M4A2(75) and M4(75) Shermans manufactured by Pullman Standard
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 M4A2(75) with small hatches.

Pullman Standard produced a total of 2737 M4A2s and 689 M4 Shermans, from April, 1942 to September, 1943.

Production Order T-3018: 500 M4A2: Serial Number 905 / USA 3053115 through S/N 1404 / USA 3053614
Production Order T-3162: 1200 M4A2: Serial Number 9460 / USA 3095651 through S/N 10659 / USA 3096850 Production Order T-3322: 400 M4A2: (interpolation) Serial Number 13860 through 14259, Registration Numbers might have been in the 3096XXX and 3097XXX range.
Production Order T-3610: 637 M4A2 and 463 M4: (interpolation) Serial Number 30205 / USA 3038735 through S/N 31304 / USA 3039834 Production Order T-4346: 226 M4: (interpolation) Serial Number 31305 / USA 3039835 through S/N 31530 / USA 3040060


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The Pullman Standard Car Manufacturing Company produced a total of 2737 M4A2 and 689 M4 Shermans from April, 1942 through September, 1943. The plant was located at 1414 Fields St. in Hammond, Indiana, and was made up “of a number of old buildings formerly used...for the construction of sleeping cars. After the plant had been idle for some years, a portion was rehabilitated at the British Government’s expense for the construction of 500 tanks for that government." The photo above shows a pair of the first of 500 Pullman built Grants outside of the plant on July 25, 1941. As it turned out, the British did not actually pay for these tanks; they were provided to them under the Lend Lease Act passed into law on March 11, 1941. On August 2, 1941, shortly after this photo was taken, the US Ordnance Department took over the plant and spent an additional $1.5 million "to provide facilities for the production of 450 medium tanks, type M4, a month in an existing plant of the contractor."


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On August 2, 1941, "the medium tank, type M4" was still in development, but it was basically the M3 with a redesigned upper hull, where the 75mm gun was mounted in a revolving turret. It had been determined that all of the turrets would be made by casting. The upper hull was originally designed as a single piece casting, but the nation’s foundry capacity was limited, so a structure of mostly armor plate welded together was also approved. Supplies of the Medium Tank’s original gasoline powered R-975 Radial Engine could not meet the demands of the rapidly expanding Tank Program, and the GM Model 6046 twin diesel engine was authorized as an alternate power plant in October, 1941. The new engine was introduced into the M3 Medium program in January, 1942. It was reported that the diesel “was more desirable from the standpoint of power,” and just as reliable as the Radial. Pullman was chosen to build welded hull Shermans, equipped with the Model 6046, and designated “Medium Tank, M4A2.” The photo above shows a prototype model photographed at Pullman in November, 1941. Several changes would occur before production got underway in April, 1942. For instance, the rotor sight (1) was replaced with a gunner’s periscope in the roof of the turret, so that only a few of the first M4A1s were produced with rotor sight turrets. The twin fixed machine guns (2) were eliminated from the design in March, 1942, and only a small number of the earliest M4A1s and M4A2s are seen with the guns installed. Reports from M3 Medium crews showed that ventilation was necessary, and ultimately, welded hull Shermans would be provided with four ventilators (3): one beside each of the drivers' hatches, one inside the turret splash on the right rear, and one on top of the turret.


Part 1 : Pullman M4A2(75)s


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To date we have only come across a textual listing for the first Pullman built M4A2, but no photos. Serial Number 905 is listed in a “Defects & Missing Items” report dated May 28, 1942. The second one, Serial Number 906, was sent to the General Motors Proving Ground where it was described as “the first pilot model of Medium Tank M4A2,” and photographed in early May. Of interest is that this unit was shipped with the tank’s Ordnance Serial Number, as opposed to the USA Registration Number, painted on the sides as shown in the inset. Pullman had made Grants on which the British War Department Number (T-Number) was painted. This was also the tank’s Serial Number, which was stamped, minus the T prefix, on the dataplate, so perhaps the firm was confused about which number to paint on? In any case, in April, 1942, Pullman and Fisher Body began production of the first welded hull Shermans. Their M4A2s were very similar, but not identical. We invite readers to have a look at the first few captions on our Fisher M4A2 page for an idea of the rather elaborate glacis configuration used on a number of early Shermans. Unlike a few of the first Fisher M4A2s, SN 906 is not seen with the fixed MGs installed, nor are the MG holes visible.


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Serial Number 906 was photographed again in June, 1943 at Aberdeen Proving Ground where it was used in tests of the turret reinforcement patch. It can be seen that the proper USA Registration Number, 3053116, (1) had since been painted on. This is the only example we have encountered of the “high weep holes” (2) on a Sherman other than a Pressed Steel Car M4. Perhaps they were part of the original welded hull design, which only PSC retained? Period photos and surviving examples leave little doubt that the “weep holes at the base of the turret splash” was the standard configuration used by all of the other welded hull manufacturers, including Pullman. SN 906 can also be seen with a rounded transition piece (3) where the lower rear hull plate joins to the belly plate. It is thought that was limited to just a few units, and that the standard method of lower hull construction at Pullman used an angled plate. Early M4A2s utilized 11 bolts (4) to secure the rearmost engine deck plate. Eventually, the number of bolts was reduced to 6. At Pullman this change appears to have occurred in early 1943. The original design of the M3 Medium included the use of rubber mud flaps. These were changed to sheet metal (5) on the Sherman. Serial Number 906 was probably destroyed at APG in July, 1944 when it was used in firing tests of “watered ammunition racks” [wet stowage].


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The next Pullman M4A2 we can document is Serial Number 908, USA 3053118, which is shown above during trials of a gunner’s telescope at APG in the Summer of 1942. Originally, this tank had been shipped to APG for an Inspection Test, where it was noted that “This vehicle was formerly reported as Tank #4. This tank arrived without the name plate. The packing list accompanying this vehicle showed the serial number to be 3053118 and tank number as “4”. Inasmuch as 3053118 was not the serial number but the registration number, it was assumed that the tank number was likewise reversed and was No. “4”. Upon receipt of the name plate and a corrected packing list, it was found that the serial number of this tank is 908.” This illustrates the confusion which persists to this day over the Serial Number vs. Registration Number. Like SN 906, 908 was built with M3 type bogies (1). However, note the newly designed 1-piece differential housing (2) on 908 as opposed to the 3-piece on 906. Pullman is reported to have received supplies of transmissions from Caterpillar and Iowa. The evidence suggests that the Caterpillar Transmission Company, like Buick and Ford, never made any transmissions with 3-piece differential housings, but began production with the 1-piece housings, Part Number E4186. Citing that a changeover would disrupt production, Iowa and Chrysler continued to make the 3-piece jobs well into 1943. Note that 908 can be seen with the standard “weep holes at the base of the turret splash” (circled). Unlike SN 906, the turret lifting rings can be seen in the standard “low” position. The evidence suggests that all succeeding Pullmans had the “lows.” Barely visible here is what we informally call “the bump” on the glacis casting (3).


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Serial number 908 was employed as a test vehicle at APG, and one project involved the use of “Vacuum Power Controls for Medium Tanks, M4.” From the start, the designers of the M3 and M4 had sought ways to make it easier for the driver to manipulate the steering levers (1) using various methods of power assist. None of these trials proved satisfactory, and steering the Sherman required a good deal of muscle. Unlike the M4A1, the M4A2 instrument panel (2) was “tombstone” shaped from the start. Note that there are pairs of some of the gauges, reflecting the twin engine configuration of the Model 6046 power pack. The tank’s dataplate (3) appears to be made of cast brass, as was the case with Pullman’s Grants. Shortly thereafter, the dataplates were ordered to be made of a cheaper metal in order to conserve brass. This photo permits us to see a bit of the interior appearance of the “bump” glacis casting. Note the inside groove (4) of the bump, and one of the two fittings for the fixed machine guns (5) which was part of the glacis casting.


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The previous photo provides an interior view of a direct vision driver's hood welded to other castings and plates to form the tank's glacis. We thought readers might like this stand alone, exterior shot of the piece. It is representative of the so called "narrow" driver's hood castings used on small hatch welded hull M4s and many M4A2s, including Pullmans. The authors have measured a few of these castings, both direct vision and the later elongated hoods, and found them to be about 18 1/2 inches wide. The photo is dated September 1942 and captioned, "Machining hoods for America's medium tanks is much more than just a job to Peter Dykzeul. Born in Holland, this employee of a Midwest tank plant knows the brutality and horror Nazi aggression can bring to a freedom-loving people. And he's just one among America's many loyal, foreign-born workers who are pitching in with every ounce of strength to keep the nation free, and to lift the yoke from their native lands. Pressed Steel Can [sic] Company, Chicago, Illinois." The image was taken by Ann Rosener, a noted photojournalist who documented various aspects of life on the home front for the Office of War Information during WW II.


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The next Pullman M4A2 we can document is the 15th vehicle, USA 3053129, which would have been accepted in June, 1942. It was used as a test bed for the anti-aircraft, Multiple Gun Motor Carriage, T52. Ultimately, the design was deemed unsatisfactory, and the project was cancelled in November, 1944. Our photo shows the T52 at the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen in February, 1947. It is assumed that it was scrapped some time after this photo was taken, since we never encountered it during any of our frequent visits to the Museum over the years. In any case, the hull features the most elaborate glacis pattern we have encountered on a welded hull Sherman. It consists of a record 8 sections – the drivers’ hoods (1-2) and the bow machine gun piece (3) were castings that were welded to 5 different armor plates (4-8) to form the glacis. The cast antenna bracket (9) was welded flush with the glacis. This particular type of bracket is seen on early Fisher and Pullman M4A2s, and something similar was used throughout production by ALCO and Pressed Steel Car. The designers were aware of the inherent weakness of the numerous joints and protrusions of the welded hull design, and undertook to reduce the number of plates used to form the glacis as production proceeded. We believe that Pullman used castings for the turret splash throughout production. However, the T52 can be seen with fabricated rear sections as outlined in red in the inset. This may have been done in this case to provide clearance for T52 turret turntable. The evidence suggests that only Fisher Body adopted the use of such fabrications on its small hatch M4A2s.


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Click on the photo for larger size

Pullman completed the last 15 of its 500 M3 [Radial] Grants in July 1942. From April through July, the company produced both Grants and diesel Shermans, with its first M4A2 accepted in April, and a further 7 in May, 35 in June and 130 in July. The photo above is part of a series showing “the Army’s new M4 tanks” ready for shipment from Pullman in late July 1942. The US Tank Depot system was in the early stage of organization by mid 1942, and in the meantime the builders were responsible for sealing the tanks for shipment. Pullman Grants and early M4A2s can be seen covered with what is called in a British report "Scotch tape." This is not a reference to the small, clear home and office tape, but instead refers to one of the masking tapes invented by the 3M Company in the 1920s, and used in the painting of cars, etc. at factory and body shops. We were able to read the Registration Number of the lead tank from the glossy print at the US Archives. It is USA 3053206, indicating that it was accepted in July, and would have been the 92nd M4A2 produced by Pullman. As supplies became available, M4 bogies were ordered to replace M3 bogies in Sherman production and in this photo, we see the transition as only the fourth tank has the earlier suspension. USA 3053206 is the only example seen here with a 1-piece differential housing. These were considered greatly superior to the 3-piece units, but, as noted earlier, Pullman’s primary transmission suppliers were Caterpillar (1-piece) and Iowa (3-piece). The Iowa Transmission Co. is reported to have changed over to production using 1-piece differentials in April 1943, and it would appear that, shortly thereafter, all of Pullman’s Shermans were built with them. USA 3053206 also shows the recent introduction of hull lifting rings that were castings with rectangular pads at the base. The two tanks directly behind are seen with the original fabricated [not cast] type of lifting rings. As an informal means of identification, we refer to the former as "padded" hull lifting rings and the latter as “bent rods.”


