SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A World War II-era Sherman tank that's been standing behind the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs for just under 10 years will be leaving for Fort Drum for a makeover on Thursday morning, Nov. 21.
When it is repainted the tank will be displayed in front of the museum as an exhibit.
WHO: Personnel from the New York State Military Museum and the New York National Guard's State Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site (MATES) at Fort Drum.
WHAT: The team from MATES will load the 69-year-old M4A3 tank onto a giant flatbed transporter for delivery to the maintenance facility at Fort Drum where the exterior will be stripped and repainted to prepare the historic tank for display in front of the museum in 2014.
WHEN: Between 10 and 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013
WHERE: New York State Military Museum, 61 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
New York State Military Museum Director Courtney Burns will be on hand to talk about the significance of the tank and plans for its future display. Video and still imagery of the team loading the tank onto the flatbed can be obtained.
M4A3 "Sherman" Tank
The M4A3 "Sherman" tank outside the New York State Military museum was formerly a display piece at the New York State Armory in Carthage, N.Y., prior to the armory closure. The tank sat outside the armory for approximately 20 years.
The specific history of this vehicle has been lost. Presumably the tank was used by New York National Guard soldiers of the 27th Armored Division or the 42nd Infantry Division during the 1950s.
During World War II, the New York Army National Guard soldiers of Company A, 191st Tank Battalion employed M4 tanks during the invasion on Italy at Salerno in September 1943. The company was also part of the allied landings at Anzio, Italy, in February 1943. In August 1944 the company invaded southern France as part of Operation Dragoon and fought its way into Germany.
The battalion had been formed by taking tank companies from four state National Guards and combining them into one battalion. Company A was originally known as the 27th Tank Company. At the end of World War II it was the only surviving National Guard tank battalion out of four organized for the war.
The M4 Sherman tank was designed during the early days of World War II and upgraded with new guns and armor to meet a developing threat from German tanks. It was the most numerous tank of the war. The U.S. Army used 19,247 Sherman tanks during World War II, while another 1,114 went to the Marine Corps and 17,814 were supplied to the British, Canadian and Free French armies. Another 4,102 tanks were supplied to the Soviet Union.
The M4A3 was crewed by five soldiers: a driver and co-driver (who also fired a .30-caliber machine gun firing forward) in the front of the tank and three men in the turret: the tank commander, loader/radioman and gunner. The tank was equipped with a 75 millimeter cannon, a .30-caliber machine gun in the turret and a .50-caliber machine gun on top for the commander to fire when necessary.
The M4A3 was fast, with a speed of 25-30 miles per hour, and was the first tank to have a gun stabilized using a gyroscope which allowed the gunner to get on target faster. The M4 series of tanks were also mechanically reliable.
When it first saw combat in 1942 the M4 was an equal to the German tanks it met on the battle field. By 1944 and 1945, however, the older style M4A3 tanks were outmatched by the German Panther and Tiger tanks. The American tanks had not been designed to fight enemy tanks one-on-one. American tankers used the speed of the M4, its ability to fire quickly, and their superior numbers to defeat German tanks on the battlefield.
M4 tanks continued to serve in the U.S. Army into the Korean War and were used by the National Guard during the 1950s. The Israeli Army used upgraded versions of the tank into the 1970s.
While the M4 is better known as the Sherman tank, it was never officially given that name by the U.S. Army. The British Army named the American tanks accepted into their service after American Civil War generals and those names stuck, rather than the prosaic numerical descriptions favored by the U.S. Army.
New York State Military Museum
The New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center is housed in the historic New York State Armory in Saratoga Springs. The mission of the museum and research center is to preserve, interpret and disseminate the story, history and records of New York State's military forces and veterans. The collection is divided into the museum and the library/archives holdings.
The museum has permanent exhibits telling the story of New York's men and women in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Revolutionary War and as members of the state militia in the 19th century. The museum has more than 10,000 artifacts ranging from the Revolutionary War to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The New York State Military Museum is also responsible for the historical exhibits an artifacts at New York's 41 Army National Guard armories. These artifacts and displays, which include historic armored vehicles once used by the Guard, connect current Army National Guard soldiers with those who served in the past.