and M4A3(105) Shermans
of the information on this page is courtesy of Joe DeMarco. Note: some of the
this page was compiled using a
technique informally referred to as "counting heads."
It is based on the ongoing study of period documents and
photographs, as well as surviving Shermans. Due to the
limited nature of available reference
sources, some of the information presented here must be
considered as "educated guesswork."
The original design of the Sherman included a
provision for mounting alternate main guns, including the 105mm Howitzer. In
late 1942, work was started on the development a 105mm gun mount that could be
adapted to the Sherman's standard 75mm, D50878 turret. By the time production
began in February 1944, the 105mm gun mount had been standardized as the M52,
and was installed in the D78461 high bustle turret with loader's hatch and
pistol port. While 75mm D78461 turrets continued to feature a single, forward
mounted ventilator, 105mm turrets had an additional ventilator added to the rear
of the turret roof (circled in red).
Corporation was the
sole manufacturer of 105mm armed Shermans. It
produced 800 M4(105) Shermans with VVSS, and 841 M4(105) Shermans with
HVSS. The production started in February 1944
: 700 M4(105) with VVSS manufactured:
Serial Number 56921 / USA 30103603 through S/N 57620 /
: 100 M4(105) with VVSS and 315 with HVSS manufactured: Serial Number 58208 / USA
30111769 through S/N 58622 /
: 126 M4(105) with HVSS manufactured: Serial Number 64132 / USA
30120071 through S/N 64257 /
: 400 M4(105) with HVSS manufactured: Serial Number 73436 / USA
30139426 through S/N 73835 /
Chrysler also built 500 M4A3(105)
Shermans with VVSS, and 2539 M4A3(105) Shermans with
HVSS. The production started in May 1944
ended in June 1945.
: 300 M4A3(105) with VVSS manufactured:
Serial Number 56621 / USA 30103303 through S/N 56920 /
: 200 M4A3(105) with VVSS and 385 with HVSS manufactured:
Serial Number 57623 / USA 30111184 through S/N 58207 /
: 132 M4A3(105) with HVSS manufactured:
Serial Number 64000 / USA 30120197 through S/N 64131 /
: 456 M4A3(105) with HVSS manufactured:
Serial Number 65258 / USA 30124580 through S/N 65713 /
: 544 M4A3(105) with HVSS manufactured:
Serial Number 72892 / USA 30136724 through S/N 73435 /
: 1022 M4A3(105) with HVSS manufactured:
Serial Number 74046 / USA 30140436 through S/N 75067 /
Hulls used for 105mm Shermans were of the
"ultimate" design, i.e. welded, 47 degree, large hatch hulls.
The 105mm Shermans were powered
by either the Continental Radial (M4(105)) or Ford GAA V8 engine (M4A3(105)).
The above left photo shows the engine deck configuration of the M4(105), as
compared to the M4A3(105) shown on the right side.
105s did NOT include wet stowage for the
68 rounds of ammunition. Also, unlike wet stowage Shermans, not all of the
rounds were repositioned to the floor of the tank. Twenty one rounds were stored
in a pair of racks on the right sponson (the one pictured above got 9 rounds and the one
behind got 12). However, no provision was made for
external appliqué plates to further protect the sponson stowed ammo as on other
dry stowage Shermans.
the photo for larger size
The designers decided not to equip 105mm
Shermans with gyrostabilizers. This omission was of little consequence, as the
gyro was overly complicated and seldom used by the tankers. However, the Sherman
had an excellent power traverse, and the decision to omit it on the 105s was the
subject of many complaints from the using arms. "It was anticipated that the
105mm howitzer tank would be equipped with a turret power traverse mechanism and
would be employed as a "fighter" tank, similar to gun tanks. However, the
employment of the 105mm howitzer tank has been largely restricted to the support
of gun tanks, and losses have been relatively low."
It was agreed that power traverse would be
included in future production, but by the time it became available in
Spring 1945, there was a 71% reserve of howitzer Shermans in the ETO
(1082 on hand vs. a T/E requirement for 633). Consequently, further shipments,
even with power traverse, were "not required."
M4(105) production commenced in February 1944,
while the first M4A3(105)s were accepted in May. Above one
can see some of the first M4(105)s to arrive in Normandy, July 1944. Note
how the early units were "still" equipped with the "split" commander's hatch.
All around vision cupolas began to enter the production pipeline on 105 Shermans
around June, 1944. In the photo, the crew of USA 30103696 (April 1944
production) have opened the armored air intake cover on the engine
deck, affording a rare view of the "pyramid turning vanes" of the
Barber-Colman air flow system, introduced on M4s and M4A1s in January
Small changes were incorporated by
Chrysler as production continued. The earliest units of both M4 and
M4A3(105) had what the authors think of as the "early" glacis
pattern. This pattern featured inboard hull lifting rings and "long" bullet
splashes in front of the drivers' auxiliary periscopes (circled in
The "mid" glacis pattern,
introduced around June 1944, simply shortened the bullet splashes.
