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Sherman V, 2nd Irish Guards, Guards Armoured Division, Holland, September 1944, Market-Garden.

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Hi guys, although I'm still busy on the 1/24 Airfix Hawker Typhoon, I also felt that this GB could use some more "vehicular" input. Due to all the Liberation Days (celebrated on May 5th, the day the German forces in the Netherlands capitulated to the Allies in Wageningen) I witnessed in my life I have a keen interest in the liberating forces of my country. That makes for a predominantly British and Canadian interest, although we mustn't forget the Polish 1st Armoured Division and the Polish paras! Of course American forces also took part but on a much lesser scale. The 7th AD in October 1944 near Overloon, before the British forces took over the offensive, of course the paras of the 82nd and 101st AB divisions and the supporting units in the western part of Brabant. So, this WIP will deal with a British 75mm gun tank of the forces that were sent to relieve the paras that occupied the bridges at Eindhoven, Son, Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem during Operation Market-Garden September 17th -25th, 1944.


To read an extensive account of the operation:


Operation Market Garden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


For my purposes, it suffices to say that the 2nd Irish Guards formed part of the ground forces that needed to "race" to the North along a very narrow corridor in order to relieve the lightly armed paras along the route. The Airborne part of the offensive was code-named "Market", the ground element "Garden".


The front lines on September 14th, 1944:



The plan of attack:



The line of advance for XXXth Corps:



A short piece of text from the Wikipedia article:

At 14:15 hours 300 guns of the Corps artillery opened fire, firing a rolling barrage in front of XXX Corps start line that was 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 5 miles (8.0 km) in depth. The barrage was supported by seven squadrons of RAF Hawker Typhoons firing rockets at all known German positions along the road to Valkenswaard. The advance was led by tanks and infantry of the Irish Guards and started on time when Lieutenant Keith Heathcote, commanding the lead tank, ordered his driver to advance. The lead units of the Irish Guards Group had broken out of XXX Corps bridgehead on the Meuse-Escaut canal and crossed into the Netherlands by 15:00 hours. After crossing the border the Irish Guards were ambushed by infantry and anti-tank guns dug in on both sides of the main road. Portions of the artillery barrage were refired and fresh waves of Hawker Typhoons were called in. The Guardsmen moved forward to clear the German positions, manned by elements from two German parachute battalions and two battalions of the 9th SS Division, and soon routed the German forces flanking the road. Interrogation of captured German soldiers led to some of them willingly, others after being threatened, pointing out the remaining German positions. The fighting soon died down and the advance resumed. By last light the town of Valkenswaard had been reached and occupied by the Irish Guards.


Shermans of the Irish Guards advancing past Shermans that were knocked out by dug-in anti-tank units.



British troops meet with a Dutch policeman at Valkenswaard
2nd Irish Guards tanks cross the bridge over the river Waal near Nijmegen.
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The Sherman V.


That's what this WIP is all about anyway.... :) The name "Sherman" for the tank wasn't an American idea. As the British tend to name their equipment and differentiate it by using Marks, they did the same with the American medium tank M4. They called it the Sherman, followed by a Roman numeral to denote the subtype. In this way the M4 became the Sherman I, the M4A1 the Sherman II and so forth. The M4A4 thus way became the Sherman V.


One of the challenges during Sherman production was to find enough engines produced to power them. Chrysler offered a solution in the form of the Chrysler A57 Multibank engine. This engine was created by fitting five 6-cylinder L-head (side valve) around one crankshaft. This way they created a 21-liter 30-cylinder engine that delivered 470 hp at 2400 rpm.


The 5 cylinder blocks of a Multilink engine under restoration:



The assembled engine:



American forces didn't use the M4A4 operationally, they used the M4 and M4A1 with the 9 cylinder air-cooled radial engine and the M4A3 powered with a Ford V8 engine. The M4A4 went mostly to Great Britain, Free French forces and China.


Although the engine does look rather impressive, it wasn't the easiest to maintain, it seems. Especially in the beginning when every cylinder block had it's own coolant pump, for instance.


An M4A4 getting it's engine installed:



Okay, so what makes an M4A4 is basically it's engine, is there an easy way to identify a Sherman as an M4A4? I hear you ask....


