US Army

M-4 A1 Sherman

The M-4 Sherman tank was the main tank used by the US Army during WWII. The Sherman was first named by the British for General William Tecumseh Sherman, later the British name was adopted by the US. The Sherman tank was derived from the M-3 Lee / Grant tanks. They retained most of the previous mechanical design, but completely rearranged the armament. The first versions of the Sherman were designed for infantry support and mounted a relatively low velocity 75 mm gun. These tanks were still powerful enough to defeat the German tanks they faced when first deployed in North Africa. Later, they found themselves seriously outgunned verses later models of German tanks. The design of the Sherman stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production, maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition and moderate size and weight. The mobility, mechanical reliability and sheer numbers of the Sherman offset it’s disadvantages to a great degree. Later versions of the Sherman introduced 76 mm guns and better armor penetration. In the Pacific all version of the Sherman were dramatically superior to any Japanese tank. Production of the M-4 Sherman exceeded 50,000 and it was used as the base for many other armored vehicles including tank destroyers, tank retrievers, self-propelled artillery, cargo carriers, flamethrowers, rocket artillery, amphibious tanks, engineer tanks, mine-clearers and prime movers. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease. Various versions of the Sherman fought on in many later wars, including the Korean War, the Arab-Israeli Wars and the Indo-Pakistani Wars. They were effective tanks right up to the end, often successfully engaging Soviet T-34, T-54 and T-55 tanks. This model show an early production M-4 Sherman.

M-4 A1 Sherman

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M-1 Abrams

The M-1 Abrams tank is a third generation main battle tank produced by Chrysler Defense for the US Army and Marines and also several allied nations. Designed in the 1970s to replace the M-60 Patton tank series, the M-1 entered service in 1980. The M-1 is a well armed, heavily armored, highly mobile tank designed for modern armored warfare. It features a powerful gas turbine engine, Chobham composite armor and separate ammunition storage in a blow out compartment for crew safety. 3,273 M-1 Abrams tanks were produced. Designed from the outset to carry the Rheinmetall 120 mm gun the initial production M-1 was armed with a 105 mm L52 M68 rifled cannon. It also carried a .50 cal. M2HB machinegun, one pintle mounted 7.62 mm M240 machinegun and coaxial mount 7.62 mm M240 machinegun along with 2 6 barrel smoke grenade launchers. Almost all of the M-1 Abrams tanks have been upgraded to M-1A1 or M-1A2 standards with better armor, electronics and a 120 mm smoothbore gun. The M-1 and its variants are operated by Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United States Army and United States Marine Corps. This model shows a M-1 Abrams in the early 1980s.

M-1 Abrams

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M-113 ACAV

The M-113 APC was developed in the late 1950s as a replacement for existing armored personnel carriers by FMC. It entered service with the Army in 1960 and first saw combat in 1962 in Vietnam. The M-113 featured new aluminum armor developed by FMC and Kaiser Aluminum that made the vehicle much lighter than earlier vehicles. It was thick enough to protect the crew against small arms fire but light enough that the vehicle was air transportable and amphibious. The M-113 was designed to be a survivable, reliable and light tracked vehicle that could be air lifted and air dropped by C-130 and C-141 transport planes. The original idea was that the M-113 would transport troops to near the battle and then the troops would dismount and fight from there while the M-113 went to the rear. Requiring only 2 crewmen the M-113 could carry 11 passengers. The M-113 has been operated by over 50 countries and over 80,000 have been produced so far. Still in service today around the world, the M-113 has been continuously upgraded and modified over the years. The M-113 has carried everything from a single .50 cal. machinegun to nuclear armed missiles and has been developed into a huge number of vehicles including; smoke generators, cargo carriers, command posts, ATGM carriers, fire support vehicles, mortar carriers, ambulances, anti aircraft missile vehicles, anti aircraft gun systems, flame throwers, fitting and repair vehicles, armored vehicle recovery vehicles, ACAV assault vehicles, nuclear missile launchers and support vehicles. Originally developed by ARVN engineers, the ACAV version of the M-113 features a circular turret for a .50 cal. M2 machinegun at the commander’s position and two M60 machineguns with armored shields for the left and right rear positions. This proved so successful that the US Army standardized this as the Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle. A slightly modified version is still in service today. This model show a M-113 ACAV with 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam about 1965.

