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Otterburn range wrecks

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In deference to eddy8men I'm starting a separate thread for Otterburn range target photos rather than post them in the the thread in the Archaeology sub forum. There are likely to be some repeats that have been posted elsewhere on the forum-I hope that others will contribute especially anyone with pre 1980s photos.

Coventanter Mk3




Covenanter pulled out of the mire



Covenanter gets airborne



Very early M3 Grant 1 Medium hulk




M3 PSC.jpg


covenanter front.jpg

Covenanter recovery.jpg

Edited by steveo578
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Various photos of OTA Churchills All Mk4 Petard AVREs

The oldest Churchill on site until removed in 2002 was Merlin (although it is of the same approximate age as the Bovington Mk3 AVRE) its nameon the right air intake may not be original although some AVREs at the RE wing at Bovington had names associated with Marlories novel -for example Black Knight.



During its recovery it was necessary to replace the left idler -a missile had swept the air intake, side door off and damaged the idler.


Detail of the removal of idler note the track tensioning shims to the left



Detail of another AVRE on the Otterburn impact area





2nd AVRE on the Otterburn sub division



The heavily damaged 3rd AVRE on this sub division probably had been there since the early 1950s as were Merlin and the Mk3 recovered in the 1980s by Bob Grundy- this one got the worst of 25pdr HE and AP and 5.5s












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The Red Cavalier was back marker on the Roman Road A/T range -the firing point being just off the line of Deer Street ( the main arterial Roman road). There were an number of wrecks on this site that were removed in the late 1970s including a Centurion, two Comets, Saracen and possibly a Churchill MK7.


Strange thing while awaitng recovery the commanders hatch which had been placed in the engine compartment went missing.



Trials for a new form of APC perhaps? the wreck is dragged off the range Noe the damage by 17pdr has blown the right rear turret side clean off.



On the edge of the road awaitng the transporter note the 17pdr shell holes despite being rear marker it still was targeted on occasion -fortunately the R/L BATs fired from the main firing point seem to have been unable or were forbidden to engage the target.



The first attempt to remove it from the range ended in failure.



Detail view of the inside of the turret.



Cavaliers had the ID mounted on the Glacis and possibly the enstamped U designates unarmoured!


red cavalier.jpg

red cavalier ID plate.jpg

Red Cavalier detail.jpg

Red cavalier 3.jpg

Red cavalier1.jpg

Red cavalier 2.jpg

OTA Red A24.jpg

Edited by steveo578
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great thread steve, it's about time you shared some of your knowledge with us lesser mortals :D it makes me wonder what still remains, i'd bet a pound to a pinch of salt there's still many surprises to to be found on ota, it's such a massive, bleak range that you could spend a life time and not see it all.


keep em coming



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it makes me wonder what still remains, i'd bet a pound to a pinch of salt there's still many surprises to to be found on ota, it's such a massive, bleak range that you could spend a life time and not see it all.


I think 12 years was long enough cover the entire range -although it did take 9years for the Blue Cavalier to pop up, after that I made sure I covered the range more systematically. If anything turns up now it would be a site burial. There are rumours of targets outside the current military reservation -for example there was supposed to be an A/T target at a farm called Blagdon burn gate (which is at least 5mile from Otterburn (probably a Home guard training site) where a number of bombs/grenades were dug up by the farmer, the RO having to despatch the EOD to sort it. There was nothing aparaent so if it the tank is still there it was buried or well hidden in a copse or thicket.


Covenanter supplemental


2 strange characters view the wreck



fighting compartment



Engine compartment



Loading the tank onto a trailer linked to a dozer



Fodens again lift the tank




coventanter 2.jpg

covenanter detail.jpg

covenanter detail 3.jpg

covenanter recovery 3.jpg

coventanter roecovery 2.jpg

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Churchill supplemental

Eddy did you say you wanted a Churchill clutch plate it looks like a 5.5inch extractor has almost done the job for you:D



Probably an ex RE driver training tank the turet was locked in reverse and a wooden block was fitted to the hull Besa mount- obviously to stop the draught during high speed jollies.



same tank.



Current status of the OTA Churchills is unknown to me there was a plan to strip them in 2005 whether this happened I don't know.



