42 Images of Sherman Wrecks

 
Shot through the barrel of a M4A1 Sherman tank burnt out in a field in Italy
 

Strength in numbers. This is exactly what the M-4 Sherman tank was good at in its heyday. World War II saw the rise of the use of airplanes, more advanced motorized vehicles and bigger and better tanks.

Tanks had long been around, seeing their first combat in World War I, but WWII saw a drastic increase in use. The United States toyed with several tanks before the M-4 Sherman series, but none was quite as particularly effective as the Sherman tank, which performed best in numbers.

If not in a group, Shermans could easily be a death trap. Due to early design flaws, the tanks developed nicknames like “The Burning Grave” and “Tommy Cooker,” which were based around the idea that if the tanks were to suffer a direct hit, they would light up in flames.

When traveling in groups, however, Shermans were highly effective. Get one by itself, though, and you could have a situation like the 2014 film Fury. Though the tanks suffered some early design flaws like these, they were mechanically reliable, as well as effective.

This is why it was one of the prime weaponry workhorses for the United States during the war, and is also why it is arguably the most important tank series of World War II.

Production

Early in its design, the M-4 tank came with a 75mm gun; this gun eventually proved to be ineffective, and as the designed evolved, major changes occurred. By the end of the war, the tanks came with a 76 mm gun that could fire a 15-pound shell over 2,500 feet a second.

The Shermans also came equipped with a .50 caliber machine gun and two smaller .30 caliber guns. Sherman tanks could also be equipped with a flame-throwing main gun; these were particularly useful for the United States in the Pacific Theatre when trying to overtake heavily fortified structures.

The M-4 was the second most popular tank in World War II, due in large part to its reliability. Somewhere between 40,000 to 50,000 of these tanks were produced by the United States, with manufacturers of the tank including Ford Motor Company, Detroit Tank Arsenal (a subsidiary of Chrysler) and Fisher Tank Arsenal (in fact, the factory for these tanks would go on to become a body plant for General Motors). These tanks came at a price tag of $33,000, which is equivalent to $550,000 USD in today’s money.

Production began in 1941, and the tank would see its first action in 1942. The tanks weighed about 60,000 pounds each, had a max speed of 30 miles per hour and could travel as far as 120 miles. Originally, the tanks came equipped with a nine cylinder engine capable of producing 400 horsepower. Towards the end of the war, the tanks would be outfitted with a 30 cylinder engine. It could produce 470 horsepower but unfortunately ran at only 1.4 miles per gallon. Sherman Tanks could hold up to five men; these included a gunner, driver, co-driver, loader and a commander.

Not all of them survived of course – let’s take a look at some of the Shermans that became wrecks….

Victory at a price – Sherman wreck at Nuremberg, 1945. Veteran M4A1 from 1942.

 

M4A1, Italy.

 

M4 “Cannonball” of 70th TB, Utah beach

 

Was once in German hands

 

Incredible forces at play to destroy a 34 ton tank like this Commonwealth Sherman III (M4A2)

 

Lend Lease M4A2 in Russia

 

Amongst the Shermans a Churchill ‘Crocodile’

 

A pair of M4A3s of the 12th Armored Division following the fighting in Herrlisheim. Most of the 43rd Tank Battalion was knocked out in this battle

 

Amazing to see so many Sherman awaiting repair

 

American 1st Armored Division M4A1 Sherman Wreck Littoria Italy 1944.

 

 

Tipped over British Sherman III (M4A2)

 

M4A1 Sherman wreck at Nuremberg, 1945

 

M4A1 Sherman and an M10 Tank Destroyer, MTO

 

M4A3 Sherman being recovered

 

The remains of Sherman tanks and carriers waiting to be broken up at a vehicle dump in Normandy, 1 August 1944.

 

A penetration hole in the front left hull of this M4 “Cognac”

 

Sunk Sherman in Italy

 

 

Totally wrecked M4A4. Burned out and not salvageable

 

 

M4A3 76W: Looks like it has slid off the road

 

Burned out M4 Composite pushed off a road

 

“Bar Fly” an M4 Sherman of the 6th Armored Division knocked out by a German land mine near Hellimer France, November 1944

 

The grouping of penetrations suggests target practice on this M4A3 75W

 

Totally destroyed M4A3E2 “Jumbo”

 

M4 (105) cannibalized for armor plate from side and glacis

 

Sherman II (M4A1) in Tank park in North Africa

 

Burned out Commonwealth Sherman IIB (M4A1 76W); note the rubber burned off of the tracks

 

GIs walk past a knocked out M4 Sherman at the Anzio Front

 

Pointing out the penetration hole of this early production M4A1

 

The grouping suggests target pratice

 

A 101st Airborne trooper studies a knocked-out British Firefly tank along the highway.

 

Burning M4A3 76W Sherman tank with Dozer attachments, Oberkirchen Germany 1945

 

M4A1 Awaiting recovery

 

Shermans recovered from the battlefield

 

M4A1E9, on Dutch seaside gunnery range, 1960s

 

Two knocked out Commonwealth Sherman IIIs (M4A2s)

 

Tanks often fired until KOd tanks caught on fire

 

A knocked-out Sherman tank in the centre of Lingèvres, 20 June 1944

 

Dutch seaside gunnery range target tank

 

 

KOd M4 of the 1st Armored Division, Sidi Bou Zid, February 1943. This and many others were subsequently destroyed by German engineers with explosives to prevent recovery by the Americans.

 

Vehicle repair yard

 

Burned out M4 Sherman, Normandy