The Bunker Buster, Crocodile and the Crab: & # 39; Hobart & # 39; s Funnies & # 39; – weird and wonderful tanks that played a crucial role in the D-Day landings – are celebrated during a new exhibition
- Percy Hobart, born in 1885, was a maverick inventor who made specialized armed vehicles in World War II
- His creations include amphibious vehicles, flaming vehicles and mine cleaners used in warfare
- The inventions were crucial in the D-Day landings and were frontrunners of modern warring vehicles
- A new exhibition at the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, pays homage to Hobart and his & # 39; funny & # 39; tanks
Weird and beautiful tanks used at the D-Day landings, including one with a flame thrower and another swimming & # 39 ;, are being exhibited at a new exhibition.
The little-known genius behind the crazy inventions that were essential in Operation Overlord was Percy Hobart, which is celebrated by the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset.
After being out of his & # 39; unconventional ideas & # 39; had to retire early, he was called back to save the Allied tanks after their failure in the Dieppe attack.
The crocodile, a tank with a flame thrower instead of the submachine gun, was very effective in clearing bunkers and trenches.
The Crab was used in 1944 as one of & # 39; Hobart & # 39; s Funnies & # 39; during the landings of 1944 and was used to clear paths through minefields with swinging metal chains
The Bunker Buster was a Churchill AVRE tank adapted to attack German defensive fortifications that carried a sponge mortar for demolition
An amphibious tank known as the DD (duplex drive) was a specialized attack vehicle that could be driven into the water. They were usually launched two miles from the coast, but some of them were lost during the landing on Omaha
The military career of Hobart was rescued by Prime Minister Winston Churchill after the former general was relegated to corporal after walking out with his superiors at the beginning of the Second World War.
Despite being reduced to serving in the Chipping Camden Home Guard, Churchill heard of his crazy inventions and invited him to dinner.
The prime minister was convinced by Hobart's ideas and ordered him to prepare them for the impending invasion of Europe, where & # 39; Hobart & # 39; s Funnies & # 39; became a vital part of the success of the operation.
They include a fleet of custom tanks designed to remove obstacles, destroy concrete bunkers, build bridges and scare the enemy in general.
Inventions such as the Crocodile, a Churchill tank with a flame thrower that relentlessly cleared up enemy positions, were vital in the D-Day landings.
A modified Sherman tank knows how the Crab cleared paths through minefields using flailing metal chains on the front.
The Bobbin wore carpet that was laid on soft ground to leave other tanks behind.
The Bunker Buster was a Churchill AVRE with a spigot mortar for demolition and the DD tank could float in the sea, allowing tanks to spread as they landed.
Some of these tanks are now on display at the Tank Museum along with the home-made Hobart & # 39; pike weapon that he had in his time in the Home Guard.
The military career of Hobart was rescued by Prime Minister Winston Churchill after the former Major General was relegated to corporal after fighting with his superiors at the start of the Second World War
The Bovington Tank Museum has a series of Hobart & # 39; s Funnies on display, including the DD tank with a floating screen around its body
Sir Winston Churchill was taken over by Hobart & # 39; s ideas after he invited him to a dinner at Checkers and instructed him to prepare them for the impending invasion of Europe
The item is made from a piece of scaffolding to which a bayonet from the First World War has been welded.
David Willey, curator of the museum in Bovington, said: & # 39; This pike is a wonderful example of the desperate state of Britain in 1940.
& # 39; Men like Percy Hobart had to defend this island if the Germans were invaded with a bayonet welded to a scaffolding pole – and I have no doubt they would have tried to use it.
& # 39; Fortunately for the Allies, Hobart was called out of retirement to train the 11th Armored Division and was then given the task of leading the 79th Armored Division.
& # 39; After the Dieppe Raid disaster in August 1942, there was a realization that more specialized armor would be needed to support the D-Day attack.
& # 39; The division has developed or pioneered all kinds of innovative vehicles and tanks, some of which we have in the museum.
& # 39; The urgent need for urgent development meant that Hobart roamed the country in a fast car to meet the scientists and engineers who had the task of turning his concepts into reality.
Hobart's home-made & # 39; pike & # 39; weapon was made from his time in the Home Guard with a scaffold to which a World War II bayonet was welded, as shown by curator David Willey
& # 39; He was also famous for asking everyone for advice and advice – he asked his driver or a nearby corporal his opinion about a new proposal.
& # 39; Through his drive and the power of his personality, he created a formidable series of innovative vehicles that were very successful on D-Day. He also trained men to use them.
& # 39; As we approach the anniversary of the invasion, it is worth remembering how close we were to defeat and how misfits such as Hobart made a huge difference in the course of the war.
& # 39; If Churchill had not intervened, we would have wasted one of our greatest talents. & # 39;
The man behind the & # 39; funny & # 39; tanks: how a British military engineer known as & # 39; Hobo & # 39; invented armored vehicles that came in handy during the D-Day invasion of 1944
Percy was born in then-British India in 1885 and studied at Clifton College in Bristol before studying at the Royal Military Academy.
He was employed by the Royal Engineers and served in WWI in France and Mesopotamia.
A portrait of the inventor by the official war painter Eric Kennington. Hobart has been described as one of the & # 39; greatest talents & # 39; in Britain's war effort
In the post-war years, he envisaged the predominance of tank warfare and transferred to the Royal Tank Corps.
There he married Dorothea Field and had a daughter.
His sister married Field Marshal Montgomery.
At the outbreak of World War II, Hobart was appointed Major General and formed the Mobile Force, also known as the Desert Rats.
But in 1940, General Sir Archibald Wavell dismissed him for his early retirement because of his unconventional ideas.
He joined the local defense volunteers as a launch corporal in Chipping Camden.
After an article was written criticizing the decision to have Hobart retired, Churchill re-admitted him and ordered him to train a new armored division.
He was invited to transform the division into an experimental unit of specialized armor.
Hobart created a series of vehicles that became known as Hobart & # 39; s Funnies and were credited with helping the Allies come ashore in the D-Day landings.
By the end of the war in 1945, his division had nearly seven thousand vehicles.
Hobart retired after the war in 1946 and died in 1957 in Farnham, Surrey.
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