M4A1(75)s produced by Lima Locomotive Works, Inc.
Most of the information on this page is courtesy of Joe DeMarco. Note: some of the information on 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."

Many thanks to Mike Haines, Peter Brown, and Steve Zaloga for their assistance!

First of all, you have to identify the tank as being an M4A1(75) with small hatches. Please visit this page to do so.

The Lima Locomotive Works produced 1655 M4A1(75) Shermans from February 1942 to September 1943.

Production Order T-4154, Block 1: 28 units: T-25189 through T-25216 (interpolation that no US Serial and Registration Numbers were assigned)
Production Order T-4154, Block 2: 100 units: Serial Number 25705 / USA 3058972 through S/N 25804 / USA 3059071
Production Order T-4154, Block 3: 272 units: Serial Number 25805 / USA 3067630 through S/N 26076 / USA 3067901
Production Order T-3208: 655 units: Serial Number 6805 / USA 3058317 through S/N 7459 / USA 3058971

Production Order T-3606: 600 units: Serial Number 29605 / USA 3038135 through S/N 30204 / USA 3038734



Introduction


M4A1 Lima

Despite US neutrality before December 7, 1941, the British Government, which had been at war since September 1939, was permitted to contract with US firms for war materiel produced on a strictly "Cash and Carry" basis. One of the last contracts let before British dollar and gold reserves were depleted came in February, 1941. The Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio was engaged to produce 400 Grant Medium Tanks. The contract included funds for the construction of a 125,000 square foot assembly hall, along with the purchase of machine tools and other equipment necessary for the production of 50 tanks per month. The plant was not scheduled to come on line until late 1941. In the meantime, the Lend Lease Act was signed into law on March 11, 1941. The survival of Great Britain was considered a matter of vital national defense to the United States, and Lend Lease was a contrivance which permitted supplies to continue to flow to the beleaguered country despite its inability to pay for them. The Ordnance Department took over all of the existing British contracts in the US, so that the materiel could be provided and shipped "free" as Lend Lease. In partial exchange, British purchased plant and equipment was transferred to the US as Reverse Lend Lease. In the midst of this was Lima Locomotive, under contract with the British, but not yet producing tanks. Because the new facility, shown above under construction in April 1941, would not be ready to come on line until the end of the year, it was decided to terminate the Grant Contract, and tool up the plant for production of the newly designed cast hull M4A1 Sherman instead.


M4A1 Lima

Lima Locomotive has the distinction of having made the first production Sherman. It was accepted on the last day of February, 1942, and immediately shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The March 11 photos above show that WD Number T-25189 was painted on the sides. The British had assigned War Department Numbers T-25189 through T-25588 to the 400 Grants they had ordered, and these numbers were still used on some of the earliest LLW M4A1s. We believe the first 28 units were assigned T-Numbers, but, at present, only T-25189 through T-25194 can be documented. The letters and numbers cast on the left side of the tank in the rear (inset) show that the hull was produced by the Continental Roll & Steel Company (later renamed Continental Foundry & Machine). As with most M4A1 small hatch upper hull castings, the part number can be seen as E4153. This particular casting was serial number 3. Lima documents state that this hull was received in November, 1941, and was made to the specifications for E4153, revision 7. It incorporated many changes from the T6 (Sherman pilot), but retained the side doors. Lima officials noted that future hulls would be made to revision 11 or later, without the doors. Consequently, they requested authority to blank off the doors on hull #3 using "specially fabricated castings" as seen in the photos.


M4A1 Lima

The T6 Pilot along with Lima's first Sherman do not appear to have been preserved by the US Army. The British, with perhaps a greater sense of history, saved the second production Sherman for posterity. It is now on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington. It was named in honor of Michael Dewar, chief of the British Tank Mission in the US. "Michael" plates were affixed to both sides for photo opportunities in both the US and UK. The tank is shown above on the Lima factory floor at the outset of production. It was rather crudely sealed for overseas shipment. The "5190" that can be seen painted on the side is the British War Department Number T-25190. It was intended to equip the new Shermans with the longer M3 75mm guns, but they were not yet available, so that Michael was originally outfitted with the earlier M2 gun counterweighted for balance.


M4A1 Lima

Michael was shipped to the UK, and arrived in April, 1942. The photo on the left above is captioned "The first Sherman tank delivered to Britain, on display at Horse Guards Parade in London, 8 May 1942." The sixth Lima M4A1, T-25194, was also sent to England, and is shown on the right. Both tanks remained in the UK and performed service as test vehicles during the war years. The "MSU inside a triangle" seen in the inset is shipping code for Lend Lease AFVs destined for Great Britain. Some early production Lima M4A1s, such as T-25194, have been noted to have an extra cable clamp in the center (1). This is one of those oddities of Sherman minutia that appears in a few period photos, and then disappears. We know of two surviving Lima built examples that have the additional cable clamp, and have not seen it on any of the other builders' Shermans. Hunnicutt Collection, Patton Museum.


M4A1 Lima

"Michael" does not have the E4153 casting information on the left rear side of the hull as on T-25189. It is cast in on the hull's underside in the area of the right pepperpot exhaust as shown above on the left. This casting is serial number 6. All of the few other Continental hull castings we have examined have the E4153 info cast in on the firewall facing the fighting compartment, as shown on hull serial number 20 on the right. Until late 1942, Continental cast all of the E4153 hulls. The cost to produce and machine an upper hull was listed as $4500. An Ordnance Department Memo mentions that some of the early castings had "drooped" slightly in the rear. Anxious to get the Sherman into production, rather than reject these massive castings, it was decided to grind down the turret splash to enable the turret to rotate, and cut the underside sponson plates so that they would fit. Over time US companies improved their techniques, and produced high quality cast and plate armor.


M4A1 Lima

The first range of British War Department Numbers set aside specifically for the new Sherman models was for 400 units - T-74194 through T-74593. By June 1942, "Michael" had been assigned the second number within this range - T-74195. Above, shows that the tank was retrofitted with the new M3 75mm gun. However, a "Preliminary Report" noted that "lack of information," and defects in the gun mount and turret had delayed firing trials. The Americans and British were anxious to examine the new design, and rushed to get some tanks finished before all the bugs had been ironed out. Indeed, many of the Shermans produced in April 1942 and earlier were shipped back to the factories to incorporate improvements and fixes that had been made in the interim. The photo above was doctored in anticipation of the elimination of the rotor sight (1). The twin fixed machine guns were removed as well (2). There is no mention in the Lima records of the use of anything but armor hulls. However, "Michael" is listed in the Lulworth Camp Report as "Mild Steel," and a triangular warning plate with "UNARMOURED" (inset) was (and still is) affixed to the right side of the hull. Perhaps a Brinell Hardness test could determine the composition of the metal, but we suspect that the tank was labeled "Mild Steel" simply because it was not "combat ready." In any case, the Report concludes, "This tank, in spite of its defects, shows promise of being a much better fighting machine than the M3 [Medium]. The general layout is good, and the arrangement of the mounting is excellent." Significantly, it was around this time that the British first made the suggestion to US Ordnance that most of the main gun rounds be relocated from "up high" on the sponsons to the floor of the hull.


M4A1 Lima

The process had begun much earlier, but in April, 1942 the Ordnance Department formally took over the British Tank Contract at LLW. Lima's M4A1s were now to be procured on a retroactive basis under US Production Order T-4154 for 400 units. While the first few M4A1s can be seen with British T-Numbers, US Ordnance Serial and Registration Numbers were assigned after the fact. One might expect that the Serial Numbers assigned to the first Shermans would be very low, but because they were initially ordered on a British contract, no US Serial Numbers had been set aside. Based on historic documents and period photos that list or show Serial and/or USA Registration Numbers, we have "interpolated" that these M4A1s were assigned the numbers shown at the top of the page. One interesting Serial Number source comes from a "Thank You" letter, shown above, written to the employees of Lima by Sgt. L. Callet of B Squadron, 5th Royal Tank Regiment. He mentions that "25734 (Serial No.)...was "in it" and gave much more than it took right from Alamein to Tripoli." By our reckoning, Serial Number 25734 would have been Lima's 58th M4A1, and would have been accepted in July, 1942. A footnote to PO T-4154 states " 1 tank purchased by the British." No doubt, this was "Michael," the only Sherman the British Government actually paid for. The US ordered additional M4A1s from Lima, and provided funds to expand the facility for the production of 200 tanks per month.


