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steveo578

Otterburn range wrecks

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Another view of the Stalwarts at ATGW1 car park

 

 

One awaiting targeting at ATGW2 hard standing.

 

 

This Stollie is the hindberry Crag target shown in the previous post

 

 

diver99

WHAT PANZER?

 

Thought that would wake you all up, yes Otterburn Training Area has a Panzer myth whether it is true or not one thing I can say is that unless it was buried-or well hinden in a plantation it is not there any more.

 

The remains were supposed to have been recovered to the road side at or around ATGW2 firing point- which of course is the main placement point for vehicles about to be targeted. needless to say I went over the area with a fine tooth comb.

 

It is perfectly possible that a WW2 German vehicle was on OTA at some time many ranges had them especially post war -Pirbright Lulworth SPTA to name the obvious ones. Goswick in Northumberland had a SdKfz 123 SPG for an afternoon in l944-45 -an afternoon is about how long it lasted. There were also 6 early Churchills emplaced in a guarding ring around the main vehicle line on this range- by the time a concerted effort was made to clear the range stared in 1995 there was nothing but reduced scrap left- the only thing I could recognise was a couple of bogie springs (and I think I know my way around Churchills).

 

As for OTA it's a strange range -note there are no remnants of any of the usual suspects on this range, no M10s, Daimlers, Valentines (although the Vickers factory is just 30 miles down the road) or even Churchill gun tanks- its not that clear ups are that thorough -pretty good but still managed to leave a Covenanter, M3 medium and A11 Matilda. The last Sherman went in 1983 -I missed it by a day:-(. It would be nice if some-one came up with some photos of earlier targets.:-(

 

As for earlier times my first connection with OTA was as a cadet in the 1960s -4 times we were on OTA we never saw a tank. We observed a shoot with Wombats on a plate target at Quickencote. Once in what was probably the cadet area the officer was convinced the thing on top of the hill was "definately a tank" despite my insubordination that it looked a pile of bricks with a lump of wood sticking out of it -we climbed the hill -needless to say it was the trig point that had fallen over:(. Another occasion two of us went awol and tried to get to Bushmans where we were sure there would be a tank or two, but had to turn back -the distances were too much -and we were worried we might be put on a charge:shocked:.

 

In 1978 I was attending a course north of Otterburn and on a sunday afternoon we decided to have a look around to see what there was- the first time I saw Merlin the Mk4 AVRE evidently it had been concreted only a few years before, one of the guys came back with a sketch of what he was convinced was a Prototype A23 (a Churchill-Cromwell Hybrid) I now think it was the Mk3 Churchill which was recovered as the Bovington runner.

 

Steve

stalwart 10.jpg

stalwart 11.jpg

stalwart 12.jpg

Edited by steveo578

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Don't doubt that german armour could have been on the range, similar to jagdpanther and pak 88 on salisbury.

I bet it's buried on top of the roman villa at otterburn, i'll get my metal detector and shovel.

 

There is another rumour of two/three panther bodies buried at chertsey. Painted with different anti-corrosive elements and buried. To be recovered to see the effects of the corrosion. But according to the story, the project was abandoned and location of said bodies has been forgotten in time.

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Photos of the Stalwarts on the "RAF range" these lasted quite some time being emplaced between 1985 and 1994 they are shown in these photos in the first half of 2002 shortly after they were heavily bombed in training for Iraq 2.

 

 

 

 

diver99

I bet it's buried on top of the roman villa at otterburn, i'll get my metal detector and shovel.

 

 

Happily I don't think there are any Roman Villas on or even near Otterburn - really shouldn't encourage English Heritage:-(. There are a number of Roman Training Camps on the ranges as are mediheval villages and some old farmsteads -there is even a complete Roman Seige Training Camp at Woden Law which is just over the north west range boundary -so the artillery were there nearly 1800 years ago.

 

There is another rumour of two/three panther bodies buried at chertsey.

 

Anything possible although I find the idea of burying stuff in what amounts to heath land somewhat weird. -I believe one of the Comets Bovington now owns was used for soil dynamics/technology trials.

 

There is also a story that a WW1 tank or possibly the prototype Nellie (the 1940 trench digger) was abandoned or buried on Chobham common, there is also a persistant rumour that some WW1 tanks buried at Bovington to save them from the scrappers. Most of the burials were discounted until the dis-internment of the tanks at Battlesbury bowl in 1985 and of course the earlier find of the Dorking Covenanter.

 

I've never heard of anything being buried at OTA so you can all keep your spades handy for the snow:cool2:

 

Steve

stalwart 7.jpg

stalwart 8.jpg

stalwart 7.jpg

stalwart 9.jpg

stalwart 8.jpg

stalwart 9.jpg

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I will get back to you on the Roman Villa, i am sure i have a map location or reference from Santuary or some it.

