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Part 16

Image Collection 15

Gavin K. Watt

The Canadian Army was equipped a wide variety of tank types during the war; however, with the exception of the Dieppe operation in which Churchill tanks were used, our four armoured brigades were equipped with U.S. designed and manufactured M3A1 Stuart Light Tanks and versions of the U.S. M4 Sherman Medium tank both in Italy and NW Europe. For an excellent overview of British tank doctrine and the Canadian position, see Service Publication’s “Tools of the Trade.”


Stuart Light Tank (Honey)

The Stuart, known popularly in Commonwealth formations as the Honey, was a speedy, maneuverable, lightly-armoured tank used for reconnaissance. Its armour offered protection against shrapnel and small arms, but was ineffective against ATK guns and handheld launchers such as the Panzerfaust or Panzerschreck. Its 37mm main gun was ineffective against Axis tanks, but useful against armoured cars, softskin vehicles and ‘man’ targets. The turret of the Honey was often removed, leaving the tank armed only with its machine guns.


Sherman Medium Tank

The Sherman was adopted into Canadian service after the failure of the Canadian-manufactured Ram tank design to accommodate the larger calibre main guns required to defeat German armour. Due to variations in manufacturing methods and the availability of motive power systems, the Sherman went through a number of variants. The primary armament of the most commonly employed variants (I, II, III, V) was a 75mm main gun with a .30 cal. Browning MMG mounted in the turret beside the main gun (coaxial) and a second .30 Browning in the tank’s bow. A .50 cal. Browning HMG was pintle-mounted outside the turret, but was most often laid aside by the Canadian squadrons. Later variants (Ic & 5c) mounted the highly-effective 17 pdr main gun and eliminated the .30 bow MMG and the co-driver. Another variant (Ib) mounted a 105mm Howitzer. It will become obvious when scrolling through these photographs, that “in-theatre” methods were taken to improve the Shermans’ armour in the face of the Germans’ excellent rocket propelled grenades, ATK guns and upgraded main guns on the Panzer IV’s and newly-introduced, Panther and Tiger tanks. The armour protection of the Sherman was no match for the latter two tanks, but the Sherman’s high-speed and ease of maintenance were redeeming features of this American design.



Steve Guthrie, The Sherman in Canadian Service (Ottawa: Service Publications, 2002)
Doug Knight, ed. & Clive M. Law, Tools of the Trade – Equipping the Canadian Army (Ottawa: Service Publications, 2005)
William A. Gregg, ed., Canada’s Fighting Vehicles, Europe 1943-45, Series Volume 1 (Rockwood, ON: The Canadian Military Historical Society Inc., 1979)
Steve Zaloga & Peter Sarson, Sherman Medium Tank 1945-1945 (London: Osprey, 1978)


1. In the foreground, a British Honey (Stuart V) of 33rd Armoured Brigade in action during Operation Charnwood, Caen, Normandy 08Jul44. (IWM B6659)


2. Honeys of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse [2nd Cdn Arm’d Regt, 5CAB] at the final parade of 5th Armoured Division [5CAD] at Eelde Airport, Holland, 23May45.

(LAC, PA137911)


3. A de-turreted LdSH Honey in action at the Melfa River, May44. (RCAC Illustrated History, LAC, PA204157)


4. A de-turreted Honey of 1st Troop, C. Sqn, Governor General’s Horse Guards, [3rd Arm’d Recce Regt, 5CAD] mounting a .50 cal. Browning HMG and its crew at Cervia, Italy, 19Jan45. (LAC, Mikan No. 3240406/PA173596)


5. A Calgary Regiment [14th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 1CAB] officer wearing a MkIV Armoured Corps steel helmet exits his straw-camouflaged Sherman at San Leonardo, Italy, 10Dec43. (LAC, PA167659)


6. Troops of the West Nova Scotia Regiment, 1CID riding a Calgary Sherman V during the advance to Potenza, Italy, 18Sep43. (LAC, PA177155)


7. A Three Rivers Regiment [12th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 1CAB] Sherman V towing a 6 pdr ATk gun of the Perth Regiment, 5CAD Arielli River, Italy, 17Jan44. The division’s integral 5th Armoured Brigade (5CAB) was unable to support 11CIB in this action, as it had not received its tanks since landing in Italy. (IWM NA10962)


8. Tanks of C. Sqn, 8th New Brunswick Hussars [5th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 5CAB] participate in an indirect shoot as supplemental artillery. The two foremost troopers are wearing the unpopular American tankers’ helmet, the others, black berets. Tollo, Italy, 04Feb44. (LAC, PA193902)


9. An 8NBH Sherman with twin Brens mounted on the rim of the turret hatch. As this armament could not compare to the punch or range delivered by the Browning .50 cal. HMG, one can only assume that the latter had been removed for other employment. Italy, 02Mar44. (LAC, PA213559)


10. A ‘cammed’ Sherman of the Ontario Regiment [11th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 1CAB] at the Liri River, Italy, 12May44. The tanker wears mixed Battle-dress and TW’s, as commonly done in Italy. His blouse displays 1CAB’s insignia. (LAC, PA201637)


11. A Sherbrooke Fusiliers [27th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 2CAB] Sherman V with a .50 cal. HMG and some welded-on track links manoeuvres through Caen, 10Jul44. (LAC, PA162667)


12. 75mm and 17 pdr Shermans of the Governor General’s Horse Guards [5CAB) near Sonsbeck, Germany 09Mar45. (LAC, PA113682)


13. A Sherman Vc 17 pdr Firefly of the 1st Hussars [6th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 2CAB], Holland, 20Jan45. This tank must be newly issued, as the usual ‘upgrades’ have not yet been made to its armour; however, attempts have been made to camouflage the tank for winter with whitewash. Three troopers wear specialty tankers’ suits and two are armed with Browning HP Pistols. (LAC, PA140901)


14. Armoured regiments arriving from Italy [1&5CAB] were issued with a great deal of new equipment. Here, a Warrant Officer of the Calgary Regiment organizes tank parts at Dottignies, Belgium, 22Mar45. (LAC, PA144121)


15. Two Duplex-Drive (Donald Duck) amphibious Shermans participating in the assault over the Rhine River, 24Mar45. 1&5CAB’s were not issued with DD Shermans, as both the D-Day landings and the Rhine River assault were completed by the time they arrived in NW Europe. (IWM BU002148)


16. Bombing up Sherman tanks of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, [22nd Cdn Arm’d Regt, 4CAB, 4CAD] with 75mm shells near Emmerich, Germany, 28Mar45. (LAC, PA134433)


17. Bombing up a 4CAB Sherman Firefly near the Dortmund-Ems Canal, Germany, 8 April 1945. (LAC, PA113696)


18. Sherman of B. Sqn, Fort Garry Horse [10th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 2CAB] car-ries infanteers of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, 2CID near Groningen, Holland, 13Apr45. (LAC, PA130941)


19. A GGHG Sherman, with armour heavily reinforced with welded track, advances north from Arnhem towards Harderwijk, Holland in support of Perth Regiment infantry, 15Apr45. (LAC, PA108921)


20. A Sherman V of 8NBH, 5CAB with surplus Churchill tank track welded to the hull, Putten, Holland, 18Apr45. (LAC, PA131042)


21. A new Sherman III of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, 2CAB is having track installed by its crew. The trooper in front is directing the driver to reverse the drive sprockets to pull the track to the rear while the second trooper guides the track over the suspension. 20Apr45. (Guthrie, “The Sherman in Canadian Service,”

(LAC, PA188676)


22. A very poor image of a Sherman 1c Firefly of the Fort Garry Horse, 2CAB supporting Royal Regiment of Canada infantry, 2CID. The tank has small tree trunks layered on the hull and turret to defend against Panzerfausts. Dingstede, Germany, 25Apr45. (Guthrie, “The Sherman in Canadian Service,” LAC, PA166803)


23. An M4A3E8 Sherman of the U.S. 25th Tank Bn, 14th Armored Division has been liberally covered in sandbags held in place in specially rigged cages. This was the American answer to upgrading the tank’s protection, but whether it was more effective than the Commonwealth method of welding tracks to the hulls and turrets is unknown. France, 1945. (Zaloga & Sarson, “Sherman Medium Tank 1942-1945”)


24. Shermans of the British Columbia Dragoons [9th Cdn Arm’d Regt, 5CAB] are reviewed during 5CAD’s (Hoffy’s Mighty Maroon Machine) impressive final parade at Eelde Airport, Holland, 23May45. (LAC, PA152489)


25. Another view of the Eelde Airfield parade of 5CAD. In this case, LdSH Shermans. Second in line is a new Firefly without the additional protection of welded-on track.

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