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Sherman ARV options

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I am almost exclusively an aircraft modeller, so I know next to nothing about AFVs.

However I would like to make a Sherman ARV; probably 1:35 scale; specifically the tank driven by my father when he served with the 13th/18th Hussars from D-day through to the end of the war in Europe.

I suspect that nobody does this as a complete kit and that I will need to get a base kit and aftermarket set?

Any advice would be welcome.



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13/18 Hussars primarily operated Sherman IIIs in NW Europe and their ARVs were therefore based on the Sherman III hull (what the Americans would call M4A2 Sherman), at least for the first few months. 'Cymru Am Byth' is the best-known of the three ARVs that 13/18 H operated and I think the only one of which there are a couple of photos. Upper photo shows her behind the tank in the forground - lower photo shows her from behind. Both photos show the temporary wading extensions on the enhaust and around the hatches over the turret ring which is one of the reasons people get confused between ARVs (temporary wading superstructure) and BARVs (permanent wading superstructure of a different design).


BARVs (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicles) were only assigned to Royal Engineer Beach Support Groups and continued to be used into 1945 by the RE as ersatz recovery vehicles after their superstructures had been removed. BARVs did not carry a full range of recovery equipment - they were simple pushers and pullers of vehicles.

Each Armoured Regt operated three ARVs. Although officially assigned to the Regt HQ, most Regts tended to allocate one to each Squadron within the regt. Cymru Am Byth was attached the C Sqn - hence the name starting with 'C'


Through 1944, these ARVs were 'ARV Mk I'. The hull type varied from unit to but the conversion was the same for each type.








Edited by John Tapsell
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If you were willing to go to 1/72 scale, Dan Taylor Modelworks does a conversion for the Sherman III ARV Mk I Deep Wading Conversion  and transfers for Cymru Am Byth.  Designed for the Heller or Dragon M4A2/Sherman III kits (but NOT for the Airfix kit, which is 1/76, not 1/72, and a Sherman I (M4), not a Sherman III (M4A2)).


For some reason the site isn't allowing me to post a direct link but go to dantaylormodelworks.com and rummage around in the Things To Do With A Sherman bit of Conversions/British and the British 1944 bit of Transfers.  You want 27 Armoured Bde part 1.






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2 hours ago, John Tapsell said:

BARVs (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicles) were only assigned to Royal Engineer Beach Support Groups

I bow to John's superior knowledge, and put it down to me misinterpreting the caption on a photo on Pintrest.



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Thanks Guys; very useful starting point.

I will try and stick to a larger scale if I can as dodgy eyes and too many thumbs make 1:72 a bit of a trial these days!


Dad served with 'B' squadron 13th/18th; I am sure that his tank (he was tank commander) was a standard ARV, not a BARV - he had it until it got knocked out by a German 88mm at Mont Pincon, after which he had a replacement. I don't have details as he died many years ago when I was a teenager, so I am anticipating that I may need to do a fair bit of research before starting.

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To do this in 1/35 scale you'll need an M4A2 or Sherman III kit for the basic tank - there are several on the market from Dragon and Tasca/Asuka. Just to confuse matters, every Sherman type went through changes during production but these are not defined in an official way - different suspension units, different production characteristics depending on which factory built them and so on. From you perspective that may not matter. If you have no photos of your dad's actual vehicle, then you can use some artistic licence. There's plenty of photographic evidence to show that 13/18 H was operating a mix of early, middle and late production M4A2s at the same time (and examples from different manufacturers too).


Then you'll either need to purchase a resin conversion set or scratchbuild the ARV parts yourself. Resicast offers a really nice ARV conversion but it is virtually a full resin kit and therefore expensive (http://resicast.com/eshop/gb/military-vehicles/25-sherman-arv-mk-i.html). It is also specifically modelled on an M4A4 hull which is a longer hull than other Sherman types. Legend Productions offer a simpler conversion that contains just the ARV parts. Although again advertised as being for an M4A4, the actual parts are suitable for an M4A2.  (Legend Productions LF1105) - I don't know if this is still available  but you can find details on the Scalemates website (https://www.scalemates.com/kits/legend-productions-lf1105-sherman-arv-mki-conversion-set--140140)


The real ARV Mk I conversion was a standard set of components that could be fitted to any Sherman hull (other ARV Mk I types such as Cromwell and Churchill were also virtually identical in terms of 'fit').



The vehicle markings would have changed in August 1944 because 13/18 Hussars were transferred from 27th Armoured Brigade to 8th Armoured Brigade and remained with them until the end of the war (27th AB was disbanded in August 1944).


27th Armd Bde had a yellow/white Seahorse on a blue shield as a Brigade badge.

8th Armoured Bde carried a red fox's head on a yellow disc.


The Arm of Service code carried by each vehicle would also have changed. AoS markings can be very confusing even to those familiar with them (just when you think you've got it sussed, you run across exceptions to the rule).


