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Tankfest - Rare Vehicles to Run for the First Time...


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bovtm_black_prince_head.jpg

 

Preparations to make a selection of vehicles never before seen at TANKFEST are well underway.

 

A further selection of `old favourites` will be complimented by British Army vehicles and The Tank Museum is currently taking delivery of a compliment of rare vehicles that have been released from the teaching collection at Shrivenham’s School of Tank Technology. Details of these and the British Army vehicles will be posted soon.

 

Alongside the ever-popular Tiger tank, at least four vehicles have or are currently undergoing considerable maintenance work in order to ensure their appearance at TANKFEST 2012.

 

Tank Infantry A43, Black Prince…

 

bovtm_black_prince2.jpg

 

Running for the first time in over 60 years, Black Prince is the sole survivor of a run of prototypes that sought to increase the firepower of British tanks. Like the Tortoise that made its TANKFEST debut in 2001, this tank is a reminder of the often lamentable state of British tank design and production during World War II. Based on the design of a Churchill tank, although much wider to accommodate the 17pdr gun, Black Prince was considered by some to be outdated when it was designed in 1943 and obsolete by others when the prototypes were built in January 1945. This underpowered tank lacked the mobility required to be effective in contemporary warfare and unsurprisingly it was never accepted for service. It’s hard to believe that it was designed and built in a similar time frame to the hugely successful Centurion tank - but for that reason it remains an integral part of the British tank story.

 

MK IV Replica, the War Horse Tank…

 

bovtm_warhorse_tank_2.jpg

 

This `tank` will be the centre piece of this year’s mock battle – a World War One battle re-enactment complete with infantry and dogfighting fighter aircraft. The Tank Museum’s original World War I tanks are now too fragile to be run under their own power for arena displays. With the centenary of World War I approaching, the Museum had been considering building a replica rhomboid tank. But when production on the recent Spielberg blockbuster `War Horse` concluded, the opportunity to obtain the detailed `Mk IV tank` used in the film proved to be irresistible. Built by OSCAR winning special effects company Neil Corbould Special Effects LTD, the vehicle has been constructed around the engine and transmission of a modern commercial excavator – but moves with all the presence and menace of the real thing. This will be the first opportunity to see this tank in action since its appearance on the Silver Screen.

 

M60 A3 MBT…

 

bovtm_m60_a3.jpg

 

The Tank Museum took delivery of this vehicle in 2008. It was in very poor condition both cosmetically and mechanically; track guards were damaged or missing, weeds had taken root inside the vehicle, and there had been a catastrophic failure of the reduction gears rendering the tank un-drivable. Fortunately, the engine was in reasonable order and this has allowed Workshop staff and Volunteers to overhaul the tank and return it to running order. A particularly time consuming task involved the removal of layer upon layer of old paint so the vehicle could undergo a complete cosmetic restoration. The M60 was a US tank which effectively replaced the M48 during the 1960’s, although it didn’t see action in America’s hot war of the period; Vietnam. In basic terms, the M60 can be considered the US contemporary of the British Chieftain. What this shows is the differing philosophy of British and American tank design. In fact, one could argue that until the M1A1 Abrams appeared in the 1980’s (replacing the M60), the US was a little behind the curve in tank design. The differences between the M60 and the Chieftain are significant; the low profile of the Chieftain would make it a harder target to hit. The M60 mounted the 105mm gun rather than the Chieftain’s larger 120mm gun. The M60 pays greater attention to the potential threat on anti-tank mines, with a large boat shaped hull to direct blast away from the fighting compartment, but this only adds to the overall height of the tank. The M60 last saw action with the US during operation Desert Storm. It has also been exported and deployed by other nations and remains in service today, notably with Egypt, Turkey and Israel.

 

Panhard AML 245 HE 60-7...

 

bovtm_panhard_car.jpgWhilst smaller in stature, this armoured car has also never been seen in action at The Tank Museum. Panhard et Levassor is one of the oldest names in automobile history, and has been providing armoured cars for the French Army since World War I. Entering service in 1961 it might be seen as the French equivalent to the British Ferret scout car, although it carries a larger turret with much heavier firepower. There are a number of variants of this particular vehicle, but this model carries a pair of 7.62mm machine guns in the turret alongside a 60mm Hotchkiss-Brandt mortar. The AML has been exported to over 30 countries. The Tank Museum also owns a 90mm gun version captured from Argentinian Forces in the Falklands War.

 

 

Please note that the appearance of these vehicles is subject to their mechanical reliability and operational considerations.

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I can still remember when one of the origonal first war tanks took part in the battle, acordind to friends the replica is very life like and looks very real indeed right up to thr point where you touch it.

