After sketching my first military vehicle at The Eastern Counties show earlier this year I have been wanting to sketch some more of these incredible vehicles. Well I couldn't have chosen a better place than The Tank Museum, and on the day of their annual event Tankfest! The Museum is an incredible place with a huge collection of tanks and related vehicles, and a fantastic WWI display Showing the development of early tanks and the use of warhorses, it's well worth a visit even if there isn't an event on. Whilst Tanks charged round The Arena I sketched a few interesting machines:
Challenger 2 TES (Theatre Entry Standard)
This is the most up to date tank that was on display. The Challenger 2 is currently used by the army and this version has all the upgrades including passive armour and various weapons upgrades. The engine is a Perkins Condor CV12 which develops 1200bhp with a top speed of 35mph.
Tank Medium T34/85
This was my first sketch of the day so I thought I'd start with a classic tank. The T34 was built by the USSR and started service in the 40's, and stayed in service until the 60's. Around 70,000 units were built. This specific 85 example was used in the Korean War by Chinese Communist forces. The 85 variant was commonly used in world trouble spot and can still be found in 3rd world armies.
Tank Mk IV
One of my objectives for the day was to sketch a WWI tank. There were plenty on display in the museum, but when I saw this one outside on display alongside members of The Great War Society I had to capture the scene. After sketching this MkIV I found out that it was not a real one but a recreation that was made for the film Warhorse. It uses JCB running gear and took 10 months to build and cost £80,000! Apparently a lot of it was bespoke including all the track plates.
WWI tanks were developed to break through German lines by climbing over trenches and anything else that got in the way. When it got there they could fire across the lines with the guns on the side The tanks only travelled at 4mph and so were easy targets for the Germans. Occasionally bullets would get inside the tank and bounce around, so the men inside would wear masks as seen above.
Final tank fact.... Tanks get their name from a code word that was used for them when they shipped them over to Europe. The body of the tank looked like a riveted water tank and so they were named as tanks to avoid being detected by the Germans hence the name. The appearance of these formidable machines on the battle field would have been a total surprise to the Germans.
Baffle Amoured Personel Carrier
Based on a Mercedes Benz Unimog chassis this Baffle came into service in South Africa in 1978. It is designed to protect the driver and troops from mines, as the drivers cab and rear troop section are set high up and have V shape undercarriages to deflect the blast.
Matilda, Canal Defence Light
Rolls Royce Armoured Car
Titan Bridge Launcher
Halftrack full with troops ready for the mock battle at the end of the show.