Sherman M4A1 DD at Slapton Sands, England
- See http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/lsm/dhmg/cam003.html
Read After the Battle magazine issue no. 44 for the full story.
- With the M4A1DD at Slapton Sands and the one in Normandy, we have a
few structural details avilable on these elusive tanks. Can we agree
on some of the following features?
Hull: US DD's were based on the M4A1, divided between "narrow driver's
hatches" and "large driver's hatches". On the late hull there is no
rear cut out for the air cleaners, anybody have anythoughts on the
earlier hull? It would seem that the DD gear would fit better on the
"non-notched" rear hull, but it would be nice to confirm. I have
heard that the M4A1DD hulls had the cast in armor reinforcements, can
Turret: At least some of the turrets had the loader's escape hatch,
did all? Turrets all had the platform for the commander to steer the
vehicle while at sea. Were "high bustle" turrets used on the "large
DD gear: Other than changes made to fit the gear to the cast hull,
were there any other noticeable changes between US-built and
British-built DD gear? I ask because there seem to be more surviving
drawings of the British DD apparatus than the US.
I'm just trying to pin down details among fellow Shermanoholics for a
possible modeling project. (Actually I hope Resicast will still
release their M4A1DD).
- Hi Gary,
>With the M4A1DD at Slapton Sands and the one in Normandy,As you know, Firestone converted 350 M4A1(75)s to DDs, beginning in
>we have a few structural details avilable on these elusive tanks.
>Can we agree on some of the following features?
>Hull: US DD's were based on the M4A1, divided between
>"narrow driver's hatches" and "large driver's hatches".
January, 1944. They were rounded up from available stocks, & it just
so happened that a lot of M4A1s with "late" features were available.
>On the late hull there is no rear cut out for the air cleaners,From photos, the real hull overhang runs straight across on the large hatch
>anybody have any thoughts on the earlier hull?
DD at Slapton Sands, as well as the large hatch DD at Port-en-Bessin.
The small hatch DD at Port-en-Bessin has the "rear cut out for the air cleaners"
& a "rain gutter groove" in the center of the rear hull.
Its appearance would be similar to "Aunt Jemima 2" which is the M4A1
mine exploder depicted in the photos on pages 456 & 457 of
>I have heard that the M4A1DD hulls had the cast in armor reinforcements,Because of their condition, it's hard to say for certain without actually
>can anyone confirm?
touching them, but I believe the two DDs at Port-en-Bessin & the one at
Slapton Sands, all have cast in armor.
>At least some of the turrets had the loader's escape hatch, did all?The two DDs at Port-en-Bessin & the one at Slapton Sands, all appear
to have high bustle turrets with loader's hatches.
There is a also a low bustle turret with loader's hatch, sitting on a rock at
Port-en-Bessin. There's a marker on it that describes it as "DD M4 Tank Turret,
741st Tank Battalion, Torn off a tank deeply embedded in sand."
Not all of the US DDs had loader's hatches.
It doesn't appear that any of the British M4A2/M4A4 conversions had them.
Brett Phaneuf, the guy who surveyed the 741st TB DD wrecks for the
Discovery Channel shows, said that some of those still on the bottom in
Normandy do not have loader's hatches.
Some of the US conversions came from earlier M4A1 production runs
& had the usual small hatch hulls without cast in armor, & low bustle turrets
without loader's hatches.
Thanks to Andre for sending the update on the Italian website!
(Aside from the "new" DD, there are a lot of interesting Shermans in Italy.)
From the photos, the most I can see, is that it is a small hatch hull,
& the turret has the "cheek bulge" on the right side.
That DD looks to be in remarkably good shape.
It will make a great exhibit.
Maybe they will be able to decipher the dataplate?
Here's hoping some more photos of it will be posted so we can tell about
the turret & the hull sides & such.
>Other than changes made to fit the gear to the cast hull, were thereThe rear idlers on surviving examples appear to be noticeably different.
>any other noticeable changes between US-built and British-built DD gear?
Do you have any other insights, Gary?
Forgive me if I asked this before, but when you were researching DDs,
did Firestone send you any photos?
- Thanks for the comments Joe. It seems that more new stuff has come
out on DD's in the last couple years than was available since WW2!
As far as photos from Firestone: when I contacted them all they had
were some shots of a prototype for an M4A2E8 with DD. Yes an A2! The
photos went to Jim Loop's collection when I sold a bunch of stuff to
him in the mid '80's. Don't know their current ownership.