaired and reconditioned then rushed to the tank battalions in Korea. At that time, most the full strength US tank units were part of the NATO forces in Europe facing the Soviet iron curtain which was tense since the Berlin Airlift in 1948.   In Korea, the M4A3E8 Sherman destroyed 41 T-34 tanks from August–November 1950.   It became the preferred US tank in Korea, due to its mechanical reliability, ease of maintenance,
and its drive-ability compared to the M26 Pershing and M46 Patton tanks.

On 15 September 1950, UN forces executed Operation Chromite which launched a surprise risky amphibious assault on the Port of Inchon west of Seoul and far from the Pusan Perimeter where the UN forces were barely holding on.  The port was secured after four days and two weeks later Seoul was recaptured.  The North Korean  supply lines in South Korea was partially severed which weaken the North Korean hold around the Pusan Perimeter.   This allowed the UN forces to break out of the Pusan Perimeter and force the North Koreans back to the 38th Parallel and then advanced into North Korea.

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M4A3E8 serial No. 61080, registration number 30114102 built in December 1944 almost landed during the invasion of Inchon Korea.   The tank slipped off the LST ramp and ended hung on the sea wall in Inchon harbor, 26 September 1950.  Note the cables attached to the front towing lugs preventing it from slipping further into the harbor.

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This Sherman carries an interesting name and character.

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This M4A3E8 carrying infantry passed a burning T-34 on a road.

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This M4A3E8 of the the US 89th Medium Tank Battalion is advancing through Seoul.
It appears to have a license plate between the tank’s left headlight and the fender.

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Troops of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, US 1st Cavalry Division with a supporting M4A3E8 advancing along the east coast of North Korea in October 1950.

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Film:  Korean War – 1950 Entering Pyongyang 221778-04 | Footage Farm

 

After the capture of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, the British 27th Infantry Brigade hurried north along the west coast of Korea toward the Yalu River.  The Brigade consisted of the 3rd battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3rd RAR), a battalion from the Argyle and Sutherland Regiment and a battalion from the Middlesex Regiment.   Attached to the brigade were US artillery units, engineers, and the US 89th Medium Tank Battalion and this task force was under the operational control of the US 1st Cavalry Division.

 

Early on the morning of 22 October l950, the task force was advancing north of Pyongyang.   The infantry either rode on the tanks or in trucks near the end of the column that stretched for two and a half to three miles and a platoon of tanks led the column.

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Nothing happened until around noon of the second day, when the task force engaged a large disorganized North Korean unit at the town of Sukchon.   The third day the column crossed the Chongchon River at Sinanju and Anju, but at Pakchon, to the north, the bridge across the Taenyong River was destroyed and there was a two-day delay before the column headed west toward Chongju.  The North Koreans offered some resistance to the river crossing at Pakchon and there was a sudden increase of enemy activity which stalled the advance north.  The advance began again at 0800 hours on 28 October and the lead companies probed all likely enemy positions instead of leaving them to the follow up units resulting in the column only moved fifteen miles (24 km) during that day.

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On 29 October 1950, the 3rd RAR supported by three platoons of Shermans from D Company, US 89th Tank Battalion attacked Chongju.   The North Korean 17th Tank Brigade equipped with T-34s and SU-76s were positioned on a thickly wooded ridge line near Chongju and a battle ensued.  A total of 11 T-34s and 2 SU-76s were destroyed in the area by air strikes, Australian infantry and the US tanks.

Click here to read about the   Tank Action at Chongju

 

During the Korean War, the city of Seoul changed hands four times.

  1.     28 June 1950 – the North Korean army invaded Seoul.
  2.     25 September 1950 – USMC liberated Seoul after the Inchon landings.
  3.     4 January 1951 – UN forces abandoned Seoul and was captured by the Chinese.
  4.     14 March 1951 – US 3rd and ROK 1st Infantry Divisions liberated Seoul.

 

The Chinese entering the war on 25 November 1950 forced the UN forces to withdraw south of the 38th Parallel and captured Seoul.   This M4A3E8 was the last tank of the US 89th Tank Battalion to cross the last pontoon bridge on the Han River south of Seoul, 4 January 1951.   Note the .30  cal MG on a tripod mounted on the turret in front of the tank commander.   Moments after this tank crossed the bridge, US engineers blew up the bridge to prevent its use by the Chinese.

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A M4A3E8 of the 32nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), US 7th Infantry Division disabled by a mine on a road, 28 February 1951.  This tank has the later T-80 tracks and the engineers in the foreground are probing with bayonets for other mines in the area.  The name “June” was probably a sweetheart or wife of one of the crew and maybe the hearts was a Valentine Day marking.

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This M4A3E8 of the 7th Reconnaissance Company, US 7th Infantry Division fires on Chinese positions on 24 May 1951.   It was part of Task Force Hazel, US IX Corps which counterattacked through heavily defended Chinese territory to Chuncheon before pushing north to secure an important road network west of the Hwach’on Reservoir. The 76mm gun blast had kicked up a lot of dust from the tank and the ground.

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This Sherman was the oldest tank in the US 72nd Tank Battalion which supported the US 2nd Infantry Division.   Note the split loaders hatch.  It is painted in summer camouflage of Earth Brown over Olive Drab (probably the summer of 1951) and painted on the turret are small flags of the UN countries which the battalion had supported to that date.  The tank is positioned on an incline to increase the  gun elevation to provide indirect fire against the Chinese and it is able to quickly withdraw or change its firing position.

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This M4A3E8 probably belonged to the US 72nd Tank Battalion is carrying soldiers of the Turkish Brigade.

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More After Market Items

Link:    Gaso.line GAS48132K 1/48 Accessories Sherman M4A3E8 FURY conversion

Link:    RB Model 1/48 48B25 76,2mm L/55 Sherman M4A3E8

Link:    Hauler CZ HLX48163 1/48 PE M4A3E8 SHERMAN

 

 

Thats_all_Folks

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