The Canal Defence Light, based on Infantry Tank Matilda Mk II, a was a British secret weapon of the Second World War. The use of a powerful searchlight mounted on a tank would help in night-time combat and would confuse and dazzle enemies. The name had to conceal its true purpose; the Americans called it the T10 Shop Tractor for the same reasons. They used Matilda tanks at first later they used Churchills, Shermans and M3 Grants to mount a searchlight.
The CDL’s were used at the Ludendorff bridge, better known as the Bridge at Remagen. The Germans used everything they got to destroy the bridge before the Allied could cross it. The Canal Defence Light’s searched the waters for frogmen, the Germans used a new Italian underwater breathing apparatus to get explosives to the bridge. The CDL’s searched for the frogmen, blinded and disorientating them. Due to constant small arms fire conventional searchlights couldn’t be used. Photographed at The Tank Museum in Bovington, England 2017.