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ajmac

Firefly Project

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What a hook!

Sadly I am neither in possession of or have located a Sherman Firefly to restore, but I would like to know who has.

There is a Firefly turret with cut off 17Pdr at the Wheatcroft Collection and a VC in Belgium that is (was) regularly seen driving around. Do we know of any other runners in the UK? It is all we need to have a HMVF 'troop' :) (Adrian, Jim, ****, Firefly Owner)

I know ideally an original VC would be restored, but 65 years later I am confident no one would complain about a home made VC so long as it is faithfully reproduced using an M4A4 (most common) and original Firefly turret.

 

NB: **** = Person or persons name escapes me ATM.

Edited by ajmac
Crediting the Dutch

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There are currently no restored Fireflies in the UK, discounting Bovingtons. There is the Belgium Army Museums Vc and a presumably privately owned Ic hybrid on the continent, both running/restored.

 

There are two Vc restorations going on at the moment in the UK, not hard to guess whose but at this moment in time, neither have a multibank engine ready.

 

There is the Grizzlyfly that appears at Beltring and Mons but that doesn't count.

 

The Firefly turret with cut off 17 pdr is currently at mine for work but will be ready to return soon.

 

I like the idea of a proper troop!

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Alastair,

 

I recon the number of usable Firefly turrets + guns equal the number of Firefly hulls left, albeit scattered around the world so the difficulty is in getting them together.

 

a presumably privately owned Ic hybrid on the continent, both running/restored.
Yes, that IC Hybrid is privately owned by a Belgian collector.

 

There are two Vc restorations going on at the moment in the UK, not hard to guess whose but at this moment in time, neither have a multibank engine ready.

There´s another under restoration on the continent, the engine is still giving headaches so it might be repowered by a twin diesel setup.

 

There is the Grizzlyfly that appears at Beltring and Mons but that doesn't count.!

Grizzlyfly? Oh, you mean that Firely! :D

 

The Argentinean Fireflies are most certainly an option, but do bear in mind they have been re-engined and re-gunned: http://web.inter.nl.net/users/spoelstra/g104/ra.htm

 

- Hanno

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Whilst a Firefly troop would be clever, bear in mind that this was not always the norm. The OrBat (Order of Battle) for a Sherman Squadron varied. Some regiments established four troops of four tanks; others established three troops of five (sparing up a tank, maybe for FHQ for example, or catering for a local shortage of one tank or for an extra officer or senior NCO on strength to command another troop).

 

Factor in the Fireflies. Some regiments issued one Firefly and three Shermans per troop; others issued the four Fireflies to a single troop. I see issues with this: rounds per tank for the 17pdr were extremely limited due to their huge size. A troop of four Fireflies would not be well-armed in a prolonged contact, especially with no hull MG.

 

I am not saying you cannot have a Firefly troop, but I'd recommend you do your research and mark them for a regiment which actually deployed its Fireflies in Firefly-only troops

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Off the top of my head, I can't think of another running M4A4 hull other than mine or Jims in the UK. Ken Lyons is doing one in NI but he is fitting a GAA. The Copelands have an M4A2 which has at least a welded hull but all the others that spring to mind are M4A1s in various guises.

 

So a proper Sherman V based troop might have to wait a little while!

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You were correct Adrian I was suggesting the normal Normandy 'troop' of four tanks: three 75s (Shermans or Cromwells) and a 17 pdr Sherman..... I'm sure the Sherman 'troop' is going to be much more likely than a Cromwell 'troop' any time soon!

 

Talking reality 1944 in service conditions.... were Shermans issued to the British Army based on mark (i.e. if you already had M4A2s you would ONLY be re-stocked with M4A2s) or was it rather luck of the draw what arrived from the beach?

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Generally yes, they were issued by type to units but not always! The obvious problem came when issuing Fireflies to a unit equipped with Sherman III, M4A2 as there was no Sherman IIIc and so units had a mix of diesel and petrol vehicles.

 

According to research by Peter Brown, the following were held in June 1944.

 

11th AD Sherman V and Vc

Gds AD Sherman V and Vc

4 AB Sherman II and Vc

8AB Sherman II DD, III and Vc

27AB Sherman III, V DD and Vc

30 AB Sherman V and V crab

33AB Sherman I, II and Vc

1TB Sherman I and II

 

4 Cdn AD Sherman V and Vc

2 Cdn AB Sherman III, V DD and Vc

 

Polish AD Sherman V, Ic and Vc

 

I think the 8AB Sherman II DD should be III DD.

 

Later on, I suspect the mix became greater, certainly the number of 17 pdr tanks increased. There were also a few OP and ARVs scattered throught the formations, usually of a similar fuel to the gun tanks but not exclusively.

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Education. Thanks fellas.

 

So have I got this right. The ex Yugo "Firefly" type thing at Beltring is a Grizzlyfly??? Looking forward to clarification from thems wot knows...

