Ronsons, Zippos, Brew-ups, And Tommycookers: The M4 Sherman Tank And American Armored Development During World War II
Muller, John Michael
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In January 1945 the M4 Sherman tank became embroiled in bitter controversy for its inability to match-up with certain tanks of the German Army. Citing many deficiencies of the Sherman, angry American tankers vented their frustrations to the media during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945. Questioning the effectiveness of the Ordnance Department and U.S. Army doctrine that governed the tanks produced, members of the media demanded a congressional investigation why American tanks appeared to be substantially inferior in mobility, firepower, and protection in comparison to German tanks. High-level commanders tried to quell the controversy by touting the Sherman as a warwinning weapon and asserting that the heavily armed and armored tanks were few in number and possessed qualities ill-suited for the type of warfare waged by the U.S. Army. Postwar, some members of the Ordnance Department claimed that far better tanks would have been available to the Army as early as the Normandy invasion in the summer of 1944 had it not been for the interference of Army Ground Forces (AGF) and its commander General Leslie J. McNair. This thesis will reveal that while AGF played a role in the difficult situation experienced by American tankers, far more responsibility actually lay in the efforts of the Ordnance department and the failure of intelligence to properly assess the threat of new German vehicles.