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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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What is that stick thingy on the bumper of the MRA1?

 

Width gauge due to blind view of wing?

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What is that stick thingy on the bumper of the MRA1? Maybe a convoy flag flagpole? A local modification perhaps as I've not seen this on one of these trucks previously.

 

I'm with Clive - a marker so the front nearside corner can be seen from the driver's position.

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The original design of Fv421s had the front of the 'cab' in one continuous slope, no window in the only cab door which was on the left side and was hinged on its rear edge. There were no hatches in the cab roof proper but provision for an AA gunner/observer just behind on the centreline of the vehicle. They also had the track idlers very close to the rearmost road wheel.

 

Later they were modified and possibly some built new with the more vertical windscreen, roof hatches in the two sloping sections of roof directly above driver and co driver, a window in the now front hinged door. Seperately the idler was moved back about 9" to the position shown in the photo in the post above and mounted on a much stronger adjusting mechanism with its pivot below the wheel centre instead of above.

 

 

I've just noticed that I have a couple of photos of a 421 which has the early sloping front and (assuming that the negatives haven't been reversed) a door on the right hand side.

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The original design of Fv421s had the front of the 'cab' in one continuous slope, no window in the only cab door which was on the left side and was hinged on its rear edge. There were no hatches in the cab roof proper but provision for an AA gunner/observer just behind on the centreline of the vehicle. They also had the track idlers very close to the rearmost road wheel.

 

Later they were modified and possibly some built new with the more vertical windscreen, roof hatches in the two sloping sections of roof directly above driver and co driver, a window in the now front hinged door. Seperately the idler was moved back about 9" to the position shown in the photo in the post above and mounted on a much stronger adjusting mechanism with its pivot below the wheel centre instead of above.

 

 

I've just noticed that I have a couple of photos of a 421 which has the early sloping front and (assuming that the negatives haven't been reversed) a door on the right hand side.

 

I don't see anything Bill! :-(

Maybe you'll post them here? I hope so, though as they're probably not sand-coloured, I shan't be too upset if you don't! ;)

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I'm with Clive - a marker so the front nearside corner can be seen from the driver's position.

 

Yes, I believe you're correct though it still looks odd and hardly flexi should it come into contact with it

a human or object. At least it has a bobbly bit on the end!

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There's a K9 hiding behind the Landy.

 

Very good Sean! ;) Obviously no one else did!:laugh:

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Yes, I believe you're correct though it still looks odd and hardly flexi should it come into contact with it

a human or object. At least it has a bobbly bit on the end!

 

They didn't have to comply with modern crash protection standards in those days!

 

If you make them flexible or even just mount them at the bottom they tend to vibrate with the vehicle, fatigue and break off. That's probably why it has that strap to the headlamp mount.

 

In real life it probably doesn't stick out as much as it appears to in the photo, so if you were close enough to be hit by it you're probably close to being caught by the truck anyway.

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I don't see anything Bill! :-(

Maybe you'll post them here? I hope so, though as they're probably not sand-coloured, I shan't be too upset if you don't! ;)

 

They were photos of an FV421 that I downloaded from the web and as I couldn't remember where from I was reluctant to post them in case they were subject to copyright. Having just done a Google image search I've discovered that I found them .... on this site. They are not sand coloured, but if you are interested they can be found here:

 

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?15341-Fv439-Ptarmigan/page2

 

The more that I look at them the more I think that the negatives have been reversed, and that it is the left hand side that is shown.

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The Moggie has the enlarged rear window of the 1000 which dates this photo as post 1956. I first saw a 1000 in 1957 in Tripoli..

Magnakater

 

QUOTE=BlueBelle;484991]Well, that's the K9s parked up for now, shelter tents packed away neatly ...... until the next time! :-)

We certainly learn lots here, don't we? Of course we do, all good stuff as far as I'm concerned.

