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Hobarts Funnies

Discussion in 'Allied Motorised Weapons' started by Jim, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Major General Sir Percy Hobart​

    Percy Hobart joined the Royal Engineers in 1904 and then in 1906 transferred to the engineers in the Indian Army. He fought in France, Mesopotamia and Palestine and at the end of the Great War, twice decorated, he was sent to the Staff College. A brilliant staff officer he joined the Royal Tank Corps in 1923 at a time when the British armoured force had only feeble resources available. Percy Hobart fought for modernisation in the face of opinions which maintained that it was sufficient to equip the armoured forces with only a few obsolete tanks in spite of the fact that the British had invented the tank". He became Inspector of the Royal Tank Corps in 1934 and at the same time, commander of the 1st Tank Brigade. His criticisms, however, did not please his superiors and he was relieved of his command and retired in 1939, retaining his rank of major-general to which he had been promoted in 1937. Before his departure he had had time to form the 7th Armoured Division in the Middle East that had such a high standard of training that it distinguished itself in the Desert War.

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    Percy Hobart


    Hobart then joined the Local Defence Volunteers (later the Home Guard) as a humble corporal but later became Deputy Area Organiser But, after the disaster suffered by the BEF in France It was urgent to reorganise the British Army. Churchill had appreciated Hobart's forthright opinions and entrusted him in 1941 with the setting up of a new armoured division, the 11th. When that unit became operational, Hobart was again sacked for medical reasons and forbidden to lead it into battle. In 1942, however, he was given command of a new unit, the 79th Armoured Division, the history of which was intimately linked to its commander's personality and he remained to lead until it was disbanded in 1945. General Hobart was decorated with the KBE, CB, DSO and MC. He died in 1957.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The 79th Armoured Division

    To confront the beach obstacles and coastal defences, special equipment was needed, a problem that was solved by the British good at coming up with original ideas. In effect, the defeat suffered during the Dieppe raid, caused the British commanders to reflect on the conditions governing the success of an eventual landing. Already during the attempted landing at Dieppe, a Churchill tank had been fitted with a sort of roll of carpet in front of its gun which could be projected over a barbed-wire entanglement enabling the infantry to scramble over the obstacle. In spite of this early attempt, most of the Churchill tanks were confined to the shingle beach by obstacles.

    The 79th was one of the youngest armoured divisions in the British army, created in August 1942 under the command Major-General Sir Percy Hobart, an officer with wide experience of armoured fighting vehicles. In April/1943 the young division was selected to concentrate on the special vehicles developed to assist in landing operations - engineer tanks, amphibious tanks and tanks for clearing minefields, initially using old Matilda or Valentine tank chassis. Later a Sherman was used to mount a flail. The first DD (Duplex Drive) tanks were based on a Valentine but they too were replaced by Shermans.

    To follow the programme of innovations started in April 1943, the first device was the C.D.L. This consisted of a searchlight fitted onto either Churchill or Grant tanks belonging to the 35th Tank Brigade, but were no longer used by the unit after January 1944 although they continued in usage with the 1st Tank Brigade until October. Then, in March 1943 came the Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (the AVRE) which was issued to the 1st Assault Brigade RE. and formed the basic equipment for the division, remaining in use until the end of the war. In January 1944 the Sherman " crab" equipped with flails was issued to the 30th Armoured Brigade and also remained in service until the went of the war. With regard to the DD amphibious tanks, they were trained by the division but were allotted to other regiments for the landings and were not returned to the division until October 1944. To preserve the secret of the “funnies", the units did their training well away from the main urban areas. In Oxford in Suffolk large concrete obstacles were constructed similar to those used by the Germans, for training purposes. After the Normandy landings, other specialist armoured vehicles joined the division - Crocodiles, Kangaroos and Buffaloes.
     
  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The AVRE

    The AVRE was the basic 79th Armoured Div. vehicle developed after the bad experience of the Dieppe raid which had demonstrated the need for a device which would allow the destruction of beach obstacles by engineers under enemy fire. It was this that was behind the concept of the AVRE, using as a basis, Mk 11/ and IV Churchill chassis.
    The main gun was replaced a large 290mm calibre mortar which could hurl petard bombs designed to smash concrete structures. The necessary conversions were carried by the REME workshops and at the MG Car Company's factory at Abingdon. In addition to fitting the mortar which was capable of firing its bombs, known as “flying dustbins" at a rate of two or three per minute, other modifications had to be carried out, notably the fitting of access hatches to permit loading of the bombs into the mortar.

