M4A3E2 "Jumbo" Shermans
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."

The Fisher Body Division of General Motors Corporation was the sole manufacturer of M4A3E2 Jumbos. It produced 254 units between May and July 1944.

Production Order T-09724 : 254 M4A3E2 "Jumbo" manufactured: Serial Number 50326 / USA 3082923 through S/N 50579 / USA 3083176

Introduction

The idea of producing a more heavily armored Sherman originated with the British. During a meeting at the US War Department on February 21, 1942, Michael Dewar and other members of the British Tank Mission "stated that a tentative suggestion had been made to London that the Infantry Tank Mark III (Valentine) and the Infantry Tank Mark IV (Churchill) should be discontinued in the British Programme and their place taken by a heavier edition of the US M4. The armour thickness of this tank should be front 3 1/2 " basis, sides 3"." Note that this meeting took place about a week before the first production Sherman was accepted. Tank Doctrine in the US at the time was such that no requirement existed for a heavier Medium Tank, and thus, the British proposition that it be produced by them. We suspect that the "heavier edition M4" as envisioned by the British, would have been based on the cast hull M4A1 as it was stated that "the original plan was to thicken up castings generally." Subsequent events suggest that had this program been adopted in 1942, the impact might have been significant.



M4A3E2 Jumbo

Although British production of the "heavier edition M4" never came about, the US Ordnance Department reconsidered the idea in late 1943. On December 17, General Motors Proving Ground was directed to operate an M4A3 with a test weight of 82,600 pounds. After 500 miles over a standard endurance course, it was found that "no abnormal failures were encountered...It, therefore, appears feasible to convert a Medium Tank into an Assault Tank with a weight of 82,600 lbs. if only limited operation is to be encountered." Above, the Ford built M4A3 test tank with additional "ballast" as photographed on January 18, 1944 before commencement of the 500 mile endurance test. Note the use of the recently developed extended end connectors, which reduced the ground pressure to 14.2 pounds per square inch.



M4A3E2 Jumbo

Plans for the "Assault Tank" were drawn up, and on March 2, the Ordnance Technical Committee recommended "that the M4A3 Tank with heavier armor...be designated Medium Tank M4A3E2." Unfortunately, in light of subsequent events, they recommended a limited procurement of only 250 tanks for overseas shipment, plus 4 pilots for tests. On March 23, the action was approved. It is to be noted that, from the start, the Corps of Engineers objected to any changes that made the original Sherman design longer, wider or heavier. So, of course, they "non-concurred" with the Committee regarding the M4A3E2.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

Fisher Body was the primary contractor. The government had certain standards, which were verified by tests during each step of the production process. In late March, Fisher and its subcontractors were notified that "In order to expedite delivery of M4A3E-2 Assault Tanks, certain requirements of applicable specifications will be waived for a total of 254 vehicles." That is, the government "trusted" that the producers would meet specs without the confirmation of the usual time consuming ballistic and radiographic tests. In fact, such tests were conducted on a few tanks and components even as production was in full swing. Bear in mind that the "E" in M4A3E2 stands for "Experimental." Had it been determined that the design was not acceptable for combat, the contractors would have been paid nonetheless for the production of 254 experimental units which would have remained in the US. As it was, 250 units were released for overseas shipment in late May 1944.


M4A3E2 Jumbo    M4A3E2 Jumbo

The M4A3E2 was converted using the M4A3(75)W hull that Fisher had been producing since February, 1944. The M4A3(75)W upper hull had 2.5 inches of armor plate on the front, 1.5 inches on the sides and rear and .75 inches on the top. The lower hull had 1.5 inch sides and rear, and a .5 inch floor. Using the same technique as would be employed for the M4A3E2, another .5 inch plate was welded on to the front of the belly plate to provide the drivers with additional protection from mines.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

To convert to M4A3E2, 1.5 inch armor plates were welded to the front and sides of the upper hull. The upper rear hull and hull top were left unchanged at 1.5 inches and .75 inches respectively. The lower hull was left unchanged as well. In order to insure a strong bond, the side armor was installed in two sections. A two inch gap running down the middle of the hull was neatly filled in by welding. Photo courtesy of the AMVCC - http://www.armytrucks.org/


