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An ex M4A4 Duplex Drive saved from scrap to become a monument


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This tank comes from a fire range in Bourges (France). It will be restored to serve as a monument. Evidence show that it is an ex-British Sherman nicknamed “Massachussetts” and that it was equipped with Duplex Drive fittings before being converted back to M4A4(75), probably in 1943. The tank has been identified as being the “Fort National”, which served with 1st Chasseurs d’Afrique Regiment, 5th French Armored Division in 1944-45. The differential housing is not original to the tank and has been changed sometime between 1945 and 1950 (as the tank served after WW2 in the French army, as an M4A4 Transformé, with a radial engine). The USA number 3016910 "tells" us that the Serial Number is 16604, built in November 1942.




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Very nice! Indeed the strips on the hull sides point towards a history as a DD....even remains of the welds used to hold the support struts and the fittings for the commanders controls when standing on the turret platform can be seen on the rear hull plate. Is the turret original to the tank? I wonder if remains of the platform on the turret can be seen.


Did the M4A4T tranformation also include swapping the cupola in the turret by the way?


Any idea what kind of monument we should be thinking about? Probably more likely to be related to it's time in the French army and not from it's history as DD??


Thanks for sharing these pics and information!


Edited by Alex van de Wetering
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It is. Is it just me or are the three holes in the right sort of area for a axis fire in a tank battle? Are you sure it's been used as a target, and those aren't period damage?


Well it's definately been transformeed which was a post war program so more likely range damage. It was likely an anti tank range or possibly artillery firing solid shot.

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the "transformation" undertaken by the French Army in 1950 consisted in this :


-the original Chrysler Multibank engine was removed, and a Continental R-975 radial engine was put instead

-with the change of the engine, additional air filters are installed above the back engine doors

-the original M4A4 engine deck plates was removed and new plates were added, which look like the plates found on M4s and M4A1s

-a hole was made in the rear hull plate, to be able to operate the starting handle for the radial engine (in order to remove the motor oil from the bottom of the engine cylinders)

-the rear mudguards were changed

-the split hatch cupola was replaced by all-round vision cupola

-the serial number found on the manufacturer's plate and/or on the tow lugs was added (stamped) on the front glacis plate, to be easily found by mechanicians

-3 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


It will serve as a monument in Alsace, near Colmar. The mayor intends to put French WW2 markings of the 5th Chasseurs d'Afrique Regiment (5ème RCA)/1st French Armored Div, which was a unit that didn't use any M4A4 in 1944-45.


The tank is known as being a veteran of the 1st Chasseurs d'Afrique Regiment (1er RCA)/5th French Armored Div, which had two ex-Duplex Drive M4A4s among their troops in 1944.


That's really a shame if they paint it in 5ème RCA markings BUT the only problem is that 1st Chasseurs d'Afrique Regiment didn't liberate the city where it will be placed.



Edited by the_shadock
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