M4A1(75)s produced by Pacific Car & Foundry
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."

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

Pacific Car & Foundry of Renton, Washington produced 926 small hatch M4A1(75) Shermans from May 1942 through November 1943. PCF was the only West Coast manufacturer of Sherman tanks, & as a consequence of geography, a lot of their M4A1s served as training tanks at various bases in California, while others were sent across the Pacific to fight the Japanese. Very few WW II photos or combat reports show PCF built Shermans in use in the European or Mediterranean Theaters of Operations.

Production Order T-3144 : 801 M4A1s manufactured (May 1942 - August 1943) : Serial Numbers 3005 / USA 3060572 through S/N 3805 / USA 3061372
Production Order T-3332 : 125 M4A1s manufactured (August 1943 - Nov 1943) Serial Numbers 3806 / USA 3061373 through S/N 3930 / USA 3061497


M4A1 PCF

A view of the assembly line at the start of production on April 21 1942. The lead tank is the pilot, serial number 3005. PCF was stated to have introduced the 1-piece differential housing at Serial Number 3007, so the second tank shown here is most likely 3006. PCF used the E4186 one piece housing exclusively up until August 1943, at which point they transitioned to the later E8543, sharp nosed housing. Note that the early direct vision hulls seen here were drilled out for the twin fixed machine guns. These had been eliminated from the original Sherman design before production commenced at PCF, and the few units produced with the holes would have had them filled in at the factory or before shipment overseas.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF
Click on the pictures for larger size

The photos above show the pilot model, Serial Number 3005, USA 3060572, the first and only unit accepted in May 1942. It arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground in early June. It is thought that about the first 50 units were made with direct vision and the M3 type suspension. Unlike Lima Locomotive and Pressed Steel Car, PCF did not produce any M4A1s with rotor sight turrets or the M3 type "pepperpot" exhaust. Note, however, that the lower rear hull plate of 3005 was configured for the early exhaust, but the holes were blanked off. As these are the only photos we know showing a PCF M4A1 with turret lifting rings in the "high" position, we must conclude that their use was very limited. The same can be said of the drivers' hatch handles which can be seen in the "earliest" position, mounted off center and on an angle. Also of interest is the non standard barrel clamp for the .50 cal. machine gun.


M4A1 PCF

Serial Number 3005 was evaluated and used to test various modifications, including a 76mm gun installation in the original M34 gun mount. In this APG photo dated August 4 1942, one can also see a few other modifications that became standard on later production Shermans. A small "L- bracket" has been added to the glacis between the drivers' hoods. It was mentioned that crews had some difficulty climbing on to the Sherman. In order to provide a little extra traction, this bracket was added to production in the Fall of 1942. Note that the siren has been moved to the glacis from its original position on the left front fender, and is protected by a brush guard. This modification was introduced into production in Spring 1943, but, for some reason, seems to have been limited to M4 and M4A1 model Shermans. Crew members were suffering injuries from falling hatches, and this tank has been fitted with a positive hatch locking mechanism. This modification was factory installed on all hatches starting in the Spring of 1943, and kits were supplied for retrofit at Tank Depots and in the field.


M4A1 PCF
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Photos and documents indicate that a good number of M4A1s from early PCF production were shipped to the Desert Training Center in California. The above is dated October 22 1942, and shows 5 PCF M4A1s alongside a battalion's worth of M3 and M3A1 Lee Medium Tanks. Sherman production commenced even though the builders mentioned that they had not received all of the necessary drawings, and were experiencing delays in procuring a few parts. Unlike some of the other manufacturers, PCF was able to obtain 50. cal. machine guns from the start. We suspect that they fabricated and added the non standard barrel clamp seen here and on the pilot. Note that only the 5th M4A1 is equipped with the standard commander's blade sight.


M4A1 PCF
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The above shows 6 tanks arriving by rail in Rice California, September 1942. The lead tank can be seen to be USA 3060599, which would have been accepted in August; overall, the 28th unit produced. The return rollers of the M3 bogies can be said to be in the "late" configuration, as they have been raised about an inch by the addition of a spacer (1). Note the presence of the standard cast air scoops (2), as opposed to the fabricated type seen on some of the first Lima and Pressed Steel Car M4A1s. The missing tail light guards are thought to have been introduced in September. Unlike the previous photo, most of these tanks are equipped with the standard MG barrel clamp (3) and commander's blade sight (4). Some tool fittings are "still" missing from the upper rear hull.
 