Churchill 2 rear view.jpg

Churchill 4 AVRE front view.jpg

Churchill rear 1.jpg

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A guy who was looking at my Lightweight told me that several had been airdropped by mistake into the middle of one of the wooded areas in Otterburn. They were so inaccessible that no attempt was made to recover them. Could be an urban myth of course...

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Adrian Barrell

Oi! I'm not strange....



At least I said that you were a character .. I remember a poor s'd applying to join our local police force and was turned down for "no disernable character":rolleyes:


.......I still laugh when I think about the recovery of the lightweight landy on that job. :-D


Yes I had the good sense to walk -it's surprising how violently a D6 can pull a landy around.



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Could be an urban myth of course...



Although there are lots of "rural" myths about the OTA -this one is perfectly possible as the huge Stewardshiel plantation was the southern boundary to the old parachute DZ so a sudden gust from the north and that would be that, I never reckoned the drop zone myself -another one with a nice wire egg slicer fence across it.


Stewardshiel was cleared when I was around -I took an early opportunity to get in an look around for any "lost" targets but I didn't see any landys -however they could have been removed - As for other plantations they are less likely as they are some distance from the DZ.


I do remember about 1995 a landy was dropped on the DZ without its chutes deploying.



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In July 1977 after Ex Trident in which NATO SF units air-dropped into an Escape and Evasion exercise where 15/19H were the Orange forces, GW Troop stayed behind to fire their Mark 5 Swingfire Ferrets. I was volunteered to stay with them to provide the OC's Land Rover as fetch-and-carry.


Day 1, Monday. PRAC Swingfires downrange.


Day 2, Tuesday. Arrive at the firing point, find the peat downrange still burning from yesterday's shoot. Not good. "You'll not be firing today until you have put out yesterday's fires." The troop jumped into my FFR and the four-tonner that had brought the ATGMs from the ammo bunker. ATO came with us, commanding my FFR, "just in case". Besides, he had nothing better to do if there was no firing.


There was 4000m of command wire in the back of a Swingfire and enough fuel for that journey. After 4000m it would continue on a ballistic path until something gave. It was maybe 8-10Km by road to the far end of the target area. We started beating.


There had been a number of shots at (IIRC) an M47. There were several fires smouldering around it. We found a live mortar round in the line of one of the fires. ATO took over. First thing he did was hand me the keys to his rover and sent me back to the FP to ditch mine and bring his, complete with the tools of his trade. One of the GW Troop corporals had worked with ATO on our recent tour of Omagh, so ATO dragged him with him. Taff wasn't exactly happy, especially when ATO calmly picked up the round and carried it to the M47.


The commander's hatch was open. ATO climbed in and placed the round on top of the breech, attached enough of PE88 to accommodate a detonator and gave it a 30-second fuze. ATO worked hard to keep Taff walking, not running, from the tank as the fuze counted down. (He had told us what he was doing all the time and we all had prime views and we counted down for them.)


I had my Pocket Instamatic out and tried to get a pic, but the shock was sufficient to jerk the camera and the pic was entirely unsatisfactory.


But this is what happened in that instant. Bear in mind that everything about this M47 was rusted solid.


The round went off. It depressed the breech. It slammed the barrel to full elevation, then slammed back down and up again.


The gunner's hatch (closed) flew open, slammed against its stops and slammed shut again. Except that the explosion was still swelling the turret and the hatch passed clean through inside the hull.


A cloud of rust covered about 10m radius from the M47.


All in all a pleasant moment.


Entirely off-topic. I spent this afternoon in the Tank Museum with nipper. A mate of mine, who spent much of his career in GW Troop, works at Bovy, but he wasn't in today (I did ask). At Tankfest I noticed that the Mark 5 Ferret had acquired a GW Troop 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars sticker. I gave him stick on our Facebook group.


Very close to the Mark 5 is a Striker, which replaced the Mark 5 (and according to the info on the FV438 I noticed today, also replaced the 438). Now this particular Striker has been a museum exhibit for years, and it interests me because it bears the markings of J "Sidi Rezegh" Battery, 3RHA, who provided GW support to the 15/19H during the interregnum between ATGW being taken from the RAC (after the above 15/19H shoot in 1977) until its return some time in the late 80s I think.


Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I realised my mate had done it again: sticking a 15/19H GW Troop sticker on a GW vehicle. I have the photographic evidence and I'll be having a word with Steve.

