Canadian Armour preserved overseas

Canadian Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles preserved overseas

The data and photos found on this page has been compiled by the author, unless otherwise credited.  Any additions, corrections or amendments to the lists of Armoured Fighting Vehicles in Canada found on these pages would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at

(MWAK Photo)

Ram II Cruiser OP/Command Tank, Dutch Cavelerie Museum, Amersfoort, Netherlands.

Ram Cruiser Tank

The Ram Cruiser Tank was designed and built by Canada during the Second World War.  It was based on the U.S. M3 Medium tank chassis.  Due to standardization on the American Sherman tank for frontline units, it was used exclusively for training purposes and was never used in combat as a gun tank.  The chassis was used for several other combat roles however, such as a flamethrower tank, observation post, and as the Kangaroo armoured personnel carrier.

As built, the Ram was never used in combat as a tank, but was used for crew training in Great Britain up to mid 1944. The observation post vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carrier, gun tractor, and munitions carrier versions of the Ram saw considerable active service in North West Europe. These tanks were mainly rebuilt by Canadian Army workshops in the United Kingdom. Conversions of Ram tanks with the Wasp II flamethrower gear were used by the 5th Canadian Armoured Brigade in the Netherlands in 1945.

In 1945 the Royal Netherlands Army got permission from the Canadian government to take free possession of all Ram tanks in army dumps on Dutch territory.  Those not already converted into Kangaroos were used to equip the 1st and 2nd Tank Battalion (1e en 2e Bataljon Vechtwagens), the very first Dutch tank units.  These had a nominal organic strength of 53 each.  However it proved to be impossible to ready enough tanks to attain this strength because the vehicles were in a very poor state of maintenance.  In 1947 the UK provided 44 Ram tanks from its stocks, that were in a better condition.  Forty of these had been rebuilt with the British 75-mm gun; four were OP/Command vehicles with a dummy gun.  This brought the operational total for that year to just 73, including two Mk. Is.  In 1950 only fifty of these were listed as present.  The Ram tanks (together with the Sherman tanks of the three other tank battalions, were replaced by Centurion tanks leased by the U.S. Government in 1952.  

(AlfvanBeem Photos)

Ram II Cruiser OP/Command Tank, Dutch Cavelerie Museum, Amersfoort, Netherlands.

(Martin van DalenPhoto)

Some Ram tanks were used by the Netherlands in the 1950s as static pillboxes in the Ijssel Line, their hulls dug in and embedded within two feet of concrete.

A Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carrier is on display in the Royal Netherlands Army Museum.  

(Willemnabuurs Photo)

Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carrierl, Memorial "Kangoeroemonument" for the young Canadians that were killed in Mill during the Second World War, at the Langenboomseweg in Mill, The Netherlands.

Kangaroo APC

The Ram Kangaroo was a Canadian armoured personnel carrier (APC) used during the Second World War, created by removing the turret from a Ram tank chassis and converting it to a troop carrier.   In addition to the entire turret being removed, ammunition storage was removed, bench seats were fitted in the turret ring area, and the driver's compartment was separated.  Hull machine guns were retained, and new machine guns were sometimes fitted to the turret ring.  Kangaroos in general were supposed to carry 8 to 12 soldiers, though similar to the practice of troops riding ontanks, it was more common to simply cram as many as possible as could fit without being at risk of falling off.  Kangaroos were immediately used in the battles in Normandy, and were so successful that they were soon being used by British and Commonwealth forces.  Their ability to manoeuvre in the field with the tanks was a major advantage over earlier designs, and led to the dedicated APC designs that were introduced by almost all armies immediately after the war.

In July 1944, Lieutenant-General Harry Crerar's First Canadian Army was concerned by manpower shortages and Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, commander of II Canadian Corps, devised Kangaroos as a way of reducing infantry losses.  who were involved in the initial assault on 6 June 1944.  (Self propelled artillery were known as 'Priests' in British service, because of the pulpit-like appearance of the artillery-spotter's position. When converted to the carrier role were referred to as "unfrocked" or "defrocked" Priests, but the term 'Kangaroo' was applied to any conversion of any previously gun-armed vehicle to that of a troop or general-purpose carrier.)  The Priests were "defrocked" by removing their 105-mm guns and ammunition stowage, and separating the driver's compartment from the rest of the vehicle.  Priests with machine gun turrets retained them, and some that did not have organic mounts for machine guns had improvised ones fitted.  When the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division was re-equipped with towed 25-pounder in late July, the rest of their self-propelled tracked vehicles were stripped of their 105-mm guns and converted to Kangaroos.  Later Kangaroos were based on Sherman, Churchill, and obsolete Canadian Ram tanks.  