M4A3E2 Jumbo    M4A3E2 Jumbo

The 1.5 inch glacis plate featured a keyhole shaped aperture for the bow machine gun. The standard bow mg dust cover set up was provided. The 75mm, or "short" gun travel lock was used, but was raised about 3 inches off the glacis by spacers. Hull lifting rings were mounted in the "inboard" position. The M4A3E2 appears to have used the same wiring harness as the M4A3(75)W as there are conduit fittings for the headlamps and siren inside a few surviving examples. These items were omitted from the M4A3E2 design, possibly for ballistic reasons. One would think there might have been a few complaints from the field about the lack of headlamps, but we did not come across any in our research. Left side photo courtesy of Mike Green.



M4A3E2 Jumbo

While refurbishing the historic M4A3E2 "Cobra King," Don Moriarty found the part number "D-52644" stamped into the front plate. This is the same part number noted on the standard Sherman 2.5 inch glacis plate. We can only speculate that the thickness of the part was reduced by an inch, since the official front armor basis of the M4A3E2 is given as 4 not 5 inches. Photo courtesy of Don Moriarty.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

Pressed Steel Car was subcontracted to assemble and finish the turrets and gun mounts. The turret "is based on the 76mm turret and the internal layout is similar. However, a full basket is employed. Vision cupola and loader's hatch are provided...Turret thickness of 6 inches is maintained on the front, sides and rear; thickness at the rear reduces to 2 1/2 inches below the bulge." Two sections of .75 inch armor plate were welded on to the turret casting to provide the "roof." The M4A3E2 was the only "second generation" Sherman turret design that didn't include a pistol port. Restorers might be interested to know that a Pressed Steel Car plate was found on the interior turret wall of a surviving M4A3E2.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

The turret casting was part number 7067400 as seen above. Using period photos and surviving examples to "count heads," leads us to believe that two companies cast the turrets - Union Steel and Ordnance Steel Foundry. Union Steel castings have the turret serial numbers cast in fairly large on both sides, and it is often possible to read them in period photos. The highest Serial Number recorded from a Union Steel turret is 203, which indicates they made at least that many. OSF turrets have the serial numbers cast in on the front part of the roof, so it has not been possible to record any from historic photos. Two known surviving examples are SER 12 and SER 38. This would indicate that OSF cast at least 38 of the 254, or slightly more, of the M4A3E2 turrets that were ordered. Photo courtesy of Don Moriarty.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

The castings differ a bit in that Union Steel turrets are seen to have a rounded or "soft" lower edge (above, left ), whereas Ordnance Steel Foundry turrets are seen to have a "hard" edge.


M4A3E2

M4A3E2

While it was decided to arm the M4A3E2 with the 75mm gun, it was installed in a modified M62 Gun Mount as used on the 76mm gun (above, left). 5 inches of rolled plate were welded on to the M62's original 2 inch cast gun shield resulting in a fairly massive mantlet that protected 70 per cent of the turret's front surface. On May 25 1944, it was given the designation "Combination Gun Mount, T110."


M4A3E2    M4A3E2

A new final drive housing was cast for the M4A3E2. It was 3000 pounds heavier than the standard Sherman E8543 casting. Armor thickness varied from 4 inches to a maximum of 5.5 inches at the nose. The part number of the housing is 7067389, and the few examples examined all carry the caster's logo of Union Steel. Purchase Orders for an item such as this generally included provision for a certain number of spares. While it is not known if that was the case for the M4A3E2 differential housing, the one shown above right is serial number 256, indicating that Union Steel cast at least two more than total M4A3E2 production required. Left side picture courtesy of Mike Green and right side picture courtesy of Chris Hughes.


M4A3E2

Although they were not part of the original design of the Sherman, from about mid 1943 until the end of production, the Ordnance Department required the factory installation of sand shields. They were NOT popular with the troops. "Experience in this theater indicates that sand shields on tanks are superfluous, and are quickly taken off or knocked off by troops. Recommend that War Department be advised and tanks be shipped without sand shields." Perhaps there was some kind of political patronage / jobs issue involved with their continued use?  In any case, the M4A3E2 required the installation of small fender extensions in order to permit the sand shields to clear the extended end connectors.



