Unknown Hobart's Funny

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ArmchairSamurai
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Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by ArmchairSamurai » 13 Nov 2020 20:25

Hello all.

I found this strange vehicle on https://waralbum.ru/296307/

The translated text that accompanies it suggests this vehicle was used to imitate tank tracks for FUSAG and other Allied fictitious mock-up armies before D-Day. Does anyone know more about this thing, perhaps a designation? The page mentions a source by an author named Arne Molfenter, though the book seems to be entirely in German, and I presume, whatever information it has is only of passing interest given its subject matter: Garbo aka Juan Pujol Garcia.

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Alanmccoubrey
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 14 Nov 2020 20:13

So given that the soldier is American and the vehicle has nothing to do with combat engineering in the British Army why the title ?
Alan

ArmchairSamurai
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by ArmchairSamurai » 14 Nov 2020 20:47

Alanmccoubrey wrote:
14 Nov 2020 20:13
So given that the soldier is American and the vehicle has nothing to do with combat engineering in the British Army why the title ?
To be honest, FUSAG is the only mock-up army I know by name, so I used that to clarify what I meant in regards to the British use of the vehicle. My bad for the confusion. Also, regardless of US Army or UK Army, they both used the same gadgets and machines that would typify Hobart's Funnies, so I lump them together.
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Nov 2020 20:54

Alanmccoubrey wrote:
14 Nov 2020 20:13
So given that the soldier is American and the vehicle has nothing to do with combat engineering in the British Army why the title ?
It isn't a "vehicle" it is a trailer with the wheels replaced by a loop of track and a weighted drum placed on it to give it weight. While it is an American soldier in the photo, the towing vehicle is British...note the right-hand drive. It was not a part of "Hobart's Funnies", I found no reference to anything like it. I suspect it is an improvisation, probably being inspected by someone from the 23d Headquarters Special Troops, which was the US Army's special deception unit. It arrived in England in May and June 1944 and was assigned to TUSA.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

ArmchairSamurai
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by ArmchairSamurai » 15 Nov 2020 02:41

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Nov 2020 20:54
Alanmccoubrey wrote:
14 Nov 2020 20:13
So given that the soldier is American and the vehicle has nothing to do with combat engineering in the British Army why the title ?
It isn't a "vehicle" it is a trailer with the wheels replaced by a loop of track and a weighted drum placed on it to give it weight. While it is an American soldier in the photo, the towing vehicle is British...note the right-hand drive. It was not a part of "Hobart's Funnies", I found no reference to anything like it. I suspect it is an improvisation, probably being inspected by someone from the 23d Headquarters Special Troops, which was the US Army's special deception unit. It arrived in England in May and June 1944 and was assigned to TUSA.
If I may ask, do you have a source for that? I'd love to read it. I have yet to find any pictures of this "trailer" from any other angle either.
There are three sorts of people; those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea.

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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Nov 2020 05:55

ArmchairSamurai wrote:
15 Nov 2020 02:41
If I may ask, do you have a source for that? I'd love to read it. I have yet to find any pictures of this "trailer" from any other angle either.
For the fact that it is right-hand drive and a trailer? My eyes, its glaringly obvious. That it isn't one of "Hobart's Funnies"? It doesn't appear in:

WO 171/1797. No. 1 Assault Brigade War Diary, June-December 1944.
WO 171/1800. No. 5 Assault Regiment War Diary, June-December 1944.
WO 179/409. 3rd British Infantry Division, Operation Order No. 1, OVERLORD, 14 May 1944.
WO 205/405. 21st Army Group G (Operations), August, September 1944.
WO 205/636. A.F.V. States, Summaries at HQ 21 Army Group, June-July.
WO 205/1120. Report by Brig. Watkinson on Work of Assault RE in the Invasion.
WO 205/1159. 79 Armoured Division Final Report, 1943 Apr.-1945 July.
WO 205/1160. The Story of the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers, 1943-1945.
WO 205/1170. Chief Engineer 21 Army Group, R.E. Report on the Battle of Normandy, 6th June – 5th July 1944.

Among others. I didn't run across it when writing https://www.amazon.com/Cracking-Hitlers ... 0811705897
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Nov 2020 11:18

Hi ArmchairSamurai,

An interesting find. My guess it is what you think it is - a device designed to leave tank track-like marks, presumably to fool air reconnaissance.

The drum was presumably filled with water to add varying amounts of weight to it, deepening the tracks as necessary.

It would perhaps be used in combination with the inflatable tanks used for deception, as Richard suggested. Have you followed that angle up?

Also, do we know what tank's tracks are being used?

Unfortunately negatives sometimes get reversed, so they are not an infallible guide to a vehicle's nationality.

Cheers,

Sid

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 15 Nov 2020 15:21

Hi ArmchairSamuraï
I guess it's a british trailer used to simulate tank tracks and inspected by an american soldier.
It's not a vehicle belonging to Hobart's Funny's, but maybe was used by Allied troops during Operation Fortitude.
I haven't no link, it'only my opinion.
Kindly regards from Belgium
Prosper :wink: :wink:
N.B. Sorry for my poor english knowledge.

