M4 and M4A1 75mm Shermans produced by Pressed Steel Car Co., Inc.
Most of the information on this page is courtesy of Joe DeMarco. Note: some of the information 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 M4(75) or an M4A1(75) with small hatches.

Pressed Steel Car Company, Inc. produced 1000 M4(75)s and 3700 M4A1(75)s from March, 1942 through December, 1943.

Production Order T-3017: 900 units: 550 M4A1, 350 M4: Serial Numbers 5 / USA 3014761 through S/N 904 / USA 3015660
Production Order T-3163: 800 units: 477 M4A1, 323 M4: Serial Numbers 10660 / USA 3015661 through S/N 11459/ USA 3016460
Production Order T-3321: 400 units: 299 M4A1, 101 M4: Serial Number 13460 / USA 3016461 through S/N 13859 / USA 3016860
Production Order T-3605: 1600 units: 1374 M4A1, 226 M4: Serial Number 28005 / USA 3036535 through S/N 29604 / USA 3038134
Production Order T-4166: 1000 M4A1: Serial Number 36900 / USA 3069497 through S/N 37899 / USA 3070496


Some of the official documents have it that specific Serial and Registration Number ranges were assigned to distinguish M4s from M4A1s in the "mixed" Production Orders. In counting heads, we have not found this to be the case. That is to say, it is not possible to determine if a unit is an M4 or an M4A1 if all one has is the Serial and/or Registration Number. An exception to this would be PSC's first 164 units, built from March through June, 1942. These were all M4A1s, and would have been assigned Serial Numbers 5 through 168.


PSC M4A1

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. On October 25, 1940, the Pressed Steel Car Company signed a 28.5 million dollar agreement with the British Purchasing Commission for the production of 501 28 ton Medium Tanks. The design which emerged in early 1941 was the M3 Medium. It was negotiated that the M3s produced by PSC would incorporate a larger British designed turret as opposed to the smaller turret of the original M3. The British labeled M3s with their turrets "Grants," while M3s with the original turret configuration were designated "Lees."  The montage above documents the rehabilitation and conversion of PSC's long abandoned Hegewisch Plant in Chicago into a tank production facility. It is thought that the first PSC Grant as shown in the lower left panel is now on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington in the UK. The great drawback of the M3 was its sponson mounted main gun. By the Fall of 1941, the Ordnance Department had produced a replacement design which used the same mechanical components of the M3, but incorporated the main gun in a rotating turret. The new M4 series, dubbed "Sherman" by the British, entered production in early 1942, and completely replaced the M3 series on the various assembly lines by the end of the year. The lower right panel dates to the Spring of 1942, and shows M3 Grants on the right and M4A1 Shermans on the left.


PSC M4A1

In November 1941, the US Government took over the Hegewisch plant from the British, and contracted with Pressed Steel for the production of 900 Medium Tanks based on the recently designed T6 (Sherman) pilot. All but 21 of the Shermans built by Pressed Steel Car from 1942 through 1945 were powered by the 400 horsepower 9 cylinder Wright Radial aircraft engine (most built under license by Continental Motors). The photo above shows Serial Numbers 5 and 6, PSC's first and second units, on the assembly line on February 18, 1942 (not 1941 as stamped at the top). These and six others were accepted in March. PSC's first 164 units were cast hull M4A1s. In July, the company took up production of the welded hull M4 model. Government contracts were revised several times, and, all told, PSC produced 1000 M4(75)s and 3700 M4A1(75)s from March, 1942 through December, 1943. In January 1944, the company switched over to production of the M4A1(76), and built a total of 3426 units. The absolutely last Sherman made was an M4A1(76)HVSS that rolled off the line at Pressed Steel in July, 1945.


PSC M4A1

Above provides a right rear view of the first PSC M4A1, Serial Number 5, USA 3014761. A small number of early Pressed Steel and Lima Locomotive M4A1s were assembled with the M3 style "pepperpot" exhaust and muffler setup. We've asterisked the "pepperpots" on both the Grant and Sherman in the photo. 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. The Ordnance Department developed a solution that replaced the pepperpots with center mounted exhausts pipes that directed the hot gasses down and away from the tank. An unfortunate consequence of the new configuration was that, in order to make room for the exhaust setup, the M3's interior mounted air cleaner was replaced with two externally mounted cleaners that were very vulnerable to combat damage. In any case, the Ordnance Department directed that all M4A1s not built with the new standard M4/M4A1 exhaust and air cleaner configuration would have it retrofitted before issue.


M4A1 PSC

The first PSC M4A1, Serial Number 5, USA 3014761 was not officially accepted until March, 1942, but it was shipped to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for evaluation on February 27. The Signal Corps photo above is part of a series taken shortly thereafter touting the "new M4 medium tank," and noting its superiority to the M3 design. The "completely streamlined... all cast body" is contrasted with the M3's riveted hull. The limited traverse of the M3's sponson mounted 75mm main gun is compared to the gun's relocation to the center in a fully rotating turret. At this point, the original short barreled M2 gun seen in the February photo, was replaced with the standard M3 75mm, and the M34 rotor shield (1) was added. It is thought that around 20 of PSC's first M4A1s had turrets equipped with the rotor sight (2). On March 5, 1942, the Military Characteristics of the M4 series were revised to eliminate the two fixed machine guns. We suspect that only the first unit actually had 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. A cable clamp (3) was installed on both the front and rear of the first few units. The front clamp was soon eliminated, and the cable was attached to the left front towing shackle. Serial Numbers 5 and 6 were built without head light guards. On these units, the head light plugs (4) simply swung free on their retaining chains. Two standard headlights are seen installed. The lights shown in a previous photo are "hooded." On early M4A1s, detachable "blackout hoods" were provided for the driving lights. Later, a special purpose blackout head light was provided for the driver. When not in use, the head lights were stored inside, and the holes were sealed with the plugs.


M4A1 PSC
Click on photo for more details

A number of the first PSC M4A1s were shipped to the Armored Force at Ft. Knox as soon as they came off the assembly line. The photo above shows a pair parading past the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky on Army Day, April 4, 1942. The tank in the foreground is PSC's first unit, while the one in the background is their sixth, Serial Number 10, USA 3014766. Note that Number 10 "still" has the pepperpot exhaust, but is "now" installed with the head lamp guards. Serial Number 5, USA 3014761 can be seen with the driver's hatch lifting handle in the "first position," mounted towards the rear and on an angle, while SN 10 has the handle mounted in the "standard" position. Oddly, many subsequent PSC M4s and M4A1s are seen with the handles in the first position. Counting heads suggest that the standard position was fully adopted in August, 1942. An anomaly seen exclusively on PSC M4s and M4A1s is the riveted lower hull. The military characteristics of the M4 series only authorized "fabrication by welding" of the lower hull. Our "head count" suggests that Pressed Steel Car began production with, and continued to use riveted lower hulls until around May, 1943. We have found no explanation for this exception, but it may be that PSC was tasked with using up the remaining supply of M3 Medium riveted lower hulls once production was terminated. Company correspondence mentions that the interior protruding rivets of "our special lower hull" necessitated a slight divergence in the standard arrangement of the Sherman's internal stowage. 


M4A1 PSC

Serial Number 6, USA 3014762 was shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground where it was evaluated and used for various tests. The above photo dated April 28, 1942, shows the development of the "Spot and Signal Light." This item became standard equipment on all Shermans by the beginning of 1943. 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 was part number E1230. At the outset of production, it was necessary for PSC 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 (arrow). Only a small number of the early production tanks are seen with the modified E1230 piece, because a new casting, part number E4151, with an un-notched bolt strip became available almost immediately.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

From the start, the Sherman was equipped with a gyroscopic stabilization system which permitted the main gun to be fired while the tank was moving. When properly serviced, the stabilizer worked, but the system required constant adjustment, and was too complicated for effective use by average crews. We suspect that the continued inclusion of the gyrostabilizer throughout production may have been due to political patronage; however, it was omitted from the Sherman's replacement, the M26. In July 1942, Serial Number 6 was designated "M4A1E2," and used to test another futuristic concept - infrared lights for night operations. Combined with this, came the installation of a navigational system consisting of a recording odograph which could map the direction and distance the vehicle had traveled. SN 6 was named "Night and Day," and shipped to Ft. Knox where tests in the first half of 1943 revealed that these systems were "unsatisfactory." Gyro stabilization, night vision and navigation systems are commonplace today, but the technology of the time could not support their practical use on the Sherman during WW II.


M4A1 PSC

The photo above provides a left rear view of Serial Number 7, USA 3014763 photographed at the General Motors Proving Ground on December 31, 1942. The number of PSC M4A1s built with the pepperpot exhaust factory installed is unknown, but it is noted to be on SN 10 shown earlier. When the standard exhaust and air cleaner configuration was retrofitted, the original pepperpot holes were blanked off (1) as shown here. Throughout production M4A1s produced by PSC and Montreal Locomotive used an angled transition piece (2) to join the lower rear hull plate to the belly plate. In contrast, the transition pieces of Lima Locomotive and Pacific Car M4A1s were rounded. The engine access door hinges (3) are typical of the M3 Medium. Most M4s and M4A1s are seen with a different hinge configuration. The "27" (circled) cast on the side of turret is the serial number, indicating it was the 27th turret casting accepted. The "serial number on the side" is typical of Union Steel turrets. PSC 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, as seen here.


M4A1 PSC

The image above is from the M4/M4A1 Technical Manual dated November 14, 1942. The USA Registration Number was painted on in blue drab, and the spacing and "railroad font" seen were typical of early production PSC Shermans. The "W" in front of the Reg. Number stood for "War Department," and, in general, was no longer applied by the end of 1943. USA 3014772 was PSC's 12th M4A1, and would have been accepted in April, 1942. PSC reported that they shipped a number of their April production Shermans to the Desert Training Center in California, Ft. Knox and Ft. Benning, Georgia. For instance, 3014772 went to Ft. Knox on April 13th. The illustration labels a number of items, such as the "gunner's periscope," which replaced the original rotor sight. Other photos of this tank show the rotor sight, so the gunner's periscope may have been "photoshopped" into this image to reflect the standard configuration. The Fuel Shut-Off Valves were eliminated from the engine deck, most likely in May, 1942. While Lima and Pacific Car installed the secondary antenna bracket from the start, counting heads suggests that PSC did not introduce it, or the commander's blade sight until May. We've circled the future positions of these items.


