Blimey.................loads!!!!!...... even quasi BNP supporters complete with tribal tattoos masquerading as Waffen SS for the mock battles!!! No, but seriously, fantastic weekend for anyone even vaguely interested in tanks!! Tiger 131 makes a pretty awesome sight trundling around along with anything else old and modern oh yes,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and I'll have a stall there again inside the museum building's entrance!!!!!
Except it won't be trundling this year. It has trashed yet another Maybach 230 and they await funds to do something to fix. My old mukker (censored for PerSec), with whom I travelled to the funeral of JC on Friday, works at Bovvy. He told me they expect to have it out as a static display but they need to raise yet more money for an engine. There are no Maybach 210s (the original Tiger 1 engine) left and precious few 230s (fitted to later Tiger 1s, which this isn't: they have already had to build a scratch cooling system to cater for the Maybach 230), which command a ridiculous price.
I wouldn't be surprised if, to keep 131 rolling, they may need to fit some other engine completely or they give up trying to make Tiger 131 run and use the money they save for the greater good of the Tank Museum as a whole.
And this year, Sergeant Slingsby will be there, having his photo taken with various heavily armoured items. Look out for a small bear and his entourage - a photographer, a lovely retired Tankie, a mad woman and a long haired layabout.
Will be there as well, and have already made a donation to try to get the Tiger back up and running again. Plus, wouldn't mind winning the Armourtek King Tiger they have in a prize draw if you donate...
This weekend Southampton held the Solent Kite Festival on the playing fields over the road from us as usual. As usual we took a tank-park shuffle over to see what they had. Wor Lass had a bacon roll for her lunch. As I ordered it, I couldn't help but think "Razor blades" (if this goes over your head, you probably were never Armoured Farmer or 15/19H providing close recce for Armoured Farmers: private joke).
I had a 1/4 pound cheeseburger and my mind instantly skipped back 51 weeks and forward one week to Tankfest. Last year I attended Tankfest and I was disappointed immediately after entry to find the canteen didn't do a cooked breakfast. I spent the morning bimbling and as lunchtime approached I found myself in the vicinity of a line of catering caravans. I found one which offered delights like the Chieftain, the Challenger and the Challenger 2, a series of ever bigger, ever more cholesterol-filled burgers. I was irresistibly drawn to the Challenger 2, with chips "and would you like cheese on your chips, sir?" Heart attack on a plate, let me tell you. But goo-ood. Mmmmmm.
Then I pointed out to the proprietor that he was missing one vital item from his list: the egg banjo. The queue (of civvies) all turned and looked on with interest and fell about when I explained and demonstrated the banjo action. There was a demonstration going on in the area a short distance away. Midway through the explanation there was a loud BANG from a tank gun nearby and I found myself instantly applying the standard gunner's correction and shouting "DROP 200!" before carrying on.
I'll be keen to see if he is there this year and whether he has heeded my advice (even if I'll be looking for something between egg banjo and Challenger 2).
I'll be there on Sat 26th too. Went for the first time last year & considered it the best Â£16 I'd spent in a long while. Whilst it's sad to hear of the demise of Tiger 131's engine (I was under the impression it was only the gearbox that was knackered), the highlight of last year's show for me was seeing it fire up & run round the arena - it was worth the visit for that alone. I hope a replacement engine can be found or built from scratch, so the old warhorse can run again; I'll be making an appropriate donation to the appeal on Saturday. Hope to meet some fellow Arrseurs there too.
A great day out. I , my son Andrew and a WWII vet from the Bournemouth & Poole branch had complimentary tickets for the VIP ( veterans) area. Andrew is now a vet of about 12 months. As a normal ticket was Â£18, we were quids in from the start. On entering Maurice was asked, veteran? World War II veteran he said, Not to be out done, she took one at me and before she could speak I stated " cold war veteran " and walked in. Large marquee, tables with sun covers, tea, coffee and water on tap, the ultimate, poshest, and most unbelievable "portaloo" toilets you could imagine. Right by the arena.
The sun shone all day, we eventually found the beer tent, after a hog roast for lunch. The display showed Centurion and Chieftain ( my son finally heard that famous straining growl from the underpowered Chieftain ) followed by the Khalid, Shir 1. Even after all these years to see ( and hear ) the Khalid makes my blood boil. A Chieftain with a Challenger power pack. It was what Chieftain should have been from the start. How many Centurion customers would have bought Khalid instead of Leopard 1 if it had been available as Chieftain right from the start. Challenger 1 followed, but a Scorpion did enter the arena so my day was complete. Maurice Bourne the WWII vet with me joined up with the Valentine crew and told them lots of war stories whilst having a brew in their tented area.
Lots of stands including the usual second hand military clothing stands. The RTR Association caravan was amongst the stands on view. Andrew I and had a good look around an AS 90 SP gun. The Panther Liaison vehicle looked good but much larger than I expected. Memories of Cyprus 1975 flooded back as the Mk2 Ferret decked out in white paint and UN livery entered the arena. I told Andrew as we sat and supped our Magners Cider, never ever say no to a Cyprus UN tour. The Royal Wessex Yeomanry were showing off CR2 so all the main players were on view to the public. Inside the museum I showed Andrew the Mk5 Ferret, another blast from the past.
I met Richard Smith the director of the Tank Museum who was a little disappointed with the very hot weather as it may have diverted many people to the beach. About 4000 were there but I suspect they had hoped for more. Although on again on Sunday the England v Germany game was sure to effect the attendance. I bumped into Field Marshals Montgomery and Rommel! the re enactment people were in good form. I told Monty that as I hadn't seen him since his funeral in 1976 he looked in remarkably fine fettle.
All too soon the day came to an end. Spent a fortune despite free entry. Next year I might come by train ( taxi from Wool station) bring a cool box with beers, and just stay in the VIP area for the day. I could really get used to this VIP lark.
I echo the sentiments above - I think Â£16 is a bargain price to pay per ticket for a day out like that! I had thought that not being able to see Tiger 131 run this year would put a damper on things, but no - this year there was a fully-restored JagdPanther from a private collection on display, & what a beast! Seeing it fire up its engine & run round the arena was a treat, & the restoration was immaculate. Worth going for that alone.
I also agree with the comments above re: Khalid, we should have had that first. The digital camouflage on it was intriguing, & apparently 100% authentic as used by the Jordanian Army (would have hated to have to mask & spray that!)
Also got to shoot the breeze & share many old memories with a 22yr ex-REME man, he'd served in Detmold too & had some great stories. It was like going back 30 years & made me feel like a 19yo Lance-Jack again!
Amazing day out, looking forward to next year. Highly recommended.