M4A1 Lima

The Sherman design was still being revised as the first tanks rolled off the assembly lines. Some early M4A1(75)s, and only M4A1(75)s, can be seen to have rotor sights as on the T6 pilot turret. The exact number is unknown, but a Lima memo dated Jan 21, 1942 provides a clue when it states "First 30 tanks using Rotor Device." Counting heads suggests that 10 or so of the early Pressed Steel Car M4A1s also had rotor sight turrets. "Michael" is the only surviving Sherman known to have this feature, and the photos above provide front and rear views of the turret's rotor sight casting.


M4A1 Lima

Like the M3 Medium type "pepperpot exhaust," the rotor sight was not considered "battle worthy" and tanks so equipped were NOT to be shipped overseas to combat troops. However, at least one M4A1 with rotor sight turret "slipped through the cracks." The photo above depicts the recovery of a Sherman of the 751st Tank Battalion near Montemarano, Italy on September 29, 1943. The Sherman replaced the M3 Medium as the US Army's main battle tank, but some M3s continued to serve overseas in support roles, such as Recovery Vehicles, Prime Movers, and Canal Defense Lights. Baldwin Locomotive converted 805 Gas and Diesel Lees to T2 (M31) Tank Recovery Vehicles, such as the example seen on the right in the photo. Many of these served with the US to the end of the war in both the Mediterranean & European Theaters of Operation.


M4A1 Lima

An early D50878 turret, neatly machined, gets some finishing touches at Lima. Note the opening for the rotor sight (1). The "21" that can be seen cast on the side is the serial number, indicating it was the 21st turret casting accepted. ("Michael" has turret serial number 28.) The "serial number on the side" is typical of Union Steel turrets. During its time as a producer of the M4A1, Lima procured the majority of its turrets from this firm. Throughout much of 1942, it would appear that Union Steel, with a capacity of 300 turrets a month, split its production evenly between Lima and Pressed Steel Car. While the majority of D50878 turrets can be seen with the rear lifting rings mounted close to the lower edge, early production units had them mounted near the upper edge of the turret. About 400 Union Steel turrets appear to have had the "high" turret lifting rings (2).


M4A1 Lima

On March 5, 1942, the Military Characteristics of the M4 series were revised to eliminate the two fixed machine guns. Twelve M4A1s had been accepted through the end of March, and we suspect that is close to the total built with the fixed MGs factory installed. The number of hulls in the production pipeline that had had the fixed MG holes machined out up to that point is unknown. The holes were ordered to be plugged and filled in by welding. The paint has burned away revealing the plugged holes seen on the lead Sherman hulk in the photo above. The distinctive tail lamp guard identifies this M4A1 as Lima built. These tanks were combat casualties of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment of the 1st Armored Division. They were knocked out in mid February, 1943 during the Battle of Sidi bou Zid. For a short time, the Germans controlled the battlefield, and appear to have rendered these tanks unrecoverable by the use of demolitions. It is likely that, after the Germans had retreated, they were collected up by US Ordnance units and placed by the side of the road for salvage.


M4A1 Lima

The minutes of a conference held at LLW, 4/27/42 discuss a gap in the direct vision configuration that exposed the drivers to bullet splash. It is noted that engineers at APG had designed a solution which replaced direct vision with auxiliary retractable periscopes in a lengthened driver's hood. The Ordnance Department adopted this, and eliminated direct vision from the cast hull design on June 24, 1942. The Lima minutes may provide a clue as to the number of direct vision M4A1 hulls that were made... "However, inasmuch as there are approximately 250 hulls cast and in the process of assembly, it is absolutely essential that some modification be made to protect this point." The remedy proposed was the addition of a splash guard. We haven't found any evidence that the L shaped splash guards were ever installed on any direct vision M4A1s, but they appear to have been included almost from the start on many welded hull Shermans. Above shows the guards (asterisked) on the M4A4 pilot.


M4A1 Lima

From a series of photos taken at the outset of production in early 1942, workers prepare to install the turret on what is marked as Lima's sixth M4A1. (We believe this would have been T-25194 shown in the UK in an earlier caption.) In combat, the perforated sheet metal around the turret basket (1) was found to isolate and trap the crew, and was eliminated from the design about a year later. Another item of interest is the "sloped" instrument panel (2 and inset). This appears to have been used on M4s and M4A1s until late 1942, when it was replaced with a "tombstone" shaped panel. At the outset of production, the grouser compartments were covered with oblong plates (3).


M4A1 Lima

The weight of the Sherman overtaxed the original M3 Medium type suspension units. Chrysler designed new bogie assemblies with larger springs and trailing return roller arms. These were approved for production in January, 1942. For convenience, we refer to them as "M4 bogies," because, as quickly as they could be produced, they replaced the older M3 type bogies, and became standard on all M4 series Shermans. Counting heads suggests that Lima completed the transition to the heavier duty bogies by the end of October, 1942. The Lima factory floor photo above provides a good view of the appearance of the early M3 type suspension units. On the left, the complex bogie bracket casting can be seen with a slight hollow on the inside, and a notch at the top.


M4A1 Lima

LLW and Pacific Car & Foundry assembled all of their lower hulls by welding as directed by the Ordnance Department. Up until the Spring of 1943, the lower hulls of Pressed Steel Car Shermans were assembled with rivets. In photos, the presence or absence of rivets can provide a clue as to the maker of early M4A1s. While the bogies units were attached to the hull with bolts, the idler wheel assemblies were "still" secured by rivets on some of Lima's first Shermans. Throughout production, both Lima and PCF used a rounded transition piece to join the lower rear hull plate to the belly plate. As can be seen here on their 16th tank, some early Limas were assembled with the M3 style "pepperpot" exhaust setup. Field reports from users of the M3 Medium noted that the original exhaust system created a dangerous heat build up on the engine deck, which, in some cases, melted the leather straps holding the pioneer tools. Lima documents mention that all M4A1s not built with the standard M4/M4A1 exhaust and air cleaner configuration would be retrofitted with it before assignment to troops.


M4A1 Lima

One might assume that the number of lower hulls assembled with the pepperpot holes would have been limited to a small number of early M4A1s with direct vision. However, the LLW factory photo above is dated July 29, 1942 and, by our count, there are over 100 lower hulls with the pepperpot holes visible. This suggests that Lima M4A1s would have been built with "blanked off" lower hulls at least through the month of August, and some of them would have been on the later upper hull castings without direct vision.


M4A1 Lima

A correspondent encountered a surviving Lima M4A1 with the holes blanked off, but with a later, non direct vision upper hull. The serial number of this tank is unknown, but we have interpolated that Lima used about 250 direct vision hulls, before transitioning to the later hulls in August, 1942. Right side photos courtesy of Maurice Donckers.


M4A1 Lima

Early production M4s, M4A1s and M4A4s were produced with the grouser compartment holes blanked off. However, it was found that their fuel tanks suffered an excessive heat condition, which caused melted solder joints and other fire hazards. This was remedied by the addition of a pair grouser compartment covers with air inlet grills, which permitted greater air flow to the fuel tanks. Some early M4s and M4A1s were equipped with welded together "air scoops." These are thought to have been post production additions, fashioned at Tank Depots. They are seen in two shapes, half a triangle and quarter round. The shapes are not specific to a particular maker (Lima or Pressed Steel). A few period photos lead us to theorize that the triangular shape was fabricated and installed at the Toledo Tank Depot in Ohio, while the quarter round came from the Chester Tank Depot in Pennsylvania. The Lima built M4A1 on display in Dompaire, France is the only surviving Sherman we have encountered that is "still" equipped with the early welded air scoops. Two views are shown above. All of the air scoops were secured to the hull by means of a long bolt and clamp, as shown in the inset.


M4A1 Lima

The standard air scoop castings entered the production pipeline at Lima around September 1942. They were made in left and right hand versions. The openings were machined in such a way that the air scoops were mounted inset. This was not the case with welded hull Shermans, where the pieces were mounted on top of the armor. The other item of interest shown is the tail light guard. Lima was the only builder that used 3 pieces to form the rear guards, so that they have a very distinctive appearance. They provide a good Lima recognition feature when they can be seen in period photos. While the head light guards were installed from the outset, the rear guards appear to have been introduced in July, 1942, and were used to the end of production in September, 1943.


