VEHICLES OF WAR: M4 SHERMAN TANK
Photo courtesy of the National Archives
The Sherman tank was the most commonly used American tank in World War II. More than 50,000 Shermans were produced between 1942 and 1945. They were used in all combat theaters — not only by the United States, but also by Great Britain, the Free French, China and even the Soviet Union. Initially developed to replace the M3 "Grant/Lee" medium tank, the first Shermans were manufactured in 1942 and some early productions examples saw combat in North Africa in 1943. The model proved itself somewhat effective against German Mk II and Mk IV Panzers, but it was thoroughly outclassed by the Tiger, Panther and King Tiger tanks. Notorious for their flammability, Shermans were nicknamed “Ronsons” after a lighter with the slogan “lights every time.”
The Sherman tank’s primary role was infantry support, spearheading attacks as well as bolstering defensive positions. Though frequently outgunned by their German counterparts, Shermans proved easier to maintain — often fixed on the battlefield. This particular tank, a rare M4A3E9 model (only a few hundred were built), carries appliqué armor for additional protection.
M4A3E9 Sherman Tank
The Museum’s Sherman is an M4A3, built by Ford Motor Company in 1943. No unit markings were discovered when previous coats of paint were removed from the tank. Because the tank was manufactured in 1943, it is almost certain that it was deployed overseas during the war, although no battle damage was discovered.
When the Sherman tank arrived at the Museum in December of 2000, its engine was completely rusted and it was painted in a color appropriate to the Korean War era rather than World War II. Restoration work began in late October 2004, when the tank received a running Ford GAA engine and a new paint job. The tank was restored with the markings of an actual vehicle which served with D company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division. The tank’s nickname, “Draftee,” is from a tank in the unit commanded by S/Sgt. Julian Czekanski of Cleveland, Ohio. It was common practice in the US Army and Marine Corps to have nicknames for armored vehicles. The names typically started with the letter of the company to which the vehicle was assigned.
Gift of the West Bank Optimist Club, 2000.216
Type: Medium Tank
Date Produced: 1943
Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company
Number Produced: 12,500+
Crew: 5 (Commander, Loader, Gunner, Driver, Assistant Driver)
Speed (sustained, level ground): 26 miles per hour
Engine: Ford GAA-V8 4-cycle, 8-cylinder (500 hp)
Weight: 68,000+ pounds
Armament: One 75 mm main gun; Two .30 caliber machine guns; One .50 caliber machine gun