Posted by: Jerry Garrett | October 1, 2014

FURY: The Problem With Brad Pitt’s Tank

What kind of tank is this?

What kind of tank is this?

HOLLYWOOD

In the movie, “Fury“, U. S. Army Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) commands a tank with a five-man crew in the storied 66th Armored Regiment in the 2nd Armored Division, as it is invading the heart of Germany in April 1945 – just days before the Nazi surrender.

Trivia question: What kind of tank is Pitt commanding?

In the movie, it was a Sherman M4A3E8, more commonly known as an “Easy Eight”.

If the movie was based on a real character – and supposedly it is not – Collier would not have been driving an Easy Eight. And he wouldn’t have been fighting a German Tiger TI – but we digress.

In the film, since a point is made in the movie that Collier loves his tank, and he and the crew have named it “Fury” – the name they’ve painted on its 76 mm gun barrel. Supposedly, they’ve all been fighting together – in Fury – since the North Africa campaign in 1942. If that was so, Fury would have probably been a much earlier model M4 Sherman, like an M2 or M4A3, each of which went into production in 1942. But with a 50 percent casualty rate in most mid-WWII tank battles, an earlier M2 or M4 model that survived 3+ years of combat would have been unheard of. (In fact, only one Sherman tank – a Canadian one – is known to have survived as long as from June 1944’s D-Day all the way to May 1945’s V-E Day.)

In real life, the Easy Eight, equipped with its 76 mm gun, was a relatively late addition to the war effort – only in production since late 1944. The Easy Eight featured a bigger gun and a better suspension. And they were not completely at the mercy of German tanks.

Production notes mention that Fury was designed and built by Henry Ford, and the German tanks were masterminded by Ferdinand Porsche. (Ergo, it was not a fair fight!) Yeah, okay, kinda sorta. Ford Motor Company didn’t design the Sherman, but it did build them – but only 1,690 M4A3s from June 1942 to September 1943. In all, about 50,000 were built for the war – and the vast majority of Shermans were built by General Motors and Chrysler.

The comparatively rare Ford-built Shermans were equipped with Ford’s 450-horsepower, 18-liter GAA V8 engine – originally a V12 knock-off of Rolls-Royce Merlin and Allison aviation engines that were supposed to be used in American planes. When the Navy turned the Ford V12 down – because they decided to use radial engines – Ford lopped off four cylinders and converted it into a tank engine.

I believe the tank used in the movie had a Ford engine, but it was not a battle-scared M4 from the North Africa campaign.

So why use (possibly) the wrong tank in a movie that insisted so much on realism and authenticity (okay, other than the men’s haircuts)? Probably because there aren’t many surviving WWII tanks available to today’s filmmakers.

The American tanks in the movie – ten were used – were all M4A3E8s and all came from the Bovington Tank Museum in southern England (if you go, “Fury” is the one with serial # T224875) where the movie was principally filmed.

The last WWII Tiger tank?

That’s also where the filmmakers got the movie’s nearly indestructible German Tiger I tank (a.k.a. “Panzers”) – a relic that was out of production by 1945. But the one at the tank museum is reputed to be the only surviving Tiger 131 tank still in working order.

The Tiger was a feared fighting machine, but among the criticisms leveled at it was that it was heavy, cumbersome and over-engineered – you know, just like today’s German cars! (Just kidding. Sort of.) America’s Shermans, to their credit, were considered manueverable, reliable and quick on the draw (like a gunfighter – another relevant comparison).

But, the point is – regardless of some of the plot disconnects in Fury – by that time in World War II, Germany had far superior tanks (albeit fewer of them), and could blow most of the American tanks to smithereens. Earlier in the war, it was a much more even fight; but the Germans continued to improve their tanks, while the Americans stupidly did little in that regard. And the tank crews, like those in Fury, paid a terrible price.

Jerry Garrett

November 1, 2014

 

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. It would be better to tell if side by side with a Firefly for instance, but I believe the tank in the photo IS a US M4/76 but NOT from ww2, after ww2.
    I may be wrong, I’m doing this on the fly 3am after marking papers all night.

    Here’s why.

    1. Muzzle break. To my recollection and quick perusal at the pc, all my videos, photos, blue-prints of them during ww2 have NO muzzle breaks, the feature at the end of the barrel designed to help reduce recoil force and muzzle flash.

    2. Barrel length. The Firefly barrel was significantly longer. Indeed the Firefly hull was slightly longer, a little more front armour and the turret shorter and smaller to make a smaller target.

    3. The commander cupola mg. Designated for anti-aircraft purposes, the priority target for any infantry let alone sniper the entire torso let alone head of the tank commander itself, the Allies had all but complete air superiority since D-Day and I’ve seen no photos etc of these with these mgs except in the Korean and Israeli wars.

    4. The hull gun. Like the Firefly, this had been removed to make space for the shells in ww2, only after ww2 do I see any examples of this.

