M4A3(76)W Shermans - production variants
Most of the information on this page is courtesy of Joe DeMarco. Note: some of the information on this page was compiled using a technique informally referred to as "counting heads". It is based on the ongoing study of period documents and photographs, as well as surviving Shermans. Due to the limited nature of available reference sources, some of the information presented here must be considered as "educated guesswork" .


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M4A3(76)

Many surviving M4A3(76)HVSS Shermans can be seen with T84 rubber chevron tracks. The most preferred VVSS track was the T48 rubber chevron, and the T84 was developed in order to create a similar type for HVSS units. T84 track was not ordered by any of the manufacturers before the end of Sherman production. Indeed, the only 1945 photos we have found show them undergoing evaluation tests in the Spring and Summer of 1945, as seen above. They may have been accepted for production as replenishment spares sometime after that.


M4A3(76)    M4A3(76)
Click on the photos for larger size

T84 tracks are next seen on some of the 2nd Armored Division Shermans that took part in Exercise Seminole, the amphibious "invasion" of the Florida panhandle in the Fall of 1947. After that, they appear with some regularity on training tanks in the US. The photo on the right shows an M4A3(76)HVSS of the 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea in September 1950. This is one of only a handful of Signal Corps "combat shots" showing T84 tracks in use during the Korean War. We have examined some HVSS bogie wheels that have late 1940s / early 1950s dates on the sidewalls. If any readers can spot dates on extant T84 tracks, please let us know


M4A3(76)

In August, 1948, 1246 M4A3(76)VVSS, 2296 M4A3(76)HVSS and 1718 M26 series were listed in the inventory in the US. Due to downsizing and budget cuts, the vast majority of these were in storage and "Not Ready for Issue" (NRFI). As a cost saving measure, and pending the necessary funds, plans were initiated to convert as many Shermans as possible to M4A3(76)HVSS by cannibalization of less desirable types such as M4A2(76)HVSS and M4A3(75)HVSS. The M26 Pershing, originally labeled a "Heavy Tank," was redesignated as a "Medium Tank" in 1946. It used the same 500 HP V8 engine as the M4A3, although it was over 10 tons heavier. Consequently, it suffered from mobility and reliability issues. A rebuilding program that commenced in November 1949 introduced a number of upgrades including an 810 HP engine, new transmission, new gun with bore evacuator, and improvements to the suspension. The changes were so extensive that the modified M26 was given a new designation - the M46 Patton. All told, 1160 M26s were rebuilt to the M46 standard. The above photo dated October 27, 1948 is part of an APG series that featured a comparison between the M4A3(76)HVSS and a pilot model of the M46. The M46 was said to outperform the Sherman in all categories, although that did not actually prove to be the case during the Korean War. The Registration Number of the M4A3 indicates it was accepted in March, 1945. Curiously, the 7 digit Registration Number, 3012420, is inappropriate for either the M26 or M46. In fact, it was originally assigned to an M3A1 Light Tank.


M4A3(76)

Overseas, the US maintained relatively small Occupation Forces with some armor. Above shows M4A3(76)s of the 1st Cavalry Division's 603rd Tank Company during an Army Day parade in Tokyo in April, 1946. Tanks were expensive to operate and maintain, and with the budget cuts of the late 1940s, the Tank Battalions authorized to each of the 4 Divisions stationed in Japan were "demobilized" to one company operating the more economical M24 Light Tank. In 1947, in an attempt to augment the meager resources of his Far East Command, General Douglas MacArthur instituted what came to be known as "Operation Roll Up." Vast quantities of war materiel assembled for the invasion of Japan, were still sitting on Okinawa, the Philippines and the Marianas. Much of this materiel was shipped to Japan, where it was refurbished and properly stored, most notably at the Tokyo Ordnance Depot. Despite these efforts, it would appear that there were no "Ready for Issue" (RFI) M4A3(76)HVSS or M26s in Japan on the eve of the Korean War.


