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Lert

Sherman restoration - Russia, WHY?!

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So I came across a thread on another forum, based on this article from 2017. It speaks about the wreck of the Thomas Donaldson, a transport ship sunk in 1945, and how they lifted two Sherman tanks from the wreck. There's even a short video:

One striking photograph of the recovery event:

bfeLCfd.jpg

What the hell are you fishing for if you're using Shermans as bait?

But it's an accompanying picture that caused me pause, claiming it's one of these two Shermans, restored for a 2018 victory parade:

liYlcCs.jpg

Now I don't know if the pictured Sherman is actually one of the recovered ones. I'd think that they restored it in record time if it was, less than a year. But it's the details of that 'restored' Sherman that trouble me. The wrong kinds of headlights, BMP skirting, racing stripes, that color scheme, the lettering on the side and a DshK on the turret? Truly this is no longer a Sherman, it's Shermansky.

These might be completely unrelated. I could not find any real evidence that this is one of the two recovered Shermans. Part of the odd use of parts in the victory parade Shermansky might be explained away by the tank being in Russian, where Sherman parts might be more difficult to access - I don't know. I just find it an odd vehicle. It is the correct hull, turret, gun and running gear though ...

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6 minutes ago, Lert said:

bfeLCfd.jpg

What the hell are you fishing for if you're using Shermans as bait?

 

Um my best guess is Tiger Sharks. 

:Smile_trollface:

Edited by RedSeaBear
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7 minutes ago, digitaljustice said:

I think there was Lend-Lease Sherman's during WWII

Yes, many. The two Shermans recovered from the sunken ship were on their way to Russia as part of the lend lease program.

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22 minutes ago, Lert said:

Truly this is no longer a Sherman, it's Shermansky.

Under Lend-Lease, 4,102 Shermans were sent to the Soviet Union so there might be a few left around there.

It's interesting but I can't think of a single Sherman anywhere near here. The next town has an old M48 Patton that the kids play on though. About 60 miles up the road there is an M-110 howitzer of the type my unit fielded in a park.

Edited by Snargfargle

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6 minutes ago, Lert said:

Yes, many. The two Shermans recovered from the sunken ship were on their way to Russia as part of the lend lease program.

The thing is, I always heard that for as much as Stalin/Russia screamed for help against the Germans, actually acknowledging such help was... ‘strongly discouraged...’

I only know of one memoir of a Russian Sherman tanker; though I think I’ve seen several of the (Signal?) art plate books that talk about such units, and things like the P-39/P-400 units.

Surprised these pictures were even released.

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13 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

It's interesting but I can't think of a single Sherman anywhere near here.

There's a museum in Overloon, some 50km / 30 miles from here, at the site of the biggest armored / tank battle on Dutch soil. They have a Panther, a JagdPanzer 38t, an M36 Jackson, a Churchill, a Comet, about 5 Shermans and an assortment of other things I can't think of off the top of my head.

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5 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

It's interesting but I can't think of a single Sherman anywhere near here. The next town has an old M48 Patton that the kids play on though. About 60 miles up the road there is an M-110 howitzer of the type my unit fielded in a park.

I think there’s one at Muskogee Veterans Park in Oklahoma with the USS Batfish.

Reality and games are different of course, but always loved getting support from a battery of M-110s when I used to Wargame ‘modern’ miniatures.

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14 minutes ago, Estimated_Prophet said:

The thing is, I always heard that for as much as Stalin/Russia screamed for help against the Germans, actually acknowledging such help was... ‘strongly discouraged...’

I only know of one memoir of a Russian Sherman tanker; though I think I’ve seen several of the (Signal?) art plate books that talk about such units, and things like the P-39/P-400 units.

Surprised these pictures were even released.

They loved the Stuart but the only lend lease equipment they ever showed in their propaganda films was the Jeep.

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We have no less than 4 M4 Shermans here in the American Heritage Museum in Stow, MA
The M4A1 Grizzly, turret removed as part of the Arsenal of Democracy display
An M4A3E2 in Battle of the Bulge
An M4A3 Gen 1.5 In the Pacific war
and an M4A3E8 in Korea. 