    The Germans had in fact solved their reliability problems by the end of the war. When the Tigers first came out in 1942 vs Leningrad and the Panthers in 1943 at Kursk most were crippled by breakdowns and difficult repairs, however by the end of the war that was more a US and Russian failing.

    The Sherman was a maintanence dream, pathetic design, but even the entire engine could be replaced in Europe or Asia not sent back to factory.

    However, the US heavy, M6a2 was disastrous, too late in ww2 to face any panzer, their reliability problems extended years through the Korean war in fact, 7 years. Where the US Shermans had to face off with Russian T34s instead.
    Even then American commanders would disobey orders to request Brit/Cdn tank support instead, even the last version of Churchill the Black Knight could deal with coasts and inclines US tanks couldn’t. The Brits had finally learned their lessons from their ww2 Churchills and Challengers, the end war Centurion(also too late to face panzers) would be the world’s choice for over 15 years(especially Israel).

    But you make another excellent point, Tiger production had ceased in 1943, replaced by Tiger IIs(King or Konigstigers), though the vast majority of German armour faced the final year were tank destroyers like the Jpz even Sturmgeschutz conversions assault guns. Zhukov(Russia’s greatest tank general) blamed the SGIII alone for destroying 3 T34/85s even JsIIs for every SG lost in the Battle of Berlin.

    It is pure nonsense to claim that a US M4/76 of any shell at the time would reliably take out the front armour of even a Tiger I let alone Tiger II at 1000 m. The ONLY tank the Germans feared at that range was the Brit/Cdn/Pol Firefly, which could give it out but unlike the German Panther, Tiger, Tiger II, Jpz, Jagdpather worse Jagdtiger couldn’t take it. That’s total unhistorical nonsense and why I understand why few of the veterans of groups I’ve asked are interested in seeing the movie except maybe on video, and those that already have very disappointed.

    It dishonours them to lie about such things, the greater heroism and valour is their going into battle knowing they are in inferior equipment.

    Also Pitt would never be a tanker. Even when I was a teenager, slim 5’9/174cm I couldn’t fit into let alone operate either the T34 or Shermans etc, only this inoperable Tiger we got to see in France back in the 70s. They had height restrictions, I don’t think I can remember a single ww2 tanker from any nation i’ve ever met let alone interviewed who would’ve been taller than 5’5/164cm.

    As for Tigers. I’ve seen documentaries on 2 Tiger restoration projects, one in the UK the other in the US, with rumours of another in France and I will believe the claims of one in Russia when I see a modern video of it, otherwise no. I wonder what happened to the 3 Henschel versions used in Kelly’s Heroes, owned by private collector if I recall correctly, otherwise movies get by with putting Tiger turrets on other chassis and worse.

    Movies have always lied about their historical accuracy. I remember us purchasing the editors version of the Battle of the Bulge and historian commentary claiming use of actual tanks from the actual battle, balderdash. They used American training M6s as King Tigers, despite the models shown the German generals actual King Tigers, and M3 Chaffees as M4 Shermans. Historians can understand faking stuff, but claiming to be so authentic when not is worse.

    Sad thing is, we’re all sure we’ve seen a post-Normandy Sherman in some show someplace with the 76 long gun, but we’re getting old and mental. Sure hope it wasn’t Bovington, they’ve been great to us in the past insisting on hosting our conventions.

    It bothers the veterans themselves the most you know, they take it as if we’re disrespecting them or their memory, even if the uniforms or insignia are wrong, let alone weaponry and equipment, locations or especially events. With so much real valour, why do you have to make stuff up?

    A movie I would like to see done right if they could, would be the killing of the most infamous tank killer of ww2, Waffen SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Michael Wittman, a hated but respected foe. Just weeks after mauling an entire armoured column with just one other Tiger, he borrowed Tiger 007 with his own crew and led a squadron to counter-attack the British. In this rare occasion, the Brit gunner quoting “never before never since” did he ever hit 3 moving targets anywhere near 900 meters in 3 rapid fire shots, otherwise ‘we would’ve been toast’, near on 90 degrees to the flank of the Tigers in diamond formation. But it was an older Canadian M4 Sherman long in wait with its barrel pointing out a hole made in the stone wall, that got a shot at Wittman’s Tiger broadside opposite flank about 140m if I recall correctly, he believed he hit the engine compartment somehow, but quickly blowing the turret right off, no chance for the crew to bail. Now that’s reality and worthy of a movie, both admitting they were dead if the Germans got to turn, reverse and/or fire back.

    Even the Firefly crews would paint the end of their barrels blue white to try to look like a normal Sherman because the Germans rightly ‘picked on’ the Fireflies alone as a threat. Only the 17pdr Firefly(76mm) or Comet(77mm) could penetrate the front armour of a Tiger, Panther or Tiger II etc, and not regularly either, so the Germans gave orders to give all priority to their destruction. The Firefly could give it out as well as the GErmans, but they couldn’t take it back as well as the Germans, still in the pitiful Sherman hull.