M4A3E2 Jumbo    M4A3E2 Jumbo

M4A3E2    M4A3E2

M4A3E2    M4A3E2

The M4A3E2 had the same timeline as the M4A3(75)W regarding the introduction of minor changes. While some early M4A3(75)'s were built with a one piece rear most engine deck, by May when M4A3E2 production commenced, the two piece deck was standard. Also present from the start was the smoke mortar with weather proofing cap. Only the first month's production featured the early glacis pattern with the "long" bullet splashes in front of the drivers' auxiliary periscopes. The transition from two small weep holes to a single large one in the rear of the turret splash, appears to have occurred about midway through production in June. Left side picture courtesy of "Joe D."


M4A3E2

The first 40 M4A3E2s rolled off the line at Fisher Body in May 1944. 110 were accepted in June and the final 104 in July. The first unit, Serial Number 50326, USA 3082923, Union Steel Turret 2, arrived at Chrysler's Tank Laboratory in Highland Park, Michigan on May 19, where it was brought "up to the latest production releases," fully stowed, measured, weighed and extensively photographed (complete with "Photoshopped" terrain). The unit lacked a couple of standard features - the bow mg dust cover and sand shields, although the report stated that the sand shields were received and installed later.


M4A3E2

On June 8, 50326 was shipped to the Tank Arsenal Proving Ground for endurance trials. "400 miles of test operation resulted in one broken spring." However, it was noted that low mileage failures had "also been experienced on standard weight vehicles." It was obvious that the weight of the M4A3E2 overtaxed the standard Sherman Vertical Volute Spring Suspension system, particularly in the front. The photo above shows "TOM," Serial Number 50360, USA 3082957, Union Steel Turret 15, on the Test Course at Aberdeen Proving Ground, June 26 1944. Weights were added to each side to simulate a fully loaded tank with crew. One can see the greater compression of the springs on the front and middle bogies. Note how the front bogie arms are nearly horizontal. While this was not considered a fatal flaw, the following warning was issued, "One thing that users must realize is that, in rough cross-country operation, the front volute springs will fail if permitted to 'bottom' violently."


M4A3E2
Click on the photo for larger size

After the endurance test at Chrysler, 50326, USA 3082923, was shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground for ballistic tests. It was tested to destruction there in September 1944. The test was "for information only" as the M4A3E2 had been released for overseas shipment months earlier. There is some interest in trying to identify the other 3 M4A3E2s that remained in the US, since the 250 shipped to the ETO can all be considered WW II "combat veterans." The vast majority of surviving Shermans survived because they were used as training vehicles and did not leave the US during WW II. 
The situation is quite the opposite regarding the seven or so surviving M4A3E2s.


M4A3E2

On February 10, 1945, USA 3082940 was stated to be in the Armored Board Motor Park at Ft Knox. The date would indicate that this M4A3E2 could NOT have been one of the units sent overseas. Unlike the other test facilities, the Armored Board was rather "inconsiderate" to future researchers. Only rarely did they list their test tanks by serial and/or registration number. In any case, we believe that AB Test Operation #420 (above) was S/N 50343, USA 3082940, US Turret 8. It was no longer required by the AB in Feb. 1945, and was clogging up the Motor Park, so a request was submitted to Army Ground Forces for its removal. Whatever disposition was made, the tank "reappeared" as the T33 (Flamethrower) Pilot #1, delivered to APG in September 1947.


M4A3E2    M4A3E2
Click on the photos for larger size

It was standard practice to store one or two examples of special types for future reference and/or historical purposes (at the APG Ordnance Museum). We suspect that S/N 50354, US Turret 5 was retained at Tank Automotive Command in Detroit, and that "TOM" S/N 50360 (shown earlier), was retained at APG. In the photo captions above, note that the tank has been misidentified as a "76-MM." These photos are dated July and August 1944, and the front stencil reads "Prepared by L.T.D. (Lima Tank Depot) 7/1/44."