Now, we're back in Tripoli, Tripolitania where 10 Armd Div Ord Fd Pk had been formed from the smaller 25 Armd Bde Ord Fd Pk, which, if I'm not misinterpreting the records, had existed in cadre form as part of the parent unit, 595 Ord Depot RAOC Kassala Bks (Mareth Bks pre-1955). The Ord Fd Pk seems to have been located in some other barracks and not with 595 Ord Depot. Could have been they were at Gurgi which seems most likely as the 595 Ord Veh Park were there, sharing 'the land' (a very basic 'barracks' with supposedly, no accommodation blocks though plenty of .... TENTS!) with 19 Armd Wksp REME and 5 Medium Wksp REME. RAOC Journals are so vague and provide no barrack names for units but they do tell you what the football score was having played against some other unit! Paff!

So, here's the some of the unit lined up in 1956, with their warpaint on (H) ready to go to somewhere they were not allowed to go to after all. Oh, look at all them RL Binners, and even Hippos!

Some vehicles do not display the 97 on the RAOC arm of service flash which makes me think those were issued from the main Ord or Veh depot to bolster the Ord Fd Pk (97) vehicle numbers.

What purpose the rectangular concrete arches serve is beyond me, though there are two b&w signs visible with the closest saying 'Receipts'. Perhaps the other says 'Issues' though I'm told that as stores were for storing, there were never any issues!

Can you see a caged Hippo? I can. A Moggie too!

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The Moggie has the enlarged rear window of the 1000 which dates this photo as post 1956. I first saw a 1000 in 1957 in Tripoli..

Magnakater QUOTE]

 

I know nothing about cars though the photos show the unit geared up for war, the 1956 Suez invasion and despite not participating, the vehicles remained thus marked, with a H and in use like that for well up to a year and in some cases, beyond, or, were as we've seen earlier, parked up and awaiting use as a hard target. The reverse of the photos says 1956 and Wiki tells me the Moggie with the enlarged rear window first appeard in ...... 1956! :embarrassed: The Moggie is not sand coloured anyway!

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The original design of Fv421s had the front of the 'cab' in one continuous slope, no window in the only cab door which was on the left side and was hinged on its rear edge. There were no hatches in the cab roof proper but provision for an AA gunner/observer just behind on the centreline of the vehicle. They also had the track idlers very close to the rearmost road wheel.

 

Later they were modified and possibly some built new with the more vertical windscreen, roof hatches in the two sloping sections of roof directly above driver and co driver, a window in the now front hinged door. Seperately the idler was moved back about 9" to the position shown in the photo in the post above and mounted on a much stronger adjusting mechanism with its pivot below the wheel centre instead of above.

 

 

I've just noticed that I have a couple of photos of a 421 which has the early sloping front and (assuming that the negatives haven't been reversed) a door on the right hand side.

 

During initial testing in the desert the test drivers experienced extremely poor visibility in the sandy environment hence the change of angle of the front cab area to try and maintain a lost obstructed forward view.

 

Also in the desert they experienced regular failures in respect of the track idlers, these were fixed to a tubular axle that would bend with regular monotony hence the relocation and redesign. The REME became extremely adept at removing the whole axle and straightening the tube in the field.

 

Eventually there were four FV420's on test in the Desert'.

 

D

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while searching files on disc l came across this information the FV 402 IN CANADA is listed as 60 BA 09 ESTABLISHMENT

number 4791 the one in thread 134 was sent to a range on the 11th july 1958 as a target prototype no2 was KYW36

and was reduced to scrap on the same date as prototype number one.

