A Sherman Firefly Tank Destroyer
|Role||Heavy Tank Destroyer|
|Upkeep per Minute||-9|
|Prereq.||A Cromwell Command Tank already on the field.|
|Produced By||Armor Command Truck|
|Primary armament||OQF 17 Pounder Anti-Tank Cannon|
1x M1919A4 Coaxial Machine-gun|
1x M2 Browning .50 Machine-gun
|Max. Speed||5 m/s|
The Sherman Firefly is a Tank Destroyer fielded by the British Army in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. It is essentially an M4 Sherman tank with its main cannon replaced by a massive 17 Pounder Anti-Tank gun. With good armor and a powerful punch, this is the British army's primary anti-tank offensive weapon, counterpart to the defensive 17 Pounder AT Gun emplacements.
The last unit to become available to a British company is the Sherman Firefly. A tribute to British engineering, this is basically an American M4 Sherman tank, whose main 75mm cannon has been replaced with a massive 17 Pounder Anti-Tank gun. This is the same cannon that is installed in British 17 Pounder AT Gun emplacements. This turns a Sherman from a general-purpose medium tank into a full-fledged Heavy Tank Destroyer.
The Sherman Firefly is constructed from the Armor Command Truck for the cost of 450, 100, making it the most expensive British unit. It also consumes 10, a very large amount for a tank, meaning that only a few can be fielded simultaneously. To construct a Sherman Firefly, the British must first produce a Cromwell Command Tank. The relationship between the Firefly and Command Tank is of paramount importance.
The Sherman Firefly carries as much armor as a regular American M4 Sherman. There are several small differences between these two tanks, but the primary difference is still the main cannon. An M4 Sherman, even when outfitted with the M1A1C 76mm Cannon, has nowhere near the penetrating power of the awesome 17-Pounder AT Gun. This cannon allows the Sherman Firefly to engage enemy tanks - frontally - or even snipe them off from an impressively long distance.
The Sherman hull also makes the Sherman Firefly one of the most well-armored Tank Destroyers - short of the massive German Tigers and King Tigers. In tank battles, the Firefly is usually expected to win one-on-one encounters with any armored vehicle up to its own size - including enemy Panzer IVs. When encountering heavier tanks like the Panther or Tiger, the fight is more evenly matched. A team of Fireflies can surround and subdue such tanks with, at worst, acceptable losses.
Tactically, the Sherman Firefly provides the holding force for all British armored assaults: it engages the enemy head on, blasting it away and soaking up damage, while other units maneuver to outflank the enemy. Alternately, Sherman Fireflies can take advantage of their long firing range to snipe at enemy targets from afar, using other units as forward spotters. This allows them to act defensively as well as offensively, filling in for lost or threatened 17 Pounder AT Guns.
The Sherman Firefly's primary weapon is the powerful 17 Pounder AT Gun. It packs a powerful punch, though is normally slow to reload.
Additionally, the tank has two Light Machine Guns installed: an M1919A4 coaxial Light Machine Gun, and a .50 Browning M2 Medium Machine Gun on the hull. These are used to suppress enemy troops and damage light vehicles.
17 Pounder AT Gun
Instead of the normal M3 75mm Cannon installed on a normal M4 Sherman, the Sherman Firefly has a 17 Pounder Anti-Tank Gun. This is by and large the same weapon you'll find in a British 17 Pounder AT Gun emplacement, with a few key differences.
The 17 Pounder AT Gun inflicts 125 points of damage, with superior Penetration against virtually all vehicle armor. It may even penetrate the front armor of a King Tiger, though some shots will still glance off. Nonetheless, it will inflict serious damage to any tank, and significantly more-so against side or rear armor. Unfortunately it is not as accurate as the emplacement's 17 Pounder, except against smaller vehicles. Due to a small explosion radius, it can kill infantry only with well-placed shots.
The main drawback of the 17 Pounder is its slow reload time. Against targets within 35 meters (basic sight-range), the cannon reloads only once every 8.5 seconds, allowing enemies time to fire back or flee. This is reduced considerably (to about 5.5 seconds) against targets beyond sight-range.
