Sherman 75mm turret pistol port
Most of the
75mm turrets had a pistol port on the rear left side (left-side photo). However, in April 1943 the Ordnance
Department decided to eliminate the pistol port as they considered it a
ballistic hazard. The D50878 turret was redesigned without the port (right-side photo). The feedback from the using
arms about the elimination of the pistol port was so negative, that in July
1943, Ordnance voted to reinstate it.
This particular Union Steel
turret casting has an unusual feature around the pistol port - a pair of very
deep vertical channels. Some of the early British & US M4s & M4A1s in
North Africa have been seen with this particular turret casting (photo courtesy of Kurt Laughlin).
The "no pistol port" turrets
began to enter the production lines in the summer of 1943 (see above), but in the meantime,
factories & depots were directed to weld up any remaining pistol port
turrets that were in the pipeline. Photo study let us think that the
majority of US Army 75mm Shermans in the Eurpean Theater of Operations in 1944 had either a welded up or
no pistol port turret. Here are shown 3 different types of weldings on the pistol port.
Here, the pistol port is open, which allow to see the interior of the hatch and the piston.
On 76mm turrets (a.k.a. T23 turrets), the design of the pistol port is slighly different than on 75mm turrets.