Excerpt from Tanks of World War II
M4A5 Super Sherman
Country: United States
Armament: 1x M105 105mm
1x .30 caliber 1919A4 Coaxial MG
1x .50 caliber M2 HMG
Prior to the arrival of Admiral Kolhammers task force in June 1942, the M4 Sherman was meant to serve as the mainstay of the U.S. tank force. If things had proceeded as normal, the Sherman would have become the tank of the Western Allies. The original Sherman was armed with a lower velocity 75mm gun more useful in an infantry support role rather than going head to head with enemy tanks. Another weakness of the M4 was its thin armor. Even before discussions began between the U.S. Army and experts from the 21st Century it was know the Sherman could not stand up to the powerful and fast 75mm and 88mm shells used by the Germans. Finally the Sherman had a gasoline engine that would often burn when hit.
The problems with the original M4 models almost led to the tank being scrapped. Not only did uptimers recommend this, many members of the contemporary U.S. tank corps agreed. However by 1942 nearly 30,000 Shermans had been produced. Rather than wasting all that material, it was decided the Sherman would receive Mods.
Many of the M4s had their originally suspension system removed, to be replaced with the Easy Eight system that would have appeared later in the war. Upgrades to the Shermans armor were also made. Appliqué armor was added to the sides, forward slope, and turret. The front armor received a sharper slope to better deal with anti-tank shells. Advanced lightweight 21st Century composites were also added to protect the crew and engine compartments. Some M4s also received a layer of Kevlar to catch shrapnel fragments if a shell did penetrate. Nearly every Sherman in Europe had Slat Armor. The simple metal rods arranged like a cage proved effective against HEAT warheads found in the German Panzerfaust, Panzersherks, and wire guided missiles. A diesel engine eliminated the fire threat posed by the original Sherman.
Armament was one of the first things upgraded. Debate raged between uptimers and contemporary personnel over whether to arm the Sherman with the longer barreled high velocity 76mm or a powerful 105mm gun based on an uptime French design. Intelligence on new German Panzers being produced (the monstrous Tiger IIs and Leopards) ended the debate. The Shermans turret was redesigned to accommodate the American copy of the French 105mm (To uptimers the French gun was designated CN 105 F1). With the addition of more armor to the front of the M4 , the bow mounted machinegun was eliminated. A .30 caliber machinegun was coaxially mounted with the main gun. AT (advance technology) stabilization and sights were added to many Shermans prior to the invasion of Europe.
Although no longer the principle Allied tank, the Super Sherman could be found fighting along side with the Pershing and Centurion tanks (two of the Allies heavier tanks). The first Super Shermans got their combat test in the Pas de Calais Specially modified M4A5s were part of the D-Day landing forces. Their 105mm guns pounded German bunkers and defenses and helped the infantry fight their way inland. In their first tests against German Panzers, the M4s still had some disadvantages. The Tiger and King Tiger tanks could engage the Sherman at long range. Their APDS rounds could also defeat the modified M4s armor. However the Tigers lost their complete invincibility to the Shermans 105mm gun. Plus even with the changes made the Sherman could still out maneuver the heavier and slower German tanks.
The Super Sherman was also a match for the Soviet T-34s and even their T-55s. Used by Americans in the Japanese Civil War and other allied nations during the Cold War, the Sherman continued to serve till the 1960s. A few working Shermans can be found in military museums and private collections around the world.
This Sherman is based on the M4 as it appears in John Birmingham's novel Final Impact. An alternate history novel where an American and Allied naval Task Force is sent from 2021 to 1942. A series of novels Final Impact conculdes the trilogy and features D-Day and the battle for Europe. The above part is supposed to be from a book written after the alternate Second World War.