While I don't like the restoration they did on the M4A3 76(W) by Russification, it appears they used parts on hand 
(and those skirts, those ugly, ugly skirts! Most of the time the skirts barely made it off the transport) 

We have many other tanks including the famous Littlefield Panther. I spend my lunches every now and again climbing around them all. 
What I recall, the Soviets really liked the M4's. They were reliable and quiet in comparison to the T34s. 
(and let me tell you, rubber wheels and rubber tracks are so nice compared to steel-on-steel, clanking and slapping and creaking all over the place. The M4 is a mouse underground by comparison)

EDIT: The Shermansky looks like its using the T56 track type while the links on the recovered ones are T54E1's. Interestingly, the lettering on the side is usually manufacturer stencils or transport stencils applied at the end of production or enroute to the theater. 80% of the time these were painted out before the tank left the depot headed to frontline units. 

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The cast bits of the hull do look somewhat eroded, but if I was to guess I'd say no.

 

And what paint color is that? 

 

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On 12/31/2018 at 2:07 PM, Snargfargle said:

Under Lend-Lease, 4,102 Shermans were sent to the Soviet Union so there might be a few left around there.

It's interesting but I can't think of a single Sherman anywhere near here. The next town has an old M48 Patton that the kids play on though. About 60 miles up the road there is an M-110 howitzer of the type my unit fielded in a park.

 

On 12/31/2018 at 2:45 PM, Sledgehammer427 said:

We have no less than 4 M4 Shermans here in the American Heritage Museum in Stow, MA
The M4A1 Grizzly, turret removed as part of the Arsenal of Democracy display
An M4A3E2 in Battle of the Bulge
An M4A3 Gen 1.5 In the Pacific war
and an M4A3E8 in Korea. 

There's an M4A2 in a park in the nearest city to my home, just 30 minutes by car. Her name is the Holy Roller, she was donated to the park in 1950, and she was one of only two Canadian tanks that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day that were still on the front lines by the end of the war.

holy-roller.jpg.7d6a1ca07734f425ae023f9572e48838.jpg

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9 hours ago, 1Sherman said:

There's an M4A2 in a park in the nearest city to my home, just 30 minutes by car. Her name is the Holy Roller, she was donated to the park in 1950, and she was one of only two Canadian tanks that landed on Juno Beach in D-Day that were still on the front lines until the end of the war.

I've heard the story of Holy Roller! Just a lovely tank, and I'm glad shes still around. Its a rare sight to see one of the very early turrets with the small gun mantlet. Even our Grizzly M4A1 has the updated model with the full-width mantlet. 

Our M4A3E2 has an interesting story we are still working on. It was number 6 off the line at Fisher Body Division, and we are 100% sure it saw combat in the ETO. Through my research I've narrowed it down to one of three independent tank battalions it could have gone to. Just need to figure out which one and I need access to US Army Archives to do that. 

The M4A3 in the Pacific display has a much more lighthearted history. It was one of two Shermans used in the filming of Tank! with James Garner. His signature is on the ammo stowage bin next to and behind the driver. It also had an appearance in The Blues Brothers too. 

The Grizzly and Easy Eight, we are still working on. 

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10 hours ago, 1Sherman said:

 

There's an M4A2 in a park in the nearest city to my home, just 30 minutes by car. Her name is the Holy Roller, she was donated to the park in 1950, and she was one of only two Canadian tanks that landed on Juno Beach in D-Day that were still on the front lines until the end of the war.

holy-roller.jpg.7d6a1ca07734f425ae023f9572e48838.jpg

I see that someone, wisely, added additional armor to key points. Military contract vehicles have a problem of being designed by engineers who don't know what the equipment and troops need to survive and be effective in combat. So what if you have to skimp on armor, gotta make that speed and endurance specification for the contract. And don't get me started on maintenance. I always chuckle when something is advertised as being 'mil spec." and, therefore, is supposed to be of better quality than mere civilian production. A third of our vehicles were usually broken down on a good day.

