Dire Story Behind The Sunken Tanks Of Dorset

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Dire Story Behind The Sunken Tanks Of Dorset | World War Wings Videos

(Pen News/Paul Pettitt)

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Operation Smash.

On June 6th, 1944 the Allied Forces launched their invasion of Normandy against Germany’s occupation. The assault claimed the lives of thousands of Allied soldiers in their mission to liberate Europe. In the waters surrounding Europe, it is not unexpected to find sunken ships or planes, but the presence of underwater tanks tells another story.

Prior to the invasion in April 1944, Allied troops endured rigorous training on a beach in Dorset, England to ensure that they had the best chance at survival. Known as Operation Smash, the conditions were set to be as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, the conditions of this training were so realistic that they actually caused the deaths of six soldiers.

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“Everybody says that Operation Smash was an absolute, complete disaster.”

– Nick Reed (The Isle of Purbeck Sub Aqua Club)

Using “floating” Valentine Tanks, which were launched in the water at a distance for safety weren’t as safe as hoped for. Due to the choppiness of the water, one of the tanks to sink and all the men on board drowned.

(Pen News/Paul Pettitt)

“Well, 32 tanks were launched and seven sank, so that means 25 got to shore in this exercise and from that the British learned a lesson.”

– Nick Reed (The Isle of Purbeck Sub Aqua Club)

(Pen News/Paul Pettitt)

The sacrifice these men made was not in vain, as the British tank units learned a proper method of deploying tanks on beach areas. Several American tanks were lost because they were launched at a distance rather than close to the shore. Now, these Valentine tanks make for a popular divers destination as you can see in this video.

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