This Free French Sherman M4A4 Medium Tank can be found at the Musee 39-45 Ambleteuse, 2 rue des Garennes, Ambleteuse 62164, Pays-de-Calais, Northern France.
Free French Sherman M4A4 Medium Tank at the Musee 39-45 Ambleteuse, Northern France.
The main difference between a Sherman M4A4 compared with other variants of the Sherman tank is that it had a lengthened welded hull which caused a larger spacing between the bogies than on all the other Sherman versions. The front of hull was a 3-piece differential housing rather than being a one piece unit. There are normally large Lifting rings attached to the front of the hull on rectangular bases. and was fitted with a Chrysler Multibank A57 5x6 cylinder inline petrol gasoline engine. It had a maximum road speed of 25 mph (40 km/h) and a maximum range of miles 99 miles (160 km) before the crew needed to refuel.
It was fitted with the standard 75mm gun. One 7.62 mm machine gun next to the main gun in the turret and a .50 cal 12.70mm machine gun mounted on the top of the turret. The protective armour thickness was 75mm on the turret front plus 50 mm on the turret sides and rear. The front of the hull was 50mm thick and the sides were 38mm. Records show that 7,499 M4A4 Sherman tanks were produced by Chrysler at the Detroit Tank Arsenal between July 1942 and November 1943.
This Sherman M4A4 Medium Tank was rescued from a French Army firing range.
This Sherman Tank's history
The tank is painted in the livery of the French 3ème peleton du 2eme escadron, du 2ème Régiment decuirassiers appartenant à la 1ère Division blindée de la 1ère aemée Française
This tank landed in St Tropez in the South of France and fought through Provence, Vosges, Alsace, Germany and ending up in Austria at the end of the war.
With all the well-deserved praise for the D-Day Normandy landings it is often forgotten that Allied troops landed on French beaches in the south of the country in the middle of August 1944.
The First French Army, called Army 'B' at the time of the landing in Provence, on August 15, 1944, received its new name, 1ère aemée Française, after it’s first victories, the capture of Toulon and Marseille, several weeks ahead of the Allies schedule.
The driver and machine gunner had additional spaced armour welded on the hull in front of their positions for additional protection.
With the 7th US ARMY, it was part of the 6th US ARMY GROUP or US ARMY SOUTH commanded by Major General Alexander E. Patch for the landing and Provence operations. On 15th September 1944 Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers succeed him for the final push.
The tank at the Musee 39-45 was used by the French Army for tank crew training until 1950 It was then transferred to the live firing range and used as a target.
The M4A4 Medium Tank's chassis had to be lengthen to accommodate the Chrysler Multibank A57 5x6 cylinder inline petrol gasoline engine.
The Museum rescued this historic tank from the firing range. They have only had time and resources to stabilise the rusting vehicle and give it a coat of paint. Most of the internal components had already been removed.
Free French Sherman M4A4 Medium Tank at the Musee 39-45 Ambleteuse, Pays-de-Calais, France.
French Sherman tanks in Paris
During the liberation of Paris German mortars in the Jardins du Luxembourg, began to open fire on advancing Free French Army tanks. Despite this the mass of civilians still followed the French Sherman tanks towards the fighting. The French commander, guessing that the Germans had an observation post on top of the palace's dome, ordered two of the Shermans to fire on it. They traversed their turrets, raising their guns to maximum elevation. A moment after they fired, he saw the German mortar controllers hurled into the air, then fall on the roof.