The Priest Kangaroos were first used on 8 August 1944 south of Caen during Operation Totalize, to supplement the half-tracks already available.  When re-converted Kangaroos were returned to U.S. custody, other vehicles were pressed into service, the vast majority (some 500) being Rams, which were standing idle after being used as training vehicles when Canadian armoured formations re-equipped with Shermans.  The Ram gun tanks were shipped to France and duly converted, deploying piecemeal as they arrived.  Ram Mk. II versions, which were fitted with auxiliary machine-gun turrets, retained these features for self-defence and close support.  Later Sherman-based versions also retaining the hull machine gun.

While 'debussing' - climbing out of the hull and jumping down, potentially under fire - was challenging the obvious difficulty of getting into a vehicle designed to prevent enemy soldiers climbing onto it was quickly appreciated. Accordingly, climbing rungs were quickly added as a field modification that also simplified loading the carrying compartment with ammunition, food and other supplies to troops under fire.  The Ram Kangaroo entered service piecemeal with the Canadians in September 1944 but in December these minor units were combined to form the 1st Armoured Carrier Regiment, joining the British 79th Armoured Division (whose specialized vehicles were called "Hobart's Funnies"")

The first operation for the Ram Kangaroo was the assault on Le Havre, the last the 7th Infantry Division's march into Hamburg on 3 May 1945.  In Italy Sherman III tanks and some Priests were converted for use by the British Eight Army. Removing the turret of the Sherman and out internal fittings gave room to carry up to 10 troops.  From 1943, Stuart tanks (both M3 and M5) had their turrets removed and seating fitted to carry infantry troops attached to British armoured brigades.

(Alan Wilson Photo)

(Simon Q Photos)

Ram II Cruiser Tank, CT-159602, (Serial No. 159418). Chassis No. 1174, Bovington Tank Museum.

(Hohum Photo)

(Andrew Skudder Photo)

Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carrier, Bovington Tank Museum, UK.

M4A1 Grizzly Cruiser Tank

The Grizzly I was a Canadian built M4A1 Sherman tank with some modifications, it had thicker, more sloping armour, had a longer range, and, most notably was fitted with Canadian Dry Pin (CDP) tracks.  After the fall of France in 1940, it was decided that Canada should manufacture its own tanks, rather than be supplied from the UK or with US-built tanks, for the armoured divisions that were being formed.  For speed of introduction, the native design would be based on the US M3 tank.  The limitations of the M3 design led to extensive reworking of the design to give the Ram Cruiser Tank.  This was produced at the new factory of Montreal Locomotive Works.

The Ram was suitable for training but the M4 Sherman which quickly followed the M3 design was superior and the Ram production line was switched over to Grizzly production in August 1943.   Production of the Grizzly was halted as US tank production would be sufficient for all the Allies and the production line was switched instead to the Sexton self-propelled gun Mk II.  The Sexton was designed after the US M7 Priest SP Gun which used the M3 and then M4 chassis.  The Sexton Mk II used the Grizzly chassis, the upper hull modified to carry the Commonwealth standard QF 25-pounder gun instead.

The Grizzly differed in the suspension from the M4, having a 13, instead of 17, tooth idler and CDP tracks.  Some were planned for conversion to the Skink anti-aircraft tank with a turret mounting four 20-mm cannon.  Following the war, a number of Grizzly tanks and Sexton self-propelled guns were sold to Portugal as part of the NATO military assistance program where they served until finally being retired in the 1980s.  (Wikipedia)

All 188 Grizzly were built without the CDP tracks originally.  These were added postwar.  Only the Montreal Locomotive Works Sexton SPGs rec'd the CDP tracks and sprockets from the factory -- after Grizzly production had ended (Oct to Dec '43).  (Roy Chow)

(Paul Photo)

(Oxyman Photo)

M4A1 Sherman Grizzly Cruiser Tank, “Akilla” (Serial No. T146929), Duxford, Imperial War Museum, UK.

