A 38-ton Sherman tank is now parked outside the Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) as part the new “We Can Do It!” World War II exhibit.
The 1944 Sherman tank, which is on loan from John Tippins of Ligonier, Pa., tank owner and local amateur military historian, will be displayed outside of the History Center through January 2016.
The tank participated in the “Battle of the Bulge,” the historic march to relieve surrounded American soldiers in the Belgian town of Bastogne, as part of the 8th Tank Battalion, Fourth Armored Division in December 1944.
Nearly 50,000 M4 Sherman tanks saw service in all theaters of WWII, serving as the main battle tank of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Pennsylvania foundries in Coraopolis, Eddystone, Lebanon, Sharon, Bernham, and Pittsburgh all produced Sherman tank parts during the war.
Union Steel and Castings plant in Lawrenceville, at the corner of Butler Street and the 62nd Street Bridge, produced the turret of this “Easy Eight” Sherman tank along with thousands more until the end of the war, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
It was a tight fit inside for a crew of five back in the day, and movies like “Fury” highlight the courage it took to operate these vehicles in battle. At one time thousands of these tanks were on the go in Europe, and the Allies had many more than the Germans. It’s hard for this generation of Americans to appreciate how important this Sherman tank was in winning World War II.