Chieftain MBT - "Smokin'"

#1
So I said to my grandson Charlie...
"We're not leaving the Tank Museum 'till we see the Chieftain go round the arena. Look for all the white/blue smoke...Grandad was a gunner on a Chieftain between 1974 and 1977....."

On came Chieftain in a cloud of smoke, went 30 yards and broke down..... just like when grandad was a gunner on a Chieftain between 1974 and 1977.

I should've known!
 
#2
So I said to my grandson Charlie...
"We're not leaving the Tank Museum 'till we see the Chieftain go round the arena. Look for all the white/blue smoke...Grandad was a gunner on a Chieftain between 1974 and 1977....."

On came Chieftain in a cloud of smoke, went 30 yards and broke down..... just like when grandad was a gunner on a Chieftain between 1974 and 1977.

I should've known!
Did any nation ever get Chieftains that didn't have horribly bad engines?
 
#3
Learning to drive in a land rover at catterick about 1980 got a bit to close to the rear end of a chieftain and the windscreen got plastered in oil, so much so it couldn't have been doing the tank any good at all, good gun and Hull I believe for the time but really shite british Leyland mechanicals.
 
#4
Yep. Shite engine. Brilliant turret ...seriously. That gun was great. Even with the .50 ranging. When laser came it was superb, but only if it was bore sighted properly
But boy oh boy that bloody L60. I remember at least 3 packs running away and blowing. We even had to leave our 3rd Tanks T22 with no engine for the 4/7th when we left Fally. She was painted, cleaned up, engine bay steam cleaned but no pack. Not our fault. There were no spares left in Germany. If only the Ruskies had known!! Mind you. Stopped feeling guilty when we came back toTidders and all our B Sqn panzers were covered in mud! Ahhhh. Memories
 
#5
Given the long term unreliabaility of the L60, why was it never upgraded/replaced with a better power pack?
It's not as if many other tanks haven't had better engines fitted/upgraded over the years.
Surely someone could have provided a (more) reliable engine for it?
 
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#6
The problem at the time (sixties) was that there were no large piston engines of the size needed on the open market. The L60 was one of the developments of the Junkers Jumo engine (as was the Deltic), and was a good idea, but was a military special and there was really no equivalent on the civvie market. Trucks of the time were quite small and railway engines were too big.

The traditional source of tank engines used to be the aircraft industry.. the Meteor engine in the Cent and the Antar was a modified Merlin engine. The problem was that aircraft had gone over to gas turbines and jets and nobody was building large vehicle diesel engines until the larger trucks appeared in the eighties..

The other design problem with the Chieftain was the "drop in" engine bay, apparently to meet the amphibious requirement. This meant that doing a pack change on anything but a dead flat surface was "a challenge". Same with the FV43X series. If they had gone for a combined power pack and gear train with back door access things may have been a bit easier and more reliable..
 
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#7
Was it not said, back in the 70s, that the Chieftain was the best tank in the world, as long as it broke down in a good fire position.
 
#8
The problem at the time (sixties) was that there were no large piston engines of the size needed on the open market. The L60 was one of the developments of the Junkers Jumo engine (as was the Deltic), and was a good idea, but was a military special and there was really no equivalent on the civvie market. Trucks of the time were quite small and railway engines were too big.

The traditional source of tank engines used to be the aircraft industry.. the Comet engine in the Cent and the Antar was a modified Merlin engine. The problem was that aircraft had gone over to gas turbines and jets and nobody was building large vehicle diesel engines until the larger trucks appeared in the eighties..

The other design problem with the Chieftain was the "drop in" engine bay, apparently to meet the amphibious requirement. This meant that doing a pack change on anything but a dead flat surface was "a challenge". Same with the FV43X series. If they had gone for a combined power pack and gear train with back door access things may have been a bit easier and more reliable..
Very interesting HE. Is it a good time to remember that the Chieftain was allegedly a multi fuel tank. Memories a bit foggy now but I recall that it could run on virtually owt, even the exhaled breath of a cold warrior.
 
