"Transformé" Sherman tanks, upgraded in France in the 1950s

Some of the French M4A3 and M4A4 Shermans that can be seen in France were upgraded in the 1950 in French army facilities (ABS = Atelier de construction de BourgeS, ARL = Atelier de construction de RueiL, etc...).

The differences with the vintage WW2 Shermans are the following :
-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 turret split hatch cupola was replaced with a "vision" cupola
-the serial number found on the dataplate and/or on the tow lugs was
added (stamped) on the front glacis plate
-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

M4A4T

An M4A4T, as found displayed in Avranches, Normandy, France.


M4A4T plate    M4A4T plate location

3 French "factory plates" were welded to the front and back of the hull, and on the top of the turret. The right-side photo shows the usual location of the front hull plate. On some preserved vehicles, the plates were already removed by the owners. The plate reads :
A R L (Atelier de construction de RueiL)
Char  D57 (serial order for the reconstruction)
DATE 9.12.52 (the tank was rebuilt on 9 December 1952)


M4A4T serial

The serial number of the tank, usually found on the rear tow lugs (for the M4A4 tanks) or on other places (for other Sherman models), was written off the front glacis plate, to be easier to find and read by the tank crew or the maintenance team. The exact location of the serial number on the glacis plate can vary, it is not always exactly at the same place.


M4A4T engine deck    M4A4T rear plate

The typical M4A4 engine deck plate was removed and replaced with a new plate, which looks like the engine deck plates seen on M4s and M4A1s. A hole (circled in red on the right side photo) 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)


M4A4T engine    M4A4T engine

The replacement of the Multibank engine with the radial Continental R-975 engine requires the addition of back air filters, that are missing on M4A4 tanks. This is another feature of "transformé" M4A4s, but it is often missing on monument tanks.


M4A4T cupola    M4A4T horn protection

The 2-pieces "Split hatch" cupola, usually found on original/unmodified M4A4 tanks, was replaced with a 1-piece "vision cupola" on all the "Transformé" tanks, as seen on the left side photo.
A horn and protection were added to the front glacis, as seen on the right side picture.


    M4A4T rear mudguard

Mudguards were added to the rear of the tank, they can be easily recognized as being French post-war additions.
Beside the mudguards, a small piece of metal (circled in red) was also added, to screw rear reflectors on it (Pierre Odin).


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