>mine does have the two piece rear plate but it is all 1" thick. I havn't seen an M4A4 with two different thickness plates. I assumed the change to 1 1/2"
>coincided with the change to a single piece.
Interesting, Adrian. Looking at the pix I took of #5457 up in Canada, the 2-piece upper rear hull plate does look a little thin... This is contrary to the military characteristics as defined in the OCM, which calls for "Sides & rear - 1 1/2 inches minimum." There are lots of photos & reports about the T6 cast hull pilot fabricated at APG, but I didn't come across a single photo of the T6 welded hull pilot done at Rock Island Arsenal, & Mr. Hunnicutt didn't have any in his book. I wonder if they built a bunch of the early welded hulls with only an inch of armor on the rear?? I visited an M4 down in Florida that had a 1/2 inch plate welded on to the rear, in the same way as was done on the M4A3E2s. I recorded the serial number of that as 1765. That would indicate an April, 1943 ALCO built M4. There's another M4 with a similar look at Ft. Benning, & that one has the same thing. No serial number available on that at present. A couple of us were wondering if the additional plate was applied at the time of production to bring the rear up to the correct armor basis?
>Mine was on a different part of the range and the markings were easy to find under the garish paint! #5271, USA 3057081, T-146309.
Adrian, by any chance did you find any traces of shipping code on yours? Was thinking maybe T-146309 might have been part of the September 1942 LL allocation of 329 M4A4s. The Shipping Order No was S.O. 3-G-1025, S.R. 1396-G. In late Nov. 1942, 20 of these were given special attention at Chester Tank Depot as regards sealing for shipping. The US Ord. Serial Numbers are in the same neighborhood as yours, & the T-Numbers ran consecutively from 146218 thru 146237. You can see some pix of a couple of them in "Images of War." They look like they were factory new. The voyage of one ship, the Diomed, took 18 days through rough seas, & it was said the ship went through the Atlantic rather than over it. Nonetheless, the tanks were inspected at Hatfield & Chilwell in December, & the sealing experiment was pronounced a success.
Thanks for the info about Switzerland, Andre!
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