M4 Sherman – ‘Berry’s Bastards’, 740th Tank Battalion, Stoumont

The M4 Sherman was the main workhorse of the Allied armies during World War II. With around 50,000 units built of different versions – M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A3E3, M4A3E8, M4A4 mainly – and armed with turrets with 75mm and 76mm guns, this medium tank proved to be a reliable and cheap to produce, if we compare it to the much more sophisticated, armored and better armed German tanks. The total production of Shermans during World War II, including all developed versions, was around 50,000 tanks produced. The Red Army alone received about 4,000 units under the Lend-Lease Agreement signed with the Americans. Meanwhile, the production of all Panzer IV variants was around 13,300 vehicles and the Panzer V Panther, 6,000 vehicles.

This M4 Sherman is part of Company C of the 740th Armored Battalion during the Battle of the Bulge. This unit known as Berry’s Bastards was originally equipped with special unarmored M3 CDL Searchlight tanks and was to be stationed in the area when Operation Wacht am Rhein began. They were quickly refitted with what they found at the Sprimont depot and sent to the front to plug holes. The tanks they carried were a mixture of all kinds of hastily repaired Shermans, including DDs used in Normandy with the skirts removed and British M4s, and even some M10 and M36 tank destroyers.

Berry’s Bastards held off the advance of Kampgruppe Peiper at Stoumont station, which they pursued in retreat until their withdrawal and defeat at La Gleize on December 23, 1944.

In numerous photographs of the first days of this battle, period in which it had not yet begun to snow, it is possible to appreciate the very dirty state of the German and American vehicles, mainly due to the constant rains that united to the passage of great columns of armored vehicles by the bad roads of the region, quickly caused enormous and deep mudslides. The English writer Michael Reynolds in his books on the Ardennes speaks of tanks with the barge completely sunk in the mud.

The M4 Sherman in scale model

The plastic model kit in 1/72 scale of the M4 Sherman is from Trumpeter. It includes wheels with and without spokes and rubber tracks. It also allows you to assemble each of the undercarriage blocks piece by piece or in quick assembly mode in one piece, more aimed at wargamers who do not want to waste time assembling models.

Although at first glance it is not easy to appreciate, the inclination of the front panel of the barge makes a tighter angle than in the original model. It is a detail that once the tank is assembled and on the gaming table, does not bother too much if one is not very demanding.

Comparativa superior de lo modelos de M4 Sherman de Heller y Trumpeter

Stowage for M4 Sherman

The ideal place to put stowage on the M4 Sherman is on top of the upper engine covers. For this time, I glued some cuttings of plastic leftovers of different sizes and thicknesses, with a jerrycan -a gas can- at one end. The whole set was covered with a thin sheet as a canvas made with Tamiya epoxy putty. With the surplus, I modeled a small additional blanket and we backpacks and bags for the turret. Once dry, I added another small canvas in green putty to cover some trimmings that I did not like that were too visible.

Detalle izquierdo de la estiba del M4 Sherman

Detalle derecho de la estiba del M4 Sherman

Detalle trasero de la estiba del M4 Sherman

Painting of M4 Sherman

The tank is airbrushed in US Olive Drab with extreme wear, due to the difficult terrain of the Ardennes during the harsh autumn and winter months of 1944.

El M4 Sherman envejecido

 

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