As to the FV 421

PROTOTYPE NUMBER REGISTRATION ESTABLISHMENT NUMBER FATE DISPOSAL DATE

ONE 00 CA 22 5707 TARGET 15/12/ 67

TWO 00 CA 24 5761 TARGET 15/12/67

THREE 00 CA 26 5762 SOLD 15/12/67

FOUR MOCK UP 5710 USED FOR RECOVERY 12/3/71

FIVE 00 CA 23 5711 SCRAPPED 15/8/63

SIX 00 CA 25 5767 SCRAPPED 1/4/64

SEVEN 00 CA 28 5785 TARGET 17/6/65

EIGHT HULL MOCK UP 5766 SCRAPPED 1/4/64

NINE 00 CA 30 5788 TARGET 15/12/67

TEN 00 CA 31 5799 TARGET 16/2/68

Edited by wally dugan
mistake

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Wiki is correct. The Moggie 1000 WAS first introduced in 1956 in the UK hence my statement that the photo MUST be post 1956. :-)

Magnakater.

 

QUOTE=BlueBelle;485239]

The Moggie has the enlarged rear window of the 1000 which dates this photo as post 1956. I first saw a 1000 in 1957 in Tripoli..

Magnakater QUOTE]

 

I know nothing about cars though the photos show the unit geared up for war, the 1956 Suez invasion and despite not participating, the vehicles remained thus marked, with a H and in use like that for well up to a year and in some cases, beyond, or, were as we've seen earlier, parked up and awaiting use as a hard target. The reverse of the photos says 1956 and Wiki tells me the Moggie with the enlarged rear window first appeard in ...... 1956! :embarrassed: The Moggie is not sand coloured anyway!

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The Moggie has the enlarged rear window of the 1000 which dates this photo as post 1956. I first saw a 1000 in 1957 in Tripoli..

Magnakater QUOTE]

 

I know nothing about cars though the photos show the unit geared up for war, the 1956 Suez invasion and despite not participating, the vehicles remained thus marked, with a H and in use like that for well up to a year and in some cases, beyond, or, were as we've seen earlier, parked up and awaiting use as a hard target. The reverse of the photos says 1956 and Wiki tells me the Moggie with the enlarged rear window first appeard in ...... 1956! :embarrassed: The Moggie is not sand coloured anyway!

 

Wiki is correct. The Moggie 1000 was introduced in 1956 in the UK, hence my comment that the photo must post date 1956

 

  • :-) Magnakater

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Thank you Wally for that input on the one here.

 

I have asked the current owner for some input and history and await his reply

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while searching files on disc l came across this information the FV 402 IN CANADA is listed as 60 BA 09 ESTABLISHMENT

number 4791 the one in thread 134 was sent to a range on the 11th july 1958 as a target prototype no2 was KYW36

and was reduced to scrap on the same date as prototype number one.

As to the FV 421

PROTOTYPE NUMBER REGISTRATION ESTABLISHMENT NUMBER FATE DISPOSAL DATE

ONE 00 CA 22 5707 TARGET 15/12/ 67

TWO 00 CA 24 5761 TARGET 15/12/67

THREE 00 CA 26 5762 SOLD 15/12/67

FOUR MOCK UP 5710 USED FOR RECOVERY 12/3/71

FIVE 00 CA 24 5711 SCRAPPED 15/8/63

SIX 00 CA 25 5767 SCRAPPED 1/4/64

SEVEN 00 CA 28 5785 TARGET 17/6/65

EIGHT HULL MOCK UP 5766 SCRAPPED 1/4/64

NINE 00 CA 30 5788 TARGET 15/12/67

TEN 00 CA 31 5799 TARGET 16/2/68

 

 

Now we know what happened to them! Thanks for the enlightenment Wally.

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Now, staying in the year of 1956 :-) with another Tripoli unit, we'll take a peek at a row of Scammell Explorers and Diamond Ts belonging to either 19 Armd or 5 Med Workshop REME. Can't see the old faithfulls there (94BD17 or 27). How do I know its 1956, you may well ask? Well, this time the photographer not only said as much, though the Arm of Service flash numbers tends to tell me as much ('the senior or only' REME divisional workshop for 10 Armd Div), other photos I have do too and, to a lesser degree, the warpaint 'H' all provide the confirmation.

Notice the 'near the radiator' spotlights on two of the Scammells and that two of them have a dangly thing hanging down off the cab roof above the windscreen.

