Sunday, July 22

A close look at the Tanks 'n AFV's from Bovington's Tankfest vehicle park.

This year we got to attend The Tank Museum's annual event "Tankfest" at Bovington in the UK. Running from the 29th June 2018 through 'till the 1st of July we got to spend two days at the show and we have many pictures of the museum, the static park & the conservation hall to show you. Today we will show the tanks and AFV's before they take to the arena with some nice close-up pictures before the action stated in the arena.
TMN on Tour: TANKFEST 2018
Where: Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset UK
When: 29th June 2018 - 1st July 2018 
Admission: Adult £14 / Children (5-16) £9 / 2 Adults & 2 Children £39 / 1 Adults & 3 Children £35 Children (Under 5) Free! 
Information on the Bovington Tank Museum Website
The largest event on the Bovington Tank Museum's calendar has to be the annual "Tankfest" show, this year held between the 29th June until the 1st of July. This is a showcase event that enables the museum to bring out a highlight of their own selection of vehicles as well as showcasing private collection vehicles and machines on loan from other museums for this three-day event.

These guys had a blast!
Thousands of people are packed out Bovington's Tank Museum for the show - which this year also coincides with the centenary of the Bovington garrison and 100 years since the first tank was deployed in battle.

Before you get to the vehicle park there are a bunch of great retailers selling new militaria and amazing vintage stuff you will not see anywhere else...
This year the event was held over three days instead of the usual two days, which gave visitors more of an opportunity to see the tanks in action. the event organizers also slightly reduced numbers at the event to make the public viewing areas a little less crowded and easier to navigate. There was a lot of participation from Wargaming - who hosted the show and held a weekend-long demonstration with meet and greets with popular game streamers and designers connected to the World of Tanks Community.

Richard "The Challenger" Cutland was one of the Wargaming stars on show at the event
We have already looked at the Tiger collection in another article here at TMN, we will also look at the main Museum and the Conservation Hall, which is almost always closed off except for a small vantage point from the public - but today we look at the tanks on show in the vehicle park getting ready to parade in a closer look than the arena.

The British Army contributed a selection of thirteen current combat vehicles that were being driven in the main arena. These included the army's current main battle tank, Challenger 2, which will accompany Scimitars and Jackals.  However, some of the most interesting vehicles were support machines like thee Titan AVLB bridge layer and this Trojan AVRE wich gave an impressive display.
There was an IVECO "Panther"/ "Lince" Multi-Role Light Vehicle (MLV) Command and Liaison Vehicle (CLV) which sees service in both the British Army and as the VTLM "Lince" (Lynx) in Italian service.
Mastiff FPV(Force Protection Vehicle) is a British Army Variant 6x6 wheel-drive patrol vehicle that arrived in Afghanistan during December 2006, with FPII providing the base vehicle and NP Aerospace in the UK integrating electronics and the British armour package. The Mastiff 2 is an improved version with a capacity of 2 + 8 which arrived in Afghanistan during June 2009. The Mastiff is armed with a 7.62 mm GPMG, 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun or 40 mm Grenade Machine Gun.

