Fox/Vixen

#1
Friend of mine was a STAB commander of a Fox troop and he didn't have any of the tip over problems the Fox had when he commanded it. I saw the prototype Vixen on the tank park in Catterick when I was on driver training in 77 and it looked dead sexy. Given how much we depended on the Ferret in Command Troop in BAOR I thnk it would've been still in service now, unlike the Fox
 
C

cloudbuster

Guest
#2
But we never suffered from a shortage of FSC, which meant no slot for Vixen, although with the benefit of hindsight, there might be a place for both Fox and Vixen today.
 
#3
Friend of mine was a STAB commander of a Fox troop and he didn't have any of the tip over problems the Fox had when he commanded it. I saw the prototype Vixen on the tank park in Catterick when I was on driver training in 77 and it looked dead sexy. Given how much we depended on the Ferret in Command Troop in BAOR I thnk it would've been still in service now, unlike the Fox
My bold - he would have if he'd done a bit of X country, they probably stuck to tarmac most of the time!!!
 
#4
Friend of mine was a STAB commander of a Fox troop and he didn't have any of the tip over problems the Fox had when he commanded it. I saw the prototype Vixen on the tank park in Catterick when I was on driver training in 77 and it looked dead sexy. Given how much we depended on the Ferret in Command Troop in BAOR I thnk it would've been still in service now, unlike the Fox
Well if he was a STAB, he'd never have left barracks would he? :)
 
#5
Only ever used Fox on 30mm Conversion or IG ing Yeomanry. However I believe it to have been a better gun platform. The provision of a traverse lock saved a lot of wear and tear on the traverse gearbox. BTW it was a slicker mover on SPTA than our Scimitars. So whilst it may have had a higher centre of gravity, if used correctly, it was equal to if not better than the tracked option.
 
#6
I crewed it in NI on a 4 month tour in Belcoo in ´79 and found the Night/Optical Sight a fantastic piece of kit that was sadly never really used to its full potential.There was a fatal accident with another unit in Belleek with Fox but was probably down to the driver as he nearly had another accident a few days later.
For some reason QDG who did a 2 year tour from 1980(after I´d left) decided to mothball them and use other tactics,as X Country wasn´t an option in NI due to the boggy ground I think a GPMG strapped to a X10 image intensifier might have turned the border area into a turkey shoot as there were lots of roads near the border.There might have been more roadside bombs planted to counter the threat but they were being used anyway.The IRA would have had a big problem IMHO moving anywhere in large ASU´s with Fox´s whizzing around,Ferret´s were blind at night and were used for many years so why mothball Fox?Politics?
 
#7
My OTC had two fatalities in two years with Fox, one rolled en-route to Otterburn and another when the traversed barrel of a moving vehicle hit the commander of a parked Ferret. I think that was the end of Fox in the OTC. ...a question I've asked before was what happened to the Fox hulls when they stripped the turrets off for Sabre ? No-one seems to know.
 
#8
The army never intended to adopt Fox in the first place. It was forced on them by the government. B Sqn 1 RTR (Aliwal Bks Tidworth) were the first unit equipped with Fox (1975) simply so it could be sold to Nigeria and hopefully other commonwealth nations. "In service with the British Army" was the export phrase required, and the plan was to have this single Sqn based on Salisbury Plain in order to help export sales. Things changed and Fox entered service in greater numbers but like I say, originally there was to be only a single Sqn in the entire army. The only Vixen I ever saw was at the Tank Museum and I've always wondered how much money was actually saved by the cancellation of what must have been a relatively low cost vehicle that appears to have been developed and ready for production?
 
#9
I seem to recall an article in a Sunday mag back in the 60s. extolling the virtues of Vixen. So if it came first, as a Ferret replacement, and Fox was an afterthought, that may go someway towards explaining the high centre of gravity.
 
#11
Fox certainly took some getting used too, riding in the turret either opened up or closed down was nerve racking, even when you had a very experienced driver, i spent most of the time hanging on for dear life on corners, having said that it was a good stable platform on a battlerun over smoothish ground, i would rather fly upside down in a scout with no doors fitted than com'd a fox cross country. Having said that i had the "pleasure of being rolled over in a 4 tonner curtesy of a nig MT driver.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#13
The army never intended to adopt Fox in the first place. It was forced on them by the government. B Sqn 1 RTR (Aliwal Bks Tidworth) were the first unit equipped with Fox (1975) simply so it could be sold to Nigeria and hopefully other commonwealth nations. "In service with the British Army" was the export phrase required, and the plan was to have this single Sqn based on Salisbury Plain in order to help export sales. Things changed and Fox entered service in greater numbers but like I say, originally there was to be only a single Sqn in the entire army. The only Vixen I ever saw was at the Tank Museum and I've always wondered how much money was actually saved by the cancellation of what must have been a relatively low cost vehicle that appears to have been developed and ready for production?
What he said. (A Sqn 15/19H, Aliwal Bks, 1976-7). Though I have seen both the Vixens (Istr there were only the two prototypes ever built, the one used for driver training at Catterick when I was there (1975-6) and the one now at Bovvy - unless they are the same one).
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#14
Just to remind you here is a picture of it:

Not sure it would have been much good, the wheels would take an age to change if damaged, planet carrier hubs, maintenance heavy and if damaged really difficult to fix. Optics; non-existent. That turret looks very similar to the one that appeared on 432 later, what is it for? Basically a big wheel ferret, looks like side panels would have escape hatches behind them. And who would really have wanted to serve on one?
 