The photographer who 'was there' has kindly supplied me with his photographic collection and full usage rights, so honoured and lucky me! I also have from him some very interesting vehicle photos from late 1955/early 1956 of REME in action in Egypt prior to the British withdrawal pre-Suez invasion. An M32 ARV of 3RHA L.A.D REME looks splendid in Light Stone, yet despite 3RHA M and D batteries departing for Homs, Libya to join J battery who had been there for two years, I can't bring myself to show the photo as its Egypt and this is a Tripolitania Libya thread (for most of the time). If I knew that 3RHA departed Egypt with their M32 ARVs, and that the ARVs did go to Homs, I might be tempted. Oh, I do know from a fuzzy photo that 14/20 Hussars, as part of the newly formed 25 Armd Div in 1952, had M32 'looking' ARVs over at Sabratha (14/20H departed Nov 1955). They may of course, have inherited them from the 4/7 Dragoons though I guess the ARVs never made it to the Queen's Bays once the 14/40H had departed (the Bays there had Centurion ARV Mk1s).

I do like to see RL Binners sneaking into the views.

Photo by John Newton REME.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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AF I'm afraid that although I have quite a large number of these FVRDE Specs they do not include any drawings. These two pages cover your area of interest. As you no doubt already know, it states the interior is to be painted enamel gloss eau-de-nil.

 

Clive, sorry I missed this reply somehow. Thank you very much, as you say not a great deal of help without the drawings but every bit of information is useful, now if we could track down the drawings that would be another thing altogether.

 

PT

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Shall we have a Saladin now? Yes, let's as it seems an in vogue topic. :)

Rather fetching, don't you think? Brand new, fresh Light Stone livery, as indeed were all the Saladins.

No problems with markings here either! The RAC flash has stencilled (crudely) in the white band '2 R TKS'. The Trip Dist flash is, at this point, a rectangular version. It changed and changed back and changed again and it appeared to be a right hodge podge of rectangles and shields, some with dhows missing a mast and sail, some dhows facing east instead of west! There is a 4"x4" (or 6"x6"?) RAC silver and black tank badge flash on the mantlet to the side of the main gun barrel and a much smaller version in the barrel end cap. Notice there's no bridge plate! I know it did arrive in Homs with one on the front wheel guard, a yellow circle and a number 11 in black though rather an odd font similar to an earlier Saladin I posted earlier. Can you see a neat O on the turret? Yes, Cyclops sqn and there's a 2A inside the O. This means it was the 2 Troop Sgt's Saladin though it soon became the Troop Leader's with the 2 Troop Sgt (Trevor Dady :)) being allocated 07BB34 'Cheetah'.

The Saladin shown soon also received a name, as did every armoured vehicle eventually except those of Badger who for an unknown reason, never named them. 'Coyote' in 4" white lettering on a black rectangle painted low down under the callsign on either side of the turret. Ajax sqn, in the beginning, and being 'different', had a smaller version of the name plate, one either side of the driver's vision blocks (see my 'Afridi' Saladin photo earlier) and they relocated their silver and black RAC badges from the mantlet to the front wheel guard.

Oh look! There's Ajax behind Cyclops and, in the background, the Braithwaite tower.:D

Photo by John Empson REME.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Notice the 'near the radiator' spotlights on two of the Scammells and that two of them have a dangly thing hanging down off the cab roof above the windscreen.

Photo by John Newton REME.

 

The dangly thing is a giant REME capbadge casting or molding! :laugh: I looked at the master photo, a big one, and saw them quite clearly. Also, one of the Scammells appears on another photo at its previous unit, 10 Base Ord Depot Geneifa, Egypt which closed in Jan. 1956.

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BlueBelle said:
Shall we have a Saladin now? Yes, let's as it seems an in vogue topic. :)

Rather fetching, don't you think? Brand new, fresh Light Stone livery, as indeed were all the Saladins.

