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DD amphibious tanks.

Thursday 7 February 2002

The DD tank or Duplex drive tank was a great idea. Coming in from the sea it would present the aspect of a very flat harmless boat with a small blob protruding from it. The blob was the head of the tank commander stood on the turret.

When it’s tracks touched the beach it would rapidly rise out of the sea turning into a sherman tank. The surprise element rivalled a bagpiper in the middle of a battle,(c.f. Peguasus bridge) but with more fire power.
The only trouble was that D day was set on the aftermath of a storm which had threatened to wreck the whole enterprise and instead of a reasonably calm sea in which the DD tanks had practiced, there were 4 ft waves.

The tank was made to float by having a canvas skirt riveted to the rim over the tracks. The skirt would be held up by pneumatic stiffeners running up the sides of the skirt.

image 531 x 439

The commonwealth troops on Juno, Gold, and Sword beaches used these tanks and many other specialised types. The Americans only chose to use these DD tanks (aswell as normal tanks).
On Omahah beach, where the Hobart "funnies" could have been used to usefull effect, the troops were waiting on these DD tanks which didn’t arrive when they were needed.

There were two flotillas of LCT (Landing Craft.Tank) The commanders had the choice of launching the tanks from three miles out or taking them in to the beach.

One commander chose to launch. The majority sank, drowning the occupants. Two tanks in this flotilla were saved from launching by a lucky accident. The first tank in the landing craft reversed or was thrown against the second tank by the swell and tore the skirt of the second tank. The second tank was then "obviously" not sea worthy and was not launched. The tank behind it couldn’t get out anyway.

image 531 x 419

JPEG - 22.8 kb
DD sherman

The Other commander chose to land the tanks on the beach but not till later on.
In the film projected in the Arromanche museum, there is a tank shown going through a town with what looks like a ring of sausaged round it. this is a lucky DD tank.
At Courseulles there is a DD tank on display. It was recovered from the sea bed three miles out.

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