M4A2(75)s manufactured by Federal Machine and Welder (FMW)
Note: Not much information about Federal Machine and Welder was found in the US Archives, since like all M4A2s, the vast majority were sent out as Lend Lease, & consequently "disappeared" to the researcher. To date, the authors have located two surviving M4A2 chassis that have FMW Serial Numbers. It is hoped a few more examples might be found, perhaps in France, Italy or Russia? Meanwhile, this page must be considered a work in progress, which the authors would hope to update if and when more info is discovered. Any reader submissions concerning FMW Shermans would be most welcome.

First of all, you have to identify the tank as being an M4A2(75) with small hatches.

Federal Machine and Welder manufactured 540 M4A2(75)s from December 1942 through December 1943.
  
Production Order T-3337 : 540 M4A2(75) tanks: Serial Number 14785 / USA 3055965 through S/N 15324 / USA 3056504

serials

M4A2 FMW DV

Federal Machine and Welder was contracted “by the War Department on February 3, 1942 to provide additional facilities at an existing plant for the production of Diesel powered medium weight tanks, model M-4A2.” The original Order was for 650 units plus spare parts, with production scheduled to begin in September, 1942. As it was, due to parts shortages, FMW was the last of the original 11 Sherman manufacturers to commence production. Its first 21 M4A2s were not accepted until December 1942. The photo above provides a view of Serial Number 14801, USA 3055981, one of the M4A2s accepted in December 1942. Note the early drivers’ hoods with Direct Vision slots. These were determined to be ballistic weak spots, and as a result, the Ordnance Department eliminated DV from welded hull Shermans in August, 1942. It would take some months before the new elongated drivers' hood castings could be manufactured and procured, but most manufacturers had completed the transition to the later drivers’ hoods  by December, 1942. This photo makes it clear that Federal Machine had not completed the transition at the outset of production. Serial Numbers 14801 and 14806 were shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground for inspection and evaluation in February, 1943. In regard to quality, it was remarked that these were some of “the best production tanks received.” The step bracket (1) and the dust cover for the bow machine gun (2) were not part of the original Sherman design, but were introduced in production in the Fall of 1942. The T49 "interrupted parallel bar" tracks (3) were utilized when Japanese conquests in Asia created a rubber shortage which compelled the Ordnance Department to employ some steel track alternatives.

M4A2 FMW DV

A view of what remains of Federal Machine and Welder M4A2, Serial Number 14815, currently stored at the Saumur Tank Museum in France. Quite frankly, the authors were somewhat surprised to see Direct Vision (hidden by the front "appliqué" plates) “still” present on this Feb 1943 production unit. Certain clues on 14815 suggest it was one of the 218 M4A2s remanufactured by Fisher Body in mid 1944. For instance, the chassis has what look to be factory applied appliqué plates, along with fittings for the blanket roll rack modification. Some original wartime shipping markings can still be read on the sides. "Shipping Order 5-G-53" was code for 372 Lend Lease M4A2(75)s allocated to the United Kingdom in August, 1944. Based on some War Forwarding Corporation docs, this tank was probably shipped to the UK in Sept, 1944. Further evidence of this tank's Commonwealth history can be seen in the British type fittings for spare track holders on the front hull, & fire extinguisher clamp remains on the rear sponsons.


M4A2 FMW DV

In early 1943, Lima Locomotive Works was contracted to develop a new tank retriever design based on the Sherman. Five pilot models were produced, each of which utilized a different version of the M4 series. “T5E2” was the test model designation given to the retriever based on the M4A2. Upon approval of the design, Sherman based Tank Recovery Vehicles were designated as the M32 series, with M4A2 models labeled “M32B2.” The T5E2 pilot was completed in the Summer of 1943 and shipped to the Tank Destroyer Board at Camp Hood, Texas shortly thereafter. Despite it being a pilot, it was the single unit featured in the M32 series Technical Manual published in December, 1943. The T5E2 pilot was converted from M4A2 Serial Number 14926, USA 3056106, which had been produced by Federal Machine & Welder in April, 1943. We would observe in passing that 3056106 features the later elongated drivers' hood castings with the additional periscopes in front of the drivers’ hatches. On the other hand, the hull lifting rings are “still” the earlier “padded” type (inset), also present on Serial Numbers 14801 and 14815. Only 26 M4A2s were converted to retrievers. All were done by Lima for the US Marine Corps, and all appear to have been converted from new production Fisher M4A2s. Thus, it would seem that the T5E2 pilot was the only FMW based retriever conversion.


