THE TESTING OF SPECIALISED ARMOURED FIGHTING VEHICLES DESIGNED FOR OPERATION OVERLORD (PART 1) [Allocated Title]
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- Title: THE TESTING OF SPECIALISED ARMOURED FIGHTING VEHICLES DESIGNED FOR OPERATION OVERLORD (PART 1) [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: A70 5-1
- Other titles:
- Summary: The 79th Armoured Division tests specialised AFVs designed to breach German sea walls and swim through burning petroleum.
- Description: I. A Churchill Mark IV tank ("Salome") climbs through a gap made by demolition charges in a 9-foot high unreinforced concrete wall at Saxmundham. A Churchill ARK Mark I approaches a 12 foot high, 8 foot thick replica of a vertical German promenade wall and climbs over fascines until it reaches a forty five degree angle position where its two lowered bow ramps are level with the top of the wall. Churchill Mark IV tanks scale the barrier by driving over the ARK. REME recovery men drag a towing cable from a Scammell wrecker lorry and secure it to one of the ARK's stern ramps to haul it back into its travelling position. A Fordson WOT6 3-ton lorry is driven several times over window-shutter matting laid over blue clay, followed in turn by a Churchill tank and a Sherman Crab. A Sherman Crab flail tank fitted with waterproofing attachments detonated Teller mines buried in the sand as it beats its way ashore through a foot of water. II. In Studland Bay near Swanage in Dorset, two Valentine DD tanks mined by the Division's 'B' Wing disembark from LCT 382 and steam unscathed through a barrage of burning petroleum to the shore with spray jets keeping the canvas flotation screens cool; the 3-man crew of the first crew of tank take to a motor launch and let it sail on board to endure successfully the burning barrage. III. A Churchill Bobbin Mark I unrolls its nine foot eleven inches wide canvas carpet over the beach at Brancaster during trials aimed at testing various types of tracking capable of carrying heavy vehicles over blue clay. A Sherman Crab flail tank and a Churchill Mark II tank (minus its 2-pounder gun) charge 'Tetrahedra' steel beach obstacles and crush them under their bellies. The cameraman examines the demolished obstacle which bears damage caused by 75mm shells fired at 12 yards range. IV. Two Sherman Crab flail tanks fitted with engine waterproofing attachments and a Churchill tank carrying weight simulators on its bows reverse through shallow water covering a mudflat towards LCT 907; seen on board the vessel is a Churchill Bobbin Mark I tracklayer. Later, one of the Sherman Crabs and the two Churchill variants are seen disembarking from the LST and coming ashore. V. A team of assault engineers unroll a ten-foot-wide beach carpet consisting of canvas reinforced by two-inch diameter steel rods and later roll it up by way of demonstrating the feasibility of laying such tracking by hand.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1944-03-27
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Directorate of Public Relations, War Office (Production sponsor) Army Film and Photographic Unit (Production company) Grant, Ian James1917-04-16Family origin: Edinburgh, Scotland (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, 79th Armoured Division, B Wing (regiment/service) British Army, 79th Armoured Division, Wing E (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (regiment/service) Royal Navy, LCT 382 (regiment/service)
- Keywords: armour, British - funnies: Churchill ARK Mark I (object name) armour, British - funnies: Churchill Bobbin Mark I (object name) armour, British - funnies: Valentine DD (object name) armour, British - tank: Churchill Mark II (object name) armour, British - tank: Churchill Mark IV (object name) operations, British military - preparation: D-Day (object name) ships, British naval - amphibious: LCT 382 (object name) ships, British naval - amphibious: LCT 907 (object name) training, British military - specialist: beach landing (object name) transport, British military - truck: Scammell wrecker lorry (object name) transport, British military - truck: Fordson WOT6 3-ton lorry (object name) weapons, British - CBW: petroleum barrage & [R and D] (object name) weapons, British - emplacement: Tetrahedra steel beach obstacles (object name) Saxmundham, Suffolk, England, UK (geography) GB, England & Swanage, Dorset <Studland Bay> (geography) Brancaster, Norfolk, England, UK (geography)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent Soundtrack language: None Title language: None Subtitle language: None
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 1 Footage: 958 ft; Running time: 10 mins
- Notes: Summary: see with A70 5-2 for coverage of 79th Armoured Division's trials of specialised AFVs prior to D-Day. Part I of the synopsis was filmed on 23/3/1944, part II on 27/3/1944, part III on 31/3/1944 and part IV on 2/4/1944 and part V on 4/4/1944. Rumours that the 'Atlantic Wall's' defences included a petroleum- fuelled flame barrage, inspiring the DD tank trials seen here, proved to be unfounded. The Valentine DDs were replaced by Sherman DDs prior to D-Day. The Churchill Bobbin was designed in 24 hours to cope with patches of relatively impassable blue clay found to be present on some of the Normandy invasion beaches. Remarks: good footage. Best seen with the items of ciné material listed above and with footage showing specialised AFVs participating in the pre-invasion Operations "Fabius II and IV" and in action on D-Day, during the siege of Le Havre and the assault on Walcheren.
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