M4A1 PSC

On July 15, 1942, the US shipped 212 M4A1 and 90 M4A2 Shermans to the British in North Africa. This was nearly the entire production at the time, and was done on an emergency basis as the Afrika Korps advanced on Egypt. The combat debut of the Sherman came on October 24, 1942 at the start of the decisive Second Battle of El Alamein. The M4A1s in the photo were filmed at a Collecting Point after the campaign. Some of the camouflage 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. 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 of 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, such as on 3014811 (arrow), was fabricated and installed at the Toledo Tank Depot in Ohio, while the quarter round (inset) came from the Chester Tank Depot in Pennsylvania.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

The Sherman's US Army combat debut is thought to have occurred on December 6, 1942 near Medjez el Bab in Tunisia, although we don't know of any photos. The Germans filmed some of the aftermath of the actions that took place in January and February, 1943 during the Axis Offensive which came to be known as the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Above shows two views of "Honky Tonk," of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, knocked out on January 31, 1943. This M4A1 was USA 3014998, indicating that it had been accepted at PSC in July, 1942. A few transitions are evident in these photos. The most obvious is the 1-piece differential housing (1), which began to enter the production pipeline in mid 1942. The turret lifting ring is "now" in the "low" position (2). The lifting rings on the gun shield have been moved "outboard" (3) in order to avoid the interference issues encountered with their original position mounted very close to the rotor shield. The cast lever arms (circled) of the front and middle bogies are more typical of M4 type bogies as opposed to the flat, forged M3 type lever arms seen on the rear unit. Note the absence of a tail light guard. PSC installed these at the outset of M4 production in July, but for some reason, they don't begin to appear on their M4A1s until around October, 1942. Two sections of the right front interior of the turret were thinned out to permit the proper operation of the traversing mechanism. Honky Tonk's turret can be seen to have been penetrated in this "thin spot" area.


M4A1 PSC

The two Medium Tank Battalions of the 1st Armored Regiment were virtually wiped out (nearly 100 Shermans) during the battles in mid February. Some of the Regiment's tanks were welded hull M4s made by Pressed Steel. Above shows USA 3015037, an August, 1942 production unit. This is the only Sherman in the series of German photos that is seen equipped with the M4 bogies, and we suspect that 3015037 was very close to "patient zero" in PSC's transition to them. The M4 bogies were designed by Chrysler to carry the heavier weight of the M3A4 Lee, and became standard on Shermans as quickly as production would allow. The track skids are the original type with the half round shape (inset). The Germans appear to have rendered a number of the tanks in this photo series unrecoverable by the use of demolition charges. For more photos from this series, see the book, "First Blood US 1st Armored Division in Tunisia."


M4A1 PSC

The Armored Force Board at Ft. Knox evaluated the early Shermans, and in a report dated April 25, 1942 stated, "Direct vision cover and opening are poorly designed and fitted and leave a crack the size of a lead pencil at the level of the driver's eyes. Bullet splash or a direct hit would blind the driver." Engineers at APG had devised 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 on June 24, 1942 and August 13 on welded hull models. Some time was needed for the revised castings to enter the production pipeline, and it is thought that Pressed Steel began the transition on the cast hull in August. "Counting heads" suggests that PSC produced about 250 M4A1s with direct vision. The highly modified unit shown above is on display at a Museum in Nattick, Massachusetts. It was remanufactured in 1945, and shortly thereafter converted to M42B1 Flamethrower. It is Serial Number 415, USA 3015171 indicating that it was originally accepted in August. This and every PSC M4A1 that we have been able to record with a higher serial number are in the later, non direct vision configuration.


M4A1 PSC

The Canadians received 4 M4A1s as direct Lend Lease. The first, Serial Number 192, was shipped to Canada in December, 1942. With the exception of the 188 Grizzlies built by Montreal Locomotive, all of the other Shermans used by Canada were allocated from British Lend Lease stocks. The photo above shows SN 192 in mid 1943, when it was used as a model for Grizzly stowage. This tank was accepted in July, 1942 about 50 units before "Honky Tonk" shown earlier. On PSC M4s and M4A1s with riveted lower hulls, rivets are present not only on the side plates, but on the lower rear hull plate as well. Note that the idler wheel assemblies are secured with rivets (circled), not bolts. The engine access doors have the standard hinges (1), as opposed to the M3 hinges seen on some of the earlier units. As with most M4s and M4A1s, the door stops (2) are welded on next to the doors. Only Lima Locomotive appears to have affixed them directly to the doors. The welded together air scoops (3) are in the triangular configuration. The turret is Union Steel # 345, and features unusually large lifting rings (4) that are part of the turret casting. Note that these are in the "high" position. In the postwar years, the Canadians sold most of their remaining Grizzlies to the Portuguese, and Serial Number 192, retrofitted with M4 type bogies and Canadian Dry Pin tracks, was thrown in as well. When the Portuguese disposed of these WW II relics in the late 1970's, they were bought up by collectors.


M4A1 PSC

Most of the surviving Shermans in the world survived because they were not used in combat. Our subject is thought to be the oldest extant PSC built Sherman, and it is a runner. Had this M4A1 been shipped overseas, there is a good chance it would have been the victim of "attrition" in North Africa or Italy. It is a popular attraction at the annual show put on by the Americans in Wartime Museum in Virginia. We've been asked a number of questions about the "look" of this tank, because like most surviving Shermans, it is not in "as built" condition. As can be seen in the previous photo, this tank originally had M3 bogies. Some have thought that this M4A1 should have a 3-piece differential housing, but it is our judgment that the E4186 one piece is original, as its part serial number is very low at 33. It is assumed that the Canadians retrofitted the M34A1 Gun Mount (1). Ordnance documents have it that PSC introduced this item into production in late March, 1943. The siren can be seen mounted in its initial location on the left front fender in the previous photo. In late 1942, the siren on M4s and M4A1s was moved to a new position slightly off center on the glacis, where it was mounted on a brush guard. Grizzlies were factory equipped with the gun travel lock, and in order to avoid any interference issues, the siren and brush guard were installed close to the left head light, as seen here (2). Again, it is assumed that the Canadians retrofitted the 2 inch smoke mortar (3). PSC did not begin to factory install the mortar until mid October, 1943.


M4A1 PSC

Surviving M4A1s with direct vision are rather rare, and the photo above provides a slightly closer look at the visors and so forth. Early production PSC M4s and M4A1s had fabricated, "bent rod" hull lifting rings (1). The head light (2) is equipped with the detachable black out hood as shown in the Technical Manual (inset). The head light plug holder (3) is seen in the original position parallel to the glacis. The holders were changed to a vertical orientation in the Fall of 1942, presumably to keep the plugs from falling out during travel. The handle on the driver's hatch is seen in the "first" position (4) mounted towards the rear and on an angle. It is somewhat surprising that the Canadians did not retrofit the positive hatch lock mechanisms, since they were standard equipment on their Grizzlies. The original Sherman design included internal hatch locks, but they were insufficient. A January, 1943 test report includes, "Turret hatch door forced shut by branch of tree, injuring tank commander. Lock determined to be faulty." The hatch locks with equilibrator springs were reportedly introduced at PSC in early March, 1943. The Ordnance Department decreed that "No tank without this item to be accepted after 4/15/43." Modification kits were also provided for Tank Depot and field retrofit of this important safety feature.


M4A1 PSC

Above shows the appearance of the early type of rear hull lifting ring seen on PSC M4s and M4A1s. The welded together air scoop shown here has been the source of some confusion. In the period photo, one can see that this tank originally had the triangular type. The configuration shown here can be seen on at least 4 surviving Grizzlies. It would appear that Montreal Locomotive was not able to procure 188 pairs of the standard cast air scoops introduced in the Summer of 1942, and fashioned these for a few of its Grizzlies. A bit of the tail light guard can be seen. The guards are not present in the period photo, because this tank was built before PSC introduced them on its M4A1s.


M4A1 PSC

The Part Number of the small hatch upper hull casting was E4153. When possible, we like to record the E4153 information cast into the firewall of many surviving M4A1s. Until late 1942, Continental Foundry & Machine cast all of the M4A1 upper hulls. The cost to produce and machine an upper hull was listed as $4500. We believe that Continental cast about 500 with direct vision, although the highest hull serial number we have recorded thus far is 477. This example can be seen as 366. This tank would have been built with the perforated sheet metal around the turret basket, and 12 ready rounds attached to the "wall" of the basket. Again we would assume that it was the Canadians who retrofitted two of the three steps of the so called "Quick Fix" modification. They removed the perforated sheet metal which tended to trap the crew from additional avenues of emergency escape. The very exposed 12 ready rounds on the turret basket wall were also eliminated. This tank also has the second step of the Quick Fix mod which provided 1/4 inch armor plates and doors for the ammunition racks, most of which were located "up high" on the sponson shelves. The original stowage configuration included 30 rounds in a less exposed position on the floor of the hull behind the bow gunner. On "Second Generation" series Shermans, almost all of the rounds were moved to the floor of the hull. The final step of the Quick Fix modification was the installation of 1 inch armor plates to the exterior of the hull in the areas of the sponson mounted ammo bins. We think this early M4A1 looks better without them, but for reasons unknown, the plates were not installed. This was also the case on about the first 25 Grizzlies. Photo courtesy of David Doyle.


M4A1 PSC

This factory floor photo dates to September, 1942, and shows a mixed line of M4s and M4A1s. The M4 bogies would have completely replaced the M3 type at this point. The M4 which is third in line, "still" has direct vision. The M34 rotor shields are the later type (1) with the cast in side pieces for greater protection against bullet splash. The head light plug holders can be seen in the later, vertical orientation on the lead M4A1. This tank seems to be awaiting installation of a 3-piece differential housing. PSC appears to have used both 1 and 3-piece diffs until about Spring, 1943. A few front fender sections can be seen sitting on the floor. Note how the protruding piece on the topmost fender section (2) is bent to fit the contour of the 3-piece diff, while the one below it (3) is straight to match the contour of the 1-piece. From September, 1942 through March, 1943, Pressed Steel Car manufactured 100 M12 155mm Gun Motor Carriages along with 100 M30 Cargo Carriers. Some of these can be seen on the right in the photo. They were used in training in the US, and 74 each were rebuilt, and shipped to the European Theater in the second half of 1944. Despite their limited numbers, the M12s were highly effective as mobile artillery. The Field Artillery Board was impressed enough to order additional units, and from February through September 1945 Pressed Steel manufactured 418 M40 155mm Gun Motor Carriages, an improved version based on the Sherman chassis with HVSS.


M4A1 PSC

The photo above was taken at the Desert Training Center in California around mid 1943, and documents a king pin failure on a transport trailer. "Bronx" can be seen to be USA 3015102. Like 3015032, the 1st Armored Regiment M4 battle casualty shown earlier, this tank was accepted in August, 1942. A close examination of the original Archives print showed the turret serial number to be 415 (inset), and it is one of the odd turret castings that featured the unusually large lifting rings mounted in the "high" position. We believe that PSC began the to receive supplies of the cast air scoops (1) shown here in August. The round air cleaners (2) entered the production pipeline in the Summer of 1942, and PSC used the round or square types interchangeably until the end of 1943. A 10 pound sledge hammer is listed as "on rear deck" in the November, 1942 Technical Manual. "Counting heads" suggests that PSC did not begin to include this item until November. It was installed on a slant on the upper rear hull plate in the area indicated by the asterisks.


M4A1 PSC

The M4 on display at the USS Alabama Memorial in Mobile has Union Steel turret serial number 415, so, it would seem, the turret from Bronx, if not the whole tank, has survived. This M4 was remanufactured in late 1944 by either Chrysler-Evansville or International Harvester. The serial number corresponding to USA 3015102 would be 315. Unlike other Shermans, we have not found the Ordnance Serial Number factory stamped anywhere on the exterior of surviving Pressed Steel built Shermans. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to look inside this tank for the dataplate (or perhaps the serial number stamped inside the dataplate frame), to confirm if this is indeed Bronx. In any case, despite extensive modification and shot damage (it was recovered from a target range at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida), the tank provides us with an opportunity to examine some of the features of a PSC produced M4. Photo courtesy of Paul and Lorén Hannah.



M4A1 PSC

M4(75)s were manufactured by 5 companies - American Locomotive, Baldwin Locomotive, Chrysler, Pressed Steel Car and Pullman Standard Car Co. They were the most common version of the Sherman used by the US Army during WW II. Not many M4(75)s have survived, and this might be explained in part by their heavy use in combat. Although we haven't come across any documentation, the examination of period photos and surviving tanks leads us to believe that only PSC and Baldwin produced M4s with the upper rear hull plate in the vertical orientation as shown above (arrow). The same plates noted on other M4s are mounted on an angle. Photo courtesy of Paul and Lorén Hannah.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

Another anomaly seen on PSC M4s is the "high" location of the weep holes (1) in the turret splash. Other welded hull Shermans have the weep holes located where the turret splash is welded to the hull, as indicated by the red dots. PSC appears to have employed an unusual assembly method in which the overhead plates did not angle down as on other Shermans, but were flat straight across as shown in the photo on the right. Also observed on PSC M4s is the ventilator with symmetrical bolt pattern (2). Cast hull Shermans featured "symmetrical ventilators," whereas all welded hull Shermans with the exception of PSC M4s have been noted to have ventilators with asymmetrical bolt patterns (inset). It seems oddly inefficient that two different types of ventilators had to be mass produced for the Sherman. Finally, the right rear turret splash section (3) on PSC M4s was only about a foot long. The same splash seen on other all welded hull M4s extends over about 2 feet. M4 Composites are also noted to have had "shorter" splashes. Photos courtesy of Mike Canaday.


M4A1 PSC

We've observed on a few surviving PSC M4s that the fire extinguisher housing (1) is not surrounded by a splash guard as on most other welded hull Shermans. Modelers might note the little locking handles (2) that secured the armored air intake cover on M4s and M4A1s. These were removed to release the cover so that it could be lifted for servicing (inset). As with the handles on the gas cap covers, these were secured with retaining chains. For future reference, note the absence of a weld seam at the juncture where the turret splash meets the fuel cap splash guard. Photos courtesy of Mike Canaday.


M4A1 PSC

The glacis of PSC M4s were assembled using a combination of castings and armor plates. The lower section was a long casting that included the bow machine gun socket. The part number of this piece is rather prominent, and can be seen as D51011. The caster's logo, a "U on a keystone," indicates it was made in Pennsylvania ("the Keystone State") by Union Steel. The serial number of this particular piece is 99. We suspect that another company may have produced some of the D51011 castings, but assuming that Union Steel had provided all of them for the 1000 PSC M4s, the highest part serial number one might expect to encounter would be in the neighborhood of 1000. Some of these castings have been seen with little "buttons" (1) on their corners. The cast head lamp sockets (2) are typical of most small hatch welded hull Shermans. As mentioned this tank was remanufactured, and a number of items would have been added at that time. The periscope guards (3) were reported to have been introduced at PSC in September 1943, a month after M4 production ended. The "Sloping armor ahead of drivers' hatches" (4) and gun travel lock (5) were said to have been introduced in mid July and August respectively, so may have been factory installed on some of the last PSC M4s. Ordnance documents note that, 98 percent of the remanufactured Shermans could use their original transmissions and final drives, and the early appearance of this differential suggests that it is original to this tank. Photo courtesy of Paul and Lorén Hannah.


M4A1 PSC

The few surviving PSC M4s have all had the drivers' hood plates retrofitted, so this photo provides an unobstructed view of the front of USA 3015037, the 1st Armored Regiment combat casualty shown earlier. Sections 1, 2 and 3 were armor plate, while the drivers' hoods (4) and the D51011 piece (5) were castings. In general, there would have been a loose chronology to the appearance of various components that can be helpful when trying to "count heads." For instance, the serial numbers of the D51011 sections on the few M4s in the book "First Blood" are noted to be in the low double digits. The casting here can be read as serial number 19. In this view, one can see the little "buttons" on the four corners of the D51011 casting.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

Above shows two views of the antenna bracket seen in period photos and surviving examples of PSC M4s. Small hatch, welded hull Shermans featured a number of versions of this bracket in various shapes and sizes. The bracket shown was mounted flush to the armor plate, whereas some were mounted on top of the plate. This particular bracket is very similar, if not the same, as the casting seen on ALCO M4s. A few examples from the M4s of both companies have been noted to have the same Part Number - D50986. The installation of this rather large fixture on every small hatch, welded hull Sherman strikes us a considerable waste of time and resources, not to mention something of a ballistic liability. It served as an antenna mount when an additional radio was installed on the right front sponson shelf of command tanks. We suspect that a 50 cent bracket (inset) might have served the purpose just as well on the relatively small percentage of Shermans outfitted with the long range command radio. Photos courtesy of Mike Canaday.


M4A1 PSC

Due to the paucity of period photos and surviving examples, we have not been able to do a very effective "head count" regarding the transition of PSC M4s to the elongated drivers' hoods with auxiliary periscopes. Above shows an M4 with direct vision on display at the Saumur Museum in France. This is the only surviving PSC M4 we know of that still has its dataplate, and it is Serial Number 811, indicating November 1942 production. So at least we can say that PSC had NOT completed the transition to the later drivers' hoods in November. For what it's worth, the D51011 casting can be seen as serial number 317, quite a bit higher than the previous examples discussed. SN 811 was rebuilt by the French in the post war years, and like many surviving Shermans, it was cobbled together. The late E8543 differential did not enter production until the summer of 1943. The D50878 turret with welded up pistol port is not original to this M4 either, as it was made by Buckeye Steel, and has the casting date 3-43 (March, 1943) below the "B in a circle" caster's logo (inset). Photo courtesy of Massimo Foti.


M4A1 PSC

The photo above shows an 11th Armored Division M4 named "Bambino" at Camp Banning, California in January, 1944. A close examination of the original print revealed the Registration Number to be 3015981 indicating December, 1942 acceptance. From this, we might assume that PSC introduced the later drivers' hoods in either November or December. Bambino can be seen with a couple of new items - the fittings for the spot and signal lamp and the bow machine gun dust cover (both circled). The siren has been moved from its original position on the left front fender to the glacis, where it sits on a brush guard. This unit "still" has the early "bent rod" hull lifting rings, although some December, 1942 PSC Shermans have been noted with the standard lifting ring castings. Quite a few modifications were available for first generation Shermans by the time this photo was taken in January, 1944. However, modification kits were produced in limited numbers, and they were generally reserved for tanks overseas or headed there. Training tanks in the US are mostly seen unmodified, or in "as built" condition. The 11th Armored Division left the Desert Training Center in early February, 1944, and Bambino would have been inherited by the next unit assigned there. Most likely, this tank would have become one of the 795 M4s remanufactured from August 1944 through April, 1945.


M4A1 PSC

The other manufacturers didn't begin M4 production until early 1943, so PSC M4s would have been the only such models available during the battles in Tunisia at that time. Most of the photos of US Army Shermans seen in Sicily are M4A1s, but above shows an M4 advancing towards Messina on August 15, 1943 two days before the end of the campaign. This tank is named "Bad Boy," and is thought to have been with the 753rd Tank Battalion. We identify it as a PSC built M4 based on the "high" weep holes. This tank can be seen with what we label "the plain sprocket," which was introduced on PSC M4s and M4A1s in early 1943, and used by them until the end of production in 1945. Quite a few PSC M4s and M4A1s are noted with the aircraft cowl type fasteners used to secure sand shields before the introduction of the "Universal" or "Interchangeable" type sand shields in mid 1943. PSC already had some experience producing sand shields from their time making Grants for the British. In the photo, one can see how the section hangs off the fasteners. Later versions, including the universal type sand shields, were screwed or bolted on to attachment strips.


