7. The ‘swimming’ Sherman
The DD (Duplex Drive) Sherman was one of the most unique innovations of Hobart. The tank was able to fire its main gun while in water as it approached the shore. It had a screen that enabled it to become buoyant enough to float in water and propellers powered by the duplex engine that enabled it to glide like a standard sea vessel.
Once ashore, its canvas floatation screen would be deflated allowing it to become fully operational as a conventional tank with its duplex engine powering its track. This amphibious tank was used on all the five beaches where the D-Day landings took place. The tank’s multiple functionalities enabled the troops to afford quick and invaluable support for the attacking infantry forces.
6. The AVRE
AVRE is an abbreviation for Armored Vehicle Royal Engineer. The AVRE was a uniquely modified Churchill tank fitted with a Petard spigot mortar. This was designed principally to demolish structures made of concrete and steel such as bunkers or gun emplacements. The AVRE could also perform other specialized tasks when specialized equipment was added to it.
5. The ‘Bobbin’ carpet layer
One of Hobart’s Churchill AVRE designs was adapted primarily to maneuver soft beach surfaces that could not otherwise support the weight of heavy equipment or the other armored vehicles. The ‘Bobbin’ carpet layer or the AVRE mat-layer as it is otherwise referred had a reinforced matting on its track that allowed it to drive across the soft and steep terrain.
4. The SBG Bridge Layer
Another of Hobart’s Funnies that proved most useful was the SBG or the Small Box Girder bridge layer. This AVRE was designed to bridge a gap of up to 30 feet wide. In addition, it would provide a ramp to scale a 15-feet-high wall, often used together with fascine to provide a softer landing surface when a vehicle fell from an elevated position or a surmounted wall.
3. The ARK
Just like the bridge layer, the Armored Ramp Carrier (ARK) was designed to bridge a gap for other vehicles to pass. This modified Churchill tank had no turret. A foldable ramp took the place of its turret. The ARK would be driven into a gap; it would then open its ramps to create a bridge that other vehicles could cross.
2. The ‘Kangaroo’ Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
Used to transport infantry, the (APC) was instrumental in helping troops keep pace with armor during offensive operations. At the Battle of Normandy, they provided the highly needed protection to the vulnerable infantry and an increased speed of mobility.
1. The CDL
This armored vehicle was deliberately given an inaccurate label- Canal Defense Light (CDL) – as a way to best keep it secret. It featured a powerful carbon-arc searchlight inside its modified turret. The light would provide the Allied troops with illumination during nighttime operations. It, however, would also produce a dazzling effect that would temporarily blind the rival forces. It was ingeniously designed to flood the light out of a fairly small incision in the armor to minimize the chance of damage by enemy fire. Of all Hobart’s Funnies, the CDL was the most furtively kept.