The Maritime Archaeology of Duplex Drive Tanks in the United Kingdom
Editors: Rodrigues, J. and Traviglia, A.
Dates: 28 November-2 December 2016
Journal: Shared Heritage: Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress for Underwater Archaeology
Publisher: Western Austrailia Museum
Place of Publication: Freemantle
The Duplex Drive Tanks were amphibious tanks developed for the Normandy Invasions, to provide much-needed armoured support for the troops. Pre-invasion trials led to the loss of seven tanks in Studland Bay. This paper examines these tanks and archaeological evidence for their significance
The Maritime Archaeology of Duplex Drive Tanks in the United Kingdom.
Editors: Rodrigues, J.A. and Traviglia, A.
Conference: IKUWA6 - Shared Heritage
Publisher: Archaeopress Publishing
The catastrophe at Dieppe in 1942, where unsupported infantry attempted to capture a fortified beachhead, showed the allied forces how difficult such a venture was. As part of the invasion plan for what became Operation NEPTUNE or the Normandy landings, the allied staff saw the need for armoured support for the first waves of troops ashore. This need evolved into the concept of ‘swimming tanks’ that would land a few minutes ahead of the first infantry waves. The development of such a weapon was undertaken in conditions of absolute secrecy in the UK from late 1942 onwards. This secrecy led to the destruction of much of the historical records that relate to these armoured vehicles, leaving a confused and largely unknown record of what was an important aspect of WWII.
This project sets out to record the known examples of such vehicles on the coast of the UK including a group lost as part of ‘Exercise SMASH’, the largest live ammunition exercise of the war, a full scale beach assault training exercise with all supporting arms including amphibious tanks. Though six tanks were lost during the exercise in conditions, which are not fully understood, the loss led to the changing of the operational plans for D-Day.
Using archaeological and historic data, this project offers an alternative interpretation for these loses and provides a better understanding of their subsequent impact on Operation NEPTUNE.
Source: BURO EPrints