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Meeting the Chieftain at Bovington Tank Musuem.

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Nathan454 #1 Posted Dec 11 2016 - 16:09


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In October I visited England for 1 week, and there was no way I was going all the way to London without taking a detour to the Tank Museum in Bovington (About 3 hours drive west of London.)  It was a awesome day and I'd humbly suggest its well worth going out of your way to visit at least once. Unfortunately most of my pictures did not come out well  We had one dedicated camera, but it had a bad battery that constantly went dead, and almost all of our cell phone photos sucked.  I think taking a picture of TOG may have broken them. The primary purpose of the pictures is to help me remember the trip so it’s not that big a deal, but a minor suggestion for anyone going across the pond, take multiple batteries for your camera.  Having said that, if anyone wants a particular shot of a tank, let me know and I'll see if I have one.

I've always had a interest in US tanks, and if you want to see a good US tank museum, you go to Bovington, England, naturally. Just as if you want to shoot a 100% real British Sten gun, you go to Las Vegas, USA. This encourages cultural exchange between the two countries.

The Tank Museum in Bovington is awesome. I could have cheerfully spent 2 whole days there (And your ticket is good for an entire year.) While you can walk through the interior in less than an hour, the number, variety and quality of the tanks is incredible. (There is also an exterior building that is just crammed with every imaginable armored vehicle that are reserved for future uses.) Bovington was designed with themed walks in mind. WWI was particularly good and be sure to catch the guided tour. You can tell that everyone there has a genuine passion about what they are talking about, as well as a dry sense of humor that kept even very grim parts of the tour fun. (Quote “There is a rumor btw, that the gas fumes in these tanks were so bad that it could asphyxiate the crew. Complete Bollocks, German shells would thankfully ventilate the tank long before that became a problem.”;)) Being able to climb into one of the British rhomboid tanks during these talks is something I’ll never forget. I also found out that the Mark 1 carrier pigeon was actually a thing. Get there early, and try to catch the guided tours, and adventure by yourself in between them.

There was very little missing from Bovington. No IS tanks, and no Abrams, those are really my only complaints. Actually it’s so good you get greedy. I’d love to be able to sit in a tank, crank the turret around, look through the sites. (Although they do have a M10 GMC…open top…no rope around it, it’s almost like they are daring you to climb in it and play tanker.)

But my favorite part of going to Bovington was that I actually got to meet the Chieftain! Nicholas Moran, director of militaria relations of World of Tanks, creator of the Chieftains hatch series, US Armor officer with combat experience in both Abrams and Bradleys, and perhaps the only 6’5” Irish/Anglo/American Tanker that also works for Girls Un Panzer and My Little Pony, but I can’t be sure on that point.

I’d like to think it was a one in a million shot of meeting him there, but truthfully I suspect he spends a couple weekends a year there. Still, it was a great experience to shake his hand, talk to him a bit about tanks and museum’s (When asked about the best US tank museums, a rough quote....“There is no single best US Tank museum; there are museums of varying levels of acceptability."  I told him I still disagree with him about the suitability of using M36’s as substitute M4’s in certain situations, while admitting his arguments against it were more rational, sane, and correct then mine. (I reject his reality and substitute my own.) The man has a cool dry sense of humor and it was great talking to him. He was there as a technical adviser for Girls un panzer (Of course he was, why else would he be there.) Meeting him gave me a little hope of meeting David Fletcher (Tanks chats) or Richard "The Challenger" Cutland but no such luck. Still, it set a good precedent for my trip as a whole. If you are anywhere, remotely near Bovington, this trip is a no brainer. 

I've attached a photo of a Hetzer (Ok, a Jagdpanzer 38t) side by side with a Jagdpanther, simply because I like how it shows the size difference. And a Photo of me and the Chieftain. I'm a honest 6'1"/1.85 meters tall, The Chieftain is quite a bit taller then the usual tanker. I apologize for the quality of the photos.

Attached Files

  • Attached File   hetezervspanther.jpg   167.39K
  • Attached File   Chieftainalone.jpg   160.7K
  • Attached File   MeandtheChieftain.jpg   167.54K

Edited by Nathan454, Dec 12 2016 - 03:45.

FrozenKemp #2 Posted Dec 11 2016 - 16:57


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Very cool, Nathan!  Thanks for sharing :) 

MagillaGuerilla #3 Posted Dec 11 2016 - 17:03


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Nice story, it looks awesome. The armor museum at Ft.Benning, Georgia is in the works.

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