M4A1 Lima

The minutes of a conference at Lima, 2/24/42 discuss various shortages including transmissions and final drives..."We have received 10 of the M3 type which have been converted and applied to tanks. Twenty of the M4 type are promised during the next week." The differential housing as designed for the M3 Medium consisted of 3 castings bolted together. The left hand section was part number E1231, the middle or "carrier" piece, part number E1232, and the right hand casting with a notch in the bolt strip (inset) was part number E1230. At the outset of production, it was necessary for Lima and some of the other builders to make do by welding an extension into the notch in order for the E1230 piece to fit the Sherman. The "twenty M4 types" mentioned in the memo would have been 3-piece differential housings with the E1230 piece replaced by a new casting, part number E4151, with an un-notched bolt strip. While "Michael" was built with the E4151 piece, the photo above shows the first Lima M4A1 with the E1230 section with filled in notch. The Sherman design was still undergoing revision, and on this example, the weld seams on the glacis indicate that both the bow machine gun (1) and the bow gunner's hood (2) were separate castings that were added in to the hull. Thus, it seems likely that the upper hull was originally cast without a bow gunner's hatch, like the T6 pilot.


M4A1 Lima

Lima had a distinct diamond shaped logo that the they used to identify their locomotives. They "branded" their Shermans as well, by stamping their logo on the right front, as seen on the M4A1 in Dompaire. Stamped above or below the logo is a number, which, on most of the examples examined, works out to be an exact build sequence number, added to 1000. Thus, the "1022" shown in the inset suggests that this was the 22nd unit built by LLW, and would have been accepted in April, 1942. Surviving Shermans cannot be assumed to have all of their original components. This tank would have been built with M3 bogies and a rotor sight turret. Those items were replaced, most likely during a rebuild in late 1944. Applique armor was also retrofitted at that time.


M4A1 Lima

The M4A1 in Dompaire has a Union Steel turret with serial number 1253. That would be over 1200 too high for the 22nd Lima. The commander's vision cupola and the various machine gun stowage fittings may have been added to the turret during rebuild, or by the French in the course of postwar service. The M34 gun mount is out of place on a turret with these features, and may have been added for the display. We've already discussed the welded air scoops, but another very early production clue is the additional cable clamp (circled). It might be helpful to have a look inside this tank to see if it still has a dataplate, as we believe this is one of the Lima's that was NOT [originally] assigned a US Ordnance Serial Number.


M4A1 Lima

We would judge that the Dompaire M4A1 has retained its original 3-piece differential housing. Just below the painted on French flag, the plugged holes of the fixed machine guns are barely visible under the paint layers. The bow machine gun dust cover fitting would have been retrofitted at some point during the course of its service life. As best we have been able to determine, Lima built M4A1s never used the "standard" hull lifting ring castings which were introduced in early 1943, and equipped most Shermans to the end of production. The inset shows the fabricated lifting ring used by Lima up until the last month of production. The distinctive weld pattern, with a sort of "swirl" is consistent throughout, so that we consider these rings to be a Lima recognition feature.


M4A1 Lima

In this view, the drivers' hatch handles (1) can be seen to be in the "first" position, mounted towards the rear and on an angle. The positive hatch lock mechanisms and equilibrator springs (2) were introduced in the Spring of 1943, and could have been added as a field modification or during remanufacture. The driver's hood applique plates (3) obscure the direct vision slots. The Field Service Modification Work Order for these plates was published in late August, 1943. The modification did not apply to the M4A1 as it was thought that the cast armor in front of the drivers' hoods was better contoured, and not as vulnerable as the protruding hoods used on welded hull Shermans. However, based on a few period photos and surviving examples, it would appear that direct vision M4A1s received this mod during remanufacture, and, overseas "in the field" in some instances.


M4A1 Lima

It is likely that this M4A1 was built with the M3 type "pepperpot" exhausts. Before issue, these were removed, and the holes were blanked off (1). They were replaced with the M4 style exhaust and air cleaner setup. The "high" exhaust pipes are no longer present, but they would have been located in the area indicated by the "2." Note that the air cleaners are missing their bottom sections. Earlier we mentioned that the idler wheel assemblies were "still" secured by rivets on some of Lima's first Shermans. The rivets can be seen on the assembly on the right. The one on the left has had the rivets replaced with bolts, the standard configuration for VVSS equipped Shermans. This tank was retrofitted with the Barber Colman exhaust deflector. While the deflector is long gone, the "X's" indicate the parts that were added to hold it it.


M4A1 Lima

The earliest Shermans built by Lima were equipped with a pair of external fuel shut off valves on the engine deck, as seen on Michael above left. These were eliminated from production by July, 1942. On the Dompaire, the shut off valve holes have been filled in with welded discs. Early production Limas also had M3 Medium type fuel filler caps with tabs. In the interest of simplicity, the tabs were eliminated, and the center hinge barrels were welded directly to the armor plate.


M4A1 Lima

On the occasion of the Horse Guards Parade on May 8, 1942, Prime Minister Winston Churchill closely inspected "Michael," and actually climbed in. About a month and a half later, on June 21, Churchill was at the White House when he got the news of the surrender of Tobruk. President Franklin Roosevelt asked if there was anything he could do to help, and without hesitation, Churchill replied, "Give us as many Sherman tanks as you can spare, and ship them to the Middle East as quickly as possible." Soon after, Roosevelt ordered the shipment of 300 Shermans and 100 M7 Priests. This would have been pretty much the entire production of Shermans up to that point. The tanks were collected up from the factories, as well as from US units that had just begun training with them. The "5185 Opportunity" convoy sailed on July 15, 1942 with 302 Shermans and 100 Priests. The Shermans break down to 212 M4A1s and 90 M4A2s. The S.S. Fairport with 51 M4A1s and 32 Priests on board was sunk by a U-Boat the next day. The Seatrain Texas sailed unescorted two weeks later with replacements of 52 M4A1s and 25 Priests. Hunnicutt Collection, Patton Museum.


M4A1 Lima

The Shermans began to arrive in Egypt in September, 1942. At least some came equipped with sand shields, as seen above. Others were outfitted with them in British workshops as they were processed for issue. Most of the M4A1s can be seen fitted with welded air scoops. M4A2s did not require them and the grouser holes were simply blanked off. M4A2s were built with tail light guards from the start. Lima began to install them around July, while Pressed Steel Car M4A1s appear to have been the last Shermans to have them introduced in October, 1942. The M4A1 in the photo was produced by PSC, and appears to be USA 3014837, indicating May, 1942 acceptance. Other photos in this series show it was T-74418, which is listed in the 24th Armoured Brigade's War Diary in late October, 1942 as with the 45th Royal Tank Regiment. The "UFS" seen painted on the side of the M4A2 is shipping code for "US-Freetown-Slow." It was a slow speed, zig-zagging convoy from the US to Freetown in West Africa. From there, the British Navy took over escort duty for the journey around Africa, through the Suez Canal and on to Egypt. This tank can be seen to be T-74291. Units records list T-74291 as with the 47th Royal Tank Regiment. It was battle damaged during the Alamein campaign, but recovered and repaired. In a General Motors Technician's Report from Tripoli dated August, 1943, T-74291 is listed as Pullman Serial Number 955, which would have made it July 1942 production. Hunnicutt Collection, Patton Museum.


M4A1 Lima

Few if any Pacific Car M4A1s would have been available by mid July, 1942 when the convoy sailed, so the 200 odd M4A1s the British received would have been a mix of Lima and Pressed Steel Cars. The British repainted their Shermans for desert conditions, which would have covered the USA Registration Numbers. Some of the paint appears to have burned off the example above, revealing USA 3014811. This would have been Serial Number 55, built by Pressed Steel in May, 1942. Note the riveted lower hull (1), and the odd shape of the sand shields (2), which suggests that they were locally fashioned. The Shermans in the photo were filmed at a Collecting Point after the El Alamein Campaign, and appear to have only one flap on the commander's hatches. British and US tankers were essentially "crash test dummies" for the early Sherman, and it is noted that severe injuries resulted due to the lack of effective locking mechanisms on all of the hatches. The British attempted to remedy the problem through several expedient fixes, including one which involved the removal of one flap on the commander's hatch.


