Another bonus round in which I take liberties with the theme! I've wanted to paint this Sherman Firefly for some time and I had already decided to call it Westward Ho! when the theme list was published. A perfect if cheeky submission.
town of Westward Ho, on the North coast of Devon, is a popular holiday
destination and was named after the title of Charles Kingsley's book
published in 1855. The book was a bestseller, and an opportunity to
develop tourism in the area was grasped with the building of a Hotel.
The town developed around this and took the same name and now has the
distinction of being the only location in Britain to have an exclamation
mark in its name.
connection to WWII, and therefore with this tank, is that North Devon
was used extensively for training and preparation for the D-Day
Landings. Adapted Bailey Bridges were tested at Westward Ho! as part of
the Mulberry Harbour project, a mad-cap Catherine wheel like weapons
called a Panjandrum was tested here by the Directorate of Miscellaneous
Weapons Development. In addition the US army set up a school for
teaching and adapting techniques in amphibious assault nearby and many
of the skills in landing the swimming DD Tanks and other wading
adaptions were perfected here.
what is the connection to the Sherman Firefly? Well there isn't one
really, except that some Sherman crews did train in and around Westward Ho! and
I imagined a commander naming his tank after those relatively care free
summer days in North Devon. Ok a bit of a stretch but stranger things
Incidentally the reason for the rather
strange pattern on the end of the barrel is that the Firefly was fitted
with a British 17pdr gun and was significantly longer than the regular
76mm gun fitted in other Sherman's. In British units a troop of tanks
may only include one Firefly and there was a genuine concern that these
special tanks would become priority targets for the enemy. The
disruption patterns like this were one solution although there are also
pictures of a faux muzzle breaks fitted half way down the barrel.