Greetings fellow commanders!
It’s been a while since I posted something on my blog; I was quite busy with other work and was unable to play games for a while. However, this week, I found some time to play a lot of the original Company of Heroes. This time, instead of focusing on German tanks and the German army, I want to talk about the venerable American M4 Sherman medium tank. If I had to pick my favorite Allied tank in WW2, it would be the M4 Sherman for its mechanical reliability and its versatility or adaptability, which I will demonstrate via screenshots below. Instead of just listing out a bunch of historical facts, I thought it would be fun and educational to have a lot of great screenshots to supplement the explanations. So without further adieu, let’s delve in!
Do you notice those sandbags? Apparently, American tank crew had little faith in the armor strength of their tanks that they saw it necessary to attach additional armor. So, they got elaborate steel frames to hold the sandbags in place. The US Army found them to be ineffective but the crew still continued this practice. Did you know that General Patton forbade his 3rd Army from doing this? Maybe he didn’t want his troops to waste time on something that is only marginally effective…
When developing the M4 Sherman, the US Army thought it necessary to match the German Panzer IV’s 75 mm gun so they decided to fit this cannon on their medium tank. This gun proved to be highly effective against the almost non-sloped Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs but proved to be tough for the thick-skinned Tiger I and the sloped Panther. This made the development of the 76 mm gun a necessity.
The 75 mm gun had better performance with HE and smoke shells but severely lacked the required muzzle velocity to compete against the heavier armored German panzers. While the 75 mm had an approx. velocity of 620 m/s, the 76 mm could fire at almost 800 m/s! This meant that the 76 mm can penetrate almost 110 mm of armor at a range of 1000 m when the 75 mm can only manage about 80 mm penetration at 500 m range. Of course, this gun would still have difficulties when facing Panthers frontally because the Panther’s well-sloped armor provides an effective armor protection of 120 mm. Still, given how there were a lot of Sherman tanks, they could overwhelm the Panthers and hit them at their sides, which were much more vulnerable.
In Company of Heroes 1, you might get yourself in a situation in which you have a M4 Sherman and the enemy has a Panther. If you continue to engage him frontally and the enemy is smart enough to angle his armor, your shells will bounce a lot, thereby condemning your Sherman crew to death. Panthers excel at long-range combat so negate their advantage by boldly driving past it like above! Be aware of supporting units though!
I mentioned that one of the things that I liked a lot about the Sherman tanks was its versatility and adaptability. Let’s talk about the Sherman Crab!
Can you even see those flails? Once activated, they move so fast that they are hard to see! If you are fighting against these Sherman Crabs, keep your infantry away from them to prevent them getting shredded to pieces. Their primary purpose is to remove mines while keeping the vehicle completely safe from the mine-caused explosions. The flails themselves are composed of steel chains with steel balls attached at the end of them; these mimic an infantryman or a vehicle stepping on a mine with equal weight force. An interesting fact: The mine flail was originally an idea developed by the British Army which first tried this concept on its Matilda Scorpion tanks.
I really must commend Relic Entertainment for paying attention to detail here. Historically, the T34 Calliope Rocket Launcher did indeed have 60 launch tubes and thus fired 60 rockets. The Sherman Calliope, a doctrinal unit of “Armor Company Doctrine” that you can summon off-map, does have 60 launch tubes. Whether it actually fires 60 rockets or not, I am not 100% certain because I did not bother counting all the rockets fired. The Calliope is a potent artillery unit that can decimate entire squads of infantry as these rockets are incendiary. These rockets can severely cripple and damage enemy tanks as well so if you are a Wehrmacht or Panzer Elite player, you need to watch out for these! My best advice is to never blob your infantry and spread out your buildings.
I hope the screenshots above helped you better understand the historical M4 Sherman tank, which was so instrumental to eventually bringing about the defeat of the Third Reich in the Second World War. Sometimes I wish that our history books made extensive use of in-game screenshots of high quality games like CoH 1 to make our studies more fun. I want to end this post with three more exciting images involving the Sherman. In my next post, I will talk about an awesome game called Men of War Assault Squad 2. Until then, take care and adieu!