This Surviving M4A3(76) Sherman Tank took part in the 1944 WW2 Battle of the Bulge in the Belgium and Luxembourg Ardennes. It has been restored and can be seen at in the grounds of Clervaux Castle in Luxembourg. Serial Number 43911, built by Chrysler in May, 1944. Combat veteran of the B Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division, put out of action on 17 December 1944.
Battle of the Bulge 1944 M4A3(76) Sherman Tank in the grounds of Clervaux Castle in Luxembourg
During the Battle of the Bulge outnumbered American troops put up fierce resistance in defending places like Hosingen, Marnach, Reuler, Munshausen and Clervaux. Attacking units of the German 5th Panzer Army were unable to take by storm the key road intersections required for a rapid advance towards the port of Antwerp.
Clervaux was the scene of heavy fighting. Units of the 110th Infantry Regiment of the 28th US Division dug in against advancing Tanks and Panzer Grenadiers of the Wehrmacht’s 2nd Armoured Division. On the evening of 17 December 1944, Colonel Hurley E. Fuller, commander of the 110th Infantry Regiment, succeeded in escaping at the last minute from his headquarters at the Hotel Claravallis as it was overrun. Organised resistance collapsed completely in that area once it was captured.
There is enemy shell damage to the turret and hull on this M4A3(76) Sherman Tank
A group made up of cooks, clerks and some American infantrymen led by Capt John Aitken continued to defend the castle in the heart of Clervaux. They prevented German troops from taking the local main road slowing down their battle plans for a fast drive towards Antwerp. It was not until the early afternoon of the next day that they had to surrender. Following a German attack with phosphorus grenades the castle caught fire and the American defenders were running out of ammunition.
On December 17 at about 11 am Sherman M2A3(76) tank of B-Company, 2nd Armoured Battalion of the 9th US Armoured Division was positioned in front of the Clervaux Castle gate. This tank had set up an ambush position behind an old stone built mediaeval building called the ‘Brahaus’. It moved a few metres forward, fired a shot from it 76 mm main gun into the column of German tanks on the road along the cemetery, and quickly backed up taking cover behind the Brahaus. The crew repeated this manoeuvre again and again until it had to be abandoned after being damaged around noon by an incoming German shell.
The M4A3(76) Sherman Tank turret had to be enlarged to fit the 76mm gun.
The damage tank stood close to the gable end of the Kratzenberg house until 1956. Using two big recovery vehicles the Luxembourg army managed to toe the wreck into the castle courtyard through a hole in the castle wall that had not yet been repaired since the war. The day this American M2A3(76) Sherman tank is still at almost the same place. It is a silent witness to the fierce fighting that took place in this region in December 1944. It is the only known surviving combat vehicle of the 9th US Armored Division.
The Clervaux Museum was opened on 2 June 1974. All the weapons and items on display at the museum originated from the local area and have been recovered from houses, barns, or woods surrounding the town. These include a range of weapons from Colt handguns, bazookas, machine guns to artillery pieces and a Sherman tank.
Rear view of the Clervaux Castle M4A3(76) Sherman Tank
The M4A3 Sherman tank has a T23 turret housing a 76mm T80 mount gun. The hull and turret still show signs of battle damage. Just by the right of the gun mantel, behind it their is a groove in the turrets armour and gun mantel caused by a German round. Underneath that is the hole where a German shell penetrated the turret ring. This would have stopped the tank turret turning and therefore forced the crew to abandon the vehicle. There would have been damage inside the tank from those two rounds hitting the turret and possibly casualties. For more information http://www.diorama-clervaux.com/indexsherman.html
Clervaux Castle M4A3(76) Sherman Tank in the mist. (photo: Albert Pujadas)