M4A1 PCF

A front view of the same scene. These tanks appear to have been sealed with duct tape, one of the truly useful inventions of the time. The appearance of the hull lifting rings (1) seen on early Pacific Car M4A1s was quite distinctive. For want of a better term, we refer to these as the "blocky" type. While most early Shermans had the head lamp plug holders mounted parallel to the glacis, PCF mounted the one on the right side (2) vertically. We refer to this as the "up / down" configuration. "Counting heads" evidence suggests PCF continued this practice until June 1943, at which point both plug holders were mounted vertically. Note the absence of fitting for the bow machine gun dust cover. The lead tank is equipped with the first type of M34 rotor shield (3), and the gun shield lifting rings (4) are in the "outboard" position. 
 

 M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

Close up views of the "blocky" hull lifting rings. These castings appear to have been used exclusively by PCF from June 1942 until February 1943.  We suspect they were designed by Pacific Car and produced at their foundry, since their caster's logo, a "P in a circle," can be seen on the rear unit. They can serve as PCF recognition features when seen in period photos or on surviving M4A1s.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF
 
Newly designed hull lifting ring castings became available to the builders in January 1943, and PCF appears to have introduced them at that time. They replaced the "blocky" type completely by February, and were used to the end of production in November 1943. These became the standard type of lifting ring castings for all new production Shermans starting at the beginning of 1944.
 

PCF
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The factory photo above is useful in that it shows a few transition points. The lead tank has M3 type bogies, while most or all of the succeeding units are equipped with M4 bogies. The fourth tank in line has the later upper hull casting where direct vision was replaced with the elongated drivers' hoods. The bow machine gun dust cover fitting and tail light guards have also been introduced on these tanks. This photo was part of a series taken by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. They were not published in the paper, perhaps due to security concerns. The photos are dated 1943, but we would judge that the scene above was filmed in August or September 1942. Courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History & Industry: http://www.mohai.org/

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M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

The APG photo on the left above is dated March 7 1942, and shows the T6 pilot modified with machine gun dust cover fittings. The fittings were simple steel rods bent to shape. A number of snaps were attached to the rod, and these held the canvas dust cover. The MG dust cover became standard on Shermans by the Fall of 1942, and all of the builders, with the exception of PCF, used steel rod fittings.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

PCF apparently came up with an alternate, metal strip design. We have found no documentation for this, but noticed these strips on a few surviving M4A1s, all of which were made by Pacific Car. While not easily apparent in most period photos, the strips can be discerned in a few high resolution shots, such as the USMC photo, above right.


    M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

As noted earlier, Pacific Car introduced tail light guards at about the same time as the dust cover fitting. The guards used by Pressed Steel, Lima Locomotive, and PCF are shown above. Each shape is unique, and can help identify the maker of an M4A1 when seen in period photos. Surviving M4A1s must be viewed with some skepticism, since the original guards might have been damaged, and replaced with something non standard during remanufacture or restoration.


M4A1 PCF

The US Government financed construction of a modern electric steel furnace foundry at the Renton plant (inset). It is stated that PCF made its own gun mounts, and also provided some to other manufacturers. The M34 gun mounts seen in the photo above feature the later type of rotor shields with the cast in extensions that provided the gun with greater protection against bullet splash. The lifting rings on the gun shield are in the "outboard" position, and, in what appears to be another quirk exclusive to PCF, are welded on at an angle.


PCF    PCF

The photo on the left above features a D50880 M34 gun shield with the Pacific Car & Foundry caster's logo, a "P in a circle." The right side view shows how the gun shield's lifting rings were welded on at an angle. Modelers might note that Sherman gun shields generally sat a little proud of the turret's surface.  Photos courtesy of Chris Hughes.


PCF
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The M4A1s seen above were photographed on the Pacific Car Test Track in the Fall of 1942. As evidenced by the unit on the left, these tanks were built at the transition point where direct vision gave way to hulls featuring the elongated drivers' hoods. However, note that the later hull Sherman "still" has the M3 type bogies, a fairly uncommon combination, but further evidence of the transitional nature of the introduction of changes. PCF began production using the T41 rubber block tracks that can be seen on these tanks.

