Churchill AVRE with Small Box Girder Bridge and Churchill Crocodile

Churchill Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE) with Small Box Girder (SBG) Bridge and Churchill Crocodile flamethrower, two of "Hobart's Funnies" of the 79th Armoured Division under the command of Major-General Sir Percy "Hobo" Hobart (June 14, 1885 - February 19, 1957). The SBG was designed by Royal Engineers Colonel Millis Rowland Jefferis (1899-1963) who was an explosives expert who designed the Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank (PIAT) which was a spigot mortar for paratroopers and light infantry to attack tanks; and the 290mm (11.4 inch) spigot mortar for the Churchill AVRE. The SBG could breach gaps of 30 feet (9 meters) and be deployed in 30 seconds. When not hung on the front of the AVRE for deployment, the bridge could be pulled on a small tire bogie behind the tank. The Churchill Crocodile, seen here without its accompanying fuel trailer, expressed flame through a nozzle in the front of the hull and had a turret-mounted 75mm (3 inch) main gun. The AVRE and the Crocodile, working together, would reduce bunkers and fortifications. The AVRE would fire its spigot mortar from close range, and the Crocodile would douse the debris with flame.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Saturday, January 1, 1944