(geni Photo)

(David Lovell Photo)

M4A1 Sherman Grizzly Cruiser Tank, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade markings, Portsmouth, UK.

(FaceMePLS Photo)

M4A1 Sherman Grizzly Cruiser Tank, Sherwood Rangers Monument Groesbeek, Netherlands.

(Zala Photos)

M4A1 Sherman Grizzly Cruiser Tank, Polish Army Museum, Warsaw, Poland.

(Hugh Llewelyn Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, CS233414, The Cobbaton Tank Museum, Cobbaton, Chittlehampton, Umberleigh, UK.

Sexton SP 25-pounder self-propelled gun

           The 25-pounder SP, tracked, Sexton was a self-propelled artillery vehicle of Second World War, based on an American tank hull design, built by Canada for the British Army, and associated Commonwealth forces, and some of the other Allies.  It was developed to give the British Army a mobile artillery gun using their Ordnance QF 25-pounder gun-howitzer.  From 1943 it replaced the US built M7 Priest (US 105-mm guns on a M3 Lee tank chassis); these had replaced the British Bishop (25-pounder on a Valentine tank chassis) which had been a temporary solution in 1942.  Wikipedia.

           The British government ordered 300 Sextons in the summer of 1943; however, these Sextons were to be built on Grizzly tank hulls (Canadian-built M4A1 Sherman tanks) instead of Ram tank hulls.  The Ram-based Sexton was designated as the Sexton Mark I and the Grizzly-based Sexton was designated the Sexton Mark II. British orders for the Sexton II eventually totalled 2,026 vehicles.

           Between 1943 and 1945, the Montreal Locomotive Works manufactured a total of 2,150 Sextons for the use of both Canadian and British forces.  The vehicle entered service in September 1943.  The vehicles were first used in combat in Italy by the 8th Army.  Latter Sextons took an active part in the invasion of France and subsequent Battle of Normandy and the campaign in north-western Europe.  During the D-day landings a number of Sextons were ordered to fire from their landing craft as they approached the beaches although the fire did not prove to be very accurate.  In spite of its confused origins, the Sexton was a combination of proven parts and proved to be a successful design and remained in British service until 1956.

           Unlike Germany, which often used its self-propelled guns in a front line direct fire role, Britain and Canada only used the Sexton for indirect supporting fire.  They kept the Sextons well back from the front line and used forward observers to direct overwhelming fire on a target.  Wikipedia.

           A Canadian 24-gun Sexton artillery regiment was commanded by a LCol and organized into three batteries of eight guns.  Each battery was divided into two troops of four guns each, which could be further divided into two 2-gun sections.  Battery commanders were normally mounted in a tank and accompanied the commanders of the armoured regiment they were supporting.  Troop commanders used an OP tank and acted as forward observers.

           The Canadian Army Overseas had three SP field artillery regiments: 8th Field, 19th Field and 23rd Field.  One was assigned to each Canadian armoured division, and the third was part of the Army Group Royal Artillery (AGRA) under command of Corps Headquarters.  Doug Knight, The Sexton SP Gun in Canadian Service, (Ottawa, Service Publications, 2006), p. 17.

(David Holt Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Royal Artillery Museum, Woolrich, London, UK.

(David Merrett Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Serial No. 1775, Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, Military Museum, Aldershot, UK.

Sexton SP Gun "Beau Brummel", Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson, Portsmouth, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, "Alligator", Muckleburgh Collection, Norfolk, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, "Armourgeddon", Husbands, Bosworth, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, "Growler", Brian Boys Collection, UK.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer), Rex & Rod Cadman Collection, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, Military Museum, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer), Military Museum, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Sexton SP Gun, Heintz Barracks, Bastogne, Belgium.

(Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, Musée des Blindés, Saumur Tank Museum, Saumer, France.

(Supercarwaar Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Omaha Overlord Museum, Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Sexton SP Gun, S233676, Ver-sur-Mer, near Gold Beach, Normandy, France.

Sexton SP Gun, "Racawice", S233841, Battle of Normandy Museum, Bayeux Musée-Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie, France.

Sexton SP Gun, Association de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Historique et Militaire (ASPHM), La Wantzenau, France.

(Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, "Rufus", Alexis Salomé Collection, France.