 
PCF

An M4A1 wallowing through the mud at the test track in early 1943. Japanese conquests in Asia created a rubber shortage which compelled the Ordnance Department to employ some steel track alternatives. The T49 "interrupted parallel bar" tracks that can be seen on this tank are the most common type seen on PCF Shermans made in 1943. This tank is equipped with the improved M34 rotor shield with the cast in extensions (1), the "L-bracket" step (2) and fittings for the spot and signal lamp (3). "Counting heads" suggests that PCF was the first manufacturer to incorporate the spot light on its Shermans in December 1942. 

 
PCF

A rear view of Serial Number 3206, a December 1942 production unit. Continental Foundry & Machine, East Chicago (C-H logo) was stated to have been PCF's primary supplier of hull and turret castings. However, the turret of this tank bears the caster's logo of Scullin Steel (1), an alternate turret source for PCF. The square type of Vortox Air Cleaners (2) are most commonly seen on PCF built Shermans. Note the rounded transition piece (3) that joined the lower rear hull to the belly plate. Lima Locomotive also used lower hulls with this configuration.


PCF

"Big Snafu" of the 15th Armored Regiment, 6th Armored Division was photographed at Camp Cooke, California in early 1943. This tank features early pattern M4 bogies with the asymmetrical track skids. Note that the bogies have received the "Roller Bracket Spacer" modification (inset). The use of steel tracks created a friction problem involving the track skid, which was remedied by the addition of a spacer that elevated the return roller by about an inch. It is thought that PCF was the first manufacturer to incorporate the spacer into production in early 1943. All Sherman production started out using the M3 type of drive sprocket seen here. At the beginning of 1943, Lima and Pressed Steel transitioned to the solid or "plain" sprocket, while PCF continued to use the M3 type throughout production. 


PCF

The periscope gun sight was found deficient, so the Ordnance Department designed a new gun mount that incorporated a direct sight telescope. A mock up (above) was photographed at APG on June 22, 1942. The sides of the rotor shield were extended to protect the telescope (1) and the .30 caliber coaxial machine gun (2). Designated "Combination Gun Mount, M34A1," the new design was released for production on October 16, 1942. Most changes to the Sherman were introduced "with obsolescence." This permitted the manufacturer to use up supplies of the old parts, even as the new parts were introduced into production. The addition of the direct sight telescope was deemed so important that the M34A1 was initially released "without obsolescence," with a cut off date of January 15, 1943. The manufacturers could not obtain all of the parts necessary to meet such a rigorous deadline, and ultimately, the M34A1 did not completely replace the M34 gun mount in Sherman production until the end of April, 1943.


PCF    PCF

As noted earlier, Pacific Car produced its own gun mounts. This gave them a certain advantage regarding the introduction of the new design. One Army document states that they introduced the M34A1 at Ordnance Serial Number 3351. Another gives the figure as 347. Serial Number 3351 would have been the 347th PCF M4A1 accepted, so both figures reference the same tank. PCF assigned Manufacturer's Serial Numbers to its tanks, and we believe that they were exact build sequence numbers. In any case, the figures provided indicate an introduction date of mid February, making PCF one of the first builders to institute the change. Photos show that the company used M34A1 gun shields in both the early and late configurations. 
 

  PCF    PCF
 
A number of the first PCF Shermans to be equipped with the M34A1 gun mount were shipped to the 6th US Army in Australia in the Spring of 1943. The 1st Marine Tank Battalion was reorganizing there after Guadalcanal. In May, A Company replaced its Light Tanks with 24 of the Army's M4A1s. The photos above show Marine tankers training at Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia in July, 1943. The PCF style tail light guard can be seen in the photo on the right.
 

PCF
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Company A of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion is thought to have been the only USMC unit to use the M4A1 in combat. Above they are shown landing on Cape Gloucester, New Britain Island in late December 1943. The heavy T49 steel track was hard on the Sherman's suspension, but the cast in "grousers" were considered to be asset in the difficult terrain encountered on the islands in the Pacific. In general, steel tracks were the preferred type in the PTO, since roads were primitive or nonexistent, and the campaigns were relatively brief. In the vastness of Western Europe, with its modern road system, rubber tracks were preferred.
 

