M4 "Crocodile" Sherman
|Role||Infantry Support flamethrower tank|
|Upkeep per Minute||-13.82|
|Produced By||Tank Depot|
|Primary armament||Coaxial Flamethrower|
|Secondary armament||M1919a4 Light Machine Gun|
|Max. Speed||5.5 m/s|
The M4 "Crocodile" Sherman is a specialized Infantry-Support tank fielded by the Americans in Company of Heroes. Based on the chassis of an M4 Sherman, this tank's cannon is only a dummy - instead it has a powerful flamethrower mounted on its turret, which can quickly and easily burn infantry, buildings, and infantry garrisoned inside buildings. The Crocodile Sherman is used to assist either infantry or armored assaults against enemy light troops, and is as tough as any Sherman tank. It can be upgraded with a Bulldozer, which allows it to easily break through almost any obstacle.
Prior to the invasion of Europe in 1944, the British devoted a good amount of resources to creating a wide range of tanks capable of handling "abnormal" tasks not often associated with tank warfare. Amongst their many creations, they managed to combine a flame-thrower with a tank chassis, resulting in a vehicle which proved to be very effective as an infantry-support weapon. The Americans, interested in this development, had several of their M4 Sherman tanks converted to flamethrower tanks for service in the Pacific and European theatres. The European deployment version is called the M4 Crocodile Sherman, after the British Churchill Crocodile flamethrower tank.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman is produced by the Tank Depot, for the cost of 320, 110, 8. The abnormally high Fuel cost makes this a rarer tank on the battlefield, though most American commanders do not need to produce more than a few.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman is very similar to an M4 Sherman tank, being almost identical visually. In truth, the tank's main 75mm cannon's firing mechanisms have been removed from the turret (leaving the barrel outside to fool enemy units), and a second barrel installed coaxially to it. This second barrel is the firing nozzle for a large Flamethrower device.
With its powerful flamethrower, the M4 Crocodile Sherman is a formidable anti-infantry unit. It can burn infantry both in the open and behind cover quite rapidly. Fire is also a great danger to enemy structures, allowing this tank to demolish enemy fortifications with ease, and kill infantry hiding inside bunkers or other Structural Cover much faster than most other weapons.
The medium armor, equal to that of any other M4 Sherman tank, the M4 Crocodile Sherman is quite capable of driving straight into combat to root out enemy Infantry positions and Weapon Teams. It can stand face-to-face with enemy tanks as well, soaking up firepower to protect other units. Unfortunately, the flamethrower is not useful against any but the lightest enemy vehicles.
Additionally, the M4 Crocodile Sherman can be fitted with a Bulldozer upgrade, allowing the tank to crush heavy obstacles such as Tank Traps and thick hedgerows. Other units can then exploit the gap to attack an enemy position from a previously-inaccessible direction, taking enemy defenses by surprise. The only other American vehicle that can do this is the rare and expensive M26 Pershing, which is only available to the Armor Company.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman often serves as a support unit for infantry, drawing fire to itself while the infantry get to work destroying enemy units. Alternatively, it can be used to support armored offensives by engaging enemy Infantry and Weapon Teams - something other American tanks are not particularly good at - creating a well-rounded tank force.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman lacks a primary cannon unlike other tanks. However, it is fitted with a turret-mounted Tank Flamethrower, which is particularly dangerous for enemy infantry and structures.
Additionally, the tank retains the M4 Sherman's signature hull-mounted M1919a4 Browning Light Machine Gun, which adds some firepower against infantry but the real damage is put out by its main weapon: the Flamethrower.
Note: The M4 Crocodile Sherman has an unmanned M2 Browning HMG clearly visible atop its turret. Unlike the M4 Sherman, there is no way to man this weapon, which unfortunately remains unusable as a result.
Tank Flamethrower Edit
The primary weapon of the M4 Crocodile Sherman is a large flamethrower device, firing jets of flaming petroleum through a short barrel at the front of the tank's turret. The barrel is visible next to the "dummied-out" barrel of what used to be the tank's main (and now inoperable) 75mm cannon.
This short-ranged but accurate weapon will inflict 30-35 points of damage to its target every second. Each flame jet lasts for about 4-6 seconds - with a cooling period of only 1-2 seconds between jets - meaning that the weapon dishes out damage at an alarmingly-high rate. It takes about 2 seconds to kill one infantryman with this weapon - with an extra 40% chance per second to kill an injured infantryman outright regardless of any other considerations.
