Dragon DRA60297 US M4A3E8(76)W Sherman Medium Tank - "Thunderbolt VII", 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"The only way you can win a war is to attack and keep on attacking, and after you have done that, keep attacking some more."
- General George S. Patton Jr., January 1945
The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly". Eleven different US plants manufactured six basic models of the Sherman, and by June 1944 over 49,234 battle-ready vehicles had been produced. While it was no match for the German Panther or Tiger tanks, the Sherman soldiered on, using its weight in numbers to wrest control of Europe from the Wehrmacht.
Early Shermans mounted a 75mm medium-velocity general-purpose gun. Later M4A1, M4A2, and M4A3 models received the larger T23 turret with a high-velocity 76mm gun M1, which traded reduced HE and smoke performance for improved anti-tank performance. The British offered the QF 17 pounder (76.2 mm) anti-tank gun with its significant armour penetration but a significant initial (later rectified) HE shortcoming to the Americans but the US Ordnance Department was working on a 90mm tank gun and declined. Later M4 and M4A3 were factory-produced with a 105mm howitzer and a new distinctive mantlet in the original turret. The first standard-production 76mm-gun Sherman was an M4A1 accepted in January 1944 and the first standard-production 105mm-howitzer Sherman was an M4 accepted in February 1944.
One of Creighton Abrams' tanks is featured in the latest Dragon Armor release. His Sherman M4A3E8(76)W is christened 'Thunderbolt VII'. Abrams fought in this tank while he was commander of the 37th Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division. He was an aggressive commander and his unit was frequently in the vanguard of the Third Army's advance across Northwest Europe. While the Sherman was outmatched by larger and heavily armed German tanks, Abrams used the reliability and speed of his own vehicles to overcome his adversaries. This 1:72 scale model is accurately crafted and beautifully finished. From the finely detailed HVSS to the .50-cal and .30-cal machine guns on the turret top, this model is a work of art. The 'Thunderbolt' markings have been expertly pad-painted. This is a classic model of an important tank of a historic commander - the original 'Abrams' tank! Sold Out!
Length: 3.25 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: June 2007
Original Issue Price:$21.99
Historical Account: "Nightfall's Cling" - On the morning of December 26th, 1944, as part of a concerted effort to relieve the 101st Airborne ("Screaming Eagles") defending the all-important crossroads town of Bastogne, the 4th Armored Division's ("Breakthrough") Combat Command Reserve (CCR) was ordered by Division HQ to link up with Combat Command B (CCB), which was still fighting for the town of Chaumont in southeast Belgium. Colonel Wendell Blanchard, commander of CCR, called together Lt. Colonel Creighton Abrams of the 37th Tank Battalion, and Lt. Colonel George L. Jaques of the 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion. He told them to attack and seize the village of Chaumont, which was just 3 miles from Bastogne. From there, they were to advance in earnest up the main road, break through the German cordon, and make contact with the beleaguered 101st, which was rapidly running out of ammunition.
After capturing Chaumont, the two commanders initially planned to attack the town of Sibret, but because it was so heavily defended, they instead chose to assault the nearby village of Assenois, which was located on a secondary road but still provided access to Bastogne. With artillery firing in support, the leading element of CCR, comprised of three Shermans followed by a halftrack full of infantry, then two more Shermans, stormed the village. Abrams' tanks blasted their way through the obstacles, while dismounted infantry mopped up the remaining strongpoints. After eliminating several enemy soldiers laying Teller mines along the road, Abrams command linked up with elements of the 101st at 1700 hours. The siege had been lifted and with it came the collapse of Hitler's "Wacht am Rhein" operation.