M4A1 Lima

It is thought that most of the Alamein M4A1s would have had plates covering the holes of the original "pepperpot" exhaust. The example shown above was featured in a Military Intelligence Report sent to the US in December, 1942 showing "battle damage encurred (sic) by American tanks during the recent Alamein Offensive." Photographed at the "Rahman Collecting Point" this M4A1 can be seen to have an octagonal blank off plate bolted on (1). The tank has several features typical of Lima Locomotive. Note the rounded transition piece (2), the Lima tail light guards (3) and the extra cable clamp (4). Lima appears to have been the only builder to mount the engine access door bumpers on the doors themselves (5). While some later LLW M4A1s were equipped with round air cleaners, only the square type Vortox air cleaners are seen in photos of the Alamein Shermans. The turret shows a number of scoops and a penetration, reportedly by a 75mm or 76.2 mm [captured Soviet] shell. It appears to be Union Steel #90, and has the "high" lifting rings.


M4A1 Lima

It is obvious in period photos that most of the British M4A1s had "high" lifting rings on their turrets. This particular example does not. It was photographed "About 2 1/2 miles north of El Wishka." It has been identified by the tactical markings as a Sherman of the 10th Hussars, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division. Note the early use of "sandbag armor." The turret serial number of this tank can be seen as 502, which seems a bit high for what would have been available up to mid-July, 1942. Aside from "Last In, First Out" production, one possible explanation may be that this M4A1 originally had a rotor sight turret that would have been considered not "combat worthy." The "5185 Shipment" documents mention that "19 were sent back to Chester Tank Depot." Perhaps these 19 had rotor sight turrets that were replaced, and they were shipped later on July 29 with the Sea Train Texas, to make up for the Shermans lost when the Fairport went down?


M4A1 Lima

The British preferred the GM twin diesel engine M4A2, and later, the M4A4 with Chrysler Multibank engine, over the radial engine M4A1 and M4. Consequently, they were not allocated any further radial Shermans until the Summer of 1943, when shortages of their preferred types made it necessary. Following the Axis defeat in North Africa in the Spring of 1943, Sherman based Commonwealth formations in the Mediterranean were organized around M4A2s and M4A4s. Many of the Alamein M4A1s that survived appear to have been redeployed as training tanks within the Middle East Command. The photo above is dated May 18, 1943, and was taken at a former Lancia auto facility in Tripoli. It shows GIs of the First Provisional Ordnance Maintenance Battalion replacing the radial engine of a well worn Eighth Army M4A1. The US provided technical and mechanical support for Lend Lease tanks shipped to the British throughout the Campaign in North Africa. The tail lamp guard and welded lower hull identify this M4A1 as a Lima. Its original rotor shield was most likely replaced by a later casting with the integral side pieces (circled). We don't find any evidence that Lima ever factory installed this later type of rotor shield. The inset shows a front view of the tank with plugged fixed MG holes (asterisked). Based on the WD Numbers seen on other Shermans in this photo series, we suspect this M4A1 was T-145112. If so, it was listed in November, 1942 as "Fit" with the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment.


M4A1 Lima

British workshops made various modifications to the Shermans before issue. It is noted that the number of rounds carried by the M4A1s was increased from 90 to 96. On October 23, 1942, 252 Shermans were reported as "serviceable with formations" of the 1st and 10th Armoured Divisions. The tank had its combat debut at dawn the next day with the start of the decisive Second Battle of El Alamein. The M4A1s shown above were filmed shortly before the outset of the offensive. They have been identified as with C Squadron, 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division. Three of C Squadron's Shermans were reported knocked out on the first day. The lead tank can be seen as T-145063, and can be identified as a Lima M4A1 by the tail light guard and the additional cable clamp. By the end of the year, it was reported that 119 Shermans remained serviceable with the Eighth Army, and that 66 had been lost in action up to that point. An October 30th MILSTAF telegram on the progress of the battle, provides some insight regarding the performance of the tank with the line, "Troops are saying send us more Shermans earliest." Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, Photo E18377.


M4A1 Lima

Elements of both the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions took part in Operation Torch, the joint US/British Invasion of Northwest Africa, launched on November 8, 1942. The 1st AD deployed from the UK with Combat Command B that included 2 Battalions of M3 Light Tanks and one Battalion, the 2nd of the 13th Armored Regiment, made up of M3 Lees. CCB of the 2nd AD deployed from the US with 2 Battalions of Light Tanks and one Battalion, the 3rd of the 67th Armored Regiment, consisting of 54 M4A1 Shermans. Until the rest of the 1st and 2nd ADs arrived in late December, these were the only Shermans in the theater. They were not reported to have engaged in combat with the French during the landing phase of Operation Torch. The Allied attempt to seize the ports of Bizerte and Tunis before the end of the year was thwarted when the Germans rushed in reinforcements from Italy. CCB/1st AD provided tank support in Tunisia, while CCB/2nd AD remained behind with Patton's Western Task Force to guard against any possible Axis threats on the Spanish/French Moroccan border. A platoon of 5 M4A1s from the 67th AR/2nd AD was sent to the front in order for their crews to gain experience. On December 6, they were attached to Company E of the 2/13 AR which was down to 9 Lees as a result of earlier battles. With no knowledge of German positions, Company E was ordered to "charge up the valley" at Medjez-el-Bab. Within 15 minutes, all of the Shermans and most of the Lees had been knocked out. The records are somewhat unclear, but it would appear that this sad episode was the Sherman's US combat debut. The photo above shows the 6 man crew of one of the Lees of the ill fated Company E, at Souk el Arba, November 23, 1942.


M4A1 Lima    M4A1 Lima

The US Army paid a heavy price for its inexperience when it encountered the Germans for the first time in Tunisia. The newly arrived 1st Armored Regiment of the 1st Armored Division suffered the humiliation of having its two Medium Tank Battalions virtually wiped out on February 14th and 15th, 1943 during the Axis Offensive which came to be known as the Battle of Kasserine Pass. In the early stages of the stunning but ultimately failed offensive, the Germans captured at least one Sherman intact. USA 3067641 was a July, 1942 production Lima built M4A1 named "War Daddy II." The tank carried the tactical markings of Company G, 3rd Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment. War Daddy II was shipped to Germany for evaluation. In June 1943, the German weekly, "Das Reich," published an analysis of the various Allied tank designs. Surprisingly, there was praise for certain qualities of the Sherman, which was described as a "running" tank, "embodying a type of strategy that is conceived in terms of movement."  (This represents a clear understanding of the intent of the tank's designers.) The article concludes, "In Tunis, German soldiers have demonstrated their ability to deal with this tank, but they know the danger represented by these tanks when they appear in large herds."


M4A1 Lima

Allied shipping capacity was always limited, but in early 1943 the situation improved somewhat, and large numbers of Shermans and other AFVs arrived at the ports in Northwest Africa in the Spring. These were meant to fit or refit US, Commonwealth and Free French forces. The combat career of the Grant and Lee in the West ended with the Tunisian Campaign, as they were replaced with new Shermans. Above shows the scene on April 1, 1943 at Ordnance Dump # 63, Casablanca, French Morocco. A number of the M4A1s can be seen with the Lima tail light guards. Unlike our previous examples, these Shermans are outfitted with M4 type bogie units. LLW was rather late in completing the transition to these in October, 1942. A couple types of steel tracks are also evident. Supplies of natural rubber became scarce due to Japanese conquests in Asia, and the Ordnance Department found it necessary to employ some steel track alternatives. Only a few of these M4A1s can be seen outfitted with sand shields. An attempt was made to supply them on Shermans destined for desert use, but they were not mandated to be installed on all M4 series tanks until a universal type became available around mid 1943.


M4A1 Lima    M4A1 Lima

As mentioned earlier, power trains protected by 3-piece differential housings had been designed originally for the M3 Medium, but were carried over to the M4 series. It was intended that they be replaced by a simpler and stronger 1-piece housing which entered production in mid 1942. However, some power train manufacturers, including Lima's primary supplier at the time, the Iowa Transmission Co., stated that they could not retool for the new configuration without it creating a serious slowdown in Sherman production. Consequently, the majority of the differentials of Lima Shermans were equipped with 3-piece housings until about Spring 1943. In late 1942, Iowa began the transition to a new configuration in which a "lip" was added to each of the 3 cast sections in order to protect the top bolts from bullet splash. Above left shows the original "no lip" differential as seen on Michael, while the later "lipped" configuration is shown on the right. At the transition point, some differential housings were assembled with a combination of lip/no lip sections. An example of this can be seen on the M4A1 facing the camera in the previous caption. Left side photo courtesy of Massimo Foti and right side picture courtesy of Trevor Larkum.


M4A1 Lima

Period documents indicate that Lima received some E4186 1-piece differential power trains from both the Caterpillar Tractor Co. and Buick. The photo above shows an example on USA 3058661, a December, 1942 Lima. These seem to have completely replaced the 3-piece differentials on LLW Shermans around the Spring of 1943. While all of the photos we have examined show the Alamein M4A1s with 3-piece differentials, we don't discount the possibility that some might have had 1-piece housings, as seen on a few of the M4A2s and M7 Priests that were part of the emergency shipment. A number of items were introduced at Lima in late 1942. These include the bow machine gun dust cover (1), the step bracket (2) and the "spot and signal lamp." (The lamp's bracket can be seen as item 3.) The head lamp plug holders were reoriented from their original mounting parallel to the glacis to the standard vertical position (4). Photos such as the above suggest that Lima was supplied with a different siren around this time, made by the the Mars Signal Light Company (5).


M4A1 Lima

Sherman production began with the same type of drive sprocket as used on the M3 Medium series. Reports from the field noted that a number of these were suffering a "breaking teeth" problem. In late 1942, many of the Sherman manufacturers, including LLW, replaced the original M3 type sprocket with a new design as seen on the right. For want of a better term, we refer to this as the "plain sprocket." It is thought that Lima began the transition to the "plain" type in November 1942, and used them to the end of production in September, 1943.


M4A1 Lima    M4A1 Lima

At at their introduction around October, 1942, the M4 bogies on Lima Shermans are seen in the "early" configuration, but with the second type of track skid (1). An example of such a bogie unit is shown above on the left. In late 1942/early 1943, some improvements entered the production pipeline, and these are reflected in the bogie unit shown on the right. The use of heavy steel tracks created a friction problem with the track skid. This was remedied by the addition of a spacer (2) that elevated the return roller by about an inch. A modification kit was also provided in the Summer of 1943, so that the spacer could be retrofitted to any Sherman built without it. The "final" type of bogie arms (3) were also introduced in late 1942. In order to prevent the bogie arm rubbing plate bolts from working loose, they were secured at the bottom with a nut. "Wrench holes" provided access to the nuts. Lima appears to have been the first builder to introduce the "final" type of track skid (4) in January, 1943. "Upturned" return roller arms, which obviated the need for the spacer, were introduced right about the time that Sherman production ended at LLW in September, 1943. We have found no evidence that they ever were factory installed on any Lima built M4A1s.


M4A1 Lima

The photo above is dated March 22, 1943, and documents a "shifted cargo" incident that occurred aboard the Liberty Ship William Johnson during its voyage from the US to Casablanca. The Registration Number, USA 3058815, is painted on in blue drab. It indicates that this M4A1 was accepted at Lima in January, 1943. The bogie units can be seen in the later configuration with the bogie arms with wrench holes and the spacers installed. We would note that January production is the earliest we have seen the "final" type of track skid on any Sherman. As supplies increased in 1943, it became standard on all models to the end of VVSS production. Note the Mars Signal Light Co. siren, and the T54E1 steel tracks. Based on this and a few other photos, we would guess that "BLOT" was the shipping destination code for the port of Casablanca.


M4A1 Lima

The Allied victory in Tunisia in May 1943 came months later than the planners had hoped, but was quite impressive nonetheless. Hitler's "no retreat" obsession, coupled with the growing strength of Allied Naval and Air power in the Mediterranean set the stage for one of those rare occasions in warfare where the entire enemy force was destroyed. A quarter of a million Axis troops were captured, which rivaled in scope the Soviet victory at Stalingrad a few months earlier. The green US Army did not perform very well in its first major campaign. Allied planners had decided that the next objective would be Sicily, and that the new US 7th Army under Patton would be relegated to the secondary role of flank protection for Montgomery's vaunted British 8th Army. The 2nd Armored Division provided the bulk of 7th Army's tank support, while the depleted and demoralized 1st AD refitted and retrained in Northwest Africa. The photo above shows a Lima M4A1 of Co. E, 2nd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment just after it was discharged from an LCT near Gela, Sicily on D+1, July 11, 1943. What can be read of the USA Number, 306785X, indicates September, 1942 production. Note that the installation of M3 bogies at Lima continued into September. While "Eternity" can be seen with the standard cast air scoop, the bow machine gun dust cover, step bracket and spot lamp had yet to be introduced when this tank was accepted.


M4A1 Lima

A handful of the 2nd AD's Shermans had a part in repelling the Axis armored attacks on the second day of the invasion, but for the most part, tanks played an infantry support role in the mountainous terrain of Sicily, and later in Italy. General Patton was anxious to redeem the reputation of the US Army, as well as grab a bit of personal glory. Once the bridgehead was secure, he formed a Provisional Corps which utilized the entire 2nd AD in a classic "breakthrough" role. The Corps conducted a "power drive" across the island and captured the Sicilian capital of Palermo on July 22, 1943. Above shows some of the 2nd AD's M4A1s in Palermo on that day. We identify the lead tank as Lima built solely based on the Mars siren (1). All three of the manufacturers of the M4A1 started out with the smaller Federal type siren with the "V for Victory" grill. Pacific Car and Pressed Steel continued to use it throughout production, while Lima switched over to the Mars in late 1942. A new feature seen on the lead tank is the cast shield (2) for the .30 caliber coaxial machine gun. It was introduced in late 1942, and included as On Vehicle Materiel on tanks that were scheduled for shipment to combat zones. Most of the Shermans that arrived in Northwest Africa in the Spring of 1943 were "still" equipped with the M34 gun mount, and many of these appear to have been provided with the MG shield.


M4A1 Lima

The victory in Sicily led to the overthrow of Benito Mussolini, followed by the surrender of Italy in September 1943. Nonetheless, the campaign was somewhat unsatisfying. The Allies failed to blockade the island, so that there was no repeat of "Tunisgrad." German units in particular were able to withdraw into Italy with most of their equipment, and "live to fight another day." The Allied decision to engage in a major campaign in Italy, whose terrain features are ideally suited to defense, remains controversial to this day. It was expected (or hoped) that the Germans would withdraw to the northern mountains, but they chose to occupy the country and contest the Allied advance. The photo above shows M4A1s of Company C, 191st Tank Battalion coming ashore from a special purpose pontoon ramp put down by LST 379 at Salerno Bay on D-Day, September 9, 1943. The lead tank appears to be a Pressed Steel Car. Note that the siren has been relocated from the left front fender to the glacis, and is protected by a brush guard. LLW M4A1s would have the siren repositioned in this fashion at about the same time as the introduction of the M34A1 Gun Mount, end of March, 1943.


M4A1 Lima

US planners were intent on an attack across the English Channel (Operation Overlord) as the most direct route to Germany, while the British hoped that a campaign in Italy would make such an invasion unnecessary. Churchill rather reluctantly agreed to set a firm date for D-Day in May, 1944. At that point, the Italian Campaign was relegated to secondary status. After Sicily, two seasoned US divisions, the 1st Infantry and 2nd Armored were redeployed to the UK. The 2nd AD left its tanks behind for use by the US armored units that remained in theater, including the 1st AD, and a number of independent tank battalions, such as the 191st and 751st TBs, both of which took part in the landings in the Gulf of Salerno. The map above shows the situation in Italy up to early May 1944. Allied planners projected a phase line 30 miles north of Rome before the end of 1943, but any hopes for such progress were dashed as further advance was halted in the Fall at the nearly impregnable position known as the Gustav Line. To break the stalemate, the Allies attempted an end run with a landing at Anzio in January. However, the Germans managed to hold both the Gustav Line and the Anzio perimeter until the Spring of 1944.


M4A1 Lima

The photo above is dated April 18, 1944 and was taken inside the perimeter of the Anzio beachhead. The 1st Armored Division Sherman slipped into a bomb crater, and so provides a nice overhead view of a late 1942 production Lima M4A1. Periscope covers were produced in various shapes. The covers used for the auxiliary periscopes of the drivers' hatches (1) were consistently "flat." As a matter of "Sherman minutia" we would observe that starting in the third quarter of 1942, Lima appears to have received steady supplies of the peaked periscope covers (inset) for use in the 5 other periscopes positions. Allied forces were contained within the Anzio beachhead for 4 long and bitter months. The Germans held the high ground and could zero in on any sector within the perimeter. They bragged that Anzio was "the largest self sustaining prison camp in Europe." In a sense, the Italian Campaign imprisoned both sides as the strategy devolved into a goal of tying down as many enemy forces as possible so that they could not be used elsewhere. For most of the campaign, the opposing forces were evenly matched at about 400,000 troops.