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number
Click on the photo for larger size


The photo above shows 50354 again, but is dated nearly a year later - June 8 1945. Note that this photo of 50354 correctly identifies it as "75 MM." A 1945 date supports our theory that this tank was stored at TACOM  "for future reference." The photo provides a good view of the extended end connectors that were factory installed on every M4A3E2. It was used to illustrate the revised Extended End Connector Modification Work Order dated July 1945 (inset). It is also the only period photo we have seen in which a stamped on serial number can be read. Many years ago, after seeing this photo for the first time, we began to look for this same stamping on surviving Shermans. This led to the realization that, starting around July 1943, Fisher Body stamped the serial number, preceded by an "S," on both edges of the differential housings of its Shermans.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

During WW II, it took on average from 4 to 5 months to get a new tank from the factory into the hands of the fighting troops. The M4A3E2s began to arrive at the New York Port of Embarkation around mid August. 208 had been shipped out by September 8th. The initial shipments began to arrive at Cherbourg (above) around September 22. Some time was required for the acquisition of berthing spaces, for unloading, processing for combat, and final delivery to selected units. The pace seems to have been somewhat leisurely for such a high priority project. This may have been due in part to the strained logistical situation that existed in the ETO at the time.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

On October 24th, ETOUSA allocated the M4A3E2s: 105, 90 and 60 were to go to the First, Third and Ninth Armies respectively. That this is 5 more than were available reflects the "fog of war" typical of the Army bureaucracy. The document above provides a disposition as of December 3 1944. Note that by this late date, only about half of the total number of M4A3E2s were reported to be in the hands of troops. 10 had already been lost in combat, 25 were enroute to the various Armies, 28 were enroute to depots for combat processing and 46 were still aboard ships offshore. The 12 units "not accounted for" were explained away as receptions or battle losses not yet confirmed.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

It has been difficult to track the distribution of M4A3E2s to individual units, since their records often list their holdings generically, as "Medium Tank, 75mm gun." Evidence suggests the Armies began to receive and distribute the first tanks in early October. Author Richard Anderson has reported that "By 14 October, 36 had been received by the First Army. They were issued 15 each to the 743rd and 745th Tank Battalions and 6 to the 746th Tank Battalion." The USAAF photo above is thought to show an M4A3E2 of the 745th Tank Battalion in Aachen Germany in October 1944. The tank appears to be relatively new, with shipping stencils and chalk markings still visible. Note that the turret has the "hard" edge associated with OSF castings. This is one of a very few "combat shots" that shows even a section of the sand shields installed.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

The original intent appears to have been to distribute the M4A3E2s to independent Tank Battalions, since they supported the Infantry Divisions that were generally tasked with assaulting prepared positions. However, according to Gen. Gay, Patton's Chief of Staff, "Everyone wants the M4A3E2." Armored Divisions wanted to employ them as "point" tanks, because "of the repeated hits they have turned off." The first 40 received by the Third Army were reported to have been issued as shown above. Note that the 10th Armored Division was included in the allocation.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

It is thought that the 4th and 6th Armored Divisions received the Third Army's next allotment in early November. Above, a hapless 6th AD M4A3E2 is shown serving as a "telephone pole." According to the 15th Tank Battalion's History, on November 22, the lead tank of Company B stumbled in the darkness "into a deep crater in the road" leading to Saint-Jean-Rohrbach, France. The next day, engineers erecting a Bailey Bridge at the site set off a charge which knocked the tank on its side. We've reproduced the photo's caption (inset) simply because the writer used the word "Jumbo" to describe the tank.


M4A3E2 Jumbo    M4A3E2 Jumbo

The records of the 746th Tank Battalion for October 1944 state that "Fifteen new heavily armored tanks (M4A3E2) were placed into operation during the period." Company B is reported to have drawn four on October 12. Thus far, the first loss of an M4A3E2 that we can document was listed by the 746th when they reported their tank losses for the month of October (above, left). We keep a list of the M4A3E2 USA Numbers that can be read in period photos, or that are written in WW II documents such as casualty or repair reports. Above right is a "Morning Report" of the 132nd Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, 10th Armored Division stating that M4A3E2 USA 3083124 was in Company B's shop on December 7 1944.



