Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Harry Hopkins Tank, SPG, and Bulldozer

Above: The Harry Hopkins Tank--also known as the Mk VIII--was made in Britain between 1943 and 1945. Due to some design problems, as well as the increasing realization that light tanks were not suitable against German firepower, few were produced. The tank was likely named "Harry Hopkins" in appreciation for Hopkins' role in the movement of American-made goods to Britain during World War II, and also because of his friendship with Winston Churchill. After Hopkins died in 1946, Churchill wrote: "A strong, bright, piercing flame has burned out a frail body...His love for the causes of the weak and the poor was matched by his passion against tyranny...We do well to salute his memory. We shall not see his like again." Image courtesy of Wikipedia. Churchill quote from the book Harry Hopkins: A Biography, by Henry H. Adams, 1976, p. 26, citing New York Times, Jan. 30, 1946

Above: The Hopkins Tank morphed into the Alecto Self-Propelled Gun (SPG). More design problems, and the end of the war, limited production of these machines as well. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Above: Finally, the Hopkins Tank and the Alecto SPG became the Alecto Dozer. It seems fitting that the tank ultimately became a bulldozer, because Harry Hopkins was not a soldier (using the strict definition of "soldier"), he was a builder. Out of the despair of the Great Depression, he and millions of formerly-unemployed Americans (the WPA) built and modernized American infrastructure. Hopkins helped build the nation, and he rebuilt men & women crushed by joblessness. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

 Above: In addition to working on thousands of national defense projects, e.g., airports, military base improvements, and metal & rubber salvage activities, the WPA created posters to support the war effort. This poster encouraged citizens to refrain from sharing any knowledge about American battle plans. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.  
Amazingly, or, if you prefer, "awesomely," you can buy models of the rare tank, spg, and bulldozer shown above. See, for example, here and here.

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