This Sherman M4A4T tank sits proudly outside the Musee Memorial d'Omaha Beach in the car park by the side of the road. 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 Sherman tank
Not to be confused with the very good Overlord Museum the Musee Memorial d'Omaha Beach a much smaller museum and only has one tank a M4A4T Sherman. It can be found on the road down to Omaha Beach from the village of Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer. Type in the road called Avenue de la Liberation into your Sat-Nav. You will find the Museum on your left as you descend the hill down to the beach.
The tank is outside the Museum in its car park. It needs restoring and painting. It is to the museums discredit that it is left in this condition. If it is exhibited to honour the men who gave their lives fighting for the liberation of France on Omaha Beach then why is it not painted like one of the tanks in the American Armoured Division that landed on that beach. This is the only tank currently owned by the museum.
M4A4T Sherman tank fitted with the standard short barreled 75mm gun
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.
This M4A4T Sherman tank has additional armour plates welded over the co-drivers position and the ammo storage racks.
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.
The M4A4T Sherman tank needed a slightly longer hull to fit the Chrysler A57 multibank petrol engine.