Forces of Valor FOV801036A British M4A4 Sherman Firefly Mk. Vc Medium Tank - 24th Lancer, 13th/18th Hussars, 8th Armoured Brigade, Normandy, France, 1944 [Bonus Chrysler A57 Multi-Bank Engine] (1:32 Scale)
"The Firefly tank is an ordinary Sherman but, in order to accommodate the immense breech of the 17-pounder and to store its massive shells, the co-driver has been eliminated and his little den has been used as storage space. The flash is so brilliant that both gunner and commander need to blink at the moment of firing. Otherwise they will be blinded for so long that they will not see the shot hit the target. The muzzle flash spurts out so much flame that, after a shot or two, the hedge or undergrowth in front of the tank is likely to start burning. When moving, the gun's overlap in front or, if traversed, to the side is so long that driver, gunner and commander have to be constantly alert to avoid wrapping the barrel around some apparently distant tree, defenseless lamp-post or inoffensive house."
- Ken Tout, who served as a tank gunner and tank commander in the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry, Normandy, France, 1944
The Sherman Firefly was a World War II British variant of the American Sherman tank, fitted with the powerful British 17 pounder anti-tank gun as its main weapon. Originally conceived as a stopgap until future British tank designs came into service, the Sherman Firefly became the most common vehicle with the 17 pounder in World War II.
Though the British expected to have their own new tank models developed soon, British Major George Brighty championed the already-rejected idea of mounting the 17 pounder in the existing Sherman. With the help of Lieutenant Colonel Witheridge and despite official disapproval, he managed to get the concept accepted. This proved fortuitous, as both the Challenger and Cromwell tank designs experienced difficulties and delays.
After the problem of getting the gun to fit in the Sherman's turret was solved, the Firefly was put into production in early 1944, in time to equip Field Marshal Montgomery's forces for the Normandy landings. It soon became highly valued as the only British tank capable of defeating the Panther and Tiger tanks it faced in Normandy at standard combat ranges. In recognition of this, German tank and anti-tank gun crews were instructed to attack Fireflies first. Between 2100 and 2200 were manufactured before production wound down in 1945.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale replica of a British M4A4 Sherman Firefly Vc medium tank that was attached to 24th Lancer, 13th/18th Hussars, 8th Armoured Brigade then deployed to Normandy, France, during 1944. Comes with a removable Chrysler A57 multi-bank engine.
Release Date: July 2019
Historical Account: "If it Doesn't Fit, Force It" - The concept of fitting a 17 pounder gun into a Sherman tank had initially been rejected by the Ministry of Supply's Tank Decision Board. Although the British Army had made extensive use of the American-built Sherman tank, it was intended that a new generation of British tanks would replace it in the anti-tank role. First there was the Cromwell tank, which was expected to use the Vickers High Velocity 75mm gun; this gun would have had superior anti-tank performance to the US 75mm and 76mm guns that were mounted in the Sherman. The second was the A30 Challenger which was based on the Cromwell but with the even more powerful 17 pounder gun. These two tanks - and their successors, the Comet and the Centurion, which were already on the drawing board - were to have replaced the Sherman in British service, and so the prospect of spending time and money mounting a 17 pounder on the Sherman was not seen as desirable.