M4A3(76)

The Sherman was called to service again during the Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950. The first 7 months can be thought of as the "active" period of the war, characterized by the retreat to the Pusan Perimeter, the Inchon landing and breakout in mid September, and the "bug out" from North Korea in the face of the Chinese attack in late November. Figures vary, but it is thought that, during this time, approximately 1231 US and British tanks were issued in Korea, with 516 being primarily M4A3(76)HVSS Shermans. The North Korean People's Army is estimated to have had around 500 T34-85s, including about 250 replacements. The tables above are taken from a 1951 Operations Research Office Report entitled "The Employment of Armor in Korea," and show the UN armored units that participated, along with their authorized strengths as of January 1, 1951.


M4A3(76)

On August 1, 1950, Company A of the 8072nd Provisional Tank Battalion became the first unit with Shermans to arrive in Korea. The hastily trained outfit entered combat the next day near Masan. The bulk of the Battalion arrived by August 4th, and was redesignated the 89th Medium Tank Battalion a few days later. The photo above is dated August 3rd at Pusan. About 9 M4A3(76)HVSS are visible, along with 4 M39 Armored Utility Vehicles and 2 M32 series retrievers. It was reported that 54 “WW II M4A3s” had been collected up and rebuilt at the Tokyo Ordnance Depot in a hurried effort to equip the Battalion, which had been activated in Japan only on July 17th. Early Tokyo Ordnance Depot Shermans have a distinctive appearance with additional track links, sprockets and idler wheels attached to the hull and turret. Photos suggest that the Tokyo OD did not have supplies of first aid boxes, armored exhaust deflectors or "one piece" gun travel locks to retrofit to any of the tanks that lacked these items. We created an inset that shows an oddity - what appears to be a Sherman with a "small" turret and 75mm gun.

M4A3(76)


Another view of some of the 8072nd's Shermans shows that the tank with sand shields is an M4A3(105)HVSS. We recorded the Registration Number from the original print as USA 30140502, indicating April 1945 acceptance. Plans for the invasion of Japan called for the use of at least 6 M4A3(105)s with HVSS in each of the Army and Marine Tank Battalions. It was further stipulated that they should have power traverse, which was not included in the original design. We estimate that starting in March, 1945, the last 1500 units were built with power traverse. It was not installed in the usual position in front of the gunner, but shoe horned in behind the commander. A fortunate consequence of Operation Roll Up was that facilities using civilian labor were created in Japan for the refurbishment and repair of war materiel, including military vehicles and AFVs. It might be said that the seeds of the postwar Japanese auto industry were planted at these facilities.


M4A3(76)

Throughout August and September 1950 additional US Infantry and Marine units were rushed to Korea in an attempt to bolster the fragile Pusan Perimeter. The photo above, dated August 12, shows a "45 ton General Pershing tank (sic) being unloaded from the S.S. Coe Victory at a South Korean port." As mentioned previously, the name was changed from Pershing to Patton when the M26 was upgraded to M46. It is thought that this tank would have been part of the 6th Medium Tank Battalion, detached from the 2nd Armored Division, stationed at Camp Hood, Texas. Composed of 4 Companies of M46s, the Battalion was placed in Eighth Army reserve at first, which permitted the men some much needed additional training. It was then assigned as the organic Tank Battalion of the battle scarred 24th Infantry Division, the first Division sent to Korea from Japan in July, with only a company of M24 Light Tanks, almost all of which had been lost by then.


M4A3(76)    M4A3(76)
Click on the pictures for larger size

The photos above are dated August 13, 1950 and the captions herald the "Arrival of the first M-26 Tanks (sic), somewhere in Korea." These Shermans were part of the 70th Heavy Tank Battalion which had been a "School Troop" unit at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During WW II, independent Tank Battalions were often assigned from one Infantry Division to another. In order to improve tank-infantry cooperation, it was decided post war that each Infantry Division would have a Heavy Tank Battalion as organic support. Furthermore each of the Division's 3 Infantry Regiments would include an organic Company of Medium Tanks. A "heavy" battalion consisted of 3 Companies, each with 22 Medium Tanks. The 70th was made up of 2 Companies of "M4A3E8 tanks" and 1 Company of M26s. A number of histories remark that the M26s were gathered up from tanks that had been placed as monuments around Fort Knox. It is evident in period photos that Dozer tanks were in such short supply that an exception was made to the "only HVSS" stricture. A few of the M4A3(76)VVSS Dozers photographed in Korea had an additional gun travel lock on the rear, and this may have been the case with USA 30100129. This tank was produced in May, 1944, but had had significant upgrades by 1950. We recorded the Sherman on the right as USA 3032650, indicating November, 1944 acceptance. It is one of the few seen in Korean War photos without the mantlet cover fittings. The 70th became the organic Tank Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division, another unit that had been rushed into Korea from Japan with only a company of M24 Light Tanks.


