This Surviving Battle of the Bulge 1944 M4A1(75) 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 Avenue J-F Kennedy, Ettelbruck, Luxembourg. It has the fittings to take a dozer blade.
Preserved Battle of the Bulge 1944 M4A1(75) Sherman Tank in the village of Ettelbruck in Luxembourg
It was tank number 6 of the Headquarters company of the 5th Armored Division, which was with the Third Army in Normandy. This tank forms part of the General Patton Memorial at Ettelbruck. Take note that this tank has additional applique armour, M34A1 gun mounting and a all-round vision cupola. It used to be a Sherman Dozer but was restored as a standard M4A1(75) tank
The Sherman Dozer was a valuable battlefield tool. In 1943 a field modification added a hydraulic dozer blade from an industrial Caterpillar D8 to a Sherman Tank. The later M1 dozer blade was standardised to fit any Sherman with VVSS suspension and the M1A1 would fit the wider HVSS. Some M4s made for the engineering corps had blades fitted permanently and the turrets removed.
They were used to make sand and earth ramps on the D-Day beaches over tank obstacles. They were also used to fill in anti-tank ditches. In the Normandy countryside they would clear road obstructions and move knocked out tanks to the side of the road so others could pass. They could also be used to break through hedgerows in the Normandy Bocage country. When the dozer blade was not required they were unbolted.
How does a Sherman Tank knock out a Panther?
During the Battle of the Bulge on 17th December 1944 a Panther tank commanded by SS-Untersturmfuhrer Arndt Fiecher was knocked out by a M4 Sherman tank right outside the Hotel des Ardennes in Ligneuville (now renamed as Hotel Georges). Charging at speed towards the Ambleve Bridge, hoping to capture it before it was blown up, this lead Panther tank was hit in its side by a shell at close range fired by a concealed Sherman.
Kampfgruppe commander Joachim Peiper of 1st SS-Panzerkorps saw this M4 Sherman’s turret traversing on to his own tank. His driver hurriedly pulled back behind a house. A German Self Propelled Gun was the next victim to be knocked out. Pieper jumped out of his tank and taking a Panzerfaust he began to stalk the troublesome Sherman on foot. Before he could get within range it was hit one of his other panzers. It burst into flames.
At long distance the Panther tank had nothing to fear from an Allied M4 short barrelled 75mm Sherman tank. At close range in an urban built up environment the panther tank became vulnerable especially when the enemy could out flank the Panther and fire at its side and rear weaker armoured plates.