 PCF

Marines on a mission to capture the air strips near Cape Gloucester, December 29 1943. Tank 6, which can also be seen in the previous photo, attempts to negotiate the muck of a jungle trail. The head lamp plug holders can be seen to be in the "up / down" configuration peculiar to PCF up to June 1943. Marine Shermans in particular are rarely seen with the head lights mounted. The lights were stored inside, and the light sockets were sealed with plugs. A small chain attached to the plug holder secured the plug against loss. The chain on the driver's side appears to have been broken on this tank.


PCF
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The 1st Cavalry Division's 603rd Light Tank Company also reorganized and reequipped with M4A1s while in Australia. The photo above is dated April 22 1944, and shows tanks of the 603rd supporting the 162nd Infanty Regiment, 41st Infantry Division in Hollandia, New Guinea. "Sad Sack" which can be seen to be USA 3061012 (circled in red) was accepted in March, 1943. Despite a government directive to change to white, PCF appears to have continued to paint the USA Registration Number in blue drab throughout production. While many field modificatons were available in kit form by this time, priority was given to Shermans slated for the D-Day invasion, and the 603rd's tanks appear to be "as built."
 

PCF
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"Sad Sack" was photographed again in June 1944 on Biak Island. Note the early version of the M34A1 gun mount, which included lifting rings on the gun shield. The hull lifting rings seen here and in the preceding photo, are the later type. PCF completed the transition to these by February 1943, most likely just before the introduction of the M34A1 gun mount. To date, we have not come across a period photo showing a PCF M4A1 built with both the M34A1 and the "blocky" hull lifting rings.

 
 PCF
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There are quite a few of photos of the M4A1s of the 603rd Tank Company and Company A, 1st Marine Tank Battalion. Almost all of them have features associated with Pacific Car. Above, a last look at a couple more Shermans of the 603d Tank Company, photographed on Wakde Island, May 17 1944. The lead tank can be seen to have a pair of round, non-standard, objects (springs?) right by the drivers' hatches. These may represent a field expedient modification, installed to protect the crew from hatch injuries. The "official" positive hatch lock and equilibrator spring modifications are stated to have been factory installed at PCF starting in late April 1943.


PCF

A number of modifications were introduced in production in April & May 1943. Serial Number 3645 was accepted in June 1943, and was the subject of an Inspection Control Test at APG in August. Positive hatch locks were introduced in late April, and can be seen on the drivers' and commander's hatches (1). Sand shields were stated to have been factory installed by PCF starting in late May. The M34A1 gun shield can be seen to be the late type, which did away with the exposed right side flange and the lifting rings. Photos suggest that PCF received consistent supplies of the Federal Electric Model 160 series siren with the distinctive "V for Victory" grille (2). 3645 was probably one of the last units to be built with the siren mounted on the left front fender, and the head light plug holders in the "up / down" configuration.


PCF

Serial Number 3658, another June 1943 production M4A1 was photographed as it arrived by rail at the Richmond Tank Depot in California. The towing pintle (1) and the exhaust deflector (2) are stated to have been factory installed at PCF starting in late April. The exhaust deflector is in the "closed" position. The deflector was notched to accommodate the small exhaust pipe (inset) of the auxiliary generator. On early Shermans, the generator's exhaust was simply directed into the engine compartment. Crews often ran the generator while the main engine was off, causing the dangerous exhaust fumes to seep back into the fighting compartment. As a consequence, the exhaust pipe was extended as seen here. The lower rear hulls of PCF and Lima Locomotive M4A1s are very similar in appearance.  Most builders including PCF, located the door stops (3) next to the engine access doors. Lima is thought to be the only company that welded them on to the doors. Welded spoke road wheels and idlers are the primary type seen on PCF M4A1s. However, the rims of the welded spoke idlers were so frequently damaged in service that the government mandated that they be replaced in all Sherman production with the disc type (4) as seen here. PCF began installing these in late May.


PCF

A comparison between Serial Number 3645 shown earlier, and this front view of 3658 provides an example of "counting heads." On 3658, the siren has been moved to the glacis and is protected by a brush guard. Also, the head lamp plug holders are mounted in the vertical position, whereas 3645's are "up/ down." Aside from preparing vehicles for shipment, the Tank Depot system served as a modification backup. When certain mods hadn't been factory installed, particularly on tanks headed for combat zones, they were to be installed at the Depots. Thus, if 3658 had been processed for overseas shipment in, say, late August 1943, Richmond Tank Depot might have been directed to install the turret and hull appliqué modifications.


PCF

In early 1944, the Desert Warfare Board at Camp Young, California conducted a "Service Test of Hydraulic-Operated Tank Dozers (Bulldozer BM4)." The M4A1 shown above was listed as USA 3061288, indicating July 1943 production. This appears to have been one of the first PCF Shermans to incorporate the "no pistol port" turret. The periscope guards (1) were also introduced around this time. The T51 rubber block tracks seen here may have been retrofitted for the test. The exhaust deflector (2) can be seen in the usual "open" position. The tarpaulin (3) buckled on to the turret was standard on US Army Shermans up to the end of 1943. This tank, named "ATTACK," can be seen with tactical markings of the 780th Tank Battalion. The unit traded in its tanks for LVTs, when it was converted to the 780th Amphibian Tank Battalion in April 1944.


PCF

The other M4A1 used in the dozer test was listed as USA 3061410, indicating August 1943 production. In that month, Pacific Car began to install the so called "Quick Fix" modification. With this mod, the appliqué plates (1) were added, the ammunition racks inside were encased in 1/4 inch of armor, and the sheet metal grating around the turret basket was removed. There is a great variety to the "look" of the hull appliqué plates used on Shermans. The plates that PCF factory installed were composed of two pieces with a lengthwise weld seam, as shown here. "Chattanooga-Chu-Chu" can be seen to have the pressed spoke type of road wheels (2). We suspect that PCF transitioned from the original welded spoke wheels to these in August.


PCF

PCF also began to install the gun travel lock (1), as well as the sharp nosed E8543 differential housing in August. Note that, at the intro of the gun travel lock, the "L- bracket" step was no longer installed. Period photos of PCF M4A1s show the weep holes of the turret ventilators consistently draining to the front.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

From the start, the Sherman was equipped with a turret power traverse mechanism. This was considered to be one of the best features of the tank. Three companies made these. The Westinghouse model was driven electrically, while the Logansport and Oil Gear units were hydraulic. The Oil Gear Power Traverse (pictured above) was found to be superior, and was standardized for all Shermans on March 30 1943. A few lists of individual tank components lead us to believe that PCF began production with the Westinghouse Power Traverse. They are stated to have switched over to the Oil Gear at the beginning of August. Right side photo courtesy of Don Allen.


PCF
Click on the picture for larger size

The photo above shows a PCF M4A1 being loaded onto a "Warwell Car" in Calcutta in April 1944. A close examination of the Archives print determined that the USA Number ("still" in blue drab) was 3061430, indicating September 1943 production. This tank has all of the modifications seen on "Chattanooga-Chu-Chu." However, in September, the original blade sight was replaced by the commander's vane sight. (We've marked this in the photo, since it is barely visible.) This tank also has the pressed spoke road wheels. The bogie units are standard for PCF from Spring 1943 onward, except that the right suspension arm (1) is the earlier type without the "wrench holes." The sealant on the top front of the turret suggests the presence of the 2 inch smoke mortar (2). This was most likely added at a Tank Depot. We have conflicting statements regarding PCF and the smoke mortar. Either it was not factory installed "due to termination of contract," or it was installed starting November 1, 1943.
 

PCF
Click on the picture for larger size

Another Signal Corps photo showing "M4A4 and M4A1 tanks stored along Hospital Road in Calcutta, India 6 April 1944." We identify these tanks as PCF simply because late 1943 production Lima Locomotive and Pressed Steel Car M4A1s were not built with the M3 type drive sprockets. The M4A4 has the old blade sight (1), while the M4A1s have vane sights (2). Both sights are often seen together in period photos. This would indicate that the vane sight was installed as a depot or field modification. All of the M4A1s have the late, sharp nosed E8543 differential housings. At least two of them appear to be the early type with the cast in steps. Note that these M4A1s are equipped with rubber block tracks.


PCF

While some of the M4A1s from PCF's Fall production were shipped overseas, a few others took part in an "Army War Show" (Bond Drive?) in Seattle. The photo above is dated October 4 1943. The features seen on these tanks, the commander's vane sight in particular, suggest that they would have been accepted in September. All of them have rubber block tracks, and at least 3 have sharp nosed differential housings with the cast in steps. Tanks 1 and 3 have the D50878 "no pistol port" turrets that began to enter into production at PCF in July. Before they became widely available, manufacturers were directed to weld up the pistol ports, and add the "thin spot" armor patches to their remaining supplies of earlier turrets. Tank 2 appears to have a welded up pistol port turret, presumably with the appliqué patch on the right front.


