THE M3 4 SERIES
Production was authorized when the T-6 was standardized as the M4 Medium tank in October 1941. Schedules called for 1000 deliveries per month during 1942, from no fewer than 11 car- and locomotive plants and engineering works. A second government tank arsenal. which was run by Fisher. was built at Grand Blanc, Michigan, in 1942. The initial production models utilized a Wright radial engine, but the aircraft industry had a far greater demand for this engine and for the manufacturing plant's production capacity, and so alternate powerplants were sought. These included both the petrol and the diesel car/truck engines.
In combat, 25mm (0.98 in) applique armour was added to the side of the upper hull to protect the ammunition stowage. The tendency for the M4 Sherman is internally stowed ammunition to catch fire when the tank was hit led to the introduction of wet stowage for ammunition. 'W' was used to indicate this, as in M4A3(75)W. Thirty-eight gallons of water mixed with antifreeze and an anti-corrosion product called 'ammudamp' were needed for 100 shells.
The GMC diesel-powered M4A2 medium tank went to the USSR. It was similar to the M4A1; 8053 were armed with 75mm (2.95 in) guns and 3230 with 76mm (2.99 in) guns. Of these, the USSR received 2007 75mm (2.95 in) armed tanks and 2095 76mm (2.99 in) M4A2s. The Soviet tank crews disliked the M4A2 with its thin armour and high silhouette. The M4A3 was the most produced version, and many of these were supplied to the British (as the Sherman IV), while 1386 went to Soviet forces.
THE WHITE MOTOR CAR COMPANY
The White Motor Company was an important American truck manufacturer before the war. To meet the Soviet Army is requirement for a high-speed scouting vehicle, the company offered an armoured version of one of its commercial truck chassis designs. This was tested as the T-7, accepted in 1938, and standardized as the M3 Scout Car in June 1939. Nearly 21,000 were built and 3340 of the M3s, widely known as the White Scout Car, were supplied to the USSR.
The White Motor Company was also responsible for producing the first US-designed half-track used during the war. Based on a White commercial truck chassis, it had the body of the M3 Scout Car. This was tested as the T-14 in 1939 and standardized as the Half-Track Car M2 and the Half-Track Personnel Carrier M3 in September 1940.
The USSR would eventually receive 342 M2 Half-tracks, 2 M3s, 421 M5s, and 413 M9s. The most popular of these was the M17 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage, which was armed with quad 0.50 calibre (12.7mm) Brownings, and the M15A1 armed with a 37mm (1.46in) automatic cannon and twin Brownings. The USSR was sent 1000 M 17s and 100 M15A1s. These vehicles were very popular during World War II because they had no indigenous armoured self-propelled antiaircraft gun. The United States also supplied 5 M5 Light Tanks, 2 M24 Light Tanks, 1 M25 Heavy Tank, and 115 M31 ARVs. In addition co the receiving the half-track based mechanized guns, the USSR was sent 650 T48 Tank Destroyers (TD), 5 M18TDs and 52 M10 TDs.
The Soviet Army pressed into service many captured enemy vehicles. These included SruG III assault guns, which were used as a replacement for either the SU-76 or SU-122. An interesting modification of the PzKpfw Ill, many of which were captured at Stalingrad, was as an SU-76 assault gun. A total of 200 of these vehicles were fielded by the Red Army during the war. By the end of the war, so many PzKpfw V Panther ranks had been captured that they equipped entire Soviet tank units.