M-113 ACAV

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M-3 Lee

The M-3 General Lee medium tank was developed from the M-2 tank and went into production in March 1941. In 1939 the US Army realized that their entire small tank force was totally obsolete and a replacement was urgently required. In addition the British also had an urgent need for any kind of tank. The M-3 was one of the more unusual tank designs of WWII. The main armament was mounted in a sponson on the left side of the hull because the US did not have the ability to make a turret large enough to handle a 75 mm gun at the time. The secondary armament was mounted in a conventional turret which in turn had a small cupola on top mounting a machinegun. In spite of its odd design the M-3 was a formidable tank for the time. Its armor and firepower we equal or superior to German and British designs. As tank designs progressed the Lee became more and more obsolete and was replaced by the M-4 Sherman as soon as it became available. The Lee went into combat for the first time with the British in 1942 during the North African campaign where it did very well against the Germans and Italians. In the Pacific the M-3 was only used by the Army once during the 1943 battle for Makin Island. As soon as the British received the Sherman they began shipping their M-3s to the China-Burma-India Theater, sending 800 to Australia and 900 M3 India. In the Pacific the M-3 completely outclassed all of the Japanese tanks and did an excellent job providing infantry support. 6,258 M-3s were produced and 2,855 were supplied to the British and 1,368 to the Soviet Union. The M-3 Lee also served as the basis for the M-3 Grant tank, M-7 Priest SPG, Kangaroo APC and the Sexton I SPG. The M-3 General Lee medium tank was armed with one 75 mm Gun M2/M3, one 37mm Gun M5/M6 and two to four .30 cal. Browning M1919A4 machineguns. This model shows a M-3 General Lee medium tank with the 1st Armored Division in North Africa in mid 1942.

M-3 Lee

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M-2 A2 ODS Bradley

The M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle is designed to transport infantry under armored cover, give fire support to the infantry fire team it carries and engage enemy armor. The Bradley was designed as a replacement for the M-113 APC and as a response to the Soviet BMP series of IFVs with the additional specification that it be able to keep up with the M-1 Abrams tank. Design of what became the Bradley began in 1958 and went through a long series of design attempts. It started out as a simple modification of the M-113 and over a period of 21 years evolved into the first production version in 1979. Development was so protracted and so expensive the congressional hearings were held in 1977 to reevaluate the entire program. It finally entered service in 1981 but then faced another scandal in 1984 when rigged live firing tests were conducted. Development of the Bradley also became the basis for the movie The Pentagon Wars. The Bradley family of vehicles consists of two basic types; the M-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M-3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle and was developed into the M-4 Command and Control Vehicle, the Bradley Stinger Fighting Vehicle, the Warhammer Bradley, the M-6 Linebacker AA vehicle, the M-7 Fire Support Vehicle and the  M-993 / M-270 Multiple Launch Rocket System. All Bradleys were made with aluminum armor and this initially raised questions about its survivability. Later additions of spaced laminate belts and high hardness steel skirts have improved armor protection. In combat the Bradley has performed very well with very few losses. The Bradley is armed with a turret mounted M242 Bushmaster 25 mm chain gun, a coaxial M240C 7.62 mm machinegun, a two tube TOW missile system and turreted firing ports for the 5.56 mm M231 Firing Port Weapon (initially 6 were carried but this has been reduced to 2 or none). The Bushmaster has turned out to be a very effective weapon. During Operation Desert Storm several kills were made on T-55 tanks and at least one T-72 tank. The Bradley has been continually upgraded since its introduction. The A1 version added the TOW II missile system and improved NBC protection The A2 added a larger engine and improved armor proof against 30 mm rounds. The M-2A2 ODS Bradley added improvements based combat reports from the first Gulf War including much improved electronics, a missile countermeasure device, redesigned seating and a MRE heater. This model shows a M-2A2 ODS Bradley IFV with the 1-41 Infantry, 1st Armored Division in Baghdad during 2003.