Well, yes. In order to get the engine to fit, the hull of the tank had to be lengthened. That is identifiable by the spacing of the suspension bogies. The M4A4 has more space between them than other Sherman subtypes.






U.S. M4's unloading in Italy, 1944:



A Sherman V:



To read more on the M4A4:

M4A4 Shermans


M4A4 Sherman production variants

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The kit.


I'm using the Tasca Sherman V kit for this build. I'm not sure if it's still generally available, but if not, be sure that it'l be re-issued some time. In that case it'll be under the Asuka label as Tasca renamed itself to that. 


To read a full review of the kit, see Terry Ashley's article on Perth Military Modelling:

Tasca 35016 British Army Sherman V (M4A4)


In any case, this is the box-art:



After opening the box, you'll (of course) find a bunch of sprues:



What is immediately apparent is that the contents of the kit are a mix-n-match between some earlier Shermans by Tasca. The hull and British fittings come from their Sherman Vc (Firefly) kit, the turret and 75mm gun parts come from their M4A1 kit.


The tracks are of the "elastic band"-type, each track is made up of two parts. The original instructions tell you to glue the track with regular glue but an erratum is included, pointing out that "instant adhesive" is to be used. The track is of the T62-type, which was a steel-chevron track with three big rivets on each track pad. That is a type of track that regularly was used by British or Commonwealth units but the photos I've found of Sherman V's in France, Belgium and Holland, do show quite a lot of T74 or T54E2  T54E1 track was used.


To check out the types of track used on the original Sherman suspension:

 VVSS tracks

VVSS end connectors

I believe this Sherman is fitted with T74 T54E1 tracks:



This tank of the 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division has got T74 T54E1 fitted, I believe.



It is the 2nd scheme in the kit, BTW! ;)


And to muddy the waters some more, this one rides on T54E2 T54E1with extended end connectors, using sections of T62 and T74 T54E1track for additional armour!



The sign "Houthandel" visible above the turret of the first tank shows this photo was taken in Holland. At least I think so, since the style of the buildings looks Dutch to me...


I don't think the model would be "wrong" with the T62 track, but at the moment of writing I'm leaning more toward a set of aftermarket T54E2  or T74 T54E1...


Another piece of aftermarket I'm contemplating of buying is a metal barrel for the 75mm gun. The kit barrel is made up of two halves. Although I'm fairly certain that I can finish the barrel without any outside blemishes, the inside of the barrel may just be another matter, showing the seam...


The lower hull needs to be built up from plastic plates instead of having it pre-formed. I rather enjoyed that, it gave me some sense of actually welding a Sherman hull together... Anyway, after a half hour of cutting parts, cleaning up and assembling, I ended up with the basic lower hull:





The proper sequence to build up the lower hull is indicated with numbers 1 to 4.


Instead of plodding dutifully along on the smaller parts of the lower hull, I decided to jump to the front of the vehicle building up the differential housing. All Sherman V's were delivered with the 3-part transmission housing. If you spot a photo of one with a single-piece housing, it was either a repair or fitted after the war.


The differential housing also has a proper sequence but I'm not so sure if Tasca's sequence is the best... Step 1 is the top-bolt strip, no problem. As step 2 they want you to fit the towing eyes to the towing lugs before fitting the lugs to the housing. I didn't feel like fiddling with two of these tiny parts at the same time so I first glued the lugs to the housing and then clicked the eyes to the lugs. Boy was I happy with myself! I then glued the bolt flanges to each other and the assemblies to the housing. The last step was to fit the housings of the final drives to the differential housing... And noticed the seam between the final drives and the centre part.... It would seem that the best sequence should be: 1. Bolt strip, 2. Final drives (and filling the seam after drying), 3. Put the eyes on the lugs (Beware of the Carpet Monster!!!), 4. Lug/eye assemblies to diff housing, 5. Bolt flanges together and then to housing.


After a second half hour of modeling I scratched together I ended up with the differential housing:



Spot the seams?  :o



Anyway, the reason I skipped finishing the arse-end of the hull and started with the differential housing was the ever adult habit of mine to se "how it's going to look".