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The manufacturers, of course, were responsible for seeing to it that the tanks “worked” before acceptance. In the early days, the government continually exhorted the plants to produce more tanks. The manufacturers stated that they couldn’t up production without receiving steadier supplies of engines and transmissions. They reported that they had numbers of vehicles clogging up their lots that were complete, but without transmissions. (Engines could be tested on stands, but transmissions had to be installed.) Pullman had created a dirt test track during their Grant program, which included a 30 degree ramp (inset). By the time M4A2 production commenced, this had been paved as shown above in late July, 1942. The tank seen here, which by the number stenciled on the front and side, we take to be the 134th unit produced, has an elaborate 7 section glacis pattern. However, the middle plate is unusual, as it is one piece that spans the glacis from the top to the bottom. The E4186 differential housing shown here is in the “early” configuration. Not long thereafter, the molds were revised on both the one and three piece diffs to include a “lip” in front of the bolt strip at the top, presumably to protect the bolts from bullet splash.


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Here we have another of the M4A2s photographed on railroad cars at Pullman. This unit can be seen as US 3053261, indicating July 1942 acceptance, overall, their 147th M4A2. The glacis pattern seen here is the one we most closely associate with Pullman built Shermans. It consists of a rather large armor plate on the left side (1), notched out to accept the driver's hood (2). A smaller plate (3) on the right holds the antenna bracket (4) and is welded to the bow gunner's hood (5) and the bow machine gun casting (6). Most manufacturers of welded hull Shermans settled into consistent glacis patterns after the first few months. Thus, one might think that this "5 part" pattern would have been what Pullman adopted starting around July for its entire subsequent run of Shermans, but as we shall see, in late 1942, they took an interesting little detour with the use of fabricated parts.



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The M4A2 shown here is on display at Camp Borden in Canada. This tank was retrofitted with the "Canadian Indestructible Roller Device" [CIRD] at some point during the course of its service. The plates on the hull sides (arrow) are not standard appliqué plates, but mounting plates for the CIRD. We are "pretty sure" that this one of a kind surviving M4A2 was built by Pullman Standard, but the Museum staff doesn't appear to have any accession information with the serial number. It is unknown if the dataplate is still inside. In any case, the photo, which was taken by Jim Goetz on a sunny day, provides a slightly better view of the "5 part" glacis pattern. Note the "buttons" on the corners of the trapezoidal shaped bow machine gun casting. These appear to have been eliminated from later molds. Jim found "185" stamped into the glacis in the area indicated. Could that be the build number? If so, it would have been accepted in August 1942.


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The Sherman’s combat debut came with the British at the Second Battle of El Alamein, which commenced on October 24, 1942. The story is well known, but to recap...On June 21, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was at the White House when he got the news of the surrender of Tobruk. President Franklin Roosevelt asked if there was anything he could do to help, and without hesitation, Churchill replied, "Give us as many Sherman tanks as you can spare and ship them to the Middle East as quickly as possible." Soon after, Roosevelt ordered the dispatch of 300 Shermans and 100 M7 Priests. This would have been pretty much the entire production of Shermans up to that point. The tanks were collected up from the factories, as well as from US units that had just begun training with them. The "5185 Opportunity" convoy sailed on July 15, 1942, with 302 Shermans and 100 Priests. The Shermans break down to 212 M4A1s and 90 M4A2s. The S.S. Fairport with 51 M4A1s and 32 Priests on board was sunk by a U-Boat the next day. The Seatrain Texas sailed unescorted two weeks later with replacements of 52 M4A1s and 25 Priests. The voyage took two months, and the Shermans began to arrive in Egypt in September 1942. Apart from these, an earlier “regular” Lend Lease shipment of 15 M4A2s “which had been intended to come well ahead...actually only preceded [the emergency shipment] by a few days." The IWM photos above are dated September 9th. On July 15, when the convoy sailed, the only M4A2s that were in production were made by either Fisher or Pullman. This tank can be seen as T-74271. In another photo from this series, the USA Number is partially visible as “305313X,” indicating that it was made by Pullman. Note the “low” position of the turret lifting rings. Counting heads suggests that Fisher continued with the “high” lifting rings until the end of 1942. From that we “interpolate” that any of the 105 M4A2s in theater at the time and seen with “high” lifting rings would have been Fishers, and any with the “lows” would have been Pullmans. Counting heads also suggests that the British War Department Numbers of these first 105 were all in the range running from about T-74213 through T-74317. The M3 Medium was built without hull lifting rings, and this deficiency was corrected with the M4 series. However, stevedores were reluctant to “trust” the lifting rings and continued the damaging practice of hoisting the tanks as shown above, using slings running under or across the belly plate. IWM E16599 and E16603.


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In a photo from the same IWM series, the USA Number, 3053165 (inset), is just visible on the rear side of the M4A2 in the foreground. This tank can also be seen to be T-74291. Units records list T-74291 as with the 47th Royal Tank Regiment. It was battle damaged during the Alamein campaign, but recovered and repaired. In a General Motors Technician's Report from Tripoli dated August, 1943, T-74291 is listed as Pullman Serial Number 955, which is an exact mathematical match to USA 3053165. Serial Number 955 would have been accepted in early July 1942, overall Pullman’s 51st M4A2. Since the convoy sailed on July, 15th, it is pretty certain that this was a new tank shipped directly from the production lines, not one that had been issued to US troops. There wouldn’t have been any time for that. The "UFS" seen painted on these Shermans is shipping code for "US-Freetown-Slow." It was a slow speed, zig-zagging convoy from the US to Freetown in West Africa. From there, the Royal Navy took over escort duty for the long journey around Africa, through the Suez Canal and on to Egypt. Most of the “Alamein Shermans” are noted with 3-piece differential housings, but a close examination of the front reveals that SN 955 was built with a 1-piece. The engine deck of the M4A1 in the background is “clean,” while the M4A2’s is “busy” with a number of additional cable clamps on the rear most plate. This reflects the original plan to stow the towing cable on the engine deck in the manner of the M3 Medium and T6 (Sherman) pilot. Ultimately, the tow cable was stored along the left side of the Sherman, but the rear deck clamps are seen in a few photos of early Fisher and Pullman M4A2s. Based on what we know of this M4A2, we could observe that "the rear deck clamps are seen on some Pullmans produced up to July, 1942." Note the "engine cover plate" above the soldier inspecting the twin diesel power pack. This was made of 1/4-inch steel and was hinged at the front. In the down position, it covered the engines and served to protect them from any shrapnel that might penetrate the tightly louvered engine access doors. IWM E16607.


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In this view from the same IWM series of September 9th, the M4A2 can be seen as USA 3053166, the next tank built by Pullman after SN 955 of the previous caption. This tank carries the British Number T-74299, and like its sister tank above, is listed in unit records as in service with the 47th Royal Tank Regiment during the Alamein Campaign. Since we’ve been asked many times, we would like to point out that there is no mathematical correlation between the British assigned WD Numbers and the US Ordnance Serial and/or Registration Numbers. For instance, in this case, we see that 3053165 of the previous caption was T-74291, while 3053166 was T-74299. The WD Numbers were not assigned in strict sequence, which makes it impossible to determine the builder or month of production of a Sherman if all one knows is the WD Number. It is evident that the Shermans seen in this series were outfitted with sand shields before they left the US. Pullman provided and installed sand shields for most of their Grants, but in the case of the "5185 Opportunity" shipment, the evidence suggests that these were installed at the Tank Depots which were just coming on line in the US. Note that the front section of the sand shield is rounded on the Shermans, as opposed to the angled fronts on the Grants and Priests. The rounded configuration was adopted when the Ordnance Department mandated the installation of sand shields in mid 1943. T-74299 still has some of its “On Vehicle Materiel” [OVM] boxes mounted on the rear deck. Most of the items would have been unpacked and placed in or on the vehicle when it was processed for issue at a Base Workshop. Note that T-74299 can also be seen with additional cable clamps on the rear engine deck. IWM E 16608.


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Earlier we showed SN 908 with “the bump” on the glacis casting. The IWM photos above are part of a series dated October 10, 1942, about two weeks before the start of the Second Battle of El Alamein. They document the visit of a child entertainer named Tita Rickard to a repair crew working on a Sherman “in the Western Desert.” Note the presence of the bump in the photo on the left. Due to the date and the low position of the turret lifting ring, we take this example to be another Pullman M4A2 from the emergency, or what the British frequently termed, "the special shipment." At first we thought that the use of the glacis casting with the bump was short lived, and limited to a few early M4A2s, along with the two Ford M4A3 pilots. These castings, with the machine gun fittings on the inside, would have been rendered obsolete with the elimination of the twin fixed machine guns in March, 1942. We would note that in the few period photos showing the "bump" on M4A2s, as well as on the two known surviving examples, the tanks have direct vision. However, the bump has also been observed in a pair of photos of early 1943 production M4s thought to have been made by ALCO, and with the later type of drivers' hoods. We can only guess that the use of these castings in 1943 was a case of recycling, or “waste not, want not.” At any rate, “the bump” provides us with an interesting and ongoing little Sherman mystery. Note that this unit has a 1-piece differential housing, which is seen in period photos on a small number of the special shipment M4A2s and M7 Priests, but so far not the M4A1s. The British added a number of internal and external items when they processed these tanks for issue. An obvious one here is the sunshield framework running along the side of the vehicle. Another is the Crusader tank style stowage box affixed to the rear of the turret. Based on the locations given in the War Diaries of the 41st and 47th RTRs, we believe this scene was shot in the area of Wadi El Farigh, about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Cairo. IWM E 17857 and E 17854.