 

MB

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Hi , I think Hanno is refering to mine with Twin diesel , no My Firefly is an M4 , so the orriginal Radial is going back in . My M4A4 is a 75mm version , just a bit newer than Adrian`s . It was built 9th of january 43. The other Dutch army German muzzle brake M4A4 will also be restored .

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Education. Thanks fellas.

 

So have I got this right. The ex Yugo "Firefly" type thing at Beltring is a Grizzlyfly??? Looking forward to clarification from thems wot knows...

 

MB

 

Not quite. The Grizzlyfly as I call it is a Canadian built M4A1 known as a Grizzly. About forty were imported from Portugal by Ian McGregor in the mid 80's. The owner has modified his to resemble a Firefly and although M4A1 was never used as a base for Firefly conversions, there is a properly converted Grizzly at Camp Borden in Canada, seemingly a prototype that never developed beyond that stage.

 

The ex-Yugo tanks are all M18s and M36s with the M36s being re-engined with T54 engines.

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Maurice,

Could you post a photo of each as they stand at the moment? If that isn't being nosey!

 

I understand that any mark of Sherman could be suffix'd with a 'c' according to the book, but I have only seen photo evidence of Sherman 1 hybrid's and V's in NW Europe.

 

I'd love to get some interior shots of a restored Firefly, from reading field accounts they were a bugger to get along with - due to the size of the breach in that cramped little turret.

Edited by ajmac

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Only Sherman I and V were converted. Both early and late (hybrid) M4s were converted. A small number of M4A3s were converted for the US Army in Italy but I don't think they were issued for service.

 

For the Borden Firefly:- http://ecifirefly.com/walkaround/walkaround-index.html

 

For the Belgium Army Museums:- http://tankfreak.tripod.com/id2.html

Edited by Adrian Barrell

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Rex is in the middle of restoring his one, we were down there last Friday.. sorry can't say any more or publish any photos:coffee:

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I know where there were 6 up to recently.

complete

with later paint wearing off, revealing the original markings and numbers.

showed photo's to two dealers

they both said the country was to dangerous

i'll look for the pictures

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Too dangerous!

More like the finances didn't add up. Generally the most dangerous countries are also the most corrupt and it is easier to bypass the 'system', I spent a good proportion of last year in Burma, the Niger Delta and Equatorial Guinea :sweat:ohh Colombia too!

If all goes well I'll be off to Northern Iraq in the Autumn but that is irrelevant.... which country were these 6 Fireflies located in? Pakistan by chance?

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Here are some photos from the net (sorry if they are yours).

You will note that the Argentinean Fireflies can be seen pre and post retrofit (105mm Gun) and both M4 and M4A4 based.

If you have a sharp eye you will also spot that the Firefly for sale in Holland could well be one of the retrofitted Argentinean Fireflies, note the muzzle break.

Oh and the infamous GrizzlyFly too:-D

Edited by ajmac

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The last photo was taken in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2004 - it's still possible guys!

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I hope people don't think I'm taking the p**s about the grizzlyfly, Mark can do what he wants with his own tank, I just feel the true situation should be known to avoid a myth being taken as fact.

 

Allthough about 40 Grizzlies came in to the UK from Portugal, out of a total production run of 188, very few seem to have survived here. I can only think of nine off the top of my head.

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The last photo was taken in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2004 - it's still possible guys!

 

But that's no Firefly! M4A1 regunned with a 76 in a M34A1 mount. nice find though!

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You were correct Adrian I was suggesting the normal Normandy 'troop' of four tanks: three 75s (Shermans or Cromwells) and a 17 pdr Sherman..... I'm sure the Sherman 'troop' is going to be much more likely than a Cromwell 'troop' any time soon!

 

Talking reality 1944 in service conditions.... were Shermans issued to the British Army based on mark (i.e. if you already had M4A2s you would ONLY be re-stocked with M4A2s) or was it rather luck of the draw what arrived from the beach?

 

I have a book buried deep in an archive from around 1980, I suspect it was "Shermans in Action". Because to the crews all Shermans were functionally identical, there was NO reason to sort Shermans by mark and that in fact Shermans were issued as they became available and it was entirely normal to find mixed marks within a troop.

 

That said, when equipping a regiment, I imagine they'd get a job lot of whatever had just come off the convoy, which would have been the latest version, but as individual vehicles broke down or were battle damaged, they'd be replaced with whatever was available, be it from a base workshop, a vehicle depot or wherever.

 

I have in my mind an image of a courtyard in Italy with a Sherman troop with the caption indicating just how disparate equivalent Shermans could be side by side. One of these days I'll get all those books out of that glory hole.

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I should have done a more detailed caption for the Pakistan photo, I understood it wasn't a Firefly, just thought it was a nice find. The point being that even today it's possible to find a reasonably complete Sherman that isn't modified beyond recognition :-)

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