Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things I Like: Tanks (Part One)

Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung E
There is a place I want, check that, need to visit. That would be The Tank Museum, in Bovington, the UK. As some of you may know, it's not just aircraft that tickle the Old AF Sarge's fancy. Armored fighting vehicles, or tanks if you will, are also amongst a "few of my favorite things." (With apologies of course, to the lovely Julie Andrews.)

Here are some of the specs for that beasty depicted above:
  • Armor: 25–120 mm (0.98–4.7 in)
  • Main armament: 1× 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56 92 rounds
  • (106 and 120 rounds for some modifications)
  • Secondary armament: 2× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 4,800 rounds
  • Engine: Maybach HL230 P45 (V-12 petrol) 700 PS (690.4 hp, 514.8 kW)
  • Power/weight: 12.3 PS/tonne
  • Suspension: torsion bar
  • Operational range: 110–195 km (68–121 mi)
  • Speed: 38 km/h (24 mph)
As you can see, not a very fast vehicle. Today, only a handful of Tigers survive in museums and exhibitions worldwide. The Bovington Tank Museum's Tiger 131 is currently the only one restored to running order. The video clip below is of that tank. An "in cockpit" video, after a fashion, another thing I'm fond of. If you haven't guessed that by now!


  1. Yes, I like tanks also. They look perfectly lovely when pierced with a Maverick. And if you can pop the turret like a pimple, well that's just that much better!

    1. Ah juvat, mention of the AGM-65 puts me in mind of a story.

      One of the other things we WCS types checked out on the F-4.

      Maybe I should do a post on tank-busting. I actually knew a kid who went on to be an A-10 driver. A good one too as I recall.

  2. I have the utmost respect for tankers, especially the guys who fought and died in Shermans during the Big One. It was unfortunate, but way TOO many died in that death trap.

    1. I plan to do a series of posts on tanks. An excellent book on the terrible aspects of the Sherman is Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II Belton Y. Cooper (Author), Stephen E. Ambrose (Foreword). I read it awhile back, I highly recommend it. The only people who have ever defended the Sherman are guys who didn't go into combat in one of them. Brits called them "Ronsons" (after the cigarette lighter) for their tendency to burst into flame after being hit. Not a tank I'd go to war in!

  3. Interesting this tank sported an actual "Steering Wheel". (probably off an old 1939 Volkswagen)

    Most of the armored, tracked vehicles I'm familiar with use "Track brakes" to turn instead.

    1. Yeah, same here. I'm sure the levers to control the track brakes are much simpler to maintain. One of the Tiger's problems (other than being painfully slow) was its unreliability. They were too complicated in many ways. I'm sure that steering wheel contributed to the maintenance problems the Germans had.


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