    The true bravery and I couldn’t do it is the Firefly commander ordering the other mates ‘Joe, George, Jean you all charge that Tiger trying to outflank and get behind him and hope I can knock him out before he knocks us out, ok? go!’ ….’you go to hell Jim, i’m going to hope he doesn’t even notice me over behind this wall’ or ‘yeah, i’ll be right behind you guys’.

    I’d rather those movies about real heroic events portrayed realistically and not be lied to about the ‘actual historical equipment’.

    But there always those ‘catastrophic’ lucky shots, that jam a turret or penetrate a foolishly open view-port even the barrel of the target itself, though more likely a track. Hell military simulations proved that the shot the Bismark took on the Hood, first salvo, blowing it apart, was a one in a million chance, but it happens. However it is absolutely wrong to portray the Bismark as being able to blow apart any foe with any shot like that.

    The American tanks in particular were called ‘ronson’ or ‘tommy burners’ because they way they designed their munitions storage they were the most likely tanks to burn up/blow up even with non-penetrating strikes. But to portray the M4/76 as a stand up threat head on to a Tiger, Panther or Tiger II, even worse at night where Germans had huge advantage in night vision, I agree, is unrealistic, unhistorical and dishonours the bravery and suffering of those veterans manning the actual tanks.

    You make another excellent point about Americans upgrading. They did have the heavy M6 option, but as the Brits would buy as much of anything offered, greed prevailed, the thousands of M2s only justifiable against the ridiculous Italian and Japanese tankettes if ever, the M3s a Czech tanker once told me they thought the Americans trying to copy the T34 but only admired its speed in ‘getting away’, and the M4 the ‘tommy cookers’ instead.

    Even by war’s end the M6 they did put out was worse than the worst German failures and problems would not be solved even through the Korean war. At least the Brits got it right with the Centurion to the Russians dismay in Europe.

    Before D-Day the Brits offered the Americans their Fireflies. All Brit, Cdn and Polish squadrons of 4 would have 1 Firefly. The Americans refused.

    The Brits offered them their Hobart Funnies, their amphibious and engineering tanks that had 80% success rate at Normandy, to the US 15%, the Americans refused.

    Even in the Korean war when US commanders were disobeying orders requesting Brit/Cdn tank support rather than their own, the US tried to refuse, thankfully for South Korea enough US commanders disobeyed those orders.

    Why? arrogance and greed maybe.

    The Brits and Canucks swallowed their pride to take anything the Americans could give them, even junk, but the Yanks apparently didn’t feel the lives of their crews as important.
    As many tankers, almost all, same as pilots, would tell me, EXPERIENCE is as important as training but there is no experience if your crews don’t survive.

    To prove the falsehood of the claims of M4/76 capabilities vs German heavies some of the best research compilations I’ve seen are from HPS Sims.com

    Otherwise here.

    HPSSims.com

    or less so

    http://www.wwiiequip…-data&Itemid=61

    http://www.wwiivehic…/guns/76-mm.asp

    Thanks to all interested in history who demand authenticity not settling for propaganda, and to those who put so much time, money and effort in restorations that we can actually see and touch parts of the past.

    Miller Systems WW2 Campaign

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I agree, the real story of tank warfare is so much more compelling than Hollywood’s efforts to jazz it up. That said, the movie was pretty damned good reminder of the dangers!

    • What were you drinking or smoking when you watched the film?

      Your “criticism” makes no sense…..as noted below, no one in the movie ever remotely says or implies “We have been physically present this exact same tank since 1942…..” the line is something like “We’ve been together (as a tank crew) for 3 years, since North Africa.”

      As noted below, no one ever says or implies they have been physically in the same tank for 3 years.

      Of course the same crew from 1942 onwards might have had 5,6,7 different tanks….M2 Medium tanks….M3 Lee medium tanks…3,4,5 models of the M4 Sherman…it was very common to trade in tanks for later models so the same crew by 1945 may have had 5-6 tanks.

      You needs to watch the movie again, sober this time, because your “criticizing” something that’s not an error, and not in the film….

      • Oh. I just read the script, and had an insider’s knowledge of the making of the film. That’s all.

      • my question is the shermans had a 75mm gun with m72 aps shells. With 110 mm pennestration at 10 m and 109 at 100m and 92 at 500 couldnt penn a tigers hull armor of 102mm. Not to mention the 82mm of hull armor around the drivers view port and the ammo racks right next to both the mg port and driver port just about 5 inches to the right and left of them. The 76mm gun however had no muzzle brake until the end of the war so they went really used much at all but their shells had apcbc apcr and ap all had close to 200 mm penetration and 109 at 1000 meters so in the movie they went even far from the tiger at all maybe 150 meters away so irl the tiger didnt stand a chance to a quick witted accurate SOB who can put a hole through a quarter at 500 meters. unless the tiger angled their armor then the shells would bounce

    • Nah. The M1A1C and M1A2 – the variants of the 76mm cannon with the muzzle break – were actually the most common variants 76mm cannon deployed in late 1944 – 1945. Models with the base M1A1 gun were upgraded to M1A1C standard, and all models produced after were dubbed the M1A2.

