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Sherman Crab Mine Flail



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Mark I


M4A4 Sherman Crab Mark II



Model Id:
1418
Manufacture:Detroit Tank Arsenal / TACOM, Warren, Macomb County, Michigan, USA (Sole manufacturer of base M4A4 July 1942-September 1943)
Milner Safe Company - Liverpool, Britain (Converter to flail tank)
Curran Brothers - Cardiff, Britain (Converter to flail tank)


1) Base Borden Military Museum, Canadian Forces Base Borden, Canada

Number of Photos:
15
Sample Photo from Album Number 2412

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Unique ID: 2412
Serial Number: 5072: “5072” stamped into front and rear tow lugs.
Registration:
Name: “HOWARD” painted on turret sides.
Other Identification: “D50993 Lo [C]” and “A56?” cast into left transmission cover. “E4151 [G]” and “A78” cast into right transmission cover.

2) The Tank Museum - Public Areas, Bovington, Britain

Number of Photos:
10
Sample Photo from Album Number 1931

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Unique ID: 1931
Serial Number:
Registration: “T148090” painted on hull sides.
Name:
Other Identification: Unit markings painted on right-hand boom. Operational markings painted on hull sides.

3) Liberty Park Oorlogsmuseum, Overloon, The Netherlands

Number of Photos:
35
Sample Photo from Album Number 1700

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Unique ID: 1700
Serial Number: 5230: “5230” stamped into all four towing lugs.
662, transmission cover: “A662” and “D50993 Lo-[G]” cast into left transmission cover.
Registration: T147955 (British): “T147955” painted on rear hull sides.
Name: “AVALON” painted on hull sides.
Other Identification: “E4151 [G] Lo” and “A713” cast into right transmission cover. 7th Armoured Division insignia painted on front of right flail arm and on left hull rear.

This Crab Mark II is based on an early-production M4A4 with direct vision slots. It is missing its right-hand track. It belonged to the British 79th Armoured Division and was in action during the last days of the Battle of Overloon. It was put out of action later in northern Limburg. A German Panzerfaust fired from a distance of about 200 feet/60m pierced the armour. The heat generated detonated the ammunition carried inside.
Information provided by the Overloon museum states that this vehicle belonged to the 22nd Dragoons. However, an obituary on the Telegraph website states that it was commanded by William Hall of the Westminster Dragoons (source: Pantser.net), and that he was awarded an immediate MC when commanding a troop of flail tanks at the crossing of the Molem Beek, an anti-tank obstacle near Overloon, Holland, on October 16 1944. The text reads: “At Overloon - in appalling weather, over boggy ground and under continuous fire - Bill Hall beat a path up to the bridge across the canal, then led his squadron across, though well aware that enemy tanks were waiting on the far side and that his flanks were exposed. His was the first tank to cross the Beek and in the ensuing battle his troop gave invaluable assistance to Allied armour and infantry. He... engaged an enemy anti-tank gun and also knocked out a German mortar position which was inflicting losses on the infantry. He also engaged a Panther tank… Hall had had to change tanks when his own became a casualty, and the flails in his troop frequently had to be replaced after being damaged, but this did not stop them pressing on and killing 24 enemy and assisting the infantry to take 20 prisoners. Hall, who was also mentioned twice in despatches, was in the forefront of the action at Broekhuizen the following November when his tank cleared the approaches to the town before being hit by a bazooka which wounded him. His tank was later recovered by the Dutch authorities and is now on display in the War Museum at Overloon, complete with flails.”
This Crab displays damage, presumably from one or more mine blasts, to the flail roller. It also has signs of about twenty penetrations on the left side of the hull and flail boom; these are narrow but deep, implying they were made by shaped charge projectiles. It is not clear if they were from the original action when it was destroyed or if they were made later, for example in some form of target practice. The engine has been removed at some point and is stored in the basement of the museum (source: M. Krauss).