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World War II, U.S. M4A3E8 Sherman
with an M2 plow

Sherman That's right folks, this tank was buried for 21 years at Central Islip Psychiatric Center. Now how often would a State Hospital need to use a U.S. Army Tank? Well, C.I. used it almost every day. This W.W.II surplus Army Tank, model M4A3E8 Sherman was given to the hospital just after the war to be used as a bulldozer moving coal piles and railroad cars near their powerhouse. This tank was a special one too. Of the more than 40,000 Shermans built during the war, only 50 were constructed with the M2 plow blade and were used by the Engineer Corps for construction projects during combat. Here is a picture of the tank being lifted out of the ground by a 110 ton crane.

Sherman

These model Sherman was nicknamed "Easy Eight" and fought its way through mounds of coal, snow and dirt for some 14 years at the hospital. The saga of CI's armored vehicle did not end when the maintenance department retired it in 1960. When the hospital converted its coal plant to natural gas, the tank was no longer required. It sat for many years having parts stolen off of it and eventually the hospital did not want it any more. What do you do with an unwanted 36 ton tank?



Sherman Instead of disposing of their tank in some traditional way, which would have cost the State of New York some money, they simply had their new front loader dig a hole near the powerhouse and bury it under the sod. After the hole was dug and the tank rolled into the hole it was discovered that the hole was not deep enough. To serve as a quick fix the hatch was torch cut off and the tank was filled with earth. Then to hide the tank for what some thought was to be forever, 2 twenty yard trucks of earth were dumped on top.
It was never meant to rise again. . . . . .but then the director of this museum came along. To read more about this unique find click here.

The Sherman is an M4A3E8 "Easy Eight" with a Ford GAA V8 Engine, T23, 76mm turret, H.V.S.S. and one piece nose casting. The blade is an M2 early post war blade, probably installed in the late 1940's or so. The main gun and mantlet were removed from the tank as done with many Sherman dozers so as to make room for combat engineers who were deemed more necessary than the tank having a shooting capability.

Sherman

Considering that many dozer Shermans even had their turrets removed made this museum feel lucky that it was as complete as it was. The tank was stuck in gear, so it would not roll. It still had its original ole green OD paint after all those years under ground. It was also filled with Long Island dirt and sand. The tank basically remained in its original dug up condition for some 24 more years. It was never planned to be restored as the museum felt that the old girl was historically unique as it was.



Sherman But, since the museum has moved off Long Island, the museum directors have toyed with the idea to do a cosmetic restoration to the exterior of the vehicle. And so it has been done. The vehicle was cleaned inside and out of all the Long Island dirt and sand that still invaded the steel beast. The museum sand blasted it, and during the blasting we found the vehicle's serial numbers and also the wonderful original name that was painted on the side. The Sherman has had its teeth put back in the turret with the installation of the correct mantlet and cannon. All fenders were repaired along with hatches and lights. And the tracks have been reinstalled on the vehicle. This is as far as the museum will go on the restoration of this vehicle, as it is cost prohibited to go further. Seven thousand dollars in donations are still needed to replace all the deteriorated boggie wheels. All Donations are greatly appreciated for this project.

Sherman This vehicle was used this January for the filming of a segment of
" War Stories with Oliver North" called "The Battle of Sicily".
This show should air some Sunday in March at 8PM on Fox Channel.

Sherman According to the International Sherman Registry, the A.A.F. Tank Museum Sherman is the only know M2 dozer blade mounted Sherman known in any museum in the world. Many newspaper articles were written about it. There has been T.V. and radio coverage about it, and it even made it on the international wire services reaching all the way to US soldiers that heard about this archeological dig in Europe. This old war horse may not be the oldest excavation of a fully buried tank in the world, but it just may be so for one found in this country. In any event, the Sherman deserves it's place in history as the tank that was once lost, but now found. It may have never been used in combat during W.W.II, but yet, has been places that many Shermans have gone before, and not survived.

sherman sherman
CREW:   5       WEIGHT:   36 tons

ENGINE:  Ford GAA V-8

SPEED:  26 mph   RANGE:   100

 






A.A.F. Tank Museum
3401 U.S. Highway 29B
Danville, VA  24540
434-836-5323  Fax: 434-836-3532


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