    • ” The ONLY tank the Germans feared at that range was the Brit/Cdn/Pol Firefly[…]”
      Tiger crews were told no to engage in 1:1 with IS2 at those ranges as it could easily destroy it.
      Germans actually never learned from their errors. Their greatest tanks and tank destroyers were either copies or errors (stug 3, hetzer, panther)
      A tank is not just its hull and the gun it carries…

    • Wow so many inaccuracies so little time. OK…. First the Sherman’s reputation for catching fire is a MYTH at least in so far as every other tank on the battle field caught fire just as readily, and after its ammo storage was changed it was the LEAST FIRE PRONE TANK IN THE WORLD. This has been proven by primary sources time and time again stop, repeating this misinformation.
      Second, while the easy 8 (m4a3e8) may not have been an ideal match for a tiger 1 it was certainly capable of knocking one out easily. Especially later in the war when high velocity ammo became more abundant.
      Third, later in the war the US had more 90 mm tank destroyers and tanks than Germany had tanks to oppose them this was due to the panic of Normandy and the Bulge, and was not caused by tiger 1s but by the Panther which in almost every respect was a much better tank.
      The British never were able to manufacture enough firefly’s to “give” them to the Americans until after the Americans own 90mm equipped tanks destroyers and tanks were already in service but some were provided very late in the war.
      Percy Hobart himself is the person who started the myth that his “funnies” would have saved lives at Omaha Beach if only we had the Americans would have excepted then. But the fact is the British barely had enough for themselves, and it has been debated vigorously by far one better sources than myself weather they would have helped at all.
      American tankers had the lowest casualty rates of any armored force in the war….. Even the British and especially the Germans. Many tank experts rate the M4 the most survivable tank of the war. The m4 though not extremely proficient in the anti tank role against Panthers (I don’t mention Tigers because they were hardly a factor) they were capable of destroying Panthers and did in fact destroy thousands of them, many more in fact than Sherman’s were destroyed by Panthers.
      American tanks had very favorable engagement ratios with t34s in Korea.
      I could go on but my swyping finger is getting tired. Please stop spouting myths about the M4 someone who doesn’t know better might believe them

    • Never seen so much inaccuracy in my life… looks like you have been roundly put in to your place about tanks.. but ffs even your warship knowledge is non existent. .. The Bismarck fired for 5 minutes at the Hood before the fatal shell hit and had hit her at least once before in that 5 minutes.. It was not a lucky shot as Bismarck’s shells could easily defeat Hood’s woefully outdated deck armor at almost any range… Something both sides knew very well.

    • Thanks for this very good insight on the movie’s accuracy. It seems to me that the criticisms are possibly correct, but a bit nit-picky. Comments by Christopher S. are excellent. As WW2 movies go, I can’t recall one that was more historically accurate than this one, can you? Certainly NOT “Patton”. That would have been a much greater movie if the equipment were more historically accurate.

    • My father was a driver in a M4 Sherman in WW2 . He was 6’3″ , I have several photos of him in and on his tank . He never mentioned it being to small for his height.

  2. I have seen the movie several times and I don’t recall there being any mention of the crew being in the same tank from Africa to Germany, just that the crew had been together that long.

    • The implication seemed to be their tank was home.

  3. Additionally, I believe Brad Pitt’s character was based on Lafayette Pool, a decorated and highly successful WWII tank commander.

  4. All of the Shermans in the film were not Easy 8’s. Also, by the time of the invasion of German the German Army was using older tanks, like the one depicted in the movie.

  5. Whether “Fury” could destroy a TI or TII or Panzer at the time wasnt the point of the movie. While I think historical fiction movies need to be as close to historically accurate as possible, accuracy is sometimes boring and most times not what you want to see in a movie. I’ll take my depleted-uranium armored M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank with a .50 BMG, an M240 7.62 mm coax gun, a second M240, and a whole lot of 120 mm Sabot rounds any day of the week. The sabot rounds are just a tungsten spike with a du tip. The friction of the spike going through the first set of armor melts the tungsten and it becomes a ball of molten metal bouncing around the inside of the hull and turret of the opposing tank. AGT 1500 turbofan engine pushing 1500 horses. The governor is set at 42 mph. It could go faster, but I think 42 is ok for a vehicle that weighs 68 tons (136000 lbs). Interesting learning, huh?

    • You’re exactly right… Accurate is sometimes burning.