Area damage from this weapon is also quite severe. Units up to 4 meters from the flame jet's impact point will suffer anywhere down to 25% of the total damage potential (5-10 damage points per second), allowing the gun to eradicate large infantry units all at once. This is especially useful against Weapon Teams, as these tend to huddle together in one spot and thus can be killed together rapidly. Again, injured infantrymen within the area damage zone have a high chance of dying regardless of how much damage they actually take from the weapon!
As an added bonus, infantry behind cover are actually easier to hit with this weapon, making the M4 Crocodile Sherman a great unit for clearing enemy infantry-held fortifications or neutral buildings, and taking out infantry suppressed into cover by your other units.
Unfortunately, most armored vehicles are immune to the flamethrower's effects. Lighter vehicles, on the other hand, such as the Motorcycle, Scout Car, the Panzer Elite's many light halftracks, or even Marder III Tank Hunters and Hummel Self Propelled Artillery will suffer some damage if they stay under fire for any long duration.
Finally, note that like other flamethrowers in the game, this weapon's range leaves something to be desired: it can only attack targets up to 25 meters away from the tank. This requires the M4 Crocodile Sherman to come very close to its target, exposing itself to infantry anti-tank weapons.
M1919a4 Browning Light Machine Gun Edit
This belt-fed automatic weapon is a standard issue vehicle-mounted machine gun. On the M4 Crocodile Sherman, one such weapon is mounted through the front of the hull, allowing it to engage targets in front of the vehicle, independently of the tank's turret.
The M1919a4 on an M4 Crocodile Sherman is a relatively poor weapon. It fires in long, 5 second bursts, with about 35 bullets per per burst. Unfortunately this is mitigated by very low accuracy values, so that at anything beyond very close range (5 meters or so) only a few bullets if any will strike the target at all. It also delivers a relatively low amount of damage: 4 points per hit, with a serious damage reduction against most targets (even against most infantry units). It can take upwards of 10 bursts to kill a single infantryman with this weapon, unless the target is very close.
Additionally, this M1919a4 has almost no Suppression ability, despite being a rapid-fire weapon. This makes it even less useful against infantry, the only targets it can actually damage with any reliability.
This weapon is meant only to discourage infantry from approaching the front of the tank. Use the tank's Flamethrower if you actually need to kill those units.
Initially, an M4 Crocodile Sherman has no combat abilities at all. It's only when the Bulldozer upgrade is purchased that one ability is added: the ability to raise and lower the bulldozer attachment.
Lower/Raise the Bulldozer Edit
- Costs nothing.
- Requires the Bulldozer upgrade.
- Activation: Immediate.
- Duration: Permanent until deactivated.
- Cooldown: 3 seconds (activate/deactivate).
Once the Bulldozer upgrade has been purchased, this new ability will appear in the M4 Crocodile Sherman's menu. As its name suggests, activating this ability will lower the Bulldozer blade into position. A second click deactivates the ability, raising the Bulldozer blade back up.
While the Bulldozer is "activated", the M4 Crocodile Sherman receives the ability of "Heavy Crush". In other words, it is now capable of crushing any crushable obstacle in the game, simply by driving over it.
Crushable obstacles include, most prominently, Tank Traps and hedgerows. Some large trees may also be crushed. By crushing such obstacles it becomes possible to travel through previously-blocked passageways, whether natural ones or man-made ones. You can surprise your enemy by attacking through a route he previously thought was secured and thus left it undefended.
Remember that buildings cannot be crushed, and neither can natural obstacles like large boulders. In addition, the Panzer Elite's Road Blocks are uncrushable, and can only be destroyed with direct firepower. Finally, the bulldozer does not grant this vehicle protection from Mines, which will damage the vehicle normally when it triggers them.
While the Bulldozer is engaged, the M4 Crocodile Sherman is 50% slower than normal. This means that when leading an attack, it will slow down the advancement of the entire group. The Bulldozer must be deactivated to regain full speed - and should be every time the vehicle does not need to pass through such obstacles.
Note that activation and deactivation take 3 seconds to "cool down", though the crush/speed effects apply immediately.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman may be upgraded with a Bulldozer blade. This allows it to drive through obstacles not normally passable to a medium tank of its size.
This upgrade installs a pair of arms at the front of the vehicle, holding a large Bulldozer blade. The arms are fitted with a mechanical device that allows raising and lowering the blade, as explained above in the Lower/Raise the Bulldozer section.
Strangely, the Bulldozer blade does not obstruct the firing line of neither the vehicle's flamethrower weapon nor its M1919a4 hull-mounted LMG. Also, contrary to real-world bulldozer accessories, the extra metal plate of the blade does not increase the vehicle's forward armor rating.
