Sir Percy Hobart and the Funnies of World War 2

19 February 2015 by Rod Carruthers
This is a fascinating story, about how, in August, 1940, the prime minister Winston Churchill was reading the Sunday Pictorial newspaper with the headline "We Have Wasted Brains!" talking about former Major-General Percy Hobart . He was the pioneer and developer of the feared Blitzkrieg technique and a former commander of the world's first permanent tank brigade. And now the newspaper had found him, ' a wasted brain' serving as a corporal in the Home Guard. The prime minister directed that Hobart should be taken back into the Army immediately. In 1943 Hobart was given command of the 79th (Experimental) Armoured Division, and he subsequently found fame at the D-Day landings in June 1944. The armoured vehicles of the 79th became widely known as 'Hobart's Funnies.' They were specially developed armoured fighting vehicles which spearheaded the amphibious assault phase of the Normandy D-Day invasion. Specialized vehicles of the 79th included the DD Sherman amphibious tank, the Crocodile flame thrower, the carpet-layer , the mine-clearing Crab flail tank, the lumber & fascine carrier , the AVRE, the small box girder and many others . The 'Bobbin' carpet layer was a Churchill AVRE adapted to lay reinforced matting on soft beach surfaces...
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