M4A1 PSC

Most "combat shots" of PSC M4s are from the Italian Campaign. This well known photo of the "Belle of Little Rock" of the 755th Tank Battalion was taken in the Castelforte area on May 12, 1944 at the start of the Allied Offensive which culminated in the capture of Rome on June 4th. PSC is reported to have introduced the M34A1 Gun Mount into production at the end of March, and the “universal type” sand shields at the end of April, 1943. Sand shields were not popular with the troops and, as seen here, were mostly removed. Note the attachment strips used to hold the later types of sand shield. "Belle" can be seen with a welded lower hull. Pressed Steel "joined the pack" and, by our head count, completed the transition to this around May, 1943. Casting flaws were repaired by filling in with weld material. Belle's turret has about the most extensive repairs we have ever seen. The M4 behind Belle appears to be an earlier PSC with direct vision, and the Signal Corps photographer captured the moment that the projectile left its 75mm gun.


M4A1 PSC

The photo above shows tanks B-14 (left) and B-13 of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Armored Division preparing to advance to the Arno River on August 31, 1944. The tank riders are GIs of the 370th Infantry Regiment, the first element of the 92nd Infantry Division (composed of "Negro troops" (sic)) to arrive in Italy. As best we have been able to determine, only Pressed Steel Car and Baldwin Locomotive produced M4s with direct vision. B-13 has the PSC glacis pattern, while B-14 can be seen with the sharp edged fabricated bow machine gun and antenna sockets typical of Baldwin M4s. One might not expect to see the later M34A1 Gun Mount on a direct vision M4, but "counting heads" years ago, we were surprised to find no examples of Baldwin M4s that did not have direct vision. As mentioned earlier, the Ordnance Department ordered the elimination of direct vision from the M4 design on August 13, 1942. Baldwin produced 1233 M4s from January 1943 through January 1944, and although we have yet to find any documentation, the available evidence leads us to conclude that ALL of them were made with direct vision. We suspect that the PSC M4 in this photo is at least 7 months older than the Baldwin.


M4A1 PSC

Above shows the scene in a tank dump in the United Kingdom a few months before D-Day, June 6, 1944. The M4 in the foreground can be identified as a Pressed Steel by the Registration Number 3036751, indicating April, 1943 production. This tank appears to have a welded lower hull, and if so, it would have been one of the first to make the transition. The Ordnance Department wanted a great number of modifications to be applied to the US Army pool of approximately 1000 M4s and 400 M4A1s that were in the U.K. in the months preceding the Invasion. Indeed, the number of such modifications was so large that ETOUSA estimated that it would take 2 years for their personnel to complete the job. Consequently, many of the Shermans had the mods installed assembly line fashion by British contractors. It was noted that half of the US Shermans in the UK had the M34A1 Gun Mount (a "Must" modification), but all of those were equipped with the earlier M50 telescopic sight, when the M70F telescope was a "Must." Note that one unit (arrow) still has the M34 Gun Mount. None of the US Shermans in the UK had the "Quick Fix" modification (1) which was another "Must." The "thin spot turret patch" (2) was merely "Urgent," and was reported missing on 70 percent of the pool. In the photo, the "overwritten" stars would not have been acceptable at a US Tank Depot, which suggests that the applique armor was done in the U.K. The new "Commander's Vane Sight" (inset) was a "Must," but is not seen on these tanks, possibly because supplies had not yet arrived in theater. Certainly some of the modifications were unreasonable. Sand shields were "Urgent"? Many were removed even before the tanks landed in France. The sand shields on 3036751 can be identified as the universal type by the vertical slit (3) in the center section.


M4A1 PSC

Only 525 units were produced by PSC in 1943 before M4 production ended in August. Consequently, they are relatively rare in photos in Northwest Europe. Above shows a well known image of a PSC M4 in Belgium, September 9, 1944. The caption identifies the GIs as 60th Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. The 746th Tank Battalion was attached to the 9th ID at the time. The 746th landed on Utah Beach as part of the second wave on D-Day. This Sherman typifies the appearance of US Army M4s and M4A1s at the outset of the Campaign in Normandy. Just about every modification made available by the end of 1943 is seen installed. Note how the Commander's Vane Sight has been retrofitted next to the original blade sight. The hedgerow cutter would have been added in the field in July 1944 before the start of Operation Cobra. Pressed Steel Car M4s and M4A1s were outfitted with either the original welded spoke road wheels seen in the previous photo, or the pressed metal type shown here.


M4A1 PSC

Ordnance documents note that 41 new production PSC M4s were converted to T3 Mine Flails. These were essentially copies of the British "Scorpion" design. The first batch of 30 were converted in April 1943 from M4s built on Production Order T-3321. The 101 M4s and 299 M4A1s from this P.O. were produced in March and April, 1943. Thus, the photo above provides an idea of the front appearance of a Spring 1943 PSC M4. The positive hatch lock mechanisms (1) were reported to have been added to the commander's and drivers' hatches in early March. Note the standard hull lifting ring castings (2), the step bracket (3) and the "second" position of the siren (4). The few photos of the first 30 T3s show them with M34 Gun Mounts, and oddly, the rotor shields noted are seen "back" in the earlier configuration, without the cast in side pieces (5).


M4A1 PSC

In this rear view, one can see the addition of the exhaust deflector (1), which is in the "closed" position. This was said to have been introduced at PSC on March 11, 1943 at Serial Number 13610. This tank "still" has a riveted lower hull (circled). We believe that PSC began the transition to the welded lower hull in April and completed it by May, 1943. Starting around the 2000 range, some Union Steel turrets are seen with the turret Part Number, D50878, cast in on one or the other side. We would guess that the "12" above the Part Number may be a reference to the turret mold that was used. The numbers noted run from 1 to 14. This turret appears to be serial number 2990. A very unscientific "head count" suggests that the M34A1 gun mount was factory installed on US turrets with Serial Numbers 3100 and higher. US turrets from about 3500 through 4400 are noted in the revised configuration that eliminated the pistol port. The high or low position of the rear turret lifting rings may have depended on the mold that was used. The earliest Union Steel turret we've noted with the "lows" is 239, seen on a May 1942 production M4A1. However, from about turret SN 300 through 470 the “highs” are seen again, with most of those having the unusually large lifting rings, such as on turrets 345 and 415 discussed earlier. Finally, every US turret recorded from SN 494 and above has the “lows.”


M4A1 PSC

A number of the first 30 T3s were shipped to Northwest Africa soon after they were converted. The 5th Army Engineer Training Center in Algeria published a report on August 12, 1943 detailing a demonstration in which 2 standard "T-3 Exploders (Scorpions)" and 1 "T-3 Exploder, Modified" negotiated their way through minefields and wire obstacles. The two standard T3s completed most of the course, although it is noted that they were fortunate to escape intact, because their flails had failed to detonate some mines. The modified unit was widely photographed, and may be the subject of some confusion. During the demonstration, it "blew up" on a pair of mines that its flails had missed. Both tracks were broken, and some bogies damaged, but the crew was unharmed. Above shows the modified unit and the suspension damage sustained on the right side. The boom of the modified T3 was 2 1/2 feet shorter than standard, skids were added under the gearbox, and shielding plates were installed to further protect the front of the tank. Note that even the siren's brush guard was given some extra protection.


M4A1 PSC

The tank Serial and T3 conversion numbers were stenciled on to the various mine flail components. The outboard flail engine, and most likely the M4 itself, was Serial Number 13771, T3 conversion number 12 (left). The boom sections (right) of the modified unit appear to have been cobbled together from other T3s, including SN 13796, conversion 20 and SN 13797 conversion 22. By the Serial Numbers, all of these M4s would have been accepted in April, 1943. The report concludes that the T3 cannot "be expected to negotiate anything but fairly level ground." Additionally, "concertina wire...entangled around the rotor...may be counted on to stop current models," and "overheating of the Scorpion engine is a serious problem which will necessitate modifications." Despite the negative report, the 6617th Mine Clearing Company (Provisional) employed 12 T3s in support of the 1st Armored Division during the breakout from Anzio in May, 1944. The T3s could not do an effective job, and were removed from service.


M4A1 PSC
M4A1 PSC

Here we see one of the final 11 T3s converted in July, 1943 from new M4s built on Production Order T-3605, the last Pressed Steel P.O. that included M4s. In August, 1944, this unit served as the test bed for the installation of a large diameter drum known as the "Rotoflail." Some Ordnance personnel suggested that flailing operations were best performed with the turret reversed as seen here. USA 3037333 would have been accepted in June, 1943, and unlike the earlier T3s, can be seen with the M34A1 Gun Mount. We suspect that June saw PSC's transition to the "no pistol port" D50878 turret (1). Other items of interest include the round air cleaners (2), the exhaust deflector (3) in the open position and the "long" trailer towing pintel (4), reported to have been introduced at PSC at the end of April. The original welded spoke idler wheel gave some problems, and, in mid 1943, the Ordnance Department mandated that they be replaced with the disc type (5) on all new production Shermans. The last 50 PSC M4s were completed in July and August. The drivers' hood applique and Quick Fix mods were reported to have been introduced at PSC at that time, but we have not come across any period photos of PSC M4s that would confirm if any had those modifications factory installed.


M4A1 PSC

This undated photo was taken at the Lima Tank Depot in Ohio, most likely in the Fall of 1943. The lack of bullet splash protection around the fire extinguisher pull housing (1) suggests that the Sherman is a Pressed Steel Car M4. The installation of the Quick Fix Modification is said to have taken over 140 man hours. It was necessary to remove the turret in order to retrofit 1/4 inch armor plates and doors to the ammunition bins. The weld scorch marks indicate recent completion of the job. After all modification work was done, the depot was directed to clean and repaint the interior in white where necessary. We've seen a few surviving Shermans that have "decalcomanias" or stencils  with "75 MM RDS" affixed to the ammo bins (inset). The bins are marked with the number of rounds as listed in the November, 1942 Technical Manual. The capacity of the original M4 and M4A1 is stated as 90 rounds (or 94 if the tank was equipped with a .30 caliber AA machine gun, instead of a .50 caliber). The 12 unprotected ready rounds around the turret basket wall were eliminated with the Quick Fix modification, which reduced the number of rounds carried to 78. There were complaints about this from users in the field, and it is mentioned that some crews removed the armored lid from the 8 round rack on the turret basket floor, and piled additional rounds on top.


