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Hobart's 79th Armoured Division (ePub)

WWII British History D-Day & Normandy

By Richard Doherty
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 2.9 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781844686223
Published: 17th October 2011

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This fascinating book describes how Major General Percy Hobart created, trained and commanded 79th Armoured Division, a
unique formation crucial to the success of the D-Day Landings and the Allies' drive through to Germany.

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 in 1939, retired in 1940 and became a corporal in the Home Guard. At Winston Churchill's inspired behest, he was called back to create and train 11th Armoured Division which, once done, he was seen as too old to lead in action. Instead he was ordered to form 79th Armoured Division and charged with developing specialized armoured vehicles necessary to breach the Atlantic Wall. 'Hobart's Funnies', as these innovative weapons were known, included mine-clearing tanks, bridge-carrying tanks, flamethrowers, swimming tanks and amphibious assault vehicles.

Brigades and units of 79th Division were deployed wherever they were needed by Second (British) and First (Canadian) Armies.
Indeed, no major operation between Normandy and the final victory took place without their involvement. Post-war the
adoption by all armies of specialized 'funnies' is the lasting tribute to his vision and genius. Based on detailed research and personal recollections, Hobart's 79th Armoured Division at War is a worthy tribute to this extraordinary man and his legendary Division, both of which played so significant a part in the Allied victory.

This is an interesting account of the exploits of a most unusual unit, going beyond the normal focus on D-Day and the beach landings. Combined with a biography of its distinctive commander this becomes a useful addition to the literature on the fighting in north-west Europe in 1944-45.

History of War

Based on detailed research and personal recollections, Hobart;s 79th Armoured Division at War is a worthy tribute to this extraordinary man and his legendary Division, both of which played so significant a part in the Allied victory.

The Pegasus Archive

The whole nook is really quite fascinating, to read of the career of the one man who has remained for ever associated with leading the Funnies of 79th Armoured division. Richard Doherty has prepared a fascinating and very readable book covering the history of both the man and the division so closely associated with him.

Military Modelling

Richard Doherty’s new book is a fascinating account of a unique man and a famous division which played a lead role in the Allied victory in World War 11.

Derry Journal

At Winston Churchill’s behest, Major General Percy Hobart was called back to create and train 11th Armoured Division which, once done, he was seen as too old to lead in action. Instead he was ordered to form the 79th Armoured Division and charged with developing specialized armoured vehicles necessary to breach the Atlantic Wall. “Hobart’s Funnies”, as these innovative weapons were known, included mine-clearing tanks, bridge-carrying tanks, flamethrowers, swimming tanks and amphibious assault vehicles.

Britain at War, December 2011

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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