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Where is the SN on a Sherman?
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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the_shadock
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Location: Normandy, France
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:28 pm
Post subject: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

Hello,

I'm doing a little trip next week and I will be able to see some sherman tanks that are exposed in France. I don't know where to find the serial number. Also , what information could I easily get from these tanks that would be useful for you, and where could I find it?

Pierre-Olivier

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soldat_ryan @ hotmail.com

Looking for photos of Sherman manufacturer's plates
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:50 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

Most of the time you can find them on the rear tow lugs/points, assuming they havent been painted over several times.

Neil

From the Sherman register:
web.inter.nl.net/users...serial.htm

M4 and M4A1
The tank serial number is only stamped on a plate attached to the lower left hull plate.

M4A2
The tank serial number is stamped on the two rear tow points.

M4A3
Apart from on the data plate, the Ford built M4A3 has its serial number and Ordnance serial number stamped on the rear hull plate. The numbers are stamped on the right side, the smaller of the two numbers is the Ordnance s/n, the larger is the Ford s/n. These numbers are repeated on the right side of the front armour, but you really have to look for it. Also, the Ford s/n is repeated on several of the major parts, such as the mantlet.
On the ultimate generation M4A3s built by Grand Blanc Tank Arsenal, the serial number is stamped on the two rear tow points. The Detroit Tank Arsenal tanks are rather problematic. Some of their vehicles have the serial number stamped on the two rear tow points, while others lack any serial number markings other than on the data plate.

M4A4
The vehicle serial is stamped on each boss to which the towing shackle is attached.
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the_shadock
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:41 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

Thanks Neil, I will print this page, it's very informative. Anything else I could get or take in photo?

P-O

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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:43 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

Just as an example, here's a picture Jeff Button took of the tow lug on an M4A3(105) - its pretty typical of what you are looking for.



Honestly, I'm not real good at finding the SNs anywhere else on a Sherman, but there may be other examples that have been posted here (I'll try to look for one).

Neil
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:03 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

This page may also be of interest - it explains other stamps & castings you may see, but they are generally of less importance:

web.inter.nl.net/users...oundry.htm

Neil
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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:41 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

There are various ways to identify a Sherman, even if you can not find a serial number. Most Shermans were built by Chysler or Fisher. A build number by Chrysler would appear on the right side-edge of the front glacis. Fisher's would be on the opposite side.
- Early Shermans had 3 small "weep" holes(drain holes) in the rear area of the turret splash gaurds, later modles had 1 large hole.
- These two companies also filled in their differential over-cuts differently. Chrysler appears to be a half-round fill, while Fishers are square in appearance.
- Early M4A3s had one piece rear engine deck plate, while later models and those that were rebuilt had the preferred two piece.
- All 47degree hull M4A3s had 5 digit serial numbers.
- A Sherman thats had HVSS upgarde, usually has weld scars on the left and right of the upper rear hull plate where the spare VVSS track holders were removed.
- If you find a "CP" in front of a part number on the glacis, this would indicate a Chrysler/Plymouth build.
- If you find a Sherman with HVSS, check to see if its a rebuild or original HVSS by looking at the suspension mounts on the side of the hull. Factory HVSS is bolted on while retro-fitted HVSS is welded on.
- Also look at the track, T66 track is all metal and relatively rare due to it being inferior and not liked by crews. They were the first type of track used on HVSS M4A3 (76) sent to Europe during WWII.
These are just a few of the tips sent to me by Joe DeMarco while I researched and "decoded" the 8 M4's here at Ft Hood. I have pictures of all these examples I have listed but they are on my work computer and not here at home. I just photograph and write down each and every marking I think is appicable to the vehicles ID.
The site Doug lists with its Foundry markings can also help alot, since many of the foundries only operated during certain years and for cetain vehicle types. Those foundry marks will also help with M26, M48, M60's as well. I hope this helps. I'll try and get those pictures on here if I can. A pictures worth a thousand words, esspecially when researching armor!

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:28 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

This is "Barfly" an M4A3E8 (76)HVSS, serial number 63350, Reg number 30116372. It was built December 1944 at Fisher Grand Blanc Arsenal. Fisher only built 525 M4A3's between Sept and December of 1944. This tank originally had VVSS suspension. The HVSS was most likely retrofitted at Red River Arsenal. Turret appears appears to have come from an earlier Chrysler M4A3 (76) due to the extra lifting ring in front of the split loaders hatch. Chrysler used 400-500 of those turrets on the earliest M4A3 (76) they built. The turret appears to be a left over from Chryslers abortive T23 program where the extra lifting ring served a winch purpose on the T23 medium tank.
Joe DeMarco came across a US Archievesdocument that shows 30116372 as having been issued to the 13th Tank Battalion, 1st AD, Italy, 4/1/45.
-The rear deck had the two piece deck cover.
-The sqaure "fill-in" weld area by the front diff's indicates a Fisher build. Chryslers hull builds look like half circle fills.
-The rear tow lug on this tank was on the left, however I have found them on either rear tow lug, but never the front.

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:32 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

Here are two more pictures I found that will help you identify and date an M4 model. "Barfly" from the previous pictures has the one large "weep" (drain) hole in the turret splash gaurd, which would indicate a later built Sherman. Here is a picture of an early build example with the two smaller drain holes. I also previously posted the square "diff fill area" that would indicate a Fisher build M4. This picture shows a round fill, which was typical of Chrysler built M4's. Here is also a picture of where Chrysler build stampings would be found on the front edge of the glacis, Fishers were on the opposite side.

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:21 pm
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?


Here are some more photo's I dug up that help you identify between a Chrysler and Fisher built M4. I will never look at an M4 varient the same way again now knowing all the little intricacies there are to tell all the differences.

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bsmart
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:07 am
Post subject: Re: Where is the SN on a Sherman?

A 'trick' I have used to make stamped serial numbers show up better is to simply rub over them a few times with my thumb. It clears the oxidized paint and dust a little and seems to give the stamped numbers a little more contrast. It can also make the are stand out a little better in the photo. I keep meaning to put some 'Wetnaps' or baby wipes in the truck so that I don't have to use my thumb but never think about it until it's too late. Oh and remember that most old paint is lead based so don't go licking you fingers after you've been rubbing tanks. Rolling Eyes

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