M4A3(76)

Above shows a Sherman of C Company, 70th Heavy Tank Battalion advancing near Chilgok on September 4, 1950. Note that it "still" has the "two fingers" gun travel lock (1). The smoke mortar cap (2) is most likely welded on, as opposed to removed and welded over. It was reported that the unit's Shermans were drawn from storage at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. The object just below the bow machine gun (3) is thought to be the "comb" or brake locking/unlocking device typical of tanks inspected and processed for overseas shipment out of RIA. The inset provides a slightly better view of the device, as shown on the 70th's first combat casualty, damaged by a 57mm antitank gun.


M4A3(76)

PFC Allison Sherrod of the Signal Corps documents part of the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter as he photographs the advance of the 35th Infantry Regiment of the 25th ID near Chinju around Sept. 27, 1950. The tactical markings identify the tank as A-10 of the 89th Medium Tank Battalion. The 89th became the organic Tank Battalion of the 25th ID, another of the Divisions deployed from Japan. For some reason, the 8072nd Provisional Tank Battalion (redesignated the 89th) was activated as a Medium Battalion consisting of 4 Companies, as opposed to the 3 of the Heavy Tank Battalions normally assigned to Infantry Divisions. The battalion commander, Lt. Colonel Welborn Dolvin, kept 3 companies on line in the Perimeter, while the "extra" company remained in the rear. Dolvin (secretly?) rotated each of his companies off the front lines, in order to provide his raw troopers with additional training. The tank can be seen to have the original sheet metal type exhaust deflector and the spare fittings typical of the Tokyo Ordnance Depot.


M4A3(76)

The 2nd Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, Washington was alerted for deployment to Korea on July 8th, 1950. The Army scrambled to fill out its ranks, and round up its full allotment of equipment, including tanks. Remarkably, the entire Division was in Korea by August 19th. The 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion was organic to the 2nd ID. It consisted of 1 Company of M26s and 2 of M4A3(76)HVSS's. Each of the Division's 3 Infantry Regiments had a "heavy" Company of 22 M4A3s as well. The above photo, dated September 16, 1950, is thought to show one of the Shermans of the Tank Company of the 38th Infantry Regiment. This vehicle's original E8543 differential housing appears to have been replaced with the first type with the cast in steps. Note the T84 rubber chevron tracks, seen on a few of the Shermans that deployed directly from the US.


M4A3(76)

The 7th ID was the last of the 4 Divisions deployed from Japan. It was so understrength that over 8000 South Korean recruits were inducted into the unit, and given brief training in Japan. Along with the 1st Marine Division, the 7th ID was assigned to the X Corps, tasked with making the Inchon landing far in the enemy's rear. The 73rd Heavy Tank Battalion, which had been a "School Troop" unit at Fort Benning, Georgia, was assigned as the organic Tank Battalion of the 7th ID. Each of its 3 Companies was "equipped with 22 M26s, 3 M4A3 Dozers and 1 M32." The photo shows a pair of M26s and an M4A3(76)VVSS Dozer of A Company of the 73rd preparing to board an LST at Pusan on September 10, 1950. The Sherman can be seen to be USA 30100396, indicating Chrysler June, 1944 production. Some of the tank's original suspension components were replaced as evidenced by the bogie units with straight return roller arms, solid road wheels and "plain" drive sprocket.


M4A3(76)

In a remarkably bold and successful assault, the 1st Marine Division landed at Inchon on September 15, 1950, and quickly moved inland. The 7th ID landed a few days later and proceeded south toward Suwon, protecting the right flank of the Marines. The photo above, dated September 25th, shows the Tank Company of the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th ID awaiting barge transport across the Han River in preparation for assisting the Marines in the battle for Seoul. A number of the M4A3(76)s can be seen to have the tank's serial number stenciled on the side (circled), indicating they were processed by Rock Island Arsenal. Tanks 1 and 2 can be seen to be 105mm Shermans, with Tokyo Ord. Depot fittings. The inset shows that at least one of these was "out of spec," as the upper rear hull plate and visible air cleaners identify it as an M4(105)HVSS. "The Employment of Armor in Korea" simply explains, "The type of tanks assigned have varied because of the limited supply of the authorized types in the Far East."


