Hobart's Funnies

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Hobart's Funnies were a number of unusually modified tanks operated during World War II by the United Kingdom's 79th Armoured Division or by specialists from the Royal Engineers. They were designed in light of problems that more standard tanks experienced during the Dieppe Raid, so that the new models would be able to overcome the problems of the planned Invasion of Normandy. These tanks played a major part on the Commonwealth beaches during the landings. They may be considered the forerunners of the modern Combat engineering vehicle. They were named after their commander, Major General Percy Hobart.


The beginnings of the Funnies started with the need to create a series of modern siege engines to lead the assault on the beach defences of the French coast. A rapid sweeping away of the obstacles and defenders in the British sectors would be important as the lay of the land would favour a rapid counterattack by German armour. Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke made the decision in 1943 to create these new units. Responsibility for the build up of vehicles and the training of crews to use them was given to armoured warfare expert Percy Hobart after whom the collection was named.

Many of the ideas had already been tried, tested or were in experimental development both by Britain and other nations. For example, the Scorpion flail tank (a modified Matilda tank) had already been used during the North African campaign to clear paths through German minefields. Soviet T-34 tanks...
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