PCF

The "end of line" at Pacific Car. "3917" is chalked on the side of this tank. We assume that is the tank's serial number, which would make it the last unit accepted in October 1943. November was the final month of Sherman production, and the last 13 tanks were assigned Serial Numbers 3918 through 3930. Perhaps some glitch caused a delay with 3917, so that ultimately it was the last M4A1 to leave the plant? Note that the driver's hatch has yet to be installed. The center glacis location of the siren (1) interfered somewhat with the movement of the gun travel lock. Ultimately, the siren was relocated next to the left headlight, but this photo suggests that PCF completed production without moving it. There is no smoke mortar hole visible, which would lead us to conclude that PCF never factory installed the mortar. We have assumed that PCF and the other manufacturers that left the Sherman program at the end of 1943, would have finished out production with "no pistol port" turrets. However, 3917 has an earlier D50878 low bustle turret with working pistol port (2). The Ordnance Department considered the pistol port to be a ballistic weak point, and eliminated it from the turret design in April 1943. The decision was so unpopular with tank crews that it was reversed, and the pistol port was reinstated in July. However, only the 3 companies that remained in the Sherman program after 1943 were directed to reintroduce pistol port turrets in production, which they did, starting in late 1943. In any case, it seems likely that the Ordnance Inspector at PCF accepted 3917 with a functioning pistol port.


PCF

Pacific Car & Foundry was a rather minor producer of Shermans. The plant had a production capacity of 150 units per month, but rarely produced even half that number. The original contract was for 2316 M4A1s, with 925 to be made in 1942 alone. Difficulties with the timely procurement of critical items, coupled with the Government's dwindling tank requirements, led the company to opt out of the Sherman program in July 1943. They completed production in November with a total of 926 units. By comparison, Chrysler nearly matched PCF's total output in a single month, with 907 M4A4s accepted in December 1942. As a consequence of their low output, not many PCF built M4A1s have survived.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

Perhaps the most interesting surviving example is shown above. These two photos show SN 3009. The original USA Number, 3060576, is still faintly visible in blue drab. This tank was accepted in June, 1942, and was the 5th Sherman built by PCF. The years have worn away the paint, revealing this to be one of the hulls that had been drilled for the fixed machine guns. The holes can be seen to have been filled in by welding. One of the holes for the "pepperpot" exhaust can be seen in the rear photo. It is very likely that the M3 bogies are original. The turret has weathered at a different rate compared to the hull, which may be an indication that it is not the original. However, it has features appropriate to a 1942 vintage Sherman. On the other hand, the E8543 differential housing is definitely a retrofit, as it did not enter production until about a year after this tank was built. Left photo courtesy of Peter Garwood.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

A relatively "as built" or unmodified hull is rare on surviving Shermans. This tank can be seen to be equipped with the "aircraft type cowl fasteners," used to secure sand shields before the introduction of the standard sand shield design in mid 1943. The government made an effort install sand shields on British and US Shermans bound for North Africa. These were hung from the fasteners as seen in photo 3. The presence of these leads us to suspect that this tank may have been sent to Northwest Africa in late 1942 or early 1943. The name "Broncho" can be seen painted on twice, and may be a clue that this tank served with the US Army during WW II. Upper right photo courtesy of Chris Hughes.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

The above shows Serial Number 3049, which would have been accepted in September 1942. This tank has a Chrysler-Evansville dataplate which provides the information that it was remanufactured in November 1944. Before that it would have served as a training vehicle in the US. Note that this M4A1 was built with direct vision. During remanufacture, such tanks had the DV slots welded shut, and further ballistic protection was provided by the addition of a pair of sloping armor plates (1). The tank has almost every modification available by late 1944, except for the commander's vision cupola. Since it is in Europe, it seems possible that, after remanufacture, it was shipped there as a replacement in 1945.
 
