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Old 18 Apr 12, 11:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Overall the M4A3E8 was probably the best Sherman type as a complete package of WW2. White states:

Operation Grenade took place in February 1945. 76mm versions, nevermind Easy 8's, can be seen to be in relatively short supply even at this very late stage of the war. Given the production might of the US arsenal, this is an unacceptable failure of those in charge of supply to equip the sharp end with upgraded M4's
I understand the point but this does not diminish the value of the M4 series but simply point out a failure at some upper decision making level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Further, the AT performance of most M4's is questionable, only offset by the bravery and skills of the crews compared with their opponents. This is why superior German tank flotation is constantly mentioned by US crews. Montgomery had stated that once the correct tactics had been worked out, the German heavies could be countered. The US correctly deduced that by fielding superior numbers of M4's forward, there was a greater likelihood of many able to get flank or rear shots in. This tactic was negated once the autumn rains arrived and the Shermans became more roadbound. This is why flotation is mentioned so often by tankers in Whites report, as the lack of maneuverability diminished the Shermans ability to outflank the enemy.
We have seen from study (Data on WWII Tank Engagements) that the M4 faired well in tank v tank engagements. I'm not sure why you make the assumption that the crews would all be thinking of autumn when surveyed in March. One would think frozen winter ground might be their more recent experience and come to mind when surveyed...unless prompted with leading questions. I think similar questions that we see about the M36 were offered about the M4 and this is why we see the men discuss flotation so often. Minor point but worth mentioning I think. Yes, we know flotation to be an issue with the M4, one that was addressed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
If the M4 had been upgraded earlier, and those versions in greater numbers, and we know it could have been, then the M4 could have been one of the wonder weapons of WW2. It was decided to make more average models instead. I believe that was the wrong decision. Once the Autumn rains arrived, M4 losses were such that the US was unable to supply their own army with enough mediums, nevermind supply their allies. This fact alone suggests my opinion is not without some merit.
Your opinion has merit, no doubt. My point is that I don't assess the value of the tank within the confines of an arbitrary date. I go from May '45 and everything prior when I look at the M4 series. Yes, there are decisions on armor thickness and gun (and others) that with our current hindsight we can pick apart, but I don't see these as diminishing the machine.
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