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Swords Into Ploughshares

Subdeacon Joe

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In 1947 Sherman III T152649 was sold to Mr. Robert Crawford of Frithville, Lincs., who used it for ploughing until 1957. It was first used with only its turret removed, later the upper hull was cut off. The bulkhead and part of the rear hull were left in place. The rear hull supports the ploughing attachments and exhaust stacks for the GM 6046 twin diesel engine. The Sherman tractor was left outside until 1984, when it was restored for demonstration at the world ploughing contest in Lincolnshire.

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Surplus Sherman tank undercarriages were used in the logging industry for decades, certainly through the 1980s, until the ready supply ran out. They were repurposed as undercarriages for logging spars, towers, and rock drills.


They were marketed as 'fast track' equipment, because they were much faster and more nimble than crawler-type vehicles (of the Caterpillar type).


Many years ago I represented a company that manufactured these conversions. It was an extremely interesting business, and I can still tell the difference between vertical and horizontal Sherman suspensions, among a couple other arcane things.....

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No, I don't. But then that matter was 45 years ago.


The owner of the business was one of the most interesting and resourceful men I've ever met. Among other experiences, he spent 8 years in the Soviet gulag, at Magadan.


The War left a vast cornucopia of surplus that was put to good economic use in the ensuing years. I think of Aristotle Onassis and Liberty ships, as another example.

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