Great Eastern was a ramp tank designed to overcome much greater
obstacles (both horizontal and vertical) than could be bridged by
the ARK. The tank carried a long ramp which sloped upwards from
rear to a height of some 20 feet at the front. A second 'flying'
ramp was hinged to the first at the front and was stowed folded
back a top the lower ramp. Hinged to the rear of the lower ramp
was a third short ramp that reached the ground. This would usually
be held raised at a near 45 degree angle whilst stowed. The Great
Eastern was deployed by first driving a close a possible to the
obstacle, then the upper ramp was propelled upwards and over by
two groups of 3" rockets. The Great Eastern could provide a
span of some 60 feet being able to cross a 12' high 5' wide wall.
of the Great Eastern was by MD1 and experimental establishment headed
by Colonel Millis Jefferis. The prototype was built on a Churchill
MkI hull and when initial trials were successful a further 10 vehicles
were built using Churchill MkIV chassis with the heavier MkVII suspension
units fitted to take the 48 ton weight. Two vehicles were delivered
to the 79th Armoured Division in early 1945 but they were never
used in action.
The Great Eastern
at Vimy House has the ramp in the stowed state and is missing the
support brackets which when operational would mount the ramp at
an angle from rear to back. The rear ramp has been detached from
it's hinges and laid flat on top of the 'flying' ramp.