The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car was a British armoured car developed in 1914 and used during the First World War, Irish Civil War, the inter-war period in Imperial Air Control in Transjordan, Israel and Mesopotamia, and in the early stages of the Second World War in the Middle East and North Africa. The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) raised the first British armoured car squadron during the First World War.
This Rolls Royce Armoured Car is the oldest vehicle at the Tank Museum still in running order.
It is a hundred years old, built at Rolls Royce’s Derby Works in 1920 and first saw service in Ireland the next year.
It’s painted as it was with the 5th ACC in Shanghai.
Spent time in Scarborough between 1922 and 1927, it was then shipped to Shanghai for 2 years before spending 1929 to 1938 in Egypt with the 5th Armoured Car Company, Royal Tank Corps, 12th Royal Lancers and 11th Hussars. After taking part in anti-invasion patrols with the 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry the car came to Bovington in 1940 and joined The Tank Museum collection in 1946.
The Infantry Tank, Black Prince (A43) was an experimental development of the Churchill tank with a larger, wider hull and a QF 17-pounder (76 mm) gun. This is one of the six prototypes made and is on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington.
As a development from the Churchill, the Black Prince was a continuation of the line of Infantry tanks, that is slower, heavier tanks intended to operate in close support of infantry. It also was able to work closely with other tanks. The parallel development in British tank design were the Cruiser tanks, which were intended for more mobile operations.
By the time the Black Prince prototypes had appeared in May 1945, the Sherman Firefly had proved itself in combat, the Comet tank was in service and the introduction of Centurion was imminent. All these tanks carried the QF 17-pounder or a derivative; all had better mobility than the Black Prince and the Centurion had frontal armour of comparable effectiveness. The Black Prince had become redundant and the project was abandoned
The Black Prince marked the end of the development of the A22F Churchill Mk VII, and the end of the Infantry tank concept in British tank design.
The M46 Patton was an American medium tank designed to replace the M26 Pershing and M4 Sherman. It was one of the U.S Army’s principal medium tanks of the early Cold War, with models in service from 1949 until the mid-1950s.
Reading the Hot War books from Harry Turtledove has inspired me to think about gaming some scenarios from the books. British Comets and Centurions versus Russians T34-85 and T54 Soviet tanks with American M26 Pershing and M48 Patton tanks. In the book there are also Sherman manned by (West) German forces.
The FV601 Saladin is a six-wheeled armoured car developed by Crossley Motors and later manufactured by Alvis. Designed in 1954, it replaced the AEC Armoured Car in service with the British Army from 1958 onward. The vehicle weighed 11 tonnes, offered a top speed of 72 km/h, and had a crew of three. Saladins were noted for their excellent performance in desert conditions, and found favour with a number of Middle Eastern armies accordingly. They were armed with a 76 mm low-pressure rifled (spin-stabilised) gun which fired the same ammunition as that mounted on the FV101 Scorpion.
The Saladin also spawned an armoured personnel carrier counterpart, the Alvis Saracen.
Despite the vehicle’s age and dated design, it is still in use in a number of countries in secondary roles.
There are three surviving Saladins in The Tank Museum. One, in all over green, is displayed in the exhibition and is shown above. The second, in all over tan, is in operational condition and used in events.
The third, in a tan and green camouflage pattern, is part of the museum’s reserve collection and is stored in the vehicle conservation centre.
The Tank Museum at Bovington’s British Churchill Crocodile Flame Thrower Tank is unusual from other Museums Churchill Crocodile tanks as it still has its fuel trailer. You can see the trailer tyres on the right behind the tank.
The tank on display was the last Churchill Mark VII to be produced by Vauxhall, in October 1945. It was sent directly to the School of Tank Technology, which transferred it to the Tank Museum in 1949, with practically no mileage beyond its acceptance test. The Mark VII was the first of the factory-assembled marks with thicker armour in fulfilment of the “heavy Churchill” requirement of May 1943.
Three brigades of Churchills landed in Normandy in 1944, most with 75 mm guns, some with 6-pounders, a few with 95 mm howitzers.
