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THE CHURCHILL ARMOURED VEHICLE ROYAL ENGINEERS - AVRE

The disastrous raid on Dieppe in August 1942 revealed, among other things, the requirement to demolish reinforced concrete defensive structures. Tank Museum photo No. 0406/A/3The Churchill tank was selected for this role in the first place because the large side doors enabled Sappers to dismount under cover and place charges. One of the moving spirits behind this was a Canadian engineer, Lieutenant Denovan. Subsequently a special weapon was devised, capable of firing a heavy demolition charge.

 

<<Tank Museum photo No. 0406/A/3

Tank Museum photo No. 2245/E/3

 

Known popularly as the Flying Dustbin it was fired like a mortar round, with devastating effect upon whatever it hit although this had to be done at very close range

Tank Museum photo No. 2245/E/3>>

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Tank Museum photo No. 0406/D/2

The other secret of the Churchill AVRE's success was its versatility. Here one is seen carrying the optimistically named Canadian Indestructible Roller Device.

<<Tank Museum photo No. 0406/D/2

Tank Museum photo No. 0371/E/6

Here an AVRE that is not equipped with a Petard demonstrates a mine-clearing plough for use on beaches.

Tank Museum photo No. 0371/E/6>>

Tank Museum photo No. 0370/C/6

 

This device, known as Bobbin, enabled the AVRE to unroll a reinforced canvas carpet over soft ground or barbed wire.

<<Tank Museum photo No. 0370/C/6

 

Tank Museum photo No. 0322/G/3>>Tank Museum photo No. 0322/G/3

This is one of a number of devices, blessed with codenames such as Goat, Carrot and Onion which placed demolition charges against walls.

Tank Museum photo No. 0040/E/1

 

Most spectacular of all was the 30 foot long Small Box Girder Bridge, suspended from the nose of the tank to be dropped over an obstacle as required.

<<Tank Museum photo No. 0040/E/1


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