Sexton SP Gun, Artillery School, Idar Oberstein, Germany.

Sexton SP Gun, (gun missing), Armoured Corps Museum, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India.

Sexton SP Gun, Serial No. 2111, Museo della Motorizzazione Militare della Cecchignola, Rome, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "Babini", Bellinzago Novarese, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "Santa Barbara", Milano, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Museo Storico di Voghera, Voghera, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Museo della Fanteria di Voghera, Voghera, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Tempio della Fraternità, Cella, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "2 Novembre", Vacile, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Serial No. 1126, Piana delle Orme Museum, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Training area, Caserma "Pisano", Teulada, Cagliari, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "Pisano", Teulada, Italy.

(Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, Marshallmuseum, Liberty Park, Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, The Netherlands.  (National War and Resistance Museum).

Sexton SP Gun, Dutch Army Museum, Delft, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun,  BAIV trading, Maarheeze, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun,  Stichting History Revives, t’Harde, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun, Staman Trading, Nijverdal, Netherlands.

(Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, S223813, A3, Dutch Cavelerie Museum, Amersfoort, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun, Pakistan Army Museum, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Sexton SP Gun, Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Sexton SP Gun, Artillery Museum, Nashik, Pakistan.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer, Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.  No. 1 of 2.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer, Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.  No. 2 of 2.

(Halibutt Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, "Breda", Serial No. 1384, Polish Army Museum, Warsaw, Poland.

Sexton SP Gun, Military Museum, Porto, Portugal.

Sexton SP Gun, Quartel do Artilhara , Campo Militar de Santa Margarida (CMSM) Santa Margarida da Coutada, Portugal.  No. 1 of 3.

Sexton SP Gun, Quartel do Artilhara , Campo Militar de Santa Margarida (CMSM) Santa Margarida da Coutada, Portugal.  No. 2 of 3.

Sexton SP Gun, Quartel do Artilhara , Campo Militar de Santa Margarida (CMSM) Santa Margarida da Coutada, Portugal.  No. 3 of 3.

Sexton SP Gun, Museu Militar, Atalaia, Montijo, Portugal.

Sexton SP Gun, Museo Militar de Elvas, Elvas, Portugal.

Sexton SP Gun, Marián Simeon Collection, Slovakia.

Sexton SP Gun, National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa.

(Katangais Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, School of Armour Museum, Tempe Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Special Service Forces Museum, Tempe Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Military History Museum, Queen’s Fort, Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Pretoria Regiment Base (on Magasyn Road), Salvokop, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Museum of military equipment "Battle Glory of the Urals", Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia.

Sexton SP Gun, American Armoured Foundation, Tank Museum, Danville, Virginia, USA.

(Amendola90 Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Russell Military Museum, Russell, Ilinois, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, Indiana Military History Museum, Vincennes, Inidana, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, American Museum of Military Vehicles, Crown Point, Indiana, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, S287183, Jesse Browning Collection, Indiana, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, Battlefield Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Joost J. Bakker Photo)

M4A4 Sherman Medium Tank, 51, 30, "Argyle", LdSH (RC), Airborne Museum, Arnhem, Netherlands.

The M4 Sherman, officially Medium Tank, M4, was the most widely used medium tank by Canada and its Western Allies during the Second World War.  The M4 Sherman proved to be reliable, relatively cheap to produce, and available in great numbers.  Thousands were distributed by the USA through the Lend-Lease program to the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union during the war.  The tank was named by the British for the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman.

The M4 retained much of the previous mechanical design of the M3 Lee tank, but put the main 75-mm gun armament in a fully traversing turret.  One feature, a one-axis gyrostabilizer, was not precise enough to allow firing when moving but did help keep the reticle on target, so that when the tank did stop to fire, the gun would be aimed in roughly the right direction.  The designers stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production and maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition in a limited number of variants, and moderate size and weight.  These factors, combined with the Sherman's then-superior armour and armament, initially outclassed German light and medium tanks fielded in 1939–42.  The M4 went on to be produced in large numbers, and spearheaded many offensives by the Western Allies after 1942.

