Team links wrecks with war records
British divers have explored the wrecks of WW2 tanks and other military hardware off the coast of West Sussex.
The team, from Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, spent five days surveying a site eight miles out in Bracklesham Bay, where two tanks, two bulldozers and a field gun lie “jumbled up” at a depth of 20m.
From photographs and video from the site, experts at the Tank Museum in Bovington have identified the tanks as Centaur CS IVs, which were intended to support forces landing in Normandy on D-Day. Surviving examples are rare.
The bulldozers are armoured Caterpillar units, which allowed British forces to clear obstacles from the beaches.
The divers also noted a large kedge anchor tucked beneath one tank. Two ammunition sleds, two propellers and ammunition were among the many additional items found at the site.
As a result of their work, the divers believe they have the evidence to prove that the machines were lost from a Landing Craft Tank (LCT) known to have turned back from the crossing and to have lost two tanks overboard in bad weather. Some had believed that the wrecks were from a section of Mulberry Harbour bridge.
The project had the approval of the Ministry of Defence and will submit its report at the end of the summer. It received a grant from the British Sub-Aqua Jubilee Trust, and was supported by Silent Planet Ltd, of Portland.
Individuals with information or comments about D-Day activities in the Bracklesham Bay area are invited to make contact. Club website – www.southseasubaqua.org.uk