From the Vault: General Patton and the Sherman gun debate

One of the most enduring discussions regarding WWII armor revolves around the 75mm gun of the M4 Sherman tank.  Was it good enough?  Should the US Army had replaced it sooner with the 76mm gun?  While browsing through some old issues of ARMOR  magazine, we found this letter to the editor that we thought was worth sharing.  Written by Colonel George Eddy JR, son of Brigadier General George G. Eddy, he relates how his father got into an argument with General Patton over the 75mm gun issue.  This letter appeared in the March-April 1974 issue of ARMOR and it raises a few questions.  First, it must be acknowledged that this is second hand information.  Obviously, George Eddy Jr. was not a witness to this event.  As far as we know, there was not much “discontent” with the M4 after the combat experiences in North Africa.  We would be curious to know if there is any other record of this incident.  It’s worth pointing out that General George Eddy should not be confused with the more well known WWII XII Corps commander General Manton S. Eddy.

George Eddy letter

Comments

  1. That doesn’t seem credible to me, for at least three reasons:

    1. The M4 was probably the best tank on either side in North Africa, with the obvious exception of the small handful of Tigers. The US Army correctly figured out that there weren’t ever going to be very many Tigers, and they knew nothing about the Panther, so it is a mystery to me why there would be any ‘discontent’ with the M4 in mid-1943 when the fighting in Africa ended.

    2. Patton wasn’t an officer who knew a lot about technology and would probably not have been up to speed on any deficiencies in the M4 anyway. Certainly not enough to argue with another office about it.

    3. What Brigadier General was going to get in a shouting match with a three-star?

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