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HVSS Shermans in NW Europe 44-45?


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Appart from the V8 engined M4A3E8 are there any other confirmed types using the wide tracks that made it into front line operations before the wars end? I noticed the Belgian Tank Museums M4A1 HVSS 76mm and wondered if it was suited to its wartime appearance. Secondly, why Bovington display an M4A2 HVSS 76mm at the shows as representative of the type during WW2 is beyond me, having said that they do have a regular 75mm Sherman on the wish list, so perhaps they do have a plan.

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Stupid Question time!


What does HVSS stand for?


Not a stupid question at all but HVSS is the ONLY correct term to describe the variant of Sherman family vehicles with that type of suspension.


There seems to be common idea that adding "E8" to any Sherman designation is correct. It is not. The ONLY Shermans that have E8 in their designations were a very small number of M4A3E8s that were built to prove what became HVSS. They were an experimental project (oddly enough the eighth one, oh, and the E stands for 'experimental project'). There certainly were never any M4A1E8 or M4A2E8 built, but any M4A1,A2,orA3 built after a certain date were fitted with HVSS. The M4A4 was discontinued before HVSS came out.


There were crudely speaking two generations of Sherman: the earlier ones with small hull hatches and the later (known as 'Ultimate series') with big hull hatches. These later tanks were somewhat heavier and what had been not very good bogie wheel tyre life got much worse. This was much more of a problem than the added ground pressure which could be addressed with extended end connectors. There were various projects to redesign the original suspension (VVSS) and the chosen one was introduced into Sherman production as an improvement, not an optional extra, completely replacing VVSS as the parts became available.


In the manuals the tanks are ALWAYS described as 'with HVSS' or not. NEVER as E8 or 'easy eight' which seems to have no military origin that I can find and I have only ever seen in modeling orientated books. I hope this clarifies the subject.



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Yes but the M4A4s were never built with HVSS. They were also never built with radial engines, Cummins diesels or 105mm guns. Or with huge wheel excavators or logging yarders mounted on top. I think that it would not be right to refer to an Israeli 105mm, HVSS, Cummins engined 'Super Sherman' as an M4A4 even if that is what it's hull started life as.


Similarly I do not think that the fact that a very large number of publications over the 40 years that I have been involved with Shermans have wrongly refered to M4A3E8 etc. makes that a correct designation for any but the very few experimental prototypes.


But that is just my opinion !



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beside the M4A3(76) HVSS and the M4(105) HVSS / M4A3(105) HVSS, we know that few M4A3(75)W HVSS participated to some fighting actions between May 6 and May 8, 1945, in Czechoslowakia. This is described there :



"The transitional nature of the introduction of changes suggests that a few Fisher M4A3(75)s made before January 1, 1945 were equipped with HVSS. At least one December 1944 example, USA 30115711, was photographed. "Hardboiled" is thought to have served with the 16th Armored Division which entered Pilsen, Czechoslovakia on May 6, 1945. It is another M4A3(75)W that was factory built with an earlier D50878 low bustle turret recycled from the retriever program"


we also know that in September 1944, Chrysler-made M4(105) Shermans started to be equipped with the new Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS), so they surely participated to WW2 combats in ETO.


We know that M4A1(76) HVSS were shipped to ETO and arrived there in April 1945. M4A1(76)s "with 23 inch tracks" are specifically listed as having been 'allocated' to the various US Armies around the middle of April 1945. However, we continue to search for a WW II "combat shot" of such a tank, which didn't show until today.



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