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Otterburn Chieftains



The first otterburn Chieftain targets were surplus (wilich) turrets a pair each at Quickencote HESH range and a pair (yellow painted) on the mobile range at bushmans road.


Quickcote turrets




Bushmans mobile target range hard target turrets after there removal for scrap or relocation




Note the dilapidated ferret 00EC40 in the background





Edited by steveo578
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In December 1999 six further chieftains were sent to OTA for targeting due to the 2001 FAM outbreak it would be nearly 3years before all were finally positioned. They were amongst the first targets received at OTA to be de-poluted, however their arrival caused another outbreak of anti-army protests by an organisation called "road watch".





these tanks both arrived with the offside track short tracked after loosing their idler.




00FD64 Achillies.jpg




04EB68 Dewar.jpg

03EB61b HERMOSA.jpg

Edited by steveo578
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00EB34 managed to shed a track and crash into a ditch, the road surface was so badly damaged while moving the CFE Chieftains that it was closed for some time.



08FA86 showing the short track



close up of Hermosa









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steve, that goes for all of us. cheers mate.


don't be sad about the chieftains being on the range, you can guarantee that in 50 years when chieftains are rare that some poor misguided fools will attempt to recover and restore them.



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I had intended my pics on the thread to run from the oldest stuff to the newest but as there was a request for Chieftains I decided to post them early -there are other chieftain photos from OTA on other posts -for example the stillbrew sequence (thread Question what's your favourite tank), -which I decided not to post here.



Edited by steveo578
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Steve, thanks so much for those detailed pics, that are an invaluable insight into how these vehicles ended their days. As an ex Driver they do make an interesting topic, as Id always wondered just how much protection my seat got from those Sabots n hesh`s ! Thanks once again


If anyone else has some of these ..please post them







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steve, that goes for all of us. cheers mate.


don't be sad about the chieftains being on the range, you can guarantee that in 50 years when chieftains are rare that some poor misguided fools will attempt to recover and restore them.



Will you be that person ? You will be about 90 years old then.

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bob, at this rate i'll be lucky if i see 45 never mind 90 but if by some quirk of fate i get to be that old i hope i'll be wise enough to let some other buggar do the hard work. i'll just sit back, make encouraging noises and let them know that they are doing their bit to preserve our armoured heritage.



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Bob Grundy

eddy will you be that person ? You will be about 90 years old then.



Don't worry eddy I'm sure some young enthusiast will hold the barbed wire down as you struggle over the fences:-D


Some further photos of the Red Cavalier - empty rear compartments.



Close view of the drivers/co drivers hatches (A type hull) sometimes called suicide hatches the turret could easily jam the hull crew escape- although there was a hatch in the hull floor, it seems to be difficult if not impossible to use.



View from drivers side to co drivers position



Drivers station



Hull gunner station- in both OTA Cavaliers the hull MG mount was not fitted and the mount was blanked off along with the linked gunners periscope -the tank was designed to take a No 20 Besa mount which had an indirect periscope sight with aiming linkage. Note the ripple texture on the armour plate




Red Cavalier co drivers station.jpg

red cavalier drivers station.jpg

Red Cavalier rear.jpg

Red Cavalier hull hatches.jpg

red cavalier interior 1.jpg

Edited by steveo578
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An early Cromwell -possibly another Cavalier turret resting on the remains of a Comet turret -apparently abandonded in a ditch this object actually provided a function -which will become apparent in a future post.:nut:



The turret is recovered by a Foden. The Cromwell and Comet were targets for Hesh weapons for many years but were probably out of use before ATWG became commonplace.



The interior of the Blue Cavalier all the Cromwell/Cavalier turrets shown in this thread still had their gun mounts.



The bad side of the tank it had received a spay of 20mm canon from aircraft


The front of Blue was strange in that it had a shell hole properly repaired, additionally the hole is too large for a 2pdr and too small for a 6pdr -it is speculation that the repaired damage could be battle damage -there have been persistant rumours of Cavaliers being used as OP-RA in NWE.



On its way to a new home.




blue cavalier 2.jpg

Blue Cavalier detail.jpg

blue cavalier.jpg

turret interior blue cavalier.jpg

turret recovery.jpg

cavalier turret.jpg

Edited by steveo578
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