How to take out an armored vehicle with an umbrella.
Major Allison Digby Tatham-Warter was certainly an odd fellow from the Second World War. An experienced parachutist and commando, Major Tatham-Warter commanded Company A of the British 2nd Parachute Battalion. To show just how British he was he often carried an umbrella into battle. In one incident Tatham-Warter calmly escorted a chaplain through a barrage of mortar fire, holding his open umbrella over the priest’s head for “protection.” When a lieutenant pointed out the umbrella wasn’t going to do much good in a fight, Tatham-Warter responded, “What if it rains?”
In Sept. of 1944 Tatham-Warter and his men took part in Operation Market Garden, a bold offensive to take several strategic bridges in The Netherlands using paratroopers, paving the way for an invasion of Germany. Tatham-Warter and his battalion was tasked with taking and holding the Arnhem Bridge which crossed the Rhine directly into Germany. Unfortunately the operation would end in total failure. The paratroopers dropped into Arnhem were in an especially desperate situation as they were surrounded by an entire SS Panzer division. The light weapons of the paratroopers were almost useless against German tanks and armored vehicles. However the British paratroopers found some creative ways to defend themselves from the steel behemoths, one of which involved an umbrella.
During a particular heavy firefight, Major Tatham-Warter and his men noticed an armored car approaching their position. The major immediately ran up to the vehicle and shoved his umbrella into the viewport. After opening the umbrella the driver was blinded and the umbrella could not be removed. Taking advantage of the German crew’s confusion the British paratroopers swarmed the vehicle and attached a bomb which permanently destroyed it.
Despite a staunch and courageous defense, Arnhem would fall to the German Army. Around 6,800 British paratroopers were forced to surrender. Another 2,000 were killed in action. Major Tatham-Warter was wounded in the action and captured by German forces. He later escaped from the hospital he was held in and returned to friendly lines.