Texas Attorney Purchases Sherman Tank from French Museum Auction

Fox 26 Houston is reporting that A&M regent and trial attorney Tony Buzbee of Houston Texas has purchased an M4 Sherman tank in running condition.


As could be expected, little detail about the tank is provided in the TV news piece.  This particular tank was part of the collection belonging to the Normandy Tank Museum which closed it’s doors last year.  The collection was auctioned off, including two Sherman tanks, twp Stuart Light tanks, a M24 light tank and many other vehicles.  This Sherman tank is an M4A4 which was restored by the Normandy Museum to running condition, although with a Ford GAA engine rather than the A-57 Chrysler multi-bank engine usually found in the A4 variant.  This vehicle also sports what appears to be the all metal T49 style track, which tended to be less common than the rubber block style track.  The T49 track was more commonly found on Sherman tanks in the Pacific or in Italy where the terrain and/or climate were considered inappropriate for standard rubber block tracks.  The M4A4 Sherman variant was generally not found in US Army service as most of them were given to the UK as Lend Lease material.  In British service it was known as the Sherman V.  Given that this vehicle is a M4A4, it is quite possible this tank saw service with UK forces during the war, only to be repainted years later as a vehicle of the US 2nd Armored Division.

For those that wish to read the description of this tank given by the auction company, the brochure for the Normandy Tank Museum auction can be read here.

If anyone knows any more information about the history of this particular tank, please do so in the comments section!


AFV News from Around the Web (Historic Edition)

Here are a handful of recent news articles about historic armor.  Click on the headline to read the full article.


The Washington Post – A battered World War II hero of Bastogne gets a new home, and a museum built around it

Cobra-King-335w (1)The old battle tank arrived at 10:15 Thursday morning, covered in a black tarp and chained to the bed of tractor-trailer.  The construction site near Fort Belvoir went quiet for a moment as the truck backed in. And when they pulled away the tarp, the steel hide still bore the gouges and holes from enemy gunfire in 1944 and ’45.  This was “Cobra King,” a hallowed, 38-ton U.S. Army legend that during the World War II Battle of the Bulge bulled its way through German lines and was first to relieve the besieged defenders of Bastogne, Belgium.


Newsday – Tanks come alive in Museum of American Armor mobile display

imageThe field outside the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage turned into a vintage battlefield Saturday, as World War II-era tanks rumbled past hundreds of spectators in the museum’s largest-ever mobile display.  Bernard Fradkin, 85, of Westbury, had seen only one of the models on display Saturday — a Sherman tank — in combat, when he was an infantryman in the Korean War.  But he recalled other vehicles from World War II movie-theater newsreels he watched as a kid.  “To see our American boys riding on the tanks — it brings back memories,” Fradkin said, referring to museum volunteers dressed in vintage Army uniforms.


News & Citizen – Some collect stamps, others tanks

59934b61801ed.imageJohn Vetter of Glover looks forward all year to showing off his collection of eight to 10 military tanks at the Stowe Antique and Classic Car Meet.  During the weekend, he’ll drive his M3A1 Stuart tank from 1942 around the field at a crawl, to the amazement of adults and children. Some salute; others point; many snap photos of Vetter and his platoon of friends, who help him crew it.  They even enter the tank in the annual vintage fashion show, sporting their 1940s military garb, although first place eluded them this year.


Thrillist – How They Get Military-Grade, Ready-To-Smash Tank for Big Movies

tmg-article_main_wideWithout people like Alex King, your favorite action movies might look a little bare.  “A lot of people don’t know my job exists,” King says. “They watch a movie, and they just think all the cars turn up, stunts drive everything, and it’s all fine.”  He’s a picture vehicle coordinator — the person who equips directors with the cars, trucks, and even tanks they need. The 46-year-old industry veteran has done so on more than a dozen projects, including The Bourne Ultimatum, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. His most recent gig? Wonder Woman, for which he helped build the Ehrhardt armored car that gets obliterated.

The Matilda Diaries Part 16

Part 16 of the Tank Museum’s Matilda Diaries video series documenting the restoration of their Matilda infantry tank.

Book Alert: Panther, Autopsy and Restoration

Amazon is showing a Sept. 2 release date for the new book Panther, Autopsy and Restoration: The Panther Restoration at the Saumur Tank Museum by Jose Duquesne.  Published by Histoire and Collections, this is a 128 page hardcover book.

Publisher’s Description:

The famous French Army tank museum at Saumur hosts the largest and richest collection of German Panzers in the World, and its new Panther is certainly one of the nicest examples of this steel predator. However, who could tell this particular tank is actually the same trophy that had withered for decades in front of the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, near the banks of the Seine? Part of a pair of such tanks captured in running order by the famous French 2nd Armoured Division late in 1944 in Eastern France, after suffering outdoors for half a century, it has been brought back to its former splendor by a dedicated team from the French Army “Musée des Blindés.” This book tells the story of a famous machine and its metamorphosis from the lifeless shadow of its former self. The long and painstaking in depth restoration is depicted page after page, revealing a wealth of technical information about the innards of the beast. Indeed, amateur historians and modelers alike will discover this famous machine in many different and unique ways.

Video: Inside A British Mark IV WW1 Tank

The Great War youtube channel presents this video made in conjunction with the Tank Museum at Bovington on the British Mark IV World War I tank.  Museum curator David Willey provides a good description of these vehicles and how they were used.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: FCM 36

Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran from World of Tanks takes a look at the French WWII era tank FCM 36.

NYT: Mark Renton of the Museum of American Armor

Earlier this month the New York Times ran a profile piece on Mark Renton of the Museum of American Armor at Long Island.  The title of the article is Keeping the Tanks Rolling. Jeeps and Cannons, Too, it’s worth a read.

Article excerpt:

13CHARACTER2-master675OLD BETHPAGE, N.Y. — The well-being of the intimidating fleet of tanks, cannons and jeeps at the Museum of American Armor on Long Island is held securely in the greasy hands of Mark Renton. Mr. Renton is the museum director, though the title might be slightly lofty. After all, he is the museum’s only salaried employee and he cares little for paperwork or administrating.

But if you need someone to drop a new motor in a Sherman tank, or build a 1940s jeep completely from spare parts, Mr. Renton is your man.

In a hangarlike building here, Mr. Renton restores and maintains one of the few operational fleets of World War II vehicles and artillery in the country. There are 45 military vehicles, and the artillery includes antiaircraft and antitank guns, although the guns no longer fire.

Read the full article here.