  6. Does anybody else find it amazing how over 1,000 tiger tanks were built and ONLY ONE is still working. It’s amazing how many people are out there that just don’t realize how brutal war actually is. Sure, tanks are built to last, but all it takes is one good hit from another to turn a perfectly good working order fighting vehicle into a hunk of burning metal. Imagine what the American tank crews felt like when they saw those 88mm tiger guns turn around and point at there Sherman. All it takes is one good hit…

    • Yep, and the Tiger tanks were the tough ones…

  7. If, contrary to Mr. DeJohn’s post, you claim to have “insider knowledge” of the making of the movie, please elaborate. Do you know the producer, director, screenwriter, etc.? The movie, as released, makes NO mention or claim that this crew had been together in an Easy Eight since 1942. It was common practice for crews to be assigned to new tanks or newer versions of the same tank and to name their new vehicle the same as their old one. Your posting is simply an attempt on your part to point out that you know that an Easy Eight like Fury did not see action in Africa. Spoiler alert: LOTS of people know this! The difference is, they didn’t have “insider knowledge” and just enjoyed a very well made movie. I will expect your reply around 4:00 a.m.

  8. Also, in response to Leigh Miller’s assertion that Brad Pitt (5′ 11″) would “never be a tanker”… Heinz Guderian was 5′ 8″… George Patton 6′ 2″… Lafayette Pool 6′ 3″… need I go on?

  9. n.b. “Tiger 131” is that specific Tiger’s name, it doesn’t indicate a model. So, yeah, that is the only surviving Tiger 131, in much the same way that I’m the only surviving @zgryphon. 🙂

    • Thank you, that was bothering me. So irritating when a writer doesn’t understand the subject matter when writing a ‘know-it-all’ article which is apparently supposed to set people straight. .

    • The Tiger with the number 131 was captured in North Africa.
      It is a true Tiger 1 (one of the first production models) and one of the first tiger tanks deployed to Rommel in North Africa.

  10. “while the Americans stupidly did little in that regard” wow, you need to hit the history books, you obviously don’t know about the Pershing, the first American heavy tank. The Pershing put fear in Germans and was designed to kill German tanks from the beginning.

    • Not to mention all the Sherman variants, which the writer seems to elude to having some sort of awareness of by bringing up the silly Africa thing.

      • Sorry, I meant to type blogger, not writer. Big mistake on my part.

  11. I find it amazing how obvious a film has to be so that most people can understand whats going on. Do they have to spell out everything???Anyone with a little knowledge of WWII would never assume they were in the same tanks the entire time they were together as a crew. At no point is it stated they have had the same tank, and most tanks used in North Africa went on to Italy anyhow. It was not a Tiger II they were fighting either, it was a Tiger I, totally different beast (pun intended). Easy Eight Shermans were rather common by that point in the war, and yes, some had muzzle brakes. If you want to critique the reality of the movie, slamming the simplistic tactics the Germans use in attacking the tank would be better fodder. It reminded my of how children play war. In reality, that tank would have lasted about 2 minutes.

  12. Despite its shortcomings the Sherman was still the war winner. By 1943 the US and Britain had pretty much rationalized all its equipment. Designs were settled on, efficient production had been established and factories could crank out the numbers. German over-engineering and in-fighting among branches and manufacturers assured that numerous designs and re-designs of redundant machines would bog down production potential. The best tank design in the world is still useless if you can’t produce the machines and their parts efficiently in numbers. American production actually outpaced the means to even ship all the Shermans to England.

    It’s also simple-mindedness to compare Tiger Is and IIs to Shermans as the end-all, be-all. The German heavy tanks were *never* the main battle AFVs nor the majority on any front. The Pzr IVs and StuG IIIs were the vast bulk of German armour and an equal/ slightly better match to the Sherman. Doctrine dictated that lone Shermans were not to engage Tigers but to work in conjunction with the rest of the platoon and tank destroyers. Even then, they were far more likely to pull back and let artillery and rocket-firing aircraft do the job instead.

    • “German over-engineering” – some things never change!

  13. WTF is an M3 Chaffee. I’ve heard of the M24 Chaffee but not the M3. The only U.S tanks of WW2 with the designation M3 that i know of were the M3 Stuart light tank and the M3 Lee/ Grant medium tank. Production of the Tiger 1 ceased in August 1944. As for the 3 ‘Tigers’ used in Kellys Heroes i think you’ll find they were converted russian tanks, a quick look at the road wheels and waffle pattern tracks will confirm that.

  14. Pretty misinformed opinion.

  15. Fury is/was a M4A3E8 with a M1A2 main gun identified by it’s muzzle brake. The 76mm M1A2 was able to penetrate 7 inches of armor using HVAP (high velocity armor piercing) rounds at 1000 yards. In the movie they say the crew has been together since Africa, but since the Easy 8 was fielded in August 44 it’s easy to assume that they have had more than one tank named Fury. Lafayette G. Pool, nicknamed War Daddy by his crew, had three Shermans in his 81 day combat carreer. All named “In The Mood” numbered I thru III.

    Shermans had 2 top mounted machineguns a .30 cal for the loader hatch beside the commanders hatch and a .50 used for AA.