    A 290mm mortar fitted to a Churchill AVRE, on the right its "Petard" or Bomb for clearing beach obsticles and concrete fortifications.

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    In fighting trim an AVRE weighed circa 40 tons and was crewed by a commander, a driver, a demolition specialist, a radio operator, a loader for the mortar and a co-driver who acted as gun-layer for the mortar. This AVRE also formed the basis of other more specialist devices.
    The most favoured adaptation of a Churchill was to convert it to carry a bundle of fascines. The turret was moved sideways to provide a field of fire for the mortar and the fascine bundle was carried on the front fastened on with cables, ready to be dropped into a hole or an anti-tank ditch to ease the crossing. Often three tubes were placed in the middle of the bundle to facilitate the passage of water rather than to strengthen the whole issue.

    A Churchill AVRE that took part in the Landings on Juno Beach has been recovered and is now on display at Graye-sur-Mer near Courseulles.

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  4. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The S.B.G. assault bridge

    The S.B.G. assault bridge was developed in 1943 based on an AVRE (Mk. IV Churchill chassis only) on which was mounted the SBG bridge. It carried the folded bridge in the front and could rapidly deploy it for crossing obstacles such an anti-tank ditches of bomb craters up to 10m wide. This bridge also made it possible to climb an anti-tank wall and drop a fascine bundle over the other side to permit the descent.

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  5. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The Churchill AVRE carpet-layer

    The Churchill AVRE carpet-layer was designed as a result aerial observations made in the spring of 1944 which showed the existence of sectors of clay on certain sections of beach where landings were planned to take place. Geologists confirmed these observations. It was necessary to avoid armoured vehicles becoming bogged down after landing and this was why the Churchill carpet-layer was designed. Two models were constructed - the C Type on a Churchill 11 chassis, had a large bobbin on the front from which it could unroll a carpet of canvas reinforced by steel rods. The 0 type on a Mk.11 chassis had a larger bobbin which could unroll a greater length of carpet. On the other hand the second type could only advance with its bobbin in the raised position whereas the C type could move with the bobbin in the raised or lowered position.

    Type C carpet-layer at work.


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  6. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The Crab

    The other type of mine clearing tank was the better known as the Crab. It started life as the Scorpion, an early model of mine clearance tank with a rotating drum in font on which chains were fixed and was used in the Middle East, mounted on Matilda, Grant or Sherman chassis. The final model was the Sherman Crab based on the Sherman V (M4 A4) Mk. I version. The tank had two arms mounted at the front which supported a rotating drum fitted with chains or flails and could be raised by hydraulic rams when on the move to avoid the flails dragging along the road.

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    Most but not all of the Crabs were fitted with this facility. The drum was activated by a gear box placed on the end of the right hand arm and can be seen on various photos. The chains could thus be rapidly brought into action and beat the ground, exploding lines up to 4 or 5 inches deep. The device was exceedingly effective and the 30th Armoured Brigade destroyed more than 5,000 mines. Moreover the device had the great advantage that it could use its gun in support. During a landing the Crabs were among the first to reach the beach where they were very useful and when clearing mines, travelled with the turret and gun traversed to face the rear.
    Most Crabs or flails had metal bins fixed on both side for stowing spare chains - they can be seen on certain photos. On the back of the majority of these vehicles there were inclined boxes mounted which could sprinkle powdered chalk or plaster to mark the corridors cleared. Later, a different system was used consisting of fluorescent piquet’s (Whyman Markers) which could be inserted at regular intervals.

    A Sherman Crab in training in England shortly before the landings. The long flails are beating the ground and detonating the mines.

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  7. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The Churchill ARC

    The Churchill ARC (Armoured Ramp Carrier), 50 of which were built in the REME workshops and at the MG factory. These were the ARC Mk.1's and were ready in time to take part in the Normandy landings. The ARC was a turretless Churchill tank fitted with two foot wide ramps on top of the tracks. Moveable ramps completed the equipment and were mounted at the rear.

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    The tank reversed up to an antitank wall, positioned its ramps and other vehicles could drive up and over it The device could also carry a fascine which it could throw over the obstacle to ease the descent on the other side or drop it in front to lift the while machine to the correct height. After the Normandy campaign the Mk.1 was replaced by the Mk.1I which was wider at both front and rear.

