M4A2(76)W HVSS Sherman APC

Quite recently, someone came up with photos of Canadian Shermans in use as APCs. Patrick Brennan sent me some scans of Canadian de-turreted M4A2(76)W Shermans in use as APCs. He provided the following comments:
"In the book Weapons and Tactics [by Jac Weller (London: Nicholas Vane (Publishers) Limited, 1966)] there are two photographs of Shermans used as Armored Personnel Carriers."

"The first picture is between pages 152 and 153 (Note: the photos in this book are in groups of four pages and the photo pages are unnumbered). This photo shows a squad of Canadian infantry standing in front of the APC. The squad is equipped with Canadian C1 and C2 rifles which places the picture as after June 1955 which is when the C1 and C2 were adopted by the Canadians. The C1 and C2 are versions of the British SLR, which is a modification of the Belgian FN. The squad is wearing U.S. style helmets. Unfortunately, I don't know when the Canadians converted over from British style helmets." 
"The second photo is part of the group between pages 184 and 185. This photo shows a Sherman APC on maneuvers followed by a Centurion. Part of the crew is in berets (probably khaki as they are the same color as their jackets) and part of the crew is in U.S. style helmets." 

"The main write-up talks about then-current Canadian infantry organization and policies. It doesn't specifically talk about deturreted Shermans as the APC but mentions that some units have an APC while other units used unarmored trucks. It also states that Canada was in the process of standardizing on an APC design to replace both. I am assuming that he is talking about the design "competition" or whatever it was by which the Canadians adopted the M113. By deduction, one can assume that the Canadians used these deturreted Shermans until the got the M113 as I don't know of any interim design that they used. I realize that this last item is speculation but I don't believe that the assumption is unwarranted.

With the above, I think that the photos provide definitive evidence that the Canadians used the deturreted Shermans at least until early 1956 as it would have taken a while for the C1's and C2's to get into unit hands. I don't know when the Canadians received M113's but the US Army didn't get theirs until 1960. Again, it is speculation but I think that it is reasonable to conclude that the Shermans lasted until the mid-1960's in some units."

Terry Warner, BA History (ex-Sherbrooke Hussars) added the following:
"The FN C1 was adopted in 1955 but not produced in Canada until 1957. The FN C2 was adopted shortly afterwards. The SMG 9mm C1 was produced in Canada starting in 1958. The British style helmet was retired for the US style between 1964 and 1966. The Canadian pattern combats were introduced simultaniously. HOWEVER, Reserve units had old stocks for many years to follow until the Regulars were fully equipped.

I was five or six when I got my first tank ride. It was winter. So that would be 1966 or '67. The regiment's last Shermans would have been loaded on the flatbeds that year too. The roles and equipment of the Militia was drastically revised about that time.

Dad said, perhaps apociphally, that Canada bought a thousand Shermans for a Million dollars. Somewhere I have the exact buy quantity, but it was in the low hundreds. Still, that is alot of tanks to spread around the several dozen armoured regiments and battle schools. The Militia trained on Shermans and the Regulars on Centurions. My experience is strictly tanks. There is nothing to say that infantry units or schools did not make their own Kangaroos from stocks of Shermans. The Militia has always been less disciplined - doctrinaire - principled - hidebound, and almost anything is possible. Some CO in 1965 could have been a platoon leader in 1945. Unification struck with full force about 1968, and old thoughts were impure and to be purged. This was to be a modern efficient military after all.

The first M113 was introduced in 1964, continuing to 1966. The Lynx recce vehicles arrived in 1967. (The year of delivery is always the first two digits of the registration number, and I have a picture of 64-35000 - very likely the first APC.) The priority deliveries were to the Brigade in Germany.

So by process of elimination the photos are guaranteed mid 1960's, not before 1964. I would put an upper date on them about 1968 as the lingering Shermans were turned in for scrapping."

After seeing the photos and doing further research Terry Warner added:
"The photos mentioned were evidently taken at Meaford, Ontario. It is an Army training area that was purchased in 1942 when the not-so-far-away Camp Borden became too congested and could not accomodate tank and artillery ranges. Meaford is on the shores of Lake Huron and continues today as Militia Training Centre (MTC Meaford).
The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (School)'s Field Training Section took control in 1955. By 1963, their equipment strength was 26 Centurions, 12 Sherman gun tanks and 22 Sherman APCs. The photos are very likely from Meaford.
Source: Armour Bulletion No 19 "The Armour School's First Fifty Years" by Capt MR McNorgan, found on The Army Lessons Learned Centre's Information Warehouse (LLIW...) version 3.0 March 1997"

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Last update: 06-10-1999

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