M-2 A2 ODS Bradley

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M-24 Chaffee

The M-24 Chaffee light tank was designed in April 1943 and went into production in April 1944 with 4,741 built. The Chaffee was intended as a replacement for the M-5 and M-3 Stuart light tanks which were seriously outdated and under armed. The goal was to produce a useful light tank with a weight under 20 tons. The armor was light at 1.49” maximum but well sloped. The tank had a maximum speed of about 35 mph and was armed with a M-6 75 mm gun that was derived from the lightweight gun used on the B-25 Mitchell. It also carried one. 50 cal Browning M2HB machinegun and two .30 cal. Browning M1919A4 machineguns. The first thirty four M-24s reached Europe in November 1944 and were issued to the 2nd Cavalry Group (Mechanized) in France. The M-24 started to enter widespread service in December 1944 but they were slow in reaching front line combat units. By the end of the war many armored divisions were still mainly equipped with the M-5. Some armored divisions did not receive their first M-24s until the war was over. The Chaffee entered combat in December 1944 during the Battle Of The Bulge. Combat reports were generally positive and the crews liked the improved off road performance and reliability of the new light tank. The 75 mm main gun was a vast improvement over the 37 mm in the M-5 and while it was not really up to fighting the latest German tanks, it did at least gave its crews a chance to fight back and to provide a useful weapon against lighter forces. During the Korean War the Chaffee was the first tank to fight North Korean T-34/85s. It did not do well against the heavier communist tanks, but did much better in the later part of the war when it was used in its intended reconnaissance role. The M-24 was widely exported after WWII and was used by Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Chile, Denmark, Ethiopia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Laos, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Vietnam, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and Uruguay. France used the M-24 throughout Indochina and at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu as well as in Algeria. The last known combat use of the Chaffee was by Pakistan during Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It was also used as the basis for anti aircraft, cargo carrier, ARV and GMC vehicles. This model shows a M-24 Chaffee light tank of Company D, 43rd Tank Battalion, 12th Armored Division in France in early 1945.

M-24 Chaffee

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M-4 A1 Sherman With Appliqué Armor

The M-4 Sherman tank was the main tank used by the US Army during WWII. It was first named by the British for General William Tecumseh Sherman, later the British name was adopted by the US. The Sherman tank was derived from the M-3 Lee / Grant tanks. They retained most of the previous mechanical design, but completely rearranged the armament. The first versions of the Sherman were designed for infantry support and mounted a relatively low velocity 75 mm gun. These tanks were still powerful enough to defeat the German tanks they faced when first deployed in North Africa. Later, they found themselves seriously outgunned verses later models of German tanks. The design of the Sherman stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production, maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition and moderate size and weight. The mobility, mechanical reliability and sheer numbers of the Sherman offset it's disadvantages to a great degree. Later versions of the Sherman introduced 76 mm guns and better armor penetration. In the Pacific all version of the Sherman were dramatically superior to any Japanese tank. Production of the M-4 Sherman exceeded 50,000 and it was used as the base for many other armored vehicles including tank destroyers, tank retrievers, self-propelled artillery, cargo carriers, flamethrowers, rocket artillery, amphibious tanks, engineer tanks, mine-clearers and prime movers. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease. Various versions of the Sherman fought on in many later wars, including the Korean War, the Arab-Israeli Wars and the Indo-Pakistani Wars. They were effective tanks right up to the end, often successfully engaging Soviet T-34, T-54 and T-55 tanks. The M-4 A1 Sherman featured a Continental radial engine and one piece cast hull. It was armed with a 75 mm M3 L/40 gun, a .50 cal Browning M2HB machinegun and two .30 cal. Browning M1919A4 machineguns. This model shows a M-4 A1 Sherman with added appliqué armor with the 13th Tank Battalion, 1st Armored Division in France during late 1944.