This gun does have one significantly powerful advantage: its range. The weapon has a range of 55 meters. This is over 50% further than the tank's basic sight-range, and at least 7.5 meters further than any other tank gun's range (with the Panther and Jagdpanther coming second at 47.5 meters). It can essentially bombard far-away targets at leisure, when aided by an advance spotter or other type of reconnaissance.
Read more below about the special relationship between the Sherman Firefly and the Cromwell Command Tank to learn how much more awesome this weapon can get...
.50 Browning M2, M1919A4 Light Machine Guns
The Sherman Firefly has two Light Machine Guns installed.
One of these is an M1919A4, which is mounted coaxially on the turret. Hence, will fire only at targets the main gun is pointing towards. The other weapon is a .50 caliber Browning M2, mounted on the front of the hull. It too will fire forward, but only in the direction the hull is pointing at.
The two weapons identical in all their properties. They are both good for suppressing enemy infantry, and will kill infantry if fired continuously. They can also do some damage to light vehicles.
The Sherman Firefly lacks any innate abilities. However like any other British tank, it is capable of utilizing the Hull Down Position ability, which acquired through the Royal Engineers Support Command Tree.
- Costs: Nothing
- Prerequisite: Royal Engineers Support: Hull Down
- Activation: Immediate
- Cooldown: 9 seconds (activate/deactivate)
Once the "Hull Down" ability has been purchased on the Royal Engineers Support Field Improvements chart, it becomes available for any Sherman Fireflies until the end of the mission.
To activate this ability, simply click it. The tank becomes immobile as sand bags barricades are erected all around it. The tank can continue firing while this is being accomplished.
Once the process is complete (9 seconds), the tank will have traded its mobility for increased defense. The tank's armor is increased by 25%, and it takes only 75% damage from any source.
To release the Sherman Firefly from Hull Down Position, simply click the button again. This is only possible once the tank has been fully entrenched - you cannot stop the entrenching process halfway-through. As soon as the button is clicked, the tank is released immediately from the sandbags (which disappear) and may drive off at once.
Like most other British tanks, the Sherman Firefly may be upgraded with a Tank Crew Commander to increase its sight-range. This is a cheap and fast upgrade that can be installed at any time, and so should be installed when possible.
When this upgrade is complete, the top hatch of the Sherman Firefly will open, and a crewman will pop his head out to look around. This commander increases the sight-range of the tank to exactly 45 meters, from its original 35.
The sight-range increase effectively allows the tank to survey enemy troop positions without being detected (since most units and emplacements in the game have a sight-range of only 35 meters).
Since it barely costs anything, this upgrade should be installed on all tanks for added situational awareness. It also allows the Sherman Firefly to perform reconnaissance if required.
Note that the Sherman Firefly arguably benefits from this ability more than any other tank in the game, since its primary weapon can easily reach 45 meters. In fact, it can fire to 55 meters - and can actually be made to see that far thanks to the bonuses given by a Cromwell Command Tank. At that range, it can engage any enemy vehicle from outside their own range.
Cromwell Command Tank Support
The presence of a Cromwell Command Tank in the vicinity will increase the performance of all tanks in three ways: Increasing their sight-range, increasing the range of their main cannon, and decreasing the time required to reload the main cannon.
The Sherman Firefly is unique in this respect for three reasons:
- The Firefly receives an additional reduction to its reload time, cutting it by 40% or more.
- The Firefly's main weapon has a huge range already. Increasing it further allows the cannon to strike targets at amazing ranges - well beyond the range of most targets to actually fire back!
- Thanks to this increased weapon range, increasing sight-range as well means that the tank can autonomously detect and engage targets at a greater distance even without a forward spotter.
As a result, a nearby Cromwell Command Tank increases the Sherman Firefly's potential immensely. It can fire much faster, thus having a better damage output, and can engage targets that are so far away they can't possibly fire back. You can bombard enemy positions repeatedly to weaken them, before driving your tank force over them to secure the point.
Although the Cromwell Tank serves as the primary component in the British armored strike force, it is the Sherman Firefly that delivers the anti-tank firepower required to contend with the heavily armed German panzers. The Cromwell's main 75mm Cannon may pierce through the rear armor of medium tanks, but it has little chance against a Panther or Tiger. This is where the Sherman Firefly's 17 Pounder AT Gun comes into play.
Sherman Fireflies are used in an assault to take out anything with even a little armor on it. Normally, they do not even need to flank the enemy, and can simply strike it repeatedly head-on. However, due to a relative lack of anti-infantry capabilities, an unsupported Sherman Firefly can quickly turn into a dead Sherman Firefly. For the most part, this support is provided both by Cromwell Tanks and Infantry if at all possible, and will always include a Cromwell Command Tank to supply massive bonuses to the Sherman Firefly's combat capabilities.
On the Offensive
A typically good British Armored Offensive will include at least two Cromwell Tanks, a Cromwell Command Tank, and at least one Sherman Firefly. The Shermans tend to stay a little behind the front of the assault, partly because their cannons have a massive range and can therefore hit targets well ahead of the advancing column.
Once the enemy position is reached, the Cromwell Tanks will generally move off to flank the target in either direction, using their Flank Speed ability to zoom past the enemy. At this point it's usually the Sherman Firefly's job to take over the center of the advance, and frontally engage the enemy and keep them busy. While it does so, the Firefly will rain death on any vehicle, emplacement or armored unit in sight, buying time for the Cromwells or even Infantry to outflank and destroy the remaining enemy units.
Keep in mind that the Sherman Firefly is not a heavy tank. Its armor is the same as that of a M4 Sherman, so it can only take so much damage even to front armor before being destroyed - and its side and rear are significantly less armored. Make sure to use other units to protect the Fireflies. If you have the Hull Down Position ability available, this is a good time to use it, turning the Firefly into an anti-tank emplacement by protecting its sides from damage.
The Firefly has the longest-ranged tank-mounted cannon in the game, at 55 meters. With a nearby Cromwell Command Tank, this range is increased to a whopping 60 meters: almost twice the sight-range of a normal unit. In addition, the Tank Crew Commander upgrade as well as the bonuses from the Cromwell Command Tank can increase the Sherman Firefly's sight-range up to 55 meters. In addition, the near 100% penetration and very high damage the Sherman Firefly does to tanks allows it to kill most tanks in only a few shots. 2 Fireflies can easily kill any combination of axis tanks provided that they kite them and keep themselves at a respectable range.
With these combined abilities, it should come as no surprise that the Sherman Firefly is sometimes referred to as the "Sniper Tank". It can perch itself in front of open terrain, and simply blast away any target that moves within its line of sight. The enemies can't actually see the Firefly until it fires, since their sight-ranges are considerably shorter. Even if they could see it, very few units can actually fire at this distance, so even after it has started firing the Sherman Firefly is still quite safe.
Naturally, sitting still exposes the Firefly to artillery. Therefore, this tactic is often used by simply patrolling in front of your defensive line with a Sherman Firefly (or two!) accompanied by a Cromwell Command Tank for the range bonuses, stopping whenever a target is spotted, blasting it away, and proceeding the patrol. They can wreck enemy emplacements, dislodge garrisoned infantry, and basically turn the area between your defensive line and the enemy positions into a no-man's-land.
However the biggest threat to the Sherman Firefly comes from panzerschreck wielding infantry. They are virtually immune to the fireflies main gun, while having the ability to kill the sherman firefly in just 4-5 shots. It's very important for the british player to ensure that he has units capable of dealing with those infantry units, especially since it's very common for axis players to make large quantities of panzerschreck equipped infantry.
Being built on a Sherman chassis, the Sherman Firefly is just a medium tank. Anti-Tank cannons can pierce its front armor quite easily, and its rear armor is even weaker than that. In a confrontation with a heavy tank, expect to lose at least one Firefly while other tanks finish the enemy off.
The only real way to prevent this is to put the Sherman Firefly into Hull Down Position (assuming it's available), strengthening its armor and sides. However it then becomes vulnerable to artillery.
Overall, the Sherman Firefly needs to kill enemies at a distance whenever it can, capitalizing on its superior range.
During World War II, the United States has agreed to lend its mass-manufactured M4 Sherman tanks to its Allies. The British Commonwealth is one of these Allies and used these tanks extensively during the course of the conflict. The mediocre Sherman was no match for the raw firepower and armor of the German war machine, and as a desperate attempt to up-gun their existing Sherman tanks, they mated their QC 17-pounder anti-tank guns with the chassis of the Sherman. And this variant is called the Sherman Firefly.
An article about this unit in real life can be found here.