In WWII, during the late war fighting on the Western Front, the U.S. Army’s M4 Medium tank, later known as the Sherman, often failed in its ability to counter up-gunned late war German armor, causing many needless casualties. Throughout the war in Europe from 1944 on, Sherman main armament upgrades and newer, heavier tank models were slow to arrive, which demands inquiry, as so much was already known about German heavy armor prior to Operation Overlord. For example, the U.S. Third Armored Division went into Normandy with 232 tanks (mostly M4s), and by the end of the fighting in Europe, they had lost 648 tanks and had 700 tanks knocked out and subsequently put back into service. This is a casualty rate of 580 percent.
By late 1943, the tide of the war had turned against the Germans. The loss of the entire 6th Army under General Paulus at Stalingrad, as well as the defeated German counteroffensive at Kursk are both considered to show the primary turning points in the war, and strategic bombing as well as the Mediterranean campaign was taking its toll as well. Developments in radar, sonar, increased escort vessels, the implementation of the convoy system, U.S. submarine hunting carrier groups, and long-range maritime aircraft had heavily weakened the Kriegsmarine’s U-boat arm, turning the hunters into the hunted. The U.S. ability for production and transportation of war materials far exceeded that of Germany, and there is simply no excuse for the failure of the delivery of adequate armored forces in the final year of the war in Europe.
The purpose of this webpage is to show the possible reasons for the failures of the U.S. Army to adequately prepare armored troops to tackle the anti-tank objectives at hand throughout the late war in Western Europe.
Source: Fox, Jacob, "The Wrong track: Errors in American tank development in World War II" (2013). Masters Theses. https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/master201019/215