The D-Day is a major turning point of WWII. Normandy was the scene of destructive and bruised clashes with the epilogue would seal the fate of WWII and found freedom in many countries. Commemorations are numerous and new museums are opening regularly, helping to make this region a place of memory highly visited.

Here are at least three WWII museums, exhibiting the classic off-road vehicles of that time :

I - The Normandy Tank Museum in Catz, near Carentan, created on the former A10 Airfield in Utah Beach area, opened on 1 June 2013, is probably the largest of its kind : more than 40 vehicles come from Patrick Nerrant collection, museum president with his sons. At times, demonstrations and tours in tanks are organized and also air developments on the A10 Airfield.

II - Overlord Museum - Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-Mer.  Michel Leloup collection has been built in 50 years when he bought and restored in the early 70s a German halftrack Sd 251 Kpz identical to the one he used as forestry equipment after the war.  In 1987, he exhibited a part of his collection to the August 44 Museum in Falaise. Unfortunately, he will not see the large-scale project that will lead to the Overland Museum - Omaha Beach, opened in 2013 which includes 35 restored vehicles, tanks and guns of all belligerents, that is to say six armies in presence.

III - Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy, created in 1981, belongs to the city of Bayeux. The current appearance dates from 2006 and it has many objects and vehicles like a GMC vehicles including a transmitter / receiver SRC 399, a M3 Halftrack, a Willys Jeep and a D7 Caterpillar bulldozer. Photos are prohibited inside the museum, only outdoor gears are presented here as well as the CAT D7 bulldozer.

 The pictures of this chapter, royalty free, were taken by J M Maclou in Normandy on September 4, 2014.

 I - Normandy Tank Museum

 1 2014 10 04 206aa normandy tank museum  

Normandy Tank Museum

 2 caterpillar d8 bulldozer  

Caterpillar D8 Bulldozer of 1941used in 1944 D-Day landings.

 3 2014 10 04 249aa famous jeep going out a lvt 4 amphibious vehicle  

Famous Jeep going out a LVT-4 amphibious vehicle. Willys and Ford manufactured 637.770 Jeep from 1941 to 1945.

 4 truck amphibian 2 5 t 6x6 dukw2  

Truck, Amphibian, 2,5 T, 6x6, DUKW, built by GMC at 21147 units between 1942 and 1945.

 5 m7 priest2  

M7 Priest or 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7. 23 t, 40 km/h, 400 hp, 3470 built in 1942-45.

 6 dodge 4x42

 Dodge 4x4, Weapon Carrier 3/4 Ton, WC 51, buillt by Dodge Brothers Corp. (Div of Chrysler Corp.) at 123541 units in the 40s.     

Lower left : Ambulance, 3/4 Ton, WC 54, 4x4, built at 26002 units

Right : Command Car WC56 built at 21156 units.

 7 m3 tank stuart and m5a1

 General Stuart Tank, Light, M3A1 or M3 Tank Stuart and M5A1, manufactured by American Car and Foundry Co. 37 mm gun, 14.7 t, 250 hp, 58 km/h, range 120 km. 25000 produced all versions (M3/M5).

 8a sherman tank 3 l

 Sherman Tank : Tank, Medium, M4, built by Balwin Locomotive Works and Detroit Arsenal. 75 mm gun.

 9 m25 tank transporter and lvt 4 tracked amphibious vehicle2  

M25 Tank Transporter and LVT 4 tracked amphibious vehicle. M25, nicknamed Dragon Wagon was composed of 6x6 armored tractor M26 a 40-ton semi-trailer M15. Manufactured by Pacific and Foundry Co. at over 1300 units, M26 was driven at rear by chains, had a speed of 26 km/h with a mass of 22 t. The trailer M15 weighted 19 t.

