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Question for the Sherman gurus...
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:25 pm
Post subject: Question for the Sherman gurus...

Apart from the 17 pounder, what are the other (if any) definitive visual characteristics of a "Firefly"? I had thought that the additional flat steel plates in front of the driver and radio/bow gunner were unique to the Firefly, but apparently this is not the case. For Fireflies that had the 17lb. gun changed (or never actually installed) is there a visual cue that says "Yep, that was intended to be, or was at one time, a "Firefly"?

Thx in advance.
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tanker2010
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:51 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

The large box welded to the rear of the turret. Google can be your friend.

www.google.com/images?...25&bih=636
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Kurt_Laughlin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:56 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

They also had a blanked off hull MG mount.

KL
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:09 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

Thanks, I knew this was the place to ask!

What would constitute "blanked off", since many displays don't have a hull MG mounted. Got an example image of what to look for? I see some Google images of reputed fireflies with varying looking mounts.

I "Googled" the firefly and checked the wiki page, but I think our membership is more reliable, frankly.


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Tichenor
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:44 am
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

Dough

Not a Sherman expert, but I will give it a try.

Firefly's where only build on the M4, M4A1, or M4A4 chassis (I'm counting the M4 Composite as a M4). All where VVSS, dry stowage and 75mm hulls and turrets.
From the outside the box on the rear of the turret (where the radios where mounted in) is a give away, only Firefly's had this modification.

Most of the Firefly's used the bow gunners place as extra stowage for ammunition so there was a plate welded over the bow gun. However this is not 100% true for all Firefly's. Here in Belgium there are some (probably) post war rebuild Firefly's without the cover (the one in Leopoldsburg at the railway station for example).

There is ia different gunshield used on the Firefly's, it has a ring of bolts around the gun.

There shoud be a gun lock at the rear off the hull (left from the center).
Example without the plate but with the gun lock
Firefly with all the stuff on

Michel
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:14 am
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

Thanks, Tichenor...that's a big help! Smile
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tankbarrell
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:47 am
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

Fireflies were not built on M4A1.
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Tichenor
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:35 am
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

- tankbarrell
Fireflies were not built on M4A1

Oops indeed not on M4A1.
I explicid posted Composites are M4's, but somewhere in my mind they keep popping up as M4A1's Confused
And that UK Grizzly with fireflyturret is still chasing me Wink
Michel
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TrevorLarkum
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:11 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

As Tichenor says, you have to make a distinction between wartime and post-War Fireflies. Really only wartime conversions were true Fireflies but since the war the Firefly turret has appeared on Shermans that would never have converted during the war - particularly in the armies of Italy and Belgium. Text books and websites will describe the main characteristics - the mantlet, turret, blanked-off MG, etc. - and these can be seen in contemporary wartime pictures. However many (most?) surviving Fireflies will contradict these since they have been converted post-war on whatever convenient chassis were available. Occasionally you will even see a Firefly without a 17pdr turret. So overall the definition of what constitutes a Firefly is complicated.

These are the ones I have so far added to PTC - and probably not one is an original authentic wartime Firefly:

Preserved Sherman Firefly tanks

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Hanno_Spoelstra
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:25 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

- TrevorLarkum
However many (most?) surviving Fireflies will contradict these since they have been converted post-war on whatever convenient chassis were available. Occasionally you will even see a Firefly without a 17pdr turret. So overall the definition of what constitutes a Firefly is complicated.


To keep it simple I would suggest to stick the Firefly label to the wartime conversions.

Those converted post-war I would not designate Fireflies, if only because it is unsure whether they were actually converted and used post-war, or cobbled up from available hulls and turrets to put on display in museums and memorials.

Regards,
Hanno
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TrevorLarkum
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:50 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

Hanno, I would tend to agree. However, most collections don't publicise whether their Firefly is wartime or post-war. I think the best approach is to make a judgement based on what can be seen of the authentic Firefly features - hence the Museo Storico dei Carristi example on that linked page above, even though it doesn't have a 17pdr. There always will be grey areas, however, until collections start publishing (caring about?) the histories of their vehicles.

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Kurt_Laughlin
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:43 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

"Blanked off" is something like this:

data3.primeportal.net/...4_of_7.jpg

data.primeportal.net/t...20(17).JPG

KL
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claude_GILLONO
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:26 pm
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

The loader had a characteristic square turret roof hatch too.
HTH
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Hanno_Spoelstra
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:37 am
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

- TrevorLarkum
Hanno, I would tend to agree. However, most collections don't publicise whether their Firefly is wartime or post-war. I think the best approach is to make a judgement based on what can be seen of the authentic Firefly features - hence the Museo Storico dei Carristi example on that linked page above, even though it doesn't have a 17pdr. There always will be grey areas, however, until collections start publishing (caring about?) the histories of their vehicles.


Trevor, we don't need curators' descriptions, they are notoriously bad as they don't wear anoraks like we do Laughing

A Firefly has a 17-pounder gun with all the amenities described above. So if someone re-converted a Sherman Firefly into another configuration, then the tank loses the "Firefly" tag (which is a nickname more than a proper designation, anyway).


HTH,
Hanno
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Massimo_Foti
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:14 am
Post subject: Re: Question for the Sherman gurus...

We are walking a thin line here... Assume, just for the sake of the argument, that we have two tanks, one Sherman V and another Sherman V Firefly. Then an insane curator (without anorak!) swap the turrets among the two tanks, no another mods, just turret swap. Do we still have a "Firefly"? If yes, which of the two can be called Firefly?

Of course this is an extreme, unrealistic scenario, but it forces us to think about it.

From what I can see Trevor's stance is "the hull rules", if the hull came from a Firefly, Trevor will flag it as a Firefly, basically, in the scenario above, he will pick the hull.

Any categorization is, by its very own nature, more or less arbitrary. Since Trevor has the need to apply categories to his database, he has to make choices and enforce some rules.

Other may be facing even harder choices, for example, should we put Fireflies among american or british tanks? There no definitive answer to such a question...

Massimo
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