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Hobart's 79th Armoured Division at War (Paperback)

Invention, Innovation and Inspiration

WWII D-Day & Normandy Tanks Military History

By Richard Doherty
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 233
ISBN: 9781526731524
Published: 3rd July 2018

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Hobart's reputation as an armoured warfare specialist began in the pre-war era. In 1923 he transferred from the Royal Engineers to the Royal Tank Corps and quickly established himself as one of the foremost thinkers on armoured warfare. By 1938 he was GOC Mobile Division, later 7th Armoured Division, in Egypt. Unable to suffer fools at all, he was relieved of his command (sacked!) in 1939, retired in 1940 and became a corporal in the Home Guard.

At Winston Churchill's inspired behest, he was ordered to create and command 11th Armoured Division. Although he trained the new division to a very high standard, he was seen as too old to lead it in action he was 57. Instead he was told to form 79th Armoured Division and design specialized armoured vehicles necessary to breach the Atlantic Wall. The Division played a major part in the D-Day landings and the subsequent campaign in NW Europe. Hobart's Funnies included mine-clearing tanks, bridge-carrying tanks, flamethrowers, swimming tanks and amphibious assault vehicles.

Brigades and units of the Division were deployed wherever they were needed by Second (British) and First (Canadian) Armies and no major operation between Normandy and the final victory took place without them present.

Percy Hobart's skills played a significant part in the final Allied victory and the lasting tribute to that vision was the adoption by all armies of the specialized funnies that his Division introduced to modern warfare.

This book is based on official records, published materials and personal recollections.

Richard Doherty is a prolific author with a vast knowledge of the Second World War.
The book covers the strategic and the tactical; at times describing both unit actions and the bravery of individuals through telling the story of the division and its widely dispersed units and the dangerous roles it undertook.

IPMS Magazine September - October 2018

About Richard Doherty

One of the leading military historians in the UK and Ireland, writer and broadcaster Richard Doherty has twenty-nine books to his credit, two of which were nominated for the prestigious Templer Medal. Chronologically his titles range from The Williamite War in Ireland, 1688-1691 to Helmand Mission: With the Royal Irish Battlegroup in Afghanistan 2008 and also include a history of the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC, The Thin Green Line.

Over the years he has researched, written and presented several historical series for BBC Radio Ulster, presented two major historical programmes for BBC TV, for whom he has also researched and written historical programmes, and has contributed to, or advised on, many programmes for BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Four, RTE (Irish radio and TV) and independent producers. His BBC Radio Ulster programme on the North African campaign, part of the Sons of Ulster series, was nominated for a Sony Award in 1989. He has featured twice in the popular 'Who Do You Think You Are?' television series, providing historical background for David Tennent (2006) and Paul Hollywood (2015).

A popular speaker, he has addressed a wide variety of audiences in the UK, Republic of Ireland, France and Italy, as well as the United States, where he has lectured (on limited warfare) at the US Marine Corps Staff and Command College at Quantico, Virginia. Since 2002 he has been a guest speaker on cruise ships with topics ranging from military and naval history, including the Battle of the Atlantic, through Celtic history, to Irish myth, history and culture.

He leads battlefield tours in Ireland, Normandy, Italy and Greece, writes historical articles and book reviews for newspapers, magazines and journals, is Chairman of the Irish Regiments Historical Society, a member of several military history societies in the UK, Ireland and the USA, a trustee of the Royal Irish Fusiliers’ Museum, Armagh and of the Royal Irish Regiment Museum, a trustee of the International School for Peace Studies, a trustee, and member of the Council, of the Northern Ireland War Memorial, and honorary historian of the Royal Irish Regiment.

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