    The U.S. never had a max height requirement on their tankers. Lafayette Pool was 6′ 3”. Soviets had a height limit on their modern armor because of it’s low profile, smaller turrents and auto loaders that took up a lot of space. Friend of mine was an Abrams driver at 6′ 1”.

    Regarding the poorly rendered pic, the .30 cal on the turrent in located near the gunners hatch and you can see the empty .50 mount to the right. The bow gun is still there it just looks like a part of the light guard.

    The Tiger in the movie is a Panzerkampfwagen VI, Tiger I (E), SdKfz 181, chassis number 250122 captured in Tunsia in April 43. It’s preserved by The Tank Museum in Bovington England. While there are other Tigers on static display Tiger 131 is the last working Tiger. The “tigers” used in Kelly’s Heros wore visually modified T-34’s that Yogoslav army created for the movie. You can tell by the road wheels it’s a soviet tank.

    The British Firefly was a stock M4 tank, no size difference from any other M4, with a brit modified brit 17 pounder in the turrent. There were 3 different varients of the Firefly based on different varients of the M4. The main way to recognize a Firefly was the travel lock for the longer barrel and the removal of the hull .30 mg. Hobart’s Duplex Drive tanks were designed to work in water with waves 1 foot or less. The waves were 6 feet on Omaha beach. The Americans lost 38% of their DD’s while the Brits and Canadians lost 31%. 290 DD’s were used, 120 launched at sea and 42 sunk. The U.S. didn’t refuse the DD and the majority of the U.S. losses were from one battalion which launched too far out.

    Also using a wargaming site as a source of info is like drug advice from a heroin addict. Incoherent and full of fantasy.

  16. There’s nothing wrong with what you said, but the film producers certainly seem to have less of a knack for historical accuracy than they say they did.

    Whilst Porsche was responsible for a great many Tank designs, the tank in the film – all models of the Tiger, including both the Tiger I and Tiger II – were actually creations of the German company ‘Henschell and Son’. Porsche was actually responsible for neither the Tiger I or Tiger II ‘King Tiger’, save for a failed diesel-Electric engine for the first Tiger, and being wrongly credited for a less-produced turret for the Tiger II.

    In fact, Porsche did very little besides coming up with the terrifyingly dangerous ‘Maus’ tank – which unfortunately never saw action, and only saw production in the form of one complete prototype, which was immediately destroyed by terrified Soviets, and one incomplete, turretless prototype which was fitted with the scavenged turret of the destroyed tank and stuck in a Russian museum.

    In fact, whilst we’re on the topic, the claim that every Sherman Tank in the film was an E8 model is completely ludicrous. You can clearly see in the scene with the Tiger that the last Sherman to be destroyed in the fight before Fury knocks out the Tiger – I think Brad Pitt’s character referred to the commander of the tank as ‘Roy’ – is just a stock M4A3 Sherman – this is obvious by the stubby-barreled M1 75mm Medium-Velocity gun it has. All the M4A3E8 model tanks were equipped with the 76mm High Velocity gun, models M1A1C or M1A2, depending on how close to the end of the war.

    It’s also kind of silly to say that it was a bad thing that American tanks were generally only improved upon where they need to be. All you need to do is look at the fact that during the war, about 1,500 combined Tiger I and Tiger II tanks were produced – compared to about 50,000 Sherman tanks. You may say ‘Oh, well, the Tiger tanks were good enough to beat those odds’. And you’d be wrong. Using the correct ammunition, a 76mm gun could sufficiently penetrate the front armor of a Tiger.

    A Tiger tank had 120mm of frontal armor at it’s strongest point. At 1000 meters, a Sherman tank using relatively standard late-war M93 High Velocity Armor Piercing rounds could defeat 135mm of armor.

    The British Tank Hunter variant of the Sherman, the VC Firefly, with its Ordnance QF-17 pounder – the most lethal gun of the war, capable of penetrating 230mm of armor from 1km firing Armor Piercing, Fin-Discarding SABOT ammunition- was an even greater example of this. That’s sufficient to defeat the frontal armor of literally every German tank or armored vehicle in the war, with the exception of perhaps the Maus, if using lower-grade ammo.

    Instead of wasting money constructing overly complex tanks, the Allies just changed the minimum that they needed to get the job done, and kept churning these tanks out in overwhelming numbers.

    On another note, this actually proves the movie to be blatantly inaccurate, as the first shot from Fury’s 76mm gun should’ve done to the Tiger exactly what the Tiger had done to the other Shermans, especially in those hits on the turret or side armor – unless the tank was using ammunition from significantly earlier in the war. Considering that the movie quote ‘Takes place days before Germany’s surrender’, this is unlikely. This seems strange, but then you need to consider that tank warfare often occurred at much greater than 1000 meters, and you can see why the Tiger maintained its fearsome reputation.