No problems with markings here either! The RAC flash has stencilled (crudely) in the white band '2 R TKS'. The Trip Dist flash is, at this point, a rectangular version. It changed and changed back and changed again and it appeared to be a right hodge podge of rectangles and shields, some with dhows missing a mast and sail, some dhows facing east instead of west! There is a 4"x4" (or 6"x6"?) RAC silver and black tank badge flash on the mantlet to the side of the main gun barrel and a much smaller version in the barrel end cap. Notice there's no bridge plate! I know it did arrive in Homs with one on the front wheel guard, a yellow circle and a number 11 in black though rather an odd font similar to an earlier Saladin I posted earlier. Can you see a neat O on the turret? Yes, Cyclops sqn and there's a 2A inside the O. This means it was the 2 Troop Sgt's Saladin though it soon became the Troop Leader's with the 2 Troop Sgt (Trevor Dady :)) being allocated 07BB34 'Cheetah'.

The Saladin shown soon also received a name, as did every armoured vehicle eventually except those of Badger who for an unknown reason, never named them. 'Coyote' in 4" white lettering on a black rectangle painted low down under the callsign on either side of the turret. Ajax sqn, in the beginning, and being 'different', had a smaller version of the name plate, one either side of the driver's vision blocks (see my 'Afridi' Saladin photo earlier) and they relocated their silver and black RAC badges from the mantlet to the front wheel guard.

Oh look! There's Ajax behind Cyclops and, in the background, the Braithwaite tower.:D

Photo by John Empson REME.

Oh! Look again! It's THAT Saladin, now 6 months 'old' trundling gingerly down the escarpment towards the Tummo waterhole on Ex Crescent Moon. They had to get up it on the way back! Now, notice just how much of a difference in appearance 6 months make! I'll let you, dear viewer contribute by telling us of the visible differences :laugh:

Aren't Light Stone Saladins particularly delightful to behold!

Photo by Trevor Dady 2RTR

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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I take it as read that you all spotted the differences in the same Saladin in the previous two colour photos? Well done! :-D

Now we can see the same 07BB75 AGAIN, which at first had no 'name', then became 'Coyote' and has now become 'Cougar' in this line up outside the main gate of Homs camp. The building behind the line up is the Sgt's Mess and RHQ. We're on parade with the 2 Troop, Cyclops 2RTR 'Honour Guard' for King Idris who would motor past along the main road (Via Balbia) you see between Tripoli and Benghazi. There's a Libyan policeman in the road. The second Saladin is callsign 2A, VRN 00BB34 and is Trevor Dady's 'panzer' now named 'Cheetah'. That's him (Troop Sgt) standing in front of it with his crew. Hmm, I wonder if the vehicle Tripolitania District flash has changed shape from rectangle to shield, vice versa or indeed, whether all are the same shape at the same time? Can you see a bridging plate anywhere? Can you see the name plates on the Saladins (Ferrets had them too)?

Photo by Trevor Dady 2RTR

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Now it’s time for a first, yes, something from 6RTR who were based in Barce (Cyrenaica, Libya) from July 1957 to November 1957, and who then, apart from a squadron and their tanks who were deployed to Cyprus, found themselves stationed in Homs, Tripolitania just in time for Christmas. Their arrival in Homs permitted 23 Sqn RE, who’d been sent there on ‘empty camp’ guard duty since the departure of 3RHA in May 1957, to return to their parent unit in Tripoli, 22 Eng Regt RE, who then, as a regiment, promptly departed Libya for the UK (and Christmas in Blighty) as the rapid (and ‘massive’) drawdown of British forces from Libya really began to take effect.

