This Sherman M4A2E8 was the mechanical star of the 2014 film ‘Fury’.
A2 indicates that the vehicle is fitted with the General Motors 6046 12-cylinder twin in-line engine. E8 means it is fitted with the Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension, abbreviated as HVSS and nicknamed the ‘Easy Eight’ suspension. Armed with a long 76mm gun and fitted with ‘wet’ ammunition stowage. The main armament ammunition was stored in ammunition boxes with a fluid jacket to prevent ammunition fires. Had the vehicle entered British service it would have been known as a Sherman IIIAY. ‘III’ as that was our designation for the M4A2, ‘A’ for the 76mm gun and ‘Y’ for the E8 suspension.
Britain only received five M4A2(76) vehicles, the vast majority of the 2915 built were sent to the Soviet Union who received 2073. Not all of these vehicles were fitted with the HVSS suspension as production of the E8 equipped tanks only began in December 1944. It is believed that only the Soviet Union used the M4A2 (76)W HVSS in action during World War Two and it’s not clear if they were used in Germany or solely against the Japanese in Manchuria.
In 1946 the Canadian Army received some M4A2 HVSS vehicles to replace their wartime equipment that was worn-out. These tanks had some post-war modifications such as an infantry telephone fitted to the rear hull and a first aid box carried on the left side of the hull.
The Tank Museum’s M4A2E8
The Museum’s vehicle was likely built by Fisher Tank Arsenal between January and May 1945. There is a very small possibility it was built by the Press Steel Car Company between May and June of 1945, but they only built 21 of this type. It is fitted with the armoured exhaust deflector fitted to vehicles from January 1945 which helps narrow the date of production slightly, however the US Army Registration Number it carries does not belong to any make or model of Sherman Tank. It came to the Tank Museum in 1985 from the Defence Academy at Shivernham.
In the 2014 Sony film ‘Fury’ it is playing the part of the far more common M4A3E8, a type which saw extensive service in North West Europe toward the end of Second World War.