|Last update: 27-11-2000
H.L. Spoelstra /
All Rights Reserved
Serial number 18903 stamped
on left rear towing shackle boss of M4A4 (Sherman VC Firefly)
Also read Joe DeMarco's notes on Sherman
Tank Serial Numbers
U.S. Ordnance assigned blocks of vehicle
serial numbers plus corresponding registration numbers to each manufacturer.
The vehicle serial number was struck on the data plate and sometimes to
the hull itself. The registration number was painted on the hull side.
and M3 series
The M2 medium tanks also had the number
stamped on both front and rear tow points.
The M3 series of medium tanks have
the serial number stamped on both the front and rear tow points, but you
can trust only the rear numbers, as the final drives were subject to replacement.
The tank serial number is only stamped
on a plate attached to the lower left hull plate.
M4A1 Medium Tanks built by Pacific
Car & Foundry (926 made between May 1942 and November 1943): range
starts with serial number 3005 and ends with serial number 3930, with a
registration number run from 3060572 to 3061497. Partial number run on
M4A1 Medium Tanks built by Pressed Steel Car Company: Serial Number 1 through
Serial Number 164 correlates with Registration Numbers 3014757 through
3014820. After serial number 164, the company built both M4 and M4A1 Medium
Tanks and the serial numbers were given out as the tanks rolled off the
assembly line. In other words, there is no fixed serial number run for
the M4 and M4A1 tanks built by this company. The highest serial number
in their first manufacturing run block that has been observed so far is
1408, with the Registration number of 3016065. (This gives a run of s/n
1 to 1408, registration number 3014757 through 3016065). Data is still
collected on a second (and perhaps 3rd) block of serial numbers and registration
numbers issued to the company.
Scan courtesy of Kurt
||Part II, SNL G-104, Volume VI, the
Service Parts Catalogue for Tank, Medium M4 built by American Locomotive
Co. under contract number W-ORD-485 lists the following serial numbers:
totalling 2,850 M4s.
1555 through 1904 (350 ea.)
3805 through 4304 (500 ea.)
24705 through 25704 (1,000 ea.)
40305 through 41304 (1,000 ea.)
The tank serial number is stamped on
the two rear tow points.
In 1993 on a Dutch range the serial
number 10358 was found on an M4A2 (with welded components) under the data
plate (which was missing itself). Registration numbers were USA 3096640
Apart from on the data plate, the Ford
built M4A3 has its serial number and Ordnance serial number stamped on
the rear hull plate. The numbers are stamped on the right side, the smaller
of the two numbers is the Ordnance s/n, the larger is the Ford s/n. These
numbers are repeated on the right side of the front armour, but you really
have to look for it. Also, the Ford s/n is repeated on several of the major
parts, such as the mantlet.
On the ultimate generation M4A3s
built by Grand Blanc Tank Arsenal, the serial number is stamped on the
two rear tow points. The Detroit Tank Arsenal tanks are rather problematic.
Some of their vehicles have the serial number stamped on the two rear tow
points, while others lack any serial number markings other than on the
The vehicle serial is stamped on each
boss to which the towing shackle is attached.
To identify the differences among
models, the TM mentions serial number ranges.
Scan courtesy of Kurt
||Part II, SNL G-104, Vol. IX, the
Preliminary Service Parts Catalogue for Tank, Medium M4A4 built by Chrysler
Co. under contract number W-ORD-461 lists the following serial numbers:
Note: this contract totals 8,750 M4A4s.
As only 7,499 M4A4s were actually delivered, s/n 22653 must have been the
last one built.
4805 through 6204 (1,400 ea.)
16555 through 20554 (4,000 ea.)
20555 through 23904 (3,350 ea.)
and M36 series
The vehicle serial number is stamped
on all four hull towing brackets, and on the hull behind identification
Typically had a Shop No. assigned by
their manufacturer, Montreal Locomotive Works. The DND number assigned
by the Department of National Defence and the commonwealth type registration
number (painted on the hull side) have a relation to the Shop No.
The Ram I and II have their Shop No.
struck on the mudguard support tube which runs across the front of the
|Shop No. range
||DND registration no.
|1 - 50
||CT-39781 - CT-39830
|51 - 1157
||CT-39830 - CT-40937
|1158 - 1949
||CT-159402 - CT-160193
|1950? - 2033?
||CT-202113 - CT-202135 and
CT-205122 - CT-205181
|Ram II Command/O.P.
The Grizzly was a Canadian built M4A1
with some modifications. Most notable was the fitting of CDP tracks. The
Grizzly has its Shop No. struck below the General Steel Castings Co. crest
on the front glacis. It is often repeated on the bolt flange of the final
Shop No.'s range from 1 to 188.
|Shop No. range
||DND registration no.
|1 - 86
||CT-160194 - CT-160279
|87 - 188
||CT-163911 - CT-164012
25pdr SP Gun
The Sexton's Shop No. is on the rear
hull, struck below the starter handle hole.
Shop No.'s range from 1 to 2150.
|Shop No. range
||DND / WD registration
||S159377 - S159400
||CS172726 - CS172785
||CS204782 - CS204821
||S233626 - S233925
||S233926 - S235061
||S286849 - S287438
A number of AFVs rebuilt by the French
have a brass plate screwed to the glacis plate. The plate is located slightly
left of centre, just above the transmission housing bolt flange. A typical
example on a Sherman M4 at the Saumur Museum, France, reads:
Examples have also been found on
another ex-French Army M4 ("ABS No 380-1950"), and ex-French Army M10 and
ex-German Army M7B2s ("ABS No 4 1961", "ABS No 13 1961", "ABS No 38J 6-1962").
"A-BS" or "ABS" stands for Etablissement d'Etudes et Fabrications d'Armement
Details about the serials and markings
added to the French/Israeli built M50s are sketchy. It is best to have
a look at a surviving example. Ron Schumacher of Canada has scrounged his
M50 and came up with the following details:
Serial number "18204" stamped on towing
shackle bosses, originally done by Chrysler at the time of manufacture.
This number is repeated on the glacis plate by the French or Israelis.
It appears to be a stamped rectangle about 1.5" by 3" with the word "CHASSIS"
and "N 18204" underneath. It is located on the right side of the glacis
plate, inboard of the ball mount about 2" and about 9" above the transmission
housing mounting bolts.
A three digit serial "001" welded on
by the French or Israelis to the left hand side of the glacis plate. Other
M50s have a similar three digit number welded on the upper rear hull plate.
Israeli registration number 157609y
(most recent paint) and 157605. Typically, the Israeli registration is
a six digit number painted (and/or welded) in white on black the hull front
The markings on the gun match with a
stamping on the turret (mantlet extension on the front of turret) the stamped
number is 1104 and the gun markings on the rear of the gun breech are:
"CN-75-50" stands for the gun type,
"IS" is unknown, "NO 104" is the gun's serial number, "ABS" stands for
d'Etudes et Fabrications d'Armement de Bourges (where the first batch
of M50s was built), 1956 is the year the gun was built.
of known serial numbers
to view a listing of all known Sherman serial numbers. If you can add anything
to this table, please e-mail me.
Source: Special thanks go
to Mr Charles Lemons, curator of the Patton Museum.
Further sources were TM 9-731A;
TM 9-745; TM 9-754; TM 9-752 (25 November 1943); Hanno Spoelstra.