    When it comes down to it, Hitler’s obsession with over-the-top powerful tanks was unnecessary. All they needed was a basic tank with sufficient armor and size to mount the lethal 88mm flak, or their own version of the 76mm High-Velocity gun which was mounted on the Panther – actually a more powerful gun than the 88mm flak. What they didn’t need were over-engineered, difficult to produce, slow moving tanks like the Tiger. In fact, the Panther is probably the best tank of the entire war. Fast, sufficiently armored, relatively easy to produce, and packing one hell of a punch.

    Hope someone read my rant at least. Just a military-obsessed junior high student with a bit too much holiday time xD

  17. Both Porsche and Henshel submitted tanks for the 45 ton heavy tank project. Both were built around the Krupp turret. Porsche built 100 of their tanks with the gas/electric hybrid drive but because of copper shortages the Germans went with the Henshel design. 91 of the Porsche tanks were modified into the Ferdinand tank destroyer. They were quite effect at knocking out Soviet tanks up to 3 km away. However they didn’t have any secondary armament or gun ports. The Ferdinand was a slab sided monster with 200mm of armor and weighed 65 tons. The main weakness of the Ferdinand was it’s lack of secondary armament. Infantry could destroy them with molotov cocktails and hand placed explosives. The surviving 50 Ferdinands were retro fitted with a commanders cupola, improving 360 visibility, a ball machinegun mount in the bow for anti-infantry, zimmerit paste for magnetic mine protection and knock out gun ports in the hull and wider tracks. Raising the weight to 70 tons. These were rechristened Elefants. The hybrid engine was problematic and more Ferdinands were destroyed by their own crews rather then let them fall into enemy hands. Two survive. One captured in Kursk is now in a Moscow museum and one Elefant captured in Anzio and is now on display at Ft. Lee. Both are non-operational.

    The Shermans used in the movie were an M4A3E8 (76)W HVSS Sherman tank from the Bovington Tank Museum named as Fury, Lucy Sue, an M4A2 Sherman, ‘Matador’ an M4E8 (76)W HVSS, ‘Murder, Inc.’ an M4A4 Sherman and ‘Old Phyllis’, an M4A1 (76)W Sherman. Post war modifications that were pretty radical were the M50 and M51 Shermans used by the IDF. Most were refitted with Cummins diesel engines and the M50 had a more powerful 75mm french made gun. The M51 went even more extreme with a 105 mm cannon. Then new cannons were so heavy a counter weight was added to the rear of the turrets. M51s were used in the movie The Big Red 1 as german tanks.

    When it comes to over the top German tanks you should read about the Ratte. A proposed 1000 ton monster with two 28 CENTIMETER naval guns. Thats 280 mm (actually a 283 mm cm SK C/34 naval gun) used on Scharnhorst-class battleships. They were even built into a naval style turret on a 115 foot chassis. Hitler order development to begin in 42 but Albert Speer stopped it in 43 before a prototype could be built.

  18. where is the fury tanks location now that was used in the movie?

    • I believe everything used in the movie remains in England.

  19. the sherman fury from bovington museum is not an M4A3 easy 8 but and M4A2 easy 8,its powered with a gm twin diesel engine.

  20. First off. You have no idea whether he’d be driving a E8 or not. American tank crews were upgraded as the war progressed. And especially if their tank has been incapacitated and replaced with a new model. Not once in the movie does he say that the tank had been service as long as he had. The only mention is that the crew had stayed together. Says “This is home” but he isn’t exactly talking about the tank. While he’s formed an attachment to the E8 and it is “home” he’s also talking about what it stands for. America. The country he’s fighting for. Freedom. Etc. That is what he is saying when he says “This is home.” Next up. You said that he wouldn’t have been fighting a Tiger 1. There are hundreds of photos of Tiger Ones that were used all the way up until the end of the war. So your basis there is also flawed. Just because the Germans replaced the production of the Tiger 1 with the Tiger 2 and or models doesn’t mean that older models were withdrawn from service and scrapped. They most certainly would have kept using them. That would also account for why older Sherman variants were still used towards the end of the war.

  21. “earlier model M4 Sherman, like an M2 or M4A3”.

    M2? I think you meant M4A2. It was not used by the American forces in the NE European theater.

    M4A3? I think you meant M4A3 75 dry VVSS? It was a model used in training.

    In my opinion, the movie production had done a great job in using a historically accurate tank.

  22. Would like to see Warner Bros re-release ‘B.O.B.’ with (correct) CGI Tiger 2’s. .

  23. Enter your comment here..Hello Jerry.
    Finally finding a rare wordpress blog that I can relate to (besides my own) I thought I’d leave a comment and make some observations. A few tidbits in the movie did impress me; noticeably the apparent realism of the tracer cannon and machine fire for one. A search to explain that realism somehow brought me here and so far I have only become more distracted.

    Viewing the “film” on computer allows me stop action and inspect individual frames in detail. For example, in the Fury’s ammunition hamper the head stamps (on the bottoms of the brass cannon rounds) were authentic and detailed. As you would expect from 70 yr old ordinance coming from a museum – no two head stamps appeared to be the same however. Once or twice in the movie Brad yells “put some Willie Pete in there” (meaning incendiary white phosphorus).