M4A3(76)    M4A3(76)

The 1st Marine Division's Tank Battalion was composed of 4 Companies, each with 17 M26s, 3 M4A3 Dozers and 1 M32. It also included a Flame Platoon of 9 POA-CWS-H5s, based on M4A3(105)HVSS Shermans. These had been converted to POA-CWS-H5 in Hawaii in 1945 in anticipation of the invasion of Japan. The photo on the left shows a pair of the 1st Marine TB's M26's during the "Battle of the Barricades" in Seoul. Both photos are dated Sept 26, the day before Seoul fell to UN forces. The tactical markings on the rear of the Sherman can be seen as "7-32-I...Δ 21," indicating Tank 21 of the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. The RIA serial number stencil is present on the side, but this unit does not have the first aid box seen on the RIA Shermans in the preceding image. It is likely that some of the GIs in this photo are South Koreans serving in the US 7th ID.


M4A3(76)

Despite fierce resistance, the Eighth Army broke out of the Pusan Perimeter, and routed the North Korean People's Army. Link up was made with the X Corps in late September. Two months later, victory seemed at hand, as UN forces approached the Manchurian border. The photo above is dated September 25, 1950, and shows a mixed column of M26s and Shermans of the 2nd ID's 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion fording the Hwang-Gang River. In Korea, the US Army did not have the resources or manpower to recreate the fine logistical tail they had developed during WW II. Of the 576 UN tanks reported put out of action up to mid January, 1951, 60% resulted from mechanical failure. Both the M26 and M46 were said to have had 40% mechanical failure rates, while the Sherman's was 20%. The unit history of the 72nd mentions that by March 1951, "almost all of the M26 tanks brought from the States...had been replaced with M4A3E8 tanks or, as the troops referred to them, the "Easy Eight's"." In fact, all of the 300 odd M26s sent to Korea had been replaced with either Shermans or M46s by mid 1951.


M4A3(76)
Click on the picture for larger size

On November 24, 1950, UN Forces began what was thought would be the final offensive of the Korean War. Intelligence estimates of enemy strength included 83,000 demoralized North Koreans and between 40,000 and 71,000 Chinese Communist "volunteers." In fact, the Chinese had managed to "hide" 300,000 men in the hills of northern Korea. Chinese Communist Forces attacked on November 26th, and outflanked the Eighth Army in the west, and the X Corps and ROK I Corps in the east. Not many Signal Corps photos with "Sherman content" were taken in December, 1950 as UN Forces retreated from North Korea. The above is dated December 9th, and shows a pair of Shermans carrying freezing GIs of the 24th Infantry Division back across the 38th Parallel near Kaesong. Of interest is the use of the "driver's hatch hood" (inset). 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.


M4A3(76)

Victory may have seemed within their grasp as Chinese Communist Forces resumed the offensive on New Year's Day, 1951. Seoul fell on January 4, 1951. By the 24th, UN Forces had retreated to a defensive line running across the peninsula about 20 miles south of Seoul. A turning point was reached at this time, as "Line D" would become the limit of the UN withdrawal. "The Employment of Armor in Korea" study ends at this point.  Its findings regarding UN tanks issued and losses suffered up to January 21, 1951 are shown above. Inclusion of mechanical failure as a separate category seems to have been necessary because, unlike WW II, it was far and away the primary cause of loss. WW II studies tended to concentrate on tanks lost due to enemy action. "Reasons other than enemy action" were lumped together into a single category, and appear to have run between 15% and 30%. In Korea, "other than enemy action" (mech. failure, terrain and accident) accounted for an astonishing 71% of all losses during the period studied. Some causes for this were cited as the age and condition of the tanks, the rough terrain of Korea, an insufficient ordnance maintenance system, the underpowered engine of the M26 and technical problems with many new components of the M46. Despite its shortcomings, as in WW II, the Sherman was acknowledged to be most reliable tank on the battlefield.


M4A3(76)

By late January, 1951, UN Forces had regrouped and counterattacked. Seoul was recaptured on March 18th, and the war's starting point at the 38th parallel was reached soon after. Two Communist offensives were repelled in the Spring of 1951, and by June the front lines had stabilized a little above the 38th Parallel. With neither side willing to risk an escalation that might lead to WW III, truce talks were initiated on July 10, 1951. The talks dragged on for two years. While there were no major offensives, patrols, raids, and localized attacks continued along the heavily fortified front lines. In the interest of logistical simplicity, it was planned that "all units in Korea will receive the M46 tank by the end of 1952." Due to severe technical problems, this did not happen, and the M4A3(76)HVSS continued to be the UN Forces most widely used tank to the end of the conflict. The photo above shows an M32B1 attempting to free an "Easy Eight" of the 89th Medium Tank Battalion, 25th ID. The scene was filmed on Hill 1032, August 16, 1952. Elaborate "sandbag castles," such as those seen in the background, were created by both sides during the period of stalemate.


M4A3(76)
Click on the photo for larger size

WW II supplies and vehicles processed by the Tokyo Ordnance Depot and other facilities in Japan may have provided the margin that saved UN Forces from defeat in the desperate days of the build up within the Pusan perimeter. A year later, these operations were in full swing, with 30,000 Japanese employed in rebuild work. Above shows a lot at the Tokyo O.D. in mid August 1951. Aside from several damaged M46s returned from Korea for repair, there are some Operation Roll Up Shermans visible in the background. Two POA-CWS-H5 flamethrowers, that appear to be based on M4A3(105)HVSS Shermans (1), are just visible on the far left. The retrievers (2) may have had their lifting booms cannibalized for spare parts. Three M4A1(75)s can be seen, two of which have the “improved Surfizing” waterproofing fittings (3) over their guns. These were standard issue on the T6 Swimming Tanks that landed on Okinawa, but are also noted to have been on a few “regular” M4A1(75)s operating in the Philippines.


M4A3(76)

As in WW II, the Cold War challenged the US Military with a two front dilemma. There was the immediate need to contain Communist aggression in Asia, while at the same time, preventing it in Western Europe. Following the crisis in Korea, the Army's strength was increased from 600,000 in mid 1950 to 1.5 million by mid 1953. Funds were provided for the production of new military hardware, including the M47 and M48 Medium Tanks. In the meantime, many of the Shermans that had been preserved in US Depots following WW II, were used on a "substitute standard" basis to equip the expanded Army forces. Others were provided to Allies as military aid. The photo above, dated May, 1950, shows how a group of M4A3(76)HVSS tanks had been preserved or "cocooned" at the Red River Arsenal in Texas. Note that the First Aid Box is seen on some but not all of these vehicles. It would appear that, unlike the infantry phone, supplies of this item were insufficient for universal installation on Shermans that were returned to service in the early 1950s.


M4A3(76)

The photo above provides a better view of the Serial Number stenciled on the sides, as seen on Shermans taken from storage and processed for shipment at Rock Island Arsenal. The stencil in the rear reads, "Inspected 8/9/50 R.I.A." These tanks were "reconditioned" before storage, and inspected periodically to ensure that they could be made Ready For Issue on short notice. The location of the "First Aid Kit" varies widely in period photos. The position shown seems to be typical of tanks that had this item installed by RIA. Our example shows Serial Number 59924 of the Tank Company of the 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th ID during Operation Bunker Buster, July 24, 1951. Many Korean War Shermans had the .50 caliber machine gun repositioned to the front so that it could be more accessible to the tank commander, as demonstrated here.


M4A3(76)

Thousands of Shermans were rebuilt during WW II, and the process was repeated in the early 1950s. Some of the M4A3(76)s remanufactured by Bowen & McLaughlin in York, Pennsylvania show up in Korean War photos starting in 1951. We believe the "ISUP" shipping destination code (Pusan?) is typical of B&M tanks sent to Korea. The damaged 89th Medium TB Sherman above was photographed in October 1951. A stencil indicates that it was "Processed" in April, 1951 in York, Pa. During the remanufacture program, some M4A3(76)VVSS tanks were retrofitted with HVSS, and some M4A3(75)HVSS were retrofitted with 76mm turrets. One of the directives given to Bowen & McLaughlin called for conversion "back" to dry stowage by draining and plugging the wet stowage ammunition boxes. B&M had designed a torsion bar hinge system that made it easy for one man to open the heavy engine deck doors. This is present on many surviving M4A3s in the US, and is shown in the inset on a 7th ID Sherman in Korea.


