Preparations to make a selection of vehicles never before seen at TANKFEST are well underway.
A further selection of `old favourites` will be complimented by British Army vehicles and The Tank Museum is currently taking delivery of a compliment of rare vehicles that have been released from the teaching collection at Shrivenham’s School of Tank Technology. Details of these and the British Army vehicles will be posted soon.
Alongside the ever-popular Tiger tank, at least four vehicles have or are currently undergoing considerable maintenance work in order to ensure their appearance at TANKFEST 2012.
Tank Infantry A43, Black Prince…
Running for the first time in over 60 years, Black Prince is the sole survivor of a run of prototypes that sought to increase the firepower of British tanks. Like the Tortoise that made its TANKFEST debut in 2001, this tank is a reminder of the often lamentable state of British tank design and production during World War II. Based on the design of a Churchill tank, although much wider to accommodate the 17pdr gun, Black Prince was considered by some to be outdated when it was designed in 1943 and obsolete by others when the prototypes were built in January 1945. This underpowered tank lacked the mobility required to be effective in contemporary warfare and unsurprisingly it was never accepted for service. It’s hard to believe that it was designed and built in a similar time frame to the hugely successful Centurion tank – but for that reason it remains an integral part of the British tank story.
MK IV Replica, the War Horse Tank…
This `tank` will be the centre piece of this year’s mock battle – a World War One battle re-enactment complete with infantry and dogfighting fighter aircraft. The Tank Museum’s original World War I tanks are now too fragile to be run under their own power for arena displays. With the centenary of World War I approaching, the Museum had been considering building a replica rhomboid tank. But when production on the recent Spielberg blockbuster `War Horse` concluded, the opportunity to obtain the detailed `Mk IV tank` used in the film proved to be irresistible. Built by OSCAR winning special effects company Neil Corbould Special Effects LTD, the vehicle has been constructed around the engine and transmission of a modern commercial excavator – but moves with all the presence and menace of the real thing. This will be the first opportunity to see this tank in action since its appearance on the Silver Screen.
M60 A3 MBT…
The Tank Museum took delivery of this vehicle in 2008. It was in very poor condition both cosmetically and mechanically; track guards were damaged or missing, weeds had taken root inside the vehicle, and there had been a catastrophic failure of the reduction gears rendering the tank un-drivable. Fortunately, the engine was in reasonable order and this has allowed Workshop staff and Volunteers to overhaul the tank and return it to running order. A particularly time consuming task involved the removal of layer upon layer of old paint so the vehicle could undergo a complete cosmetic restoration. The M60 was a US tank which effectively replaced the M48 during the 1960’s, although it didn’t see action in America’s hot war of the period; Vietnam. In basic terms, the M60 can be considered the US contemporary of the British Chieftain. What this shows is the differing philosophy of British and American tank design. In fact, one could argue that until the M1A1 Abrams appeared in the 1980’s (replacing the M60), the US was a little behind the curve in tank design. The differences between the M60 and the Chieftain are significant; the low profile of the Chieftain would make it a harder target to hit. The M60 mounted the 105mm gun rather than the Chieftain’s larger 120mm gun. The M60 pays greater attention to the potential threat on anti-tank mines, with a large boat shaped hull to direct blast away from the fighting compartment, but this only adds to the overall height of the tank. The M60 last saw action with the US during operation Desert Storm. It has also been exported and deployed by other nations and remains in service today, notably with Egypt, Turkey and Israel.
Panhard AML 245 HE 60-7…
Whilst smaller in stature, this armoured car has also never been seen in action at The Tank Museum. Panhard et Levassor is one of the oldest names in automobile history, and has been providing armoured cars for the French Army since World War I. Entering service in 1961 it might be seen as the French equivalent to the British Ferret scout car, although it carries a larger turret with much heavier firepower. There are a number of variants of this particular vehicle, but this model carries a pair of 7.62mm machine guns in the turret alongside a 60mm Hotchkiss-Brandt mortar. The AML has been exported to over 30 countries. The Tank Museum also owns a 90mm gun version captured from Argentinian Forces in the Falklands War.
Please note that the appearance of these vehicles is subject to their mechanical reliability and operational considerations.
There are more ticket options than ever before for TANKFEST 2012. With a range of visitor accommodation in the area to suit all pockets, why not make your TANKFEST experience last the weekend?
Standard day and weekend tickets are available now, allowing you to save at least 10% off the `on the day` admission price.
Premium tickets are now only available for Sunday 1st July (Saturday and Weekend Premium tickets are SOLD OUT!)
TANKFEST IN STYLE! – PRICES REDUCED!
For those who want to see TANKFEST in style, we recommend our new Hospitality tent. The price includes a four course lunch, private viewing area and free bar.
For organised groups of 10 or more, you can pre book day or weekend tickets, saving 20% off the `on the day` admission price.
Tickets will also be available at the gate from 9am on both days. Parking is free and all tickets (except group rate tickets) include a FREE Annual Pass.