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It has been difficult to determine the exact appearance of the Alamein M4A2s, since there is usually only one period photo of any particular example, and details such as the glacis pattern are often indistinct or obscured. We believe that there is a surviving M4A2 that may have been one of the 90 M4A2s received by the Brits as part of the "Special Shipment," or one of the 15 that was sent to the Middle East just before that as the first regular Lend Lease shipment. All 105 of these arrived in Egypt at about the same time in September, 1942. All would have to have been made before mid July, 1942, when the convoys sailed. This M4A2 is on display at the World War II Military Museum in El Alamein, and still has its original Pullman "1942" dataplate, but, alas, the serial number is obscured, so we can't determine exactly when it was produced. Nonetheless, it has some early features, the most obvious being direct vision. It is thought that Pullman transitioned to the later driver's hoods in November 1942. The rear hull liftings rings are the earliest "bent rod" type, while the ones on the glacis are the "padded" castings which quickly replaced them. The rearmost engine deck panel is indented, and there are 11 bolts running across the upper rear hull plate. Pierre-Olivier has personally examined this Sherman, and despite some obscuration by the track holders, determined that it has an unusual 7 section glacis pattern, such as seen in a factory photo (inset) of a Pullman M4A2 with "134" stenciled on the side. (We suspect that was the build number, and if so, it would have been accepted in July, 1942.) The tank was extensively rebuilt by cobbling at some point in 1943 or later. However, we don't think this was one of the 535 M4A2s remanufactured in the US in 1944, since they would have been installed with the drivers' hood appliqué, a bow MG dust cover fitting, and the "official" cast gun travel lock, not the fabricated one it currently has. This leads us to theorize that this tank was rebuilt, perhaps more than once, at British Workshops in the Middle East. A peek inside by a visitor 25 years ago revealed armored ammunition racks and a skeletonized turret basket, which, along with the appliqué armor on the hull sides indicates that it received the full Quick Fix Modification. It currently has a “no pistol port” turret, which didn't enter the production pipeline until the Summer of 1943. The 3-piece differential housing would appear to be appropriate, but it has a "lip" which was not introduced until late 1942. We suspect that this particular diff was taken from a Chrysler M4A4, and the comb device it still has is typical of the type used by Chester Tank Depot starting in late 1942. If this tank was built with M4 bogies, they would have been earlier than the ones currently on there with the 1943 casting dates. In any case, despite all of the changes, an M4A2 of this vintage certainly has a place at the El Alamein Museum.


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As mentioned previously, early M4A2s are seen with 11 bolts running across the top of the upper rear hull plate (top left photo). Eventually, the number of bolts was reduced to 6, no doubt in order to provide crews with faster access when servicing the engine (top right). At Pullman this change appears to have occurred in early 1943. So far, the examination of surviving M4A2s reveals that those with 11 bolts have rearmost engine deck plates that are “indented,” as seen in photo 3. For whatever reason, a spacer (arrow) was welded on to each side of the hull, forcing the indentation of the rear engine deck plate. It may or may not be significant that the indent measures 12 inches from front to rear, which corresponds to the size of the small rearmost engine deck panel that was welded in to M4 Shermans. On all but two of the “indented” M4A2s examined to date, there are 3 bolts on each side. It would appear that Pullman reduced the number of side bolts to 2 in late 1942, before changing over to the rectangular rear deck plates with the 6 bolt upper rear hull configuration.


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M4A2s have been difficult to study because most of them "disappeared" to Lend Lease. Not many were used in tests in the US, where evaluation reports, etc. often provide the Serial and/or USA Number and some photos, which in many cases, enables us to gain insight into their appearance at a particular time. Here we would like to show a surviving example of a Pullman M4A2 that features cast drivers' hoods, coupled with fabricated bow machine gun and antenna sockets. This tank was listed as Serial Number 9882 when it was turned over to the Armoured School Museum in the mid 1950s. Additionally, according to author Paul Handel's "Australian Shermans" webpage, "The tank arrived in Australia during mid 1943, and on arrival carried both a US registration number (USA W 3096073) and a British registration number (T 146142)." The "XXI in a diamond" shipping code, and the "as built" appearance of the tank upon arrival, would lead us to conclude that SN 9882 was shipped directly to Australia from the US. The tank was one of 3 Shermans used in trials in Australia, and, thankfully, this one and an M4 Composite were preserved by the Australian Army Tank Museum in Puckapunyal. SN 9882/USA USA 3096073 would have been accepted at Pullman Standard in December 1942. Note the distinct shape of the "narrow" drivers' hood castings (1), and the sharp angles of the fabricated MG (2) and antenna (3) sockets. The glacis armor is a single plate into which these components have been welded. We would assume that Pullman sourced the fabrications from Fisher Body. Fisher M4A2s of this period used a number of other fabricated components, such as the drivers' hoods, turret splash guards, and head lamp sockets, while these parts are castings on SN 9882.


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Since SN 9882 has been preserved nearly "as built," we can gain a little insight about some of the components being used in December 1942. There is an AWM photo showing that 9882 arrived in Australia equipped with sand shields. The sand shields were removed at some point, revealing the "aircraft type cowl fasteners" underneath the sponson (top left). The Ordnance Department accommodated the British when they requested sand shields on their Grants. The Brits made the same request for their Lend Lease Shermans, and the US began to consider equipping their tanks with sand shields as well, particularly those to be deployed to the desert. On the "Original Design" with the "aircraft cowl fasteners," "The forward members of these sand shields are common to all vehicles," while the rear section was the same on the M4 and M4A1, but differed on the M4A2, A3 and A4. In any case, the "Original Design" was used early on. For instance, it can be seen on some of the "Emergency Shipment" M4A1s and M4A2s. While a number of surviving Shermans have the cowl type fasteners, the authors are not aware of any surviving examples with the earlier style of sand shields still fitted. In the photo at the top right, an L-shaped bar can be seen attached to the bottom of the fasteners. The sand shields were hung on to this bar, presumably attached with bolts or screws. At bottom left we see the early style sand shields attached to 3053416, a Pullman M4A2 accepted in August, 1942. Note the small gap often seen between the sand shields and the hull. The use of the "Original Design" sand shields appears to have been limited by availability. They were cancelled on 26 March 1943 and replaced with the "Universal" or "Interchangeable" sand shield design, which was mass produced and mandated to be installed on all Shermans beginning in mid 1943. On the universal design, the sand shields were screwed to attachment strips welded on to the lower edge of the hull sides (bottom right).  


pullman    pullman

We were somewhat surprised to note that 5 of the 6 bogies on SN 9882 have the original half round track skids (left). Indeed, period photos show that the left front bogie also had a half round. We suspect that the entire bogie, shown on the right, must have been changed out at some point in the course of service, since it is the only bogie bracket not cast by "GAD" (Ford). We would have thought that the supply of half rounds would have been exhausted by the time this tank was built in December 1942. For a little background, Chrysler quickly designed an improved track skid with a larger contact area. We refer to this type by the informal name "asymmetrical." The left front bogie of 9882 is installed with an example. These entered the production pipeline at Chrysler in August 1942 and were themselves replaced with what we term the "standard" type in early 1943. We can only assume that the vagaries of production and supply may have delayed the transitions at Pullman. Not unexpected, but we would note as well the absence of return roller spacers (circled in red) on any of the bogies of 9882. The use of steel tracks created a friction problem with the track skids. This was remedied by the addition of a spacer that elevated the return roller by about an inch. Spacers were incorporated in new production starting in early 1943. Modification kits were also provided shortly thereafter so that spacers could be retrofitted to any M3 or M4 Medium type AFV built without them. However, as evidenced by SN 9882, and any number of 1943 period photos, many Shermans soldiered on without the spacers.


pullman    pullman

293 of the British Duplex Drive conversions were based on the M4A2 or Sherman III. The unit preserved at the Tank Museum at Bovington is the only surviving DD with its original floatation screen intact. This example has several improvements introduced in late 1944/early 1945 as a result of user experience with the original DD design. In order to prevent the raised screen from collapsing in rough seas, the struts were strengthened and made self locking, turret struts were added, and the rear screen was raised. In 2021, a correspondent reported that a member of the staff looked inside at the dataplate, and found that the tank was produced by the Pullman Standard Car Co, and that the Serial Number is 9992. Like Serial Number 9882 preserved in Australia, it was accepted in December 1942, and has cast drivers' hoods (1), along with fabricated antenna (2) and bow machine gun sockets (3). From this we would posit that some Pullman M4A2s produced in late 1942/early 1943 had these features. As it sits, this tank has bogies with half round track skids and no spacers, and based on the same items on SN 9882, we would judge that it was built with those features. It differs from 9882 in that it has a 3-piece differential housing (4). The 1-piece diffs are most prevalent in photos, but it is thought that Pullman M4A2s were built with both types before the company transitioned to the use of the 1-piece exclusively about mid 1943. Left side photo courtesy of "Megashorts".


pullman

The photo at the top left shows what we consider to be the "typical" cast antenna bracket seen on Pullman and FMW Shermans produced in 1943. Note how the bracket is mounted on top of the glacis plate, as opposed to the flush mounting seen on some other makers' Shermans. Many early production Pullman M4A2s have been observed with the trapezoidal shaped bow machine gun socket casting shown at the top right. This configuration appears to be identical to that used by FMW throughout production. However, as mentioned earlier, fabricated antenna brackets (bottom left) and bow MG sockets (bottom right) have been noted on some Pullman M4A2s produced in late 1942/early 1943. The available evidence suggests that after early 1943, Pullman no longer used these fabricated antenna and MG sockets and returned to using the cast components for the remainder of its production of M4A2 and M4 Shermans.


pullman

Serial Numbers 9882 and 9992 are the only surviving examples with "cast hoods/fabricated sockets" that we have been able to identify positively as Pullmans. However, Pierre-Olivier has seen a "probable" - an M4A2 dozer on display at the Citadel in Cairo, Egypt. This unit shares many of the same features as 9882 and 9992, including the glacis pattern, padded hull lifting rings, and "indented" rearmost engine deck panel with 11 bolts across the upper rear hull. From what little data we have to work with, we would theorize that Pullman started production using all cast components, and introduced the fabricated components, perhaps mixed in, in the Fall of 1942, and then went back to using all cast components in early 1943.


pullman

A small number of WW2 period photos show what we believe are Pullman M4A2s produced in late 1942 or early 1943 with cast driver's hoods, and fabricated antenna and machine gun sockets. By the chronology of Lend Lease allocations, we believe that the British would have received most of this type. They were assigned over 2100 M4A2s from May 1942 through April 1943. Most Soviet and French M4A2 allocations were from mid 1943 on, so would have been later models. The US Army photo above is dated 16 April 1943 "On the Tunisian Front." It shows Sergeant Manuel Sylvia of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts adjusting a bogie wheel on a Sherman undergoing "repair." This tank can be identified as an M4A2 by the open engine deck door (1). Its appearance is nearly identical to SN 9882 in Australia with one interesting addition - the sun compass fitting (2) requested by the British. It is mentioned that US Army personnel assisted with the processing of British Shermans received in Northwest Africa in the Spring of 1943, and we suspect this photo was taken before the tank had been issued to a combat unit.


pullman

The US Coast Guard photo above depicts a Sherman III unloading "onto a "Rhino" barge during the early hours of the invasion on Gold Beach, 6 June 1944." "Virgin" can be seen as T-147013. The combined fox face and "993" formation and Arm of Service marking identify this as a Sherman of the 8th Armoured Brigade Headquarters. Note that the outline of the M34 Gun Mount is visible through the waterproofing cover. It is thought that Pullman completed the transition to the M34A1 Gun Mount in April 1943, so we would guess that all of their "cast hoods/fabricated sockets" M4A2s would have been produced with M34s. The tank appears to be unmodified or "as built," except that the sand shield strip observed on the left seems out of place on a unit of this vintage. We can only assume that the strips along with sand shields were retrofitted, most likely in the UK, but as was so often the case, the sand shields were removed by the crew. Note that this example has a 3-piece differential housing. The small fitting seen atop the fabricated antenna bracket suggests that this was a command tank in which the ammunition stowage on the right sponson was removed and replaced with an additional radio.


