In the decades following the Second World War, several discoveries dating back to the conflict have been made. Among them are a T-34 tank at the bottom of an Estonian lake, long-lost shipwrecks and various types of weapons in the canals flowing across the United Kingdom. However, a rare discovery was made in 2020 that blows these ones out of the water: a Canadian Ram tank, left to rust in an open field.
Tank, Cruiser, Ram
The Tank, Cruiser, Ram – better known as the Ram tank – is the only tank to have been both designed and produced in Canada. The concept came about following the Dunkirk evacuation, when it became obvious that Britain’s tank production was nowhere near enough to supply everyone under the Commonwealth umbrella.
While the British-designed Valentine tank was initially ordered and manufactured, it wasn’t the cruiser the Canadians needed, nor was it easy to produce by North American standards. As such, it was decided that a new vehicle, based on the American M3 medium tank, would be designed and developed.
Built upon an M3 chassis, what became known as the Ram tank featured a completely new, lower hull and turret, armed with an Ordnance QF 6-pounder Mk III main gun and three 7.62 mm machine guns.
Unfortunately for the Canadians, the American-built M4 Sherman had become the standard by the time the Ram tank was ready, meaning the armored vehicle didn’t see combat. It was, instead, relegated to training purposes, with later variants being adapted for use as munitions carriers, gun tractors, observation post vehicles and armored personnel carriers.
A hike through the moorlands of northern Britain
In 2020, a group of British explorers and video content creators went for a hike in the moorlands of the country’s north – the Peak District, to be exact. The location is that of a former gunnery range that’s long since been abandoned, offering a unique look back at Britain’s military history.
Comprised of gravel tracks, dilapidated fences blocking off areas of potential unexploded ordnance, and the remains of brick and concrete structures, the site initially appears like any former military site. However, something unique was left to rot in the grassy expanse that makes up most of the area: a very rusty tank.
Identifying the discovery as a Canadian ram tank
At the time, the DESTINATION DISCOVERY team didn’t realize the significance of their find, believing it to be yet another military vehicle. It wasn’t until 2022 that British historian Mark Felton identified the discovery as a rare Canadian ram tank.
In a video published to his YouTube channel, Felton explained that several World War II-era tanks were sent to gunnery ranges to be used as targets, which appears to be the case with the ram tank, based on the number of bullet holes present in its rusty hull. Given its rarity – just over 2,000 Ram tanks were produced and less than 30 survived – Felton remarks that it should be on display in a museum, as opposed to being left abandoned in a field.
Notable about this particular Ram tank discovery is that its guns are missing, suggesting one of two possibilities: they were taken off as a precautionary measure before the vehicle was used for target practice or they were removed much earlier, signaling that the tank was converted into a Kangaroo (an armored personnel carrier).