 
M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF
 
With all of the modificatons, this M4A1 is almost unrecognizable as an early PCF. However, the E4153 upper hull casting is serial number 20, indicating that it was only the 20th hull made by Continental Foundry & Machine, East Chicago. The steel foundry at PCF produced more than just gun mount castings. This tank, Broncho and a few other surviving PCF M4A1s have drivers' hatches with the "P in a circle" logo. Other castings seen with the PCF logo include pistol port doors and the armored air intake covers. An Ordnance document has it that PCF was "scheduled" to produce 70 D50878 turrets in June 1943. We suspect this schedule was cancelled since the company was dropping out of the Sherman program. In any case, we have examined many D50878 turrets over the years, and have yet to come across an example with the PCF logo.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

Another remanufactured PCF M4A1 is on display at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. An old GI's photo (left) shows that this tank was assigned USA 3060668, indicating October 1942 production. The front view shows that it was retrofitted with the E9 modification. E9 kits appear to have become available to the remanufacturers starting around February 1945. Originally, the siren was installed on the left front fender. The remanufacturers moved it to what we think of as the "final position" next to the left headlight, where it wouldn't interfere with the gun travel lock. A little housing (1) was placed over the elbow of the electrical conduit, presumably to protect it from from being stepped on. The head lamp plug holders are in their original "up/ down" configuration.
 
 
M4A1 PCF 

We doubt that the two surviving PCF M4A1s featured earlier have their original turrets. 3060668 definitely doesn't. The casting marks seen above feature the "U on a keystone" logo of Union Steel. We approach the Ordnance documents with some skepticism, but Union Steel is not listed as a turret supplier to PCF. Furthermore, the rather high turret serial number of 3026 would indicate that it was cast about 5 months after 3060668 was accepted. The commander's vision cupola (1), armored periscope cover (2), MG stowage (3) and extended fenders (4) are just a few of the many modifications that were added to this tank during remanufacture.
 
 
 M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

A few minor variations can be found on Shermans produced by each of the builders. On the 6 or so surviving PCF M4A1s we have examined, there are little half round pieces (1) welded to the hull and to the hinge barrels of the armored gas cap covers. In most cases, the other companies welded the hinge barrels directly to the hull such as can be seen on example 2. The half round pieces are present on the engine deck gas cap covers of the other PCF M4A1s, which leads us to think that the original front engine deck on 3060668 may have been replaced. Note that the slotted bolts on the ventilator cover (3) are symmetrically spaced. All cast hull Shermans appear to have used "symmetrical" ventilator covers, whereas welded hull Shermans, with the exception of Pressed Steel Car M4s, appear to have used covers with an asymmetrical bolt pattern. All Ft Leonard Wood photos courtesy of Bill Miley.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

Above is Serial Number 3714, a PCF M4A1 currently displayed in front of the Oorlogsmuseum in Overloon, Netherlands "as a remembrance of the actions of the American 7th Armored Division in 1944." It was restored by Iwan Van Dijk, Niek Hendrix, Hans van Toer, Piet Peters and Herman Dinnissen, with the aid of a number of local firms. The left side photo shows the tank just before it was recovered from a Target Range. It then had the E9 suspension modification, which would indicate that it was remanufactured in the US in 1945. The E9 was removed during the restoration to give the tank more of the appearance of a 7th AD Sherman in the Fall of 1944. Nothing is known of its WW II history, but 3714 was most likely sent to The Netherlands as military aid in the early 1950s. Left side photo courtesy of http://www.shermantankoverloon.nl/ and right side photo courtesy of Massimo Foti.


M4A1 PCF    M4A1 PCF

Many welded hull Shermans have the tank's serial number stamped into one or both or the rear towing lugs. To date, we have not seen this on a single example of the many M4A1s we have examined. All Shermans were provided with a dataplate that was affixed to the wall next to the driver's seat. The serial number was stamped into the upper right corner of the dataplate. Unfortunately, in many cases, the plates on surviving units are either rusted unreadable, or missing altogether. The Overloon M4A1 was found to have the Serial Number stamped inside the dataplate frame as seen above left. Serial Number 3714 indicates this tank would have been built by PCF in July 1943. 3714 was also seen stamped on the front glacis, just beside the bow machine gun. If any readers have the opportunity to examine a surviving M4A1(75), please contact us if you see numbers stamped in these locations.


M4A1 PCF

Above shows the dataplate from Serial Number 3049. As mentioned previously, this M4A1 would have been accepted in September, 1942. It provides the exact day of acceptance which is unusual. “D. Ball" was probably the Army Ordnance Inspector at PCF who accepted the tank. Photo courtesy of Alain Galland, Balmoral Green.


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