Home Forums WWII Jumbo Shermans

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  • #93688

    This variant of the American workhorse Sherman was noteworthy for its armour upgrade.

    indeed, I was reading where 3 out of 4 German 88mm shells failed to penetrate one (the 4th got through the gunner’s slit).

    Several of the 250 tanks sent to Europe in 1944 received a bigger gun, too. They were intended as assault tanks and seemed to be pretty good at this role.

    I’m wary of building a force comprised of weird and little used variants of weapons but I think I could add one or even two to my US WW2 force.

     

    donald

    #93691
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I may be wrong, but I think that they were used a bit like British I tanks.  So, like your Tigers, you can beef up an attacking unit with up to a regiment of them.

    #93693

    I may be wrong, but I think that they were used a bit like British I tanks. So, like your Tigers, you can beef up an attacking unit with up to a regiment of them.

    My entire US force is an infantry battalion and four Shermans. A regiment of Jumbos might be considered ‘overkill’.

     

    donald

    #93698
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    There were fewer than 300 M4A3E2 built, and fewer than half of those had the 76mm gun. At 55? medium/heavy tanks per 1944 battalion, you wouldn’t be equipping entire tank regiments with them.

    John Salt will know 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #93701

    . John Salt will know 🙂

    You think?

    #93702
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    . John Salt will know 🙂

    You think?

     

    I’d bet your house on it 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #93718
    Etranger
    Participant

    They tended to be issued at one per platoon in those divisions that received them & were often used at the front of the column, on the grounds that they had a far higher chance of surviving the first (& subsequent) shots than their thinner skinned brethren.

     

    Full records of exactly how the Jumbos were issued are difficult to identify as the tank were often only recorded as ‘Medium Tank M4A3’ with no distinction between a standard M4A3 and an M4A3E2. But partial records have been traced although some do seem to conflict. The first thirty six tanks were issued to the US First Army on the 14th October and were then issued to individual tank battalions. Fifteen to the 743rd, fifteen to the 745th and six to the 746th. On the 18th October, Normandy beach depots recorded having seventeen on hand, twenty four released to Armies and nineteen on route to Third Army. By the 24th October Army allocations for delivery had been confirmed as:
    First Army – 105 M4A3E2 Jumbos
    Third Army – 90 M4A3E2 Jumbos
    Ninth Army – 60 M4A3E2 Jumbos
    Clearly someone at 12th Army Group needed a little extra 0work on their basic maths!

    The last recorded delivery was on the 9th November when 746th Tank Battalion of the First Army was issued a further nine Jumbo’s.

    The tanks were well received and the advantages of the additional armor were quickly appreciated. Jumbos were chosen to be the standard point tank any time advances were made with opposition expected. http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/US/m4a3e2-jumbo-assault-tank

    There were also various ‘home brewed’ (unit workshop level) modifications to thicken up the frontal armour, including adding an entire Panther glacis plate to the front. https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/221398-m4a3-76-w-hvss-39thunderbolt-vii39-premium-tank/  (Ignore the W-T specific comments!)

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    #93729
    deephorse
    Participant

    According to Hunnicutt, in the Sherman bible, 254 Jumbos were built and all had the 75mm gun.  It was later proposed that a number of 75mm Shermans be upgraded to 76mm.  This upgrade was demonstrated on 24 February 1945 but subsequently limited to the M4A3E2 because it was a simple conversion to make.  So no Sherman Jumbo 76s before 24 Feb.!

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by deephorse.

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #93733
    deephorse
    Participant

    Impressive frontal armour

     

    But not invincible.

     

     

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #93761
    Etranger
    Participant

    Both those KO’d Jumbos look to have sustained an internal explosion, possibly ammunition ‘cooking off’ after an initial penetration. Interesting that the shell hole is in virtually the same place on both mantlets (the chalk-ringed holes). Potentially very nasty for the TC who was positioned behind that.

    #93769
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I bow to the superior knowledge of ET.  I thought they were deployed in special units.  Looks like a solitary jumbo could lead your other Shermans into danger.  I’d echo some 57mm (6 pdr to their friends) and one or two 3 inch.

     

    Looks like the glacis is a trap for young players.  The discerning PAK commander takes his jumbo on the mantlet.  The glacis is pretty interesting though.  Plenty of evidence of shots being deflected rather than just burying themselves in the sloped armour, but I am really interested in the top photo, just left of centre.  This one seems to ave rotated into the armour, presumably negating the slope, which clearly hasn’t done it a lot of good.

     

    Have we similar photos of Churchills with shot sticking out of them everywhere?

    #93770
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Have we similar photos of Churchills with shot sticking out of them everywhere?

     

    Given the different types and calibres of shot, with annotations, I assumed it was a picture taken from test firings on a range. I don’t think the Germans used M62 APC 😉

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #93787
    Etranger
    Participant

    They are test firings, probably into a test piece.

    Here’s another one, from a standard Sherman. From http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2015/04/common-questions-unfair-testing.html

    I’m sure that I’ve seen photos of a Churchill used in a similar fashion but I can’t find them online. I did find a summary of the Russian assessment of the Churchill though, which makes for interesting reading. http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2018/02/british-primer-minister-in-ussr.html

    #93788
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Those pics seem to illustrate that German armour was prone to fracture and catastrophic failure. More so than Allied tanks?

    Still, I suppose once penetration is achieved (oooer!) it’s all academic for the poor buggers inside.

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #93789

    Those pics seem to illustrate that German armour was prone to fracture and catastrophic failure. More so than Allied tanks? .

    Interesting. The myth of Nazi military superiority is pretty thin in ’44 into ’45.

