History of the Second World War, Volume 4

Associatea Kress The man who ‘cut a hole through the Atlantic WallAs a brigadier Major-General P. C.S. Hobart commanded the 1st British Tank Brigade when it acquired official status in 1934 and with it conducted some of those far-reaching experiments in armoured warfare which laid the foundations for all that the Germans were to demonstrate. In September 1938, he raised and trained the Mobile Division in Egypt (which later became 7 th Armoured Division —the Desert Rats), but was removed from his command by Generals Wavell and Wilson because they could not agree with his concept of the sort of desert operations that later became almost standard practice. Prematurely retired early in 1940, General Hobart was brought back to duty on the personal insistence of Mr Churchill —primarily with a view to plac­ing him in charge of the formation of an Armoured Army with a Charter similar to that later forced on the Wehrmacht by General Guderian. In the event however, General Hobart raised and trained 11th Armoured Division until 1942 when he was asked to raise yet another armoured division —the 79th. In March 1943 General Brooke con­verted 79th Armoured Division to Specialised Armoured charged with the task of developing and training the special armoured devices to lead the assault across the invasion beaches. This crucial task involved all Hobart’s vast energies up to D-Day —and beyond, since most of the specialised armour was to find increasing use in almost every phase of war. (Top) 1934: Hobart commanding the 1st Tank Brigade from a Vickers 16-ton medium tank. (Middle) After his return from retirement, Hobart (right) accompanies Churchill anon inspection of the 11th Armoured Division. (Bottom) Hobart with his brother-in-law Montgomery who realised at once the vitally important part that the weapons of 79th Armoured Division would play on D-Day Pict u res sup plied b y Lady Hobart
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