Hi Roy & Hanno,
Have any of your correspondents reported the serial number
of the M4 at Fort Wayne?
I was denied access to the tank when I went up to Detroit to
look at it, so wasn't able to check if its serial number is 44272,
which would be the corresponding s/n for USA 30100506.
Unless they built more than one M4(105) pilot, it seems highly
likely that it is indeed 30100506 as pictured at the top left of
page 261 of Hunnicutt's "Sherman." If so, it was an early
production M4 Composite, built in September, 1943.
I strongly suspect it was originally built as a small hatch composite,
& the big hatch front casting was retrofitted on there when Chrysler
put together the M4(105) & other pilots for the "ultimate design"
M4 series. (One of the ultimate design improvements was bigger
drivers' hatches.) The M4A3(76) pilot, USA 3054892, was another
"oddball test vehicle." It's pictured at the bottom right of page 261.
It was originally built by Ford as a small hatch M4A3(75), & you
can see that it had a big hatch casting retrofitted to it.
On the other hand, going by the reg. number, the M4A2(76) pilot,
USA 3035448, was originally built with small hatch welded drivers'
hoods, & had a 47 degree glacis welded to the front of it.
For a short time, it was intended to add a big hatch cast front end to
all welded hull Shermans, but Fisher came up with a simpler, more
elegant solution by increasing the glacis armor & changing the angle
to 47 degrees.
A few months back, someone posted some pix of a small hatch
M4 Composite seen on a movie set in Iceland. A guy working
there had a look at it, & reported the serial number is 44255.
That would make it about the 27th production Chrysler M4.
I don't think they built more than about 60 of them before
switching over to the big hatch front castings, so that's a pretty
rare surviving Sherman.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 8:54 AM
Subject: [G104] M4 Composite with a 105mm howitzer, Detroit, USA
> This is USA 30100506, the M4(105) pilot built by the Detroit Tank Arsenal.
> Production versions were based on the large hatch welded hull.
> Op Wo, 30 november, 2005 2:10 pm schreef Roy Chow:
>> I was sent a series of photos of an M4 Composite with a 105mm howitzer
>> turret, residing at Fort Wayne in Downtown Detroit. Look here:
>> What do you think the likelihood that this is actually a factory job
>> (versus a postwar mating or an oddball test vehicle)?