Magoster / Beffe, Belgium

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This Sherman is an early Chrysler (Spring 1944) production vehicle. It belonged to the 1st or 2nd platoon of  C” company of 771st tank battalion.

In January 1945 C/771st was attached to 334th infantry regiment of the 84th division. During a move from Magoster to Marcourai on the 8th of January 1945, the Sherman slipped on the icy road and slid into the ditch. When the tank was pulled out of the ditch it hit a daisy chain of mines which set the tank on fire. This happened just outside Magoster. On that occasion one person died and three others were injured.




  Salvatore DiMartino,  32217118



Lt. Norbert E. Karl,  01996680



After some research I came to the conclusion that at least the following men must have been on this tank on the 8th of January 1945:

1.      Lt. Norbert E. Karl,  01996680

2.      t/sgt Kenneth C. McKnight,  35152489

3.      Cpl Frank M. Bottini,  39030389

4.      Salvatore DiMartino,  32217118

5.      unknown to me

The “after-action-report” says that on that day only one person of  771 Tk bn died. His name was Salvatore DiMartino, he was the driver of the tank. 

Lt. Norbert E. Karl was severely wounded. This is a quote about him which I took from www.world war 2 awards.com : On January 8, 1945, during the Battle of the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), LT Karl was severely wounded near Magoster, Belgium. He received a disability retirement in March 1946.  

Cpl Frank M. Bottini and  t/sgt Kenneth C. McKnight were also wounded.

The tank was left in the ditch between Magoster and Beffe. In 1984 the Sherman was recovered from the field and placed on a statue as a monument in the nearby town of Beffe. This monument is dedicated to Task Force Hogan, although it was not one of “his” tanks.

There are also some funny facts about this tank.

Ø      The engine deck doors are not the original ones. On the older pictures is visible that the engine deck doors are missing. During the restoration newer ones were put in place. These ones are most likely from a M74.

This is information I’ve received from a man in New York:

In 1984 I was assigned to moving the tank and turning it into a monument.  I was a 1st Lt with 3/33/3 AR and had Assitance from our Belgium partnership unit.

Yes, the rear deck is not original.  We did not want to change the tank, but felt it needed a back deck.  I salvaged the deck parts from a tank target range.  Welded and painted, etc.

Ø      In 1972 the Sherman was vandalized. Someone took the hatch of the commander’s cupola. He brought it with him to his home and the hatch had a place in his living room for more then 30 years. In 2002 he felt sorry about his act and he brought it back.  After about 30 years, the hatch was back were it belongs.




^ This is a part of the “after-action-report” of the 771st tank battalion.



The bleu X is marking the place where the tank hit the mines





771st  unit markings, stars etc.


Another tank of  C / 771st . This is the only picture I’ve found with a clear unit marking of the 771st tkbn. The star on the transmission housing is painted black.

Picture from “the Sherman at war, 2” by Steven Zaloga

This is the Sherman in Magoster / Beffe. The black painted star on the transmission housing is still there.


A tank of the 771st. (not the one in Magoster / Beffe)  Look at the, poorly visible, black painted star on the side of the hull and turret. 

14 january 1945, Berismenil Belgium.

Picture from “the Sherman at war, 2” by Steven Zaloga

I am searching for more information about this Sherman.

If you have any information or corrections about markings, reg. numbers , old pictures etc please contact me: 




m4a3 76mm  771st tankbt sherman ardennes bulge battle magoster beffe





<< This is what I ( think to ) know about the markings of the 771st  so far, for the period January 1945.


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