Like all other American units, the M4 Crocodile Sherman obtains Veterancy points by killing enemy units. It receives 100% of the experience value of each unit it kills. Once it has accumulated a sufficient number of Veterancy points, it will automatically advance to the next level, gaining the related bonuses immediately.
American units do not share Veterancy points with one another. To receive points, the unit must personally kill an enemy unit.
At each Veterancy level, the M4 Crocodile Sherman gains a specific set of bonuses as listed below. These bonuses are cumulative with each other.
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
The American army has many anti-infantry units at its disposal, but most of these are better used defensively than offensively. Heavy Machine Gun Teams and M45 Quadmounts may kill infantry fairly rapidly, but they will be destroyed as rapidly if they expose themselves to enemy fire. This makes them largely unsuitable for direct late-game combat.
On the other hand, enemy infantry will usually only get stronger as the game progresses, requiring a strong unit to counter them. That unit is the M4 Crocodile Sherman tank, whose specialty lies in the destruction of infantry and structures - and can take serious punishment to boot.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman is a very offense-oriented weapon. Although it is referred to as an "infantry-support" tank, it can just as easily escort armor as it does infantry units. In both cases, it is responsible for leading the assault, engaging the enemy and clearing away pockets of resistance. It uses its tough armor to soak up damage and protect other units while they flank the enemy, and its flamethrower to reduce enemy defenses to rubble. The Bulldozer upgrade even allows it to forge a way into enemy territory, through prepared Passive Defenses or even previously impassable terrain.
Nonetheless, the M4 Crocodile Sherman has some defensive application, being one of the sturdier mobile patrol vehicles that can fend off infantry and light vehicle infiltrations into American territory. Of course, the M45 Quadmount is often more suitable for this job, and consumes far fewer Population Cap points, but is not so useful when forces are marshalled for a frontal assault.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman rarely operates on its own, though it can survive prolonged combat periods. Instead, it is often accompanied by anti-tank units to destroy vehicles threatening it. It is quite capable of handling enemy anti-tank Infantry and Weapon Teams on its own though.
Mobile Patrol Edit
The M4 Crocodile Sherman's short-range flamethrower weapon generally makes it less useful as a stationary defensive unit. Enemy infantry can simply avoid its firing range. Nonetheless, the Crocodile Sherman still has some application as a mobile defensive weapon platform.
To utilize this vehicle properly in a defensive capacity, keep it as a surprise weapon. When enemy units are detected along your defensive line, the M4 Crocodile Sherman can wait until these units are engaged by your own infantry or Machine Gun Emplacements, and then drive in quickly to eliminate the enemy with its flamethrower.
It is sometimes possible to prepare your defensive lines specifically for this sort of tactic, by carefully placing Sand Bags in positions ahead of your defensive line. Enemy infantry will head for those positions and attempt to hold them - especially when suppressed by your defensive fire - making them excellent targets for the Crocodile's flamethrower (remember it gets an accuracy bonus against targets in cover!).
If you do not wish to micromanage your defenses this thoroughly, consider employing M45 Quadmounts as defensive patrols, since these are much faster and more deadly to enemy infantry and light vehicles than the Crocodile Sherman. You can also field two of these vehicles for the same Population Cap consumption as a single M4 Crocodile Sherman.
Infantry Assault Support Edit
The designed purpose of this tank is Infantry Support. In other words, it is attached to an infantry unit heading into battle, and is tasked with destroying enemy infantry units blocking their path of advancement.
When doing so, the M4 Crocodile Sherman rides at the front of the column, and must be the first unit to engage the enemy. It will attempt to draw fire to itself during the encounter for as long as possible - often by driving straight into the enemy group (which has the added effect of putting it in flamethrower range of the enemy). While it is drawing fire, the infantry units flank the enemy position and assist the tank in destroying any threat.
The best composition for such a group will often include more anti-tank infantry than regular infantry. The M4 Crocodile Sherman can easily handle enemy infantry, but can do nothing against enemy tanks, which means the infantry will need to take this responsibility. Ranger Squads are perhaps the best suited for this purpose, followed by Airborne Squad equipped with M18 Recoilless Rifles, but if these are not available you can always use M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns keeping a good distance behind the tank as it advances.
When supporting infantry, the M4 Crocodile Sherman's priority targets include enemy Snipers and MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Teams, which pose the greatest threat to the infantry it's escorting, and are relatively easy to kill.
Armor Assault Support Edit
In an armored group, the M4 Crocodile Sherman can effectively replace an entire infantry squad. It provides the anti-infantry element that makes up a well-rounded tank force, with M10 Tank Destroyers providing anti-tank fire and M4 Shermans usually handling any immediate threats or simply diverting fire from the other tanks.