 

Ashley

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  • 2 months later...

Having just seen a video of Black Prince being towed around the arena at Tankfest I take it something happened to stop the vehicle being run on its own steam this year. Was it mechanical or lack of spare parts that stopped it running?

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I believe it was a failed head gasket

 

Yes bob it was a failed head Gasket when we did a tow start it did run under its own power for a short distance which was a bit of a reward for all the hard work it was decided only on sunday to tow it around there is some talk that it may be repaired

Al

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Given the amount of time Alec ( or lack of it ) you and the rest of the " ant hill mob " were given to get her running I think its amazing that she was that close to being ready for Tank Fest.

Don't worry in my eyes you boys still have your 100% record intact.

Oh,,,, and a speedy recovery mate:)

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Sorry for the delay in adding to this thread but I have a strange fault (some would say many faults but ....). When I try to reply to posts from my home computer, it shows a dialog box for a fraction of a second and then closes it, meaning I cannot type in it. I can only reply from my work computer, which I am not supposed to do.

Anyway, Black Prince did defeat us! We had multiple problems including a faulty starter motor that was never effectively fixed despite 3 rewindings meaning all ignition and carburation had to be checked by towing whole vehicle in gear. We had to get the spark plugs out by putting someone in the pit arm up, King Arthur and Excalibur style and then jacking them up until they were squashed into the belly plate to reach. Plug spanner had to be remade for each plug. 18mm plugs were all faulty having to be dismantled and rebuilt with some 14mm components. Whole HT system was very brittle and we were refused the loan of a distributer cap we tried to borrow so we could try new leads (dared not try and remove old leads due to possibility of breaking cap.) Carbs were faulty with broken internal mechanism - oddly the carbs are sprung wide open, the throttle mechanism is what shuts them. If the rod comes off, it springs to full throttle! We temporarily replaced the carbs with ones from a Liberty engine.

Unfortunately, it seems that a report of "it turns over" (temporary success with the starter motor) was taken to mean "it runs" but in fact we were not in position to go for a start tow until the Friday afternoon. It ran "OK" considering that the carbs were not any more than guess set but unfortunately, as soon as it started, exhaust gas and water erupted from the right hand radiator, indicating a fully blown head gasket, probably from the frontmost cylinder on the right hand bank which we had been unable to get the spark plug from, we had hoped running it would clear that plug. Had we been able to get it out then the head gasket leak would have been obvious but we had not been able to find a gorilla with arms long enough to reach it.

NB Although similar to Churchill, the engine is different, in particular it has two larger carbs rather than 4 on Churchill and it only has one distributer and one plug per cylinder instead of a duplicate system as on Churchill. The other difference is a 24 volt system so the starter motor is unique and water and exhaust pipes that run in the space you normally put your hands to reach the plugs from the top.

We felt terrible at letting everyone down and spent the saturday trying to find if we could do a gasket change but on Sunday the team (*) ensured it at least attended by towing it round the areana with the Chieftain recovery vehicle. A poor substitute, sorry folks!

(*) Team was less Big Al who had made a spectacular job of tripping over on Friday night and had broken his ankle that meant his one foot was pointing to 12 oclock, the other to 5 oclock and he was in Dorchester Hospital being screwed and plated back together.

Vehicle is now better than it was, has been turned over with clean oil in gearbox and engine and chassis lubed. Fixing it will not be too much trouble or we can refit the original parts and put it back on display - decision yet to be made, not by me!!

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Sorry for the delay in adding to this thread but I have a strange fault (some would say many faults but ....). When I try to reply to posts from my home computer, it shows a dialog box for a fraction of a second and then closes it, meaning I cannot type in it. I can only reply from my work computer, which I am not supposed to do.

Anyway, Black Prince did defeat us! We had multiple problems including a faulty starter motor that was never effectively fixed despite 3 rewindings meaning all ignition and carburation had to be checked by towing whole vehicle in gear. We had to get the spark plugs out by putting someone in the pit arm up, King Arthur and Excalibur style and then jacking them up until they were squashed into the belly plate to reach. Plug spanner had to be remade for each plug. 18mm plugs were all faulty having to be dismantled and rebuilt with some 14mm components. Whole HT system was very brittle and we were refused the loan of a distributer cap we tried to borrow so we could try new leads (dared not try and remove old leads due to possibility of breaking cap.) Carbs were faulty with broken internal mechanism - oddly the carbs are sprung wide open, the throttle mechanism is what shuts them. If the rod comes off, it springs to full throttle! We temporarily replaced the carbs with ones from a Liberty engine.

