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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020
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Ever wanted to buy a tank? Well now you can

One of the biggest draws from the 130 tanks being auctioned off by the Normandy Tank Museum is a US M4 Cadillac tank made in 1942 – which is listed at between €80,000 and €140,000.

British soldiers drive an American tank on to a beach in Normandy, France on August 15, 1944, during the Second World War.
British soldiers drive an American tank on to a beach in Normandy, France on August 15, 1944, during the Second World War.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

FANCY BUYING A World War II tank? Then make tracks to a museum in Normandy, France, which is closing its doors and selling off its entire collection.

One of the star lots of the 130 being auctioned off by the Normandy Tank Museum is an American M4 Cadillac tank made in 1942 which is listed at between €80,000 and €140,000.

A 1944 Jeep MB is also going under the hammer for an estimate of €25,000, while a military Caterpillar D-8 bulldozer is available for between €4,000 and €6,000 in the sale on 18 September, overseen by the Artcurial auction house.

For smaller budgets, dummies used in the museum dressed in the uniforms of tank drivers and US Navy pilots can be snapped up for around €200.

The museum, which opened three years ago in Catz near the D-Day beaches on the Normandy coast, is shutting because of a 30% drop in visitors this year, which it blames on the terror attacks on France in the past two years.

PA-8625992 General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, sits at the wheel of his jeep somewhere in France during the Second World War. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The museum’s founder Patrick Nerrant, a former Air France pilot, said:

People are coming less because of the problems of terrorism in France.

As a privately funded museum, it does not benefit from the same state assistance as larger institutions, he added.

Nerrant and his two sons began collecting World War II vehicles in the 1980s and have restored around 20 tanks between them.

PA-8631739 An American tank passes the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, during the liberation from German occupation in August 1944. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The museum houses more than 40 vehicles and thousands of objects from World War II, and there is also an air strip on the site.

Nerrant admitted that the noise from the vehicles has prompted “several petitions from local residents” – but despite being forced to shut down he has retained a piece of land where he plans to open a smaller museum.

- © AFP, 2016

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