pullman

One of the most interesting M4A2s that P-O has examined is the range recovery shown above. The glacis pattern is easy to trace from the exposed weld seams and is similar to that of direct vision Fisher M4A2s produced from July 1942 until the introduction of the elongated, fabricated drivers' hoods in November or perhaps December 1942. However, unlike the Fishers, the turret splash sections and the head light sockets are castings on this example. The grouser covers are missing, but the holes are "lipped" so that the grousers covers could be mounted flush. Like SNs 9882 and 9992, this tank has an "indented" rearmost engine deck panel with 11 bolts across the upper rear hull. Unlike 9882 and 9992, the rear turret splash casting utilizes all 9 bolt slots, whereas the others were drilled for only 6. This might indicate a transition point, but it would be hard to say for certain, since this tank was extensively modified. The dataplate is long gone, with nothing stamped inside the frame that held it. Also, the paint has mostly burned away, so there is little chance of finding period tactical markings or other clues by "paint archeology." In any case, this is the only surviving M4A2 with these features we have encountered. We suspect it was produced by Pullman in October or November 1942. Furthermore, this tank can be seen with a pair of "welding resumptions" pointed out with thumb and forefinger by Johann Steinebach (a mechanic and Sherman tank restorer) in the photo in the upper right. These can be seen in the same shapes and in the same locations in the period photo at the lower right. Along with a number of other similarities, we are "pretty sure," and Johann concurs, that this M4A2 is the historic "Chinon" of the 3ème Escadron, 12ème Régiment de Cuirassiers, 2ème Division Blindée.


pullman    pullman

A period photo dated 9 August 1944 and taken in Château-Gontier shows citizens celebrating liberation around a direct vision M4A2 with turret number 46, identified as "Chinon" of the 3ème Escadron, 12ème Régiment de Cuirassiers. The tank is seen with the interesting combination of M34 gun mount, "thin spot" turret patch, and hedge row cutter. The 12ème Cuir's After Action Report states that "Chinon" suffered a major mechanical failure on 23 August and was listed as a loss. On 25 August, "Mort-Homme" of the 501ème Régiment de Chars de Combat was involved in the assault on the German Headquarters at the Hôtel Meurice in Paris, and its turret was damaged by fire (see more of its story on this page). "Chinon's" turret was reported to have been cannibalized in order to repair "Mort-Homme", and "Chinon" later received a turret from another tank, before being returned to service. The photos above were taken at Camp des Loges in Maisons-Laffitte, a training area for the 2ème DB's Bataillon de Remplacement. "Chinon" can be seen with the same features as our surviving M4A2 shown in the previous caption. The multi-part glacis has Direct Vision (1), padded hull lifting rings (2), a fabricated antenna mount (3) and cast head light sockets (4). The replacement turret (now with speed number 32) has a welded up pistol port (5) and M34A1 gun mount. A close-up view of the tank in a video shows the number "40Y289" on the left side turret splash guard (inset), confirming that it is a casting. Note that the appliqué plate has a continuous weld on the side, which is rather unusual for an M4A2 of the 2ème DB, as most of the plates are seen to have been merely "tack welded."


pullman    pullman

A number of period photos and videos show "Chinon" at Maisons-Laffitte, enabling us to get a detailed look at the tank's appearance on 16 April 1945. It can be seen to have the early bogies with half-round track skids (1) and suspension arms without the "wrench holes" (2). The rear view shows that the upper rear hull plate has 11 bolts, and the replacement turret's casting mark (3) indicates that it was produced by American Steel Foundries in East Chicago, Indiana. The French "Matricule Number" can be read as 420 843.


pullman

What convinced us that "Chinon" and our M4A2 survivor are one and same tank are the anomalies seen on the hull and appliqué plate welds. In our eyes, the "welding resumptions" where the glacis is joined to the side plate (circled blue, red, orange and yellow) create a series of "blobs" that can only have been unique to one tank. Furthermore, most period photos and the few known 2ème Division Blindée M4A2 survivors show that the hull appliqué plates that were part of the "Quick Fix" modification were merely tack welded on. However, "Chinon" is seen with a more elaborate pattern featuring continuous welds on the sides of the plates and just tacks on the edges at the top (circled in purple). The period photos of Chinon are the only ones we know of that show this welding configuration on the appliqué plates, and the range recovery M4A2 is the only known surviving example with it. If this method was not unique, it was certainly unusual, and coupled with the "blobs" makes a pretty good case that "Chinon" has survived. Perhaps "Chinon" was one of the first 2ème DB M4A2s to receive the "Quick Fix" mod, and it was realized that the method of attaching the plates was too time consuming and/or wasteful of welding rod, so subsequent units just had the plates tack welded on?
 


pullman    pullman

"Chinon" apparently continued to serve as a training tank in the immediate post-war years. Its French Matricule Number, 420 843, was retained, but the tank itself was renamed "Tornade." French Matricule Numbers were reported to have been changed to an "8xx xxx" format in 1947, so it is thought that the photos were taken between 1945 and 1947, probably in North Africa. The image on the left shows that its distinctive glacis with Direct Vision and fabricated antenna and MG sockets remained untouched but note that parts of the running gear were replaced. In particular, the original suspension arms were changed out for the later type arms with "wrench holes." Some of the pressed spoke road wheels can be seen to have been replaced with the "dished" type that entered the production pipeline in the second half of 1944. The right side photo confirms that the tank "still" has the ASF welded up pistol port turret.


pullman

These photos were taken a few years ago near Bordeaux, France. The one at the top left shows the turret splash guard casting marks, which are identical to those seen in one of the period photos of "Chinon." We wouldn't go say far as to state that these casting marks were exclusive to Pullman Shermans, but can observe that they are "typical." The top right shows an American Steel Foundries turret with welded up pistol port, such as is seen in the 1945 photos of Chinon. The bottom left photo shows the engine deck. Note that the rearmost engine deck plate has an armored filler cap which would not have been original to an M4A2 of this vintage. The panels on either side of the engine deck doors are different. It is thought that production started with 6 bolts along the outside edge (1), but at some point early on, the number of bolts was decreased to 4 (2). The differential housing seen here (bottom right) has the sort of fittings which suggest it was recycled from an M10. The bogies have the final type of track skid and suspension arms with "wrench holes," whereas the 1945 photos of "Chinon" show half round skids and suspension arms without wrench holes. The tank carries a French plate which records its reconstruction at the French ERGMEB shop in Gien on 3 December 1952. We believe that the engine deck, differential housing and bogie parts were changed during one of the repairs or the 1952 remanufacture of this tank.


pullman

We haven't been able to find a period photo that clearly shows the multi-part glacis pattern observed on the range recovery M4A2 thought to be "Chinon," but here we see an example with a single piece glacis plate and direct vision drivers' hoods. This photo is part of a series taken at the port of Oran in the Spring of 1943 showing a load of British Lend Lease M4A2s being prepared for issue by US personnel. One might take this for a Fisher M4A2, but the 3-piece differential would tend to rule that out, since Fisher transitioned to the use of 1-piece diffs exclusively by the end of June 1942. The differential on our example is the early version without the protective lip in front of the bolt strip. The "comb device" (1) is typical of those used by the Chester Tank Depot starting in late 1942. A "zinc tag" (2) with instructions on how to use the comb can be seen attached just above it. The tag is reported to have read, "NOTICE - Do Not Open Door - Unlock Cable to Release Brakes - Reset cable when tank is in position." The head light sockets (4) are castings, and the plug holders (3) are mounted in the first or early position parallel to the glacis. We would observe that these are mounted in the upright position on SN 9882 in Australia, which was accepted in December 1942. We regret that we lack any solid proof, but the circumstantial evidence suggests that this tank and the range recovery M4A2 would have been built by Pullman in October or November 1942. The Allies had failed to capture the ports of Bizerta and Tunis before the end of 1942, which seriously disrupted the timeline of Operation Torch. Consequently, the supply line to the front in Tunisia was extremely long and tenuous. For instance, the Mediterranean Base Section at Oran was over 600 miles away.


pullman

In this view of our subject, one can see that the tank was nicknamed "Bill Crowe Special" perhaps after the boss of the crew that processed it. T-145309 can be seen stenciled on, along with "C.T.D." (Chester Tank Depot). It is our theory that these tanks represented the third allocation of Lend Lease M4A2s to Great Britain, and that their WD Numbers ran roughly from T-145219 through T-146189 and encompassed about 1000 units. The turret splash sections can be seen as cast, not fabricated as on Fisher M4A2s of this vintage. Note the casting numbers (circled) on one of the sections of the splash. A bit of the armored fuel covers in the M4A2 location (arrow) are just visible. The lifting ring on the turret is in the "low" position, whereas "counting heads" suggests that all direct vision Fisher M4A2s would have had these in the high position.


pullman

Our final view of "Bill Crowe Special" shows the "aircraft cowl fasteners," and provides an idea of the appearance of the bogie units. As mentioned, we believe that this tank was produced by Pullman a month or two before SN 9882 in Australia or the Bovington DD, but it can be seen with the "asymmetrical" track skids not the earlier half rounds. Also, unlike 9882 and 9992, this tank was equipped with return roller spacers. We suspect these were installed at the Chester Tank Depot in early 1943 during processing for overseas shipment.


pullman

Federal Machine & Welder and Pullman M4A2s produced from early 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 likely that FMW mounted the grouser compartment blank off plates on top of or "proud" of the sponson armor. We would note that the evidence is overwhelming that Fisher mounted them "proud" as well. On the other hand, the evidence suggests that Pullman mounted the plates "flush." Flush mount required the additional step of providing a "ledge" (arrow) under the sponson armor to hold the blank off.


pullman

We can document that Pullman Production Order T-3322 was for 400 M4A2s. These were all produced in 1943: 1 in January, 0 in February, 69 in March, 267 in April and 63 in May. Unfortunately, we have no reliable information about the Serial and Registration Numbers assigned. Our working theory is that their serial numbers ran from 13860 through 14259, and that their Registration Numbers might have been in the 3097XXX range. The M4A2 shown above is located in Montfaucon d'Argonne, near Verdun. We take it that the "13859" (inset) stamped on the glacis was done by the post war French Army, and in most, but not all instances, it is the serial number of the tank. However, this immediately presents us with an interesting dilemma since we have "interpolated" with pretty good documentation that 13859 was the last serial number in a range of 400 allocated to Pressed Steel Car M4s and M4A1s, and that 13860 would have been the first serial number allocated to the 400 Pullman M4A2s. In any case, as an M4A2 with features like the cast drivers' hoods, small bow machine gun casting, and antenna bracket mounted on top of the glacis plate, this tank has the appearance of a Sherman built in 1943 (but probably not January 1943) by either Pullman Standard or Federal Machine and Welder. We narrow it down to Pullman because the grouser compartment blank off plates are mounted flush on this example. The neatness of the appliqué welds and the gun travel lock on the front glacis indicate that this tank was remanufactured in the US, probably in 1944. We doubt if the no pistol port turret with a May 1943 casting date is the original, and the differential housing has "7855" stamped on the towing lugs, which we take to mean that it came from Fisher M4A2 Serial Number 7855.