M4A1 PSC

This photo provides an overhead view of a Pressed Steel Car M4. Serial Number 28203 would have been accepted in April, 1943. We approach the dates and Serial Numbers listed in the Ordnance documents with some skepticism, but it was reported that the company introduced the M34A1 Gun Mount on March 29, 1943 at SN 28203, so this might have been one of the first units built with the M34A1. Most of the modifications seen on this tank were introduced after April, 1943, and the remanufacturing programs didn't begin until August 1944, a few months after this photo was taken. Thus most of the mods were likely retrofitted as this unit was processed at a Tank Depot. We've pointed out the weld seams at the point where the hull top armor angles down. As a matter of Sherman minutia, we would observe that there are no further seams from that point to the rear of the hull on the few PSC M4s we have examined. Chrysler M4A4s are also noted to have used this "seamless" configuration. Other welded hull Shermans, including Second Generation models, are seen with seams at the point where the turret splash meets the fuel cap splash guard (black arrows). This tank was retrofitted with doubled up tow cables ("bridle assemblies") on the front and rear. SN 28203 was used in trials of the automatic tow hook. This would have permitted crews to recover a tank without getting out to hook up when under fire (inset). The tow hook was wanted on all retrievers intended for the Invasion of Japan, and a Modification Work Order was released in late April stating that Tank Recovery Vehicles "will not be shipped overseas after 30 April 1945, unless this work order has been applied." Had the Invasion gone forward, it is thought that bridle assemblies would have been retrofitted to all AFVs taking part, as per the MWO, "The field will be instructed to improvise bridles on combat vehicles to allow the hook to be connected to the vehicle and tow it to a protected area for repairs." Photo courtesy of George Fancsovits.


M4A1 PSC

Pressed Steel Car built nearly 4 times as many M4A1(75)s as M4(75)s, and they served in all theaters from the Sherman's debut with the British at El Alamein to the "last battle" on Okinawa. On August 23, 1942 the company was given verbal instructions that it was to produce 1000 standard made M4A1 Medium Tanks with an engineering change that incorporated the 76mm Gun M1 mounted in the newly designed M34A1 Combination Gun Mount. It was intended that this order would be completed before the end of 1942. This was entirely unrealistic, and as it turned out, exactly one such unit was produced in 1942. SN 549, USA 3015305 was the pilot model M4A1(76M1) and tests at APG led to recommendations for a number of improvements to be made to subsequent units. One can see that this September 1942 production M4A1 "still" has M4 bogies with the original half round track skids. Note that the standard cast air scoops and tail light guards have not yet been installed. The Union Steel turret serial number appears to be 1034.


M4A1 PSC

USA 3015334 was also accepted in September, 1942, only a few units after the M4A1(76M1) pilot. This Sherman was photographed in January, 1943 when it was used by the Barber-Colman Company to demonstrate its "Air Flow Corrective Devices." The Barber-Colman system was adopted for use on PSC M4A1s starting on December 1, 1943, and Chrysler M4s starting on January 1, 1944. It featured "Pyramid Turning Vanes" on the engine air intake and a "Hinged Air Exit Vane" in place of the original exhaust deflector (insets). This unit is installed with the standard cast air scoops (1), as is every PSC Sherman we have been able to record with higher Serial or Registration Numbers. We might infer that the later asymmetrical track skids (2) seen here were introduced at PSC in September. This tank "still" lacks tail light guards, which our head count suggests were introduced in October. Because they are often readable in period photos, we like to record the Union Steel turret serial numbers and the features visible. This one is # 1137.


M4A1 PSC

The second model of the M4A1(76M1), Serial Number 10953, USA 3015954, was not accepted until January, 1943, and was immediately shipped to the Armored Force Board at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Based on feedback from trials with the original pilot, a new turret casting was made that featured an enlarged bustle which served to counterbalance the gun, and provide the turret crew with a little more room. These turrets were produced by Union Steel, and this particular casting can be seen to be Serial Number 2. Note the access hatch at the top of the bustle. The gun mount setup featured a new heavy duty recoil guard that weighed 800 pounds. Firing tests were suspended in early February when it was found that recoil piston rods were too weak. Improved piston rods were installed on the next M4A1(76M1) (USA 3016065) received at Ft. Knox, and firing tests commenced on March 1, 1943. Gun travel locks were installed on both the front and rear of the M4A1(76M1)s, and we would note that the securing arm of the front travel lock was a single, wrap around piece, as opposed to the standard, but less stable two piece units that entered Sherman production in the Fall of 1943. Pressed Steel Car began the transition to the standard cast hull lifting rings in December, 1942, but note that 3015954 can be seen with padded hull lifting rings (asterisked) on both the front and rear. A Ft. Knox Receiving Report lists not only the Serial and Registration Number, but "C723" as well. We take this to mean that Serial Number 10953, USA 3015954 was the 723rd cast hull (M4A1) produced by PSC. We believe this number is what is seen stamped on the hull side in the rear of surviving PSC M4A1s.


M4A1 PSC

The third M4A1(76M1) was photographed at APG on April 1, 1943. This tank was Serial Number 13669, USA 3016670, US turret # 3 accepted in March, 1943. A few items of interest from a production standpoint can be noted. The track skids (1) are in the "final" or standard configuration. The use of heavy steel tracks created a friction problem with the track skids. This was remedied by the addition of a spacer (2 and inset) that elevated the return roller by about an inch. A modification kit was provided in mid 1943, so that the spacer could be retrofitted to any Sherman built without it. Five of the six bogie arms seen here are the "final" type (3), introduced at PSC starting around January, 1943. In order to prevent the bogie arm rubbing plate bolts from working loose, they were secured at the bottom with a nut. "Wrench holes" (circled) provided access to the nuts. These bogies represent the configuration used by PSC until early 1944, when the straight return roller arms were replaced with upturned arms that eliminated the need for the spacer. The positive hatch locks (4) are present on the commander's hatch, but not the driver's hatches. However, the fitting for the equilibrator spring (5) can be seen by the bow gunner's hatch. A couple of items we would not expect to see on a March, 1943 PSC Sherman include the M3 type drive sprocket (6), and the "padded" hull lifting ring (7) in the rear. The "padded" lifting ring castings are oddities noted in only a few period photos of PSC M4A1s made in late 1942, early 1943. Most of their Shermans appear to have started out with the "bent rod" lifting rings, with a transition made to the standard castings around December, 1942. We are not aware of any surviving PSC M4s or M4A1s with the "padded" hull lifting rings.


M4A1 PSC

This M4A1(76M1) was Serial Number 13679, USA 3016680, US turret # 4 produced in March, 1943, a few units after SN 13669 of the previous caption. This tank was the subject of a test in the Spring of 1943 by the 40th Armored Regiment, 7th Armored Division stationed at the Desert Training Center in California. There was some indecision, or perhaps dissension, about the caliber of the Antiaircraft Machine Gun to be carried by the Sherman. The 3rd Armored Division arrived in the UK in the Fall of 1943. When they drew their Shermans, it was reported that half were equipped with .30 caliber and half with .50 caliber AA MGs. "In many instances, tanks that are equipped with the .30 caliber...had spare parts and accessories for the .50 caliber." On April 1, 1943 the Ordnance Department settled the issue by directing that only the .50 caliber was authorized for the Medium Tank. The M4A1(76M1) program perhaps reflected the indecision, as they were to be equipped with .30 caliber AA MGs. A purpose made travelling clamp was provided, as shown above. The Reports from APG and the DTC concerning the M4A1(76M1) were not negative, although suggestions were made for improvements. However, on April 5, 1943, an Armored Force Board Report concluded that the turret was unsatisfactory, too small "to develop the full potential capabilities of the 76-mm gun." A month later, the Ordnance Committee terminated the program. Only 12 units had been produced, and 9 were converted back to M4A1(75)s. It should be noted that a few Shermans with "small" turrets were upgunned with 76mms in the ETO during WW II. In the early 1950s, over 700 such tanks were upgunned, and provided to Allies as Military Assistance.


M4A1 PSC

This rear view of SN 13679 shows the "Original Design" exhaust deflector (1) reported to have been introduced at PSC on March 10, 1943 at Serial Number 13610. The deflector was notched to accommodate the exhaust pipe (2) for the auxiliary generator. The later Barber-Colman type deflector is said to have replaced this on December 1, 1943, PSC's last month of M4A1(75) production. The "long" trailer towing pintle (3 and inset) was reported introduced on April 29, 1943 at Serial Number 28205, so its appearance on SN 13679 seems a little early. We suspect that, like the .30 caliber AA MG, the pintle was intended to be standard equipment on the M4A1(76M1) series. 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. Note the rivets on the lower rear hull plate, including those used to secure the idler wheel assemblies. The rear gun travel lock (4) of the M4A1(76M1) was a 2 piece affair. When PSC finally got around to installing tail light guards (5) on its M4A1s, circa October 1942, they were in the configuration shown above. We've used an arrow to point out the groove in the center of the hull casting. This is typical of upper hulls cast by General Steel.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

The tail light 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 PSC

In late 1942, the General Steel Casting Company's Commonwealth Plant in Granite City, Illinois began production of M4A1 upper hulls. Except for the T6 (Sherman) pilot, we don't find any evidence that GS produced any hull castings with direct vision. By early 1943, GS provided approximately half of the upper hulls used by Pressed Steel Car. Continental Foundry & Machine provided the balance of PSC's castings, as well as nearly all of those required by the other M4A1 manufacturers - Lima Locomotive and Pacific Car & Foundry. Starting in early 1943, General Steel began to cast their logo (1) on the front of the hulls they produced. If it can be seen in a period photo, the "G in a shield" logo can be considered a recognition feature of an M4A1 made by Pressed Steel, or one of the 188 Grizzlies made by Montreal Locomotive. Above shows machining operations on a General Steel hull. The groove at the rear (2) was not a feature of Continental castings.