M4A1 Lima

A number of improvements were introduced into Sherman production starting in February, 1943. Some are shown in the LLW factory photo above, dated April 28, 1943. The Positive Hatch Lock Mechanisms (1) for the drivers' and commander's hatches are reported to have been introduced at Lima on February 28, 1943 at Serial Number 29606. In the same document, "Effective Points of Modifications," the M34A1 Gun Mount (2) is listed as having been introduced exactly one month later at Serial Number 29710. The dates and serial numbers don't quite match, and we haven't been able to collect enough information to confirm the dates through "counting heads," but they seem to be reasonably accurate. The siren (3) appears to have been moved to the glacis at about the same time as the introduction of the M34A1. Oddly, the new siren position is only seen on M4s and M4A1s. The tank in the background of the photo is equipped with sand shields. A "Universal" type sand shield, where the front and middle sections were common to all Shermans, was delayed somewhat in its introduction, but a number of companies, including Lima, had designed and installed custom versions before that. The Universal type, which featured a vertical slit in the middle section, is said to have been introduced at Lima on July 23, 1943 at Serial Number 29993.


M4A1 Lima

The "Original Design" exhaust deflector (1) is stated to have been introduced at Lima at the same time as the Hatch Lock Mechanisms, February 28, 1943. The deflector was notched to accommodate the exhaust pipe (2) for the auxiliary generator. The later Barber-Colman type deflector was not incorporated before production ended in September. It was noted that some users felt that the original design was more effective than the Barber-Colman. Lima is reported to have introduced the "long" trailer towing pintle (3 and inset) on April 28, 1943 at Serial Number 29814. In some instances, the long pintle got bent up in service, which created an interference issue with the engine access doors. A shorter pintle was designed, and became available by the end of 1943. It was used on "second generation" and remanufactured Shermans. In the absence of a good photo of these items on an LLW M4A1, we show a March, 1943 production Pressed Steel Car (note the rivets, circled) that was used as a test bed for the installation of the 76 mm gun in a modified D50878 (small) turret.


M4A1 Lima

Two areas on the inside right front of the original D50878 turret casting had been thinned to allow for the proper operation of the traversing mechanism. As the first Shermans entered combat, troops began to report that the enemy aimed for these "thin spots." In mid 1943, armor applique kits were produced to protect the "thin spots." Approximately 900 of the first of these were shipped to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and arrived in September. Many of the US Shermans that had served in Northwest Africa and Sicily continued in use in Italy to the end of the war. The turret applique is often the only modification seen in Italy on these 1942/early 1943 production tanks. The photo above is dated May 12, 1944 and shows a column of Shermans of the 760th Tank Battalion advancing from Tufo at the start of the Allied Spring Offensive. The "thin spot patch" (1) and the "Towing Shackle with Handle" (2) are the only modifications evident on the lead M4A1. The so called "Quick Release" towing shackles were reported installed on the front only at LLW starting in mid August, 1943. A Modification Kit was also provided in August, which enabled quick release handles to be retrofitted to existing towing shackles.


M4A1 Lima

A few more of the 760th TB Shermans in column are shown above. The notched item (circled) on the center of the glacis is something of a mystery. This is seen in a few photos of M4A1s in Italy. It may have been placed there to hold some sort of prop to support the gun during shipping. Was it welded on, or part of the hull casting? We have not come across a surviving M4A1 with this feature, nor have we seen any production line type photos where it is present. The US 5th Army in Italy does not appear to have received many later production M4A1s outfitted with the M34A1 Gun Mount. Registration Numbers listed in unit reports indicate a few were present, but despite extensive searching of the Signal Corps Collection, we could not find a photo of one. On the other hand, there are a number of shots of US Army M4s with M34A1 Gun Mounts. An example can be seen in the background of the previous photo.


M4A1 Lima

In April 1943, the D50878 turret was revised to eliminate the pistol port, as well as "increase thickness of turret in area of the traversing mechanism." The reconfigured turret castings began to enter the production pipeline at Lima around July, 1943. We estimate that about the last 200 Lima M4A1s were produced with "no pistol port" turrets. These turrets included "cast in thickened cheeks" which obviated the need for the "thin spot patch." In the summer of 1943, before the new turret castings became available, manufacturers were instructed to weld up the pistol ports and apply the patch to older D50878 turrets. At present, we cannot confirm if Lima ever welded up any pistol ports, or added the turret patches during production. Of course, some LLW M4A1s may have had these items added as they were processed through Tank Depots. Above is a blow up of a photo taken outside the assembly hall at Lima. The tank on the left appears to have a working pistol port, while the one behind has a later casting without it. These tanks can be seen with different types of road wheels. Lima transitioned from the original welded spoke wheels and idlers to the pressed metal in Summer, 1943. The sand shields can be identified as the "Universal type" by the vertical slit in the center section. Earlier we mentioned that these were said to have been introduced at Lima on July 23rd, and this photo is dated July 23, 1943. Note that the turret baskets seen in the upper left "still" have the perforated sheet metal.


M4A1 Lima

The designers of the T6 (Sherman pilot) made the unfortunate decision to position much of the 75mm ammunition "up high" in the body of the tank. As early as June, 1942, the British recommended that the rounds be relocated to less exposed positions "below the sponson line," in the floor of the hull. This could have been done, but would have created a serious interruption in production that the Allies simply could not afford in late 1942. Ultimately, most of the rounds were repositioned to the hull floor as part of the major redesign of the M4 series that commenced in July, 1943. These "second generation" Shermans entered production starting in January, 1944, but, by then, there were thousands of Shermans on the fighting fronts with the original ammo stowage. Ordnance came up with a plan to provide them with greater protection, which came to be known as the "Quick Fix" modification. The illustration above (not to scale) shows the original M4A1 ammunition stowage configuration. Note that 30 of the 90 75mm rounds carried were stored on the hull floor. The remaining rounds were located in more vulnerable positions in the turret basket or on the sponson shelves.


M4A1 Lima

Starting in the Spring of 1942, British Workshops in North Africa proposed armoring the ammunition racks of Grants as a way to reduce tank fires. They passed their suggestions on to the US, and about a year later, the Ordnance Department tested the idea in the third production Lima, T-25191. Based on other British proposals regarding the Sherman, the 12 unprotected ready rounds affixed to the turret basket wall were removed, and the 8 round ammunition box on the basket's floor was encased in armor. At the same time, the turret basket was "skeletonized," meaning that the perforated sheet metal that encompassed the basket was removed. This provided for more escape options, since the original configuration tended to isolate the turret crew from the drivers. This turret reconfiguration was one step of the "Quick Fix" modification. T-25191 was also used in trials which relocated most of the ammunition stowage to the floor of the hull, in so called "watered ammunition racks." This concept became the "wet stowage" configuration used on the second generation series of Shermans. It is thought that T-25191 was destroyed during these tests.


M4A1 Lima

20,000 "Quick Fix" kits were produced from July through September, 1943. Manufacturers began installing them on new production Shermans in August. As supplies became available in the Fall of 1943, Tank Depots were directed to retrofit the mod. Another step of the modification involved the welding of 1 inch "sponson side protector" plates to the exterior of the tank in the areas of the sponson ammunition racks. Above shows one of the plates being welded on at the Lima Tank Depot. Lima Locomotive is reported to have begun installing the "Quick Fix" modification on August 13, 1943 at Serial Number 30074. The applique plates installed on cast hull Shermans are often seen made up of a number of sections to match the contours of the hull. However, photos suggest that the plates installed by Lima Locomotive and the nearby Lima Tank Depot were in one piece as seen above.


M4A1 Lima

A British officer described the Quick Fix modification "as neither quick nor a fix," since the ammunition racks were NOT relocated "below the sponson line," and the entire procedure consumed over 140 man hours. At a depot or in the field, it was necessary to remove the turret in order to retrofit the 1/4 inch armor plates and doors to the ammunition racks. Above shows 3 of the armored bins inside a restored M4A1. The 30 rounds directly behind the escape hatch were fitted with a folding armored door (1). The 17 (2) and 15 (3) round racks on the right sponson were also encased in armor, and fitted with doors. The 8 round rack on the left front sponson, and the 8 round ready rack on the turret basket floor were protected in a similar manner. Photo courtesy of Roger Condron.


