In March of 1943 the 79th Armoured Division was due to be disbanded. A manpower shortage called for the bulk of the force to be redeployed, to make up shortfalls in other units. But the disastrous raid on Dieppe the previous year had proved that any invasion of mainland Europe would need to be supported by Armour, and this would need to be modified for an amphibious assault.
So it was that Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff), had his “happy brainwave” and asked Major General Percy Hobart if he would oversee the conversion of the unit to a Specialised armoured unit, concentrating on developing vehicles that could overcome the German Defences.
The strange vehicles that were developed and operated became known as “Hobart’s Funnies”.