The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset- 29 July 2015 - Brian Judge reports on the "Summer" Event
On a wet morning we drove from Sussex to Bovington in Dorset as the rain got ever heavier. When we arrived there was a forlorn Sprint parked on its own in the reserved parking area. New member David Roberts had driven down from Rugby on the Saturday in fine weather. Richard and Jackie, and Don and Eithne in their Spiders also drove down on the Saturday. Graham Earl turned up in his Sprint, Peter Yaxley was in his Berlina, and Andrew Stevens was with his Dad, over from Australia, in the 1750GTV. Tim Wilson joined in his Sprint GT. The rest of us were in “moderns” but at least mine was an Alfa.
Richard Wigley marshalled us in the cafeteria ready for the guided tour and gave us a potted history of the Museum and the current collections. Richard is on the board of Trustees and acted as one of our guides for the visit. We split into two groups. Our tour leader had spent 35 years in the tank regiment and knew all there was to know about the subject; he was even able to answer young Cameron Hampton’s probing questions.
We learned that tanks were brought into service in order to be able to straddle the trenches, and that the Mark one tank, known as Little Willie, right there in front of us all, was the prototype for all British WW1 tanks. It had a similar power output to a Spider Veloce and a top speed of just 3.5 mph. In 1917, Renault produced a tank with a fully rotating gun turret, a great improvement operationally. The German Tiger tank from WW2 was a magnificent piece of machinery, all welded, heavy and surprisingly modern in appearance, whereas the equivalent mass produced Russian tank was lighter and more maneuverable. We were told that Russian tank crews were chosen on height to allow the machine to have a smaller profile. Makes sense.
The modern tanks, just as superbly displayed, are, of course, much faster,we were assured, and have computer controlled gun aiming although we are told that the British military prefer not to use this feature and retain manual control of firing.
My impression of tanks in general was that they weren’t very nice places to work in, cramped, full of diesel fumes, recoil from the guns and difficult to see out of.
After lunch a visit to the “work in progress sheds” was organised where those with shoes “unsuitable” for the very wet and very muddy conditions realised the error of their ways. On the way over to this part of the museum, David Roberts discovered the joys of Giulietta motoring when he found he had a flat battery and needed a push start in the pouring rain before setting off back home.
All in 24 people came along including Paul and Kate Gregory on their wedding anniversary! They were off for a slap up meal on their way home.
By the time we left the sun had returned for the drive home
Many thanks Richard for organising another great Register event.