The "late" glacis pattern
came out around November, and continued with the short bullet splashes, but
repositioned the hull lifting rings "outboard" to the edge of the
glacis. The addition of rear view mirrors appears to have been nearly
concurrent with this pattern.
105mm Shermans were equipped with the same gun
travel lock as used on 76mm units. This was "taller" than the one used on 75mm
tanks. Many surviving Shermans have been upgraded with a single piece
locking arm, but the less stable WW II configuration consisted of two
Based on user
feedback, a sheet metal cover to protect the ventilator between the
drivers' hatches was introduced in August, 1944. The authors have not found any
evidence of modification kits for the covers during WW II, but have noted
that many surviving Shermans that obviously didn't have this item factory
installed, had it added later during postwar upgrades. The U bolt that can
be see on the uncovered example above held the padlocks for the drivers'
Many of the earliest M4(105)s and a small number of the first M4A3(105)s were made with two
small weep holes in the rear of the turret splash. It was found that the small
holes could become clogged with debris, causing water to back up and foul the
gasoline supply of the auxiliary generator. It was thought that a single, large
hole would alleviate the problem. At the same time, the welding that was made to
fill the gap between the turret splash and the fuel cap bullet splash was also
eliminated. This transition appears to have been made in July 1944. Note that
while early Fisher built "ultimate" Shermans had the small weep holes, to date,
no examples of "filled in gaps" have been found on any Fishers.
Another early production clue has to do with the location of the
forward cable clamp (circled, above left). Starting around July 1944, Chrysler
installed the clamp more towards the front of the tank (above right). We think
of this as the “standard” position, since it is seen on the vast majority of
large hatch, welded hull Shermans. Note that on all of its large hatch Shermans,
except for a few of the first M4A2(75)s, Fisher appears to have mounted the
cable clamp in the "standard" position from the start.
All but the first few M4(105)s were
equipped with a fitting on the left rear sponson. The Tech Manual describes it
as for holding "Rammer, cleaning and unloading, M5." For some reason, this was
not installed on M4A3(105)s until much later in production, approximately
coinciding with the introduction of HVSS.
In September 1944,
Chrysler-made M4(105) Shermans started to be equipped
with the new Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS) (photo courtesy of Gary Binder : https://picasaweb.google.com/gebinder01)
The M52 gun mount included provision for a canvas dust cover. The dust
covers became available and were factory installed much sooner than was the
case with the 76mm gun tanks. They show up on 105mm Shermans overseas in the
Fall of 1944. One can see the 1944 (left) and 1945 versions of the dust
cover fittings in the photos above. The "look" went from a bent rod with "buttons" (like on the bow MG dust
cover fitting), to a series of pads with little clips screwed into
them. Also, a shutter to protect the
telescopic sight can be seen on the 1945 production rotor shield (circled in
the photo for larger size
high bustle D78461 turrets have a bulge to better accomodate the
vision cupola. This modification seems to have
turrets cast from November 1944 onward. This period photo taken at Ft Ord, CA in 1951 clearly shows this modification on a 105mm HVSS.
The authors have noticed that all of the surviving Chrysler built, large
hatch Shermans examined have a half round piece welded in to fill in the
differential housing bolt strip overcut. We consider this a Chrysler recognition
feature, since all examples of Fishers seen used a series of weld beads
mostly horizontal, but some vertical, to fill in the overcut.
With the exception of the first few M4A4s, just
about every VVSS Sherman built by Chrysler used a distinctive type of drive sprocket, as seen above.
As suggested above, 105mm Shermans were overproduced, so that many
survived in the US postwar inventory. A good number of surplus M4A3(105)HVSS's
were converted to M74 retrievers (above left, courtesy of Massimo Foti), and some of the M4A3(105)VVSS units
were re-turreted with 75mm turrets that were rearmed with 76mm guns. These were
sent to various MDAP recipients with the nomenclature
"M4A3E4" (above right, courtesy of Claus Bonnesen).
Shermans have the Tank's Ordnance Serial Number stamped into the rear
Chrysler built Shermans have been seen to have the Serial Number
stamped in the driver's compartment, 6 inches (15 centimeters) left
from the dataplate.
Chrysler built Shermans have also been seen to have a loose
build sequence number stamped on the edge of the glacis plate (circled
The authors would gladly receive
such production data information from any readers who encounter a
surviving Chrysler built Sherman.