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Andy H
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Andy H » 15 Nov 2020 17:31

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Nov 2020 20:54
Alanmccoubrey wrote:
14 Nov 2020 20:13
So given that the soldier is American and the vehicle has nothing to do with combat engineering in the British Army why the title ?
It isn't a "vehicle" it is a trailer with the wheels replaced by a loop of track and a weighted drum placed on it to give it weight. While it is an American soldier in the photo, the towing vehicle is British...note the right-hand drive. It was not a part of "Hobart's Funnies", I found no reference to anything like it. I suspect it is an improvisation, probably being inspected by someone from the 23d Headquarters Special Troops, which was the US Army's special deception unit. It arrived in England in May and June 1944 and was assigned to TUSA.
Hi

Further to Richards post, which I agree with, you'd have to ask yourself, why such a contraption was needed given the plethora of vehicles to hand that could 'produce' such tracks and fool a LW PR plane!

Regards

Andy H

EwenS
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by EwenS » 15 Nov 2020 20:58

I’m not convinced the photo was taken in the U.K.

Firstly the tank track pattern. The only time I can recall seeing that tread pattern is on Matildas in the desert. Then take a look at the ground. It looks very sandy to me.

The first time dummy tanks were used in WW2 was in 1941 in North Africa. They were created by Royal Engineer units. They were used again in the run up to Second El Alamein.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Nov 2020 21:25


ArmchairSamurai
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by ArmchairSamurai » 15 Nov 2020 23:13

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Nov 2020 05:55
ArmchairSamurai wrote:
15 Nov 2020 02:41
If I may ask, do you have a source for that? I'd love to read it. I have yet to find any pictures of this "trailer" from any other angle either.
For the fact that it is right-hand drive and a trailer? My eyes, its glaringly obvious. That it isn't one of "Hobart's Funnies"? It doesn't appear in:

WO 171/1797. No. 1 Assault Brigade War Diary, June-December 1944.
WO 171/1800. No. 5 Assault Regiment War Diary, June-December 1944.
WO 179/409. 3rd British Infantry Division, Operation Order No. 1, OVERLORD, 14 May 1944.
WO 205/405. 21st Army Group G (Operations), August, September 1944.
WO 205/636. A.F.V. States, Summaries at HQ 21 Army Group, June-July.
WO 205/1120. Report by Brig. Watkinson on Work of Assault RE in the Invasion.
WO 205/1159. 79 Armoured Division Final Report, 1943 Apr.-1945 July.
WO 205/1160. The Story of the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers, 1943-1945.
WO 205/1170. Chief Engineer 21 Army Group, R.E. Report on the Battle of Normandy, 6th June – 5th July 1944.

Among others. I didn't run across it when writing https://www.amazon.com/Cracking-Hitlers ... 0811705897
Apologies my dear Richard, that was not meant to sound condescending. I was merely asking for a source to read. I want to know more about the vehicle and I figured from your previous post, you had something that mentioned more on its purpose and origin.
There are three sorts of people; those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Nov 2020 02:09

ArmchairSamurai wrote:
15 Nov 2020 23:13
Apologies my dear Richard, that was not meant to sound condescending. I was merely asking for a source to read. I want to know more about the vehicle and I figured from your previous post, you had something that mentioned more on its purpose and origin.
That's okay, I didn't take it as condescending. The only "source" is the photograph and the analytical device residing between my ears. :lol: Which, believe it or not, is not always accurate. :lol:

Seriously, it is pretty evident this is a "lash-up" rather than a production vehicle, probably designed for a specific purpose - deception.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

ArmchairSamurai
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by ArmchairSamurai » 16 Nov 2020 06:35

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Nov 2020 02:09
ArmchairSamurai wrote:
15 Nov 2020 23:13
Apologies my dear Richard, that was not meant to sound condescending. I was merely asking for a source to read. I want to know more about the vehicle and I figured from your previous post, you had something that mentioned more on its purpose and origin.
That's okay, I didn't take it as condescending. The only "source" is the photograph and the analytical device residing between my ears. :lol: Which, believe it or not, is not always accurate. :lol:

Seriously, it is pretty evident this is a "lash-up" rather than a production vehicle, probably designed for a specific purpose - deception.
That's fair. After reading everyone's replies, I suppose this vehicle is but another rejected idea destined for the dust bin. I was hoping to put a name to it for my archive. Oh well. :lol:
There are three sorts of people; those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Unknown Hobart's Funny

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Nov 2020 07:10

ArmchairSamurai wrote:
16 Nov 2020 06:35
That's fair. After reading everyone's replies, I suppose this vehicle is but another rejected idea destined for the dust bin. I was hoping to put a name to it for my archive. Oh well. :lol:
I think I would hesitate to call it a rejected idea; more like an improvisation for a single purpose, deception. I suspect its name was probably something scatological.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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