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What happened after D Day ?

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
This question will also be asked in my review of " Allied Armour" .
The question relates to Hobarts Funnies, theres loads of mentions , films etc of the armoured funnies at the D Day landing but it seems very little after . Did the flails , bridgelayers and AVRE suddenly go home ?

Over many years of reading militarily books I have yet to find one which is like a diary of the funnies in action up till the end of the war. They must have still operated, is it me or have I just not found a book on the subject ?
 

Chef

LE
The Flails certainly continued on to Germany likewise the AVRE, I should imagine the more specialised stuff like Bobbins would have been held in reserve in theatre.

Don't forget the obstacles they were designed to overcome on the beaches would still be found inland, bunkers minefields etc, plus river crossings could raise the same problems as beach landings.
 

Clunker

Old-Salt
REALLY ??

Churchill Avre Tank Entering Geilenkirchen.jpg


That took less than a minute on GOOGLE. !!
 

Chef

LE
Having read your post properly, the Westminster Dragoons took their Flails across Europe likewise the Crocodile. Read 'Flamethrower' by Andrew Wilson.

One of our teachers was in Crocodiles and they were using them to flame the huts in Belsen after the Typhus outbreak when they were liberated.
 

Chef

LE
From Wiki:
Used by units of the 79th Armoured Division in concert with the Churchill AVRE, and other Funnies, the Crocodile was an effective assault weapon whose threat could induce enemy troops to retreat or surrender. The Crocodile was a specialised weapon limited by the short range of its flamethrower. On the other hand, it was used so successfully against bunkers that many surrendered after the first ranging shots. Aspects of the mechanism were considered by the British to be so secret that disabled units, if they could not be recovered, were rapidly destroyed by any means, even air strike, if necessary.[13]

British Crocodiles supported the U.S. Army in the Normandy bocage, at the Battle for Brest, and during Operation Clipper, the Anglo-American assault on Geilenkirchen. C Squadron also supported the 53rd (Welsh) Division assault on 's-Hertogenbosch in October 1944.

The units that used the Crocodile in North west Europe, generally as part of 31st Armoured Brigade, were:

The flame projector was a powerful psychological weapon, so feared by the Germans that captured Crocodile crews were often summarily executed.[14][15]

In Italy, the 25th Armoured Assault Brigade operated Crocodiles.[16]

From late 1950 until their withdrawal in 1951, Churchill Crocodiles served in Korea as part C Squadron, 7th Royal Tank Regiment in 29th Brigade.
 
This question will also be asked in my review of " Allied Armour" .
The question relates to Hobarts Funnies, theres loads of mentions , films etc of the armoured funnies at the D Day landing but it seems very little after . Did the flails , bridgelayers and AVRE suddenly go home ?

Over many years of reading militarily books I have yet to find one which is like a diary of the funnies in action up till the end of the war. They must have still operated, is it me or have I just not found a book on the subject ?

This might help

6aa5d45b65d3cc1d1b3e677dbd3b3f64.jpg
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
This question will also be asked in my review of " Allied Armour" .
The question relates to Hobarts Funnies, theres loads of mentions , films etc of the armoured funnies at the D Day landing but it seems very little after . Did the flails , bridgelayers and AVRE suddenly go home ?

Over many years of reading militarily books I have yet to find one which is like a diary of the funnies in action up till the end of the war. They must have still operated, is it me or have I just not found a book on the subject ?
The swimming Shermans (forget their name) were used to cross the Rhine duning OP Plunder and it's sub-Operations, https://static.wixstatic.com/media/...86b_d65410c9a9214bcf944bd55b8a20dc94f000.webp
The Bridging vehicles (mainly Churchills IIRC) were very much at the forefront - can't remember where I saw the photo but it was of two bridging vehicles 'double stacked' as the ravine was too deep to just use one

ETA
1609077878917.png
 
Last edited:

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
I believe US forces had no interest in Hobart's Funnies for their own landings. can someone elaborate?
 

Niamac

GCM
There are a couple of books;

The Story of the 79th Armoured Division from Extreme Relic Hunters - Goes into as much detail of all their engagements as you would like.

