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Yet another Sherman question....


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Ok when you see WW2 Sherman's, festooned with spare steel track links as extra armor, are the tracks affixed by simply welding the tips of the end connectors to the hull or is there another method, like bolts or standoffs welded in place that the track hangs on?


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your post interests me hugely for a number of reasons.


I am in one role a welder and fabricator, in another role an MV person.


I always try to ask myself, "If I had been asked to do this back then with their technology and their need for a bang for the buck how would I have done it"?


So, let us take this apart step by step.


Firstly, the assertion that the end connectors were welded to the hull, show me a detail part of that photo where that happens?


The end connectors, if I read you correctly, hold the pins that unite the track sections. The track is shown upside down against the vehicle, the guide horns that the road wheels align to are the point of contact. That also makes for a

'stand off" type armour whereby the round explodes on the expendadble track sections and not against the hull and thereby has value.


To cut off all the guide horns to bring the end connectors in contact with the hull is a labour that no sane person would have done, by my reasoning.


Far more likely is that the guide horns themselves are the point of contact against the hull and they were the item that were tack welded to the hull. one weld per guide horn on either side about every 5th track link would have held it on nicely with minimal burn damage inside and a quick job.


If you have weld marks check them against the guide horn spacing, that will be the proof in the pudding.


I have been wrong before, I am not a WW2 kind of chap, I am just trying to bring reason to a very good question that I thunk has gone off the rails.


My 2 cents worth, I am not trying to offend just trying to out the truth by reason and proof.



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The guide horns are integral with the end conectors on this type of Sherman track. The track links themselves are flat on the inside for the wheels to run on. The end connectors are retained on the track pins by wedge bolts that bolt through the middle of the end conector from the outside, held by a nut on the face of the connector that the sprocket drives - hence the extra cut-outs between the sprocket teeth. The wedge bolts engage with flats machined in the pins but not right at the ends so the end conector is both retained on the pin and prevented from rotation around the pin. Thus when the wedges are in the track has a natural curve of about 5ft radius. To flatten out or bend round the sprocket the rubber bush between the link and pin must flex.


In John's photo you can see that some wedges are missing and some end connectors fitted horns outside, as without doing this it would be very hard to flatten the track enough to weld it in place. One thing that concerns me is that the end connectors/guide horns are made of a steel that becomes like glass if welded. They must certainly not be heated to remove them when stuck on the pins. This must have made welding them to the hull a rather unreliable fixing method though I doubt if anyone cared. There may well be additional bits of steel bar hooked between the links that we can't see. As the armour that they are welded to is 1 1/2" thick minimum I doubt that the inside of the hull would even get warm from the welds still less suffer paint burning.



Edited by David Herbert
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Some excellent points raised, as the end connector on the VVSS track has an integral track guide, this is the part I was referring to as being welded to the hull, and I did not notice the flipped over guides in the picture, which allow the track to lay flat or flatter as it were. You would think that stick welding on the armor plate with such little point of contact as the point of the end connector would be hit and miss in holding what would be very heavy steel track, probably easier when welding on individual blocks. I have some spare steel chevron track and am tempted to give it a go welding it on my M4A3 as it comes together...I have always been fascinated with the in service pictures of field expedient up-armouring.

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The conectors on the survivors have been crudely welded with Stainless Steel , that is wy you still can see the marks on the Hull , s they are the grinded shine spots between the rusty sides . on the surviving ones on the sides every single conector had been welded on , by the look of the pattern . Also if you look up pictures from the Sherman VC from Amersfoort , you can see in the older pictures that it still had the tracks on , and now only the welds are there to be seen .

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One can only guess that the psychological effect of this additional armour must have outweighed the additional protection offered by the material placed on the hull.


As an aside, I'd always wondered how additional stowage was affixed to CVRT hulls until it came to fitting some on one of our CVRTs. Turned out it was very easy to just drill and tap into the (aluminium) armour plate...

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On the front Sherman on a fair few of the track pads there is 3 dimples 2 above 1 below the rectangle bent bar that is factory welded to the track pad face for grip.i have not seen this feature before and the tracks running on the road in picture non showing has this feature. Could this have some thing to do with how they are attached?

the Sherman behind the strip of tracks on driver side has the dimples on every track face? The middle strip is mounted face to hull could this be so climbing up is better for the crew? Boots getting purchase on horn guides?

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Why didn't Shermans use side screens like some of the German tanks did.

With the ever present panzerfaust and -schrek danger it would have given adequate protection.

Or were the tracks on the side basically the same thing but with added protection against anti tank grenades?


See here for German examples;


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Thanks all, this has been most helpful, our M4A3 was destined for the scrap pile and came along with the Jumbo for parts. But as I have said before, I figured too much left to scrap...will it ever be a 100 point restoration? ....Uhm...No! But it will make a neat looking piece, especially with some in theater style up-armoring...and hopefully I will never be able to answer the question if it really works as supplemental armor against rocket attack...besides I don't think the local constabulary has access to panzerfausts.

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