This Husky TSV is manufactured by Navistar Defence, the Husky is a medium-armoured high-mobility tactical support vehicle (TSV) based on the International MXT model. The vehicle has been designed specifically for the British Army as part of a $180m contract. The Husky is a four-wheel drive medium platform TSV designed to exhibit mobility and strength. The vehicle is 6.4m long, 2.5m tall and 2.4m wide and weighs 15,300lb. It can accommodate four people, including the driver and a commander.
The Warrior 510 AV entered service in 1988 and has served in Koso, Iraq & Afghanistan. It has the speed to keep up with the Challenger II in battle and firepower and some limited armour. The HEAT shields on the sides and reactive armour act as extra lightweight protection against RPG's.
The CVR Scimitar II was another British army vehicle in current service, This AFV has the turret of a Scimitar on the hull of Spartan Personnel carrier and it is armed with the 30mm Rarden cannon with a co-axial 7.62mm machine gun. Specially upgraded for use in Afghanistan, the Scimitar II has a low ground pressure and small size and speed which enable it to succeed on the battlefield.
The 65-ton Challenger II (CR2), known as "Megatron" was there in the vehicle park. This tank is used as a testbed for all of the improvements and additions to the Challenger II fleet that are proposed hence the name of a changing robot machine. With a stabilized 120mm gun and machine gun armament, a 45kmph speed on the battlefield it was a star of the arena on the weekend.
Straight out of a Tupac video - the Supacat Jackal 2 light patrol vehicle in the park, it was a nice change to see the Jackal in dark green rather than the familiar desert sand colour scheme. With its open crew department and armament gun ring boasting a Browning 50-cal this vehicle is a modeller's favourite and also a show favourite as it tore around the arena.
Hagglund Infanterikanonvagn 91. This was an amphibious 16.3 ton light tank armed with a 90 mm cannon, that entered service with the Swedish Army in 1975 as an infantry support tank.
This M3 Stuart, formally Light Tank M3, was an American light tank of World War II. It was supplied to British and Commonwealth forces under lend-lease prior to the entry of the U.S. into the war. Thereafter, it was used by U.S. and Allied forces until the end of the war. The name General Stuart or Stuart was given by the British comes from the American Civil War Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and was used for both the M3 and the derivative M5 Light Tank. In British service, it also had the unofficial nickname of Honey after a tank driver remarked: "She's a honey". To the United States Army, the tanks were officially known only as "Light Tank M3" and "Light Tank M5".
Amongst the four Shermans on display was this M4A1 Sherman called "Havoc" is a lovely Sherman (and that is from me who is not often interested in Shermans) next to it on the right of this picture is the Adrian Barrell’s M4A4 Sherman that was once used as a target on an army range until an extensive restoration.
This M4A3 Sherman from Bovington boasts a 105mm  gun and dates back to 1945. It was introduced over to England by a workforce from the Nationwide Army Museum n the Netherlands. The tank makes use of the identical HVSS suspension as the "Fury" tank but I liked his version a whole lot better than that made up tank - maybe 'cos I didn't like the movie much.
A Panzer III in DAK colours was a well-liked vehicle from the show. Originally it was intended to fight other armoured fighting vehicles and serve alongside the infantry-supporting Panzer IV; however, as the Germans faced the formidable T-34, stronger anti-tank guns were needed. Since the Panzer IV had a bigger turret ring, the role was reversed. The Panzer IV mounted the long barreled 7.5 cm KwK 40 gun and engaged in tank-to-tank battles. The Panzer III became obsolete in this role and for most purposes was supplanted by the Panzer IV. From 1942, the last version of Panzer III mounted the 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24, better suited for infantry support. Production of the Panzer III ended in 1943 
This is the SD.KFZ. 138 Marder III Panzerjäger 38 from Jon Phillips collection in Kent, UK. This vehicle is a bit of a mish-mash of two types but none the less as interesting because of it. As a base, the Swedish armoured personnel carrier Pansarbandvagn 301 was used, which in turn was converted on the basis of the Stridsvagn 41 tank in 1958 and the parts to make up the upper chassis, gun and mantlet were then added to make quite a convincing Marder. 
