Author: Life_in_Black (US server)
Since the French medium tier 8 premium, the M4A1 Revalorisé, first
appeared, I've seen countless people throw around the term “Super
Sherman”. Mainly they say that this is a Super Sherman, or ask why an
Israeli tank is in the French tech tree. The short answer is, this isn't
an Israeli tank, and it isn't a Super Sherman, but the full answer is
slightly more complicated than that.
So, is this tank being
French then? The answer is yes, but it wasn't designed with France in
mind. Back in the early to mid 1960s, a Middle East arms race had begun
to take shape, with the Soviets supplying relatively new weapons systems
to Egypt and Syria, something which alarmed the Israelis greatly. So
much like during the 1950s, Israel once again turned to France in
regards to upgrading their numerous Shermans with something capable of
dealing with these new Soviet weapons, namely the T-54 and T-55 that
were forming the backbone of the Egyptian and Syrian armored forces.
Thus, the M4A1 Revalorisé was born:
The M4A1 Revalorisé, which means upgraded/improved, was created to test
the concept of mounting a much larger cannon on the Israeli Shermans,
this time a 105mm. The French used an M4A1 chassis with the 76mm armed
“T23” model turret, not the older 75mm M3 turret as used on the Israeli
M-50 and the WWII vintage Firefly. Even so, the turret needed a large
counterweight added to the rear, as well as a large muzzle brake and new
low pressure HEAT ammunition so as to make the cannon work.
from the initial proof of concept vehicle that is the Revalorisé, all
of the conversions were done in Israel using guns purchased from France.
In addition to mounting the guns and modifying the turrets, Israel also
converted these M4A1 Shermans to use the HVSS suspension, replacing the
outdated and less efficient VVSS. They also replaced the original
engines with the much more efficient 460hp Cummins VT8-460 diesel
engine, much like the Israelis had done with the M-50s not too long
The cannon however, is what most people notice, as it's a
vastly different 105mm cannon to the old 105mm M4 howitzer. Here was a
dedicated anti-tank cannon designed to fire HEAT rounds at just over
900m/s velocity, mounted on a chassis that was already over 20 years
old. The cannon itself was a shortened version of the 105mm CN 105-57
mounted on the AMX-30, and which itself was a relatively new cannon at
the time. Now here's where the fun begins, as the M4A1 Revalorisé's
105mm cannon is called an L/51, which is different from what is commonly
believed to be true, that of the gun being L/44 in length. I believe
the French 105mm cannons on the M-51 were also L/51 in barrel length,
the answer to which lies in the name itself, M-51.
think of this 105mm armed Sherman as the “Super Sherman” as that's been
the name used for years in even reputable sources. Other sources will
say that the term Super Sherman refers to an M4A1 chassis with the HVSS
suspension, so an M4A1E8. However, the truth is a lot more simple than
that, as Israel did in fact have a naming system in place for its
There is precedent as well for this, given the
cannon it was based on the 105mm CN 105-57, was in fact 57 calibers
long, or L/57. (caliber in this instance denoting the barrel's length in
mm divided by the caliber of the weapon itself, also in mm) It is
therefore not inconceivable then, that the Israelis made a similar
judgment call with this particular gun, and designated it CN 105-51 to
denote its length. Obviously, while this isn't confirmed, it would
explain the name of the tank and why the French prototype had an L/51
barrel that appears to be the same length as that of the Israeli M-51.
An Israeli M-51 finding a new lease in life, as well as an identity crisis (from The Big Red One):
while we're on the subject, there are several other names that have
been attributed to Israeli vehicles are either completely made up, or
were never used by Israel or the IDF. Of note is that even well known,
and reputable historians will use these terms as well, simply because
they're so prevalent and previous books and sources will use them, so
nobody ever bothers to find out if the terms are historical or not:
Near as I can tell, this may have been some sort of generic Israeli
name for the captured Tiran tanks, as it's literally an abbreviation of
denoting the name of the tanks (Tiran) and the year they were first
captured (1967). Therefore, there is no mythical upgrade of the T-54/55
or T-62 known as a Ti-67, because if it was ever used it's just a generic term for that family of tanks.
Tiran 1, 2, 3:
I've seen the names Tiran 1, 2, and 3, thrown about to denote
unmodified T-54s, T-55s, and T-62s respectively in Israeli service.
These are more fictitious designations, as those vehicles were always
known as the Tiran 4, Tiran 5, and Tiran 6 respectively. It sounds kind
of like someone was a fan of Star Wars, with the “prequels” coming long
after the original trilogy. On a related note, Israel has never
differentiated between modified and unmodified versions of the Tiran 4,
5, and 6, either. Oftentimes, you'll also see a Tiran 4 or Tiran 5
modified with the 105mm L7/M68 denoted as an "Tiran 4Sh" or Tiran 5Sh".
This is likewise unhistorical, as Israel never differentiated between an
unmodified Tiran and a modified one. The "Sh" most likely stands for
Sharir (Muscle), which is the Israeli name for the 105mm L7/M68, so "Sh"
most likely evolved from there as a way to denote a rearmed Tiran, but
this isn't an Israeli distinction.
This is literally an amalgamation of the words Israeli and Sherman.
Never used by Israel, and like “Super Sherman”, it appears to have been
invented by an author/historian or possibly a modeling company. Once
upon a time, little was known about the Israeli modified Centurions, so
it's not surprising that some sort of catchy name or designation like
“Isherman” or “Super Sherman” would be used to help differentiate these
vehicles from their base versions.
So to recap, yes the M4A1
Revalorisé is historical for France, no it's not an Israeli vehicle even
if it was the prototype for the Israeli M-51. And the term Super
Sherman is not historical, even if it is widespread. Which means that
none of these vehicles are “Super Shermans” as there is no such thing.
Currently the engine on the M4A1 Revalorisé is wrong, as the Israelis
were the ones to overhaul the Shermans with the HVSS and the Cummins
VT8-460, not the French. It should be using a Continental engine, like
other M4A1 Shermans, not an engine that was only ever mounted in
Shermans by Israel as part of their extensive overhaul program.
Hunnicutt says as much here:
Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank – Hunnicutt
Warmachines No. 10: IDF Tiran 4, Tiran 5, Tiran 6 – Michael Mass
Chariots of the Desert – David Eshel
Armored Corps (1968 IDF memory book on armor in the Six Days War)
http://www.chars-francais.net/2015/inde ... evalorises
http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php ... -of-tanks/