M4A3E2

In the records of the 743rd Tank Battalion for October 11th, it is noted that a platoon (5 tanks) of A Company "was equipped with new Ford (47 ton) tanks at Herzogenrath." These appear to have been the first E2s received by the 743rd, and they were "put in line" the next day. 
A Roster for A Co. lists: Tank 1, E2 3083034; Tank 5, E2 3083089; Tank 10, E2 3083000; Tank 11, E2 3083131 and Tank 15, E2 3083102. All but one of the Jumbos were commanded by officers, which suggests many served as command tanks. The other Shermans listed were 1943 production M4s, and a single M4(105) (Tank 3). Tank 15 survived the war, and is featured in several photos in William Folkestad's "The View From The Turret." It appears to be a case of a painted on "typo" in the USA Registration Number - 3038102 instead of 3083102.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

While the M4A3E2s had some of the heaviest armor of any tank at the time, they were not impervious to enemy guns. C Company lost the first of the 743rd's "new assault type" tanks (Tank 5) to panzerfaust fire on November 16 near Worselen Germany. C Co. lost 2 more on November 22 while supporting an infantry attack on Lohn, Germany. They became the subject of a G2 Report "Effect of German Projectiles on US Tanks." The first, commanded by Lt. Thornell, was knocked out at 0850 by anti-tank fire. One crew member was killed and two were wounded. The photo above shows the condition of this tank when it was photographed a few days later. For their report, the G2 people chalked hit numbers on the two tanks. While several rounds were turned away, hit 9 actually penetrated the gun mantlet's telescope aperture.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

At 0900, Lt. Disbrow's E2 was disabled by a "friendly" mine, and the crew evacuated to safety. The attack was called off not long after, and the tank was left a "lame duck." It is frequently noted that the enemy continued to pour fire on lame ducks in order to render them unrecoverable. "Both of these tanks, which were built with more armor than earlier Shermans, burned later when they were enveloped by direct fire from enemy tanks." Regarding the photo above, it was stated that only round 3 penetrated. Round 3 hit exactly where the USA Number was painted on. A close examination of the original print revealed the last 3 digits to be "114." Within the range of USA Numbers assigned to Jumbos, the only possibility for this one would be 3083114. This would have been from the last month of production, and the tank has a relatively high Union Steel turret serial number at 167, and such later features as the "small holes" welded spoke wheels and the single, large weep hole in the turret splash.


M4A3E2 Jumbo    M4A3E2 Jumbo

Sand bag debris can be seen on the glacis plates of both tanks in the G2 Report photos. The records of the 743rd mention that they "sandbagged" or "re-sandbagged" their tanks during lulls. This was not the smartest idea with the M4A3E2, as it would have further taxed the already over burdened suspension. On the right, the appearance of the 743rd's sand bag job, topped off with camouflage netting. This was probably a B Company E2, as they assisted elements of the 120 Infantry Regiment / 30th Infantry Division in taking Altdorf Germany in a night attack on November 28th.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

As noted earlier, only about half of the 250 M4A3E2s were reported to have been issued to combat units by December 3. Even so, the tank had proven its value, and users were requesting not only the remainder, but further production. An AFV & W Report dated December 7, was composed of a number of quotes, including the following by General R.G. Grow, CG of the 6th AD, "Get me more M4A3E2s. Our efforts are canalized (reference to impassability of rain soaked terrain), this tank has a chance. We want more of them." Above, Sam Moore of the 736th Tank Battalion poses with a newly issued Jumbo with OSF turret.


M4A3E2
Click on the photo for larger size

The M4A3E2's final drive ratio was increased from the standard 2.84:1 to 3.36:1, which decreased the top speed to 22 MPH. Coupled with the overtaxed suspension, this led some to consider the tank a slow cumbersome vehicle, subject to frequent breakdown. However, Cobra King, USA 3083084, US Turret 138 was able to complete the hazardous winter trek to become "First in Bastogne" on December 26. A roster of C Company / 37th Tank Battalion, most likely prepared for reporters on the occasion, lists another Jumbo, USA 3083058 with the note "needs new clutch." Was it forced to drop out of the relief column? A few days later, on December 30, the 37th TB noted that they had 41 operative Medium Tanks, including 7 M4A3E2s. On that day they received 5 of the new M4A3(76)HVSS Shermans as replacements.