Unfortunately, it seems that a report of "it turns over" (temporary success with the starter motor) was taken to mean "it runs" but in fact we were not in position to go for a start tow until the Friday afternoon. It ran "OK" considering that the carbs were not any more than guess set but unfortunately, as soon as it started, exhaust gas and water erupted from the right hand radiator, indicating a fully blown head gasket, probably from the frontmost cylinder on the right hand bank which we had been unable to get the spark plug from, we had hoped running it would clear that plug. Had we been able to get it out then the head gasket leak would have been obvious but we had not been able to find a gorilla with arms long enough to reach it.

NB Although similar to Churchill, the engine is different, in particular it has two larger carbs rather than 4 on Churchill and it only has one distributer and one plug per cylinder instead of a duplicate system as on Churchill. The other difference is a 24 volt system so the starter motor is unique and water and exhaust pipes that run in the space you normally put your hands to reach the plugs from the top.

We felt terrible at letting everyone down and spent the saturday trying to find if we could do a gasket change but on Sunday the team (*) ensured it at least attended by towing it round the areana with the Chieftain recovery vehicle. A poor substitute, sorry folks!

(*) Team was less Big Al who had made a spectacular job of tripping over on Friday night and had broken his ankle that meant his one foot was pointing to 12 oclock, the other to 5 oclock and he was in Dorchester Hospital being screwed and plated back together.

Vehicle is now better than it was, has been turned over with clean oil in gearbox and engine and chassis lubed. Fixing it will not be too much trouble or we can refit the original parts and put it back on display - decision yet to be made, not by me!!

John has forgot to say that there is little information on Black Prince in the arcives so it was made more difficult to work on. We did tried and a lot of hardwork and time was put in traveling back and forth to try to meet the deadline but we did fail I do hope the suits do decide to get it running under its own power one day it would be a sight !

Al (Leg up and at home)

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I suppose that I must make a short statement. In the mid 1980's a working party from the now well defunct Tracked Armour Group went to the Tank Museum on three occasions to work on Black Prince. On the second visit with ten minutes to go before closing it fired up. The last visit after some further work I drove it forward about 6 feet, nudged it left and right and then back in reverse. A report was typed out and posted to the Museum for their archives, however it cannot now be found.

Make of this what you will........

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I suppose that I must make a short statement. In the mid 1980's a working party from the now well defunct Tracked Armour Group went to the Tank Museum on three occasions to work on Black Prince. On the second visit with ten minutes to go before closing it fired up. The last visit after some further work I drove it forward about 6 feet, nudged it left and right and then back in reverse. A report was typed out and posted to the Museum for their archives, however it cannot now be found.

Make of this what you will........

 

Bob, I did not know that and I was there! I remember leaving a full outboard motor fuel tank on a gravity feed for you and going home (I was working on the Valentine and had finished). I later heard that a flooding carb had filled the inlet tract with petrol and when cranked, the engine mixed this with radiator cooling air and blew it up into the rafters, finally igniting it as a small fuel/air explosion that all but lifted the roof off and got us all stopped from working on vehicles inside the Museum itself for many years! I did not know you got it running, certainly not long enough to move it! In that case, someone must have been "messing" between 1986(?) and 2012 as the starter motor was burned out and the carbs broken insidewhen we got to it: I must say I assumed you had done for the carbs with the "backshot" but if you had it running afterwards then you are certainly not the culprit. Mr Mystery must have also done for the headgasket but the other faults, jammed controls and crumbling/brittle wiring is just the passage of time. Hard to accept but your work on it was only 35 years after it was thought to have last run (1951) and we were looking at it 36 years after you! Now I do feel old!

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Bob, I did not know that and I was there! I remember leaving a full outboard motor fuel tank on a gravity feed for you and going home (I was working on the Valentine and had finished). I later heard that a flooding carb had filled the inlet tract with petrol and when cranked, the engine mixed this with radiator cooling air and blew it up into the rafters, finally igniting it as a small fuel/air explosion that all but lifted the roof off and got us all stopped from working on vehicles inside the Museum itself for many years! I did not know you got it running, certainly not long enough to move it! In that case, someone must have been "messing" between 1986(?) and 2012 as the starter motor was burned out and the carbs broken insidewhen we got to it: I must say I assumed you had done for the carbs with the "backshot" but if you had it running afterwards then you are certainly not the culprit. Mr Mystery must have also done for the headgasket but the other faults, jammed controls and crumbling/brittle wiring is just the passage of time. Hard to accept but your work on it was only 35 years after it was thought to have last run (1951) and we were looking at it 36 years after you! Now I do feel old!

 

That is 26 years after you of course, cannot count and machine will not let me edit for some reason!

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