Captured Allied Armor: Enemy Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
German forces seldom hesitated to put captured Allied armor to use.
By Christopher Miskimon The German crewmen occupied the various stations in their tank as they approached the American roadblock ahead. It was 2100 hours on Christmas Eve, 1944, just outside the town of Manhay, Luxembourg, which was occupied by elements three different U.S. divisions. The Nazi offensive into the Ardennes, which later came to be known as the Battle of the Bulge, was well under way, and this column of the 2nd SS Panzer Division had been given the objective of seizing the town from its American defenders. The moon overhead shone brightly in a clear sky, reflecting on the blanket of snow that covered the ground and providing good nighttime visibility. As the lead tank of the column got ever closer to the roadblock, tension no doubt mounted; the American tankers and infantrymen must have strained to see who was approaching their position—friend or foe. With each passing second, the crew of the leading German tank, out front and vulnerable, must have feared the calls of warning and bursts of tank and bazooka fire that would turn their machine into a fiery coffin. No shouts of “Open Fire!” or “Krauts!” rang out, however. Instead, the lead tank moved up to the roadblock without a shot being fired. The American sentries were not lazy or incompetent; they had been fooled. The German tank crew was driving an American tank, a captured M-4 Sherman, its silhouette easily discernable from that of an enemy tank in the bright moonlight. Behind this Sherman, the
Join The Conversation
View All Comments