Another vehicle from Jon Phillips' collection, this short barrelled Sturmgeschütz III is seen in the tan and emblem of the Africa Korps. This StuG with Fahrgestellnumber 90678 was assigned to Sonderverband 288 with three other StuGs and send to Greece, these four StuGs were later sent to North Africa, but only three made it after one of them fell off the dock while loading. In North Africa, the three moved out into the desert with the DAK. One of the StuGs (probably 90678) did some scouting and was quickly chased down by several Bren Carriers, the crew panicked and abandoned the StuG. The other two were also abandoned after they ran out of fuel sometime in November of 1942. This StuG and another one was sent back to the UK for testing and 90678 ended up in the Pirbright fire range, it was later recovered by Bob Fleming and sold to Kevin Wheatcroft, it was then traded for an original Schwimmwagen and restored by Jon Phillips.
The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) assault gun is a wonderful version of the L40 barrelled gun version. This one, with "waffle" Zimmerit pattern, is an uncommon type, especially in this pattern. There are only a handful of these still running in the world. The Sturmgeschutz, or assault gun, was a very popular weapon in German service during the Second World War. Many different versions were made but the most common type was based upon the chassis of the Panzer III. Conceived in 1935 the Sturmgeschutz (Assault Gun) was intended to provide mobile, armoured, close support artillery for the German infantry rather than the Panzer Troops. The Sturmgeschutz which will be running at TANKFEST has been lent to The Tank Museum, and beautifully restored, by Steve Lamonby. 
This Sd Kfz 2/2 Kleines Kettenkrad is one of the most popular exhibits in the Tank Museum. Technically it isn’t a motorcycle either, as pivoting the front wheel only guides the vehicle, steering is accomplished by braking the tracks. The front wheel isn’t really needed at all. It was developed for German paratroopers as a lightweight, and therefore air portable, tractor, but used far more widely across the German Army. This Kettenkrad was used by the 5th Panzer Division and Ramcke Parachute Brigade in North Africa before being captured at El Alamein. 
Another vehicle from the Crompton Collection. This lovely Sd.KFZ had a LOT done to it nearly a decade ago to restore it to this condition you see here. The attention to detail on the fabric, the tools, woodwork on the rear tray and the vehicle itself make this a wonderful example of an otherwise overlooked vehicle in this genre.
Towed behind the Sd Kfz 7, the museum’s beautifully restored PaK-88 anti-tank gun.
This halftrack SdKfz. 251/1 Ausf. D no# 1022 is from the Bruce Crompton Collection was in running condition at the show. This vehicle has a late version of the engine compartment armour, with a one-piece engine hatch and a radiator hatch. It came from a scrapyard near Vienna and was in a poor condition, but nearly complete and original in this wonderfully restored variant.
This very cool looking BRDM-2-RKh Russian amphibious scout car was set to go for a circuit in the arena also. BRDM is the acronym for Bronevaya Razvedyvatelnaya Dosomaya Maschina. The BRDM-2 was created to replace the BRDM-1 series of scout cars.  There three major production versions of this vehicle including the GAZ-41 (The original name for this vehicle), GAZ-4106 and GAZ-4108, all differing in some small ways. The GAZ-4108 version was initially misidentified in the West as an entirely new vehicle and thusly named (incorrectly) BRDM-3.
This Surviving WW2 British Valentine IX Tank can be found at the Tank Museum. The Valentine tank was still classified as an infantry tank: a slow-moving heavily armoured vehicle designed to give support to advancing regiments of foot soldiers. It was not as heavily armoured as the Matilda II infantry tank or the Churchill tank, but what it lacked in armour it made up for in mechanical reliability. It saw action in the North African desert campaigns, the Russian battlefields and in the Pacific with New Zealand troops. 
The Cougar armoured reconnaissance vehicle is based on the Swiss Piranha 6x6 armoured vehicle. The main function of the Cougar was to provide direct or semi-direct fire support in a combined operation. Between 100 and 200 of these vehicles were delivered to the Canadian Army. It is fitted with the turret from the FV101 Scorpion and has a crew of three.
