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M4A3(76)W HVSS With T99 Rocket Launcher

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  1. 1. Would You Like This Tank?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe / I Don't Know
  2. 2. If Added, What BR Should It Be?

    • 5.3 (Same as M4A3(76)W HVSS)
    • 5.7
    • 6.0
    • Other (Please Comment)
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
  3. 3. If Added, How Should It Be Available To Players?

    • Researchable
    • Premium
    • Event / Tournament
    • Squadron Reward
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
    • Other (Please Comment)
  4. 4. If Added As A Premium, Where Should It Sit?

    • As Its Own, Individually Purchasable Vehicle
    • Between Calliope And M26 T99 (With Reduced Price For M26 T99)
    • After Calliope, With M26 T99 Becoming Individually Purchasable
    • I Don't Know / Don't Mind
    • Other (Please Comment)

The USA experimented heavily during and immediately after WWII with various tank-mounted rocket systems, from the roof-mounted T34 Calliope and the T40 Whizbang to more compact T99 system mounted to an M26 Pershing. We currently have two such vehicles in War Thunder, the 4.3 T34 Calliope and the 6.3 M26 T99, which differ quite significantly in capabilities: Calliope is very powerful and its top-mounted arrangement makes it deadly against much stronger tanks like Panthers and Tigers because it can strike their roofs, whereas M26 T99 mainly gains a way of dealing with light vehicles without wasting any 90mm ammunition, with Panthers among the only tanks in its BR range that can be killed from the front. I've thought for a while that there's a place in War Thunder for a rocket tank between the two we already have, and recently stumbled across what seems the perfect choice: a 76mm Sherman (almost certainly an M4A3) with the same T99 rocket system that's best known for its use on the M26.



I usually go into a whole section detailing the history of a tank, but with this one I know almost nothing. The photo above is taken from "Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things", a 1946 publication by Chrysler on the state of US tank development at the time. It's naturally biased, being semi-propaganda for the US tank industry, referring to the M3 Lee as "the tank that whipped Rommel" and bigging up the T29 as the supertank of the future, but I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the photo of M4A3(76)W T99. For one, the rocket system and its associated tanks were Chrysler projects, and for another, the photos are being used as embellishment to the general theme of US tanks being "mighty fine things" rather than illustrating what's actually in the text -- there'd be no reason to fabricate an image for such a purpose when the M26 version (or any generic tank photo) would do the job just as well.


The T99 rocket launcher itself is basically a known quantity, but the mounting system here is different from the one on the M26 -- the mountings on the turret are more substantial, but there's no attachment to the mantlet. I can only speculate that the long tube atop the turret contains a motor or similar mechanism to elevate the rockets (hence their size compared to the M26 mountings) because mounting them straight forwards like this would be both utterly useless and achievable with a much simpler mounting system (see the fixed-elevation RP-3 "Tulip" tanks). US tank-mounted rocket doctrine was focused on indirect fire against a general area, not close-ranged direct fire, and anyone who's played the M26 T99 will know that shooting the rockets straight ahead wouldn't hit anything that isn't close enough your tank's commander could lob a grenade out of his hatch and hit it himself, so we can safely assume they were either capable of elevation or were missing part of its setup (in the latter case, why would the launchers on the tank's right still be loaded?). Because the tanks would have been intended for the same indirect fire role, their launchers were probably capable of the same elevation angles -- interestingly enough, while the M26's elevation is -10 to 20 degrees, both the M4A3(76)W and its T99 rocket launchers have elevation angles of -10 to 25 degrees, so this M4A3(76)W T99 almost certainly has the same elevation angles with its rockets as with its main gun.