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#15
I crewed it in NI on a 4 month tour in Belcoo in ´79 and found the Night/Optical Sight a fantastic piece of kit that was sadly never really used to its full potential.There was a fatal accident with another unit in Belleek with Fox but was probably down to the driver as he nearly had another accident a few days later.
For some reason QDG who did a 2 year tour from 1980(after I´d left) decided to mothball them and use other tactics,as X Country wasn´t an option in NI due to the boggy ground I think a GPMG strapped to a X10 image intensifier might have turned the border area into a turkey shoot as there were lots of roads near the border.There might have been more roadside bombs planted to counter the threat but they were being used anyway.The IRA would have had a big problem IMHO moving anywhere in large ASU´s with Fox´s whizzing around,Ferret´s were blind at night and were used for many years so why mothball Fox?Politics?

The only reason Armoured cars were in NI was because Omagh was a pre troubles Recce Regt posting. We used what we had, 1 RTR were in Omagh 1973/74 and at night we tended to leave armour back at base and use Land Rovers or indeed our two feet. The role was really an infantry one and I'm not suprised that the Fox's were mothballed. Cross border gun battles at night were almost non existant, so not much point in having an unsuitable vehicle just because it had a night sight. The fact that QDG handed over to 1 Queens shows it was the right decision. An infantry battalion was more useful and flexible for use all over the province.
 
#16
You got to the border area too late,in 1976 the IRA started their border ops just as QDG started a 4 month month tour and cross border gun battles or attacks on Army posts were on a near daily basis.There was one(!) X60 telescope in the Armagh area that had to be bid for and the only night sights were IWS´s and I don´t think the laser torch was available then.By removing the 30mm Cannon and having a turret crew of one might have changed the gravity problem slightly making Fox a lot better than the Ferret.I thought it to be a very good vehicle and never felt unsafe in it though I never tried it X country,Saracen was terrifying on wet hills around Hildesheim but they stayed around for 40 years or so!
Even though the resident RAC unit in Omagh had a huge area of responsibility their casualties were very low,the Queen´s lost 2 men as soon as they arrived by a booby trapped car,IMHO there were some Inf units that should never have been even deployed to NI due to their heavy handed tactics that mostly made the next Regt´s job that much harder.
If the STABS and OTC think that Fox was dangerous just wait till they get their fingers on Challanger 2,after 6 months there´ll be so many crushed and broken bones they´ll probably have to scrap them too.I can´t think of anything more potentially dangerous than 60 tons on tracks with a rotating powered turret!
 
#17
Just to remind you here is a picture of it:

Not sure it would have been much good, the wheels would take an age to change if damaged, planet carrier hubs, maintenance heavy and if damaged really difficult to fix. Optics; non-existent. That turret looks very similar to the one that appeared on 432 later, what is it for? Basically a big wheel ferret, looks like side panels would have escape hatches behind them. And who would really have wanted to serve on one?
So that´s what I saw whizzing around Bovvy in 1973!I bet some SSM´s would have prefered one of those instead of the open Bucket Ferrets where they got soaked every time it rained.Though IIRC the gunner(or driver?) actually was in a Capt Scarlett position ie nearly lying down?
I´m sure I´d have rather served in a Fox than a Snatch or other open vehicle where somebody wants to take pot shots at me or plant bombs around where I´m travelling.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#18
... looks like side panels would have escape hatches behind them.
For 35 years I have been adamant that whilst stagging on at Catterick 75-76, we found the hangars unlocked one night (okay usually) and went inside in direct breach of Orders for the Prowler Guard and I vividly remember climbing inside the Vixen through a side hatch.

I have argued this before on other websites and I'll argue it again here, even though this picture clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that this Vixen had no side hatches.

If there were two prototypes built, maybe the other one was the one at Catterick and it did have side hatches. This must then be the one now at Bovvy.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#19
For 35 years I have been adamant that whilst stagging on at Catterick 75-76, we found the hangars unlocked one night (okay usually) and went inside in direct breach of Orders for the Prowler Guard and I vividly remember climbing inside the Vixen through a side hatch.

I have argued this before on other websites and I'll argue it again here, even though this picture clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that this Vixen had no side hatches.

If there were two prototypes built, maybe the other one was the one at Catterick and it did have side hatches. This must then be the one now at Bovvy.
The side hatches, like on the Ferret would be behind the stowage boxes as seen on picture between the wheels.
 
#20
Slightly OT, but the NI stories made me think. My Parents were married just as the Troubles started out again in the '60s. They were due to go over to NI to see my Mother's family in the Province, but were advised not to "because there were tanks on the streets."

Bearing in mind that advice came from a little old Aunt who wouldn't have known one Army vehicle from the next I wonder what these "tanks" were? Family were mainly in Fermanagh.
 

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