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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Bovington Tank Museum

Whilst on holiday, I had the opportunity to visit once again the Tank Museum at Bovington.
The Story of the Tank Hall - viewed from the excellent restaurant
It's probably 5 years since I last went, and a lot had changed in the meantime.
There are a few exhibits outside still - like this Infantry Tank MkI that had seen use as a range target :-(
Whilst the core collection remains the same, the biggest single change was to opening of the restoration centre where all the spare exhibits (together with those runners that routinely entertain the crowds through the summer months) are stored under cover.
The Tank Restoration Centre - viewed from the gallery
You cannot walk around this area due to EH&S considerations, but there is a viewing gallery that allows you to take a look at whet the museum has in its collection, that may appear at a later date.
A Panther Recce vehicle after an IED strike
Another new exhibition covered the UK's involvement in the Afghanistan conflict with some nice exhibits (and very informative videos) of some of the AFVs used. I particularly liked the idea that the viking has a hand throttle fitted so the driver doesn't have to keep his feet on the accelerator (and risk injury) if the vehicle were to be driven over an IED or mine.
A MkV tank that actually fought at Amiens
The WW1 gallery has had a re-vamp for the centenary commemorations and looked very good. There is  great deal in here to educate younger visitors which has to be commended.
Experimental "Plastic" armoured AFV
There was also another new gallery - the Tank Factory. This explained something about the evolution of modern afvs and how they are manufactured.
Beautiful example of the revolutionary Swedish S Tank
Then of course the "Piece de Resistance" the Tiger Collection!
All five beasts together

REME School's Tiger II
Five members of the this AFV family all under one roof. The museums own Tiger II (Porche Turret), Sturmtiger and Tiger I together with the REME School's Tiger II (Henschel turret) and the Elephant/Ferdinand on loan from the Aberdeen Proving Ground Museum in the USA. Marvellous!
The world famous Tiger 131 - captured in Tunisia and now restored to full running condition
Altogether a fantastic day out (I spent 7 hours there and could have stayed longer!). Your ticket (£13) allows unlimited entry for 12 months so if you're living nearby you could go everyday!!!

The best time to go is in the summer months when every day there is a driving exhibition at lunchtime, or better still on one of the special events (i.e. Tankfest)

Below are a few random pictures that may be of interest to modellers or wargamers.
Panther - completed post-war for evaluation by British Army
A very nice example of a Sherman Firefly
T72 with its wading snorkel erected

Close up for the Team Yankee players showing the black rubber side skirts!
The mighty Jagdpanther - also completed post-war for evaluation purposes

The Ram Kangeroo - a vehicle that has always interested me. This example was once a range target!
Very few books seem to show the interior of the vehicle
So I've added these pictures in case they are of interest

Whether it would have had bench seats fitted I am unsure