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  8. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The Churchill Crocodile

    The Churchill Crocodile was the only British flame-thrower tank during the Second World War and was based in a Churchill Mk. VII on which the co-axial hull machine gun was replaced by a flame-thrower nozzle and which pulled an armoured trailer filled with an inflammable liquid and bottles of nitrogen to propel the liquid which was passed through an armour protected tube under the tank. All the necessary bits to turn a Churchill Mk. VII into a Crocodile was provided as a kit. One of the division's regiments, the 141st Royal Armoured Corps (The Buffs) was the first unit to be equipped with Crocodiles a few days after the landings and was not involved with the operations on D-Day.

    A Churchill VII crocodile training in England on 20th April 1944. The trailer containing 180 shots of the inflammable liquid (a mixture of paraffin and latex) with a jelly-like consistency was ignited at the nozzle. It had a range of 120 yards and would burn where landed for circa ten minutes.


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  9. Dave War44

    Dave War44 Member

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    Excellent series of posts ! Outstanding. Please shunt this post to the end if you haven't finished yet ! :)
     
  10. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The 5th Assault Regiment, from 79th Armoured Division, that was to land in support of 3rd Division had specialised armour in its arsenal with which to overcome these obstacles. Major-General Percy Hobart, the innovative commander of 79th Armoured Division, had gathered together a variety of special tanks each with a specific purpose. All were designed to attack some particular type of German defence. There were Sherman 'Crab' tanks which had a revolving drum attached to their front onto which were connected large steel chains. As the drum rotated, the metal chains smashed into the ground exploding any mines that lay in the tank's path and, thereby, cleared a lane through the minefield for following vehicles. There were Armoured Vehicles Royal Engineers (AVRE’s) modified for specific tasks such as bridge-laying, filling in ditches, crossing anti-tank walls and firing large charges against concrete emplacements. Other tanks were modified as flame-thrower vehicles, while 'Bobbin' tanks - Church ills capable of laying flexible carpets to allow the passage of vehicles over sand and shingle - were also developed. All of these special types of tanks were at the disposal of 3rd Division for its assault.
    At selected locations along the seafront were strongpoint’s, which were built to give mutual support. These were often given individual code-names by the Allies and specific plans were made for their capture. Along Sword Beach the fortified areas were: 'Trout' at Lion sur Mer, 'Cod' at La Breche, the 'Casino' at Riva Bella, and the 'shore battery' at Riva Bella/Ouistreham. Inland from the beaches, sited to prevent Allied forces moving off the beach, were other fortified strongpoints: 'Sole' south-west of Ouistreham; 'Daimler' to the south of Ouistreham; and 'Morris' and 'Hillman' near Colleville.
    The task of transporting Allied forces onto Sword Beach and defending them from enemy interference during the passage was given to the ships of the Royal and Commonwealth Navies. Force S, commanded by R/ Adm A.G. Talbot, was part of the Eastern Task Force which supported the British and Canadian beaches of Gold, Juno and Sword. Force S comprised three Assault Groups, SI, S2 and S3. Assault Group S3 was to be responsible for the initial landing of the assault brigade, followed by Group S2 with the intermediate brigade, whilst Group SI would take responsibility for the landings of the reserve brigade. Each of these naval groups would have their own flotillas of various types of landing-craft.
    Sword Beach, being the easternmost section of the British assault area, was seen as the most vulnerable to enemy attack, both from the heavy guns around Le Havre and from the German vessels based there. For this reason a powerful bombarding force was to be stationed to port of the invasion convoys, to counter such threats. This force was to contain two battleships, a 15in. gun monitor and five cruisers, supported by 13 destroyers and numerous other lighter vessels.
    The 3rd British Division was to lead the invasion onto Sword Beach with its 8th Brigade carrying out the initial assault. It would land two battalions up front, with a reserve battalion following closely behind. The 1st South Lancashire’s would touch down on Queen White, whilst 2nd East Yorkshires would land on Queen Red and 1st Suffolk Regimen t would follow them in. All three battalions were to be conveyed ashore in tiny wooden LCAs (Landing Craft Assault), each carrying around 30 fully laden troops. They would be supported at the same time by DD (Duplex Drive) tanks from the 13th/18th Hussars (27th Armoured Brigade). These DD tanks were amphibious Sherman tanks with canvas screens to provide buoyancy and propelled through the water by two external propellers. They would be launched 5,000yds out at sea and would 'swim' in to the shore so as to arrive just as the leading waves of infantry hit the beach. Their low silhouette in the water would be their best protection during the passage ashore, and it was hoped that it would allow them to get close to the enemy strongpoints without attracting too much heavy fire. Once they touched down, their canvas skirts would be dropped, their propellers disengaged and they would then perform as normal armour. The arrival of these tanks on the beach, coinciding with the arrival of the infantry, would enable enemy strongpoints to be attacked immediately.
    Just behind the first wave, and arriving almost simultaneously, specialised armour from 79th Armoured Division would land in LCT’s (Landing Craft Tanks) comprising 22nd Dragoons, Westminster Dragoons and 5th Assault Regiment Royal Engineers. These units were tasked with the role of overcoming beach defences, clearing minefields and opening gaps from the beach for the infantry and tanks to pass through.

