United States

technics in german units



The M3 was developed out of the M2A4, the standard American light tank at the beginning of World War II, in July of 1940. Its armament consisted of a 3.7 cm tank gun in the turret with coaxial 7.62 mm machine guns, two 7.62 mm machine guns in casemates to the right and left, one 7.62 mm bow machine gun, and one 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun in the turret. The taw casemate machine guns were often not installed. With a main armor of 44.5 mm, the tank weighed 13 tons. The crew consisted of four men, and the speed was 58 kph. The American Car and Foundry Company produced a large series of 5811 M3 tanks by August 1942. The M3A1 successor model had an improved welded turret without a commander ^s cupola. 4621 tanks of this version were produced. The M3A3 was created by means of large-scale redesigning of the hull, casemates and turret, and 3427 of them were built. With that the M3 series attained a total production of 13,859 tanks by October 9143.
The Americans turned a large number of M3 tanks over to the British, who used them in North Africa as of June 1941. Because of its technical reliability, the M3 was nicknamed "Honey" by the British. The 3.7 cm tank gun had sufficient firepower to take on the German Panzer III and IV tanks. Thanks to its high speed, the "Stuart" version was also very mobile.
When the American troops landed in Tunisia, additional M3 and successor tanks arrived in Africa. As photographs show, captured M3 tanks were put into service by the German troops, though only in small numbers.
The Soviet Union obtained 1676 "Stuart" tanks and used them against the Wehrmacht. Several were captured and generally used as tracked towing tractors, as by StuG. Abt. 197. The further development of the M3 led directly to the M5 light tank. This light tank was used against the Wehrmacht by the Americans in Africa as well as in Europe after the invasion. Scarcely any M5 light tanks fell into German hands.


It soon became clear to the Americans that their light tanks with 3.7 cm guns were too weak for modern warfare. A tank with a 7.5 cm gun was called for, and the Procurement Office gave it the designation of M3. The M3 was ordered from the drawing board and produced in series as of August 1941. The armament of the M3 "Lee" consisted of a 75mm tank gun in a casemate, a 3.7 cm gun with a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun in the turret, a 7.62 mm machine gun in a cupola on top of the turret, and two 7.62 mm machine guns in the bow. The tank had a seven-man crew and attained a speed of 42 kph. The armor was 37 mm thick; the weight was 29 tons.
By December 1942, 6258 M3 tanks in various forms (M3A1, M3A2, M3A3, M3A4 and M3A5) had been built. The British ordered M3 tanks with a turret of their own design from the Americans. This turret had more room inside, enough to house a radio set, and no cupola or machine gun. The crew of this M3, called the "Grant", was only six men. 2887 M3 tanks of the "Lee" and "Grant" types were delivered to Great Britain. They first saw service at the battle of Gazala, in Africa, on March 27,1942. All earlier British tanks could fire only armor-piercing ammunition. With the Grant and its 7.5 cm howitzer, a vehicle was available for the first time that could fire both armor-piercing and explosive shells.
The Soviet Union received 1386 M3A3 tanks through the Lend-Lease program. Some of them were captured by the Wehrmacht, but no units equipped with M3 tanks appear to have been set up.


One day after the decision to produce the M3 medium tank, the developmental work on a new medium tank began. This was the M4, better known as the "Sherman" tank. The M4 had a 7.5 cm tank gun and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun in a turret that could turn 360 degrees. Another 7.62 mm machine gun was installed in the bow. Some of the tanks were also equipped with a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun on top of the turret. The hull armor was 51 mm thick, the turret armor 76 mm. Additional armor plate sometimes reinforced the normal armor to 100 mm. These vehicles, weighing 32 tons, reached a speed of 42 kph and had a five-man crew.
More M4 Sherman tanks were built than any other American tank. In all, 49,230 Shermans of a wide variety of types were produced.
The M4 version (6748 built) had a welded superstructure, the M4A1 model (6281 built), on the other hand, had a cast upper body.
The M4A3 version also had a welded upper body and was essentially identical to. There were major differences in the engine cover and the rear of the hull. The M4A3 was the most frequently built type in the series.
Only the major differences between individual versions have been noted here. Constant improvements to individual versions resulted in thousands of actual variants.
The M4M3E2 was an assault tank with particularly heavy bow armor (101 mm) and an especially heavily armored cast turret (178 mm). It was armed with the standard 7.5 cm tank gun.
To increase the tank's fighting value, and particularly its firepower, several Sherman tanks of the M4A1 and M4A3 series were equipped with a different turret (T23) and a 7.6 cm tank gun. To improve the tank's driving characteristics, a different type of running gear with coil springs and wider tracks was installed toward the end of the war. To indicate the difference, these vehicles were given the suffix "HVSS". On account of their developmental number M4A3E8, they were also nicknamed "Easy Eight". They were all armed with the 7.6 cm tank gun.
4680 vehicles of the M4 and M4A3 types were equipped with a 10.5 cm howitzer for fire support.
The British Army received 17,181 Sherman tanks from the Americans. Some of the Shermans were equipped with the British 17-pound gun and designated "M4 Sherman VC Firefly".
The German Wehrmacht encountered their first Shermans in Africa in October of 1942. These were vehicles delivered to the British under Lend-Lease terms. After the Allies landed in Algeria, the first American units with Sherman tanks also came into contact with the German troops.
In the Lend-Lease agreement, 4252 Sherman tanks were also delivered to the Soviet Union. They were the M4A2 version, with welded hulls and Diesel engines, which were only turned over to allies. These tanks were equipped roughly half and half with 7.5 cm and 7.6 cm tank guns. Some Shermans with 7.5 cm guns were fitted with the 7.62 cm gun of the T34 tank by the Russians.
The French armed forces were also supplied to some extent with Sherman tanks.
The Wehrmacht captured its first Shermans in Tunisia and shipped them back to Germany for the Army Weapons Office to examine.
The greatest numbers of Sherman tanks, though, fell into German hands in France after the 1944 invasion. Many units were able to set up a captured tank unit and equip it with Shermans. The use of this tank is documented for the 21st Panzer Division (four tanks), 25th Panzer Grenadier Division (four), the 10th SS Panzer Division "Frundsberg" (ten), Panzer Brigade 150 (ten), and the 5th Parachute Jager Division (six). There were individual tanks in many other units.
In August of 1944, the Captured Tank Company 281 established a platoon of five Sherman tanks (with 7.5 cm guns) that had been captured in Russia.
Among the German troops, the Sherman tank with the 7.5 cm gun was known as the "Sherman short" and the type with the 7.6 cm gun as the "Sherman long."
On March 31, 1945, the Panzer Company "Berka" was set up, using the tanks of the Berka Test Center. It had three Jagdpanzer 38 tanks (one of them with a recoilless gun), one Panzer IV, two Panzer III, two Sherman short and one Sherman long. When the unit was established, each of the Sherman tanks carried 50 rounds of ammunition.

At the same time, the Panzer Company "Kummersdorf" was established at the Kummersdorf Test Center, using an even greater assortment of tanks. In this company, two Sherman long tanks were used by a conditionally mobile Platoon. These were probably the last units established with captured tanks.

From book Regenberger, Dr. Werner: Scheiben. Horst. "Beutepanzer unterm Balkenkreuz"