10
Jun
09

US Armored Funnies

The fighting in the Normandy hedgerows in June 1944 created significant problems for lank operations since they restricted the movement of US tanks. Since there were too few dozer tanks, various other methods were developed to penetrate the dense hedgerows. The earliest types were designed simply to create holes at the base of the hedgerow so that engineers could plant explosive charges to breach the obstacle. Since there would never be enough explosives to use this tactic on a large scale, other types of steel devices were tested to penetrate the hedgerow without explosives. One of the first of these, dubbed the “Salad Fork” was tested during an offensive near St. Lo on 11 July 1944. A better hedge-buster was subsequently developed by Sgt. Curtis Culin, and local production of the “rhino” was undertaken by First US Army ordnance units to equip several hundred tanks prior to Operation Cobra. There were several variations of the Rhino, such as the Douglas device devised by engineers of the 3rd Armored Division. Additional photos of these devices can be found in a previous book in this series “US Tank Battles in France” (Concord Armor at War 7050).

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