M50 Super Sherman
The original M-4 Sherman chassis was similar to the M-3 Grant but with the main 75mm gun now placed in a turret rather than a sponson. It was powered by a radial aircraft engine which required a high profile for the transmission housing. The M-4A1 through A3 used gasoline powered engines. Diesel powered M-4A4' s were used by the USMC and some allies beginning in late 1944.
The Sherman was rugged, reliable and easily maintained. During three years of production, it was manufactured with three different hulls, two different turrets, four different guns, two major suspension types, three transmission housings and five different engines. They saw service in every theater and with all Allied nations. The name "Sherman" was given the vehicle by the British who used it as their main battle tank.
Each tank had a crew of five: commander, driver, assistant driver, loader and gunner.
Following World War II the M4 medium tank was used by the US until the end of the Korean War. Many nations continued to use the tank in both training and combat roles into the late 20th century.
The Sherman tank on display, serial no. 17091 was built by Chrysler at the Detroit Tank Arsenal in December 1942 and left the factory as an M4A4, equipped with a 75mm (M3) medium velocity general purpose main gun and was powered by a Chrysler Multibank A57 5xL6 30 cylinder 20.5 liter gasoline engine. In late 1944, 17081 was delivered to Europe as part of the Lend-Lease agreement between the US and the UK. It fought in Europe until the end of the Second World War, and then was given to the French as part of their post war army supplies. In the late 1950s the tank was acquired by the Israeli army, and upgraded with the French CN 75-50 75 mm gun in the "old" turret fitted with a counterweight. In the late 1960s, the engine was changed from the Chrysler gasoline engine to a Cummins VT8-460 diesel engine. With the Israeli modifications 17091 received the designation of M50 "Super Sherman" . While in service in Israel, 17091 fought in the "Six Days War" (1967) and the "Yom Kippur War" (1973). It shows some battle damage on the turret and on the main gun. The Israeli Army sold 17091 as surplus in the late 1980s. The Cavanaugh Flight Museum added 17091 to its collection in 2007.
The US Army Ordnance Department designed the Medium Tank M4 as a replacement for the M-3 Grant. The M-4 in all variants was a pre-World War II design which was intended for manufacture in large numbers. American operational plans called for tanks to be used with infantry and artillery to provide firepower to support infantry exploitation. The prototype M4 was completed on 2 September 1941 and production began in October 1941. American industry built more M-4 medium tanks than any other single fighting vehicle; over 50,000 tanks were built between 1942 and 1945.