 

As to Bovington buried tanks. As much as I love treasure hunting stories, i think this may be a bit long in the tooth. The story is scrappers were concerned about the destruction of heritage', which in itself I find odd. So 'mother' was buried. There are regular metal detectors looking around places where tanks were cut-up, but finding very little. Also the top end of the tank training area cuts into the old WW1 training trenches, where it is also said to be the burial place of vehicles.

 

I think there are a few WW1 memorial tanks buried in places after the Councils lost interest and monetary reality hit home about conservation. But as to condition, being only boiler-plate, would be negligible. As to digging them up it would be as historical interest, as complete vehicles, see 'Deborah' would be doubtful.

 

I was in Ypres a couple of years ago and, I was shown a very nice manicured garden where it is rumoured a tank lies beneath...

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Hi steve,

 

The stolly pictures are great, thanks

Its amazing what the army do to expensive equipment once its served its usefulness, its a shame to see any of the vehicles shot up, but i know its necessary for the training.

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Amphibi boy

.....Its amazing what the army do to expensive equipment once its served its usefulness,

 

The thing about the Stalwart that bothered me was that firstly the thing ceased to be amphibious:-( which made the design somewhat pointless but worse still as an none amphibious high mobility load carrier it wasn't replaced by something equal -never mind better- a more modern design especially with better maintanablity should not have been beyond our capablities.

 

three more stollie pics:-) probably the last -although I'm sure I have some in negs only but untill I get a good neg. copier that's it for the moment.

 

 

 

 

Steve

stalwart 4.jpg

stalwart 5.jpg

stalwart 6.jpg

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diver99

I will get back to you on the Roman Villa,

 

I'm working from the 1980s military map- there may have been new discoveries/developments but anywhere north of the wall tends to be of military instalation- there could be a villa for the O/C training of the roman military zone but I tend to regard the term Villa as a civilian farmstead rather than anything to do with the Roman military.

 

As to Bovington buried tanks. As much as I love treasure hunting stories, i think this may be a bit long in the tooth.

Never said it wasn't anything other than "Jackanory" the last time it came up I contacted guys in the RE to see if a training operation using Forester Dectectors could be done to hit the story on the head totally- they were quite enthusiastic but events overtook the idea at an early stage -Foot and Mouth -9-11 Afghanistan-Iraq understandably caused the ball to be dropped.

 

I think there are a few WW1 memorial tanks buried in places after the Councils lost interest and monetary reality hit home about conservation. But as to condition, being only boiler-plate, would be negligible. As to digging them up it would be as historical interest, as complete vehicles, see 'Deborah' would be doubtful.

 

I did some local research into what happened to the 2 to 4 WW1 tanks in the North East of England- I found a photo of one in a local newspaper archive along with a 7.7cm Fk, I believe most were cut up but if any were buried it all depends on the soil conditions rather than the type of steel plate used, both armour and M/S could survive equally well. An example is the 2 13cm FK dug up in a park at St Peterport Guernsey in 1978 (I think) after being buried in a hurry in 1940 to avoid air attack -they have survived despite the fact that they weren't in good condition when buried -already 2 others had been scrapped in the late 1930s because of their condition. Oh and who is Deborah;).

 

Steve

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The thing about the Stalwart that bothered me was that ... worse still as an none amphibious high mobility load carrier it wasn't replaced by something equal -never mind better- a more modern design especially with better maintainability should not have been beyond our capabilities

 

I seem to remember DRA / DERA built an HMLC prototype, I think using pretty much all off the shelf components from various manufacturers, back in the '90s. If I remember right, it looked something like a 6x6 version of a modern Unimog with a forward control Unipower cab on, but it's a long time since I saw it so I may be remembering wrong. From the photos and spec it looked absolutely terrific and very capable, but obviously nothing ever came of it.

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Oh and who is Deborah;).

Steve

A rather rough old girl in Flesquieres!;)

Deborah_51.jpg

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Diver99 & Pzkfpw -e Thanks for that! Thought it was that one wasn't aware it had been properly IDed.

 

Sean N

I seem to remember DRA / DERA built an HMLC prototype,

 

Any photos -I like to see the odd prototype:-)

 

Steve

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Yet more great stolly pictures, they seem to be dotted all over the area. :D

 

I have a picture of that prototype somewhere, i will look for it this weekend, it was a forward control cab layout, 6 wheel drive.

 

Shaun

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I have a picture of that prototype somewhere, i will look for it this weekend, it was a forward control cab layout, 6 wheel drive.

