A Centaur Tank is Refurbished for Normandy Anniversary

A WWII-era centaur tank has been refurbished in honor of the D-Day commemoration ceremonies to occur on June 6th of 2014. The vehicle has not been used since the invasion, having been abandoned at Caen Canal for nearly seventy years. Its restoration will serve to not only honor the Normandy invasion as a whole, but also the actions of the centaur tank itself during the conflict at Pegasus Bridge.

Pegasus Bridge played a very large role during the Normandy invasion, with less than two hundred men taking charge of the site and providing a solid defense for the soldiers on the beach. It will be a key site for events on June 6th, during which the refurbished centaur tank will be revealed. The large assault vehicle was used during the mission on Pegasus Bridge to support the marines and help them to gain ground while they were storming the beaches on their way further inland.

The current bridge is not actually the same one that was involved in the invasion, but the original is still intact and kept not far from a museum dedicated to the events of the invasion. The museum is actually responsible for the refurbishment of the centaur tank, of which only five are rumored to be intact today. Of that number, the one being restored is the only one to have taken part in the historic landings at Normandy.

Despite the great length of time during which the vehicle has been lying on the banks unused, this is actually not the first time it has been worked on. It has also been worked on in the 1970s. The museum is not losing anything on the repair of the centaur tank, as two different companies have opted to aid them in the work. This may be at least partly due to the fact that D-Day is not the only anniversary being celebrated; this year also marks the 350th year of existence for the Royal Marines, The Courier reports.

Some such marines have helped paint the centaur tank to prepare it for the June remembrance ceremonies. Some marines who will be present for the event actually aided the service of such vehicles during the war, so its unveiling will be a special moment for them. There are lots of projects being displayed for the anniversary, but the centaur tank is one of the few memorial projects which was also part of the war itself. With so few left in the world, its showing should be a unique event for all in attendance.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE