When i was with various Chieftain Regiments we were always working our days and nights away in camp and exercise doing pack lifts and gearbox lifts to repair the normal Chieftain faults etc as well as the usual oil/coolant/fuel leaks which didnt require lifts. How do these tank driving companies cope? Do they have pack lifts as often as we did? Do they do them? Do they have spares and do they employ ex VMAs to help ( I'm ex VMA) or what? I cant imagine them being able to diagnose TN12 faults(4 Foot high test!) as easy as we did it. Or am i completely wrong?
You are completely wrong!!!!!! :D I’m involved with a group that have a number of tanks, Cents all types, CVR(T), Chieftain, MTLB to name a few. They are as keen as mustard and read every thing and to tell the truth very good, they just dont have the experience of doing it in the poring rain at night with the lights out!! But the just work it out from first principles

They don’t have the same quality “when I was with the” stories though :)
The year before I got out, (95/96), (after I had signed off), I worked weekends for one of these "Corporate Experience" companies, to save up extra cash, ready for civvy street.

We had Stollys, 43's, Chieifies, and a slack hand full of asorted other green kit. I'll concentrate on the Cheifies... Just as a bit of background, I was a serving A mech, artisan, full screw, with 12 yrs experience on the kit. They had a part time ex A mech civvy, who worked in my unit on the civvy side, but was also a TA 3 bar... and a very good civvy mechanic, who was the boss, and worked for them full time.

We had a virtually complete set of Cheify EMERS, and every precy that Bordon ever issued !! Also, we had spare L60s, GUs and TN12's that we could either canibalise, or swap out. Christ know's where they got them from, but there was a barn full !!

As befeater says, the civvy boss, and all the other helpers / welders / electricians, etc. were all into it big time. Some of the bodges that I saw should have been included on the BDR section of the Class 1 course !!

What you have got to realise is that your average civvy doesn'y have a clue what the "Experience" should be like. It doesn't matter if there is no power traverse / elev on the gun, or you have a knackered spring pack. They don't know the difference. The rougher the ride, the more they like it, and tell them which handle to turn, and they are as happy as pigs in $hit.

Esentially, the job is easy. If it can go forward, in 1st gear, (we NEVER taught them how to change up), and in a straight line, the punters are over the moon. Of course, we needed to steer to get the Vagen down to the run, so that was always a priority as well ;-) If the GUE didn't work, and you could slave the ME, then so be it, the kit did NOT have to be even battleworthy. The name of the game was to keep the punters happy, which we did, every week. Also, as you will know, the more you use a tank, the better it performs / leaks less etc. and these waggons were being used, cross-country at least three times a week. Unlike the serving vehicles I was maintaining, which got out onto the area about once every three months. Dry seals, oil puking everywhere... need I say more ?

Yep, I did pack lifts in the year I was there, but only one TN12, which had shot half an anulus out of the casing. Don't ask me how, but I always suspected an oil-way blockage though.

Had a damn good time while I was working there, and earned quite a few sheckels in the process. It's a shame, but the guy who owned it sold up and moved into "Powerboat Experiences" so it all finished.

Hope this helps mate.
Thanks. It has enlightened me. I suspected that the VMs and tradesmen involved were of the Scrapheap Challenge type - adaptable and willing to try anything to have a result at the end. VOR A/S wouldnt been an option!

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