Brougham Hall CDL Tanks

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by morrisc8, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Hi, i am looking for info for a friend of mine whos dad was at Brougham Hall and that he did some work on the CDL [search light tank] 79 Armd Bde /Div and was told Brougham Hall was Top Secret during WW2. Any one with any info on the work they did there ?.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Morris -
    the CDL abbreviation stands for Canal Defence Light- and goes way back in Army folklore - this became what we termed "Monty's Moonlight " which were searchlights placed in such a manner that they would hit some low cloude over the battlefield and allow our chaps to wander over and kill the enemy who was allegedly blinded by the light - this was first Used by the Canadians in NWE around July /Aug- and again by 4th Inf. Div on the Coriano Ridge in Italy on September 17th '44 - this was not an initial success but later it was better and did the job it was meant to be

    As it came under the banner of "funnies' I would assume that Hobo's 79th Div had a great deal to do with it
  3. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Hi Tom, this is a CDL tank with search light. Tank has name Dover on the side. click photo for a larger image.

    Attached Files:

  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Keith - as you can see - this is the earlier version with a Matilda Tank - we only had the mounted searchlights - but no doubt there were many variations
  5. leccy

    leccy Senior Member

    CDL tanks were designed to be used for direct light illumination and disorientation by flashing the light on and off and by using different coloured filters. The CDL tanks as far as I can see had no capability of doing indirect illumination. (Limited elevation of light, 2 inch wide aperture?)

    Battlefield illumination by indirect means was a RE speciality with 873 Movement Light Squadron (TA) being the last unit.
    They were equipped with normal un-armoured searchlights that were set well back from the FEBA. The searchlights shone their light to bounce off of clouds (range and effectiveness depended on conditions and various calculations). This gave a light that could vary from bright moonlight to overcast day over a large area and could be switched on and off as required (within the limits of the ARC lamps and later types).
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Brougham Hall was visited by King Edward VII and his son King George VI- looks like a typo for George V.....
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Army Camps / Barracks Cumbria

    Lowther Park, Penrith
    WWII Canal Light Defence School & 35th Royal Tank brigade, 79th Armoured Division.

    Secret Strobelight Weapons of World War II | Danger Room |

    WW2 - The Second World War: 'The Canal Defence Light'

    This site has posts from some of our veteran forum members.

    Top secret tanks

    The Lakeland fells were also often used for troop training exercises. The fells around Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell were used as a training area for tank crews.
    In 1941 Lowther Castle was requisitioned by the War Office to develop top secret anti-tank weapons. Military experts adapting the turrets of standard tanks to shine intense, flickering lights with the intention of blinding the enemy during night fighting. These light emitting weapons were called the Canal Light Defence (CDL). In great secrecy, a total of 6,000 men from the 35th Royal Tank Brigade, which in 1942 became part of the 79th Armoured Division, trained to use the tanks in the surrounding countryside.
    In the region of £20 million was spent on the project and 2,000 tanks were converted. King George VI, Earl Mountbatten, Eisenhower and Winston Churchill all visited Lowther to see the CDL tank in action. However, in one of the biggest blunders of the war, the tanks were kept so secret that the commanders on the front line were oblivious of their potential and Field-Marshall Montgomery failed to put the plans into action.

    From:Lake District National Park - Landscape of war

  9. brit plumber

    brit plumber Member

    I live in nearby Kendal and have been up to Lowther loads of times. There is a large concrete area at the back of the estate and its still known as the Tank Park. I thought when I first heard its name that it would just be a nick name based on someone story. Well after a quick internet search a few years back I got quite a suprise! I even have a used trip flare found just down the road on one of the training area.
  10. TomSellen

    TomSellen New Member

    Hi guys, I am currently undertaking research into the US armoured Divisions training in my area with the CDL, I have quite a lot of information if its wanted. Im also looking for more if anybody has any.
  11. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Hi Tom,
    Any more info would be good and welcome to the forum.
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    So far - three "Tom's" have answered your query - which one do you mean ?
  13. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Hi All , its Tomsellen :D
  14. Ian Mackenzie

    Ian Mackenzie Member

  15. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    There is a military vehicle show there about 11th may 2024

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