M4A1 Lima

While some historians have questioned the wisdom of the entire Italian Campaign, there was no realistic possibility of an invasion of France in 1943 without the enthusiastic cooperation of the British Government. Furthermore, for political reasons, the Western Allies could not have spent two years planning and building up forces in the UK without engaging the Germans somewhere in Europe. The above is one of a series of "bad news for Hitler" photos taken on February 15, 1944 at Tidworth, England showing M4A1s and other armored vehicles assembled for Operation Overlord. The Quick Fix Modification was considered a "Must Item" for US Shermans slated for the Invasion, and 1397 kits had been shipped to the UK by mid October, 1943. Another "Must" was the M70F telescope mounted in the M34A1 Gun Mount. Other items sent, such as the "thin spot patch," were simply "Urgent," "and should be applied to these tanks in so far as kits can be made available to the U.K." So many modification kits were shipped that the US Army contracted with local firms to install them assembly line fashion to the entire inventory. The program was obviously effective, as there are very few photos of US Army Shermans in Normandy that don't have the full suite of available modifications.


M4A1 Lima

Rome fell to the Allies on June 4, 1944. Two days later, this significant historic event was knocked from the headlines by the D-Day Invasion. By some vagary of distribution, the US 3rd Armored Division was issued quite a few Lima M4A1s while in the UK. The Division entered combat at the beginning of July, and the photo above shows a tank of the 32nd Armored Regiment advancing through St. Fromond, France. This M4A1 is in typical Normandy configuration. A bit of the Registration Number can be read as USA 30383.., indicating late April, early May 1943 production. The unit would have been built with the M34A1 Gun Mount and the positive hatch lock mechanisms. Depending on when it was shipped, the other modifications could have been applied as it was processed through a US Tank Depot, or later in the UK. The tank would have been built with the original commander's blade sight (1), while the new vane sight (2) was added as a mod, most likely in the UK. The vane sight, periscope guards and gun travel lock were reported to have been added by LLW in mid August, 1943. The missing periscope guards and gun travel lock were not on the list of UK Must or Urgent modifications. The 2 inch smoke mortar was, and the "bump" of item 3 indicates its presence. The mortar was not factory installed by Lima before the end of production. The non standard fitting (4) appears to have been added to the 3rd AD's light and medium tanks in the UK prior to the Invasion. Its purpose has not been documented. Some speculate that it was intended to deflect bullets fired from the bow machine gun down into enemy trenches as the tank passed over them?


M4A1 Lima

Not all of the US Army M4s and M4A1s that fought in the European Theater received the UK modifications. Three veteran US Infantry Divisions with their attached Tank Battalions took part in Operation Dragoon, the Invasion of Southern France, launched on August 15, 1944. Much to the consternation of Churchill and other Italian Campaign advocates, these units were redeployed from Italy. Thus, many of the Shermans which served to the end of the war in the southern sector of the European Theater were older production and not as heavily modified. It is thought that some may have been veterans of Tunisia. Above shows a very early Lima M4A1 of Company A, 756th Tank Battalion, which was knocked out on October 7, 1944 in Vagney, France. The only modifications evident are the commander's vane sight (inset), and the smoke mortar. The tank's commander, Lieut. James L. Harris, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions in defense of the town.


M4A1 Lima

Second generation Shermans armed with 76mm guns replaced the original 75mm designs in production starting in January, 1944. The M4A3's 500 HP Ford V8 engine was considered to be the best tank power plant, and it was the intention of the US Army to supply its fighting troops with as many M4A3s as production would allow. The 5th Army in Italy was not ignored in this regard, and both the Mediterranean and European Theaters began to receive the new M4A3(76)s in August, 1944. By the end of the war, most units in Italy had 1 or 2 companies of M4A3(76)s serving alongside the older M4s and M4A1s. The photo above shows a pair of Shermans of the 1st Armored Division in the Spring of 1945. Some idea of the Sherman's evolution can be had by comparing the Fall 1944 production Fisher M4A3(76)VVSS in the foreground with the Fall 1942 production Lima M4A1(75)VVSS behind it. Note the the variation of the "Salerno star" markings typically used in the MTO.


M4A1 Lima

The Army Supply Program was cut back, so that by early 1944 only 3 of the original 10 builders continued to produce Shermans. Lima Locomotive made its last M4A1 in September, 1943. Towards the end, some of the upper hulls featured lifting rings cast in and on an angle. These hulls are also seen with "rain gutter grooves" on the back, typical of small hatch castings produced by General Steel. We would note that General Steel, whose hulls feature a "G in a shield" logo cast in on the front, was not a regular supplier to LLW. GS appears to have provided hulls only to Pressed Steel and Montreal Locomotive. In any case, we have not as yet come across a surviving Lima (or Pacific Car) M4A1 with a GS hull. We suspect instead that the "angled lifting ring" hulls may have been a small run cast by Pittsburgh Steel Foundry, and supplied only to Lima during the last month or so of production. Above shows the factory floor at Lima on August 10, 1943. Two of the hulls can be seen with the angled lifting rings. The hull in the front on the right has "2599" painted on indicating that it was the 1599th unit out of 1655 produced. An additional 1625 had been ordered, but were cancelled. A Tank Recovery Vehicle with "T5" painted on can be seen in the background.


M4A1 Lima

Above shows another view taken on August 10th. Lima ended production with D50878 low bustle, no pistol port turrets with "cast in thickened cheeks." The thickened cheek (arrow) can be seen to good effect. Lima is reported to have introduced the final type of differential housing (Part No. E8543), the "Quick Fix" mod, the periscope guards and the commander's vane sight all on the same day, August 13, 1943. However, note that turret 1139 "still" has the original blade sight. The gun travel lock, which was said to have been introduced on August 3rd, is also missing from the tanks. This and other photos in the series suggest that Lima may have ended production with T51 flat block rubber tracks. LLW August photos courtesy of Mike Haines.


M4A1 Lima    M4A1 Lima

The views above provide an idea of the appearance of the final version of a Lima M4A1. This tank was supplied to the British and has a T-Number instead of a USA Number, so it is not possible to determine when it was accepted. However, the presence of the angled lifting rings and rain gutter groove make September, 1943 seem like a good bet. The stencil on the sand shield indicates it was "Processed by L.T.D. (Lima Tank Depot) 9/30/43." Note the "comb device" with 3 "U-hooks" (inset) used exclusively by LTD. The differential housing is the early version E8543 with the cast in steps. These were quickly replaced with welded on steps when it was found that the cast-ins interfered with the operation of the quick release towing shackles. Photos suggest LLW used both types of late differentials. The tank is equipped with the full suite of modifications, including the 2 inch smoke mortar. This item was probably added by LTD, since Lima is not reported to have introduced it before the end of production. Note that the gunner's periscope was not installed with a guard by either Lima or the Depot. The "long" trailer towing pintel was used by Lima up to the end of production. Hunnicutt Collection, Patton Museum.


M4A1 Lima    M4A1 Lima

From September, 1944 through May, 1945, over 2200 M4A1s were remanufactured. These tanks were equipped with the latest modifications as they became available. Above shows USA 3038692, an "angled lifting rings" Sherman produced by Lima just before production ended in September, 1943. The most prominent feature of this unit is the E9 suspension. These were installed on remanufactured Shermans starting in early 1945, and due to the late date, few were shipped overseas before the end of WW II. Other modifications seen include the commander's all round vision cupola, stowage brackets for the anti aircraft machine gun, the armored housing for the gunner's periscope, the "final" position of the siren and the blanket roll rack.


M4A1 Lima

Although the US Army sought to equip its fighting troops with more modern tanks, such as the M26 and M4A3(76)HVSS, some remanufactured Shermans were shipped to the European Theater in early 1945 to make up for losses suffered during the Battle of the Bulge. Above shows an example of a Lima M4A1 remanufactured in late 1944. The commander's all round vision cupola was not yet available to the remanufacturers at the time this tank was rebuilt, so it is "still" equipped with the original split hatch. Before the advent of E9 suspension, many remanufactured Shermans had their fenders extended to accommodate the addition of "duckbills" or extended end connectors on the outside only. While the EECs decreased the ground pressure somewhat, they were fragile, and frequently broke off. Many are missing on our subject, which, judging by the worn condition of the rubber chevron tracks, had travelled far. Some of the road wheels can be seen to be the later solid concave type. These were most likely added during the rebuild. The caption refers to "tanks of the 90th Division," and identifies the scene as Lobenstein, Germany, 14th April, 1945. The 712th Tank Battalion was attached to the 90th Infantry Division at the time. We suspect that a few Lima M4A1s served in the Pacific Theater, although, at present, we have not been able to find a photo of one. The 706th Tank Battalion reported the loss of USA 3067793 on Okinawa, April 21, 1945. This tank would have been accepted in September, 1942, so it seems likely it was remanufactured before shipment to the PTO.


M4A1 Lima

Period photos suggest that, shortly before VE-Day on May 8, 1945, the French were supplied with some remanufactured Shermans, including a few with E9, from US Army reserve pools. A "combat shot" of one can be seen on our E9 page. Oddly, none of the photos show the extended end connectors installed. At the end of the war in Europe, the US Army directed that EECs be removed and collected up so that they could be passed on to the "active theater" (the Pacific). The photo above shows an M4A1 named "Berry IV" of the 1er Escadron, 12ème Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique. This tank appears to have the "usual" Lima type hull lifting ring. Although the EECs are not installed, this unit features the E9 spaced suspension. A telltale sign of the modification is the recess (arrow) in the middle of the drive sprocket drum, not present on Shermans with standard VVSS. "Berry IV" has another unusual feature seen on some Shermans remanufactured in 1945 - the M34 gun mount modified to accommodate the M70F telescope. Note the "wing piece" retrofitted to the rotor shield (asterisked and inset). With thanks to Claude Gillono. Photo courtesy of Musée de la libération-Jean Moulin-Ville de Paris.


M4A1 Lima

Not all "tank work" ceased at Lima Locomotive with the termination of M4A1 production in September, 1943. The company developed the pilot models of the M32 series retrievers, and, from the Summer of 1943 through the Summer of 1944, produced 26 M32B2 (M4A2 based) and 20 M32B3s (M4A3 based) for the US Marines. The contract stipulated that these would be installed with wading trunks, and Lima developed wading trunks for all Sherman types. These were produced as kits in the US, and used in the Pacific Theater. From December 1943 through October 1944, the company produced 800 sets of retriever turrets and booms for Pressed Steel Car. Above shows the T5E1 (M32B1) pilot at Ft Knox in the Fall of 1943. The pilot models and a few of the early M32B2s featured slab sided turrets. These were replaced in production with turrets made of rolled armor plate. Note that the T5E1 had its Serial Number painted on instead of the USA Registration Number. M4A1 Serial Number 29725 was accepted at Lima in April 1943, and would have been assigned USA 3038255.


M4A1 Lima

It was the practice of the Ordnance Department to preserve pilot models for future reference. This may have been the case with the T5E1 pilot. Above shows USA 3038255 in service with the 120th Engineer Combat Battalion in Korea in September, 1952. The T5E1 with its slab sided turret appears nearly unchanged from the previous photo taken 9 years before. The standard A-Frame boom of the M32 series had struts that were 5 9/16 inches in diameter, while the struts on the pilot models were only 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Here one can see that stiffeners have been retrofitted to the small diameter struts of the original A-Frame boom. In this scene, the Engineers are demonstrating the assembly of an "Abe Lincoln" bunker. A “factory” was set up in the rear area, where the bunker sections were mass produced to a certain quality standard. It was reported that 498 of the prefabricated structures were delivered, and quickly assembled on the front lines from July through October, 1952.



M4A1 Lima

The vast majority of retrievers were converted from used Shermans, and consequently most had small drivers' hatches. However, in 1944, LLW converted 12 new production, large hatch M4A2(75)s to M32B2 Tank Recovery Vehicles and 20 new large hatch M4A3(75)s to M32B3s for the Marines. In the 3rd Marine Division photo above, the absence of the ventilator beside the driver’s hatch confirms that this is a large hatch Sherman. Since this retriever does not have the typical M4A2 appliqué plate, it would be a challenge to distinguish from a large hatch M32B3 if it weren't for the "M32B2, Lima Locomotive Works" stenciling. A single "M4A2" ID clue is provided by the grouser compartment cover (1), which was not installed on large hatch M4A3s. It is thought that a few of the large hatch M32B2s were used by the Marines in combat in 1945. Note the standard curved, rolled armor plate turret.


M4A1 Lima

In 1948, there were over 1100 M4A1(75)s in the inventory in the US. Many were tanks that had been remanufactured too late for WW II service. In the early 1950s, a number of these were refurbished and provided to NATO Allies as Military Defense Assistance. Above shows an interesting example on display in Woensdrecht in The Netherlands. The Dutch are reported to have received 88 M4 series with 75mm guns up to January, 1954. This unit features the E9 spaced suspension, although the duckbills are no longer present. Note the recess (arrow) in the middle of the drive sprocket drum. This tank has "30181" stamped below the Lima logo on the right front (inset). We would assume that is the tank's serial number, indicating September, 1943 acceptance. (The last Lima M4A1 would have been Serial Number 30204.) This tank and another in Stuttgart, Germany are the only surviving Lima M4A1s we know of with the cast in, angled lifting rings. We hope to have a look inside one or both of these at some point to see if there is any indication that the upper hulls were cast by Pittsburgh Steel Foundry.


M4A1 Lima

In May, 1952, the Bowen-McLaughlin-York Company was contracted to remanufacture and convert 413 M4A1(75)s to M4A1E6 configuration. This change involved the redesign of the 75mm gun mount so that it could accommodate the 76mm gun. We invite readers to see our M4A3E4/M4A1E6 page. A few M4A1E6s have survived and are on display in India and Pakistan. Above shows an example that stands as a monument at the National Defense Academy in Khadakwasla, India. It appears to have the "usual" Lima type hull lifting rings. The B-M-Y specifications stipulated that loader’s hatches were to be retrofitted where needed, and it can be seen that a hatch has been added to this low bustle turret with “thin spot” patch. Photo courtesy of Warbirds of India website.


M4A1 Lima

The M4A1(75) was declared obsolete in January, 1956. The last combat use of a Lima built Sherman may have taken place in 1965 during the Indo-Pakistan War. Above shows "Major R Christian and Lieutenant Colonel Hari Singh Deora standing in front of a destroyed Sherman tank of the Pakistan Army." There is no mention of the inclusion of muzzle brakes in the B-M-Y docs, but period photos such as this, and a number of surviving M4A1E6s show them. We would note that this differs from M4A3E4 (76mm retrofitted in M4A3(75)) conversions, which appear with small thread protecting collars in lieu of muzzle brakes. The unit shown was most likely produced by Lima in September, 1943 as suggested by the "angled lifting ring" hull and E8543 differential housing with cast in steps. Photo courtesy of Abhinay Rathore via Wikipedia


M4A1 Lima

Above shows a 1942 production Lima M4A1 that was remanufactured with the E9 modification in 1945, and provided to Chile as MDAP in the 1950s. It is on display at an Army Base in Maipu. The remanufacturer's dataplate may be the object (circled) that is affixed to the differential housing. Unfortunately, it is rusted unreadable. Examination of a few surviving examples suggests that Chrysler-Evansville stamped the tank's serial number inside the dataplate frame (inset) during the remanufacturing process. This one appears to have "6872" stamped there, which, if accurate, indicates that the tank was originally accepted in November, 1942. If any readers are able to get inside a surviving Sherman, and come across numbers stamped inside the dataplate frame, we would be pleased to have a report. Photos courtesy of Jim Goetz.


M4A1 Lima

Not many surviving Shermans still have dataplates. Most that do, have replacement dataplates, added during rebuild programs. Original Sherman dataplates include the name of the company that manufactured the tank. Above shows what we believe may be the only extant Lima Locomotive Works dataplate. Note that the Serial Number is stamped in the upper right hand corner. The year of acceptance “1943” is stamped inside the box on the lower left. (By the serial number, this M4A1 would have been completed in March, 1943.) “H A R” can be seen stamped inside the box on the lower right. We believe these were the initials of the Army Ordnance Inspector who accepted this tank from Lima. The serial number is stamped again into the lower middle of the plate, and has been highlighted in yellow. We suspect this was added at some point after this tank was accepted, and would advise anyone wishing to make a reproduction LLW dataplate to leave it off. Photo courtesy of the owner.


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