Even tanks not running were an interesting proposition!
Buffel (or buffalo in Africaans) anti-landmine armoured car was here in the park ready to take a tour in the arena. This weirdly shaped vehicle sure looked interesting to me - and not quite straight at any angle. The South African army use these strange looking vehicles with the V-shaped hull to protect the soldiers inside against Landmines and IED's so common on today's battlefield.
The M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage was a combination of the M3 halftrack and the M45 Quadmount, armed with 4 .50 calibre M2 machine guns. It was intended as a mobile anti-aircraft weapon to protect Allied ground troops from low-flying German or Japanese aircraft. The M16 was first used in 1944. By this point, there were few enemy aircraft to engage, so the system was widely used against ground targets and in an anti-infantry role, where its high firepower made it popular. Advances in aircraft performance after 1945 meant the M16 was soon outdated and it was retired in the early 1950s
Bren Gun Carrier/Universal Carrier. This beautifully preserved Universal Carrier [often incorrectly called a Bren Carrier or Bren Gun Carrier] could carry up to four men. Chiefly used for scouting and reconnaissance among infantry units, the Universal was the tracked 'jeep' of British and Commonwealth forces and was also used as an artillery tower for 6-pounders, a mortar carrier, casualty evacuation and even as a flame-thrower - the Wasp.
This FV601 Alvis Saladin Armoured Car was int he vehicle park at Tankfest 2018. This 6 wheel drive armoured car was produced by Alvis Ltd during the 1960's and served with British forces into the 1970's. It had a top speed of 72km/h and had good cross-country performance from it 6 wheel design and could function capably after the loss of any one of those wheels. The chassis was the same as that used for the Saracen APC and it mounted a 2-man turret armed with a 76mm gun.
The tiny Ferret MkII Scout Car (1952) was here for the arena show in its "Berlin Brigade" colours. The Ferret shared similar design features with the former Dingo/Ford Lynx, but was basically a scaled-up version of that earlier effort. This major model was the main recce version, equipped with the Alvis Saracen APC two-doors turret, equipped with a cal.30. The Mark 2/1 was a reconversion of the Mark 1 with this turret and additional Bren gun ammo stowage, while the Mark 2/2 had an extension collar and a three-doors turret.
WW2 1940 British Morris Mk II 4x4 Light Reconnaissance Car. Based on the chassis and parts of the Morris light truck. A partly-riveted hull made of rolled steel with sloped faces was mounted on this basis. The main oddity of the model was its row of three front seats, with the driver in the middle and gunners at each end. The armament comprised one 13.97 mm (0.55 in) Boys anti-tank gun mounted in brackets in the hatches on the hull roof, and a Bren gun in a small single turret on the right side. A 101.6 mm (4 in) smoke grenade launcher was also added. The AT gunner had access to a radio set at his rear.
Daimler Dingo scout car, known in service as the "Dingo" (after the Australian wild dog), was a British light fast four-wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle also used in the liaison role during the Second World War. 
A British Matilda I Infantry Tank Mk I A11 of 1938 vintage from the Tank Museum's collection. This tank did not have such a good time of it on the weekend and broke down twice poor old girl.
This Centurion Mk 12 was introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades. The chassis was also adapted for several other roles. Development of the tank began in 1943 and manufacture of the Centurion began in January 1945, six prototypes arriving in Belgium less than a month after the war in Europe ended in May 1945. It first entered combat with the British Army in the Korean War in 1950, in support of the UN forces. This is a perfectly restored version in top condition.
A German-built Leopard 1 main battle tank of the Canadian army. It has been reported that two Leopards were donated by the Canadian Army. This is an ex-Canadian Leopard C2, a Leopard 1A3 chassis mounting a Leopard 1A5 turret. It arrived at the museum in about 2006 and took part in Tankfest 2006. It is in full running order and was one of three Leopards that took part in Tankfest since then in various occasions.

