In 2006 the idea came up to place a Sherman tank as a monument on the Museumplein (the Museum Square) in Overloon, as a remembrance of the actions of the American 7th Armored Division in 1944.
However, finding a Sherman tank for this purpose appeared to be very difficult. In the end the tank plan was put on hold. On 27 September 2008 is there through the committee monument 7th American armored Division a remembrance column on the museum square realized. The wish to add a Sherman tank to the realized column stayed alive. In July 2009 the committee Shermantank Overloon decided to make a new attempt. Intensive contact, both by phone as well as email, with the Dutch Ministry of Defence, the American Ministry of Defence and the American embassy resulted into the transfer of a Sherman tank to the municipality of Boxmeer.
In January 2010 we were invited to the artillery shooting range Oldenbroek to see the intended tank. On that range the tank was used as a shooting target for decades, after the tank was phased out in the fifties. On this January day the Dutch Meteorological Institute had announced a national weather alarm because of the expected heavy winter weather. Being impatient we decided to leave for Oldenbroek, despite the fact the base was covered by a huge layer of snow. From a distance, using binoculars, we succeeded in checking out the tank as far as possible. Due to the heavy snow and condition of the area surface we were not able to get closer to the tank. The tank appeared to be in a reasonably 'physical' condition and we decided to request this tank for restoration and to put it up as a monument. In April 2010 we returned to Oldenbroek again. In the meantime the tank was salved from the shooting range and we were able to inspect the tank in an accurate way. Despite the fact that the tank had been used as a shooting target for so long the optical damage was acceptable. Immediately it was clear to us that much work would be needed to change this tank into a real monument.
In July 2010 the transfer procedure was in full progress and the tank was ready for transport. Thanks to the excellent cooperation of the DMO, Royal Engineers and the UOV, who arranged the loading/unloading and the transport, the tank was delivered on the restoration location. The tank is a Sherman type M4A1-E9, which means expansion blocks/wideners were placed between the hull and the bogiesets. This is a modification which was originally created as part of a revision program in the USA half 1944. However, this configuration/version never appeared in Overloon in 1944. After much debating and reflecting we decided to eliminate these expansions/wideners to obtain the right configuration as used in Overloon in Autumn 1944. This decision had financial consequences and time frame consequences. The elimination of these expansions/wideners had to be done via a special technique because these expansions were fitted by chrome/nickel weldings. Therefore all bogiesets/sprocket wheels and idler pedestals had to be removed to be placed back again after the restoration.
The remains of the interior were removed by the Property- and Tradition Commission of the Royal Land Forces. They own a collection of historic mobile material of which (spare) parts will be used for the tank. For the preservation of the tank (which will be standing in the open air, hence will face all weather conditions) it is better that the whole tank interior is removed. In the end we also removed ten wheel barrows of sand from the tank.
Still to be done as from October 2010:
- Disassembling the sprocket wheels and the idler pedestals, hence the expansions/wideners can be removed.
- Restoration and assembling of the bogiesets.
- We need to investigate if it is practible to sand blast the tank.
- Restoration of the gun barrel.
- Dense welding of the shooting impacts.
- Finishing the body work, including lacquer and lettering.
- Replacing the turret.
- Restoring and fitting the tracks.
For the time being we will be very busy with the restoration process. On this web site new photo's will be uploaded on a regular basis, hence web visitors can follow the progress of the restoration.
Nova, a Dutch television programme, shows the Sherman in a broadcoast about flora and fauna in combination with shooting ranges.
It was this broadcast that initiated a new attempt to place a Sherman in Overloon. Through contacts with the Defence Department in the United States a Sherman was gained for the project.