M4A2 FMW

With a total acceptance of only 540 M4A2(75)s, Federal Machine and Welder in Warren, Ohio was one of the smaller manufacturers of Shermans, averaging less than 50 units per month for the year that they were in production. By contrast, the Chrysler Corporation produced 907 M4A4s in December, 1942 alone. The black & white photo above is captioned "Three women riding on a General Sherman tank manufactured at the Federal Machine & Welder Co. in Warren, Ohio in the Civilian Defense Parade, May 8, 1943." We've superimposed the photo over a recent image from Google Street View which confirms that the scene was shot on Mahoning Avenue in Warren. Two of the WOWs [Women Ordnance Workers] are buckled into Sherman seats (1) that have somehow been attached to the hull. The tank appears to be freshly minted, and has yet to be installed with drivers' hatches (2). An Ordnance document has it that FMW introduced the M34A1 gun mount on 15 April, 1943, at Serial Number 14892. One of the lifting rings on the gun shield is just visible (3), indicating that this example is equipped with the early type of M34A1 as explained in the next caption. As with a number of builders, FMW appears to have begun production with "padded" hull lifting rings, and this tank "still" has them on both the front (4) and rear (5). Additionally, it "still" has the M3 Lee type drive sprockets (6) not commonly seen on Shermans after 1942. The track skid on the front bogie is the earlier "asymmetric" type (7), while the middle and rear skids are in the final configuration (8) that should have been standard by May, 1943. The bogies and idler wheels are the welded spoke type. The welded spoked idlers (9) gave trouble, and the Ordnance Department mandated that Shermans change over to the "Disc Type Idler Wheels" with pressed metal spokes. FMW is reported to have made the change on 30 May, 1943 at SN 14975. Photo courtesy of the Ohio History Connection (AL00100).


M4A2 FMW    M4A2 FMW

The photos above provide comparative views of the early and late type M34A1 gun shield castings. As can be seen, the early version had lifting rings and a bolt flange on the right. The lifting rings were eliminated on the later type, and the gun shield casting was widened a bit, so that the bolts on the right side were no longer exposed. The gun shield was secured from inside the turret as had been the case from the start on the left side. We don't have enough counting heads data to say more than "FMW transitioned to the later type gun shield sometime in the second half of 1943."


M4A2 FMW

The next Sherman in our chronology is Serial Number 14993, which would have been accepted in June 1943. It was tested and photographed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in July. This is the first period period photo we could find that shows the installation of the "universal" type of sand shields. These were characterized by a vertical slit at the rear of the middle panel. They were designed in such a way that they could be fitted to any Sherman, and were ordered installed on all new Sherman production starting in mid 1943. FMW reported their introduction specifically as 23 May, Serial Number 14960. These strike us as a tremendous waste, since the universal sand shields were almost universally removed in service. Note that this tank is equipped with the positive hatch lock mechanisms on both the commander's and drivers' hatches. It can be seen to have the "final" type of hull lifting ring castings, but "still" has the M3 style drive sprocket. While the M4A2 in the preceding photo can be seen with the early one-piece differential housing, 14993 has the three-piece, suggesting that FMW received supplies of both types. In the same vein, 14993 can be seen with the "pressed spoke" road wheels while other examples have the welded spoke type. FMW made use use of both rubber and steel tracks, with the steels possibly becoming more prevalent towards the end of production.


M4A2 FMW

Here we have a rear view of Serial Number 14993, USA 3056173. This tank can be seen with a welded up pistol port. Most such turrets would have had the "thin spot" turret patch factory added at the same time, or at a Tank Depot before shipment. However, it is obviously not present in the front photo of the previous caption. Note the open sides of the exhaust deflector. This was the original design as used on diesel Lees and Grants. The evidence suggests that Fisher introduced a more robust closed sided exhaust deflector in the Summer of 1943, but we can't confirm if FMW ever did, due to a lack of photos/documentation. We feature S/N 15161 / USA 3056341, a September 1943 production unit, a bit later on this page, and would observe that the rear photo shows that tank "still" with the open sided exhaust deflector. Another item seen here is the "long" towing pintle. This was introduced on the Sherman series in the Spring of 1943, reportedly 30 April at FMW. The long pintle could get bent up in service and cause problems, and was replaced with a shorter design on 2nd Generation Shermans.


