Corgi CC51032 Captured US M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank - l./Panzer Regiment 5, Tunisia, Early 1943 (1:50 Scale)
"The only way you can win a war is to attack and keep on attacking, and after you have done that, keep attacking some more."
- General George S. Patton Jr., January 1945
By all accounts, the M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly". Eleven different US plants manufactured six basic models of the Sherman, and by June 1944 over 49,234 battle-ready vehicles had been produced. While it was no match for the German Panther or Tiger tanks, the Sherman soldiered on, using its weight in numbers to wrest control of Europe from the Wehrmacht.
This particular 1:50 scale replica of an US M4A3 Sherman medium tank was attached to B Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division then deployed to Luxembourg in 1944.
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Historical Account: "Beute Panzers" - Having the opportunity to capture a fully working example of your enemy's latest battle tank is a situation which was highly prized by all the combatant nations during the Second World War, allowing their capabilities to be assessed and to ascertain the most effective ways of destroying them. This detailed evaluation would usually be carried out by a specialist Military High Command unit well behind the front lines, but getting your war prize back there during the heat of battle could be a challenging process. This particular early Sherman tank was captured by 1st Company, 501st Heavy Tank Battalion in Tunisia, during operations to counter the Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa in late 1942 and must have looked rather conspicuous parked among the German Tiger 1 and Panzer III tanks which were heading towards the fighting. The fascinating hand painted warning on the side of the Sherman is basically warning German troops not to remove any items from the enemy tank, as it has been commandeered by German Military High Command and is destined to be sent back to Germany for test and evaluation. In addition to the rather crudely applied Balkenkreuz markings on the turret of the Sherman, the unit responsible for securing such a significant trophy also ensured their details were included in the hand painted warning on the hull sides of the tank, presumably knowing that the message would be seen by thousands of military personnel during its journey back to Germany and wanting their achievement recognized.
The German Army had first encountered the American built Sherman Tank whilst fighting the British at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, but at that time, could hardly have envisaged how significant its combat arrival would prove to be. With the first examples falling into their hands and sent for evaluation following the Allied landings in French North Africa just a few weeks later, the Germans could not fail to have been impressed by the quality of a tank which represented the very embodiment of American mass production techniques and ultimately illustrated how the might of US industrial capacity would influence the outcome of the Second World War. Comparing it against the prowess of their own mighty Tiger Tank, they would have been more than confident that they held the technological advantage, however, the Americans were clever in understanding that their new tank would have to be transported to combat zones all around the world, often to ports and staging depots which had rather basic facilities. Larger tanks would have created an even greater logistical challenge than the significant one they already faced and as their Sherman would be used by all the armies of the Allied nations, the greater availability of M4 tanks would prove crucial in the outcome of the ground war. Eventually, over 50,000 Sherman Tanks of all types would be produced, making this the second most produced tank of the Second World War and an essential war winner.