The Sherman Tank was America's most mass produced tank during World War II. It was inferior to the German Tiger I and King Tiger tanks in fire power, accuracy, and armor. It was too tall to hide being 3.43 meters tall and most would only turn and flee when a Tiger approached. The tank earned a reputation among German tankers as an easy kill, and was nicknamed "Ronson" after a popular brand of cigarette lighter marketed under the tagline "Lights first time, every time".
However, it was mass produced and was highly reliable; being able to stand all terrain and weather. For every German Panther Tank produced, 15 Shermans were made and for every German Tiger I or King Tiger tank that was produced, 50 Shermans were made. This is how the Sherman prevailed, winning in sheer numbers, not quality. Most Shermans had a mounted 50 caliber machine gun and carried a 75 or 76 mm main gun. The inability of this gun to threaten German tanks led to several efforts to improve firepower. Most famous of these was the "Sherman Firefly", a British variant mounting a longer and more powerful 17pdr (3 inch or 76.2 mm) main gun. The US refused to fit this gun, as they were planning on upgrading their Shermans with a 90 mm gun, but all US Shermans remained fitted with the smaller gun at the war's end.
Western Allied air supremacy during the later years of the war accounted for the greatest number of losses of the heavier German tanks, instead of direct head-to-head tank battles.