M-4 A1 Sherman

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M-7 Priest Self Propelled Howitzer

Before entering WWII US Army observers realized that they needed a self propelled gun to keep up with armored formations. After working with halftracks, it was decided that the gun needed to be mounted on an armored fully tracked vehicle. The chassis of the obsolescent M-3 Lee was chosen and was reworked with an armored box superstructure and a 105mm howitzer. Later the chassis was changed to the M-4 Sherman. The result was the 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7, almost universally called the Priest. The M-7 went into production in September 1942 and by the end of the war 4,267 were produced. The Priest entered combat with the British Eighth Army in North Africa during the Second Battle of El Alamein. It fought in all major US and British campaigns during WWII and gave a major boost to Allied firepower. The Priest was also used in the Korean War and equipped numerous post war Allied armies. The M-7 Priest was armed with one .50 cal. M2 Browning machinegun and one 105 mm M1/M2 Howitzer. This mode shows a M-7 Priest with the US Army in Northwest Europe during 1944.

M-7 Priest Self Propelled Howitzer

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M-60 A1 Patton Tank

The M-60 Patton main battle tank entered service with the US Army in December 1960 and served until its final replacement by the M-1 Abrams in 2005. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 a Soviet T-54A tank was driven onto the grounds of the British embassy in Budapest. The British quickly examined the tank and realized that existing Western design were under armored and under gunned. They immediately began work on what was to become the 105 mm L7 gun. At the same time the US Army was working on upgrades to the M-48 Patton tank. In 1957, as a result of the British information, plans were made for a vastly improved tank featuring the new British gun. The new M-60 featured the British L7 105 mm gun, redesigned one piece cast hull with better armor protection, straight front slope armor, three support rollers per side and aluminum road wheels. It also incorporated a Continental V-12 750 hp. air cooled, twin turbocharged diesel engine that gave an operational range of over 300 miles. The hull of the M-60 was divided into three compartments, with the driver in front, fighting compartment in the middle and engine at the rear. The driver had three M27 day periscopes and one of them could be replaced by an infrared night vision periscope. The initial M-60 was upgraded to the M-60 A1 in 1963. The M-60 A1 was given a new needlenose turret shape that minimized the frontal cross section to enemy fire and optimized the layout of the combat compartment. The armor protection and shock absorbers were also improved and a stabilization system for the main gun was added. The ammunition capacity was increased and a more powerful engine was added. One of the distinctive features of the M-60 A1 was the large infrared searchlight mounted over the main gun to give the Patton tank a vastly improved night fighting capability. Most M-60 A1 tanks were upgraded to M-60 A3 standards. Over 15,000 M-60 Patton tanks of all versions were produced. The M-60 Patton tank was continuously upgraded over its 40 year service life. It was widely used by the US and our Cold War allies. While the Patton tank is no longer in the US inventory, it is still in operation around the world. The M-60 Patton tank has been used by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Portugal, Republic of China, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, Austria, Italy and Ethiopia. The M-60 Patton tank is armed with a 105 mm M68 gun, one .50 cal. M85 machinegun and one 7.62 mm M73 machinegun. This model shows a M-60 A1 Patton tank in West Germany during the early 1970s.

M-60 A1 Patton Tank

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M-36 Jackson Tank Destroyer

The M-36 Jackson tank destroyer (90 mm Gun Motor Carriage, M36) originated as an up gunned version of the M-10 tank destroyer in September 1942. The Jackson was a response to the appearance of the German Tiger I and Panther tanks as the 76.2 mm gun on the M-10 and M-18 could not penetrate their armor past 500 meters. The prototype was completed in March 1943 and an order for 500 was soon issued and about 1,400 were produced. The Jackson made its combat debut in September 1944 in Europe. The design proved to be a great success and M-36s were rushed to the front as fast as possible. The 90 mm gun proved to be able to penetrate the frontal armor of a Panther tank at 1500 yards. The main drawback to the Jackson was its open top. While it saved weight and provided better observation, it made the crew vulnerable to enemy fire. The M-36 saw more combat during the Korean War where it was able to defeat the armor of any of the Soviet tanks used during the war. Jacksons were used by Korea, Yugoslavia which operated some into the 1990s, the Republic of China who operated at least two till 2001, Serbia, France, Pakistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Philippines, Slovenia and Turkey. The M-36 Jackson was armed with a 90 mm M3 gun and a 50 cal. Browning M2HB machinegun. This model shows an M-36 Jackson in Northern Europe in Early 1945.