    It would not surprise me that their vaunted tanks were increasingly made of substandard steel as well as being dodgy mechanically.

    donald

     

    #93791
    Etranger
    Participant

    Those pics seem to illustrate that German armour was prone to fracture and catastrophic failure. More so than Allied tanks?

    .

    There are a few theories about that, one being that late war German armour plate was indeed more brittle due to a deficiency in some of the rare metals used (?Molybdenum, replaced by Vanadium), or possibly the photos are of tanks that have been hit repeatedly & that the repeated hammering destroyed the armour integrity which then failed with catastrophic effect, as would any armour subjected to the same damage. http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2013/08/german-armour-quality.html

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    #93796
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    IK am pretty sure it was substitution of coper for nickel in the panther’s glacis which made it susceptible to cracking rather than penetration.

    #93807
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Those pics seem to illustrate that German armour was prone to fracture and catastrophic failure. More so than Allied tanks? .

    There are a few theories about that, one being that late war German armour plate was indeed more brittle due to a deficiency in some of the rare metals used (?Molybdenum, replaced by Vanadium), or possibly the photos are of tanks that have been hit repeatedly & that the repeated hammering destroyed the armour integrity which then failed with catastrophic effect, as would any armour subjected to the same damage. http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2013/08/german-armour-quality.html

     

    Yebbut, that Sherman glacis you posted has taken multiple hits and hasn’t cracked. Ditto deephorse’s pic.

     

    This Panther has taken one hit, which probably ruined the driver’s day,  the plate seems to have deformed as well as cracked and sheared at the glacis weld.

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #93808
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    And this Panther turret has taken three deflected hits, and given up the ghost.

    I wonder how much spalling happened on the inside when it went?

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #93809
    Etranger
    Participant

    We’re getting a long way away from Cobra King….

    With the second Panther in particular, multiple shots have been taken at it, possibly by different crews at different times, since it was SOP to shoot at any tank that wasn’t obviously already destroyed (exploded, burnt out etc) in case it was still “alive”. With that amount of damage on the outside, it’s probable that any one of those hits was lethal to the turret crew.

    0
    This Tiger has copped a similar degree of attention, without an externally obvious “KO”. The missing track is probably why it’s there of course.

    There’s no doubt that there was something ‘going wrong’ with the quality of the German armour in the latter part of the war. Panthers seem to be the most affected, judging by the numerous photos.

    The Tiger II wasn’t immune either.

    “Shot #1. Target: upper front plate. Shell: 122 mm HE-fragmentation.
    Result: spalling across an area 300 mm by 300 mm. The welding seam between the upper front plate and the machine gun port burst on 3/4 of its circumference. Internal bolts holding the machine gun ball were torn off. The welding seam between the upper front plate and the right side burst, and the right side was displaced by 5 mm. The tank caught fire internally.”

    From http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2013/03/is-2-vs-german-big-cats.html , which makes sobering reading. (Don’t bother about the comments section, full of trolls and panzer fan-bois).

    This Tiger appears to have ‘sunk’!

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Etranger.
    #93819
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    We’re getting a long way away from Cobra King….

    Well yes, but it keeps things interesting 🙂

     

    With the second Panther in particular, multiple shots have been taken at it, possibly by different crews at different times, since it was SOP to shoot at any tank that wasn’t obviously already destroyed (exploded, burnt out etc) in case it was still “alive”.

    Are we looking at the same photo? Because it looks to me as though 3 (or possibly 2 given the upper two gouges seem to be perfectly aligned) deflected shots have arrived from the same elevation. It’s quite possible that the tank was disabled before the turret hits, but there seem to be no other local strikes that explain the turret’s cracking inward in all directions. That glancing blows with no obvious penetration caused such damage suggests that German (rolled?) steel was a bit rubbish.

    It would be interesting to know the calibre of the gun that did the damage.

     

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #93837
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    i’mv interested in the complete absence of glancing blows on the first King tigger.  It’s almost as though it was made of mild steel, contrast that with the Sherman piccies where the sloped glacis is clearly doing the deflection thing.

     

    Ocho, sorry about your Jumbo thread – you can have one.

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by grizzlymc.
    #93839

    . With the second Panther in particular, multiple shots have been taken at it, possibly by different crews at different times, since it was SOP to shoot at any tank that wasn’t obviously already destroyed (exploded, burnt out etc) in case it was still “alive”’!

     

    I have read that a knocked out tank might suffer a few more rounds after the battle to ensure its recovery was marginal.

     

    donald

    #93840
    irishserb
    Participant

    grizzlymc, the physical properties and design of the penetrator may be part of the explanation for the differences in the damage to the plate.  Additionally, armor manufactured using different processes/methods will exhibit different properties, and different damage under the same circumstances.

    The damaged panzer turret side is interesting.  Knowing the order of the impacts would help us understand the damage, additionally, inspection of the fracture surfaces would allow us to determine how the failure occurred and how it grew (maybe indicate the order of the impacts). Note that the cupola is damaged, and that (or those) impact(s) may have contributed to the damage that we see.  Also, if more of the turret were in the field of view, we may find that other impacts were associated with the damage.

    Regarding the damage to the Jumbo turrets, gunners could be and were sometimes instructed to aim, not only at the tank target, but at specific weak spots of tanks. Note the number of hits on the second jumbo mantlet, and at least two near misses of the mantlet, while most of the tank has no shell damage.  It appears that the gunner or gunners shooting at it were aiming for specific areas of the tank.  Though hoping for a hole in one shot through a the tank’s eyeball must be a bit of a long shot.

    #93841

    . Ocho, sorry about your Jumbo thread – you can have one.

    Order just placed. I get 2 via Armourfast……so I might push the envelope a bit.

     

    donald

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