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Additional resources for The Sherman Tank in British Service 1942-45
The official explanation was that the high and poorly protected ammunition stowages made the cartridges liable to be punctured and ignited by splinters; with the size and number of 29 Sandini Sherman V of 24th Lancers in France. The combined 8th Armoured Brigade sign (fox's mask), over unit tacsign (995 on red) with a white bar beneath to identify it as an independent 'Army' brigade, is on the left of the hull backplate. rounds carried the chances of touching one off must certainly have been high.
Thereafter the sloping hull front and front trackguards became popular, with empty ammunition boxes welded on to make impromptu lockers. A field telephone was sometimes attached to the back plate to provide a 'house phone' for infantry to communicate with the tank commander — supposing he could hear them above the noise of the engine; this later became a proper fixture on British tanks. The fact that the Sherman was not impervious to the heavier enemy anti-tank projectiles seems to have caused more comment from those coming from Churchills, or not having previously served in the flimsier British Cruisers, than from experienced armoured regiment crews, who noticed the improvement on previous types and did not really expect anything to keep out an '88'.
Opinions varied as to the usefulness of having an infantry set; some fitted and used them, others had squadron second captains moving on foot with the infantry to tell them what the tanks were up to, and some squadron COs actually carried deckchairs on their engine decks for the infantry commander, so they could talk face to face. What the infantry thought of this rather exposed method of communication is not recorded. Apart from some comments that the 'B' set (troop intercom) was unreliable, and early troubles in the desert with 19 sets overheating due to a design fault, communications seem to have worked well, although for much of the Sherman's service they were only required to cope with relatively short ranges.