bookUS WWII M4/M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank

Tankograd Technical Manual Series - No 6001
Edited by Michael Franz.
A4 size, 48 pages

Review by Peter Brown

Original vehicle handbooks are a very useful source of material for modellers. American Technical Manuals or TMs had good illustrations, not only vehicles outside and inside but components such as engines and transmissions out of the vehicle and suspension units in pieces. They show things which even examining an original vehicle or detailed photographic walk-arounds do not show. Sometimes manuals appear for sale from but they can be expensive. There are reprints or photocopies which can also be expensive and scanned versions of some on CD-Rom.

However, one downside is that they can have so much information that much of the content is not relevant which means a lot of searching for what you want. This series gives selected extracts from the TMs which have enough detail for most people. They present illustrations as published with extra details in the form of captions in English and German, supplemented by short historical overviews and specifications and a few original vehicles photos and a couple of colour views of preserved vehicles. Standard of reproduction is good, the originals were not always to what modern eyes would see as very clear.

First in the series covers the M4 and M4A1 Sherman. It has sections on basic vehicles, early- and mid-production M4 welded-hull and the later composite cast-welded or "Hybrid" 75mm, 105mm early with gun-ring commander's hatch and VVSS suspension and later style with vision cupola and HVSS, and M4A1 with 75mm gun in early and mid-production forms plus the 76mm with early and later turret styles, VVSS and HVSS. Also included is the M42B1 flame thrower based on a remanufactured M4A1 and a bonus of the deep water fording equipment for these tanks in kit form and assembled (though note that British vehicles used a different wading package).

As well as outside views, we can see the interior with driver's and hull gunner's areas including two styles of instrument panel, engines in place and removed plus the empty engine compartment, power train in various versions, suspension units from early to late VVSS and HVSS, roadwheels and track types, sectioned drawings, various gun travel locks, headlights, hatches, 75mm, 105mm and 76mm turrets outside and in, and the different guns including mountings and ammunition.

One problem with Shermans is the wide variation as parts were developed so there are many as-built, rebuilt and probable field refit combinations as well as those which did, should not or did not happen. The original manuals could not cover all possible combinations and this is reflected in these extracts. Neither are British and Commonwealth modifications covered. Reference to photos of specific vehicles is be recommended before taking details from this book and building a model.

As with other publications from Tankograd, highly recommended. Available from Tankograd Militarfahrzeug distributors, for more details contact the publishers Verlag Jochen Vollert on My thanks go to Justin Gainham at Bookworld for the review copy.

Page created 11 May 2005

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