#9
Very interesting HE. Is it a good time to remember that the Chieftain was allegedly a multi fuel tank. Memories a bit foggy now but I recall that it could run on virtually owt, even the exhaled breath of a cold warrior.
That was the theory, but it only ever ran.on diesel in reality.

That info from HE is very interesting and obviously comes from a deep knowledge on the subject. I seem to recall being told one of the L60 problems was that it was designed for a constant rev but anyone who crewed a Chieftain knows it was up and down the gearbox constantly. Having spent a number of long nights helping change a pack it was galling to see on of those Movies For Men documentaries last week showing a Leopard 1 changing it's pack in 15 minutes! I guess that's just one of the reasons so many of our Allies bought it.
 
#10
IIRC originally designed for a RollsRoyce diesel engine which was scuppered when NATO put forward the multi-fuel requirement. This more or less dictated a 2 stroke engine with the advantages that there are fewer parts in a 2s (no valve gear). The flat opposed piston design means a lower engine profile.

I was under the impression that the engine & gears train was designed as a single unit and could be swapped out in 2 hours using and FV430 crane?

I can't comment for the reliability but I know that they did suffer piston problems and coolant leaks due to the crap Leyland gasket arrangements.

Leyland bus & truck engines used to have major issues with head gaskets at one time until they build the O-400 series which had the cylinder head cast with the block. Trouble with that being that you had to remove the valves by removing the crankshaft and pistons first!
 
#11
Yep. Shite engine. Brilliant turret ...seriously. That gun was great. Even with the .50 ranging. When laser came it was superb, but only if it was bore sighted properly
But boy oh boy that bloody L60. I remember at least 3 packs running away and blowing. We even had to leave our 3rd Tanks T22 with no engine for the 4/7th when we left Fally. She was painted, cleaned up, engine bay steam cleaned but no pack. Not our fault. There were no spares left in Germany. If only the Ruskies had known!! Mind you. Stopped feeling guilty when we came back toTidders and all our B Sqn panzers were covered in mud! Ahhhh. Memories
Fally 74 - 77 hey ?
Even If you were just a friend of the panzer driver who, ignoring my 'STOP' signal, decided to welly it up the Antar trailer ramp at full chat causing ME to take a dive off the trailer deck which somehow left a sharty skidmark in my undies, there is still a POX on you and your family along with any other crew member of said Chieftain. :)



nb: The shart could have been caused by the copious amounts of Carlsberg consumed the night before though.
 
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#12
Fally 74 - 77 hey ?
Even If you were just a friend of the panzer driver who, ignoring my 'STOP' signal, decided to welly it up the Antar trailer ramp at full chat causing ME to take a dive off the trailer deck which somehow left a sharty skidmark in my undies, there is still a POX on you and your family along with any other crew member of said Chieftain. :)



nb: The shart could have been caused by the copious amounts of Carlsberg consumed the night before though.
I wondered when the banter would start
Believe it or not we nicknamed our panzer HMLS CARLSBERG!
Couldn't possibly be a 3rd Tanks though, must've been one of the Boneheads from next door
 
#13
I wondered when the banter would start
Believe it or not we nicknamed our panzer HMLS CARLSBERG!
Couldn't possibly be a 3rd Tanks though, must've been one of the Boneheads from next door
I was with the 17/21st at Wessex until March 75 and the 5 and 9s before that. I used to watch the A mechs swopping packs and always marvelled at just what was involved.
 
#14
Very interesting HE. Is it a good time to remember that the Chieftain was allegedly a multi fuel tank. Memories a bit foggy now but I recall that it could run on virtually owt, even the exhaled breath of a cold warrior.
Yep..

One of the features of an opposed engine is that you can vary the compression ratio by changing the timing of the two crankshafts. The pistons are never exactly in phase ( ie they do not reach TDC at the same time..) so that by advancing or retarding one or the other the final compression space can be changed. This allows you to change the fuel, but it needs reconfiguring of the engine, not simply changing a dial somewhere from petrol to gin to dieso..

