M4a3 (w) 76 HVSS
“CaBana Boy”
Sherman how to

My favorite tank is the Sherman and this particular model is my baby.  It is a labor of love and may never be completed.  It is my first Tamiya tank and to date it is the veteran of 40+ battles in Arizona and California. I have leant it to dozens of new members and family and it has trained many rookies.  Periodically, I add or repair details like Pershing electronics, upgrades and only once, new track.  There have been 3 specific rebuilds, most recently I modified the rear hull to a more correct M4A3 configuration. 

The 37th adapted 3 major modifications / changes through Feb, 1945:

  1. (1)Additional armor plate on the turret, glacis, and sides, often scavenged from disabled tanks.

  1. (2)Col. Abrams directed machine guns be moved to more useable positions. .30 cal Brownings were placed in front of the commander and often the .50 cal was moved to the loader’s position

  1. (3) Sommerfield matting  (chicken wire) was added to the hull so brush and other foliage could be


I chose to represent a late war, HVSS Sherman from the HQ company, 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored division.  This unit was commanded by Col. Creighton Abrams, namesake of the M-1 main battle Tank.  I chose modifications from several wartime photos and used a mixture not representing any specific vehicle.  War time vernacular was “field expedient Jumbo” and the add on armor was often salvaged from allied and AXIS wrecked tanks.

Additional firepower modifications included bow-mounted flame throwers, a .50 cal in place of the coax and the up-gunning of the M4A3E2 Jumbos to 76mm. Sandbag armor was frowned upon in the 3rd Army (Gen. Patton hated it!)  but several tanks still used it as another measure of protection. The 4th armored had a policy where the tank commander fought from the open hatch and one adaptation for this technique were extra MGs mounted within easy reach. A .cal M1919 was often the choice as it was smaller, lighter, and had a higher cyclic rate for the commander to use.

The 37th Tank Battalion saw 9 months of serious combat and received a Presidential Unit Citation with the rest of  4th Armored Division. The nick-name “Cabana Boy” is from the story of a lady friend and her wild weekend at the Hard Rock Casino pool in Las Vegas.  The details are a sworn secret, so what happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.  I may change the name someday as that lady friend recently got married.......