American Tanks of World War II
The United States produced a huge number of tanks during World War II, a staggering 47,000 between 1943 and 1944 alone. However, they only used two main types of tank. Here we take a look at some of those tanks:
M3 and upgraded version M5
The M3 was introduced in 1941 but could not compare to the German Mark IV, the British Crusader or the Russian T-34. It featured only 2 inches of armour and a small 37mm gun, but it was agile, so was used in significant numbers by the British as well. It could reach an impressive 37 mph on the road and powered by either diesel or gasoline. It stood no chance in battle but was a useful recon and support vehicle.
The M5 was the upgraded version of the M3, weighing a considerably light 16.5 tons. The M5 was distinguishable from the M3 thanks to its sloping armour and space for a much larger engine, two Cadillac V8s. Why not have a go at driving your own tank with a Tank Driving Experience from https://www.armourgeddon.co.uk?
The Sherman wasn’t without its problems. The gasoline engine had a habit of overheating and burning to death the unfortunate 5-man crew inside it! Later tanks would see the gasoline engines replaced with diesel. The Sherman was overly tall and top-heavy, making it too much of a target and almost always outgunned. It wasn’t all bad however. The tank was hugely available, with over 40,000 being built between 1941 and 1946. This helped not only the Americans but also the Soviets and the British. It weighed up to 35 tons and had armour up to 2.5 inches in depth but was still easily beaten by German weapons. The Sherman model was useful in other ways, providing its chassis as the basis for the M10 tank destroyer and in the engineering of many other armoured vehicles.
This tank destroyer was three years in development, going through a series of gun changes before eventually deciding on the 76mm gun. There were 6 prototypes made with a newly designed hull face and fully-traversing turret. The M18 was relatively light at only 20 tons and could reach an impressive 45 mph on road conditions.
It was manufactured by Buick who started production in early 1944. They built 2,500 that were delivered by October of that year. It was a 5-man set-up, the crew being protected by only 0.5 inches of hull armour and 1 inch in the turret. Of course, this proved completely insufficient when the Germans learned of its weaknesses. Its saving grace was its sheer speed which more often than not enabled it to get out of trouble quicker than it had got into trouble.