79th Armoured Division Final Report.
HOBART Sir Percy. (1945.)
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RARE SECRET REPORT
Secret Copy No. 132 (of 200). 64 photographic images. Folio. Original red cloth, title gilt to upper board & spine, extremities faintly rubbed, a few pages creased from folding. ix, , 312, xi-xvii, pp. [Germany], Printing and Stationery Services 21 Army Group, July,
A very good copy of this secret report. General Percy Hobart, division commander, states in the introduction: "This Report deals with the weapons, tactical technique and organisation developed by 79th Armoured Division and used for the first time in the recent campaign ... [It] is chiefly concerned with weapons and methods already proved in battle ... [It] is suggested that these recommendations, based as they are on battle experience, should form the basis for current development and tactical practice."
The 79th made vital contributions to the D-Day landings in 1944 in terms of support and then fought from Normandy onwards. The 79th was notable for the specialised armoured vehicles used including amphibious tanks, Arks, Buffaloes, Kangaroos, flame-throwing tanks known as Crocodiles, and the like, which are all discussed in this report. This is not a regimental history, but rather an overview of the state of weaponry in the British Army in the final year of World War Two. It is greatly enhanced by the photographic illustrations.
Hobart was a renowned army reformer, and from the 1930s was determined to implement some of the advances suggested by the likes of J.F.C. Fuller and Liddell Hart. Having been appointed commander of the 11th armoured division in 1941-2, the following year he "was ordered to develop specialized armour to facilitate the crossing of beaches, rivers, and other obstacles, based on the lessons of the ill-fated Dieppe raid of 1942. Hobart was also involved in other schemes concerning specialized armour, such as the canal defence light, designed to support night attacks with dazzling light" (ODNB).
The regimental history of the 79th was written by John Borthwick who was Hobart's A.D.C. He may have been involved in compiling the text here.
Rare: OCLC locates three copies at the Australian War Memorial, US Army War College, and US Army European Regional Library. Not in COPAC. A single copy is recorded at auction in 2013.
Stock Code: 231676