You see, before you know it, you've got something that starts to look decidedly Shermanoid:


Edited by Erik B.
I got feedback that I misidentified some tracks, so I edited the text.
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Got anymore info on this pic Erik?


I would be temped to get a Sherman V to do that!




Dave, I'm sorry to say that I don't know which unit this was from or even what town it is.... Around February-April 1945 it was fairly standard for Sherman V's to have this much of track armour. You also see it fairly often on Sherman Vc's (Fireflies). During these last months it were mostly Canadian units fighting in the northeastern Netherlands, the provinces of Overijssel, Drenthe, Groningen, Friesland. This URL might be a nice starting point, browse this website; interesting stuff: www.canadiansoldiers.com 


Final Phase


Bloody hell Erik, it's like the Discovery Channel but in print.  


Excellent research and generosity for sharing it too; I'm definitely following !


Thanks Grant, to be honest, about 95% percent was just using Google! ;)

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Got anymore info on this pic Erik?


I would be temped to get a Sherman V to do that!




A wider view is this:




Dave, I have asked around, these are vehicles of the Canadian Governor Generals Horse Guards Regiment.

The photo is taken in Arnhem, on the "Hommelseweg", corner "Staringplein" (Hommelse Road, corner of Staring Square). The building on the left is Café Atlanta.


Some fooling around with Google Streetview; this is how it looked, May 2014:






And where this place is located in Arnhem and the bridges:




The picture was made in April 1945 during Operation Anger:





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Love following this. I have all 3 of Zaloga's recent books on the armored warfare in NW Europe and the Sherman in NW Europe. great reference and build ideas.

I plan on getting those too, although the liberation of Holland was more of a British/Canadian/Polish party...

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A small update:


Earlier I showed a photo of the transmission housing with it's seams. After looking at the photo myself I could hardly make anything out, so I put the 105mm Macro-lens on the camera:




I think that makes it more visible. Mind you, you shouldn't remove the seams completely, a hint should stay visible as this photo from "Sherman Minutiae" shows:




The " ears" were welded to the outer parts.


Okay, I've been doing some things to the "arse-end" of the model. Step 6 shows you to drill some holes in the backplate.




If you look to step 8, you'll see that that is for the British version tow-pintle. Although I don't have very many Sherman photos, I didn't find them in that time frame and location to be on the vehicles, so I decided to skip the pintle.


The same goes for the holes to be drilled in the engine door in Step 7:




Parts E1 and E2 are British pattern smoke generators. I didn't see these too, although the Sherman that gets "FFI" written on it in France higher up this page, carries them. I don't know what blocks E22 on PE18 are, but since I didn't spot these either, they stayed off! ;)




Although this seems to be a Sherman I Hybrid (you can see it has the radial engine because the tank has the air filter housings on either side of the engine doors)




But have a look at the Irish Guards Shermans passing the KO'd Shermans in the first post, you won't see these items on them either.


The mesh was protected by armoured "slats" behind which the exhausts lived. Because I want to paint them separately, I haven't fitted the exhaust stubs yet. Only one poses on the right place to give you an idea!




As you can see the cut-outs in the mesh are for the exhaust stubs. This is the view when looking up from the engine doors (sans stubs):




The last thing was to fit the engine plates on the rear deck to get that characteristic Sherman Multibank rear deck. The instructions showed to drill two holes in the aft slim plate for the sledge-hammer. I didn't do that, since I plan on putting some stowage there. The rear plate did get some holes for the characteristic British stowage bin. 



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  • 2 months later...

Definitely following as I intend to build the "Ram at Cagny" diorama which has a Sherman Mk V (M4A4) from the 2nd Irish Guards. I'll be using Dragon kits (incl the zimmerit molded Porsche turret King Tiger) , but cannot find the right decals for the Mk V Sherman - BallyRaggett.


I have the other Tasca Shermans (Firefly and Easy Eight) and tempted to get the Mk V....

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  • 4 weeks later...

what an awesome start!


i just love research driven threads like this


out of interest (and I suppose having Son of Sherman book I should know, but...) what identifies the tank with all the track over it as a Sherman V?


the angle is quite shallow so you can't really (to my eye) readily see the enlarged gap between the suspension bogies...


it is a VERY cool looking tank though!


cheers again for a very entertaining read



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