The American Automobile Industry in World War Two
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson


Overview      The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944    The U.S. Auto Industry and the B-29 Bomber   U.S. Auto Industry Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   The Complete listing of All Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   Sherman Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry    M26 Pershing Tanks of the American Auto Industry

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Truck Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar  Diamond T   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Marmon-Herrington Company   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

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Manufacturers:
  Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  
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 Ford Overview   Ford Victory Pictorial   Ford WWII Production Database   Ford Highland Park Plant Photos    
Ford built M4A3 Sherman Tank Photos
Built at the Highland Park, MI Plant
1910 to Present

This page last updated 2-25-2017.


Ford Motor Company produced 1,690 small hatch dry storage M4A3 tanks during 1942-43 at its Highland Park, MI plant.  This was the smallest number of M4 Sherman type tanks produced by an auto company during WWII.  Ford pioneered the use of the GAA V-8 500 hp gasoline engine for use in the Sherman tank.  Because the Ford built M4A3 tanks were produced at a time in WWII when the US Army had standardized on the M4 and M4A1 with a Continental built radial aircraft engine, they were initially kept in the US for training.  Remanufactured Ford built M4A3s were shipped to Europe in 1945 after the huge loses of American Sherman tanks in the Battle of the Bulge. Today there are over 80 Ford built M4A3 still in existence in the US. Only one is outside of the US and it is in France.  Several of the Ford M4A3s still run as can be seen below.


The Ford GAA engine that defines the the M4A3 Sherman.
 

Serial Number: 2662
US Registration Number:  3055622
Date Built:  August 1942
Location:  South Boardman, MI -
This is on the property of the former VFW Post 4087.  From all indications, the Post appears to be closed. This may mean that the tank may have to be eventually moved.
Date of Photo:  7-31-2016
This is the oldest Ford M4A3 tank known to exist.  The first Ford came off the assembly line in June 1942.  It was the only one produced in June.  None were produced in July.  Serial number 2662 was the seventh M4A3 produced at Highland Park in August, making it the eighth the of 1690 tanks built by Ford.  


The original small hatch M4 Sherman tanks like this Ford built M4A3 had the front glacis angled 57 degrees from the vertical to hopefully have enemy anti-tank shells bounce off the glacis rather than penetrate it.  However, this allowed for the driver's and assistant driver's hatches to protrude forward of the glacis, creating a weak spot in the armor.  Steel plates were welded in front of them in the field or at tank depots to increase armor protection.  The later large hatch tanks got away from this problem by reducing the glacis angle to 47 degrees, which then eliminated the protruding hatch bulges but at the same time reduced the overall ballistic protection.


Serial Number:  2779
US Registration Number: 3055739
Date Built:  June 1942
Location:  Photographed at the 2016 World War Two Weekend at Reading, PA  
Date of Photos:  6-3/4-2016

This Sherman is owned by  the JW Rich Auto Museum in Frackville, PA.  The main gun is a 76mm from a M41 Bulldog tank.  All Ford built M4A3 tanks came from the factory with a 75mm cannon.


The registration number was assigned to the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, OH for use on M4A1 Sherman tanks.  This particular number was never used.


This is a Ford M4A3 type engine covering.


Added is the infantry telephone box on the right rear.  This allowed escorting infantry to speak with the tank commander.


The Ford M4A3 is waiting to take part in the battle reenactment at the Reading WWII Weekend.  In the many years I have attended the event, this is the first time I have seen any type of Sherman tank take part or be on display.


Serial Number:  2980
US Registration Number:  3055940
Date Built:  November 1942
Location:  Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles, Nokesville, VA
Date of Photo:  9-24-2016


Serial Number:  2993
US Registration Number:  3055953
Date Built:  November 1942
Location:  City Park, Dunkirk, OH
Date of Photo:  5-21-2016


Serial Number: 11578
US Registration Number:  3053733 
Date Built:  December 1942
Location: National Museum of the USMC, Quantico, VA
Date of Photo:  9-24-2016
 


This diorama note only gives a good view of the infantry telephone box on the rear of the tank but how it was used in combat.


1157 is plainly visible while the 8 is fainter in the stamped serial number 11578 on the fight front corner of the glacis.


Serial Number: 11605
US Registration Number:  3053760 
Date Built:  December 1942
Location:  Golf Course, Chillicothe, OH
Date of Photo:  8-31-2016
This tank is also misidentified.  The signage states this is a Fisher Body M4A2 with a 76mm main gun.   This Sherman as of April 2012 was located at the AMVETS Post 89 on Westerville Road in Columbus, OH.
 


