Track link types for Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) 

With thanks to Hanno Spoelstra and Kurt Laughlin for their help

Introduction :

A Sherman track is made of shoes. A shoe is an assembly of one link, two connections (a.k.a. end connectors), two wedges and two nuts.
The shoes have a part number, as well as the links. For example, the T41 track is made of a 
shoe having the part number D37889 and a link having a part number C73922.

An Aberdeen Proving Ground report on track projects listed the following VVSS types developed for the M3 and M4 medium tanks:
T32E1, T33E1, T35, T35E1, T36E2, T36E3, T36E4, T36E5, T37, T37A, T37E1, T40, T41, T41E1, T41E2, T41E3, T45, T47, T47E1, T48, T48E1A, T48E1B, T49, T50, T51, T53, T53E1, T54, T54E1, T54E2, T54E3, T56, T56E1, T59, T59E1, T60, T61, T62, T63, T65, T67, T74.

Those in bold were approved for production.
Picture Type  Description
 
Rubber blocks
 
T41

T41

T41

T41
T41
Rubber, reversible, smooth
D37889 shoe, C73922 link
Rubber tread links 
width: 16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/8"
Manufacturers : Goodyear, Firestone, Ohio rubber, U.S. rubber, Inland Steel.

Flat reversible rubber tread.
Produced until
at least March, 1943.
The T41 had smaller pins but more notably was much thinner (3-1/4 inches) than the T51 (3-3/4 inches) with equal amounts of rubber on each side.

Link weight : 10,2 kilos / 22.5 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 30.0 Lbs
T41

T41

T41

T41

WE210
WE210
British, rubber double-I, non-reversible
Rubber tread links 
width: 16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/8"
Manufacturers : Goodyear, Inland Steel.

Non-reversible rubber tread with 'double I' pattern. Officially listed as 'Rubber Standard' but better known by its part number WE210. Evidence suggests that all the Grants were built with these, & that a certain number of spares were ordered.
Seen on British and Canadian Sherman IIIs (M4A2s) in Sicily and Italy. WE210 track sets were supplied as replacement tracks in North Africa, and were used on Shermans after the Lees and Grants were phased out. WE 210 tracks have also been seen on RAM tanks in Canada, and on Sexton SPGs.

Link weight : 11,1 kilos / 24,48 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 30.4 Lbs

The period photo shows an M4A2 of the Polish 2nd Armoured Brigade, 4th "Scorpion" Armoured Regiment in Monte Cassino, Italy, 1944. 
https://audiovis.nac.gov.pl/obraz/222516:2/
T51

T51

T51

T51
T51
Rubber, non-reversible, smooth
D48076 shoe, C95147 link
Rubber tread links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturers :
Goodyear, Firestone, Ohio rubber, U.S. rubber, Inland Steel, Goodrich

Flat non-reversible rubber tread. Replacement of T41, tread with thicker rubber to prolong track life.
Compared to the T41 track, the T51 was asymmetrical: 1-9/16 inches thick on one side and 2-3/16 inches on the other.

Link weight : 12,2 kilos / 26,9 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 38.0 Lbs

Rubber chevron

T48

T48

T48

T48
T48
Rubber, non-reversible, chevron
D48067 shoe, C106350 link
Rubber tread links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturers : Goodyear, Firestone, Ohio rubber, U.S. rubber, Goodrich.

Chevron rubber tread. This link was the longest in production of the rubber tread types, as post-war production T48 tracks with wide guide horn connectors have been spotted.

Link weight : 12,7 kilos / 28 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 38.1 Lbs

Steel chevron

T54E1

T54E1

T54E1
T54E1
Steel, fabricated, chevron grouser
D58628 shoe, C106443 link
Steel tread links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturers : Goodyear, Firestone, Ohio rubber, U.S. rubber, Inland Steel, Goodrich

Chevron steel tread, composite welded links.

Link weight : 16,5 kilos / 36.38 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 48.0 Lbs
T54E2

T54E2

T54E2
T54E2
Steel, fabricated, chevron grouser
D50172 shoe, C95326 link
Steel tread links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturer : Chrysler (M4A4 tank)

Chevron steel tread (composite welded links?). First steel tread link, known as 'cuff design' (later designated T54E2). Designed and manufactured by Chrysler. First fitted to Shermans on 01-10-1942. Replaced by a 'rolled section track' (originated by Mr. Weckler) in the Spring of 1943.

Link weight : 15,8 kilos / 34,83 Lbs
T56E1 T56E1
Cast, bolted-on type, chevron grouser
D58642 shoe, D58660 link
Steel tread links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturers :
Firestone, Ohio rubber

Chevron steel tread, composite bolted links (notches in chevron to accommodate bolts).

Note: both T56 and T56E1 seem to be based on rubber block track links. The frame of the rubber block link is not cast in rubber, but clad with a straight and chevron steel tread, respectively. The tread plates are fastened with three square-headed bolts.

T62

T62

T62
T62
Steel, rolled sections chevron
grouser riveted
D65978 shoe, C139333 link
Steel tread links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturer : Chrysler (M4A4 tank)

Chevron steel tread, composite riveted links.

Link weight : 17,8 kilos / 39,25 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 49,3 Lbs
T74

T74

T74
T74
Rubber-backed, steel chevron
7067581 shoe, 7067681 link
Steel tread and rubber top links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturers : Ohio rubber

Chevron steel tread, rubber top.
Spotted in post-war use with wide guide horn end connectors.

Link weight : 16 kilos / 35,27 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 39,6 Lbs

Steel Bar Cleat

T37 T37  A.S.F.
(not approved for production)
D47901 shoe
Steel tread links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-7/16"

Straight steel tread, hollow cast steel link. Limited use only.

Ram tanks: supplied as spare only.
T47 T47
(not approved for production)
D48072 shoe, C55597 link.
The T47 road face looks essentially like the T56.

Steel tread and rubber top links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"

Straight steel tread (three square dimples between bars), rubber top.
T56

T56

T56
T56
Cast, bolted-on type, parallel grouser
D58641 shoe, C106496 link.
Looks like the T47.
Straight steel tread, composite bolted links.
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturers : Goodyear, Firestone, Ohio rubber, U.S. rubber, Inland Steel

Link weight : 17,8 kilos / 39,25 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 48,7 Lbs
T47E1 T47E1
Steel, cast, rubber-backed parallel grouser
D48086 shoe, C106370 link
Steel tread and rubber top links 
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturer : Ohio rubber

Straight steel tread (recession between bars), rubber top.

Weight per shoe : 40.6 Lbs
T49

T49

T49
T49
Steel, cast, parallel grouser
D48073 shoe, C106358 link
Steel tread links
width: 16-9/16"; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 1-1/4"
Manufacturers : Goodyear, Firestone, Ohio rubber, U.S. rubber, Inland Steel

Straight steel tread, cast steel links (looks like T47E1), but without the rubber pad on the top.

Ram tanks: supplied as spare only.

Note: a variation of this type of track has been spotted on an ex-British Sherman V fitted with T49 track. It is constructed like the T54E1, but instead of a chevron, it has three bars welded on the tread plate. Thus it looks like T49 track, but it is not.

Link weight : 16,2 kilos / 35,72 Lbs
Weight per shoe : 47,5 Lbs


Canadian Dry Pin (CDP)

CDP

CDP

CDP
Ainsworth dry pin
manganese steel (cast)
width: unknown; pitch: 6"; pin diameter: 13/16"
Manufacturer : Canadian

Weight per shoe : 29,1 Lbs


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