Sherman ’Crab’ Flail Tank
A unique piece of specialist equipment that the 79th Armoured Division fields is the Sherman Crab flail tank. Its rotating flail detonates mines as the vehicle passes through a minefield, clearing a path for following vehicles. While perfect in theory, not every mine was destroyed and numerous flail tanks were lost in the process.
Despite this, they remained the most effective way of clearing minefields under fire.
The Germans use mines prolifically, laying them in front of every defensive position. This makes the Sherman Crab flail tank essential as the other half of every breaching team alongside the AVRE. Almost every attack had a platoon of flail tanks standing by in case minefields were encountered. Historically, each flail platoon had five tanks. This allowed them to flail two gaps through a minefield since each gap required two flails operating in echelon to clear a wide enough path to safely cross.
The fifth flail tank was the reserve to replace the inevitable mine casualty amongst the gapping teams.