Serial Number: 11686
US Registration Number:  3053841 
Date Built:  February 1943
Location:  American Legion Post 179, Grandville, MI
Date of Photo:  8-1-2016


Note that the date on the tank is wrong, as it was built in February 1943.


Serial Number: 11755
US Registration Number:  3053910 
Date Built:  February 1943
Location:  American Legion Post 264, Mancelona, MI
Date of Photo:  7-31-2016


Serial Number: 11762
US Registration Number:  3053917 
Date Built:  February 1943
Location:  Village Park, Estral Beach, MI
Date of Photo:  2-3-2016
 The Ford M4A3 is located just 38 miles south of where it was built at the Ford Highland Park, MI plant.  There are no others any closer to that plant than this one.


Serial Number:  11790
US Registration Number: 3053945
Date Built:  February 1943
Location:  Ohio National Guard Readiness Center, Chillicothe, OH
Date of Photo:  2-23-2017


Serial Number:  11800
US Registration Number: 3053955
Date Built:  February 1943
Location:  Russell Military Museum, Zion, IL
Date of Photo:  9-27-2015

This M32A1B3 Tank Retriever started life as a Ford M4A3. It was one of 1,599 M4 Sherman of all types converted to the Tank Retriever configuration.  This can be identified as a Ford, as it is a small hatch and is powered by a V8 engine gasoline engine.  The VVSS suspension was converted at some point to an HVSS type suspension.


 The engine bay is uncovered revealing the installation of the Ford GAA engine.


Serial Number:  11903
US Registration Number:  3054058
Date Built:  April 1943
Location: American Legion Post 134, Circleville, OH
Date of Photos:  8-31-2016
This M32B3 has the flagpole going right through the center of the floor and turret top. 


The bottom front end of the Ford GAA V-8.


The radiator and one of the exhaust pipes.


The driver's seat is on the left along with the transmission shift lever.


Serial Number: 12050
US Registration Number:  3054205 
Date Built:  April 1943
Location:  World War Two Museum, New Orleans, LA
Date of Photo:  10-24-2013
This particular tank served with the Israeli military until being purchased by the Russell Military Museum in Zion, IL.  It was one of seven that Russell purchased from the Israelis. 


Serial Number:  12084
US Registration Number:  3054239
Date Built:  April 1943
Location:  Cemetery, Blanchester, OH
Date of Photo:  8-15-2016
Added 8-17-2016


Serial Number:  12281
US Registration Number:  3054436
Date Built:  June 1943
Location:  American Legion Post 484, St. Leon, IN
Date of Photo:  2-28-2016


On the back plate, the serial number 12281 can just barely be seen.


This Ford built M4A3 is new to the state of Indiana, having recently immigrated from Ohio where it was on display at the now closed National Guard Armory in Eaton.


Serial Number:  12311
US Registration Number:  3054466
Date Built:  June 1943
Location:  Russell Military Museum, Zion, IL
Date of Photo:  9-25-2015
This particular tank served with the Israeli military until being purchased by the Russell Military Museum.


Serial Number:  12458 
US Registration Number:  3054613
Date Built:  July 1943
Location:  National Guard Armory, Walbridge, OH
Date of Photo:  2-3-2016
This Sherman is 68 miles south of its place of manufacture at the Ford Highland Park, MI plant


Serial Number:  12489
US Registration Number:  3054436
Date Built:  July 1943
Location:   American Legion, Grayling, MI
Date of Photo:  7-31-2016


Serial Number:  12638
US Registration Number:  3054793
Date Built:  August 1943
Location:   American Legion Post 201, West Jefferson, OH
Date of Photo:  8-30-2016


Serial Number:  Unknown
US Registration Number: Unknown
Date Built:  Unknown
Location:  2015 WWII Days at Midway Park, Rockford, IL
Date of Photos:  9-27-2015

This operable Ford built M4A3 is privately owned and participated in the 2015.  The owner is unknown


Serial Number:  Unknown
US Registration Number: Unknown
Date Built:  Unknown
Location:  Photographed at the 2016 Thunder over Michigan Airshow, Willow Run Airport, MI 
Date of Photos:  8-20-2016

Owner:  Chris Kurtz, St. George, MO


Serial Number:  Unknown
US Registration Number: Unknown
Date Built:  Unknown
Location:  New Jersey National Guard-Militia Museum
Date of Photos:  9-22-2016
During Hurricane Sandy this location a couple of hundred yards from the Atlantic Ocean was under four to five feet of water.  The Sherman and other equipment on display were all under water.

 

 

 

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