pullman

The photo above shows the BARV on display at the REME Museum in Lyneham, UK. It is thought that all of the BARV conversions were painted gray as seen here. This M4A2 was built with the later, elongated drivers' hood castings. The drivers' hatches and periscopes were removed, and the holes blanked off, since the hoods were partly covered over by the addition of the bow superstructure. Ironically, direct vision was retrofitted to the front of the hood castings in the form of rectangular, glassed in "port holes." Thus, the driver's vision was extremely limited, and the commander, positioned in a hatch on top of the superstructure, navigated the vehicle by transmitting instructions to the driver. Again, we have the glacis configuration with the "narrow" drivers' hoods, the particular type of cast antenna bracket mounted "proud" of the glacis, and the rectangular-ish cast "plate" of the bow machine gun socket, all typical of M4A2s built by Federal Machine and Pullman Standard starting in early 1943. This BARV has been recorded as Serial Number 13895 on the "Table of Known Serial Numbers" on the Sherman Register website. As such, it falls within our working theory range of Pullman M4A2 SNs, 13860 through 14259. We can only assume that the SN was reported from the original dataplate (perhaps still inside?) or maybe from a Museum Accession Record, since, as best we have been able to determine, Pullman did not stamp the Serial Number on the towing lugs or anywhere else of the exterior of its Shermans.


pullman

At last we have an example of a Pullman M4A2 that was photographed by the Ordnance Department. Serial Number 30444/USA 3038974 would have been accepted in June 1943 and was photographed at APG in July. It was one of 637 M4A2s made on Production Order T-3610 which ran from May until September 1943 when Sherman production at Pullman was terminated. Note the now familiar glacis pattern. The M34A1 gun mount (1) was introduced in production as early as January 1943 at Pacific Car. However, demand outpaced supply and the complete transition did not occur until April, with Pullman being one of the last manufacturers to make the change. The example seen on SN 30444 is the later type of M34A1 without the lifting rings and the bolt flange on the right side of the gun shield. The positive hatch lock mechanisms (2) for both the drivers' and commander's hatches were also introduced in April. A bit of the cast in thickened cheek (arrow), indicative of a no pistol port turret can be seen, along with a rather large casting flaw repair (3). This tank was obviously shipped to APG without sand shields or any fittings for them. Pullman is reported to have introduced the "universal" type sand shields into production in July 1943 at SN 30732.



pullman

The rear view of SN 30444 "proves" that it had a no pistol port turret. The "G in a shield" logo (1) indicates that the turret was produced by General Steel. Ordnance documents have it that Pullman was also supplied with turrets from Buckeye Steel, Scullin Steel and American Steel. It is thought that most or all of the Shermans produced by Pullman on P.O. T-3610 would have been shipped with either welded up or no pistol port turrets. On 5 May 1943, an Army Inspector visited Pullman and the Pressed Steel Car plant nearby and reported that "Pistol port was not welded shut" on 2 Shermans he examined that had been accepted and were ready to be shipped out. The Pullman was reported as Serial Number 13960 which, if our research is accurate, would have been accepted in April 1943. In that month, the D50878 turret was redesigned to eliminate the pistol port and incorporate a cast in thickened cheek to protect the "thin spots" on the right front. Counting heads suggest that the new turrets began to enter the production pipeline in June as on SN 30444. In the meantime, it was directed that the remaining supplies of pistol port turrets were to have their pistol ports welded up and turret patches applied to the right front. Implementation was to be carried out by the turret makers, the tank manufacturers and/or the tank depots. Some pistol port turrets "slipped through the cracks," but, in general, Shermans produced in the 2nd half of 1943 would have had welded up or no pistol port turrets. The decision to eliminate the pistol port was so universally unpopular that the Ordnance Department reinstated it on July 23, 1943. However, the new turret castings did not begin to enter production until late 1943. These were never incorporated by Pullman since Sherman production ended there in September. SN 30444 features the "long" trailer towing pintle (2) which is stated to have been introduced in April 1943. These pintles could be bent up in service and were subsequently replaced with a "short" version, although they were not incorporated at Pullman. We suspect that Pullman ended M4A2 production with the original open sided exhaust deflector (3) seen here. A close examination of the photo reveals that the engine deck bullet splash guard is secured by 6 bolts (inset). There was some indecision about the caliber of the anti-aircraft machine gun to be carried by the Sherman. The British expressed a preference for the .30 caliber. However, in some cases, tanks were shipped with inappropriate MG ammunition stowage. On 1 April 1943, the Ordnance Department settled the issue by directing that only the .50 caliber was authorized for the Medium Tank. Nonetheless, it can be seen that SN 30444 was still equipped with a .30 caliber (4). Item (5) on the engine deck appears in a few other Ordnance type photos and seems to have been an impromptu gun travel lock used for domestic railroad shipping.


pullman

There are at least 4 surviving small hatch M4A2(75)s in the former Soviet Union. At present, the serial numbers of these tanks are not known, but the example on display at the Military Historical Museum in Lenino-Snegiri (north-west of Moscow) once had "USA 3038978" painted on as shown in the inset. The Registration Number would represent June 1943 Pullman production, and we would observe that the overall appearance of the tank is very similar to SN 30444 of the previous captions, right down to the absence of sand shield fittings, and the presence of welded spoke idlers. This tank appears to have been shipped nearly as built. There is a periscope guard (1) on the bow gunner's hatch. The scant evidence we have suggests that late mods such as the periscope guards, gun travel locks and 2-inch smoke mortar were never factory installed on any Pullman built M4A2s, so the guard may be a US Tank Depot modification. For what it's worth, there is a "Pullman lip" under the grouser compartment hole on the right side, while there is no lip on the left, but that side is not intact due to shot damage.


pullman

The round indentations on a single armor plate of the Snegiri M4A2 constitute an interesting "aberration" seen on this tank and no other surviving Sherman of which we are aware. A former metal worker describes these as "The marks a power hammer leaves after straightening a warped plate." The thousands of components that went to make up a Sherman were inspected at delivery, and at other times during the assembly process. We can only assume that when this particular hull was welded together, the indented plate passed muster, since, ultimately, the completed tank was accepted by the US Government. The photo provides a good view of the lifting ring casting (1) that became standard on most Shermans starting in early 1943. "SS in an oval" (2) can be seen on the bustle of the turret. This was the caster's logo of Scullin Steel of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the smaller producers of Sherman turrets. They appear to have been a regular source of turrets for Pullman. For instance, in February 1943 Scullin is reported to have delivered 175 turrets to Pullman, while another small company, Buckeye Steel provided 84, and the large producer, General Steel-Eddystone delivered 12. Additional casting marks on the roof of this particular no pistol port D50878 turret give the turret serial number as 978 (inset), which we take to mean that, as of mid 1943, Scullin had delivered about 1000 turrets.


pullman    pullman

Here we have two views of SN 30780/USA 3039310. This M4A2 would have been accepted at Pullman in July 1943. It is nearly identical in appearance to SN 30444 or the Snegiri M4A2 seen in the previous captions, with a couple of exceptions. In this case, the "universal" sand shields have been fitted. These are characterized by a vertical slit (1) in the center section. While 30444 was provided with welded spoke road wheels, 30780 can be seen with the pressed spoke type. It is evident that Pullman used both types throughout production. A reader asked about "mix and match" road wheels, and we can only observe that factory or Ordnance photos "suggest" that individual tanks were factory installed with the same type of road wheel. Both 30444 and 30780 feature what we call the "plain sprocket" (2). At some point in the Spring of 1943, this replaced the M3 type sprocket used on earlier production Pullmans. The idler wheels (3) here and on the 2 previous examples can be seen as the original welded spoke type. These gave some problems, and the Ordnance Department mandated that they be replaced with the "Disc Type Idler Wheel." "No tanks without this item to be accepted after 9/1/43." The "Disc Type" was essentially the same as the pressed spoke road wheel. At Pullman the change is said to have taken place at SN 30789, a few units after our subject.


pullman    pullman

In August 1943, SN 30780 was used in various ballistic tests at APG. The photos above provide us with the opportunity to have a look at the "engine cover plate" that was positioned on top of the engine and the oil filters. According to the M4A2 Technical Manual, "Access to the engine compartment is by way of the engine hatch in the rear deck. The hatch closure is two heavy steel louvered doors (1) that lie flush with the deck. Between the engines and the louvered doors is a splash panel (2) of 1/4-inch heat treated steel, hinged at the front so that it may be raised to give access to the engine." In the photo on the right, it can be seen that the bullet splash guard casting (3) in front of the engine deck doors is secured with 6 bolts. This piece has been noted on a few surviving examples as Part Number C99378. The casting is about 3 inches high, is removable, and was formed to accommodate 9 bolts. Pullman appears to have started production using all 9 bolts but reduced this to 6 at some point in late 1942.


pullman

Above is a photo showing at least 4 T34 "Calliope" Rocket Launchers mounted on Shermans during a demonstration at Aberdeen Proving Ground in late 1943. Aside from the visually impressive silhouettes, we have included it because we were able to read the Registration Number of the foremost tank from the original print. USA 3039352 would have been accepted at Pullman in July 1943. The upper rear hull plate clearly identifies this tank as an M4A2, which seems odd, since the T34s were intended for use by the US Army, which was not authorized to deploy M4A2s overseas. It may have been the case that the developers wanted to see if the T34 would function on the diesel model, or perhaps this tank was simply available for use at APG. According to "The Sketchbook," the WW II souvenir history made for the Ordnance workers at APG, the T34 was "capable of firing 60 4.5-inch rockets in a period of 30 seconds...The Calliope saw its first real combat in the St. Lo breakthrough, where its hail of rockets helped to demoralize and route the Germans. Across France and into Germany, as well as in Italy, it was used for the rapid obliteration of area targets." With all due respect, this strikes us as "spin." Demonstrations in the UK in early 1944 were unimpressive, leading to no further requirements. In addition, reports from users of the few deployed rocket launcher mounted Shermans were almost universally negative. Of the many so called "funny tank" designs of WW II, in our eyes, only the dozer, flamethrower and "Jumbo" Shermans, along with the retriever conversions can be considered to have been worthwhile. In any case, the Serial Number corresponding to USA 3039352 would be 30822, and we would judge that the disc type idler wheels seen here would have been factory installed.


