Medium Tank M4A1(76)W/ Sherman IIA

The Medium Tank M4A1(76)W/ Sherman IIA was the first 76mm armed version of the Sherman to enter production, and had a cast hull, wet shell storage and a Continental R975 engine.

Work on the medium tank M4 series (ultimate design) began in the summer of 1943. The aim was to combine all of the main upgrades and improvements developed since the M4 first entered production in a standard base design, that could be used with the various hull and engine combinations used for the M4.

The M4A1(76)W carried the 76mm gun and had the new 'wet' shell storage system. In the original M4 the shells were carried in racks in the sponsons, where they were very vulnerable to damage. In the 'wet' system the racks were moved into the floor. Sixty five 76mm shells were carried on either side of the drive shaft, protected by 34.5 gallons of water. Another six rounds were carried in a ready use rack in the turret floor, protected by 2.1 gallons of water. In order to allow access to the floor racks, most of the turret basket was removed. Other changes included the use of a sharp nosed differential and final drive housing, 2.5in thick front armour, improved drivers seats and a vision cupola for the tank commander.  

Early production tanks were armed with the M1A1 gun, which lacked a muzzle brake, and had a circular loader's hatch in the turret. The smaller oval loader's hatch was introduced on the 1,225th tank, in August 1945. Later tanks also had the M1A1C or M1A2 versions of the 76mm gun, both of which could carry a muzzle brake. Finally late production models were given the new HVSS suspension, with its wider 23in centre guided track.

The M4A1(76)W was the first of the 'ultimate' design tanks to enter production, with the first being completed by the Pressed Steel Car Company in January 1944. A total of 3,426 were built between then and the end of the war.

The M4A1(76)W was used by the US armed forced, and by the British, who received 1,330, with the designation Sherman IIA. This was the only 76mm armed version of the Sherman to see combat with the British army. Montgomery didn't want it for his army group in north-western Europe, so it was issued to the forces fighting in Italy instead.

Stats M4A1(76)W
Production:
Hull Length: 294in with gun forward, 287in with gun to rear
Hull Width: 105in
Height: 117in
Crew: 5
Weight: 70,600lb combat loaded
Engine: Continental R975 C4 9 cylinder air cooled radial
Hp: 400hp at 2,400rpm
Max Speed: 21mph sustained, 24mph max
Max Range: 100 miles cruising range, road
Armament: 76mm Gun M1A1, M1A1C or M1A2 and .30in coaxial MG in turret, .50in MG in AA mount on turret roof, 0.30in MG in hill front, 2in Mortar M3 (smoke) in turret

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top

Turret

2.5in

2.5in

2.5in

1.0in

Superstructure

 

 

 

 

Hull

2.5in (upper)

1.5in

1.5in

0.75in

Gun shield

3.5in

 

 

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 November 2016), Medium Tank M4A1(76)W/ Sherman IIA , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_medium_tank_M4A1_76W.html

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