M4A3(76)    M4A3(76)

One advantage that the M4A3(76) had in Korea as opposed to WW II was the ready availability of High Velocity Armor Piercing ammunition. Although tank duels were rare, these shells could penetrate the T34 at normal combat ranges. The Sherman's basic ammo load was determined by the tactical situation on the ground. The photo above is dated August 8, 1952 and shows the ammunition carried by an Easy Eight of the 89th Tank Battalion. Although censored, the numbers in the caption can be discerned as 41 rounds of High Explosive, 15 rounds of White Phosphorous, 7 rounds of HVAP (8 are visible in the photo) and 7 rounds of "anti-personnel shells." The last suggests a canister round, but we don't find any evidence that one was ever produced for the 76mm gun. Perhaps the caption writer saw "AP" on the shell and misinterpreted it as "anti-personnel" rather than "armor piercing"? 15 armor piercing rounds divided evenly between AP and HVAP seems likely. It's obvious from photos that Korean War tankers often carried many additional boxes of MG ammo on the exterior of their tanks.


M4A3(76)

The armistice ending the Korean War was signed on July 27, 1953. The scene above was filmed at the Korea Base Section in Pusan about a month later. There appear to be equal numbers of M4A3(76)HVSS Shermans and M46 Pattons in this photo. Eight new M47s can be distinguished by their elongated turrets with stowage boxes on the bustles. The M47 was an expedient design which married the M46 lower hull to a new turret that featured an improved fire control system. The 89th Tank Battalion was to receive 75 M47s in March, 1953, and after 5 weeks of training, the tanks were to be evaluated in combat for 90 days. Due to production delays and the cease fire, the project was cancelled, and it is not thought that any M47s served in combat in Korea.


M4A3(76)

The US Army's first completely new post WW II design was the M48 Patton, seen above with Mrs. George S. Patton, Jr. during christening ceremonies on July 1st 1952 at Chrysler's new tank plant in Newark, Delaware. The M48 underwent several modifications and in October 1955, the M48A2 was classified as the Army's Standard Type. The M48 and M48A1, M47, M46 and M46A1, and the M4A3(76)HVSS were all classified as Limited Standard at this time. On March 14, 1957 the M4A3(76)HVSS became the last Sherman gun tank to be declared obsolete by the US Army.


M4A3(76)    M4A3(76)
Click on the photos for larger size

As the US Army's preferred type, the M4A3(76)HVSS was not widely distributed as Military Assistance in the 1950s. The Republic of Korea Army appears to have been the largest recipient of the “Easy Eight." It is reported that 388 units were provided starting in 1954. These replaced some 216 M36 series Tank Destroyers which the ROK listed in the the inventory after the cease fire. Above left shows M36s of the 53rd Tank Company, 9th ROK Division supporting an assault on White Horse Mountain, October 8, 1952. The photo on the right depicts Shermans of the VI ROK Corps demonstrating their firepower for visiting dignitaries in February, 1957. In 1959, the M47 replaced the Sherman as the ROK Army's main battle tank.


M4A3(76)

Starting in 1954, Japan is reported to have received 250 M4A3(76)HVSS Shermans as Military Assistance. The above shows some deliveries to the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces at the training facility at Camp Fuji in November, 1954. Beginning in April 1961, the Shermans were gradually replaced with the Mitsubishi designed Type 61. The second tank in the photo can be seen as USA 30125525, indicating that it was manufactured by Fisher Body as an M4A3(75)HVSS in March, 1945. Thus, it is an example of an M4A3(76)HVSS conversion by turret swap. This conversion was so extensive, that not a single as built M4A3(75)HVSS is known to have survived.