By 1944, however, the M4 was inferior in firepower and armour to increasing numbers of German heavy tanks, although it continued to fight on with the help of considerable numerical superiority, greater mechanical reliability, better logistical support, and support from growing numbers of fighter-bombers and artillery.  Some Shermans were produced with a more capable gun, the 76-mm M1 gun, or refitted with an Ordnance QF 17-pounder gun by the British (the Sherman Firefly).

The relative ease of production allowed large numbers of the M4 to be manufactured, and significant investment in tank recovery and repair units allowed disabled vehicles to be repaired and returned to service quickly. These factors combined to give the Allies numerical superiority in most battles, and many infantry divisions were provided with M4s.  Tank destroyer battalions using vehicles built on the M4 hull and chassis, but with open-topped turrets and more potent high-velocity guns, also entered widespread use in the Allied armies.

During the Second World War II, approximately 19,247 Shermans were issued to the U.S. Army and about 1,114 to the U.S. Marine Corps.  The U.S. also supplied 17,184 to Great Britain (some of which in turn went to the Canadians and the Free Poles), while the Soviet Union received 4,102 and an estimated 812 were transferred to China.  These numbers were distributed further to the respective countries' allied nations.

(Astrz Photo)

M4A4 Sherman Medium Tank, 51, 30, "Argyle", LdSH (RC), Airborne Museum, Arnhem, Netherlands.

M4A4 Sherman Duplex Drive, front view, 1944.  (IWM Photo MH3660)

Both the Americans and the British developed a wide array of special attachments for the Sherman, although few saw combat, remaining experimental.  Those that saw action included a bulldozer blade, the Dupl;ex Drive system, flamethrowers for Zippo flame tanks, and various rocket launchers such as the T34 Calliope.  British variants (DDs and mine flails) formed part of the group of specialized vehicles collectively known as "Hobart's Funnies" (after Percy Hobart, commander of the 79th Armoured Division).

DD or Duplex Drive tanks, nicknamed "Donald Duck tanks", were a type of amphibious swimming tank developed by the British during the Second World War.  The phrase is mostly used for the Duplex Drive variant of the M4 Sherman used by the Western Allies during and after the Normandy Landings in June 1944.  DD tanks worked by erecting a 'flotation screen' around the tank, which enabled it to float, and had two propellers powered by the tank's engine to drive them in the water.  The DD tanks were one of the many specialized assault vehicles, collectively known as Hobart's Funnies, devised to support the planned invasion of Europe.

M4A4 Sherman Duplex Drive with screen up, front view. 1944.  (IWM Photo MH 3661)

M4A4 Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) with screens lowered, forward view.  (IWM Photo MH 2210)

M4A4 Sherman Duplex Drive with screen up, rear view showing the two propellors. 1944.  (IWM Photo MH 2214)

M4A4 Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) with screens lowered, rear view.  (IWM Photo MH3662)

(Michael McCormack Photos)

(Thomas Skelding Photos)

(Marianne Casamance Photo)

M4A4 Sherman Duplex Drive, CT453671, “Bold", "Audacieux”, D-Day Memorial, Courseulles-sur-Mer, Normandy, France.

M4A3E8 Sherman Medium Tank, 30, “Athena”, Ortona, Italy.  (Not a Canadian tank)

M113 C & R Lynx, Bovington Tank Museum, UK.

Leopard 1A5 Main Battle Tank. Chassis (Serial No 18016).  Turret (Serial No 0020A). Canadian Army Registration No. 78-85137.  This is one of two donated to the The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, UK, directly from the Canadian Army.  It is shown here during a demonstration at Bovington on 26 July 2016.  (Alan Wilson Photo)


Major Hal Skaarup has woven together an informative and detailed synopsis of the carefully preserved and restored armoured fighting vehicles on display in Canada. He highlights the importance of these upon key turning points in history when these AFVs were in use as tools of war at home and overseas. We often associate the evolution of military prowess with the advancement of sophisticated technology. Major Skaarup's descriptions of Canadian armour as it evolved to the level it has today reveals that military planners have had to be continuously creative in adapting to the changes in modern combat. They had to devise many intricate techniques, tactics and procedures to overcome the insurgents and opposition forces faced in Afghanistan and future overseas missions where Canadian armour will be brought into play. This guide book will show the interested reader where to find examples of the historical armour preserved in Canada, and perhaps serve as a window on how Canada's military contribution to safety and security in the world has evolved.

Lieutenant-General Steven S. Bowes

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