Overlord'S Blog: Some old Junk
Those of you who follow my Facebook page will have seen that this week I didn't do my usual mid week post, with added madness. This was because I was away. That's the bad news, the good news is I was at Bovington tank museum sifting through their archives. But before that I had a stroll around outside, and there's quite a few interesting tanks out there which most people don't see, as they park up in the car park then go into the museum. So I had a stroll about and took some photographs.
One of the first tanks you'll see is this T-55 (or is it a T54?) tank. Note the odd contraption over the gun barrel.
Next tank you pass is a range target rescued from one of the UK's gunnery ranges.
As you can see its a very battered Matilda Infantry tank. The impact just above the gun trunnion has cracked the turret casting. You can also get a good impression of how heavily armoured this tank was.
The next photograph isn't a tank, its the kerb stones along side the road. Bovington Camp is still an active military base, and is used for training. Both days I was there we had Challenger 1 Driver Training tanks moving about. When one of the drivers gets a bit too close to the kerb the tanks tracks smash down on the stones and chop them up.
Outside in a pretty bad way is this Churchill Gun carrier.
Interestingly she's still got her main gun, as most of the conversions had the gun removed and were used to carry Snake mine clearing charges. Which, apart from 25 or so on the books of the Calgary tank regiment at the time of Dieppe (although not scheduled to land) was the closest these machines came to combat.
Next to the Gun carrier you have a wrecked Cromwell chassis, intrestingly on this tank the turret has been split into two.
That's the front of the turret on the left, and the turret is almost upside down.
Next we have the Action X turret.
And then, behind it a mystery turret.
But what is it? Its got parts of it which suggest Chieftain, but other parts that scream Action X/FV4202. Its been suggested its some form of prototype Chieftain turret, which would make sense.
By this time the Archives had opened and I had documents to read. While going through I did find one thing that made me laugh. Luckily Mr Wheeler the head librarian was there and he gave me permission to show this to you. There's a hand written note suggesting its from 1912-1914, although those dates are suspect to my mind. Its the submission for a wheel-cum-track, amphibious armoured vehicle, with what appear to be two guns.
I don't even want to think of how complicated and impossibly hard to maintain and build that would have been.
If you want to support Bovington and help it continue its good work, then you can of course join the Friends of the Tank Museum.