    Lieutenants Bob de la Tour, Don Wells, John Vischer and Bob Midwood of 22nd Independent Parachute Company synchronise watches on the evening of 5th June before boarding their aircraft to lead their advance parties into Normandy.

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    Next would land the remaining regiments of tanks of 27th Armoured Brigade - 1st East Riding Yeomanry and the Staffordshire Yeomanry together with the three self-propelled regiments (7th, 33rd and 76th Field Regiments RA) of the 3rd Division's field artillery. These forces would add punch to the 8th Brigade's move inland.
    The immediate objectives for the first assaulting waves were to clear the beach of underwater obstacles, silence local defences - especially the German strongpoint 'Cod' just behind the shoreline - and secure exits from the beaches. They were then to move inland and attack their designated objectives in order to leave the beach area relatively clear for the follow-up waves of troops and armour. The 1st South Lancs would press inland to take the village of Hermanville, 2nd East Yorks would move on the two German strongpoint’s of 'Sole' and 'Daimler' to the west of Ouistreham, whilst the 1st Suffolks would advance through Colleville and attack the enemy strongpoint’s of 'Morris' and 'Hillman'.
    Whilst these units attacked German defences close to the landing sites, other enemy strongpoints would be sure to interfere with the landing. To the east were two such fortified areas; the Casino at Riva Bella and the shore battery on the seafront at Ouistreham. To the west was the strongpoint 'Trout' at Lion sur Mer. Warships would bombard these sites during the early hours after dawn, then 4 Commando (from 1st Special Service Brigade) would land just behind the assault waves and advance inland to capture the eastern strongpoint’s from the rear. At the same time, 41 Royal Marine Commando (from 4th Special Service Brigade) would move to the west to attack 'Trout'.
    After the first waves had gained a foothold, other groups would arrive and pass through. Following the reserve battalion of the assaulting brigade would come the remainder of 1st Special Service Brigade in the shape of 3 and 6 Commandos and 45 Royal Marine Commando. Their task was to move straight off the landing beach and advance to link up with and reinforce 6th Airborne Division on the eastern side of the River Orne.
    All of these landings were programmed to be completed at H Hour (the time the first waves were due to touch down) plus 120 minutes. Then came the intermediate brigade, 185th Brigade, comprising 2nd Warwickshire’s, 1st Royal Norfolks and 2nd King's Shropshire Light Infantry. All three battalions would strike out for the vital D-Day objective of Caen with all speed, supported by the tanks of 27th Armoured Brigade. The reserve brigade, 9th Brigade, was to begin its landings at H Hour + 270 minutes. Its three battalions (2nd Lincolnshire’s, 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers and 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles), supported by tanks, would drive on Caen along the right flank of the beachhead as soon as they cleared the waterfront.
     