M4A3E2

On January 31 1945 "Eisenhower" sent the message reproduced above to AGWAR (Adjustant General, War Dept.). The ETO was basically asking for new M4A3E2s with 76mm guns and HVSS. "Without materially reducing the flow of tanks to the Continent" was the great "Catch 22" in all such requests for better tanks, guns and ammunition. Considerable lead time was necessary in order for US Ordnance and Industry to juggle priorities to fulfill these requirements. In turn, this "juggling act" would have interrupted the flow of existing production. Note that there is a typo in the date of the document. Had this requirement actually been submitted on January 31 1944, an improved M4A3E2 might have been available by late 1944.


M4A3E2 Jumbo

Starting in February 1945, about 100 M4A3E2s were retrofitted with 76mm guns. This was a fairly simply upgrade, as the E2's gun mount was nearly identical to the 76 mm's. Above is shown an upgunned Jumbo of the 32nd Armored Regiment / 3rd AD on the streets of Cologne, March 6 1945. Some units of the 3rd AD painted the USA Number on the front and rear of their tanks. 
It was censored in the photo, but a motion picture crew also filmed this scene, and individual frame captures (inset) reveal that is was USA 3083173, one of the last E2s made. Note that it has the sheet metal cover (item 1) over the ventilator between the drivers' hatches. It is thought that perhaps the last 75 units had the cover factory installed. This tank also has the solid type roadwheels that Fisher introduced into production around July 1944.


M4A3E2  M4A3E2

M4A3E2    M4A3E2

A small number of the upgunned M4A3E2s have been noted to have had the heavy gun collar removed. It is not known if this was done due to battle damage to the collar, or because some other difficulty was encountered during the retrofit. Above top are shown two 6th AD examples. The lower left photo is of Cobra King showing just the outer collar removed. The tank was retrofitted with a 76mm at some point, and the restorers at Ft Knox exchanged the 75 gun and mantlet from their other Jumbo (USA 3083026), so that Cobra King would reflect its appearance as of December 26 1944. Upper right side picture courtesy of Joe Burgess. Lower left side picture courtesy of Garry Redmon. Lower right side photo courtesy of Chris Ballance at the armor School Collection, Fort Benning, GA.


M4A3E2

"Necessity is the mother of invention," and with no prospect of further deliveries of Jumbos, in February 1945, the Third Army embarked on a program to "up-armor" its M4A3(76)s. These might be considered to be "field expedient M4A3E2s." The numerous Battle of the Bulge tank wrecks were used as the source of the additional armor. Above are several examples. Looking from left to right, note the increase in the areas protected.


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number

There aren't many genuine WW II combat veteran Shermans in the US. The Chrylser M4A3(76)HVSS on display at Rock Island Arsenal certainly appears to be one, although the Museum doesn't seem to have any documentation about its history. "4th Armored Divison General Sherman Tank Knocked Out During the Battle of the Bulge Dec. 16 1944 - Jan.23 1945" is painted on the (4 inch?) slabs of (German?) armor welded on the the hull sides. Battle of the Bulge casualty seems doubtful in that the up-armoring process didn't commence until February. The glacis armor was taken directly from another Sherman (inset), complete with hull lifting rings as well as headlamp and gun travel lock fittings. If this tank could talk, it would probably have stories of 3 or more WW II battle losses.



M4A3E2 Fisher serial number

Meanwhile, the M4A3E2 soldiered on. The Sherman above can be identified as a Jumbo by the lack of pistol port. It is "out of spec" in that it is not equipped with extended end connectors. It appears to have been retrofitted with flat block rubber tracks, possibly as a result of wear or damage to the originals. The caption identifies it as with the 750th Tank Battalion supporting Task Force R of the 104th Infantry Division in Halle, Germany, April 14 1945. A movie still (inset) reveals that this E2 was upgunned with a 76mm.


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number

Above, a column of CCA / 11th Armored Division fords the Muhl River near Neufelden Austria on May 4 1945. The Jumbo in the middle distance appears to lack EECs, and the right track is installed backwards. The combat history of the M4A3E2 seems to have ended on VE Day, May 8th, 1945. Rich Anderson has estimated that about 61 were lost in action. Late model AFVs such as the M26 and M4A3(76)HVSS were wanted for the planned invasion of Japan, and it was requested that many of those in Europe be shipped back to the US. Shermans with VVSS were not wanted as they were considered obsolete. However, it was suggested that the remaining M4A3E2s "be offered to active theater." Operation Olympic plans contemplated extensive use of the M26, so it is improbable that the E2s were formally requested. In any case, some Jumbos were shipped back to the States. Records indicate that, in August 1948, there were 96 in US Depots - NRFI (Not Ready for Issue).


