Replacing M4 Tank Final-Drive Assemblies

Instructions for replacing the final-drive assembly on the M4 Sherman tank, from Army Motors, Vol. 6, No. 2, Maintenance Division, Office, Chief of Ordnance, May 1945.

Replacing M4 Tank Final-Drive Assemblies

Time was when M4 medium tanks with damaged power trains had to run home to mother for mending–like little apple-filchers with buckshot in their final drive assemblies. Now, when your M4-series job (or related gun or howitzer motor carriage) has something more like dribble where the drive should be, you don’t have to pack it off to some 4th-echelon tank hospital for a slow cure. Instead, you can put in a whole new controlled differential and transmission final-drive assembly right there in the field, according to TB ORD 275.

Four of these assemblies, complete with everything but whistles, have at last been made authorized items of issue for lower echelon installation. They are:

—  1-piece differential housing, single-anchor-brake type, Ord. Part No. A5700061, Official Stock No. G104-5700061.

—  1-piece differential housing, double-anchor-brake type, Ord. Part No. A5700062, Official Stock No. G104-5700062 (Fig. 1).

—  3-piece differential housing, single-anchor-brake type, Ord. Part A5700060, Official Stock No. G104-5700060 (Fig. 2).

—  3-piece differential housing, double-anchor-brake type, Ord. Part No. A57000196, Official Stock No. G104-57000196.

They’ll be assembled at your favorite base shop or Ordnance supply depot from parts and housings already in stock or made available through cannibalization. No important difference between any of them, and they’re all yours for the asking.

Final Drive Assembly

All you have to do is install ’em and send back the has-beens. But remember that the whole system will break down if you don’t send back complete assemblies. Only the final-reduction sub-assemblies (A294625) should be removed from a damaged unit before its sent to the rear for reconditioning.

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M4 Medium Tank Characteristics

Summary of M4 SHerman tank characteristics from the training booklet Tracked Vehicle Chassis Units, The Armored School, Fort Knox.




2. DESCRIPTION. a. Characteristics

    76-mm Gun, M1A1
    2 cal .30 machine guns
    1 cal .50 machine guns

    71 rds 76-mm
    6250 rds cal .30
    660 rds cal .50

Fire Control Equipment:
    Telescope, M71D
    Periscope, M10 or M4A1
    Elevation Quadrant, M9
    Gunner’s Quadrant, M1

Vision Devices:
    Vision cupola
    Periscopes, M6 (4 each)

    5 men

    Ford, 500 HP @ 2800 rpms
    Model GAN, V-8

    Double plate

    Synchromesh, 5 speeds forward and 1 reverse

    Controlled differential

    23″ steel chevron, rubber backed, double pin, T80
    23″ rubber chevron, double pin, T84

    Length, 247″
    Height, 124 7/8″
    Width, 118″

    Combat loaded, 71,175 lbs

Fuel Capacity:
    168 gallons

Cruising Range:
    100 miles

Maximum Speed:
    25 mph

Ground Clearance:

Fording Depth:


M4 Sherman Tank Ammunition Storage

Diagram of M4A2 Sherman tank ammunition storage from TM 9-731B: Medium Tank M4A2, War Department Technical Manual, Washington, January 13, 1943.


Ammunition Stowage M4 Sherman Tank

Figure 8A--Ammunition Stowage

97 rounds 75 mm
     50% HE
     40% AP
     10% WP (smoke)
 15 rounds–Left sponson forward of water can rack.
17 rounds–Right sponson next to assistant driver.
15 rounds–Right sponson forward of engine compartment bulkhead.
30 rounds–On floor under turret basket to rear of escape door.
8 rounds–On turret “ready” rack floor.
12 rounds–In ready clips around turret basket step.
300 rounds caliber .50
     80% AP
     20% tracer
 150 rounds–In three 50-round boxes right sponson next to assistant driver.
150 rounds–In three 50-round boxes strapped to turret floor.
6750 rounds caliber .30
     80% AP
     20% tracer
 4500 rounds–In eighteen 250-round expendable boxes under turret basket to rear of driver.
1750 rounds–In seven 250-round expendable boxes, on turret floor under 75 mm gun.
230 rounds–One 250-round expendable box on “ready” rack of bow gun.
250 rounds–In one 250-round expendable box on “ready” rack of turret machine gun.
660 rounds caliber .45 660 rounds–In twenty-two 30-round clips in submachine gun bracket above turret radio.
12 grenades, hand
     4 fragmentation M2.
     2 thermite, incendiary. 4 smoke.
     2 offensive M3 w/fuze, detonation, hand grenade, M6.
 4 fragmentation, 2 offensive and 2 smoke in box under 75 mm gunner’s seat.
2 smoke and 2 thermite in box, left side turret wall.


Painting the M4 Tank

Instructions for painting the M4 Sherman tank from the Technical Manual TM 9-731B: Medium Tank M4A2, January 1943.



a. Ordnance materiel is painted before issue to the using arms. One maintenance coat per year will ordinarily be ample for protection. With but few exceptions, this materiel will be painted with ENAMEL, synthetic, olive drab, lusterless. The enamel may be applied over old coats of long oil enamel and oil paint previously issued by the Ordnance Department if the old coat is in satisfactory condition for repainting.

b. Paints and enamels, usually issued ready for use, are applied by brush or spray. They may be brushed on satisfactorily when used unthinned in the original package consistency or when thinned no more than 5 per cent by volume with THINNER. The enamel will spray satisfactorily when thinned with 15 per cent by volume of THINNER. (Linseed oil must not be used as a thinner in this enamel, since it will impart an undesirable luster.) If sprayed, enamel dries rapidly enough to permit repainting after one-half hour, and dries hard in 16 hours.

c. Certain exceptions to the regulations concerning painting exist. Fire-control instruments, sighting equipment, and other associated items will not be painted.

d. Complete information on painting is contained in TM 9-850.