    In a short scene about midway through the movie the four tanks are driving through an open field and everyone looks up into the sky. Somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000ft a huge formation of B-17 bombers were making white streamers in the contrail belt. In the few short seconds of this scene one could just barely make out the contrails of a hand full of German interceptors preparing to attack from head on. These were quality special effects.

    About the tanks there is little that I can add to what’s been said. Your first commenter (Leigh Miller) talked a lot about the Sherman Firefly. From what I have gathered from a short and informal Internet search: these were gunned by the British 17-pounder anti-tank gun, and motored by a lackadaisical and heavy, 30 cylinder Chrysler A57 multibank engine. Chrysler A57s were put into 7,499 M4A4 Medium tanks (most of which were “Lend Lease”).

    Glancing at the Wikipedia page for the movie I was surprised by some facts about the actors. For example the CPT “Old Man” Waggoner was played by the same actor who played the nefarious Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. Jason Isaacs is thoroughly English but his faked Bronx or Jew Jersey accent was convincing enough to fool me. The actor that played “Coon-Ass” has probably never been to Louisiana in his life. Jon Bernthal was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and is Jewish. SGT Miles who manned the .50 on the back of Brad’s tank and was later killed while waking on the sidewalk was played by Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood’s son).

    Perhaps tomorrow the weather will be calmer and less windy, so that I can endeavor in less distractive pursuits.
    .

    • Thanks for your contribution! Very interesting.

  24. Just to clear up some misconceptions. The Sherman was really meant as an infantry support tank and not for tank on tank battles. The M18 Hellcat was the real tank destroyer and had the gun to combat the German tanks while it had very little armor but was the fastest armored vehicle of the war. The Germans never learned how to mass produce tanks and many of the parts for German tanks had to be field modified to work when repairing individual tanks.

    Of course both the Americans and Russians produced tanks by the 10s of thousands and usually had at least a 10-1 numerical advantage over German tanks.

    The Germans had the highly effective anti-tank gun the 88, and also had the most effective infantry anti-tank weapon the Panzer Faust which although very short ranged could defeat any tank on the battlefield. The Panzer Faust was not a rocket propelled weapon but was launched by a static charge in the launcher unlike the US bazooka which was a rocket propelled weapon.

    • I think that the American rocket wizard Robert Goddard thought up or helped produce the first rocket propelled, grenades during the First World War and this eventually became the Bazooka. I don’t know the particular details about the shaped charge warhead the Bazooka’s projectiles used. I do know that that a company that I once worked for named Schlumberger still uses shaped charges every day to perforate oil wells, and was making shaped charged anti-tank mines in WWII. The Germans recovered dropped Bazookas from Russian (Lend Lease) and North African battlefields, and were impressed with the weapon. A short time afterward the Germans introduced, first their own “Panzerschreck” and later the single shot “Panzerfaust”. The Panzerschreck was bigger and better in most every way to the Bazooka. It had a shield with a little window to protect the face of the shooter and it was deployed with a two man crew. Then there was that spring loaded PIAT that the British used.

  25. Just a couple of points …

    Firstly it’s a muzzle brake, not break

    Secondly, the Tiger tanks we’ve all heard about were designed by Henschel. Porsche did put forward a ‘Tiger’ design to carry the specified 88mm gun, but instead of having an engine to drive the vehicle directly, the engine was a generator and drive effected by means of electric motors. An ingenious system hampered by the short design timescale, which failed to iron out the problem of the whole system catching fire on a regular basis. The same problem plagued the Ferdinands/Elefants which tended to catch fire at the mere sight of an incline.

  26. Total bs. The allies would never have been able to deliver a tank as large and heavy as one of the German heavies across the beaches into Europe, at least not in number. Designing a tank that could go toe to toe with a tiger would have been a huge mistake logistically.
    And yes, one on one a medium Sherman was at a disadvantage against the few much heavier panther and tigers, but tank on tank combat was rare. 95 percent of U.S. tankers never saw a panther or tiger.
    The biggest threat to American tanks was German anti tank artillery (the StuG), mines and infantry carried shoulder fired anti tank weapons. Losses to other tanks was small. The kill ratio difference against German tanks was mostly due to the fact that the Germans were on the defensive. Fighting from a dug in or concealed defensive position against advancing tanks was a much bigger advantage than any element of tank design.
    Add to the calculation by asking : how many allied infantry were saved because they had plenty of reliable and ready armor that could travel with them? Something the Germans could never manage ! German armor relied on rail networks to get anywhere near the battlefield, something the allies had none of.

    Would having a heavy tank help the allies in Europe? Yes, but would disrupting the manufacturing and supply chain to do it been a net positive? Not on your life!

    • Interesting insights! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Most enjoyable blog. Now I ‘ll have to do some research for my self.

  28. They never suggested that the easy 8 in the movie was the same Sherman that the crew had in North Africa, or even in France. It was a replacement.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: