Questions about Marine Peleliu Sherman Tanks…

My goal is to quick build a budget friendly Marine Peleliu Sherman. I do care about making a correct version of the tank but as OOTB as possible. I’ve learned that they were large hatch dry stowage M4A2s (like the affordable Zvezda kit) but I have a couple of questions about these tanks. From images I’ve found online they all had T54E1 style tracks on the suspension and also welded on to the turret and front hull areas. I have spare Tamiya T54E1 rubber band tracks and a bunch of sections of plastic Tamiya T54E1 spare track to adorn the turret and the hull. The only thing I’d be missing would be the swimming trunks so I’m keeping fingers crossed that some of them either had them removed or came ashore without them.

So did some of those Marine M4A2s come ashore without swimming trunks?

Or did some perhaps have their trunks removed during the course of the battle?

TIA for any information :slight_smile:

Typically the the stacks where dropped once on the beach but coverings had to be removed later.

From Marine Tank Battles in the Pacific by Ed Gilbert.
Only 30 Marine tanks came ashore (USA brought some but not really discussed), so all where repaired daily. 9 where left on the island as total losses.

This is the airfield which suggests all wading gear was removed.

If you wanted to make wading gear Italeri kit had some and Fine Scale Modeler had paper plans for one in the late 90’s as I recall.

Hope that helps.

Your first photo is from guam (4th marine TB?)

The airfield one is definitely Peleliu but they all have their trunks on, I’be seen a better higher resolution image of that same photo and the trunks are clearly visible.

The battle lasted 2 months! If the tanks were used continuously for the entirety of the battle was it likely that they perhaps had to remove everything at some point to conduct maintenance? The top section of the trunk would have prevented them from opening the top engine deck hatches. BUT, the M4A2 didn’t have a rear plate engine access door like the radial and GAA tanks so it’s possible they might’ve kept that rear trunk section throughout the battle? It would be awesome if I could see a photo of a Marine Peleliu Sherman that clearly shows everything removed but I haven’t seen one yet.

I’m only interested in acquiring the Zvezda kit because I have those Tamiya spares and because of price. I have zero interest in spending on AM stuff. I’ve built a set of trunks in the past from scratch for an Iwo Jima Marine M4A3 and they turned out fine but they were not easy to make. Considering everything I’ve read about the Zvezda kit, I won’t spend any additional money on AM and I’d rather not spend the time to make some trunks unless I absolutely have to. My goal is simply to use old Tamiya stuff that’s been in the spares box for years on an inexpensive kit that just happens to be the correct version for that battle. Another thing that interested me in this project besides low cost is that I have the markings in my spares box for the sides of the hull and turret front and rear.

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Not sure where the top photo was at but if Guam and it kinda looks like it then 3rd Tank Battalion, 4th sat that one out. Ed’s book has more photos but my copy has known dark prints which makes it difficult to see details. I would have asked Ed but he passed away.

As I recall the assault was completed mid Oct and because of the limited tanks they would replace crew and ammo and go back out to the front. One example mentioned was 3 trips in a day. Tanks where repaired all the time. It is possible they removed the trucks to do repairs but I would have to check on when the airfield was reached they might not have had time.

That’s awful, I had no idea he had passed. What a terrible loss to his family and this community. He looked really young on greatest tank battles he must’ve died in his 60s. Was it Covid?

I haven’t been very active on modeling forums for 4-5 years now. His book “Tanks in Hell” is one of my favorites and was delighted to see how he brought attention to tank use in the PTO and the importance that tanks played in that theater. It was something that had been pretty much ignored by historians and authors of WW2 books. I’ve purchased 3 copies of that book, one each for my brother and my brother-in-law both being ex marines and my copy I’ve read a couple of times.

I’m going to order his pacific marines tank battles book, maybe I can find the information I seek in that book.

I don’t know if these will help. From the book “Sherman in The Pacific War” by Raymond Giuliani.

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No, skin cancer before Covid.

Tanks in Hell is a good book. I have that one as well.
Ed had 4 books on Marine Tank Battle books covering WW2, Korea, Vietnam and Middle East (modern).

To continue with Marine tank books
David Harper (RIP) had a good book on Iwo and Ken Estes has one on WW2 and good overall book on Marine Armor.

Very interesting, had not heard of that book. I will need to check it out. :+1:

Oh my goodness, thank you! You posted not one but two rear images of Peleliu shermans without swimming trunks! The top tank on each of the pages you posted clear as day, no trunks. They do seem to have all the Peleliu features. I’ve seen images of Tinian shermans look similar but those had EEC on the tracks and the Peleliu shermans didn’t.

BTW, looked up “Shermans in the Pacific” prices range from $250-300 for a copy! I won’t be buying one at those prices.

Oh no, that’s awful, I’m so bummed he’s gone so young like that.

I do have the Harper book, the Estes books I need to look into, hadn’t heard of them before. Do they have photos in them? In particular I’d be interested in his WW2 book.

Well that settles it then, I’ll be getting one of those Zvezda kits, I don’t have a Peleliu Sherman in my collection and this one will be a quick inexpensive project. I’ve done the top of the line expensive kits with all the bells and whistles before but some of the most fun I’ve had modelling is building inexpensive kits guilt free OOTB. I have both types displayed on my case and interestingly enough I get a lot of enjoyment from the quick lazy projects too. They can’t all be super detailed for me, I’d burn out and never build anymore. I have monogram shermans and old DML shermans I bought for $10-15 a piece at modelling swap meets and once they’re built, painted, and detailed they are all fun to look at :slight_smile:

Is there any proper photos of late M4A2 with wooden add on armor, as portrayed in Academy and Dragon kits? In both cases instructions says “unknown unit”.
Thanks in advance!

The way it was explained to me a long time ago was that the Marine small hatch M4A2 tanks that used wooden plank armor were early (direct vision) like “jungle jim” and mid (welded hood) like “killer” or “king kong” production versions.

The large hatch Marine Shermans with wooden plank armor were the M4A3 flamethrower tanks used on Iwo Jima.

So if you have wooden plank armor left from those kits you can use it on a late large hatch 75mm M4A3 or trim it to fit the small hatch M4A2 kits.

Please don’t bash me if this information is incorrect, this is what I remember as it was explained to me over 15 years ago on one of these types of forum discussions. Large hatch M4A3 and small hatch M4A2 only for wooden plank armor, HTHs

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I will search my old emails with Ed and others about kits and locations to see if I can find any.

You have just confirmed my thoughts! Thanks!

A very timely discussion, I’m a bit of a Sherman novice and planning some PTO Shermans all be it in 1/56 wargaming but very detailed, so far I have a M4A1, M4A2 DV and not yet built another M4A2 with either small or large hatch options and low or high turret bustle options plus trucking, need to add a M4A3 plus a 105mm and POA-CWS-H5 Flametank and from a photo found in the book 'American Armor in the Pacific’by Mike Guardia what appears to be an M4A3E8, I stand to be corrected.

713th Tank Battalion Okinawa
Seen in this photo top middle

Oh I’m not adverse to Army Shermans


Both images from Peleliu. Large hatch M4A2 with tracks welded to the turret. Not great views of the rear but this is later in the battle and I have read that all wading trunk equipment had been removed.

Marines on Iwo Jima had small hatch M4A2, large hatch M4A2 and M4A3. I used to have a video link showing tanks unloading from an LSM and there were a mix of small and large hatch M4A2 tanks rolling past. Engine decks were visible. Because of a causeway none of the tanks had wading gear.

There was a discussion on the old site about Marine tanks that said on Okinawa, 1st Marine division had all M4A3, 6th used M4A2, or vice-versa.

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This is fantastic! Thanks for posting these, I was only able to find 4-5 photos of peleliu shermans online prior to this thread. Thanks guys :slight_smile:

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I started working on my Zvezda M4A2 75mm on after getting on Friday and I’m zooming right thru the build. I don’t want to talk too much about the problems with the kit because I feel that there is already a lot of information online about the issues. Here is a link to a fantastic thread I found online about this kit.

Things I love about the kit, the price of course, but the lower tub assembly is very precise. everything lines up and goes together really well in the lower hull. It’s the highlight of this kit IMO. Zvezda did some things I really like here like link and length tracks although I wasn’t going to use mine. I also like the simple approach to bogey assembly although the bogies have some glaring accuracy issues. There is a common sense approach to the kit overall that I really appreciate but they definitely missed the mark on many big things and considering it was their first attempt at a sherman I’m not going to bash them for it especially considering the low cost.

I’ll say this about Zvezda, they have very quickly addressed many (not all) of the issues of this kit in the M4A3 76mm release and in the pending M4A2 76mm release. I’m always pleased when I see a company make changes so quickly to fix problems. Hopefully they’ll eventually replace the entire upper hull, turret, and FDA on this M4A2 75mm. The turret I was able to “massage” to a point where I felt good about and I’m just living with the misaligned loaders hatch problem.

I knew this was going to be a lazy quick build project based on what I’d read about the kit. I had some older lower quality Tamiya rubber tracks and Tamiya plastic spare track that I was never going to use on a fancy expensive kit and this Zvezda allowed me to use those parts to build something very quickly, mediocre perhaps, but also low cost and carefree. I’ve enjoyed speed building it (lots of CA) and it will still fill a gap in my Sherman tank model collection. I didn’t have a Peleliu Sherman before and now I do.

The plastic is super thin very malleable and bendy like vinyl so using CA wasn’t just about building fast, I learned that Tamiya extra thin has to be used very sparingly because it eats right thru this Zvezda plastic. Warping can be an issue with this kit if you use too much extra thin. For a quick cheap project like this I don’t mind recommending this kit. I purposefully targeted it due to price and knowing I’d use the spare track to hide one of it’s biggest weaknesses (the FDA).