This Sherman M4A4 was built in January 1943. It belonged to the 274 M4A4 that were delivered to the French Army and equipped 4 regiments in the 1st and 5th French Armored Division during WW2. It was never hit or destroyed during the war and was modernized after war by the French Army to be re-engined with a radial 9 cylinder Continental R-975. It finally came into the association in 1993 when UNIVEM was still named MVCG-Ile-de-France (more information on the tank here).
The Sherman was dismantled just after that.
The first primer coats.
Restoration of the road wheels, the exhausts, the turret,…
After 2 years, the restoration stopped. In 2004, like all the other vehicles, the Sherman was moved to the news workshop in Versailles-Satory.
2013: FIRST START OF OUR SHERMAN : radial 9 cylinder Continental roars!
2015: installation of its two tracks. The operation was not easy because we did not have sufficient space to unwind completely the tracks and to lay them flat on the ground. With the help of our Griffet crane truck, the tracks have been slowly pulled by the drive sprockets with the tank engine (the radial Continental engine).
Summer 2016 : The turret and the turret platform or basket are almost ready to put on. We have to complete first the electrical and the hydraulic systems. The electrical wiring continues.
November 2016: work resumes on the turret plateform after a long interruption due to our move from Issy to Versailles-Satory (2003).
December 2016: the turret that was stored on our M15 trailer for many years was lifted and put on the ground for further restoration. We used our 1964 Griffet crane: handling of the 7-ton turret
Beginning of 2017: the turret basket is renovated: metal sheet have been provided to restore the bottom plate of the turret basket. Work goes on on the turret itself.
Summer 2017: Engine compartment doors have been set in place.
September 12, 2017: the turret has been temporarilly installed for the Heritage Days to come. It will be removed when the basket is ready so that both can be permanently installed afterwards.
September 16,17, 2017: For the Heritage Days our Sherman was able to make its real first drive with the turret installed in 30 or 40 years…
November 2017: The turret is put on the floor again, the works on the fighting compartment resume. We saw that there was one surplus tread on the tracks. Each track normally consists of 83 tread, and 84 were installed. Therefore, we dismantled the tracks to get rid of one tread on each track. The electricity is in progress. All the outside lights, and internal lighting is finished
December 2017: The stop light connectors and siren activation button were reinstalled. Some armour-plates in the fighting compartment were missing: they were rebuilt!. The RPM cable is reconditioned. The speedometer cable is reinstalled. The fuel gauges are reinstalled.
January 2018: The APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) was completely dismantled and repaired. It now works perfectly. The driver seat is now repaired.
February 2018: The fire emergency system has been overhauled. Fuel pipe valves are set up and in working order. The electricity is now installed in the turret basket.
March 2018: The turret rotation engine was completely restored. On the turret basket, every ammunition rack has been rebuilt based on the TM and original photographs. Besides, big applause to Patrice for the making of twelve 75mm shells in wood. It took him more than 200 hours of work.
April 2018: The dashboard is restored. The turret basket and the inside of the hull received a new coat of paint. The basket turret is installed in the hull. The turret is re-installed. (See the rotation here).
May 2018: The outside of the tank is sanded, primed and painted. The marking are also painted.
26th May 2018 : Our Sherman M4A4 tank is officially restored! In order to celebrate, more that forty people came to the occasion, among them, a veteran of the French 2nd Armored Division! (video of the test run)
To see all the pictures again: