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Tankfest 2013

Tankfest 2013 June 29th and 30th Bovington Tank Museum
It has been a hot sunny day in Dorset today and this added up to a great recipe for the start of this year’s Tankfest 2013. The theme for Tankfest 2013 was when the Cold War turned hot in the very early 80’s, and a display to make the theme come to life is nearly always the last big event in the display arena. This year the arena came to life with the sound of three Leopards being put through their paces, much to the joy of the crowd judging by the faces I could see. This was followed dy a good number of M548 and FV432 racing around the arena to see just how much dust they could kick up.

The two short videos shown here were taken by my daughter on her Mobile. While these are short video's I hope they give you some idea of what a great day or weekend can be had at the annual Tankfest.

The next main arena event saw the British Army to the stage with a Jackal, Scimitar, Warrior with Infantry support, and a CRARRV. It was at this point I opted to take a walk around the museum to see what was going on, and hiding inside selling his resin and photo etched products was Chris of Inside the Armour. I made a couple of visits to Chris to chew the fat so to speak about what may be coming next.

Returning to the arena it was time for the World War One Behemoth’s to show their faces in the form of replicas of the A7V bating for Germany and a Mk IV fielding for the British home team, These giants of the past slowly trundled around the arena and really brought home to me just how far tank design has come in what is quickly nearing 100 years. With the end of this display it was time to avail myself of some refreshments. There were a host of choices when it comes to food and drink at the event and you can walk around eating a meal of your while looking at everything from a cap badges and models to de-activated weapons which are all for sale.

Walking around after filling my face and sticking my head into a host of tents and taking some walk around pictures for the site meant that I missed the next two arena events. I did however return in time to see what Bovington Tank Museum call ‘Best of the Rest’, this features a Panzer 61, YP 408, Snow Cat, URUTU, Cougar, and a one off design aid called the plastic tank; these vehicles entertain and take you through to the main event ‘Two Tribes – The Cold War’.

Two Tribes – The Cold War gives you a look at a what if scenario when the super powers (the USA and Russia) escalate the Cold War into a Hot War with NATO and the Warsaw PACT going at it. The show starts with an introduction to the events that could have escalated into World War Three and results in Soviet forces crossing into West Germany with an initial probing recon mission. This scenario begins with a BRDM 1, BRDM2, T54, And some I just cannot recall, these vehicles are accompanied with Soviet infantry. These forces are countered by M60’s, Chieftains, FV432, Ferret, Tracked Rapier, infantry, and not forgetting a Lynx helicopter. This scenario is then followed through to its ultimate conclusion where everybody loses.

ON a lighter note my daughter and I had our day made by 2 World War Two veterans who had very clear memories of those dark days and who were happy to talk about it. The two Gents we spoke were Albert Figg who served with the Royal Artillery as a 25pdr gunner and who helped take Hill 112 in July 1944 as part of Operation Jupiter, if you wish to learn more about this remarkable but un-assuming man look up his name and/or Hill 112. The other gent whose name was hard to hear over the arena displays is called George and I am trying to find his Surname. He was being monopolised by my daughter and so this is a combination of the information we both retained; He tried to join the Royal Air Force in 1939 but was turned down as his mother was Russian. He was shortly after called up and joined an infantry unit, after training was sent to the South Coast of England to defend against the Germans who may attempt a landing from the sea. He later transferred to the Royal Tank Regiment and saw action in Matilda’s, Crusader’s, Valentine’s, Churchill’s, and finished in the Sherman. He saw action in North Africa where he was a part of one of the Churchill crews that took Tiger 131. He was returned to Blighty and was part of the second wave landing in Fortress Europe shortly after D-Day. George is also a recipient of the Legion of Honour, however I do not know what exactly the event was for which it was awarded.

These two old warriors made this year’s Tankfest one of those fantastic memories you accrue in life, and I cannot thank them enough for taking the time to chat.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...