My assumption that this is an M4A3(76)W is just that -- an assumption -- but it's based on a few known facts: one, the preferred Sherman tank in US service was the M4A3; two, after WWII, the US rapidly got rid of all of its Shermans that weren't M4A1(76)Ws or M4A3(76)Ws; three, by the end of the war, most testing for potential new Sherman components was done with M4A3s, since this was the model the US Army intended to keep and would be the model to receive any such upgrades. Transmissions like the Spicer 95 or Torquematic, developed right towards the end of the war, were tested head to head in repurposed M4A3E1s and M4A3E3s, and judging by the 1946 publication date of the photo and the late 1945 completion of M26 T99, this M4A3(76)W T99 would be right in the same end-of-the-war 1945 time period. The photo clearly shows a late-production "large hatch" Sherman with a flat sloped front, no driver's hoods, and an M1 76mm gun with a muzzle break. This disqualifies the M4, which was never built with a large-hatch hull or 76mm gun, the cast-front M4A1, and the M4A4, which has prominent driver's hoods. It could be an M4A2(76)W -- I don't know of any way to tell them apart from the front, since IIRC the only difference is the engine and related internals to do with the clutch pedals (M4A2's engine was a two-engine multibank) -- but the M4A2 was only really used in the US by the Marines, with the rest being exported to Britain and the USSR as Lend Lease. Given that the M4A2 was a rare tank in the US, whereas the M4A3 was the most numerous, that the M4A3 was the preferred testing tank for new Sherman components in 1944/45, and also that the M4A3 was the only welded-front Sherman model to survive the US Army's postwar downscaling, it's clear which model the photo is likely to be. 


So, in essence, we've got an M4A3(76)W HVSS -- the main late-war and postwar US Army Sherman -- without its AA .50 Cal but with a pair of T99 rocket launchers with elevation control but no traverse. Going by Calliope being added at a similar BR to other 75mm Shermans (M4A2 was 4.3 until not too long ago, remember) and M26 T99 matching the standard M26 with a BR of 6.3, it's likely that this M4A3 would be either 5.3 like its standard variant or 5.7 to compensate for the power of the rockets. Given the lack of an AA MG, I'd wager it's not actually much better than the standard M4A3, so I don't see it needing a BR any higher, but you never know. Based on experience with M26 T99, I know that it would be able to OHK Panthers with a good hit to the turret front above the ammo, Tiger Is with a shot to the turret side near the smoke grenades, and kill IS tanks from the side with a short barrage. It'd be facing those a lot more than M26 T99, and King Tigers a lot less, so it's likely to be able to do more with its rockets than the Pershing can, especially since lower BRs will see more hull-breakable vehicles rolling around like the Marder III and its fellow 5.3 tank, PT-76B. All in all, it should wind up somewhere in between M26 T99 and Calliope -- a little less gimmicky than the former, a little less powerful than the latter.


I hope you like this tank, and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments! If anyone has more sources, I'd love to have them; I know this one's sources are shaky at best.




Length: 6.27m

Width: 2.62m

Height: ~3m (I'm unsure how much height the rockets add)

Weight: >30.3 tons (I'm also unsure how heavy the rockets are)

Crew: 5 (Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver, Hull Gunner)

Hull Armour: 63.5-107.9mm front, 38.1mm sides and rear

Turret Armour: 63.5-88.9mm front, 63.5mm sides and rear

Main Armament: 1x 76mm M1 cannon (71 rounds), 2x T99 twin 11-rocket launchers (44 M8 rockets total)

Armament Traversal: -10 to 25 degrees elevation for both the gun and launchers, 360 degrees turret traverse (24 deg/sec)

Secondary Armament: 1x 7.62mm Browning M1919 MG

Engine: Ford GAA

Max Speed: 31 mph (49 kph)


Spoilered: the full page with the photo above.







http://imperialclub.com/Yr/1945/46Tanks/Page124.htm (Online version of "Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things" by Wesley W. Stout, published by the Chrysler Corporation in 1946)

https://www.strijdbewijs.nl/tanks/sherman/m4eng3.htm (A source which briefly mentions the T99's arrangement on the Sherman, as well as describing how the US Army employed its rocket tanks)

http://www.752tank.com/rockettanks.html (A source on US rocket tanks which mentions T99 alongside all the other Sherman-based rocket systems; though it doesn't explicitly state that T99 was used on the Sherman, the company it's in (e.g. T34 Calliope, T40 Whizbang, the T31 rocket Sherman -- all Sherman-mounted rocket systems) implies that it was)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._Army_rocket_launchers_by_model_number (Only mentions the T99's specifications and its M26 mount, which is unsurprising as the Sherman variant is almost completely unknown)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Sherman_variants (Used to back up my statements on which Sherman the photo's likely to be)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Sherman (Same as above)

http://www.theshermantank.com/sherman/the-sherman-of-the-future-advanced-sherman-updates-that-almost-made-it-into-production/ (mentions several M4A3-based prototypes from the end of the war)

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Open for discussion. :salute:

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