There, that’s set the scene; now we see some of 6RTR’s Centurions (early Mk3s), complete with their mono-trailers, sat on Diamond T transporters ‘somewhere outside Homs’ (so the photographer informs me, though I have my doubts as will be evident later on), either very late November 1957 or very early in 1958. Any later and the 25 Armd Bde/10 Armd Div flash and the red rectangular armoured 52 flash (applied to the tanks and other vehicles when they first arrived in Barce from the UK) were soon replaced by, yes, the Tripolitania District flash (rectangles and shields) and the RAC red/yellow/white bar 6 R TKS flash (as we’ll see in some other photos later).

Several things to note, if you’re of a mind to do so. First is the mono-trailer wheel on the ground; this was apparently transported just as you see without the trailer being screwed up and held in place with locking bars between the tank rear upper hull eyelets and the eyelets on top of the mono-trailer rear plate. Yes, driven like that; I have a photo of such on a main road in BAOR, not mine so I can’t show it here. Astonishing? Some of us know that 2RTR hoicked their mono-trailers up and locked them mid-air so as to permit easy and safe loading, unloading and driving of transporters. To be fair, the photographer, then a subaltern, hasn’t answered my question as to whether or not the trailers were lifted and locked or not. If you look closer again, the tank rear upper hull eyelets are already occupied by the tie-down chains to the transporter deck. Hmmm.

What else? Well, whilst the photo quality makes close scrutiny a little difficult, can you see the Division/Command flash and the Arm of Service flash on the Diamond T trailer? I can. One is the RASC flash and the other is a Command flash, the latter which looks like to me, a lion facing right, with its four legs sticking out to the right, a crown above its head and perhaps something (a globe?) under its bottom, all on a rectangular patch which may be a single unknown colour or a say, red above dark blue? Hmmm, does anyone know what it is as I have a suspicion that this is (where I go wrong again) something to do with the Command at that point still being MELF transitioning into NELF Cyprus HQ and the shifting of Libya Districts to Malta Command. There appears to be a fuzzy photo of such a lion flash on a 3RTR Cyprus Saladin 1987 (page 100) in Warpaint V3, which by the way is a generally good reference overall, though totally lacking on the colour schemes and marking of Libya-based formations and vehicles other than the reference to Light Stone (omitted camouflage schemes, tut tut) and the two District flashes which we all know about. I’ll have to write it myself I suppose. So, back to my doubts about where the photo was taken; could it just be that the photo shows the 6RTR squadron in Cyprus on Cyprus-based tank transporters? Could be perhaps, as the photographer spent some months there in 1957 with his regiment.

The Tripolitania-based tank transporter unit around that time was 1 Coy RASC Tripoli, who were part of, or who had been subsumed into 38 Company RASC, though not for long. I have evidence to suggest that by December 1958, there were no tank transporting capabilities in Tripolitania, borne out by 6RTR, as the last tank regiment in Libya with tanks becoming tankless around the same time as their armour was shipped back to the UK from Tripoli on the heavy lift ship BenalBanach. They certainly were tankless in April 1959, though I can’t substantiate if that event occurred earlier. 6RTR seemingly were left with just trucks and Champs for five months (or more) before setting sail for the UK on the Dunera at the end of August 1959! I shall get the low-down on that period, fear not! Please remember, some of what I write is from memories of those who were there, suppositions based on their photos and could be subject to a pinch of salt here and there and in some cases, whilst intriguing, is as much ‘intellectual’ use as a well educated chocolate frog in a teapot.

Can you see a slave lead?

Do tell me please, what you can see and what you know.

Photo by Peter Doyle 6RTR

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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I can imagine that although unconventional, the mono trailer would probably tow well enough as shown above but I am suprised that it was possible to actually load the tank onto the trailer with the mono trailer attached. Those trailers are very high and even with the length of a Centurion the tank really stands on its tail as you climb up the ramps. I loaded a late model Sherman onto one once and could barely see the guy directing me because the tank tipped back so far (though the Sherman is much shorter).

 

On the other hand to take the mono trailers off and re-fit them was a real pain and without the tank they were immoveable without a crane. They were a dreadfull solution to increasing the range and had no redeeming features at all !

 

David

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