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D-Day Regiments
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Enter the Funnies

Funnies was a collective noun for tanks that had been adapted to do something more than just fight in the regular way. It might be to clear mines, or destroy concrete defences or even swim. It might involve laying carpets across soft ground, dazzling the enemy with a bright light or terrifying them with a flame-thrower.

Once again this was nothing new. By 1918 the Royal Engineers in Britain had tanks that could do many of these things but further development was stifled, for financial reasons between the wars. Yet similar schemes soon surfaced in World War II.

Long before plans were laid for D-Day dozens of experiments were taking place. Mine clearing tanks were operating in the desert while experimental searchlight tanks were being tested in the Cumberland hills. Amphibious tanks could be found swimming in many suitable locations and an organisation called the Anti-Tank Experimental Establishment was working out ways that tanks could demolish obstacles. The trouble is, much of this was being done in isolation.

Special articles on all of these fascinating tanks, linked to our exhibits, will feature over the following months…


Sherman Crab
Sherman Crab

Valentine Duplex Drive
Valentine Duplex Drive

Matilda anti-mine roller
Matilda Anti-mine Roller

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