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D-Day tanks found on seabed
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:50 pm
Post subject: D-Day tanks found on seabed

this may have been posted already but here we go

in case the link is dead

D-Day tanks found on seabed

Two Second World War tanks, a lost part of the D-Day landing fleet, have been found on the bottom of the English Channel.

Scuba divers discovered the rusting hulks of two Centaur CS IV tanks, complete with heavy guns, on the seabed eight miles off the West Sussex coast.

After a seven-month investigation, involving more than 80 dives at the site 65ft down and painstaking archive research, Alison Mayor, a diving instructor, has identified them as two vehicles which fell overboard a landing craft capsized on its way to the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944.

The were intended to have provided covering fire for Royal Marines and Canadian troops as they charged ashore at Juno Beach but wound up on the seabed instead.

Only 80 of the unusual tanks, specifically adapted for use in the D-Day landings, were ever made.

There were thought to be just two surviving Centaur tanks in the world, both placed as war memorials in Normandy - including one at Pegasus Bridge, immortalized in the film The Longest Day.

Experts said they were amazed by how well preserved they are - one of the tanks still fully equipped with its 95mm Howitzer gun, machine guns and tracks intact.

Mrs Mayor, 46, from Havant, Hants, said: "You might expect to find sunken ships or even aircraft but these tanks were just so out of context out there on the seabed.

"It was a complete mystery as to how they got there so I was inspired to take up the challenge and find out why."

Intrigued after seeing the wrecks off Bracklesham Bay, Mrs Mayor and a team of 12 divers from Hampshire-based Southsea Sub-Aqua Club began taking underwater photographs and videos of the tanks to show to tank experts.

With the guidance of historian David Fletcher at The Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, they then did further dives in search of specific tell-tale signs to identify the exact model.

They discovered that the tanks were specially adapted for exclusive use by the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group in Operation Overlord.

Mrs Mayor then trawled through the National Archives and discovered that a landing craft carrying two Centaur tanks capsized in bad weather on June 6, 1944 on its way to battle.

All the Royal Marines and crew aboard were rescued but the tanks, along with two armoured bulldozers and a field gun plunged to the sea floor.

Mrs Mayor, a senior commercial officer for the MoD, added: "It was very eerie diving down to the tanks once we knew how they had got there.

"It must have been a terrifying experience when the tanks went overboard and it was a great relief to find out that nobody died.

"But I was really shocked to see what fantastic condition the tanks are still in despite spending all those years underwater.

"One of the tanks still has its Howitzer gun, machine guns and ammunition all in perfect order. It's just a pity that the tanks are upside down."
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