M-36 Jackson Tank Destroyer

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M-26 Pershing Tank

The M-26 Pershing tank was intended as a replacement for the M-4 Sherman tank with development starting in 1942. After a long drawn out development period resulting in 6 slowly improving prototypes the T-26 finally entered production in November 1944. The M-26 arrived in Europe in December 1945. The extremely long development period was a result of several factors. The US Army believed that the best vehicle to fight a tank was a tank destroyer. The M-10, M-18 and M-36 were the result of this belief. Unfortunately while the tank destroyers were useful the doctrine was wrong. The Army wanted to keep their supply line simplified and they were afraid that the need to supply a new vehicle would clog the supply lines. Finally, the Army was very complacent about the superiority of the M-4 Sherman. While it was a good competitive design in 1942 being equal or better than the Panzer III, Sturmgeschütz III and early versions of the Panzer IV,  the appearance of later versions of the Panzer IV, the Panther and Tiger I in 1943 changed the balance in favor of the Germans. For reasons that are still unknown today the Army continued to move forward very slowly with the M-26 even after the appearance of superior enemy tanks. It took the intervention of General Marshall to get production started. The first 20 M-26 Pershings arrived in Europe December 22, 1944 and were given to the 1st Army, split between the 3rd and 9th Armored Divisions. 310 M-26s were sent to Europe before the end of the war but only the first 20 saw action. The first action for the Pershing was on February 25, 1945 near the Roer River when a tank named Fireball was knocked out in an ambush by a Tiger I. Shortly afterward, also at Elsdorf, another M-26 knocked out a Tiger I and two Panzer IVs. A well known tank duel took place in Cologne on March 6, 1945. A Panther tank on the street in the front of Cologne Cathedral was lying in wait for enemy tanks. Two Shermans came up on the same street as the Panther. They ended up stopping just before the Cathedral because of rubble in the street and didn't see the enemy Panther. The lead Sherman was knocked out, killing three of the five crew. A M-26 came over from the next street to engage the Panther. As the Pershing arrived the Panther turned its turret towards the Pershing. The Pershing turned its turret and ended up pointed directly at the Panther's gun tube. The Pershing began to rapidly move so that the Panther could not fire on it. While moving the Pershing fired once, then stopped and fired two more times. All three shells penetrated, knocking out the Panther. In another famous action 5 Pershings supported the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge during the Battle of Remagen on March 7-8, 1945. When the Korean War broke out three Pershings that were found in a Tokyo ordnance depot were hastily refurbished and sent to the front. There they were used to defend the town of Chinju. The tanks soon broke down and were lost. More Pershings arrived by the end of July 1950 and a total of 309 M-26 Pershings were rushed to Korea. As tank to tank combat wound down at the end of 1950 the problems of the Pershing began to stand out in the mountainous Korean terrain. In 1951 all M-26s were withdrawn from Korea. During its short time in action in Korea the M-26 proved to be superior to the T-34-85 as its 90 mm HVAP round could punch all the way through the T-34 from the front glacis armor to the back. While the T-34-85 had difficulty penetrating the armor of the M-26. The M-26 Pershing was used by Belgium, Italy and France. The Pershing's armament was one 90 mm M3 cannon, two Browning .30-06 machineguns and one Browning .50 cal. Machinegun. This model shows the M-26 Pershing from E Company, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division. This tank, commanded by Sgt. Robert Early is the one that fought the Panther in Cologne on March 6, 1945.

M-26 Pershing Tank

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