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M4 Track Tension

Illustration of correct and incorrect track tension on the M4A2 tank from the M4A2 technical manual. The tank crew were instructed to inspect the track tension regularly and tighten the track if it shows noticeable sag.

M4 Sherman Tank Tracks

Track with insufficient tension

Tank Tracks

Track with proper tension

Source: TM 9-731B: Medium Tank M4A2, War Department Technical Manual, January 1943.

Tanks on Iwo Jima

Video footage of U.S. M4 Sherman tanks on Iwo Jima and damage to tanks due to mortar fire:


How’s Your Sherman, Herman?

M4 Sherman Tank modification and upgrades from Army Motors, Maintenance Branch, Office of Chief of Ordnance, Vol. 5, No. 1, April 1944:

If it’s a Tank, Medium, M4—here are the visible changes that should have been made by now. Check your score—and chase whatever’s missing.

How is Your Sherman, Herman - U.S. Army M4 Tank Modifications and Upgrades

Sorry our list couldn’t quite Tell All. For details on the above additions, subtractions, and modifications, you’ll have to consult the TB’s and FSMWO’s themselves. There are plenty of other TB’s you should have seen, too—full of fascinating facts on M4 operation, identification, lubrication, adjustments, cautions, and assorted SOP’s.

You’ll find all these cataloged in the latest edition of OFSB 1-1, under “pertinent publications” for the Tank, Medium, M4. Anything else is impertinent, including that remark you just made about having so much to read.

Left, top to bottom: New towing shackle-pins FSMWO-G1-W7; New style combat safety lights. FSMWO G1-W9; Disc type track idler wheel. TB 1700-31; Idler brackets. TB 17538-4; Fuel tank filler necks, FSMWO G104-W63; Crowbar bracket relocation, TB 700-48; Mono-gyro control, FSMWO C56-W1; Turret traversing control cam, FSMWO G104-W55; Turret armor plate, FSMWO G104-W57; Azimuth indicator, FSMWO G104-W74; Ammunition rack protector plate, FSMWO G104-W81; Improved turret master switch, FSMWO G104-W82; Gunner’s periscope sight, FSMWO G104-W91; Combination spot and signal fight, FSMWO G104-W92; Smoke bomb thrower, FSMWO G104-W93; Tank commander’s vane sight, FSMWO G104-W94; Impulse firing solenoid, FSMWO G104-W97; Hydraulic hand turret traverse, TB 1731F-1; Lift hooks on gun shield, TB 1758-2; Propeller shaft U-joint tube. TB ORD 12; Track support roller spacer, FSMWO G1-W2; Bogie lift modification, FSMWO G27-W1; Bogie spring bottom seat, TB 700-32; Cast track support roller, TB 700-46**; Bogie wheel bearings and seats, TB 700-72**; Steel track replacement, TB 700-106; Bogie wheel tire sidewalls, TB 1700-36; Bogie and idler wheels (outside U.S. only) TB ORD 22; Hub sprocket capscrew, TB 700-70**; Latest type blackout driving light, FSMWO G1-W6.

Right, top to bottom: Fuel relief valve, FSMWO G104-W65; New type cam assembly, TB 700-52**; Magneto timing change, TB 700-53**; Oil filter replacement elemerts, TB 700-76; Fire detector system, TB 700-98; Interchanging master clutch, TB 731A-6*; Engine oil tank level gage, TB 731 A-7*; Fuel line and accelerator ccntrol rod, TB 731A-11*; Carburetor dust guard, TB 1700-18; Excessive clutch release pressure, TB 1700-35; Bendix-Stromberg carburetor, TB 1725-16; Carburetor economizer seats, TB 1730-1; Valve and magneto timing, TB 1750D-2; Valve and magneto timing, TB 1750D-3; Carburetcr air horn drain plug screens, TB 1751-1; Piston ring change, TB 1751-11; Sealing of engine shroud, TB 1751-12; Valve rocker arm clamp screw, TB 1751-13; Front main Dearing support, T3 1751-17; Autolite generator regulators, TB 731A-10*; Decontaminating apparatus, TB 700-58; Steering lever parking brake, FSMWO G1-W5; Driver’s and ass’t driver’s door lock, FSMWO G104-W75; Hatch guards, FSMWO G104-W83; Clutch pedal interference, TB 700-49; Instrument panel voltmeter, TB 700-68**; Transmission synchronizer assembly, TB 1700-19; Transmission pinion gear shim, TB 1700-22; Transmission clutch gears, TB 1700-23; Differential compensating pinion, TB 1750-4; Transmission oil pump, TB 1750-5.

*Superseded by TM 9-731A (23 Dec. 43)
**Included in TM 9-731A (23 Dec. 43)


“The Man Who Owns a Tank Corps”

The June 1960 issue of Popular Mechanics tells the story of Walter Ising, president of a steel company in Chicago, who bought 500 surplus Sherman tanks from the government for $305,000. He then had to disarm the tanks, move them by rail to his salvage yard, and find a way to make a profit.

• “The Man Who Owns a Tank Corps” (Google Books)

The Man Who Owns a Tank Corps