Duplex Drive Tank Training Wing, River Crossing (Burton upon Stather)

In May 1944 part of the Trent was requisitioned for the Duplex Drive Tanks of the 79th Armoured Division.

The DD tanks were conventional Valentine and Sherman Tanks that were fitted with canvas screens and propellers. The screen was supported by air-filled pillars and struts as well as a series of tubular frames. When inflated, the equipment enabled the tank to displace more than its own weight in water, thus making the tank buoyant. When at sea, only the top 3 feet of screen could be seen, concealing the tank beneath the waves. The DDs were part of the 79th Armoured DIvision – known as “The Funnies”, which were developed to combat the various German Defences and Obstacles for D Day.

Crews such as the Staffordshire Yeomanry came to Burton to develop the skills necessary to navigate the tanks across rivers. The crews had previously attended an Elementary Course at Fritton Lake (A Wing) – see separate listing.

Facilities at Burton included a large timber and concrete slip way (known locally as “The Tank Ramp”) which enabled tanks to enter and leave the river; temporary camp, maintenance workshops and tank park. Instructors and crews resided in the tented camp, but flooding resulted in a move to Winteringham Camp, before finally moving to Normanby Hall.

Burton played an important role for the DDs, as it was here that the trials were first undertaken and the syllabus developed. This was ultimately used to train more British and US crews at other 79th Armoured Divisional Wings in Europe.

AddressBridalway, Burton upon Stather, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire DN15 9DH, UK
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Contact detailsLincolnshire

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