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Abandoned Project

Shermans on the move

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Over the past 3 days as I have driven south through Thetford forest and down the Bury road to Bury StEdmunds I have seen Sherman tanks being transported north. I just wondered where they had come from and where they were heading to? I have seen 5 so far.

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Interesting indeed.  Wheatcroft Collection in Leics?  Kevin is fond of hoovering up surplus tanks for restoration and already has an extensive Sherman collection.  Bit of a strange way to go there, though.  Muckleburgh, maybe? Up near Cromer.  Possibly going to Thetford or Holbeach ranges as range objects, although we have many other surplus AFVs without importing historic relics.

 

Interestingly a PzIV J was spotted on a low loader on A14 westbound a couple of days ago, probably shipped through Felixstowe.  This tank has come from Latrun to be restored in the UK by an unknown organisation.  Your M4s could also have come in through Felixtowe, even in the same shipment.

 

Were there any particular features?  Colour, markings, condition, sub-type.

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They were all in an overall sand colour with no markings. They looked to be in good condition on the outside but I was only glimpsing them as they passed me. One was on a low loader operated by a customer of the company I work for and he is based in Sutton StJames near Holbeach. Fairly sure that they were not going to Thetford range as those that I saw Tues/Weds were in the forest heading north. Incidentally, at some point someone stuck a white reflective letter 'O' to the sign at Thetford ranges so that it looks like it says "Thetford oranges". Makes me smile every time I see it.

Edited by Abandoned Project

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If those panzer J's were green then I may have seen one on Monday and another one Tuesday. Not sure as I am not knowledgeable on AFV's. I saw them on the Bury road between Bury StEdmunds and Thetford.

Edited by Abandoned Project

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Just thinking out loud, could they be for a movie project, don't know if theres anything in the offing?

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The odd thing to me, is that AP says that all five were in an overall sand colour. This suggests to me that they have come from either Israel or Egypt. Unless, as Ant says, they are for some TV/Film production, and have already been painted this colour. Most M4's that I've seen in the UK were in some kind of green.

 

John.

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Back in the day, I worked for Tony Budge at Retford, both at Gamston airport and as a volunteer on his military vehicle collection. In the latter years he had a number of ex Israeli M4's and  a number of US half tracks, all of course were in desert yellow.  

 

These all came into store  around the same time as an M48 Patton with 105mm gun, captured during the Yom Kippur war.

 

 Along with this lot was a number of mouth watering WW2 Russian tanks and SPG's. I.e. JS3, SU85, SU152, and a Egytian T34/85 converted to a heavier calibre gun.

 

It does on this occasion sound like these new imports are probably ex Israeli - either direct or Egyptian captured examples. Who for and why- that's another question.

 

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According to the thread over on M-L, the PzIV has come over to be restored and returned as part of a new exhibition at Latrun.  Potentially other vehicles have been shipped for restoration too.  The ones seen could also have come in via Felixtowe.  But where they were seen is an odd place and an odd way to get to any of the likely restoration candidates.  Heading to any of those in the Midlands (Budge, Armourgeddon, Wheatcroft) or further north would be more logical to go A14 to A1 with artic low loaders.

 

However, the M-L thread suggested a whole list of other possible candidates.

 

Do we know the name of the haulier?  I have a mind to contact them and ask them

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From what I have seen, both from observations and the movements of customers is that the A14 to Bury then A134 to King's Lynn then either along the A47 to Peterborough or up the A17 to Newark to join the A1 is very popular. The TV prop idea had crossed my mind.

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But by that route they could still be going to any of Budge, Armourgeddon or Wheatcroft.

 

I'm putting 2 and 2 together and probably making 5, but the arrival of a PzIV from Latrun and the spotting of a bunch of sandy Shermans a couple of days later in the same general area and very possibly coming from the same place (Felixstowe) seems to me to be too much of a coincidence.

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Asking around a couple of people I know who dabble in preservation stuff, it was suggested that vehicles could be being gathered together for the upcoming Alamein film. Possibly being prepared somewhere pre filming. Although filming is supposed to be in Spain. Wheatcroft has other assorted Shermans and parts.

 

Which begs the interesting question as to whether the Israeli ex-Syrian PzIV spotted in the same area is part of the same film. It is clear that it's come to the UK for work but this is a long way to come for that and I wonder if film use might have been part of the deal.

 

https://deadline.com/2019/08/david-ayer-wwii-movie-el-alamein-tank-battles-north-africa-lionsgate-erwin-rommel-1202663236/

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