The A7V was the only tank designed and built by Germany during the Great War ungainly, and prone to overturn on uneven ground, only 20 were built and only one original survives, in a museum in Queensland, Australia. The mock-up is the only full-size working replica in the world.

Looking inside the tank you can see the structure of the replica that allows people to travel inside the Ersatz vehicle.
The Comet MkI "Spud" in the park. This is A34 Comet tank coloured in the shades of a vehicle from the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment called Crusader in Germany, March 1945

A running IS-3 was lent to Bovington by The Belgian Royal Military Museum, was displayed in the vehicle park and the arena at TANKFEST 2018. The IS-3 was only superficially a major departure from previous heavy tanks. It had a new front hull and a new turret shape which became the trademark of all postwar Soviet tanks to date. It got the nickname “Pike” due to its pointed welded bow. Production began early 1945, but the tank saw no action before VE-Day. Its first public appearance took place during the Victory Parade in Berlin in September 1945. 2311 IS-3 were built until the summer of 1946. As of 1948, a number of improvements on all IS-3 tanks led to the IS-3M. This type saw action in Hungary in the 1956 Uprising and Egypt in the 1967 War.

Mid-1988 two volunteers of the armour section of the Belgian Royal Military Museum turned to the embassy of the USSR in Brussels with questions for a new painting scheme for the T34/85. Upon discussion, they learned that the Soviets were willing to donate two armoured vehicles to the Museum, and on the 8 September 1989, the Soviet Ro-Ro ship Mekhanik Konovalov arrived at the port of Antwerp with an IS-3M “Pike” tank and an ISU-152 “Beast Killer” SP on board. The IS3-M and the ISU-152 had every single item on board, in full working order: machine guns, radios, optics, down to the crew overalls and field uniforms A few weeks later, on 9 November the Berlin Wall fell. 
This Chinese Type 59 has its origins in the Soviet T-54, but it made use of Chinese systems and components. Around 10,000 were built between 1959 and the 1980s, with thousands sold overseas, particularly to Pakistan, North Korea and Iraq. It was the standard Chinese tank for most of this period. The Tank Museum’s Type 59 is armed with a version of the British L7 105mm gun, which on the Type 59-II variant replaced the original 100mm weapon. This was the result of improved relations between China and the West during the 1980s, which saw several Western systems used on Chinese vehicles. The Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 ended this period of cooperation.
The T-72 came from Poland in 2014. It was one of the first T-72s built at the Bumar-Labedy Tank Factory, in 1984. The fold out gill armour on the side of the hull was only used on early model T-72s. This T-72M1 was donated to the Tank Museum in 2014 by the Land Warfare Museum in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in exchange for a Chieftain Mark 11. The Poles produced around 1600 T-72s at the Bumar-Labedy tank factory in Gliwice starting in 1980. The M1 model entered production in 1983. This tank is a fairly early example, built in 1984. Polish production of a number of components was not yet up and running at this point, so the tank features many Soviet-made parts. It spent most of its service life with the 9th Armoured Cavalry Brigade.
A tank that I was not used to seeing was the US M103 A2. The MASSIVE turret on this you will see a little more of in the arena article. It looks like a really tough tank.
This US M-60AI is a beautiful example of US muscle, and with the large infrared searchlight on the turret and cool three tone camo, it certainly was many people's favourite. 
The Chieftain Mk 10 was on display - many people still love this tank, and this example served the British Army from the Cold War through to the 1991 Gulf War.
Although superseded by the Challenger II this Challenger I took its place int he lines up and it still looks pretty cool.
The Leopard 2A4 appearing at Tankfest came from the Historic Collection of the Royal Dutch Army, in cooperation with the National Military Museum of The Netherlands. The Leopard 2A4 was in service with the German and Dutch Army from the late 1980’s until 2000. Leopard 2’s, developed by the West German Army, has seen action in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
That is it from the vehicle park - we will show you these vehicles and more in the big show day as the tanks were put through their places in the arena.
Although it did not run at Tankfest - you can see Tiger 131 after that time as it will be back in The Tank Story Hall and Cold War Hall for Tiger Day X (ten) which is on the 15th of September 2018. Tiger Day X admission is advance tickets only. There will not be any tickets available to buy on the day. Buy your admission tickets here.

Something you all might be interested in also the forthcoming South-West Model Show on the 13th October 2018 - 14th October 2018. In the October Half Term for The South West Model Show (Autumn Edition) Over two days, view a large selection of exhibitors from across the modelling spectrum ranging from boats, planes, motor racing cars and of course militaria and armoured warfare models. A number of traders and stockists will be situated throughout the Museum.
Standard museum admission applies.  However, each visitor receives an annual pass, which means that they can revisit the museum for an unlimited number of times within a 12 month calendar period (excluding special events) – including both model shows.
You can buy tickets in advance at this link.

Lastly, Can we thank the people at the Bovington Tank Museum for having us at the exhibit and the "Tankfest" show on the weekend - It is a great museum to visit on a non - show day - but this events just make the visit all that more attractive  If you are in the UK you should visit this place!