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"Corse" shown above, is a WW2 combat veteran M4A2 that served with the 2ème Escadron, 12ème Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique, 2ème Division Blindée [French 2nd Armored Division] in 1944-45. This tank survived the war and continued to serve in the post- war French Army. The examination of surviving French Shermans suggests that, in the post-war years, many had the vehicle's Serial Number stamped "inside a box" on the glacis. "Corse" can be seen to have 30850 (shown in the inset), indicating August 1943 acceptance at Pullman Standard. As mentioned earlier, Sherman production at Pullman was terminated in September 1943, and this tank represents the latest Pullman M4A2 we can document at present. We would judge that "Corse" was one of the 362 Lend Lease M4A2s shipped to Northwest Africa in the second half of 1943 as part of a larger package intended to provide equipment to "Free French" military forces assembling there. The 2ème Division Blindée was chosen to take part in the Normandy Campaign and was redeployed to the UK with its 165 M4A2s in April 1944. While there, the Division was issued a number of modification kits designed to increase the safety and efficiency of its Shermans. However, it would appear that French maintenance units were overwhelmed by the sheer number of modifications and did not have the time or manpower to apply them “by the book.” For instance, period photos and a few surviving examples such as "Corse" show that the hull appliqué plates that were part of the "Quick Fix" modification kit were merely tack welded on, a technique that would been rejected by US Army inspectors. In the early 1950's, "Corse" was installed with a D50878 low bustle turret that had had a loader's hatch retrofitted. The turret was mounted with a French 75mm CN 75-50 main gun (from the AMX-13 tank series) using a specially designed gun mount. This appears to have been an early prototype of the M50 Sherman designed in conjunction with the Israeli Army. The tank was transferred to Saumur in 1986, and in 2005, was restored back to its original, historic M4A2(75) configuration. It was unveiled in January 2006 and is now on display at the Musée des Blindés at Saumur.


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This photo of "Corse" was taken on 27 August 1944 in Pierrefitte, a city located 10 kms north of Paris. Other period photos of "Corse" show that the turret had no pistol port, which is appropriate for a Sherman built in August 1943. "No pistol port turrets" were produced with "cast in thickened cheeks" in order to eliminate the need for the welded on turret patch modification designed for earlier D50878 turrets. An interesting anomaly seen on "Corse" and a handful of 2eme DB Shermans is the unnecessary application of the welded on turret patch to the revised turret design. The 2 sections of the patch were cast and were not made to fit the contours of the revised turret, and the patch seen on "Corse" appears to be ill fitted with no weld between the two sections. Lack of direction from US Ordnance personnel, and/or simply a language barrier misunderstanding were the likely culprits in the case of the unneeded turret appliqué. In any case, the no pistol port turret seen here was replaced by the "M50 turret" in the 1950s and, when the tank was restored to M4A2(75) in 2005, with a turret with pistol port and what appears to be a factory or depot application of the "thin spot" patch. The "comb device" on the left side of the differential housing can be seen as a bar with 3 U-hooks welded on. This was typical of the combs used at the Lima Tank Depot, suggesting that they processed this tank for overseas shipment. Another item of interest is the small "Somua" plate affixed to the left headlamp guard, a souvenir of the old Somua S-35 tanks the Regiment had in North Africa.


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France has preserved more WW II combat veteran Shermans than any other country. In 2021, Pierre-Olivier was given the opportunity to have a close examination of "Montereau," another 2ème Division Blindée M4A2 that has survived through the years. Although P-O was not able to find the tank's serial number, he noted features that suggest it was produced by Pullman in the Summer of 1943, so we decided to include it on our page. "Montereau" was reported to have been ambushed by a German tank in the Ecouves Forest on 12 August 1944. The "Aide pilote" or assistant driver, Félix Wicinsky, was wounded in the initial action, and the commander, Sergent Jules Jamette, attempted to help him evacuate, but Wicinsky was killed when an additional round struck the vehicle. According to the caption, the photo above was taken in March 1945 at the location where the tank was knocked out on 12 August 1944. At some point after that, "Montereau" was recovered and preserved as a monument in Quartier Lyautey in Alençon. In the photo, 2 hits can be seen on the glacis and there is evidence of the fire that engulfed the tank and burned the rubber off of some of the tracks and road wheels. The front appliqué plate is another example of one that was tack welded on. The rear plate seems to be missing. Perhaps it was blown off by an internal explosion?


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In 2014, the French Army contracted with the Balmoral Green Association to restore "Montereau" to running condition. The work was done between January and July 2014, after which the historic Sherman participated in commemorations and parades on Utah Beach and in Alençon for the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Normandy. During the restoration, a dog tag with the name "Wicinsky Felix" (the assistant driver, killed on 12 August 1944) was found under the gearbox. The glacis can be seen to have 2 penetrating shell holes and 2 non-penetrating "scoops." A scoop on the gun's rotor shield is visible as well, making it obvious that, unlike "Corse," "Montereau" still has its original turret.


pullman    pullman

Shermans were provided with 26 grousers as On Vehicle Materiel. On most models, these were stored in "Grouser box near mufflers." During his visit, P-O was permitted to have a peek under the grouser covers and found a "cache" of 26 T51 type grousers, 14 in one of the compartments and 12 in the other. Perhaps superstition led the builder or the processor or the crew to store them this way, rather than 13 in each compartment?  A "lucky charm" with Lorraine Cross was found in one of the compartments as well. It is very likely that these items had been sitting in there undisturbed since the tank was destroyed in August 1944. P-O noted that the grouser compartment plates were mounted flush, and that the oblong holes had "lips" - visual clues among others, that lead us to believe that "Montereau" was built by Pullman Standard.


Part 2 : Pullman M4(75)s


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Pullman Standard built its first M4(75) in May 1943. Production Order T-3610 called for the manufacture of 637 M4A2s and 463 M4s. We can find no evidence that the serial numbers were assigned in blocks distinct to each type; that is to say, the SNs (and by extension the USA Registration Numbers) appear to have been mixed in from start to finish. USA 3038786 would have been accepted in May 1943 and was photographed in Normandy in late July or August 1944. Although the front is not visible, it seems like a safe bet to assume that no Pullman M4s were built with direct vision. The turret is equipped with a "hatch prop", a field expedient that consists of two angled pieces of armor with a crude vision slot cut into the bottom (1). The fitting would support the split hatches in a slightly ajar position, offering some form of overhead protection to the tank commander. The "hatch prop" along with the 2-tone camouflage scheme seen here are features noted on a number of Shermans of the 2nd Armored Division during the Normandy Campaign. The locations of the pioneer tools are standard for Pullman, except that a "hand crank" (2) for the radial engine was added to the upper rear hull plate. We would judge that 3038786 would have been factory installed with the long trailer towing pintle, positive hatch lock mechanisms, and open spoke idler wheels. By November 1943, the US Army had a pool of approximately 1000 M4s and 400 M4A1s in the United Kingdom as part of its build up for the D-Day Invasion. The Ordnance Department wanted a great number of modifications to be applied to this pool and any further shipments. If they were not installed at a US Tank Depot, the "Quick Fix" modification represented by the 1-inch appliqué plates (3), the "thin spot" turret patch (4), and universal sand shields represented by the attachment strip (5), were ordered to be installed in the UK. The disc type idler was an "Urgent" UK modification that was obviously not installed on 3038786, possibly due to a lack of supplies, in which case "Replace upon failure" was ordered. This tank appears to have hit a mine, which badly damaged the running gear. For future reference, note that the rear bogie is equipped with the final or "standard" type of track skid. The air cleaners are the square type made by Vortox. The rear engine doors and rear hull plate can be seen with remnants of the type of wading trunk kit installed on US Shermans in the U.K. before the Invasion.


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Our next example is SN 30263, USA 3038793, which was also accepted in May 1943. It was shipped to Chrysler where the original small hatch welded front section was removed and replaced with a large hatch cast front end (1). The tank's original 75mm turret was replaced with an early iteration of the 76mm turret (Part Number E6275) designed for the T20 Medium Tank series. The rectangular loader's hatch (2) seen here was not used on the D82081 76mm turret which was standardized for the T23 Medium Tank. The "T23 Turret" (inset) was easily adopted for use on the Sherman, since both designs featured a 69 inch turret ring. Chrysler also installed SN 30263 with "Wet Stowage," a modification that relocated most of the ammunition to the floor of the hull below the turret. Each ammunition rack had 3 sealed chambers that were filled with liquid. It was thought that if an ammo rack was penetrated, the liquid would be dispersed, and at least slow the progress of an ammunition fire in order to give the crew a few more seconds to escape. These modifications were part of the "Ultimate" or "2nd Generation" redesign of the Sherman. Pullman was dropped from the Sherman program in September 1943, so did not build any "2nd Generation" Shermans. However, the company provided a couple of its M4s for use as testbeds. SN 30263 was photographed at APG in July 1943, where it was labeled with the experimental designation "M4E6," the prototype model of the M4 with 76mm gun. As things turned out, the M4(76)W was never actually mass produced, nor were any cast front ends (Composite hulls) used on any "2nd Generation" Sherman models. We would point out that this tank "still" has its original E4186 differential housing (3), although the later, sharp nosed E8543 diff became a requirement on the new models.



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In this rear view of M4E6 SN 30263 it can be seen that the tank was shipped without any sand shields or fittings, even though the "2nd Generation" series of Shermans were mandated to include them right up to the end of production in mid 1945. Their absence provides us with an opportunity to see that 30263 "still" sports the asymmetrical type of track skids (1), which we find somewhat surprising for a Sherman produced in May 1943. The idler wheels (2) are the original welded spoke type. As mentioned previously, these were reported to have been replaced at Pullman with the disc type in July. The disc type was used from the start on "2nd Generation" Shermans with VVSS. Pullman finished out production with the long trailer towing pintle (3) seen here, while the "2nd Gen" models were equipped with the "short" pintle revision. The awkward positioning of the single spare track box (4) on the left sponson was not retained on the final design. We'd like to draw the readers' attention to a bit of minutia - note the weld seam (arrow) and raised figures on the splash surround of the air intake.


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Above shows "the other" Pullman M4, SN 30253/USA 3038783 photographed at Chrysler's Detroit Tank Arsenal in January 1944. This Sherman is the one actually listed officially as the 2nd Generation prototype of the "M4 w/ 76mm gun." We suspect that the supply of D82081 76mm turrets at the Arsenal was limited to two at the time, even though there were 4 76mm prototypes (M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3), and consequently the turrets were shared among them for weights, tests and photos. Curiously, the M4A1 on the left can be seen as a 1st Generation small hatch model mounted with 76mm turret. In any case, SN 30253 shows some of the modifications made to the 2nd Gen M4 and M4A1 models. The track wrench (1) and sledgehammer (2) were repositioned from the upper rear hull plate to the engine deck in order to permit the installation of spare track holders (3). A blanket roll rack (4) was installed with sections of the "bore brush, M15" (5) mounted on the bottom. 2nd Gen M4s and M4A1s were equipped with the Barber-Colman Air Flow System which included the "hinged air exit vane" [exhaust deflector] (6) seen here in the up position. The B-C System also provided for "Pyramid Turning Vanes" not visible here, but presumably under the armored air intake cover (7). The new model added a new armored filler cover (8) to the rear engine deck plate, for the "engine oil tank." Although they are present here, the two filler covers (9) inside the air intake splash were eliminated from the new radial engine models. Again, we would draw attention to the weld seam and the raised figures on the air intake splash guard. Finally, we would note that, although the design was not quite finalized, Pressed Steel Car began producing the M4A1(76) in January 1944 in response to "urgent requirements" from the European Theater of Operations.