M4A1 PSC

In the Spring of 1943, the Armored Board at Ft. Knox directed Pressed Steel Car to provide 4 M4A1(75)s (later reduced to 3) for inspection and test. Each would be installed with progressively more modifications from the so called "Blitz List." PSC shipped "1st Blitz" on May 17. With the exception of Blitz Item 35a, "Eliminate Pistol Ports," most of the modifications on this unit had already been incorporated into Sherman production. "2nd Blitz" was accepted in May, 1943, and was shipped out on June 19, 1943. It is somewhat more interesting as it included several new mods. Blitz Item 16a, "Improved Suspension, Horizontal Volute Springs" was installed on "3rd Blitz" as well. This version of HVSS had been in development for about a year. The ride was a little smoother over rough terrain, but the track width remained the same as VVSS at 16 and 9/16 inches, so this HVSS did nothing to reduce the Sherman's ground pressure. This project was terminated in favor of the improved HVSS with 23 inch tracks being developed by Chrysler. The "no pistol port" Union Steel turret can be seen to be Serial Number 3432, mold(?) 7. On April 14, 1943, the turret drawing was revised to eliminate the pistol port, as well as "increase thickness of armor in region of traversing mechanism." We don't have a right side photo to confirm, but suspect that turret 3432 was one of the first of the new castings that included the so called "thickened cheek" on the right front.


M4A1 PSC

This overhead view of "2nd Blitz" shows a few more new items. The commander's hatch (1) is a revised design which featured integral springs on the hinges. The final version of this hatch was released as a "Critical Modification" on July 24, 1943, with "No tanks without this item to be accepted after 11/8/43." Perhaps the most important safety item was Blitz #46, "Hatch Over Loader.” "2nd Blitz" shows a prototype version of the loader's hatch (2) with a different "hold open" configuration. The final revision with head padding was released as a Critical Modification on September 29, 1943, and PSC is reported to have introduced it in October at SN 37300. Chrysler and Fisher Body, the other builders that remained in the Sherman program after January, 1944, are said to have introduced the loader's hatch in December, 1943. Plans for a field modification kit were abandoned, as it was thought that a retrofit was too complicated. "2nd Blitz" can also be seen with a preproduction version of the "Commander's Vane Sight," Blitz Item 43. This was said to have been introduced at PSC at about the same time as the loader's hatch. The machine gun pintles on the turret roof may have been added by the Armored Board. In the Fall of 1943, "2nd Blitz" was used as a test bed for a wooden mock up of the commander's vision cupola (inset).


M4A1 PSC

Pressed Steel Car shipped "3rd Blitz" on August 23, 1943. This tank was listed as SN 29203/USA 3037734, PSC #3300, and would have been accepted in August. The "PSC Number" may have been the Manufacturer's Serial Number. The MFR's SN is stamped on the dataplates of some US built WW II AFVs, but we have never seen it on a Sherman plate. In any case, if we've done the math correctly, this tank would have been the 3300th overall Sherman, both M4 and M4A1, accepted at PSC. "3rd Blitz" is dramatically different from "2nd Blitz." The hull casting was revised to incorporate larger drivers' hatches as recommended by the Army Medical Research Lab. "3rd Blitz" was installed with the "Quick Fix" modification, as evidenced by the 1 inch applique plates in the areas of the sponson ammunition bins. "Counting heads" suggests that the last 100 M4A1(75)s made by PSC in December, 1943 featured the large hatch hull casting, Part Number E8550. The examples noted differ from "3rd Blitz" in that the hull castings were thickened in the area of the sponson ammunition bins, eliminating the need for the welded on applique plates.


M4A1 PSC

This overhead view highlights another dramatic change. Some Ordnance Department engineers found the original D50878 turret to be too small, and recommended a larger turret. The casting seen here was "borrowed" from the T20 series Medium Tank program, and is listed as Part Number E6275. Ironically, the Armored Board concluded, "The T23 type turret is not satisfactory for use as a 75-mm gun turret...because the additional turret space is not essential and the increased weight is not desirable." The Ordnance Committee action that terminated the M4A1(76M1) program, authorized development of a larger turret for the 76mm gun. Another E6275 turret was used for the pilot installation, and, with some changes, this basic shape was adopted for use on Second Generation Shermans armed with the 76mm gun. 1944 and later production 75 and 105mm Shermans used a modified version of the original small turret that reinstated the pistol port and added a loader's hatch. The only Sherman that mounted the 75mm in a larger turret was the M4A3E2 (Jumbo). "3rd Blitz" can be seen with periscope guards, which entered the Sherman production pipeline starting in September, 1943. The armored housing (1) around the gunner's periscope became a standard fixture on Second Generation Shermans, as did the Blanket Roll Rack (2). The rather large gun travel lock seen on "3rd Blitz" appears to be the same as used on the M4A1(76M1)s. A "2 fingers" travel lock (Assembly Number B301301) became standard on 75mm Shermans starting in the Fall of 1943. It was about 4 inches shorter than the fixture used on Second Generation 76 and 105mm Shermans.


M4A1 PSC

The factory installation of the Quick Fix modification at PSC is reported to have occurred in August, 1943 at SN 29317. This seems to be pretty close to what we have found counting heads. Many M4A1(75)s can be seen with the flat, rolled armor applique plates made for welded hull Shermans. These were cut into sections or otherwise adapted to fit the contours of the cast hull. Although undocumented so far, it is obvious from period photos and surviving examples that PSC procured castings made to fit the contours of its M4A1s. Our observations suggest that, until mid October, most of the M4A1s that PSC produced with the Quick Fix modification factory installed, used these castings. Above shows the castings on an M4A1 on display in Springville, Alabama. Note the multiple contours of the front "plate." We do not know the Serial Number of this tank, but recorded the number "2687" stamped on the right rear side. We take this to be a loose build sequence number (plus or minus 30). The 2687th PSC M4A1 would have been accepted in September, 1943. Like Serial Number 415 in Nattick shown previously, this tank was remanufactured in 1945, and converted to M42B1 Flamethrower shortly thereafter. The fenders have been extended out to accommodate the E9 modification. The rather complex fender braces were adjustable to fit the contours of the tank as demonstrated here. These braces are seen on both M4s and M4A1s remanufactured by Chrysler-Evansville and International Harvester. When Pressed Steel Car began producing the M4A1(76)HVSS in January, 1945, the same type of adjustable fender braces were used.


M4A1 PSC

Quite a few of the PSC M4A1s with cast applique appear in photos in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Above shows "Margaret Anne" of D Company, 754th Tank Battalion. This tank is listed as USA 3069681, indicating September, 1943 acceptance. In April, 1945 "Margaret Anne" was pulled out of the line near Manila, and used to test the merits of an in tank air purification system that had been shipped from the US. Trials of the system in a number of Shermans from 3 Tank Battalions, and including combat use, found that the Protector, Facepiece, E21R2 (inset) was much superior to the use of individual gas masks. On June 20, 1945, the Pacific Warfare Board recommended that the E21R2 system "be standardized as the method for protecting tank crews against chemical warfare agents." The standardization and installation of this system in medium tanks appears to have been abandoned with the Japanese surrender. PSC began installation of the gun travel lock in August at about the same time as the Quick Fix modification. On "Margaret Anne" it can be seen that the siren and brush guard were moved over to the left to avoid any interference issues with the travel lock. This tank features the "turret patch" and it is assumed that the pistol port would have been welded up. These appear to have been used alongside the no pistol port turrets that PSC introduced in June, 1943 until an improved turret entered the production pipeline in October.


M4A1 PSC

Here we see a PSC M4A1 with the cast applique and a no pistol port turret in the European Theater. USA 3038028 would have been one of the last tanks accepted at Pressed Steel in August, 1943. This tank carries tactical markings of the 771st Tank Battalion, and was photographed in Baal, Germany on February 24, 1945. Note the M4A3(76) just in front. Had they been available in sufficient quantities, the US Army would have replaced 75mm Shermans with this model powered by the superior 500 HP Ford V8 engine. The shipping destination code on 3038028 begins with "HAIL," indicating Antwerp. The port, which has an immense shipping capacity, was vital to the Allied drive into Germany. It was captured intact on September 4, 1944, but due to an overly casual attitude on the part of the Allied High Command, its approaches were not immediately cleared of the enemy. As a consequence, it was not opened to shipping until the end of November. The 771st probably received this tank as a replacement in early 1945. When built, USA 3038028 would not have been installed with the machine gun stowage on the turret bustle or the blanket roll rack. These items were part of a combined Modification Work Order released in July, 1944. The presence of these mods, along with the concave replacement road wheels, suggests that this tank may have been remanufactured at the outset of the program in August, 1944.


M4A1 PSC

Above shows an M4A1 of the 767th Tank Battalion, photographed on October 24, 1944 during the Leyte Campaign. The Technical Manuals have it that a total of 26 grousers were stored in the sponson compartments beneath the air scoops. "Man O' War" appears to have nearly 40 installed on the left side alone. An improved transmission with double anchor brakes, and featuring the sharp nosed, E8543 differential housing was mandated to be installed on all US built Shermans starting in September, 1943. With this change, PSC reintroduced the front cable clamp (circled) originally seen on a few of its earliest M4A1s. There is no Registration Number visible to "date" this tank, but if we assume that the 2 inch smoke mortar was factory installed, we would guess early October, 1943 acceptance. The turret serial number can be seen as 4318, mold(?) 13, the highest SN we have recorded from a no pistol port Union Steel turret. Counting heads suggests that at around turret 4400 the castings were revised to include a loader's hatch and pistol port.


M4A1 PSC

This snapshot from Okinawa shows what may have been the last Pressed Steel Car Sherman battle casualty of WW II. In mid May, 1945, the records of the 706th Tank Battalion report the loss of 3 M4A1s, 3069617 (Sept. 1943 production), 3069808 and 3069829 (both Oct. 1943 production). We suspect that all of these would have had the welded on, cast applique, as seen on the no pistol port turret M4A1 in the foreground. The configuration of the siren brush guard on the M4 Composite in the background can be compared to the earlier shape seen on the M4A1.