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number    M4A3E2 Fisher serial number
Click on the photos for larger size

Flamethrower equipped Shermans were used to good effect in the final campaigns in The Pacific. However, users requested that future models be armed with a large caliber main gun along with the flamethrower. They also requested "that maximum practical armor protection be provided." Thus, in May 1945, development work commenced on the "Flamethrower Tank, T33." The M4A3E2, retrofitted with a new turret as well as HVSS, was selected for the conversion. Twenty units were authorized for procurement. Left open was the possibility of further production, if necessary. Ultimately, at the surrender of Japan, the program was cut to 3 pilot models. The T33s weren't actually delivered until September 1947 (USA 3082940) and January 1948 (3083011,3083021). In 1953, two of the T33s (3082940, 3083021) were converted to "Self Propelled Flamethrower, T68" as seen on the right.


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number    M4A3E2 Fisher serial number

The Korean War caused a reassessment of the status of the many obsolescent WW II era AFVs sitting in storage throughout the US. In January 1951, the Bowen-McLaughlin-York Co. was given a contract to remanufacture 1493 M4A3(75)s and M4A3E2s. It is thought that less than 100 E2s would have been available for the program. Several of the surviving Jumbos show evidence of having been rebuilt by BMY. 50429 still has a Bowen & McLaughlin dataplate (above left, courtesy Don Moriarty), and 50331, 50344 and 50415 have fittings for the type of hinged "comb" device (item 1, above right, courtesy Jim Goetz) typical of BMY.


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number
Click on the photo for larger size

In general, 1950s remanufactured Shermans were given a thorough overhaul of their mechanical and electrical systems, so that they were ready for issue. The spare track holders on the upper rear hull plate were removed, and track blocks were fitted to the turret sides. An infantry phone was installed on the right rear. The smoke mortar had been eliminated in early 1945, and these were removed and the holes were welded shut. The spotlight was also eliminated, but the few surviving Jumbos still have the fittings, possibly because the E2 did not have head lights. Wet stowage was eliminated by sealing up the liquid containers in the ammo racks. If not present, the sheet metal cover was installed over the vent between the drivers' hatches. Gun travel locks were retrofitted with the later one piece locking arm. It is doubtful that BMY was able to equip all of the E2s with extended end connectors, simply because supplies were no longer available. After remanufacture, some of the M4A3(75)s and M4A3E2s were issued as training tanks. The photo above shows members of the 194th Tank Battalion of the Minnesota National Guard in 1955. Present are 2 Jumbos, 3 Ford built M4A3s and an M47. (Courtesy MNG Archives, via Tom Chial).


M4A3E2    M4A3E2

The Sherman was finally declared obsolete in 1957. Most were scrapped, but some were presented to towns and veteran's organizations for use as monuments, and some were used by the military as range targets. Indeed, the 2 Minnesota National Guard Jumbos shown in the previous photo were spotted on a range at Camp Ripley in 1977 by Guardsman Tom Chial. Recognizing the rarity of the M4A3E2, he brought them to the attention of base command. He reported that 3082941 was not too badly damaged, and suggested that it would make a "presentable static display" for the (then) proposed Minnesota National Guard Museum at Camp Ripley. It was placed on display there in 1986. Photos courtesy of Tom Chial.


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number    M4A3E2 Fisher serial number

Fisher built Shermans have the Tank's Ordnance Serial Number stamped into the rear towing lugs, it can also be found inside the dataplate frame, beside the driver's position. Right side photo courtesy of Don Moriarty.


M4A3E2 Fisher serial number    M4A3E2 Fisher serial number

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. The "E" on the Camp Ripley Sherman above indicates the tank is a Jumbo conversion. Fisher built Shermans also 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." Cobra King's can be seen above - S50487 (photo courtesy of Don Moriarty).


HOME