Here is a little background on the Sherman Firefly. It was proposed to fit a QQF 17 pounder Mk. IV gun into the M4 Sherman, which at the time was the main tank fielded in the British army under the lend-lease act. The concept was rejected as the British planned to completely replace the Sherman with there new tank designs, such as the A30 challenger and the comet. Nevertheless, some designers thought the Sherman was a better mount then the challenger for the 17 pdr, and were commited to installing the 17 pdr into the M4.
W.G.K. Kilbourn, a Vickers engineer at the time working for the Department of Tank Design, was the man behind the effort that would produce the Sherman Firefly. A few modifications were neccassary, and these are what made the Sherman Firefly unique. The Sherman's standard turret, as seen in game on the M4 in stock configuration, has noticeably little room in the back of the turret. For the recoil system to substain the guns very high recoil, the 17pdr had to travel 40 in backwards in the turret. The Standard production M4 turret did not have this room, so Kilbourn's Shortened the recoil cylinders to allow the turret to take the gun and its recoil, and the new cylinders were placed on both sides of the gun to take advantage of the width of the Sherman's turret rather than be hindered by its height.
The gun breech itself was also rotated 90 degrees to allow for loading from the left rather than from on top. The radio which was mounted in the back of the turret in British tanks had to be moved. An armored box (a "bustle") was attached to the back of the turret to house the radio. Access was through a large hole cut through the back of the turret.
The next problem encountered by Kilbourn was that the gun cradle, the metal block the gun sits on, had to be shortened to allow the gun to fit into the Firefly, and thus the gun itself was not very stable. Kilbourn had a new barrel designed for the 17-pounder that had a longer untapered section at the base, which helped solve the stability problem. A new mantlet was designed to house the new gun and accept the modified cradle. The modifications were extensive enough to require that 17-pounders intended for the Firefly had to be factory built specifically for it.
Kilbourn had to deal with other problems. On the standard Sherman tank, there was a single hatch in the turret through which the tank commander, gunner and loader entered and left the tank. However the 17-pounder's larger breech and recoil system significantly reduced the ability of the loader to quickly exit from the tank if it was hit. As a result, a new hatch was cut into the top of the turret over the gunner's position. The final major change was the elimination of the hull gunner in favour of space for more 17-pounder ammunition, which was significantly longer than the 75 mm shell and thus took up more room.
By October and November 1943, enthusiasm began to grow for the project. The 21st Army Group was informed of the new tank in October 1943. Even before final testing had taken place in February 1944, an order for 2,100 Sherman tanks armed with 17-pounder guns was placed. This reaction was understandable, as the Challenger program was suffering constant delays and few would be ready for Normandy, and even worse, the realization that the Cromwell tank did not have a turret ring big enough to take the new High Velocity 75 mm gun (50 calibres long), so the Cromwell would have to be armed with the general purpose Ordnance QF 75 mm. Thus the Sherman Firefly represented the only available tank with firepower superior to the QF 75 mm gun in the British Army’s arsenal. Not surprisingly, it was given the ‘highest priority’ by Winston Churchill himself.
The majority of Shermans converted were the Sherman V/M4A4 model, of which the British received about 7,200. The Sherman VC and IC variants are easily distinguished by their lower hulls; the VC having a riveted lower hull with a curved shape while the IC has a welded and angled lower hull.
Ok, so hopefully i didn't bore you with all that information, and hear comes the in game stuff.
Apart from the 17 pdr, The Firefly had no armour or mobility advantages over the normal Sherman tank, although the gun mantlet was some 13mm thicker.
in game, the QQF 17 pdr Mk. VII has
171 mm. pen with AP rounds, 239 with premium, and 38 with HE.
Damage wise, the gun sits at 150/150/190 HP.
rof is 12-14.29 r/m
Accuracy is .34m
aim time clocks in at 1.9-2.3 s
The wieght is 826 kg
and the gun is priced at 60,000
although the gun used in the Sherman firefly was the Mk. IV version, the only difference between the Mk IV and VII was that the Mk VII had a slightly shortened breech ( All modifications after Mk. IV were just changes to the breech, and are not large enough differences to change any stats in my opinion)
with the stats out of the way, the next toipic is balancing. In short, the Sherman firefly has a tier 5 chassis with a tier 7 gun. my position on the topic is to make this tank a tier 6 med, or if a turreted AT line is introduced for the brits, place it there, and maybe with the 17 pdr AT gun, which has a higher rof and slightly better aim time. The reason i say put it with ATs if available is because in actual combat, British tanks troops were armed with 3 normal Sherman and one firefly, with the same ratio for Cromwell units, and were used to engage the heavier German tanks from cover or hull-down positions while the normal tanks pushed forward taking out lighter tanks, flanking the Germany's heavier ones, or mopping up infantry.
Additionally, the 17pdr can pierce any armor at the tier 6 level I believe, which makes it fir for more of the AT role. A common way to nerf these tanks is to make there mobility extremely sluggish, or the turret traverse speed dismal. I would suggest slightly slowing the turret, which makes sense because of the added weight. Also they should again very slightly slower the hull traverse speed, as the Firefly was primarily built on the the M4A4 chassis, which was slightly longer in length then the other variants.
Additionally, the Firefly would have availability to the British made Ws. 19 no. radio, and the new and more powerful gasoline Chrysler A57 5x6-cyl inline engine.
Last but not least, a few extra armor plates were welded onto the front for additional protection, so an increase to the Sherman feeble frontal armor would make sense and be greatly appreciated.
One more problem continues to surface... With addition of the Sherman firefly, how does the easy 8 stack up? i say they make the Firefly slower stock, as it has a tad more armor and heavier modules, but with the improved engine, it would make sense for it balance with the easy 8. this one i am stuck on, and i hope continues Nerfs are not implied on the Firefly because of this.
One thing that could balance the firefly would maybe be a reduction in rate of fire. it was recorded that crews often complained about the fact that the 17 pdr massive blast caused so much smoke and dirt to surface that the captain's view would be blinded because of the dust, and the tank would be incapable to see there target until it cleared.
It is commonly pointed out that this tank would be far to capable in tier 6 games, and that it should be made a tier 7. in my opinion, i would love to finally see a tank that can stand up to the KV 1s. Also, in tier 7 it would be shredded to pieces because of its almost non existent armor at the tier 7 level.
As a wrap up, i am super excited for the introduction of the Firefly, and would love to see my favorite tank ever appear in tier 6 matches. I hope you enjoyed, and i want to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you notice a topic i failed to cover, please tell me so i can fix it. Also i attached a file if you are interested on the subject and what to read further. All in all, LETS ROLL OUT
Hey guys! i"m back and i just want to say i am so thankful for the support on this post. I posted this at the beginning of the summer and i"m so happy to see the positive reviews and your input and thoughts. It is amazing that i"m still getting e-mail notifications regarding this post, and i hope the trend continues.. thanks again!
Edited by shady8, Oct 16 2013 - 01:23.