D-Day: The Darkest Day: Vehicles

By John Houlihan
Art by Justin Usher and Armin Ragani


No guide book for D-Day would be complete without a section covering the revolutionary armour, vehicles and transport which were used to launch the biggest seaborne invasion in history. When it came to making D-Day: The Darkest Day, the new combined guide and campaign book for Achtung! Cthulhu our problem wasn’t so much what to include, but what to leave out. 

There were so many new and innovative methods of transport developed for Operation Overlord that it was tough narrowing it down to the pages allocated for this section of the book. It’s true, many of the tanks and vehicles used on D-Day like the ubiquitous Sherman or the fearsome Tiger Tank had already appeared in the original Player’s Guide, but we knew that agents would be dying to try out a brand new assortment most associated with the day of days. 

So we narrowed down the selection process to two main criteria. Firstly, each vehicle must be unique and distinctive to D-Day itself so that there would be an obvious gap if they were left out. Secondly, that each vehicle would actually be of practical use, both on D-Day itself and in the missions and adventures which followed as Europe was liberated from the tyranny of occupation. Plus of course we wanted a couple of distinctive Secret War vehicles with which to tease agents’ palettes.

One particular component which proved particularly fascinating to research was “Hobart’s Funnies”. With the performance of British armour deemed particularly unsatisfactory after the raid on Dieppe, British top brass appointed Major General Sir Percy Cleghorn Stanley Hobart, “to experiment with any equipment, innovations and tactics that would best support [D-Day].” 

An apparently difficult man but a real tank expert, Hobart came up with an innovative set of designs and modifications based on existing tank frames which perfectly encapsulated a slightly eccentric answer to the unique challenges of D-Day. 

Despite much scepticism and their slightly bizarre appearances, Hobart’s Funnies proved extremely useful, a real demonstration of thinking outside of the box when it came to design. As David Eisenhower, historian and grandson of Dwight D. Eisenhower remarked, "Hobart’s innovative use of British armor in Overlord was to be almost as revolutionary as the first appearance of British tanks at Cambrai in 1917.” 

But back to D-Day: The Darkest Day and once again the estimable Bill Heron was tasked with describing and statting up the vehicle selection and he’s delivered an extensive range to decorate your campaigns, which even includes new rules for glider based operations. 

We hope you’ll enjoy using them both in the main campaign and in your adventures after it and here’s a small selection to whet your appetite for when D-Day: The Darkest Day releases on June 6th.

Airspeed Horsa Glider

With a wingspan greater than a Wellington Bomber, the Airspeed Horsa played a vital role in the Normandy landings and previously performed well in the invasion of Sicily. Lightweight and easy to manufacture, many were built by furniture companies. The Horsa was built entirely out of wood and would normally be towed by an aircraft before being released at height. Two variants exist: the Mk I with a hinged port-side door, and the Mk 2 which had a hinged nose to allow the loading of light artillery or a small vehicle such as a jeep. They were also often used to drop paratroopers.

Hobart’s Funnies: Crab Flail Tank: 

With 24 lengths of heavy metal chains (or mine flails) mounted to a rotating metal drum, the Crab Flail Tank was used to clear minefields. It simply involved hitting the mined area with the flails, thereby detonating them. It was also very useful for clearing barbed or razor wire. It has the truths Mine Sweeper and Wire Cutter and can clear a path through minefields at the rate of five yards (5m) per minute.

Teufelsrochen Sled

Designed to move large objects around underwater, the Teufelsrochen (“Devil Ray”) sled is a simple Nachtwolfe invention based on the torpedo. Like the Chariot manned torpedo, it uses propellors and hydroplanes to move itself through the water. A Blauer Kristall enhanced power supply provides the electrical power. It resembles the ray for which it is named, only much larger and only requires a single operator. It usually has a crew of two though, a pilot and a gunner, both wearing breathing apparatus. Nachtwölfe uses these devices to move all kinds of cargo underwater despite it being rather slow and cumbersome. 

The Darkest Day is available for pre-order now.


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