The fuel was switched over in the late sixties, and Chieftain did run on COMBATGAS in BAOR intially, as did almost everything else at the time. Again you need to remember that up to the mid seventies, all the fuel came in jerrycans and a division went through a football field stacked 3m deep every day. RLs and Landrovers were all petrol as were Cents..
 
#15
Yep..

One of the features of an opposed engine is that you can vary the compression ratio by changing the timing of the two crankshafts. The pistons are never exactly in phase ( ie they do not reach TDC at the same time..) so that by advancing or retarding one or the other the final compression space can be changed. This allows you to change the fuel, but it needs reconfiguring of the engine, not simply changing a dial somewhere from petrol to gin to dieso..

The fuel was switched over in the late sixties, and Chieftain did run on COMBATGAS in BAOR intially, as did almost everything else at the time. Again you need to remember that up to the mid seventies, all the fuel came in jerrycans and a division went through a football field stacked 3m deep every day. RLs and Landrovers were all petrol as were Cents..
Thanks again for the info. Your point about fuel only being supplied in jerrycans until the mid 70`s now makes sense. I was back in BAOR from 79 - 81 and recall that we had a fuel bowser to top us up then.

I wasn`t a tankie BTW - REME attached and was pleasantly surprised to have a bowser turn up to refuel our Bedford MK on one exercise. Carrying two jerrycans of diesel from the fuel wagon wasn`t much fun especially if the tank was low and multiple trips were needed.
 
#16
I wondered when the banter would start
Believe it or not we nicknamed our panzer HMLS CARLSBERG!
Couldn't possibly be a 3rd Tanks though, must've been one of the Boneheads from next door
I guess a mention of the Wee House must bring back fond memories. At least you were closer to it than us at Wessex.

Klaus aka Lumpy Jaw was a sight to behold swinging his snooker cue at fighting squaddies.
His deep fried chicken mit pommes looked a bit suspect some nights but at least it was hot.

Happy days.:boogie:
 
#17
Fond memories, a very young Ned had the honour of being involved in the Allied Forces Parade in Berlin. 3 contingents; the French leading, purring along in their AMX 30s (IIRC); the Americans next, shaking the stands in their M1s. British Berlin Armoued SSquadron always tail-end-Charlie, because of the Chiefie’s reputation for spluttering, farting and dropping their guts on route. It was a rare success when the Sqn crossed the release point complete!
 
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cent05zr70

On ROPS
On ROPs
#18
Smoke! Amused me, first thing in the morning, Tp, Sqn, Reg, whatever, all cam'd up in a wood. First light start up...keerist, bigger smoke cloud than Hiroshima!
We went back to Tidders, back onto Cents. Bliss. Proper drivers tank, with a QF gat.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#19
Theres a name that takes me back.. As you've alluded, 15/19H left Fally in 74 for Omagh where I joined. Back to BAOR in 77 on CVR(T), and regular trips to Hohne and Fally for ranges.

78 or 79, such an occasion. Night firing Friday night, finished about 2100. "Reet," says Jackie Broon RIP, "Off to Lumpy Jaw's." He, I, John McGourley RIP, crew of Zero Bravo and sundry others pile into taxis and off to Lumpy Jaws for a couple of warmers, then on to the Django Bar at Bomlitz.

Scantily clad young woman calls for a volunteer. I was at a stage side table, so up I hopped. I then discovered she was an S&M act with a whip.

Back to barracks and bed about 5. Breakfast about 0800 to discover I was now recognised in the regiment.

Those days are sadly long gone.
 
#20
Again you need to remember that up to the mid seventies, all the fuel came in jerrycans and a division went through a football field stacked 3m deep every day
I can still remember such stacking of jerry cans in Arsbeck, that was 76-78. Always wondered what that was for, as the RAF got all its fuel via railway tankers, loads of them.
 

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