M4A2 FMW    M4A2 FMW

The photos above show the open sided exhaust deflector, and the long pintle on a surviving FMW M4A2 named "Mort-Homme." Unlike some other exhaust deflectors, this unit could not be pivoted up and out of the way for mechanical service. Instead, the brackets (1) were unbolted, and the muffler guard (2) and exhaust deflector (3) were disconnected and removed as a single unit. The bottoms of the twin radiators (4) can be seen, and it is obvious that they were vulnerable to shrapnel damage. As a consequence, an armored exhaust deflector was designed, but it did not enter the M4A2(76) production pipeline until around March, 1945.


M4A2 FMW

A view of the Federal Machine and Welder M4A2, Serial Number 15056, accepted in July, 1943. It is currently on an active target range in Western France. This tank was probably received as Lend Lease by the Free French Army in North Africa in late 1943. Traces of the gun travel lock can be seen, and certain Ordnance Department documents suggest that this unit was one of the first to have it factory installed by FMW. On the other hand, this tank appears to have been shipped without some of the more common modifications of the second half of 1943, such as the appliqué plates on the front and sides. Period photos and a number of surviving French Shermans show that the side appliqué plates were crudely tack welded on, something that wouldn't have been acceptable at a US factory or tank depot. One theory is that French units training in the UK before D-Day were supplied with a number of these modification kits, but lacked the time and manpower to do a proper installation. US units in the UK had the same problem, but were able to contract British firms to apply the modifications assembly line style. In any case, 15056 shows evidence of having had the side appliqué plates tack welded on.


M4A2 FMW

A rear shot of Serial Number 15056. The authors suspect this tank survived WWII, & that the commander's vision cupola & MG stowage mods were added by the French postwar. Otherwise, the turret could be original to the tank. The welded up pistol port and factory installed application of the turret patch are appropriate to July 1943 production.


FMW front glacis    FMW front glacis

These photos don't show confirmed surviving FMW M4A2s, but illustrate the construction of the front glacis as seen on our  two surviving examples. The red lines indicate the weld joints. Note that the "plate" that includes the bow MG was actually a casting, whereas the other sections of the glacis were armor plates.


FMW cast drivers hood    FMW cast drivers hood

The direct vision slots were considered ballistic weak points, and it is obvious that FMW dispensed with them at "some time in early 1943." The modified drivers' hood casting featured an additional periscope in front of the drivers' hatches. Note that these drivers' hoods castings are what are informally referred to as the "narrow" type, and were used by most producers of small hatch M4s and M4A2s.


FMW bow MG    FMW bow MG

The few known FMW built Shermans can be seen to have a single variant of the bow machine gun socket casting. Note the little "buttons" on the corners of the piece (circled in red). This bow MG configuration appears to be identical to what is seen on Pullman M4A2s starting in the Spring of 1943.


FMW hull antenna bracket

The typical cast antenna bracket seen on FMW built Shermans. Note how the bracket is mounted on top of the glacis plate, as opposed to the flush mounting seen on some other makers' Shermans. The antenna casting on the historic survivor "Mort-Homme" carries Part Number D52416, and can be seen with the stylized "PL" casting logo of Pratt and Letchworth. Again this part is similar if not identical to what is seen on Pullman M4A2s made starting in the Spring of 1943.


FMW bow MG

FMW and Pullman M4A2s produced from the Spring of 1943 to the end of production are so similar in appearance that we have had difficulty identifying the maker of the few surviving examples. From counting heads on an admittedly small sampling, it seems possible that FMW mounted the grouser compartment blank off plates on top of or "proud" of the sponson armor. Pullman, on the other hand, appears to have mounted them "flush." Flush mount required the additional step of providing a "ledge" (arrow) under the sponson armor to hold the blank off.


FMW DV drivers hood    FMW DV drivers hood

Although the authors don't have any proof, we would assume that some or all of the FMW M4A2s made before Serial Numbers 14801 and 14815 also had direct vision. Perhaps a few after SN 14815 had it as well? In the right side  photo of Serial Number 14815, the DV slots are "hidden" behind the drivers' hood appliqué plates, which were probably installed during a remanufacture done by Fisher in 1944. The left side photo provides an interior view of one of the direct vision slots.


FMW head lamp sockets

The few known FMW built Shermans are equipped with the cast type of head lamp sockets used by most of the manufacturers of small hatch Shermans.


FMW hull lifting rings    FMW hull lifting rings

Serial Number 14815 is equipped with "padded" hull lifting rings. These were castings with rectangular bases, which were introduced early on in Sherman production.


 FMW hull lifting rings

FMW appears to have transitioned to the use of the most common and final type of hull lifting ring castings a bit later than most other builders, around June, 1943.


FMW bullet splash

With the exception of Fisher Body, all of the manufacturers of welded hull Shermans, used cast turret splash sections (the weld joints are indicated in red).


FMW

Examination of the two surviving examples of FMW M4A2s, show them with lower rear hulls constructed of armor plate with an angled transition piece joining to the the belly plate.


FMW
Click on the photo for larger size

S/N 15161 / USA 3056341, a September 1943 production unit, was photographed in Detroit a month later. This tank displays most of the modifications that had been developed to improve the original design of the welded hull, small hatch Sherman. Note the sharp nosed differential housing, which was considered a ballistic improvement over the original one-piece design. US manufacturers were mandated to use the new type exclusively starting in September, 1943. Unlike some of our earlier FMW examples, 15161 features what the authors informally refer to as the "plain" drive sprocket, the most common type seen on Shermans from 1943 onward. While the tank has the open spoke road wheels first used on the M3 Medium, the idler wheel is of the "disc type." It was found that the open spoke idler could become clogged & interfere with the operation of the track, so the "pressed spoke" disc type was mandated starting in September. While not readily apparent, 15161 features the redesigned commander's cupola with built in hatch locking and equilibration. Other mods that can be seen are the periscope guards, 2 inch smoke mortar, and the commander's vane sight. Note the absence of a pistol port on the turret. A stencil on the sand shield reads "Processed by L.T.D. (Lima Tank Depot) 10/24/43." One of the functions of the Tank Depot was as a modification "backstop." Any mods not factory installed were to be installed at the Depot before the tank was shipped.


FMW

FMW was dropped from the Sherman program in December 1943, and our final example shows S/N 15283 / USA 3056463 one of their last units. This tank was photographed at APG in January 1944 during an Inspection Control Test. While FMW only built 540 M4A2s, it should be noted that Ordnance Inspectors consistently found their Shermans to be of the highest quality construction. 15283 is very similar in appearance to our preceding example, but note the introduction of the "upturned" return roller arms. The siren has been repositioned to the glacis and is protected by a brush guard. The new configuration is similar to what can be seen on 47 degree, welded hull Shermans. The "bump" on the right front of the turret indicates the casting was "thickened" in that area, obviating the need for the welded on turret patch. One Ordnance Document has it that FMW introduced the Loader's Escape Hatch at S/N 15185, but it can't be confirmed in our photo. The other Sherman manufacturers that were dropped from the program by the end of 1943, were exempt from the loader's hatch requirement, and finished out production with the "no pistol port" turrets.


FMW

Many surviving Shermans are missing their dataplates, most likely because they were removed for souvenirs. That appears to have been the case with this particular example as the plate was found in a barn in France in 2019. Serial Number 14962 would have been accepted in May, 1943. The Number “178” can be seen stamped rather large in the lower center of the plate. We would note that SN 14962 was the 178th M4A2 accepted at FMW ( Build sequence # 1 = SN 14785, plus 177 units = SN 14962). Thus, this example at least seems to suggest that the company may have stamped the build sequence number on its dataplates? Photo provided by Arnaud Marquet.


FMW

Update: In September, 2021, Pierre-Olivier visited a "new to him" M4A2 undergoing restoration at the Militaire Association Troyenne in Troyes, France. The tank's glacis pattern has been noted on both Pullman and FMW M4A2s, but Pierre-Olivier thought it might be a Federal Machine since it has padded hull lifting rings which have not been seen on any of the Pullmans with this pattern. After reviewing Pierre-Olivier's photos, our impression is that this tank was French Lend Lease, and most likely would have been received in Northwest Africa sometime in the second half of 1943. We would note that the original differential housing appears to have been replaced with one that has steps and a handle (outlined in red) typically fitted to the diffs of M10 Tank Destroyers. A closer look revealed that it has "515" stamped on its towing lugs, which we take to be the M10 Serial Number, indicating December, 1942 acceptance. Unfortunately, as best we can tell, neither FMW or Pullman stamped the tank Serial Number on the front or rear tow lugs or anywhere else on the exterior of their Shermans. However, Pierre-Olivier had a bit of luck in this case...


FMW

The late Bruno Tabare, the President of the Association, graciously permitted Pierre-Olivier to have a look inside, and while the dataplate is missing, he found that the inside of the dataplate frame had been stamped with "FEDERAL MACH & WELDER CO. NO. 178."  Recall that the "barn find" dataplate had 178 stamped on it, which leads us to think that that dataplate came from this tank. So we believe that our subject is Serial Number 14962, accepted in May, 1943.


FMW

Here we have a view of the hull from the left front. We can't explain it, but can simply observe the curious "flat spot" (arrow) in the weld seam that joined the glacis to left side plate of the hull. This has also seen on the historic FMW M4A2 "Mort-Homme" in Badonviller, France, as well as on the range target SN 15056 discussed earlier. The photo provides a good view of the "padded" hull lifting ring casting (1). We suspect that FMW completed the transition to the standard type casting by June, 1943. Pierre-Olivier has measured the cast headlamp sockets (2) on other examples as having a diameter of about 4 1/2 inches. The ones seen here strike us as as a little larger, possibly because of the very liberal amount of material FMW or its subcontractor used when welding these hulls together. The headlamp plug holders (3) are in the upright orientation, and what little evidence we have would indicate that all FMW M4A2s were built that way. All 3 of the Quick Fix applique plates (4) are simply tack welded on. As mentioned earlier, we believe that this was done by units of the French 2nd Armored Division while in the United Kingdom before the Normandy Invasion. The inset is from newsreel footage shot in North Dalton, UK, in July, 1944, and shows French mechanics welding an appliqué plate on "Arcis sur Aube," an M4A2 of the 501ème Régiment de Chars de Combat. For more details, we invite readers to have a look at our "French Shermans during WW2" page.


FMW    FMW

The view on the left shows the tack welding of the applique plate to the right front side. Surviving Shermans are often missing their original parts, as evidenced, for instance, by the fact that this tank was retrofitted with a differential housing from M10 Serial Number 515. However, the 3 applique plates appear to be original since they are stamped with the proper WW II era part numbers - A347061 (inset) for the rectangular plates and A347062 for the angled plate. "GL" is stamped just below the part numbers, indicating that the Great Lakes Steel Corp. of Ecorse, Michigan was the "steel source." We have encountered a few surviving Shermans that were only installed with the external applique part of the Quick Fix Modification. The other parts of the mod, encasing the interior ammunition racks in 1/4 inch armor, and cutting away the steel mesh from the turret basket were not done, most likely due to a lack of time and manpower. The full installation is stated to have required 140 man hours. We cannot confirm if the French did the full mod, although the fact that they merely tack welded the applique plates suggests maybe not. However, this tank does have what appears to be an original armored ammunition rack on the right front sponson as shown above. The turret intended for this tank did not have a basket, so we can't comment on that part of the mod. It was behind a fence and covered with a tarp, so that Pierre-Olivier could only note that it had an M34 gun mount. FMW is reported to have introduced the M34A1 Gun Mount on 15 April, 1943 at Serial Number 14892. Assuming that is accurate, this tank would have been built with the M34A1 factory installed. The hull appears to have suffered some small arms and/or shrapnel damage, but nothing like what is seen on SN 15056, the range target featured earlier. So perhaps it is "wear and tear" from its WW II service? When completed, it should make a fine tribute to M. Tabare.


FMW

The restoration of this tank was at a stage that permits us an open view of the engine compartment. Because of the size of the M4A2's twin diesel powerplant, there were no vertical fuel tanks in the forward corners of the compartment, such as on other types of Shermans. Instead, the horizontal fuel tanks (1) were supplemented by a pair of reserve tanks (2) mounted on the engine compartment floor just below the horizontal tanks. The fuel capacity of the M4A2 was 148 gallons, compared to the Radial engine powered M4/M4A1's 172 gallons. The armored caps (3) seen here protected the filler points for the diesel fuel.


FMW

In this view of the driver's hood casting, one can see that the front was rounded at the top, but tapered in such a way that it was "square-ish" where it was welded to the glacis. The positive hatch locks (1) with equilibrator springs (2) were reported to have been factory installed by Federal Machine on 17 April, 1943 at SN 14910, a couple of days after the introduction of the M34A1 Gun Mount. We would judge that the step bracket (3), and the fittings (4) for the the "driver's windshield and hood" were installed at the outset of FMW production in December, 1942. The driver's and bow gunner's "narrow" hood castings were about 18 1/2 inches wide, and were mirror images of each other with Part Numbers D77160A and D77160B, respectively. The hoods on our subject have the stylized "PL" logo indicating that they were cast by Pratt and Letchworth, a Foundry in Buffalo, New York. Of interest is that the casting marks include "RECON" and below that a date "11-16-42." We have seen these same casting marks on a few surviving ALCO M4s, as well as on a suspected FMW M4A2 in France (shown in the inset). All have the same date, which would lead us to guess that RECON was not a foundry, and 11-16-42 was not a casting date, but that the symbols might indicate that the drivers' hood castings were "reconfigured" from direct vison to the elongated type by Pratt and Letchworth on November 16, 1942.


FMW

Here we show a recent (2020) photo of the M4A2 Monument "Mort-Homme" in Badonviller, France. We consider this to be the most "historic" of the few surviving Shermans made by Federal Machine. Note the two penetrations (circled) in the area where the 1 inch applique plate had once been tack welded. Jean-René Champion, the driver, described these as from "two bazooka shots in its left flank." The 5 crew members managed to escape, although all were wounded. As was too often the case with Shermans, the ammunition exploded and the tank caught fire. Champion recovered from his burns and went on to command "Mort-Homme III." ("Mort-Homme II" was destroyed on December 14, 1944 in Alsace). Of note is that the turret has an M34 Gun Mount (1), a working pistol port (2) and a stowage rack (3) on the bustle. Again we see the odd "flat spot" (4) in the weld seam.


FMW

The above shows "Mort-Homme" on the rue de Rivoli in Paris. It is thought that shortly after this photo was taken on August 25, 1944, Mort-Homme and four others tanks of its section attacked the German Headquarters at the Hôtel Meurice. As the tanks advanced toward the hotel, an enemy soldier in an upper story of one of the buildings dropped a hand grenade into the turret of Mort-Homme. The tank commander, Lt. Albert Bernard, and the loader, Chasseur (Pvt.) Jacques Diot, were injured, but Champion, the driver, although wounded himself, was "able to save the tank from being completely destroyed." The turret was so severely damaged that it had to be replaced. In any case, one can see that the original turret had an M34A1 Gun Mount and no pistol port. The replacement turret, which we believe is the one on "Mort-Homme" today, came "from another tank whose engines and drive-train had been damaged beyond resurrection," according to Champion. The replacement took place sometime between August 30 and September 8, while the unit was reorganizing and refitting. Later photos of "Mort-Homme" show that the replacement turret's number was "46," as opposed to the "36" seen here. One theory has it that "Chinon" of the 12th Régiment de Cuirassiers was the donor, as the tank had "suffered a mechanical failure during a movement on the night of 23-24 August," according to the Regiment's After Action Report. Note the ground down weld seam (arrow), an oddity which is identical to what is on the monument tank. The 1 inch applique plate seen here was merely tack welded on, and this along with the two on the other side, are no longer present on the Monument. They may have been blown off when internal ammunition explosions gutted the tank.


FMW

Pierre-Olivier had the opportunity to photograph the interior of Mort-Homme. Unfortunately, the dataplate is no longer there, but he did find "FEDERAL MACH & WELDER CO. NO. 247" stamped inside the dataplate frame. Without a known good serial number, we can't confirm, but based on the dataplate discussed earlier from Serial Number 14962 with 178 stamped on, we would theorize that 247 is an exact build sequence number. If so, this tank would have been accepted in July, 1943.


HOME