This Sherman M4A4T(75) tank 'Thunderbolt' is part of the WW2 Memorial in the middle of the roundabout in the Place Patton in Avranches, Manche in Lower Normandy, France. The letter 'T' at the end identifies the tank as having been upgraded by the French after WW2 and used in the French Army.
M4A4T(75) Sherman tank in the Place Patton, Voie de la Liberte, Avranches, Normandy 1944
Set your Sat-Nav for Place Patton, Voie de la Liberte, in Avranches, Manche, Lower Normandy . It is in the south east of the city in the middle of roundabout. Voie de la Liberte, the D7, is a long road and the roundabout is at the junction with Rue de la Division Leclerc. There is parking around the edge of the roundabout near the shops.
This M4A4T(75) Sherman tank has additional armour plates welded over the machine gunner's position and the ammo storage racks.
The M4A4 Sherman was powered by a Chrysler A57 multibank petrol engine that produced 470 hp. The tank needed a slightly longer hull to fit the engine. It had a maximum road speed of 30 mph (48 km/h). The tank had an operational range of around 120 miles (193 km) before it needed refueling. It needed a five man crew: commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/machine gunner. They were protected by armour that ranged in thickness from 25 mm to 76 mm. Between July 1942 and November 1943 7,499 M4A4 Shermans were manufactured
The tank was armed with a standard 75mm gun that could fire high explosive HE artillery rounds as well as armour piercing AP shells. It could penetrate the frontal armour of a Panzer IV tank but not the front armour on the Panther or Tiger tank. To do any damage to their side or rear armour they had to get close. The tank was also armed with two 30-60 Browning M1919A machine guns. One was next to the main gun in the turret whilst the other was in a ball mount in the hull.
The M4A4T Sherman tank needed a slightly longer hull to fit the Chrysler A57 multibank petrol engine.
The French Army 'T' Upgrade
The letter 'T' stands for 'Transforme' and was assigned to vintage WW2 Sherman tanks that were supplied to the French Army in 1952 and upgraded. This work was funded by off shore MADP (US financed military aid - remanufactured outside the USA). The original Chrysler Multibank engine was removed and replaced with a Continental R-975 radial engine. Additional air filters were installed above the back doors and different engine deck plates were installed that looked very similar to the engine deck plates found on the M4 and M4A1 tanks.
A hole was made in the rear hull plate, to enable the crew to operate the starting handle for the radial engine (in order to remove the motor oil from the bottom of the engine cylinders). Rear mud guards were changed. The turret split hatch cupola was replaced with a 'vision' cupola. Three French 'factory plates' were welded to the front and back of the hull, and on the top of the turret, which indicate the factory and date of the upgrade.
This American M4A4T(75) Sherman tank fitted with the standard short barreled 75mm gun
The Creighton Abrams' Sherman tank
The Sherman tank in the Place Du General Patton, Avranches bears the set of Thunderbolt markings that were on the tank commanded by US Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams during the liberation of Avranches on the 30th July 1944. To get the American units out of the bocage country where they had been decimated, General Bradley decided to break the enemy front at the south of Saint-Lo. The operation was codenamed Cobra.
On 25 July 1944, 12 km2 of the Chapelle-en-Juger sector experienced the largest carpet bombing in World War ll. 2 000 bombers dropped 60 000 tons of bombs supported by more than 1000 artillery guns. Collins' 7th Army Corps rushed into the breach to the south. A war of attrition and harassment made way for a war of movement. Avranches was the last barrier to cross to get to the Pontaubault Bridge. Collins' crossing allowed Patton's tanks to enter Brittany on July 31. They moved east to stop the German units in Mortain and Falaise.
The Place Du General Patton was built in 1954 by the Avranches Prevosto construction company in 56 days and 56 nights to honor the troops of the 3rd Army of General Patton who's armored divisions completed one of the boldest military operations of all time: the breakthrough to Avranches. The granite pyramid measures 24 meters high and has 5 irregular and curved faces. Fifty bags of earth taken from all 50 of the United States of America were placed there.
Close up of the coaxial machine gun in the turret of this M4A4T(75) Sherman tank
This is one of the best preserved tanks in Normandy. It has a coaxial machine gun sticking out of the turret gun mantel and one in the a ball mounting in the hull. There is a smoke grenade launcher present in the roof.
After you have looked at the tank drive or walk around the old medieval city walls that survived the bombing of 1944 and the Cathedral. This is on the site of the Cathedral where King Henry II had to walk through the crowd being whipped as part of his penance for the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket by four of his knights on 29th December 1170.