Tanks were the game changers in changing modern warfare, changing the way wars were fought.
Though the technology was just being developed during the first world war, it was the World War II tanks developed by the Allies that gave them a huge advantage and helped them win the war.
Among these powerful, armored vehicles were World War II Sherman tanks, one of the most versatile and maneuverable of all the mid-weight tanks and the one that has become most famous of all the tanks from that era.
Early Armored Tanks
The first WW2 tanks were developed between the two World Wars when the U.S. Army held military practice exercises for Allied troops called the Louisiana Maneuvers.
During this event, the military studied how tanks could best be used to protect ground troops, then took that information to the drawing board to develop vehicles that filled those needs.
At the same time, Germany and the Soviet Union were developing their own tanks, as they too had come to the same conclusions as the allies had - that tanks were the future of battlefield dominance.
The M2 and M4 Tanks
These military exercises brought about the development of the M2 series of light tanks, which were the first U.S.-made World War II tanks to enter the war.
The M2s were poorly armored and were replaced early in the war with the M4s, a medium-duty model that became the star of the battlefield for its durability and maneuverability combined.
The M4, named the M4 Sherman after Civil War General William T. Sherman, quickly became the star of the battlefield.
The M4 Sherman Tank
The Sherman tank was used throughout WW2, with 50,000 of them seeing action in Europe, in the Pacific, and even beyond WW2 in other military battles.
It was accompanied later in the war by another WW2 tank, the M26 Pershing, a heavy tank that went into wide use in Europe and North Africa.
These two tanks, through lend-lease programs from the U.S. Army, ended up all over Europe and much of the world as troops from many different Allied nations used them in their battles.
Tanks Still a Military Mainstay
Today, tanks remain a military staple for the Army and Marines, though modern tanks are much more technologically developed than the WW2 tanks used back in the day.
Still, it was the World War II Sherman tanks that cemented tanks into history and paved the way for vast improvements in these amazing and powerful troop protectors and military weapons.
Many of these Sherman tanks and other restored World War II tanks can still be seen on display and in action at military history museums throughout the country and the world.