The CREIGHTON ABRAMS SHERMAN.
The tank on display at Place Patton in Avranches sports the decorations of "Thunderbolt V ", the tank commanded by American Lieutenant-Colonel Creighton Abrams during the liberation of Avranches on July 30, 1944.M4A4T type, it is equipped with a 75mm cannon and two .30 and .50 caliber machine guns in turret (not visible). Manufactured by Chrysler Corporation in Warren, a suburb of Detroit (Michigan), the Sherman would evolve over the course of the conflict, undergoing engine modifications due to a weight approaching 30 tons in 1945.
As a result, the 425 hp Chrysle Multibanc A-57 engine was replaced by a VVright and Continental R-975 Cl S 9-cylinder star engine, weighing 700 Kg, with a power.cle 400 hp and a displacement of 15,928 cm3. With a service life of 1,600 km, this engine could propel the machine at up to 45km/h and consumed an average of 412 liters of gasoline per 100km traveled on the road.
HEAD CUTTER RHINOCEROS
In early July 1944, American General-in-Chief Dwight Einsenhower and Omar Bradley, commander of the 1st Army Group, were helpless: the GI's were stalling and the armored columns were bogged down in the deadly trap that had become the Normandy bocage. It soon became clear that the Sherman M4s were ill-suited to the hedgerow war. Sherman M4 tanks were fitted with hydraulic bulldozer blades to create gaps in the bocage that would facilitate the passage of armored vehicles, but their action was totally ineffective. Faced with this failure, the 747" Tank battalion experimented with a different technique for levelling the embankments by blowing them up. Drawing on the experiments carried out by the 747th Tank, the sergeant Culin of the 102nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron developed a new hedge-cutter consisting of three sharp teeth made from German anti-tank obstacles found on the beaches. He nicknamed his invention The rhinoceros.
Convinced of its effectiveness, General Bradley orders Sherman M4s to be fitted with the device as a matter of urgency. Between July 15 and 25, 1944, 500 Sherman M4s making up 60% of the tanks engaged in Operation Cobra will be fitted with the famous "rhinoceros". On July 22, on the orders of Patton, a "Rhinoceros" manufacturing workshop is set up in Saint Jean de Daye. To improve on Cullin's invention, a non-commissioned officer by the name of Douglas, a welder by trade, came up with the idea of extending the three teeth with two side spades. A late invention, the "Rhinoceros" was rarely used. Operation Cobra brought about a rapid collapse of the front, making it possible for the tanks of General Patton's 3rd Army to sweep across the roads of the far west, putting an end to the deadly ambush warfare of the Battle of the Hedgerows. Thunderbolt V, will keep its "hedge cutter" for several months. It will display this characteristic feature of the Battle of the Hedges until Lorraine.