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"Fighting abilities of the M4 Sherman tank" by Leslie Ashwell-Wood. Ink & gouache on paper.

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Fighting abilities of the M4 Sherman tank

"Fighting abilities of the M4 Sherman tank" by Leslie Ashwell-Wood

Catalogue ref: INF 3/1581Links to the Catalogue


An extremely optimistic illustration of the fighting abilities of the M4 Sherman tank. This black and white illustration is supposed to demonstrate the speed with which the Sherman can acquire and engage enemy armour. In this illustration the Sherman is seen to be engaging a mixed German armoured formation, which includes two Tigers, a Panther and an SPG (Self-Propelled Gun).

Rather fantastically the Sherman is seen to blow the turret from the leading Tiger with a single well placed shot, something that in reality would have been almost certainly unachievable. The Sherman M4 served extensively with both the British and American armies. Though inferior in firepower and protection to the bigger German tanks, it did outshine them in terms of reliability and serviceability.

The six smaller plates demonstrate the contribution that radio installation had made to armoured warfare. Commanders could now communicate directly with the tanks in their troop or squadron allowing for greater command and control and easier target acquisition. Before the introduction of radios much ‘signalling' was done using semaphore, so the commander had to stand up in the turret and wave flags – a potentially hazardous pastime!

Ashwell-Wood's technical and explanatory drawings were incorporated into various magazines and official publications, which endeavoured to explain to the British public just how the fighting forces and their equipment functioned and operated.

He went on to achieve greater fame in the post-war era as the illustrator of the technical drawings that appeared each week in the centre pages of the Eagle comic.