This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
Latest 7:20 by Mr. T (MrT4)
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Still a mystery, I guess. The Army did many silly things in the war, like not training the troops in North Africa how to use a bazooka before the were deployed to the front and not teaching tankers how to use the gyro-stabilizer, which was very effective for trained crews and not at all for the untrained. They also cut a foot off the ww2 76mm gun instead of adding weight to the back of the M18's turret.
I can't see any mystery. M42A1 was US Army standard 3'' HE shell (apart from tank guns it was used in AA guns and seacoast guns) and the only one in production.
That it was substantially less effective than 75 mm M48 against ground target was really noticed only after Normandy, when 3''/76 mm guns in GMCs and tanks saw wider use. There was not enough time to replace it before end of WW2.
Even if it was noticed earlier, better shell would have faced a lot of competition from other weapons programs.
Apart from manufacturing issues, often cited reason to develop US first electronic computer was to speed up calculations for firing tables for all the new ammunition being developed during WW2. I mean, that too apparently was a bottleneck.
That's all speculation. It's a mystery because none of us here have produced any documentation on the decision. We can reason why they didn't but we don't know.
I was watching the "Operation Think Tank" video on The Chieftain's YouTube channel and got an insight. My current impression is that with the short life of individual tanks and the speed of development in WWII that it did not occur to the planners that M4 Sherman 76mm tanks would be around very long. It probably did not seem to be worth the trouble to develop a new HE shell and associated manufacturing line. Besides, the M4 model carrying a 105mm howitzer was accepted into service at virtually the same time and it would be a much better HE thrower. The new M26 Pershing tanks with their 90mm guns would soon be available and be better hole-punchers.
According to this presenter, there were some plans in late 1945 for postwar units to have mainly Sherman M4's fitted with 105mm howitzers to dole out HE and a much smaller percentage of M26 Pershings to deal with other tanks.