While the Hollywood fame may have gone to the head of the VI M4A3E8 Fury , the "Easy Eight" is also renowned for playing an important role in Allied victory at the end of the Second World War. As the British were making developments in the M4 Sherman, the Americans were also busy and hard at work developing their own new-and-improved Sherman variant. Like the British, they saw the significance of installing a new turret and gun to compete with the German Tiger I and Panther. What emerged was the E8 variant, or "Easy Eight," immortalized in the 2014 film, Fury.
Join Richard "The Challenger" Cutland as he guides you through the development process and takes a closer look at the beautifully restored historic vehicles at The Tank Museum in Bovington, U.K.
Development of the M4A3E8 Fury was slow. Military command took much persuasion to adapt to fresh tactics. They insisted that tanks would be destroyed by artillery and tank destroyers—tank-on-tank conflicts were not to be provoked so that crews wouldn't be distracted from supporting the infantry. But after unsuccessful meetings between Shermans and Tigers in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, plus Panthers in France, they finally agreed to re-equip the Shermans and install a 76 mm gun and new turret.
The latest design wasn't without it's flaws. The powerful blast created a bright muzzle flash, and the resulting cloud of dust and dirt gave away its position while also temporarily blinding the crew. Meanwhile, the extra weight affected maneuverability, and the poor storage of ammunition meant that the vehicle was prone to catching fire. In response, the subsequent HVSS suspension and wider tracks added more weight but reduced the overall weight on the ground, thus helping with mobility. Moving the ammo to the hull floor and packing it in wet stowage greatly reduced the chance of it catching fire. What became a main benefit of the simplicity of the modernization was that tanks in combat could be repaired and upgraded at the same time, and they continued to pose a serious threat until late in the war.
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