M4A1 PSC

Around mid October, 1943, Pressed Steel Car introduced a revised small hatch upper hull that featured thickened sides in the areas of the sponson mounted ammunition bins. The new casting eliminated the need for welding on the external applique. The M4A1 on display at Ft Jackson, in South Carolina was converted to E13-13 Mechanized Flamethrower in early 1944. We suspect that this was one of the first PSC M4A1s to incorporate the revised hull. We've asterisked the cast in "bumps" on the left side. Unfortunately, the Test Report on the E13-13 does not list the Serial and/or Registration Number of this unit. The build sequence number 3175 is stamped on the left rear of the hull, which we take to mean that it was the 3175th (give or take) M4A1 produced by PSC. We would note that a surviving October 1943 production PSC M4A1, build sequence number 3153, "still" has the cast applique welded on. Another change which appears to have been introduced in October, is the new siren brush guard (circled) as seen on the M4 Composite in the previous photo. Photo courtesy of Paul and Lorén Hannah.


M4A1 PSC

Another change that was introduced in late October, 1943 is the revised D50878 turret casting that "brought back" the pistol port, and incorporated the loader's hatch. The manufacturers that continued to produce Shermans in 1944 and 1945 were Pressed Steel, Chrysler and Fisher Body. Each was given a "Freeze Date" for the loader's hatch. PSC's was November 1, 1943, but "counting heads" suggests that they began the transition in October. Since the E13-13 was a conversion, we can't say with certainty that the General Steel (not Union Steel) D50878 turret, serial number 5573, is original to this tank. The turret can be seen with a few flamethrower fittings, and we would guess the commander's vision cupola and machine gun stowage modifications were added during the E13-13 conversion. We don't find any evidence that PSC factory installed these mods to any of its M4A1(75)s. The E13-13 does not appear to have been remanufactured before conversion. Note that it still has the original type exhaust deflector (1) as well as the problematic "long" trailer towing pintel (2). The double rear tow lugs (3) are first seen on Third Blitz. These served to accommodate the quick release towing shackle with handle, and appear to have been introduced at PSC in late September.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

While examining the M4A1 at Ft. Jackson, we noticed that the hull casting features ramp-like raised areas by each of the drivers' hatches. This bit of Sherman minutia has since been seen on a few other surviving M4A1s, such as SN 37260, a PSC October, 1943 production M4A1 on display in Sinsheim, Germany (right). Counting heads suggest that the "ramps" first appear around August, 1943, and are limited to hulls cast by Continental Foundry & Machine. Perhaps they were added to the castings to provide a better platform for the catch of the positive hatch lock mechanism?


M4A1 PSC

The Ordnance Department continued to cast about, without much success, for anti-mine solutions. Above shows the T9E1 Mine Exploder at APG in April, 1944. Like most of the "Pressure Type" Mine Exploder experiments, the T9E1 was found "impractical for use under combat conditions." The device was tested with Serial Number 37421, USA 3070018, which would have been one of the last M4A1s accepted at PSC in October, 1943. This tank can be seen with the revised hull with cast in "bumps," and the new low bustle turret casting with pistol port and loader's hatch (arrow). Counting heads suggests that from this point to the end of 75mm production at PSC (Serial Number 37899, USA 3070496), all of the M4A1 had turrets that incorporated the loader's hatch.


M4A1 PSC

It was the practice of the Ordnance Department to conserve certain pilots at APG for future reference. USA 3070018 was photographed in February, 1947. We assume the T9E1 roller would have been been retained as well, although it does not appear in the photo. The massive roller weighed as much as the tank, and the bumper (arrow) at the rear was installed so that a second tank could help push it. 3070018 can be seen with the new siren brush guard. The "2 fingers" or "scissors jaw" configuration of the gun travel lock shows to good effect. It is thought that this type may have been designed since, in theory at least, the gun could be released from its travelling position from inside the tank by means of a wire. Tests at APG in September, 1944 found it to be unstable and inadequate for either the 75mm or 76mm gun, and suggested a new design with a wrap around clamp, similar to what had been used on the M4A1(76M1). Many surviving Shermans are seen with the improved locking clamp (inset), but we don't find any evidence that this was factory installed on any Shermans before production ended in the Summer of 1945. Unlike Chrysler and Fisher Body, PSC continued to install the step bracket after the gun travel lock was introduced. This small item was eliminated on the M4A1(76) and other Second Generation Shemans. On the subject of steps, the E8543 differential housing seen here is the early type with the cast in steps. These interfered with the operation of the quick release towing shackles. Consequently, the differential castings were altered to eliminate the cast steps, and the standard E8543 differential was installed with welded on metal strip steps instead.


M4A1 PSC

The Ordnance Department's constant demand for modifications was a sore point for some of the manufacturers. Henry Ford, the "father" of mass production, was somewhat vocal about this, since the Government was asking for greater and faster production, while introducing numerous changes that required the design and procurement of new parts, and only slowed down the process. Pressed Steel Car's management appears to have been more willing to go the extra mile, and provide the Government with whatever it wanted as quickly as possible. Consequently, the many changes introduced in quick succession by PSC, make them the most interesting of the manufacturers of the Sherman. Above shows the first two T1E3 Mine Exploders during a demonstration in the UK in May, 1944. "Aunt Jemima 2" can be seen as USA 3070232 indicating November, 1943 acceptance. When the cast and welded hulls were redesigned to incorporate larger hatches, it was noted that the bustle of the original 75mm turret could be fouled on the protrusions of the large hatch hull. Consequently, the turret casting was revised yet again. The turret bustle was raised a few inches in order to permit the turret to rotate freely. "High bustle" and "low bustle" are informal terms used to distinguish the difference in the castings. In the photo, it can be seen that both "Aunt Jemimas" have small hatch upper hulls with the cast in "bumps." However, both have high bustle turrets, introduced by PSC in November, 1943 in anticipation of the large hatch E8550 hulls that would come on line the following month.


M4A1 PSC

This overhead view of USA 3070232 was taken at APG in March, 1944 before the tank was shipped to Great Britain. It can be seen that the part number of the turret (circled) is "still" D50878. The turret serial number appears to be 4595, the highest Union Steel 75mm turret SN we have recorded. It is thought that about the last 100 Union Steel 75mm turret castings were in this high bustle format, and that they were the only such turrets that retained the D50878 part number. At present, all other high bustle, loader's hatch turrets we have encountered are seen with a new part number - D78461. In fact, an item in the Ordnance files lists "Turret D78461, to provide clearance for doors, released 9/28/43." Note that the gunner's periscope was not provided with a wire guard. An armored housing, similar to what can be seen on Third Blitz, was introduced on Second Generation series Shermans. The Whiting Corporation produced 200 T1E3 assemblies from March through December, 1944. About 72 were shipped to Europe. Ultimately, it was concluded that the T1E3 "failed to meet the requirements" for "locating and breaching minefields, and expeditiously clearing and/or detecting scattered mines on roads and trails."


M4A1 PSC

The final major change before the end of M4A1(75) production at PSC was the introduction of the large hatch hull casting. Since PSC was the only remaining manufacturer producing the M4A1, the change only applied to them. The "Freeze Date" was given as November 30, 1943, which would indicate that the 175 units accepted in December would have used the large hatch E8550 hull castings. However, "counting heads" suggests that PSC was not able to meet the freeze date, and that only about 100 such units were produced. At present, the large hatch hulls recorded fall within the range from Serial Number 37800, USA 3070397 through to the last PSC M4A1(75) Serial Number 37899, USA 3070496. Above shows an example that was recovered in 1984 from the sea bed in what had been the US Amphibious Assault Training Area in Devon in the UK. This tank had been converted to a Duplex Drive "swimming tank", and was engaged in a training exercise with Company A, 70th Tank Battalion when it sank 3/4 of a mile offshore. An article in "After the Battle #45," describes the efforts of a group of local citizens headed by hotelier Ken Small to recover the tank, which Mr. Small had purchased 10 years earlier from the US Government for $50. A couple of sentences in the article are of particular interest..."A special search was made beneath the silt for the works number plate...and fortunately although badly corroded the plate was still in place. After cleaning the plate was still legible: 87830." We have not be able to contact the late Mr. Small's son, but it seems highly likely that the Serial Number from the dataplate would be 37830.


M4A1 PSC

In December 1943, the Army contracted with the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company for the production of 350 Duplex Drive assemblies to be applied to new M4A1(75)s. Because they were recently built, unallocated and available, the majority of the DD swimming tank conversions used Pressed Steel Car M4A1(75)s that had been produced in the last few months of 1943. We suspect that about 90 of the large hatch M4A1(75)s were converted to DDs, while another 10 were used in Engine Endurance and other tests at the various Proving Grounds. The DD project was highly classified, and therefore much of the documentation was not preserved. However, we did come across the shipping report reproduced above. The prototype is listed towards the bottom of the page as USA 3070327. It was ordered from Lima Tank Depot on December 16, 1943, and shipped to Firestone for DD conversion 2 days later. The prototype used DD parts that the British had provided, and due to some US/British thread incompatibility issues, developed problems and sank in shallow water during testing at Ft. Story, Virginia. The Registration Numbers of the first 23 M4A1s shipped from LTD to Firestone for DD conversion are listed. Note that all but the prototype have RNs in the 30704XX (December large hatch production) range. This appears to have been a case of "last in, first out." There is at least one typo in the document - 3080448 was most likely 3070448, one of the two pilots shipped to Ft. Story for trials. Along with 3070441, this was later placed in secure storage at the Lima Tank Depot "for possible future development or production work." If we assume that Mr. Small's DD is actually Serial Number 37830, its corresponding Registration Number, USA 3070427, is listed in the document.


M4A1 PSC

Mr. Small's DD now stands as a memorial in Torcross to the servicemen who were lost during Exercise Tiger, an amphibious training operation conducted off the coast of Devonshire. On the morning of April 28, 1944, negligence on the part of the naval screening force left a convoy of LSTs open to attack by German E-Boats. Two LSTs were sunk and another badly damaged. Nearly 700 US soldiers and sailors lost their lives in this tragedy.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

The photos above highlight some of the features of the large hatch M4A1(75). It is thought that all of the US DD conversions would have had late E8543 differential housings. Both the early version with cast in steps, as well as the later with welded on steps have been seen. Note the fittings for the Barber-Colman type exhaust deflector (circled). This was reported to have been factory installed by PSC starting December 1, 1943, and, if accurate, would have applied to the last 175 M4A1s accepted, including all of the large hatch units. The example on the right is said to have been a DD of the 741st Tank Battalion. The disastrous decision to launch the Battalion's 32 DDs in extremely rough seas nearly 3 miles off Omaha Beach resulted in the loss of 27 by sinking. Miraculously, 2 of the 741st's DDs managed to swim in, and 3 were deposited on shore by their LCT when their canvas screens were torn by shrapnel prior to the decision to launch. This Sherman, along with a small hatch DD, and the turret from another were recovered by M. Claude Lemonchois, and are on display at the D-Day Wrecks Museum in Port-en-Bessin, France. Left side photo courtesy of Alf Adams.


M4A1 PSC

The casting information on the high bustle turret of the Torcross DD is of interest because it is a General Steel, not Union Steel turret. The turret Serial Number is 5939 and it has the later D78461 part number. We can document one other General Steel D78461 turret installed on a DD, but can't publicize it at present, except to note that the serial number is about 100 units lower than the one on the Torcross. From this we can merely conclude that General Steel provided some of the high bustle turrets used by Pressed Steel in the last months of production. The majority of the General Steel D78461 turrets were used on the Second Generation M4A3(75)Wet Shermans made by Fisher Body. Turret Serial Numbers recorded on those run from 6020 through 7679. As a point of Sherman minutia, we would note that the secondary antenna brackets on the turrets used by Fisher are seen fabricated from several pieces, as shown in the inset on the right, whereas the ones on the two General Steel DD turrets appear to be one piece forgings.


M4A1 PSC

It is thought that the 3 DD turrets at Port-en-Bessin were cast by Pressed Steel's primary supplier, Union Steel. The single low bustle turret is Serial Number 4452. Other Union Steel low bustle, loader's hatch turrets that have been recorded are 4444 and 4471. The D50878 casting marks on both low and high bustle Union Steel turrets are seen on the left front (inset), and the Serial Number is repeated on the turret's left side. We don't find evidence that a padlock fitting (inset) was factory installed by PSC with the introduction of the loader's hatch. It may have been installed on some of the late production M4A3(75)Wets, or retrofitted later in the post war years. Curiously, this turret has the fitting for the sun compass (circled in red) installed by the British, or added by US Tank Depots on Commonwealth Lend Lease Shermans. We can only note that the compass fitting is seen on some but not all of the US converted DDs.


M4A1 PSC

It was not possible to record the Serial Numbers of the 2 high bustle D50878 turrets at Port-en-Bessin due to their condition. Examples that have been noted are Serial Numbers 4548, 4564 and 4595. Above shows a rear view of the large hatch DD. The overhead photo of the November 1943 production "Aunt Jemima 2," USA 3070232 featured earlier shows the recessed lifting handles on the rear engine deck plate in the "usual" side by side orientation. Here we see that that the handles have been reoriented front to back. This is also the case on the Museum's small hatch DD. From this we might infer that PSC instituted this small change in either November or December, 1943. It was standard throughout production of the M4A1(76). M. Lemonchois recovered a number of US AFVs from the sea off Omaha Beach, including the M7 Priest seen in the background. While he was not able to find the Ordnance Serial Numbers of the DDs, he reported the M7's was 2537, and that the vehicle was lost by the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion.


M4A1 PSC

Nearly 300 DDs embarked from the UK. Those that survived D-Day were converted to regular gun tanks when time and circumstance permitted. Above shows a large hatch model photographed in July, 1944 by the 3rd Armored Division to show the "T2 Rhinoceros" device developed as a mean to breech the hedgerows of Normandy. Hundreds of tanks were installed with various types of these cutters before the start of Operation Cobra in late July. Here one can see that the USA Registration Number was painted on the turrets of DDs, since the skirting would have obscured it in the usual position on the hull sides. This December production M4A1 can be seen to be USA 3070459. The DD's headlamps (1) and guards were extended up in order for the light beams to clear the screen when it was in the lowered position. A section of the ventilator was removed (2) to accommodate part of the DD's hydraulics. The differential housing of 3070459 does not show the telltale weld scars of the "prow" of the DD conversion. We suspect that the original differential was damaged, and that this tank was turned in for high echelon repair by one of the three US Tank Battalions that employed Duplex Drive Shermans on D-Day. It seems likely that the 3rd Armored Division drew it from the 1st Army replacement pool.


M4A1 PSC

This screen capture from a Signal Corps movie shows another large hatch former DD of the 3rd Armored Division in Cologne, Germany in March, 1945. The fitting (circled) for the reinforcing strut on the high bustle turret provides the DD clue. The Registration Number can be seen as USA 3070398. The corresponding Serial Number of this tank would have been 37801. At present this is the first large hatch M4A1(75) we can document. We would note that SN 37798, USA 3070395 and SN 37799, USA 3070396 were small hatch models, designated "M4A1E3," and used in automatic torque converter tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground.


M4A1 PSC

The British received 80 of the US converted M4A1 DDs, all of which were allocated to the 8th Armoured Brigade for the Invasion. Photos indicate that some of them were the large hatch models. Above shows an example in action with the Sherwood Rangers, the junior Regiment of the 8th AB. The unit was photographed on August 4, 1944 advancing towards Ondefontaine, France on a farm lane in the hedgerow country typical of Normandy. The "SCR 528" stenciled on the turret stands for "Signal Corps Radio Model 528," the standard tank radio used by the US at the time. For some reason, the British did not overpaint this along with the USA Registration Number when they applied the circle tactical marking indicative of C Squadron. Perhaps they used the SCR 528 in lieu of the British #19 on the DDs received from the US? Because the M4A1 DDs transferred to the British in the UK were not originally intended for Lend Lease, they did not have British WD Numbers assigned beforehand. A May 24, 1944 Roster of the Nottinghamshire Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry lists the USA Numbers of some of their DDs, and several are in the large hatch range, such as USA 3070473, 3070488 and 3070492. Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, IWM B8588.


M4A1 PSC

It was the policy of the Army to employ used tanks for conversion projects. In the Summer of 1943, Pressed Steel Car was contracted to convert 936 M4s, M4A1s and M4A3s to M32 series tank retrievers. Production commenced in December, 1943, but there had been some difficulty in rounding up used Shermans. In order to get the program underway, an exception was made, and it was agreed that 91 new M4A1s would be pulled from the line at PSC. The new Shermans required only conversion, not remanufacture, which was a much more extensive process involving the replacement of engines and other internal systems with new or rebuilt components. The 91 new conversions were done from December, 1943 through March, 1944, and were assigned Serial Numbers 6 through 96, and USA Numbers 40149307 through 40149397. As some of the earliest M32 series conversions, a number of these were shipped to Europe in time to take part in the D-Day Invasion and subsequent build up in Normandy. Above shows front and rear views of Serial Number 59, USA 40149360, completed in January, 1944, and photographed at APG in February. The new M4A1s provided for conversion would have been from PSC's last few months of production, more or less the same M4A1s available for the DD program. One can see that Serial Number 59 has the thickened sides in the areas of the sponson mounted ammunition bins. This unit features the early E8543 differential housing with the cast in steps. As mention previously, the Barber-Colman exhaust deflector was reported to have been introduced on PSC M4A1s on December 1, 1943. If this unit was accepted before then, it is likely that the new deflector would have been added during the M32B1 conversion.


M4A1 PSC

It seems possible, but improbable that one or two large hatch M4A1(75)s were pulled new from the assembly line and converted to M32B1. If so, they would have featured the small "chute" turret port as seen on Serial Number 59 from the previous caption. The turret port (circled) above can be seen as a rather large "door." Counting heads suggests that the door replaced the chute at PSC around August 1944, months after the "new" M32B1 conversions had been completed. Until recently, there was no evidence whatsoever of any large hatch M32B1 conversions. The snapshot above shows an example in the markings of the 20th Tank Battalion, 20th Armored Division. It is thought that this photo was taken in the mountains of Austria sometime after V-E Day (May 8, 1945). A bit of the Registration Number can be seen in another photo, and it begins with USA 40155, indicating that it was converted by PSC from a used M4A1. We suspect that this tank was one of the large hatch M4A1s that had been assigned to Ordnance Department tests in early 1944, and afterwards, it was turned in for remanufacture and conversion. One of the large hatch M4A1s used in Engine Tests at Ft Knox is listed as USA 3070454. Federal Machine & Welder is reported to have converted that same Registration Number to M32B1, so, it would seem, there may have been at least two large hatch M4A1 retriever conversions. "GI snapshot" from Leife Hulbert collection.


M4A1 PSC

As mentioned previously, we have not found the Ordnance Serial Number factory stamped anywhere on the exterior of surviving Pressed Steel built Shermans. The photo above shows the location of what we believe is a loose build sequence number. We have seen this stamped on one or the other side of Shermans made by PSC. The company's 381st M4A1 would have been accepted in September, 1942. This tank is on display in Calhoun, Georgia, and like many of the surviving M4A1s, received numerous modifications when it was rebuilt.


M4A1 PSC    M4A1 PSC

One of the Technical Manuals refers to a "Speed Caution Plate" (left) affixed to the hull wall to the left of the driver's seat. We prefer to use the term "dataplate." 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 right shows what we believe may be the only extant Pressed Steel Car M4 dataplate. The Serial Number was stamped in the box in the upper right hand corner. The year of acceptance was stamped inside the box on the lower left. We believe that the initials of the Army Ordnance Inspector who accepted the tank were stamped inside the box on the lower right. We are interested in cataloging surviving M4 Series dataplates. Should any readers be in the position to photograph a more readable example of a PSC M4 or M4A1(75) dataplate, we would be happy to have a report.


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