The Ferret armoured car, also commonly called the Ferret scout car, is a British armoured fighting vehicle designed and built for reconnaissance purposes. The Ferret was produced between 1952 and 1971 by the UK company Daimler. It was widely adopted by regiments in the British Army, as well as the RAF Regiment and Commonwealth countries.
This one was at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
They also had a sand coloured Ferret on display as well.
This Ferret MkII Scout Car in a white UN paint scheme was on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.
There was a similar painted Ferret at the Tank Museum as well.
The Cromwell tank, named after the English Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell, was the first tank in the British arsenal to combine a dual-purpose gun, high speed from the powerful and reliable Meteor engine, and reasonable armour, all in one balanced package. Its design formed the basis of the Comet tank. The Cromwell first saw action in June 1944, with the reconnaissance regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps.
This Cromwell tank was on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington when I went there in 2016.
I had taken a photograph of the same tank twenty odd years earlier as well.
The Cromwell tank was one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second World War. Its design formed the basis of the Comet tank. However by the time the Cromwell first saw action in Normandy in many ways it was already out of date.
I remember when I watched episode 4 of Band of Brothers and was pleasantly surprised to see some (real) Cromwells used in the filming.
Overall the Cromwell was a welcome addition to the British forces, but as with many allied tanks, they were under armoured and under-gunned when faced with the German tanks of the same time period. Where the allies won out was in sheer numbers and probably more importantly logistics.
The Sherman Firefly was a World War II British variant of the American Sherman tank, fitted with the powerful British 17 pounder anti-tank gun as its main weapon. Originally conceived as a stopgap until future British tank designs came into service, the Sherman Firefly became the most common vehicle with the 17 pounder in World War II.
This Sherman Firefly was on display at the Bovington Tank Museum.
Though the British expected to have their own new tank models developed soon (and were loath to consider using American tanks), British Major George Brighty championed the already-rejected idea of mounting the 17 pounder in the existing Sherman. With the help of Lieutenant Colonel Witheridge and despite official disapproval, he managed to get the concept accepted. This proved fortuitous, as both the Challenger and Cromwell tank designs experienced difficulties and delays.
After the problem of getting the gun to fit in the Sherman’s turret was solved, the Firefly was put into production in early 1944, in time to equip Field Marshal Montgomery’s forces for the Normandy landings. It soon became highly valued as the only British tank capable of defeating the Panther and Tiger tanks it faced in Normandy at standard combat ranges. In recognition of this, German tank and anti-tank gun crews were instructed to attack Fireflies first.
After World War 2 Soviet tanks developed along logical traditional lines. In 1960 work began on a new design, the T-64, which incorporated many revolutionary and untried features but it was not a great success and in 1970 the prototype of T-72 appeared, which could be described as a simplified version of T-64. The T-72 is a family of Soviet main battle tanks that first entered production in 1971.
This T72 was on display at Bovington Tank Museum.
The Tank Museum’s vehicle is a T72M1 that was used by the former East German Army, (NVA, Nationale Volks Armee).
About 20,000 T-72 tanks have been built, and refurbishment has enabled many to remain in service for decades.
I have recently published an article that I wrote, which originally appeared in the January 1994 edition of Miniature Wargames.
The article, entitled, It fell off the back of a lorry…. is a skirmish scenario involving gangsters, market traders as well as police and security forces in the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Oh it involves a T-90 tank which is an up-armoured version of the T-72.
The Scorpion Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (tracked) FV101 at Bovington.
The FV101 Scorpion is a British armoured reconnaissance vehicle. It was the lead vehicle and the fire support type in the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), CVR(T), family of seven armoured vehicles. Manufactured by Alvis, it was introduced into service with the British Army in 1973 and served until 1994.
Scorpion became the first of a whole family of fighting vehicles including Scimitar, Striker and Samaritan. It served in the Falklands and the Gulf as well as being a success on the export market. Changes in British policy, and the international situation meant that surviving Scorpions were fitted with a new weapon, the 30mm Rarden Cannon, and renamed Sabre.
It has been supplied to Belgium, the Irish Republic, Malaya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman and Venezuela.