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.

Continue reading Painting the M4 Tank

Tank Driving — Field Expedients

Tank driver instructions for dealing with mud, thrown tracks, and bellied tanks from From TM 21-306: Manual for the Full Track Vehicle Driver, War Department, August 1946.


32. GENERAL. Field expedients are based on a common sense use of the things you have in the field with which to do a job. A few minutes of thought before starting the work often save hours of unnecessary labor.

33. CONTROLLED DIFFERENTIAL. A number of field expedients for full-track vehicles are based on the way the controlled differential works. If your vehicle has thrown or broken one track, you can move the vehicle by holding back on the steering lever on the same side. This throws power over to the side that has the track and your vehicle moves either forward or in reverse. However, if you do not hold back on this steering lever, the vehicle stands still because the power is thrown to the sprocket which is free to turn without the track. Paragraphs 34 through 38 describe several of the most common field expedients.

34. ONE TRACK SPINNING. To move a full-track vehicle which has one track on solid ground and the other spinning in the mud, pull back on the steering lever on the same side as the spinning track. This throws power to the track on solid ground and your vehicle moves out. (See fig. 36.) To move the vehicle in a straight line pull back alternately on the levers.

Tank Stuck in the Mud

Figure 36. When in mud and only one track spins, move the vehicle by holding back on the steering lever on the same side as the spinning track.

Continue reading Tank Driving — Field Expedients

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.

Handbook on Japanese Military

The October 1944 version of the U.S. technical manual on the Japanese military, TM-E 30-480: Handbook on Japanese Military Forces has been added to the main LoneSentry website. The complete table of contents are listed below.

Continue reading Handbook on Japanese Military