Well I have new Sherman Firefly tank design. I was checking into the Firefly improvement with the bigger gun 17 pounder and decided to “upgrade” my Sherman designs to include it. Here’s some more info on the Sherman “Firefly” tank:
The Sherman Firefly was a World War II British variant of the American Sherman tank, fitted with the powerful British 17 pounder anti-tank gun as its main weapon. Originally conceived as a stopgap until future British tank designs came into service, the Sherman Firefly became the most common vehicle with the 17 pounder in World War II. Though the British expected to have their own new tank models developed soon, British Major George Brighty championed the already-rejected idea of mounting the 17 pounder in the existing Sherman. With the help of Lieutenant Colonel Witheridge and despite official disapproval, he managed to get the concept accepted. This proved fortuitous, as both the Challenger and Cromwell tank designs experienced difficulties and delays. After the problem of getting the gun to fit in the Sherman’s turret was solved, the Firefly was put into production in early 1944, in time to equip Field Marshal Montgomery’s forces for the Normandy landings. It soon became highly valued as the only British tank capable of defeating the Panther and Tiger tanks it faced in Normandy at standard combat ranges. In recognition of this, German tank and anti-tank gun crews were instructed to attack Fireflies first. Between 2100 and 2200 were manufactured before production wound down in 1945. The concept of fitting a 17 pounder gun into a Sherman tank had initially been rejected by the Ministry of Supply’s Tank Decision Board. Although the British Army had made extensive use of the American-built Sherman tank, it was intended that a new generation of British tanks would replace it in the anti-tank role. First there was the Cromwell tank, which
was expected to use the Vickers High Velocity 75mm gun; this gun would have had superior anti-tank performance to the US 75mm and 76mm guns that were mounted in the Sherman. The second was the A30 Challenger which was based on the Cromwell but with the even more powerful 17 pounder gun. These two tanks – and their successors, the Comet and the Centurion, which were already on the drawing board – were to have replaced the Sherman in British service, and so the prospect of spending time and money mounting a 17 pounder on the Sherman was not seen as desirable. Nonetheless several unofficial attempts were made to upgun the Sherman. The earliest attempt can be credited to Major George Brighty of the Royal Tank Regiment while he was at Lulworth Armoured Fighting School in early 1943. Despite the fact the A30
Challenger was undergoing initial trials at Lulworth, Brighty was convinced that the Sherman was a better mount for the 17 pounder. However he was stymied by the turret of the Sherman, which was too small to allow for the very long recoil of the gun. In a rather desperate move, Brighty removed the recoil system and locked the gun in place, thus forcing the entire tank to absorb the recoil, but this was a far from ideal situation and there was no telling how long the tank would have been able to handle such a set-up. Around June 1943, a colleague of Brighty, Lt. Col. George Witheridge of the Royal Tank Regiment, arrived at Lulworth. A veteran of the North Africa campaign, Witheridge had experienced firsthand the lopsided battles between British tanks armed with 2 pounder guns against Rommel’s formidable panzers and anti-tank guns. During the disastrous Battle of Gazala in mid 1942, Witheridge had been blown out of his Grant tank, and though he recovered from his wounds, he was declared unfit to return to combat duty. Instead, in January 1943, he was posted to Fort Knox in the United States for six months to advise on gunnery, where he was “sold” on American tanks.While at Lulworth, Witheridge inspected the A30 Challenger, and “joined in the
chorus of complaints” about the tank. Upon looking up Brighty and learning of his attempts to use the Sherman, Witheridge lent his assistance. He advised Brighty on methods to solve the recoil issue. Not long after, Witheridge and Brighty received a notice from the Department of Tank Design (DTD) to cease their efforts. Unwilling to abandon the project, Witheridge, using his connections with such influential people as
Major General Raymond Briggs, former GOC of the 1st Armoured Division in North Africa and now Director of the Royal Armoured Corps, and successfully lobbied Claude Gibb, Director General of Weapon and Instrument Production at the Ministry of Supply, to make it an official ministry project. In doing so, the endeavour was taken out of the hands of the highly enthusiastic and devoted amateurs at Lulworth who had initiated it and given to professional tank developers. Panthers and Tigers accounted for only 30% of the 2,300 German tanks deployed in Normandy; the rest being Panzer IVs, Sturmgeschütz IIIs and other tanks that the 75mm gun Shermans were able to effectively handle. However, the importance of Caen and Montgomery’s operations, which pinned German armoured forces in front of the British positions so the American units could break out to the west, meant that British and Commonwealth units had to face over 70% of all German armour deployed during the Battle of Normandy, as well as over half of the elite, well-equipped Waffen-SS Panzer units. As a result, the Sherman Firefly was perhaps the most valued tank by British and Commonwealth commanders, as it was the only tank in the British Army able to effectively defeat the Panthers and Tigers at the standard combat ranges in Normandy. This fact did not go unnoticed by the Germans, who realized that these long-barrel Shermans posed a much greater threat to their heavy tanks than the regular Shermans, and German tank crews and anti-tank gun crews were instructed to eliminate Fireflies first. Similarly, the Firefly crews realized that the distinctive long barrel of their 17 pounder gun made the Firefly stand out from regular Shermans, so crews attempted to disguise their tanks in the hope they would not be targeted. Some crews had the front half of the gun barrel painted white on the
bottom and dark green or the original olive drab on the top to give the illusion of a shorter gun barrel. Another suggestion was for a shorter wooden dummy gun to be mounted on the rear of the turret and point forward; however, this tactic does not appear to have been used in combat.