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The M4(76) program was a kind of a dead end in the sense that the model never went into production. However, both SN 30253 and 30263 were shipped to the Armored Force Board at Ft. Knox, Kentucky where they continued to serve as test platforms. The top speed in reverse of both the M3 and M4 series of Medium Tanks was 3 M.P.H. One of the first suggestions/requests for improvements made by the British based on combat experience was for a higher reverse speed. The Ordnance Department recommended the design of a High-Speed Reverse Transmission in April 1943. It was intended to be a feature of the 2nd Generation series, but the design appears to have been seriously delayed. A November 1944 Armored Board Test Report on USA 3038783 [SN 30253] states that "The transmission incorporated a reversing gear train (operated by an additional control lever) [which] made the normal five (5) forward speeds optionally available in reverse." In addition, the gear ratio of the final drives was reduced in the manner of the M4A3E2 Jumbo which resulted in a decrease in speed but an increase in torque that improved the tank's cross-country performance. In the end, these changes were recommended, but not implemented in production, as the Ordnance Department sought to devote resources to the M26 Heavy Tank program. SN 30253 included another modification that never came to be - the complete elimination of the turret basket, including the floor.  This required the relocation of the power traverse equipment "to the rear of the turret beneath the radio." The loader was provided with 11 ready rounds to his front, and 3 to his rear. We would be curious to see how this was done, but the report refers to photos in an appendix, that is missing from the file at the US Archives. SN 30253 can be seen with a revised turret (Part Number 7054366) that featured an oval loader's hatch. It is thought that this turret would have completely replaced the earlier D82081 or "T23" turret sometime in the Fall of 1944. Readers might notice the odd protrusions (arrows) on the running gear. At some point, SN 30253 was installed with what is described in the AB Report as a "suspension system [that] was an obsolete, experimental type, embodying horizontal volute springs and the standard 16-9/16- inch track." While the suspension provided for an improved ride, it did nothing to reduce the tank's ground pressure, and was rejected by the Armored Board in August 1943. A month later, Chrysler began development of the HVSS that was authorized for production in March 1944, and was standard on all Shermans by the beginning of 1945. "Improved Suspension" was one of the goals of the 2nd Generation project, and we suspect that the obsolete HVSS on SN 30253 may have served as a "stand in" in anticipation of the final version.



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Returning to Pullman built M4(75)s, here we see "Blood and Guts," USA 3038800, another May 1943 production unit. This tank served with B Company (B9) of the 707th Tank Battalion. The 707th was decimated while supporting the 109th and 110 Infantry Regiments of the 28th Infantry Division during the early stages of the Battle of the Bulge. On 19 December 1944, most of what remained of the Battalion was attempting to defend the area around Wiltz, Luxembourg. "Blood and Guts" was reportedly abandoned in the village of Erpeldange when the tank became hopelessly mired in manure or mud next to the Krischler farmhouse. The crew, which according to some accounts, included the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Richard Ripple, was captured as the Germans advanced. "All elements [of the Battalion] fought off continual enemy attacks throughout the day," until Wiltz was surrounded. At that point, the unit's vehicles were ordered destroyed, and the men broke up into small groups to try to escape on foot. A partial list of the Battalion's losses for 16 to 19 December includes 423 MIA, along with 28 Medium Tanks (75mm), 6 Medium Tanks (105mm), 17 Light Tanks and a T2 Recovery Vehicle. For whatever reason, "Blood and Guts" was not destroyed by the Germans or salvaged by the US during the war. The photo shows "the family Clees" posing with the tank in Erpeldange in 1946. Shortly thereafter it was transported to Wiltz to be displayed as a monument. The inset is a Signal Corps photo that shows "Blood and Guts" in Wiltz in February 1947. Photo courtesy of Hugues Wenkin.


pullman    pullman

"Blood and Guts" was on display as a monument at the Place des Martyrs in Wiltz for more than 70 years. In 2016, the tank was cosmetically restored, rededicated and placed on a new stand back in the park. "The tank is a witness to World War II, and keeps alive the collective memory of a difficult period of our national history." To our eyes its external condition is remarkable. Most surviving Shermans are not combat veteran tanks, and were upgraded or modified over the years, but "time stopped" on December 18th or 19th 1944 for "Blood and Guts," affording us a fine picture of the appearance of the average US Army 75mm Sherman in the ETO. The 707th Tank Battalion arrived in Great Britain in late February 1944, and shortly thereafter "drew new tanks and equipment and the training started all over again." As mentioned earlier, the Ordnance Department wanted a large number of modifications to be applied to the US pool of Shermans in the UK before D-Day. So many in fact that the Army contracted with British firms to install them assembly line fashion. It was noted that half of the US Shermans in the UK did not have the M34A1 Gun Mount (1). Counting heads suggests that "Blood and Guts" was factory installed with the M34A1. This was a "Must" modification, defined as "directly affect[ing] the fighting efficiency of the tank." It was stated that none had the "Quick Fix" modification which was another "Must." Pullman reportedly began factory installing the "Quick Fix" in August 1943. Since "Blood and Guts" USA 3038800 was accepted in May, this mod, as represented by the 1-inch appliqué plates (2), would have been installed at a US Tank Depot or in the UK. The "Commander's Vane Sight" (inset) was another "Must." We would judge that our subject was built with the original blade sight (3-seen bent here) and was later retrofitted with the vane sight (4). Note that the turret has a welded up pistol port (5). The "thin spot turret patch" was an "Urgent" mod that was reported missing on 70 percent of the pool. The patch was intended to go hand in hand with the welded up pistol port, but it obviously slipped through the cracks on B&G. The disc type idler wheel (6) was also an "Urgent" mod. We believe B&G would have been built with the original welded spoke idler (7), and that the disc type on the right side may have been a case of "replace upon failure." Finally, we would point out that B&G has "asymmetric" track skids (8) on all 6 bogies. We noted these on M4E6 SN 30263 earlier, which leads us to theorize that Pullman installed them mixed in with the final type at least up to May 1943.



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It was reported that none of the US Shermans in the U.K. pool had the "Sloping armor ahead of drivers' hatches" (1) modification, and 1397 kits were shipped there by early 1944. They were obviously utilized as readers would be hard pressed to find examples of US Army M4(75)s in the ETO without drivers' appliqué plates. The plates required 16 man hours to install, and the Field Service Modification Work Order instructs that on tanks equipped with a dust cover fastener ring, the top section of the ring be cut and removed. The section was to be bent and reapplied to the hatch guard plate, but the instructions note that the dust cover might "not fit perfectly" afterwards. For whatever reason, this procedure was not followed on B&G, which leads us to conclude that the mod was done in the UK, since the failure to reinstall the top section of the dust cover fastener ring would render the dust cover unusable. Certainly, this would not have been acceptable work at a US factory or Tank Depot. This "lapse" is not common, but it can be noted on other M4s in the ETO. In this photo above, note that the M34A1 gun shield casting is the early version with a bolt flange (arrow) on the right side and a pair of lifting rings on the top (inset). This is the only Pullman Sherman we have encountered with the early gun shield so far, which leads us to speculate that the company transitioned to the later version in May or no later than June 1943. Note the "spalling" of the armor on the differential housing (2).


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A "bit of minutia" we noted earlier on SNs 30253 and 30263 was the weld seam and raised figures on the splash surround of the air intake. B&G can be seen with this as well. It would appear that the number "40" was drip welded on. This leads us to speculate that at least some Pullman M4s had air intake splash guards made of two fabricated pieces joined in the center. A "suspected" Pullman M4 on display at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida is also seen with this type of splash, although without any raised figures. Of note is the caster's logo of Scullin Steel, one of Pullman's stated turret suppliers. The turret serial number of this example is 724. This can be compared to SN 978 noted earlier on the no pistol port SS turret on the June 1943 production M4A2 at Lenino-Snegiri. The fittings on the turret bustle, and a few period photos suggest that some of the 707th TB's Shermans were field installed with some sort of stowage basket made of thin pipes. There is no weld scar evidence that B&G was outfitted with wading trunks like many of the Shermans in the UK before D-Day. The 707th did not arrive in France until 1 September 1944. From 30 September to 6 October, the Battalion completed a 530 mile overland march from Formigny, France to Elsenborn, Belgium, where it was assigned to the 28th Infantry Division. First combat appears to have occurred on 10 October when the Medium Tank Companies and the Assault Gun platoon (6 M4(105)s) moved into position with elements of the 28th ID. From the 2nd through the 12th of November, the 28 ID, with the 707th TB in support, suffered grievous losses while attacking Vossenack and Schmidt during the Hurtgen Forest debacle. The 707th reported the loss of half of its 50 Medium Tanks. Consequently, the 28th and 707th were moved to a "quite sector" of the front in Luxembourg for rest and rehabilitation. "All companies bivouaced [sic] in dwellings. First time since England" as the 707th reorganized, drew supplies and equipment, trained replacements and carried out vehicle maintenance. "Flame thrower training was given to Bow gunners and Tank commanders." However, there is no mention of the use of flame throwers in the unit's records after "all hell broke loose" on the morning of December 16th.


pullman    pullman    pullman

In 2010, Pierre-Olivier was able to get a peek inside the Wiltz M4. The drawing on the left shows the original, unprotected 30 round ammo rack on the hull floor behind the bow gunner's seat. The hull floor was the "safest" place to store the rounds. The other rounds were stored higher up in the hull, above the sponson line. One of the first recommendations made by the British to the Ordnance Department was that most of the rounds be relocated to the floor of the hull. This was done on the 2nd Generation series of Shermans that entered production starting in January 1944. However, there were thousands of Shermans, such as B&G, on the fighting fronts with the original ammo stowage. Ordnance came up with a plan to provide them with greater protection, which came to be known as the "Quick Fix" modification.  One step of this modification involved retrofitting 1/4 inch armor plates and doors to the ammunition bins. The middle photo shows the armor plates affixed to the top and sides of the bin. While there appear to be only 24 round holders, we believe that the bottom six were rusted out over the years on the Wiltz M4. The right-side photo shows the armored door. It was necessary to hinge the door in the middle so that it could be opened within the cramped space behind the bow gunner's seat.


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Despite the confined space, P-O was able to get a few views inside of B&G showing the 1/4 inch armor (1) and door (2) added to protect the ammunition rack in the left front as part of the Quick Fix modification. The November 1942 M4/M4A1 Technical Manual has it that the left front rack held only 8 rounds, and that the total number of rounds carried by the M4 and M4A1 was only 90 rounds. However, counting heads suggests that the stowage on the left front ammo rack was increased from 8 to 15 rounds at some point, bringing the total number of rounds carried up to 97 in line with the other Sherman models. Other items seen in the photos include fittings for a canteen (3), fire extinguisher (4), spare periscope (5) and dataplate frame (6). Of course, these items have long since been removed from the tank, including the dataplate, and the "tombstone" instrument panel which would have been on the sponson shelf directly above it. Perhaps someone in Erpeldange or Wiltz removed the dataplate for a souvenir, and it is sitting forgotten in a drawer or shoebox?


pullman    pullman    pullman

As a May 1943 production Sherman, B&G would have been built with the perforated sheet metal encompassing the turret basket as seen in the photo on the left. The photo in the middle is from the "Remember Wiltz" board in the park and shows the "skeletonized" turret basket as it was removed from the tank during refurbishment at the Vehicle Restoration Center, Bastogne Barracks. It can be seen that water dripping through the commander's hatch has caused quite a bit of corrosion damage to the right rear section of the basket (arrow). In P-O's photo on the right, one can see the great extent of the damage (1). Note how the perforated sheet metal (2) was cut away rather crudely, even dangerously on this example. Other items of interest include the tank commander's "buttoned up" seat (3) and his folding seat (4), which was attached to the turret wall. The commander could sit or stand on this if he was operating exposed through the open hatch. Item 5 is the 1/4 inch armor plate provided in the Quick Fix modification kit to protect the 15 round ammunition rack on the right rear sponson. There would have been an armored door positioned on the side as well. Because it is missing, it can be seen that the ammo rack has been removed.



