Flying Tanks

The American Locust



Book Reviewer
Takes me back to the summer of 77 when I was squadron leader's driver in Tidworth. He had received a request from RAF Boscombe Down to provide a slack-handful of CVR(T)s to use to test loading / unloading of armoured vehicles into / out of the Boeing YC14 and MD YC15 (see ) both then undergoing AMST testing (ibid).

ISTR each was allegedly capable of lifting 200 tons of evenly distributed cargo and land in 75m (say my goal-line to the edge of your penalty area). The link suggests a laden YC14 could take off in 610m.

The OC offered me to 5Tp B Sqn 15/19H for the day so I could have a cabby and a day out. Jimmers may have been a twaaaaaaat but he did organise the occasional fun day like that. It's almost as if he cared.

And I'll tell you what, RAF Boscombe Down had the best junior ranks cookhouse I ever ate in.
I spoke to an old chap at Bovington a few years ago who had served with 6th Airborne Armoured Recce Regiment. He was in 'B' Squadron during the Normandy Landings and flew into Normandy in a Universal Carrier (two of them would fit into a Hamilcar glider). Twenty Tetrarchs also flew into Normandy during Op 'Mallard', in the afternoon of D-Day - the first time that armour had ever been flown into battle.

During the Rhine Crossing of 1945 he found himself flying across the North Sea in a Locust, as part of the Airborne Light Tank Half-Squadron (the rest of the regiment sensibly crossed the Rhine by normal means). Unfortunately, their glider cartwheeled on landing and his Locust went skidding across the LZ on its turret! Amazingly all three men in the Locust survived! Of the eight Locusts involved, only two survived the landing intact - one had even fallen out of its glider halfway across the North Sea.
"And I'll tell you what, RAF Boscombe Down had the best junior ranks cookhouse I ever ate in. "

I was away on course then NI tour while my Sqd moved to RAF Topcliffe.
We returned to Tables laid with white table cloth and Diggers and of course The Steak Bar.
Not to hot on Panzers, Luft variate or not.

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