Armoured Crusader by Kenneth Macksey which is about General Hobart. This is a much better read and covers the struggle that Hobart had against the more hide-bound element of HM forces.
 
The swimming Shermans (forget their name) were used to cross the Rhine duning OP Plunder and it's sub-Operations, https://static.wixstatic.com/media/...86b_d65410c9a9214bcf944bd55b8a20dc94f000.webp
The Bridging vehicles (mainly Churchills IIRC) were very much at the forefront - can't remember where I saw the photo but it was of two bridging vehicles 'double stacked' as the ravine was too deep to just use one

ETA
View attachment 533175

The swimming Shermans were ‘Duplex Drive’ (DD).

The bridging vehicles in the picture are ‘Arks’.
 

Niamac

GCM
I believe US forces had no interest in Hobart's Funnies for their own landings. can someone elaborate?
When they were shown to Ike he got the relevant American commanders to see them and select what they wanted. On the rather slight reason of not being trained on the Churchill tank they only took the DD Sherman tanks. However, at least at Omaha beach, they were launched far too far out in choppy seas and only 2 from 22 made it to the shore.
 
I believe US forces had no interest in Hobart's Funnies for their own landings. can someone elaborate?

I think it was the same old story of not wanting engineer kit up front taking up room that could otherwise be used by ‘gun tanks’.

IIRC they had lots of DD tanks but launched them too far out to sea. They didn’t have much freeboard and many sank.

When I visited the beaches there was a museum nearby that had one that had been recovered from the seabed.

ETA pipped to the post by @Niamac :)
 
The two volumes of the Official History for NW Europe give details of 79th Armoured Division's operations there. They probably do in the Mediterranean volumes too for Italy but the only one I've got is the first and O'Connor operated without their benefit. AVREs and Crabs (flails) usually operated in mixed Armoured Breaching Teams whilst Crocodiles operated independently.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
The swimming Shermans were ‘Duplex Drive’ (DD).

The bridging vehicles in the picture are ‘Arks’.
So Churchill ARK then? (conveniently with a Churchill passing over for reference).
The yanks developed their own 'funnies' for clearing the Bocage (Rhino?) based on M4 Shermans prior to Op Cobra.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
I believe US forces had no interest in Hobart's Funnies for their own landings. can someone elaborate?

The Yanks didn't have direct experience of Dieppe and underestimated what they were up against, much as we'd done at Dieppe. One of the recurring themes of allied operations is that the British and Commonwealth forces tended to be more effective with set piece attacks against prepared positions whereas the Americans tended to be more effective in exploitation battles. It's unlikely that Rommel would have evaded Patton after Alamein just as it's unlikely that Montgomery would have smashed his head repeatedly at Aachen.
 
So Churchill ARK then? (conveniently with a Churchill passing over for reference).
The yanks developed their own 'funnies' for clearing the Bocage (Rhino?) based on M4 Shermans prior to Op Cobra.

Yes. They were different from normal AVLB bridgelayers in that the bridging sections did not detach from the body. An AVLB can drop its bridge, cross it and then recover its bridge on the other side.
 
79th Armoured Division remained in being after D-Day. Tanks/funnies would be loaned out to other units as and when required on condition that they were returned to 79th Armoured when the task was completed to prevent their misuse by ordinary units.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
This might help

6aa5d45b65d3cc1d1b3e677dbd3b3f64.jpg
It deals with the development etc but not unit war diary type after action reports .
for example i make up this story.

On the 34th may 1944 two avres commanded by Fred and Joe Sapper were sent to anytown to dislodge antitank guns , THEY Drove into the outskirts of anytown to meet by a British unit of th. infantry to guided them to the site it took two rounds of Petard each to destroy the gun emplacements and the Sappers were duly treated to captured wine and venison by the th. infantry whilst they up for three days to repair E42A which had a breakdown in the gearbox so all the Sappers wandered off to find what plunder etc etc ... leagued

I ve tried to find the war diaries of the Armoured Engineers to no effect yet. I shall persevere as new records are added daily to ancestry type sites .
 

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