M4A3 76mm

The M4A3(76)HVSS continued to serve as a training tank in the US almost up to the day it was declared obsolete. Many subsequently served as range targets, while others were sold off as scrap. Some were "loaned" to towns and veterans' groups, and are on display as monuments throughout the country. Most had been modified in the late 1940s or early 1950s, so they are more appropriate as examples of Korean War era Shermans than WW II. Serial Number 61180 was placed in a public park in Monessen, Pennsylvania. A small plaque reads, "MEMORIAL DEDICATED JUNE 14, 1959 BY V.F.W. POST 1190 TO ALL VETERANS OF WORLD WAR II  1938 (sic) M4A1 (sic) SHERMAN TANK 76 MM GUN." In the 50 plus years it has been there, the Sherman absorbed the weather and a lot of graffiti. In the Summer of 2013, Jonathan Baker refurbished this tank for his Eagle Scout candidate project. Photo and elbow grease courtesy of Jonathan Baker.


M4A3 76mm    M4A3 76mm

It has been our pleasure to travel around examining surviving Sherman tanks. We have noticed that all of the Chrysler built, large hatch Shermans visited have a half round piece welded in to fill in the differential housing bolt strip overcut. We consider this to be a Chrysler recognition feature, since all examples of Fishers seen have a series of weld beads mostly horizontal, but some vertical, to fill in the overcut.


M4A3 76mm    M4A3 76mm

Chrysler and Fisher built Shermans have the Tank's Ordnance Serial Number stamped into the rear towing lugs. We've noticed a slight difference in the "fonts" used for the stamping. For instance, Chrysler 3s have rounded tops, as can be seen on 43594 above. Fisher 3s have been noted to have straight tops.


M4(105)    M4(105)

On those rare occasions when we have the opportunity to look inside surviving Shermans, we find that the dataplates are often rusted unreadable or simply missing. However, we have noted that some Chryslers have the Serial Number stamped in the driver's compartment, 6 inches (15 centimeters) to the left of the dataplate, as shown above. We are interested in cataloging readable examples of surviving M4 Series dataplatesand would particularly like to see one from a Sherman rebuilt at the Tokyo Ordnance Depot. Perhaps one might be found on a tank in Korea or Japan?


M4A3 76mm

Aside from the rear towing lugs, mid 1943 and later Fisher built Shermans have the tank's Ordnance Serial Number stamped on both edges of the differential housing. The diff stamping is preceded by an "S" for "serial number." These stampings have been observed in the positions shown in the photo above. On some surviving Shermans, the serial number on the diff is not the same as that found on the dataplate or rear towing lugs. This would indicate that original differential housing was replaced.


M4A3(76)

Additionally, Fisher built Shermans have been seen to have a loose build sequence number stamped on the left front (driver's side). These numbers have a letter prefix or suffix. The "M" indicates that the tank was built as an M4A3(76). Other letters noted are "A" for M4A3(75)W, "E" for M4A3E2 (Jumbo), and "W" for M4A2(76). This Sherman is on display at an American Legion Post in Cecil, Pennsylvania. It is Serial Number 62999, indicating it was made by Fisher Body in October, 1944. By our math, it would have been their 140th M4A3(76)VVSS, hence our characterization of the build sequence number as "loose." When a Sherman was retrofitted with HVSS during rebuild, it was done "by welding basic components to chassis." A bit of this welding can be seen in the inset at the lower right. In any case, we like to record the Fisher build number as it can be useful in the event the tank's serial number can't be found.


M4A3(76)

Finally, some surviving Shermans have been seen to have the USA Registration Number stamped into the glacis plate in the area of the lifting ring on the bow gunner's side, as shown above. We have not been able to collect enough information to confirm, but believe the USA Number stamping was done by Brown & Root of Houston, Texas during a rebuild program in the early 1950s. Our example, Serial Number 67648, USA 30123384 is on display at a VFW Post in McKinney, Texas. This tank would have been manufactured by Chrysler in March, 1945, so the 1944 "extra lifting ring" turret would not be its original. The differential housing is not the original either, as it has S62764 stamped on, indicating it was taken from an M4A3(75)HVSS. Photos from Cecil and McKinney courtesy of Jim Goetz.


The authors would gladly receive serial & sequence number reports from any readers who encounter a surviving M4A3(76)W.


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