M4A2 "General Sherman" in USSR
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The award sheet:
"...At night of March 13, 1944 the 2nd lieutenant A.V.Sivakov followed his regiment's route on his M4A2 and was informed about presence of enemy in Yavkino village. Nevertheless, he had decided to break through enemy's village and come up his regiment. On his tank he run into village with maximum speed and had opened fire. Showing an excellent experience he maneuvered in village, so Germans has thought about 10 Russian tanks in a village and quickly retreated.

Next day the Germans have reinforced and launched a counter-attack. During the battle the M4A2 falled into the anti-tank ditch. After that the Germans approached and offered to surrender. However, Sivkov opened fire with a cry "Soviet Communists never surrendering!". About ten German soldiers were killed, the rest have retreated, but Sivkov opened fire with a antiaircraft machine-gun. When he run out of ammo he blowed up himself and his tank."

Recommended: must be awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Commander of the 212th Independent Guards Tank Regiment,
Guards Major Barbashin.



The 212th Independent Guards Tank Regiment of the 4th Guard Tank Corps was equipped with M4A2 "General Sherman" tanks.

In 20th-30th in USA the importance of tanks was underestimated despite the several excellent developments projects.

At the beginning of the Second World War, USA did have about 400 tanks (among them there were 18 medium tanks). The results of the German blitzkriegs in Poland, Low Countries and France have made a flurry in American military circles, and contributed the some iportant steps to be made to mechanize US Army in a shorters time.

In 1941, the manufacture of the M3 "General Lee" medium tank has begun. The main armament of this tank was the 75 mm gun that had a limited horizontal pointing angle ±16°. Tnak's hull and chassis had several disadvantages. Tank's silhouette was too big whice makes it an excellent target.




Soviet M4A2(76)W "General Sherman". Vienna. April 1945.

Of course, the Americans knew all these disadvantages and quickly begun develop a new, more advanced tank. In September 1941, the first prototype named "T6" was tested at the Aberdeen proving ground.

The very first production batch of new tanks had begun in November. Later, in US Army this tank was named M4 "General Sherman", while in UK Army it was called simly "Sherman".

All modification of the "General Sherman" (M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A4 and M4A6) were quite similar and, except different armament, they did have minor differences. Visually, the only M4A1 could be quickly distinguished because of cast hull. The type of engine was a major difference between those models. The M4A2 with diesel engine shiped to the USSR as a part of lend-lease agreement. The Americans used those tanks in marina units only since there were no problem with diesel fuel.

During the war, the USSR got the 183 Shermans with HVSS suspension bar.

When the war was over on the Far East, some lend-lease Shermans M4A2 (76)W HVSS were rebuilt to evacuation tractors. Their turrets were removed, the opening was covered by steel plates on which the original Sherman commander's cupola was mounted.




THe Sherman on the Poklonnaya hill. Moscow. 1999. (P.Zaika)


THe Sherman on the Poklonnaya hill. Moscow. 1999. (P.Zaika)

The tractors were equipped with motorised winch. Most of those tractors were distributed to the repairing rail trains of the Northern Caucasus and Ukraine where they did use till the end 60th. Some vehicles could be found in Ukraine even in 80th, while Morozovskaya rail station (Northern Caucasus) possessed one Sherman used until 1996!

According to some sources, in the Russian Federation there is a pair of Sherman tractors still remains in running condition. In 1989, one of them were added to the museum of the Northern Air Forces. It was presented by one of the "Stavropol" rail station of the Northern Caucasus Railway, on which it was used before. By the way, the "Stavropol" had another three Sherman tractors. The last was removed from service in 1995.

In November 1997, the Sherman of the Morozovskaya rail station was gifted to the Central Museum of the Armed Forces in Moscow. The museum now plans repair it and restore to the original Sherman tank (with turret).



Sources:

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