The tragic outcome of the Dieppe raid in August 1942 had taught the Allies the necessity of providing artillery cover for the initial infantry assault waves. The myriad obstacles installed by Rommel both on the beaches and inland was an additional argument for designing armoured vehicles capable of destroying them, all the while retaining their combat capabilities.

It was Major-General Sir Percy Hobart, placed at the head of the 79th Armoured Division, who was given the task of turning this idea into a reality. From his fertile imagination, together with that of his colleagues, sprang an astonishing array of vehicles with strange silhouettes, sneeringly nicknamed the “Funnies”. They were, in fact, tanks ‑ generally Shermans or Churchills ‑ which had been transformed and adapted to carry out specific tasks. The Crabs, for instance were fitted with flails to blow mines up, while the Crocodiles were equipped with powerful flame-throwers. Then there were the “bobbins”, the tanks carrying fascines and, most well-known of all, the DD amphibious tanks.