Within 27th Armd Bde, they were assigned as follows (all in white digits on a red square):

Brigade HQ - 50

Senior Regt (13/18H) - 51 (in the second photo I posted earlier, you can see this marking on the rear left corner of Cymru an Byth and the Brigade 'seahorse' badge on the far right rear corner)

Second Senior Regt (Staffs Yeomanry) - 52

Junior Regt (East Riding Yeomanry) - 53


When 13/18 H moved to 8th Armd Bde, their AoS changed. The brigade used different AoS codes (again, white digits of a red square, but this time with white bar along the bottom of the red square)

Brigade HQ - 993

Senior Regt (4/7 Dragoon Guards) - 994

Second Senior Regt (13/18 H) - 995

Junior Regt (Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry) - 996


'Seniority' is defined by the regiment's place in the traditional 'Line of Of Battle' of the British Army, so if you moved to a different brigade, the entire brigade might have to swap their AoS numbers around to ensure that the order of precedence was maintained.


Wider reading:

See if you can track down a copy of the 13/18 Hussars War Diary, their official daily record of activities during WWII which you may find interesting. The National Archives definitely has a copy, as does the Tank Museum Library.

The Tank Museum Library also used to offer 'Plans Packs' and one of these was a fairly comprehensive set of contemporary stowage diagrams and arranagement drawings for the ARV Mk I


Hopefully all the above rambling makes some sort of sense :)



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You might also be able to get ARV information from the REME Museum, now at Lyneham.  Sadly I don't believe there are any survivor UK-spec Sherman ARVs anywhere.


As noted above, M4A2 Sherman IIIs were built by 5 different factories and the UK certainly had them from 4 factories (Baldwin only built 12 anyway).  However, about 75% were built by Fisher and these were the most common type.  All of the tanks in the pictures above are Fisher-built, including the direct vision one.  Recognisable by the fabricated D-shaped antenna base, unique to Fisher on A2s.  Fisher tanks without direct vision are most easily recognised, at least from the front, by the square-edged fabricated drivers' hoods - again unique to Fisher.  Everyone else used rounded castings.  These can be seen in the photos and in other photos of 13/18H tanks.


What does this mean here?  It means that a Sherman III ARV in 13/18H is almost certain to have been built on a Fisher hull.  For which you would need Dragon kits 6062 'Tarawa' or 6321 'Sicily' or Asuka kit 35-018 'Sherman III mid'.  While other M4A2 kits are available from both Dragon and Asuka, plus Academy and Zvezda, they are less suitable or not suitable.


As also noted above, the ARV gear was common to ARVs built on M4 Sherman I, M4A2 Sherman III and M4A4 Sherman V.  So in theory the Resicast and Legend conversions should fit any of these. But as there are subtle dimensional differences between kit brands some adjustment may be necessary.  Also, the M4A4 hull rear deck slope angle was different to the others as it was a foot longer, which might make parts designed for an A4 sit at an odd angle on an A2.

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1 hour ago, zigster said:

Looks like ARV "base hull" was build/issued to match the rest of the receiving unit.

For some reason, I thought, they were on Sherman I only. 🤪



Correct - wherever possible, the ARV issued to a regiment (certainly in NW Europe) used the same hull/automotive components as their tanks. It wasn't always done but was the most common option.

However, the REME Brigade Workshop attached to an Armoured Brigade would generally have a pair of Sherman V ARV Mk Is, irrespective of what type of tank the brigade operated.

Sherman ARV Mk Is were built on Sherman I, Sherman III and Sherman V hulls. The most common version was the Sherman V ARV.


Late in the war, a few British units were issued with American M32 ARVs and the Sherman ARV MK II became available (but I don't know how widely it was used/issued).


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Hi Guys


Thanks for all the information - really useful.

Looking at the photographs my impression is that 13th/18th used mainly the Sherman V hulls - I think that they had a mix of 75mm and Fireflies.

It's not a project that I am going to be starting immediately but it's certainly given me a way forward.



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Hi Martin,


13/18 Hussars used some Sherman V for training prior to D-Day, but were part of an armoured brigade equipped with Sherman IIIs (initially 27th Armd Bde and later 8th Armd Bde) for their entire time in NW Europe.


A and B Sqns were temporarily issued with Sherman V DD tanks for D-Day but gradually swapped these for Sherman IIIs through June and early July - C Sqn operated Sherman IIIs from D-Day onwards because they landed as wading tanks, not as amphibious tanks. When they transferred to 8th Armoured Brigade in August 1944, 13/18 Hussars had their 'War Establishment' (WE) made back up to full strength with surplus Sherman IIIs transferred from other regiments in 27th Armoured Brigade. The brigade was being disbanded so East Riding Yeomanry was transferring to a brigade equipped with the Sherman I, whilst Staffordshire Yeomanry was returning to the UK to commence training on DD tanks and neither regiment needed to keep their tanks. The rest of the spare Sherman IIIs went to the Canadians or back into Forward Delivery Squadrons for re-issue as attrition replacements to other units.


On D-Day, their Sherman Fireflies were all Sherman Vc, issued in theory at four per Sqn (with one attached as the fourth tank in each Troop). In reality they were very short of Fireflies throughout June and July.


There were no Sherman IIIs converted to Fireflies so units used either Sherman Ic or Vc Fireflies. Later in 1944 as more Fireflies became available, there were sometimes examples of both in an Armoured Regt.








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