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In the photo above left, "M4 Pullman" can be seen stenciled on the differential housing. Along with a Fisher M4A2, a Ford M4A3 and a Chrysler M4A4, this tank took part in "Winterization Tests" in Minneapolis, Minnesota in February 1944. It was identified as USA 3039609 (August 1943 production) and it would appear that the last 3 digits of its Registration Number were painted on the glacis as its Project Number. It is thought that Pullman began the transition to the sharp nosed E8543 differential housing (1) in August. This particular example is the early version with the cast in steps (2), and we wouldn't be surprised if Pullman ended production with this version in September. USA 3039609 would have been one of the first Pullman Shermans to have the Quick Fix modification (as represented by the appliqué plates on the sides) factory installed. The Gun Travel Lock was reportedly installed at about the same time, although it is not present in this case. Note the "driver's windshield and hood" (3). This became a standard item on all Shermans in the Fall of 1942. For power, the windshield wiper and defroster were plugged into a utility outlet on the instrument panel. When not in use, this item was stored on a shelf above the transmission. The tests may have involved the use of a large tarp (4) that covered the whole tank. The British provided for these on their Grants, and requested them for their Shermans, but as far as we can tell, they were never incorporated in production. USA 3039609 is another case of a Pullman M4 showing the weld seam (arrow) on the splash surround of the air intake.


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Pullman Standard produced a total of "only" 689 M4s from May through September 1943. However, they were made at a time when they were most needed, and, judging by the very small number of surviving examples, it would appear that the majority of them were shipped overseas. We have yet to find a "definitive" photo of a Pullman M4 serving in Italy, although we have recorded one or two textual references. Additionally, we have yet to find a "definitive" photo, that is, with a readable USA Registration Number, of one serving in the Pacific Theater, nor do we have any textual references. We can only offer a few images of M4s that show Pullman features, such as the distinctive antenna bracket (1), and bow machine gun casting (2) seen on the lead tank in the Signal Corps photo above. The caption refers to these as "General Shermans [sic] tanks" and gives the location as Bougainville and the date as 13 March 1944. At that time (8 - 27 March), the 37th and Americal Infantry Divisions repelled the Japanese counterattack designed to destroy the small beachhead that had been established near Cape Torokina with the sole purpose of providing advanced airfields for operations against the important Japanese base at Rabaul. During "The Battle of the Perimeter," the newly issued M4s of the 754th Tank Battalion (formerly a Light Tank Battalion) were the subject of a number of well known Signal Corps photos. On March 13, the commander of the 129th Infantry Regiment, 37th ID, requested tank support, and we believe that the Shermans in the photo represent either the 1st or 2nd platoon of C Company, who were dispatched to help restore the line in the northwestern sector of the perimeter. These M4s can be seen with the full suite of modifications wanted on the U.K. "D-Day" Shermans, and then some, like periscope guards and gun travel locks. Note that all of the tanks have 2 inch Smoke Mortars and Commander's Vane Sights. Those mods were "not to incorporate" at Pullman due to production ending in Sept. 1943. The original blade sight is seen alongside the vane sight, indicating that the vane sight was a depot retrofit. Indeed, the lead tank can be seen with the Lima Tank Depot type comb (missing middle U-hook), which suggests that the late mods were done there before shipment. We would have thought that the siren was mounted on the left front fender throughout M4A2/M4 production at Pullman. However, here we see it in the "final" position, and protected by a guard, as on 2nd Generation Shermans, leading us to speculate that Pullman may have moved it during their last month.


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It is thought that the 754th Tank Battalion fielded a dozen or so M4s during "The Battle of the Perimeter," most or all of which were August or September production Pullmans. This example might be one of those further back in the line in the previous photo. On 13 March, the 1st platoon of C Company, assisted B, C, and G Companies of the 129th Infantry Regiment in recapturing bunkers that had been taken by the enemy. After about 3 hours, the 1st platoon ran short of ammunition and fuel, and was replaced by the M4s of the 2nd platoon who successfully completed the mission. The scene shown above appears to have been filmed at a resupply point, judging by the ammo tubes and jerry cans in place nearby. The great disadvantage of the no pistol port turret is evident here in that ammunition and other supplies had to be loaded through the various hatches, with crew members highly exposed. Note that the headlights are not mounted, and the headlight guards are damaged, no doubt by tree limbs in the close jungle environment. This tank features the early version of the sharp nosed E8543 differential housing with the cast in steps. We suspect that Pullman ended Sherman production with this version of the E8543. Pullman received it supplies of gun mounts from the Ford Motor Co. The casting marks on the rotor shields of this and the M4s in the previous photo, indicate that Part Number D68454 was produced by one of Ford's suppliers, the Symington-Gould Corp. (G in a star). What we believe is an alternate Part Number D4845, is seen on the upper left edge of S-G rotor shields.


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We could not find the caption of the photo above, but it shows 754th tanks and crews obviously in a coastal section of the perimeter. The crewmen appear to be at ease while scanning Empress Augusta Bay for any sign of Japanese amphibious activities. The 754th TB used geometric symbols to denote their companies. Two medium tank companies were photographed during the Bougainville Campaign - A represented by a triangle, and C represented by a circle as seen here. We believe that the number of the platoon is denoted by the hash marks next to the symbol, and the tank's position within the platoon is the number painted inside the geometric symbol. Thus, we have tanks 3 and 2 of the 1st platoon of C Company. The 754th TB spent nearly a year on Bougainville. During this time, they "took part in a rigorous, comprehensive training program with the 37th Infantry Division." The 754th left Bougainville in late 1944 and fought in the Luzon Campaign from January to June 1945. At the end of the Campaign, their records state, "So noticeable and so favorable, in fact, was the difference between our operations with the 37th Infantry Division and those with other infantry troops that we unhesitatingly and unequivocally recommend that another such training program be adopted before the next major campaign. Optimum results are obtainable if each tank battalion is permanently assigned to an Infantry Division." Indeed, after WW II, tank battalions were made an organic part of US Infantry Divisions. As a matter of minutia, we would note that the few photos of C Company's Shermans show the air scoops reversed with the intakes mounted to the rear. Tank 3 can be seen with the weld seam (arrow) on the splash surround of the air intake. We don't have enough examples to make an "effective" head count but believe this to be a minor recognition feature of a Pullman built M4.


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The Bougainville Campaign is pretty obscure history, but it produced perhaps the most iconic "Sherman photo" of WW II. Several images of an M4 named "Lucky Legs II" are attributed to a "Lt. Field" of the 161st Signal Photographic Company, and captioned, "Tank attack with infantrymen following close behind with fixed bayonets on the perimeter of the 129th Inf, 37th Div, Bougainville...16 Mar 44." In the comments section of the blog "Famous Bougainville Signal Corps Photo Unraveled – 754th Tank Battalion", his great niece identifies the photographer as "1st Lt. Robert E. “Bob” Field...He was KIA on 19 Mar 1945 in Panay, Philippines after sustaining injuries due to photographing a Japanese pillbox. I grew up with this photo on the wall and this and a few others were featured in either Life Magazine or Time Magazine." It was the crew practice in some armored units to permit the driver to name the tank. In the same comments section, a son writes, "My father, Louis E. Farina, was the tank driver. He named it after a story from the Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner." On 16 March, a platoon of tanks was released to assist F Company, 129th Infantry Regiment in restoring a small breach in the lines in the area of Cox Creek. It is thought that the Lucky Legs photos captured this action. If so, coordinated attacks "killed or drove off all the enemy at a cost of seven killed, fifty-six wounded, and one tank damaged." The tactical markings painted on the rear indicate that "Lucky Legs II" was Tank 3 of the 2nd platoon of A Company. It can be seen that a path of sorts was cleared in the jungle, permitting the tank to get up close to the enemy positions. The crew is buttoned up, but in one of the photos that Lt. Field took from behind the tank,, it is somewhat surprising at this early date to see an infantryman communicating with the crew by means of a phone. The primary function of an independent tank battalion such as the 754th was infantry support, but for reasons unknown, tank-infantry cooperation was not stressed during training, and an official/universal infantry phone for tanks was not massed produced until well into 1945. In the meantime, front line units attempted to fashion their own solutions. Note that the air scoop on "Lucky Legs II" is in the factory position facing forward.


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The tank dump scene shown above was reported to have been filmed in Great Britain on 2 January 1944. The M4 in the foreground can be seen as USA 3039944. This Registration Number is not listed in the various Ordnance documents as having been assigned to a Pullman or any other type of Sherman, but there it is. Indeed, we have recorded about a dozen RN listings from combat casualty reports and even a surviving M4 Firefly (with Pullman features) that lead us to "interpolate" that their final Production Order T-4346 simply continued the Serial and Registration Number sequence from P.O. T-3610. That is to say that we believe that the last RN assigned to P.O. T-3610 was 3039834, and that the first RN assigned to P.O. T-4346 was 3039835. This final Pullman P.O. was not a mixed M4/M4A2 order, but was for 226 M4s alone, with 14 units accepted in August and 212 in September 1943. If our theory is accurate, the SN/RN range ran from SN 31305/3039835 to 31530/3040060, and USA 3039944 would have been SN 31414, accepted in September. It can be seen with late features, such as the gun travel lock, the sharp nosed E8543 differential housing, and the siren in the "final" position. It is very much like the Bougainville M4s except that it has not "yet" had the "Sloping armor ahead of drivers' hatches" modification. An Ordnance document has it that this was factory installed at Pullman at SN 31499, meaning, if our theory is accurate, that it would have been limited to the last 30 or so M4s. It is assumed that the mod would have been installed in the UK before issue. In a document entitled "1st Army Tanks Rendered Inoperative", USA 3039944 is listed as with the 707th Tank Battalion destroyed beyond repair by a mine on 5 November 1944.


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At this point, we like to try to show readers where the serial number can be found stamped on the exterior of the particular model of Sherman being discussed. However, as far as we have been able to determine, Pullman did not stamp it anywhere on its Shermans. Nor do they appear to have stamped the SN inside the frame that held the dataplate, like some builders. Because of that, we are particularly grateful to the staff of the Tank Museum in Bovington for providing us with a photo of the original and very readable dataplate from inside of their Sherman III DD. It can be seen that the SN 9992 is stamped in the box at the upper right. This M4A2 would have been accepted in December, 1942, but only the year it was built is stamped in the box at the lower left. In many cases, the initials stamped in the box at the lower right are those of Chief of the Ordnance District where the plant was located. Pullman was in the Chicago Ordnance District and the Chief was Brigadier General Thomas S. Hammond. However, here we see that the box is stamped "E A B." These may have been the initials of the Army Ordnance Inspection Officer assigned to the Pullman Plant. If any readers can identify "E A B," we would be pleased to have a report.


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