  11. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Demolition charges

    The demolition charges used by the British ‘Funnies’ were nearly all carried by Churchill AVREs, for the emplacing of these special powerful charges was one of the tasks for which the AVRE was intended. The charges themselves were special obstacle demolishing packs of high explosive that had to be placed against the target, which might be anything from a sea or anti-tank wall to a blockhouse or an offending building. Sometimes the charges were large single chunks of explosive, and in others they were small charges set in a pattern and held in a steel frame. One thing all the various charges did have in common and that was odd and even bizarre names. One of the more straightforward of these charge devices was the Bangalore Torpedo. These pipe charges were intended for mine or barbed wire clearing, but could be used for other purposes and on the AVRE they were held in front-mounted frames, also used for the Jones Onion. The Jones Onion first appeared in 1942 and was the codename given to a frame onto which various charges could be attached. The frame was carried on two arms, one on each side of the AVRE, and was held upright as the target was approached. Once in position the frame was released by pulling on a cable and two legs on the bottom of the frame were so arranged that the frame always fell against the target obstacle. The charges could then be fired electrically by a trailing cable after the AVRE had reversed away. The side-mounted arms could then be jettisoned if required.
    Another device that appeared in 1942 was the Carrot; this was a much simpler device than the large Onion and consisted of a charge held in front of the AVRE on a simple steel arm. The idea was that the AVRE simply moved up to the target and the charge was then ignited. The charges involved ranged in weight from 5.44 kg (12 lb) up to 11.34kg (25 lb), the smaller charge rejoicing in the name of Light Carrot. The Carrot was used extensively for trials but was abandoned during late 1943 and was not used in action.
    However, the Goat was used in action, This may be considered as a development of the Onion but it was much larger and involved the use of a frame 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in) wide and 1,98 m (6 ft 6 in) long. Onto this frame could be arranged up to 816 kg (1,800 lb) of explosive, and the whole device was carried on the AVRE by side arms. The Goat was so arranged that it could be pushed against the structure to be demolished and the frame would then automatically release in a vertical position. The AVRE would then reverse away leaving the charges in position to be fired either electrically or by means of a pull ignition. A close cousin of the Goat was the Elevatable Goat.
    This was intended for use against high obstacles such as anti-tank walls, and when fitted on the AVRE was carried on the nose of the hull rather like an assault bridge. The ‘bridge’ was in fact a frame on which linked charges were slung. The frame was placed against the wall to be demolished and then released from the AVRE. Once in position another release cable allowed the linked charges to fall away from the frame. The top section of the frame was above the top of the wall, and this allowed the charges to fall onto each side of the wall, which could then be destroyed once the AVRE had moved away


    The Jones Onion, seen here carried by a Churchill tank, was a demolition device carried on a steel frame that could be placed against an obstacle such as an anti-tank wall. The frame was then released to allow the tank to retire and detonate the charge.

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  12. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Bangalore Torpedo Tanks

    The Bangalore Torpedo is an ancient combat engineering device that was revived during World War I for clearing barbed-wire entanglements. In its simplest form the Bangalore Torpedo is a metal tube filled with explosive and sealed at both ends. Most types have attachment points at each end to enable other torpedoes to be joined to make up extra lengths. The charges are set off either by a burning fuse or by some form of remote detonator. These torpedoes were soon in use by armoured combat engineers to clear paths through minefields, and simple delivery devices such as that fitted to the front of a Churchill AVRE were soon devised.

    However the normal Bangalore Torpedo is only about 1.5 m (5 ft) long and armoured engineers were often called upon to bridge minefields many metres deep. It would obviously save time and effort if longer torpedoes could be joined up to clear paths through deep minefields, and this course of action was followed to produce the 76.2mm (3-m) Snake. On the Snake the lengths of explosive-filled tubing or pipe were 6. l m (20 ft) long and could be joined together into lengths of up to 366 m (1,200 ft) to enable them to be pulled across a minefield and then detonated to clear a path up to 6.4 m (21 ft) wide. It was better if the Snake tubing could be pushed across a minefield, but when this happened the lengths involved were less. Only 122 m (400 ft) of Snake tubing could be pushed in front of a tank with any degree of control. The tanks involved with Snake were usually Sherman’s or Churchill AVREs, but the Royal Engineers did also have small numbers of a special vehicle. This was known as the Snake Carrier and was a conversion of the Churchill Gun Carrier, a Churchill variant with a box superstructure that had been intended to mount a 76.2-mm gun for use as a tank destroyer. For a number of reasons the Churchill Gun Carrier was not accepted for service and the few vehicles involved carried Snake instead, on both sides of the box superstructure. The Gun Carrier moved the tubing to a point close to the target, and here the crew assembled the Snake, which was then pushed into position across the minefield and detonated. Although Snake was used for training and trials it was not used operationally. The Conger was towed behind a Churchill AVRE or a Sherman in an engineless Universal Carrier that carried a rocket, a length of hose and a tank of liquid explosive. The rocket carried the hose across the minefield, and when in place the hose was filled with the liquid explosive and detonated. The Tapeworm was another hose device that was carried in a trailer to the edge of a minefield where it was deposited. A tank with a CIRD (Canadian Indestructible Roller Device) then moved across the minefield and as it proceeded the tank pulled the explosive-filled hose across the minefield. When the full length of hose (457 m/500 yards) had been pulled from the trailer the explosive was detonated to clear any mines that might have been missed by the rollers. The 15.2 m (50 ft) of hose nearest to the towing tank was filled with sand for safety purposes.
    Perhaps the smallest of the Bangalore-type devices was the Flying Bangalore. This was used on Sherman’s fitted with CIRD rollers and was intended for barbed-wire clearing.
    Each of the CIRD arms carried a Bangalore Torpedo fitted with a rocket motor. The rockets carried the Bangalore’s across the wire and as they landed small grapnels held the torpedoes against the wire for exploding.


