book M4 Sherman
Walk Around Color Series #5701

Squadron Signal Publications

ISBN 0-89747-410-4

80 pages mostly in colour.

Review by Terry Ashley

Following on from their successful Aircraft Walk Around books, this is the first in hopefully a long series of Armor Walk Arounds from Squadron Signal.

The book is in the usual soft cover as previous Sqd/Sgn books. Its 80 pages are packed full of close-up photos of M4s. Most photos are of restored and surviving M4s, allowing the quality of the detailed photos.

Text is kept to a minimum, only the first page has all text, the rest of the text is in the form of photo captions. The vast majority of photos are in colour, these are supplemented by drawings and illustrations to highlight detail areas.

Every part of the numerous M4 types is covered in great detail. Firstly the various differential housings are detailed with excellent photographs showing the profile differences. The Glacis and the different fittings on the cast and welded hulls are again highlighted with superb close-ups.

The suspension is next with again brilliant photos of the various VVSS suspension units and the different road wheel designs used throughout the Shermans life. The different drive sprocket designs are highlighted as well as the later HVSS suspension. Following on from this is the different track designs used with the now usual superb photos.

The next large section covers the different hull types, cast and welded, showing the details of each. The hatch evolutions as well as the engine decks and tool storage with everything in between, including the add-on armor fitted along the way.

Next are the turrets, again with sensational close-up photos. The different gun mantlets are shown in great detail, along with hatch details. All the major turret designs are included starting from the early M34 mantlets to the M34A1, the T23 turret, the 105mm howitzer turret and also the M4A3E2 'Jumbo' turrets. Other details shown in detail are the various antenna and .50cal MG mounts on the turrets.

The book then moves inside with some of the best interior shots I've seen. The driver's station gets two full pages, the steering levers, gear change and instrument panel, plus the seats with their adjustment mechanism. The rest of the fighting compartment is given the same treatment including most of the storage shown in place. Spare lights, crews M3 grease guns, auxiliary generator, it's all there.
The turret interior showing details of the 75mm gun version is also dealt with in the same superb manner.

Finally the engines are covered with more great photos both inside and out of the vehicles. The Continental R975 C1 is shown on a stand out of the engine bay as well as installed in the hull. If that detail is good then the detail of the Ford GAA V8 is downright stunning. Again it is shown out of the vehicle with photos from all angles providing enough detail for the most masochistic detail freak. This is followed by shots inside the engine bay without the engine showing the cooling fans as well as shots with the engine in place.

One small thing to watch is that as most of the M4s in the photos are from present day collections, some of the fittings aren't original and there are some non standard modifications. These are kept to a minimum and to the author's credit, the photo captions tell of most detail that isn't genuine.

In all this is one sensational book. If you're a shermaholic, then you 'just have to have' this book as well as anyone else whom gets off on endless detail.

We can only hope this is just a foretaste of things to come from Squadron Signal in the Armor Walk Around series. With detail like this, they are sure to be a winner.

Rear Cover Illustration

Page created March 25, 2005