To give the Shermans credit though, they were designed to face the Axis tank production of the time. Though they were woefully out-gunned and out-armored by the latter German tanks they were made in such overwhelming numbers, and provided with sufficient fuel, that they simply overwhelmed the enemy. It's like sending a swarm of rat terriers against a tiger, eventually the terriers are going to win.

Edited by Snargfargle

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3 hours ago, Snargfargle said:

I see that someone, wisely, added additional armor to key points.

it was an army-wide approved addition that was eventually changed to factories doing them in production. The problem is, an extra inch of armor isn't going to stop a high velocity gun, and they generally became big "SHOOT ME HERE" spots visible from long distances. 

3 hours ago, Snargfargle said:

[Shermans] were designed to face the Axis tank production of the time. Though they were woefully out-gunned and out-armored by the latter German tanks they were made in such overwhelming numbers.....

On the American side of things, the most often engaged German tank on any front with the M4 was the Panzer IV (which the M4 fared well against,) and the occasional Panther. American forces in Shermans only ever had to fight a Tiger once or twice. The British got a raw deal when their forces in France after D-day ended up against one of the largest masses of Panzers, including Panthers and Tigers, in the region. The US had their fair share of fights but for the most part the Sherman was declared still pretty OK in the face of even the Panther within the constraints of the bocage. There was a couple misgivings in our strategy concerning the war with and against armor. 
1. We had too much faith in Tank Destroyers as separate units, and the war we ended up fighting with them was not the war they were designed to fight. 
and 2. We were too slow to upgrade to the 76mm gun on the Shermans and way too slow to move onto the Pershing by the end of the war. 

For #1, American TD doctrine pretty much stripped any anti-tank responsibility from actual tanks and instead left that in the hands of what were supposed to be highly mobile, lightly armored self-propelled guns. There was a counter-blitzkrieg and an american blitzkrieg layout for using TDs and regular tank battalions together but it all went right down the crapper when we ended up fighting a primarily offensive war, against a more-often-than-not defensively oriented enemy, while ourselves being trained to fight defensively or offensively in counterattack. So more often than not our Shermans were used as TDs and our TDs used like regular tanks, neither of which were good at doing the other's job to the extent it should have. 
and for #2, Armored Force's hesitation to adopt and put the 76mm M1 gun into a standard M4 chassis really backfired when we realized the German tanks we were facing were capable of knocking us out at ranges considered extreme for the 75mm. The other problem was was that there was constant infighting because the TD guys were fighting to politically keep their branch relevant. If you put a current TD gun into a regular tank chassis what point is there to have a TD corps with its well-laid-out tactics and impeccable doctrine? (sarcasm implied)
The same applies with the Pershing. We were too slow to adopt the tank as a whole. Eisenhower was too easily convinced the 76mm gun would solve all of Armored's problems with the Sherman and held off on adopting the M26 (or T26.) The 90mm gun was a wonder and when the Pershing arrived in the ETO pretty much everyone involved was asking "why in hell didn't we have this a year sooner?" Would it have shortened the war? No. But would it have been more beneficial to have more Pershings and less Shermans for the odd armor encounter? Oh hell yes!  

It really was a miracle we fared so well on the armored side of WWII

 

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9 hours ago, Snargfargle said:

 

To give the Shermans credit though, they were designed to face the Axis tank production of the time. Though they were woefully out-gunned and out-armored by the latter German tanks they were made in such overwhelming numbers, and provided with sufficient fuel, that they simply overwhelmed the enemy. It's like sending a swarm of rat terriers against a tiger, eventually the terriers are going to win.

Sorry to break it to you, but you're mistaken. The Chieftain will now explain why.

 

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21 hours ago, 1Sherman said:

holy-roller.jpg.7d6a1ca07734f425ae023f9572e48838.jpg

 

Oh hey, Victoria Park in London   :D

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7 hours ago, Sledgehammer427 said:



It really was a miracle we fared so well on the armored side of WWII

 

Not really. Watch the video I posted earlier and you'll see why. If you want more proof, here's an interview with Steven Zaloga, the author of the authoritative American WW2 tank book Armoured Thunderbolt, and an article The Chieftain wrote back when the movie Fury came out.

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