 10 landing tracked vehicle lvt 4 2  

Landing Tracked Vehicle LVT 4, nicknamed Amtrak. 2962 units produced by FMC Corporation bethween 1942 and 1945. They were used for landings in water strewn with rocks or shoals. Donald Roebling conceived the first vehicle in 1935. 250 hp, 7 + 2 men, total mass 6.5 t, payload 4 t, 32 km/h, 12 km/h on water.

 11 half track2

 Half-Track M3, Armored Personal Carrier, built by White, Autocar Company and Diamond T Motor company at about 41000 copies from 1940 to 1945. The half-track design, tested on Citroën-Kegresse had been evaluated by Ordnance Department to find a high mobility infantry vehicle. 9.3 t, 147 hp, 72 km/h.

 12 2014 10 04 355a scout car m3a1 4x4  

Scout Car M3A1, 4x4 of White Motor Co which produced 20918 units all types between 1940 and 1944.

 13 2014 10 04 365a ford gpa seep

Ford GPA 'Seep' amphibious vehicle produced at 12778 units in 1942-43.

 14 2014 10 04 370aa daimler dingo  

Daimler Dingo from England : 3 t, 88 km/h, range 320 km, 55 hp. 6626 produced.

 15 2014 10 04 409a harley davidson of the 40s

 Harley Davidson Motorcycles of the 40s


16 m 24 chaffee tank2

M 24 Chaffee Tank produced at 4731 units in 1944 and 1945 by Cadillac and Massey-Harris. 18 t, 56 km/h, 220 to 300 hp.

17 2014 10 04 397a infantry trailer if8

Infantry trailer IF8

18 2014 10 04 399a bmw r75 side car

BMW R75 Side Car 3x2

18a greyhound m8

Greyhound M8 (on right) was a light armored car built by Ford Motor Company at 8634 copies from 1943 to 1945. 110 hp, 90 km/h, range 640 km, mass 7.8 t.

19 2014 10 04 250a vg

Overview 1

20 2014 10 04 254a vg

Overview 2

21 2014 10 04 259a vg

Overview 3



 23 2014 10 04 264a vg

 Overview 4

 24 2014 10 04 274a gv  

Overview 5

 25 2014 10 04 348 gv

 Overview 6

 26 2014 10 04 367a gv  

Overview 7

 27 2014 10 04 405a gv  

Overview 8

 28 2014 10 04 407a gv  

Overview 9

 29 2014 10 04 412a gv  

Overview 10


30 2014 10 04 420a gv

Overview 11                     

31 2014 10 04 422a gv

Overview 12

32 2014 10 04 423a gv

Overview 13

 II - Overlord Museum - Omaha Beach

 1 2014 10 04 463a overlord museum  

Overlord Museum - Omaha Beach

 1a 2014 10 04 607a overlord museum

Overlord Museum - Omaha Beach

 1ab sherman tank in front of the overlord museum l  

Sherman tank in front of the Overlord Museum, Colleville-sur-Mer.

 1b m10 tank destroyer l

 M10 Tank Destroyer in front of Overlord Museum, Colleville-sur-Mer. Designed on the base of a Sherman, it had an open turret. English nicknamed this tank 'Wolverine' and, in 1944, they rearmed the TC M10 for the D-Day with an anti-tank gun of 17 pounds. It became the 'Achilles'. Very agile and fast, it help counter the movements of enemy tanks and detroyed them. Built by Fisher Body, 375 hp, 48 km/h, consumption 118 L/100, 27 t, 76 mm gun.

 1c hobart s funnies

 Hobart's Funnies were special tanks built on a chassis of Churchill tank for specific purpose. Here are the Bobbin, on left, reinforced steel bars canvas roll that could be layed on soil for moving best in mud or sand. On right, the Small Box Girder could deploy a bridge of 10m over large holes and could support 40 t.