    The Snake was a form of Bangalore Torpedo used to clear large minefields. Seen here carried on a Churchill, the Snake was assembled on the edge of a minefield, pushed across it by the tank and then detonated to clear a path.

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  13. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Another picture of Two ARK's Mk II’s which are been used to allow other vehicles to cross a deep ravine. The first ARK was driven into the ravine and the second ARK was then driven onto it, after which its ramps were lowered to form a bridge. The ravine was formed by the River Senio in Italy, April 1945.

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  14. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    By late 1943 plans for the amphibious landings in northern France had reached the stage where it was decided to have deep-wading recovery vehicles on hand at the beaches to assist any vehicles that got bogged or broken down while still in the water, It was decided to convert Churchill and Sherman tanks for the role but the Churchill conversion did not get past the prototype stage and all work concentrated on the Sherman.
    The result was known as the Sherman Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (Sherman BARV). It was little more than an ordinary Sherman with the turret replaced by a tall superstructure. This superstructure was open at the top and had plates that sloped to a boat bow profile at the front. The turret opening was closed off and all air intakes and cowls were extended upwards, Waterproofing was extensive and a bilge pump was added to the hull.

    The Sherman BARV featured a high box-type superstructure that allowed the BARV to be driven in to deep water to recover stranded vehicles. At the front it mounted a nudging nose to push vehicles out of trouble, but failing that it could be used as a straightforward recovery tractor. It did not have a winch.

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    The first BARV was ready for trials in December 1943 and these trials proved to be so successful that a request for 50 conversions (later increased to 66) was made immediately. By the time the D-Day landings were made in Normandy there were 52 BARVs ready to hand, and one of them was actually the first armoured vehicle to touch down on the beaches. They had plenty to do for the weather on D-Day was rough, to the extent that many armoured and other vehicles were swamped as they made their way from the landing craft to the safety of the beaches. The BARV was thus used as a towing vehicle to get them ashore. It could tow only, for in the haste to produce the BARVs it was decided to omit the usual winches. In their place some measure of assistance to stranded vehicles could be provided by nudging them with baulks of timber secured to the BARV nose. These nudgers could be used not only for vehicles but with small landing craft that got themselves stuck on the beaches.
    The BARVs could operate in up to 3.05 m (10 ft) of water, depending on weather conditions, and often took on a nautical air enhanced by the use of lifelines fixed around the upper superstructure.
    Many BARV crews included a diver in their number and life jackets were frequently worn. The BARVs were a REME responsibility as they were primarily recovery vehicles. The REME even had a hand in their production, for this corps supervised BARV production in two small Ministry of Supply workshops, The BARVs went on to a long postwar service career during which they acquired the name Sea Lion. They were eventually replaced by the Centurion BARV which closely followed the general outlines of the Sherman BARV. Over the years the Sherman BARVs were gradually updated with better radios and such refinements as ropes to soften the impact of their ‘nudgers’, but they never acquired winches or any form of earth spade to enable increased-capacity pulls to be made.

    The Sherman BARV (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle) was developed during 1943 to tow bogged-down vehicles from deep water during amphibious operations. It was a tractor device only, and the crew usually included a trained diver to secure towing cables to stranded vehicles for towing..

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