In this role, the M4 Crocodile Sherman often drives in behind the M4 Sherman tanks, ready to rush forward to take care of enemy Weapon Teams or anti-tank infantry which could threaten the advance. It must also clear away Tank Traps blocking any major roadways or even alleyways that could be used to flank the enemy.
You can also use this tank to confuse enemy armor, by making them think that this is a regular M4 Sherman. This could divert firepower from an injured Sherman tank towards a healthy M4 Crocodile Sherman. This ruse may not always work, but it may also save a friendly tank from destruction.
You may also use this tank to protect the flanks of the advance. Enemy units attempting to flank your advancing force are usually lighter, and thus vulnerable to the flamethrower attack. Of course, there are other, better vehicles to protect your flanks, but the M4 Crocodile Sherman doesn't have anything better to do when the column is performing tank-to-tank combat with the enemy.
Clearing Enemy Weapon Crews Edit
The M4 Crocodile Sherman's flamethrower is a very good weapon for killing the crew of a Team Weapon to enable its capture. This is thanks to its fast damage output coupled with large area-effect, which can kill all three crewmen virtually simultaneously. If the Crocodile is escorted by infantry, those infantrymen can then quickly man the abandoned enemy weapon.
This is a good way to get hold of Nebelwerfer 41s - a type of weapon not otherwise available to the Allies. The enemy Weapon Team will have little time to retreat, if any, and the weapon itself will usually survive the ordeal intact.
The same tactic is also very effective in taking control of enemy Flakvierling 38 20mm AAs and 88mm Flak 36 AT/AAs. Once controlled, such weapons can be used to terrifying effect against enemy counter-attacks.
With the Bulldozer upgrade installed, the M4 Crocodile Sherman is capable of leading an assault through an area the enemy considers impregnable due to natural or man-made defenses.
This allows you to orchestrate a surprise attack from a direction undefended by enemy weapons. After all, if the enemy believes a route to be closed, he will not waste resources placing defenses there. A quick breach with the Bulldozer followed by American units flooding through the gap can overwhelm an enemy position and/or open the way to make a run through enemy territory directly into the enemy base.
The best maps to do this are bocage-type maps, as these contain a large number of hedgerows that are often considered impassable. You can easily outflank an enemy position entirely, then attack it at close range by breaching a hedge right next to it and rolling your units in.
This tactic works best with infantry groups following the Crocodile in, as these can move quickly through the gap. Vehicles will take more time going one by one through the new opening, thus possibly losing the element of surprise.
Note that it is often best to use this as a basis for a pincer strike rather than a frontal assault. In other words, have some units engage the enemy position from the front to distract them, then breach through the obstacles and attack from a different angle, trapping your enemy from at least two sides simultaneously.
Base Strike Edit
Remember that the M4 Crocodile Sherman's flamethrower is an excellent anti-building weapon. Therefore, on any attack made against the enemy's headquarters, be sure to bring at least one of these along to quickly destroy his structures.
If the enemy's defenses are sparse (especially the Panzer Elite who have few defensive capabilities), it may be possible to drive a large force of M4 Crocodile Shermans directly into the enemy base and begin burning the whole thing down. The enemy's counter-attack will come quickly, but if you perform this tactic properly you'll have enough time to raze at least one or two structures, causing a massive setback for your enemy. Follow this up with an attack by the remainder of your troops to exploit this sudden advantage: it will be some time before your enemy can fully replace his losses to such an attack.
As a medium tank with an M4 Sherman's armor, the M4 Crocodile Sherman is a rather sturdy unit. It can survive several shots from an anti-tank weapon, and will likely deflect smaller tank gun shells when fired at it from the front. The tank is largely impervious to smaller weapons, though some medium-caliber munitions can still pierce its sides and rear effectively.
Anti-tank infantry can cause severe damage to an M4 Crocodile Sherman, as can Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank Guns. However, these will both need some time to kill the tank, during which it can close the distance and burn them with its flamethrower. Nonetheless, if assaulted by a large group of anti-tank units, the M4 Crocodile Sherman should consider a tactical retreat to avoid being destroyed. Unfortunately, M4 Crocodile Sherman cannot use smoke cover like normal shermans and has to be used more carefully. Nonetheless, mortar teams can use smoke barrage in order to increase its safety. Remember, that Tank Flamethrower does not suffer any accuracy or damage penalties when firing through the smoke, what can be extremely useful during an assault.
The greatest danger to this tank are actually other tanks - which it cannot hurt with its own weapon. Enemy tanks will easily circle the Crocodile and attack its weaker sides or rear - which is why this tank should not operate on its own if possible. Keep it escorted by anti-tank infantry or even other tanks.