 1d 2014 10 04 472a kettenkrad sd kfp 2

 Kettenkrad Sd Kfp 2, produced from 1940 to 1948 by NSU Motorenwerke AG at Neckarsulm and by Stoewer at 8871 copies. Used to transport 2 persons at 70 km/h, its empty mass was 1.235 t. After the war, it was used in agriculture and forestry. The front wheel brought stability at high speed but in cross country condition, handlebar automatically committed the brakes of tracks to turn shorter, without the front wheel.

 2 2014 10 04 473aa sherman tank  

Sherman M4A1 Medium Tank. Almost 50 000 produced, all versions, from 1942 by Chrysler, GM, Pacific Car & Foundry, and many others. The M4A1, with molded sheild, was built at 6281 copies. The Sherman Tank was the essential weapon of the battle of Normandy. Its simple design, reliability, speed, easy maintenance demonstrated at the first use at El Alamein made it very apreciated. Nevertheless it could not fight easily against 'Panther' and 'Tiger' German heavy tanks but they were very numerous and fueling very effective.

 3 2014 10 04 475a sherman tank

 Sherman tank

 4 2014 10 04 478aa half track m3 personnal carrier

 Half-track M3 Personnal Carrier ; 43 000 were produced

 5 2014 10 04 482a landing craft vehicle personel higgins boat  

Landing craft, Vehicle, Personel, 'Higgins Boat' was designed by Andrew Higgins for Louisiane swamps. 20000 built, in wood. Capacity 36 + 4 men or 3700 kg at 17 km/h. Empty mass 8200 kg.

 6 2014 10 04 485a gmc cckw 352  

GMC CCKW 352, 2,5 ton, Short Wheel-base, 6x6, is the mythical truck of the Liberation of the US Army. 500 000 were built from 1941 to 1945 by General Motors Corporation. On this version, 2 wheels are carried behing the cab to be mounted dual wheels on front axle in difficult terrains. 5 T capacity, 70 km/h, consumption 35 l/100, 94 hp.

 7 2014 10 04 503a cmp truck 4x4  

CMP, Canadian Military Pattern, Truck 4x4. Built at 50 000 units by Chevrolet and Ford of Canada from 1940 to 1945. 85 hp, 80 km/h.

 8 2014 10 04 505a gv 1  

Overview 1

 9 2014 10 04 516a gv

Overview 2


9a half track sdkpz 10 l

Half-track SdKpz 10, manufactured by Saurer at Vienne, Austria, under license Demag. Total mass 4.9 t, 65 km/h, range 300 km on road, 170 km off-road, 100 hp. On the 17000 châssis built by Demag, Saurer, Adler, about 15 units survive. This one was found in the French Ardennes and restored from 1992 to 1996 (4000 hours).

10 2014 10 04 515a light half track sd kfz 250

Light Half-Track Sd Kfz 250. 7500 units built by Adler during WWII. 50 km/h, consumption 50 l/100 on road and 85 l/100 off-road. Extremely rare with its original armor, it was found in a scrap yard in Orne in 1975 and retored in working order. Less than 10 copies are known to date

10b half track famo sdkpz 9 l

Half-track 'FAMO' SdKpz 9, built at about 2500 copies by FAMO, Fahrzeug Motoren Werk at Breslau between 1938 and 1945. It was the biggest German half-trak used tandem to tow Panthers (45 t) and Tigers (57 t). 10 men, 280 hp, empty mass 15.6 t, This one was retrieved in Orne and restored during 7 years (10000 hours of work). Total of 12 surviving FAMO are known in the world.

10c half track famo sdkpz 9 2 l

Half-track 'FAMO' SdKpz 9. On left is seen the axle, which was not driven and suspended 3 points. On right is a view 'under the hood'.

 10d 2014 10 04 565a gv  

Overview 3

 11 2014 10 04 553a panzerkampfwagen iv sd kfz 16 1 2  

Panzerkampfwagen IV SD kfz 16 1!2. 3774 units produced in 1943-44. 900 Panzer IV took part at Normandy Battle. 25 t, 300 hp, 38 km/h, consumption 220L/100 and 360 L/100 off-road.

 12 2014 10 04 575a radio controlles b iv sd kpz 301

 Radio Controlled B IV Sd Kpz 301 for remote deposit (2 km maxi) of 450 kg explosives. 360 copies were built by Borgward. This one has been retrieved in the 70s at Le Mans. It is the only survivor in working order existing this day.

 13 2014 10 04 586a loyd carrier

 Loyd Carrier. 26 000 built whose 4213 by Ford in 1943-44. 48 km/h, mass 4 t, 85 hp.

 13a 2014 10 04 604a bmw r74 kubelwagen and half track sd kpz 250 11

Side-car of BMW R75 whose 16510 copies were built from 1940 to 1945. It was a 3x2, the wheel of the side-car being driven for difficult terrain. 92 km/h, total mass 670 kg, consumption 7 L/100 on road.                            Kübelwagen VW82 was created by Ferdinand Porche before the war and built at 55000 copies. 4x2 vehicle, very light, 1050 kg, with a self-locking differentiel, its bottom was flat, which allowed it, under some conditions, to be almost equal to the Jeep, heavier and without differentiel locks.  Half-track Sd Kpz 250/11 first version.

 14 2014 10 04 605a dodge wc 51  

Dodge WC 51


 III - Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy in Bayeux

15 2014 10 04 787a memorial museum of bayeux

Memorial Museum in Bayeux

16 churchill tank l

Churchill Tank, produced at 8400 copies, and proved its value at the second battle of El Alamein. The last version, well protected, did not exceed 20.5 km/h. It served untill 1952. 350 hp, range 144 km.

17 m10 tank destroyer 2 l

M10 Tank Destroyer.

18 sherman tank 2

Sherman Tank

19 hetzer tank destroyer l

Hetzer Tank Destroyer, Jagdpanzer 38 t. 2047 copies were produced by BMM and 780 by Skoda from Marsh 1944 to 1945. After the war, Tchekoslovakia recovered 300 units, kept on production and sold 180 units to Switzerland. 160 hp, 42 km/h, 15.75 t.

20 caterpillar d7 bulldozer

Caterpillar D7 Bulldozer landed in July 1944 and used by Canadian Engineers in the ruins of Caen. After, it worked in a company not far from the same town untill 1984. 


 III - Tanks exhibited on road in Normandy

21 sherman tank l

Sherman Tank in front of the Omaha Beach Memorial Museum, St Laurent-sur-Mer.  An anti-tank obstacle can be seen lower right.

 33 churchill tank 1944 2  

Churchill Tank, 1944, near Lion sur Mer

 34 churchill tank 1944 2  

Churchill AVRE Tank, 1944, near Lion sur mer, Sword Beach area, refurbished in 1994 in England.

 34a churchill tank 3 2  

Churchill Tank at Gray sur Mer, Juno Beach area.

 35 dd tank2

 DD (Duplex Drive Tanks) Sherman tank, at Courseulles-sur-Mer, Juno Beach sector, without its flotation screen. First used in Normandy Landing, they could float and were equipped with a propeller powered by the tank's engine. This system was invented in England by the Hungarian-born engineer Nicholas Straussler. The M2 Bradley Infantry Fifghting Vehicle used a screen looking like DD in 1983.

 36 sexton self propelled gun 3  

Sexton self-propelled gun in open air at Ver-sur-Mer, Gold Beach sector. It was presented by Dr Matthew KILN in memory of his father, Major Robert KILN and the British troops who landed on this beach. The Sexton was built at 2150 copies between 1943 and 1945 by the company Montreal Locomotive Works, Canada. 400 hp, 38 km/h, 25.86 t.

37 2014 10 04 026a crommwell tank

Crommwell Tank produced at 4016 units from 1943. 64 km/h, 600 hp, 28 t, QF 75 mm gun. It is exhibited near the Pegasus Bridge, Ranville, Sword Beach sector.