 

 

 

I recollect it was on a low loader outside my workshop one weekend, with a rack on it loaded with ammo boxes, think it was going overseas for a demo. Had a good look underneath it and took some pics, but can't find them now :embarrassed:

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I seem to remember DRA / DERA built an HMLC prototype, I think using pretty much all off the shelf components from various manufacturers, back in the '90s. If I remember right, it looked something like a 6x6 version of a modern Unimog with a forward control Unipower cab on, but it's a long time since I saw it so I may be remembering wrong. From the photos and spec it looked absolutely terrific and very capable, but obviously nothing ever came of it.

 

Was that the one with electric motors in the wheel hubs?

 

Andy

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"The thing about the Stalwart that bothered me was that firstly the thing ceased to be amphibious which made the design somewhat pointless but worse still as an none amphibious high mobility load carrier it wasn't replaced by something equal -never mind better- a more modern design especially with better maintanablity should not have been beyond our capablities."

 

Are you saying the 'Stolly' ceased to be amphibious when they stuck a HIAB on the back, or for another reason?

 

Chas.

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i think steve was refering to the fact that the army stopped using them in an amphibious role, although the stolly still had it's swim gear, the propshaft that drove it was removed so it had no drive to the propellers.

 

eddy

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Yes it was becoming a high maintanence vehicle, so they removed the amphibious drive as helicoptors were able to lift more weight, so they amphibious role was no longer needed.

As said they removed the drive shafts and some units even removed the bevel boxes.

(who knows, maybe somewhere there is a container full off these parts! If they did'nt just weigh them in for a bit of beer money). :D

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Although this has gone a little off thread, most of the Stalwarts had the swimming steer tillers removed from the cab as well.

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Amphibi boy

Anyway steveo, post some more pictures to get this back on track! :-D

 

I've been having problems with internet connection -think about it -giga bit connections reliant on telegraph technology -copper wires, negative temperature, snow and moisture -not a good thing.

 

Yes it was becoming a high maintanence vehicle, so they removed the amphibious drive as helicoptors were able to lift more weight, so they amphibious role was no longer needed.

 

Which helicopter was that? Britain still doesn't have an adequate number of aircraft -thinking back 25years the standard light lift helo was still the Westland Wessex (S58/H34) which was lucky if it could manage 1500kg -faster but like all helicopters always vulnerable to observation at great distances.

 

todays pics of the Commer Patrol vehicle at Hindberry Crags.

3599XI had been used in grenade practice. photo taken 1997

 

 

After another fire, most likely a quanity of brash from pine trees had been burnt inside turning the vehicle into a large "iron stove". OP tower for ATGW3 in the background.

 

 

Still just about visible is the 39 Brigade marking.

 

 

Detail pic of the Visor handle and sliding side visor.

 

 

Steve

ruc apc.jpg

commer detail.jpg

ruc commer.jpg

commer.jpg

Edited by steveo578

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Commer APCs 3977XI at Hindberry Crags with the "protected" range shed in the background -this photo was used in David Dunne's book Armoured and Heavy Vehicles of the RUC but the date the photo was taken is incorrect these photos were taken in 1992.

 

 

 

 

Steve

img002.jpg

commer b.jpg

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Steve, thank you for sharing the pictures of the poor old Commers. To my mind, of narrow interests, it is the most desirable vehicle up there! Wheeled armour particularly of an improvised style I find very attractive.

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fv1609

..... To my mind, of narrow interests, it is the most desirable vehicle up there!

 

Hi Clive

 

Shame I did know you back in 1991-2, the then RO wanted the Commers saved (he had seen them in service early on in 1969-98 troubles.)

 

If I had any sense I should have recovered one myself -even if just as a shed, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

 

The most depressing thing was hawking the offer of a Commer to various museums with no interest being shown- the upshot was -they were "too ugly" and privately I was told "Museums are not interested in NI stuff- they find them somewhat embarrassing-." which to me is a palpable insult to those who served there:-(.

 

Steve

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Steve yes in 1991-2 I would have had one, I was well into it by then as I bought my RUC Shorland in 1987 & it would have gone nicely with my RUC Pig that I now have as well.

 

I remember being in the Tank Museum discussing the photos they had of some Commers & being told they were offered one but were not interested at all in such an awful thing.

 

It's interesting to read RUC correspondence in the 1950s arguing the case for expanding the Commer fleet as they were considered more reliable, easier to maintain & easier to get spares for than the Humbers.

 

In a SITREP concerning the Army use of the water cannon the writer complains that they were very badly designed & the pump operator easily becomes overcome by exhaust fumes. As a result he can only function wearing a respirator, funny that I didn't think respirators could eliminate carbon monoxide.

 

I'm heartened that you & the RO had a sense of duty in wanting to save these extraordinary bits of our history. As I say I wish I knew at the time.

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