Down at the Tank Museum

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I’ve never been to the wargaming show at the Tank Museum before and it has been many years since I last visited the actual museum, but this year I did manage to get down to Bovington.

There is something rather inspiring about visiting a gaming show amongst the many different kinds of tanks and armoured cars on show. It’s one thing to see a 15 mm Tortoise on the table in an 1947 game and then just on the other side of the museum is the real prototype.

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I probably spent more time looking at the exhibits than looking at the games or shopping, but there are some great exhibits. Those first tanks from The Great War were those that impressed me the most.

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These metal monsters designed in an era when they didn’t really know what they were doing and there was a lot of trial and error. The Mark IX reminds us that the APC is as old as the tank.

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The exhibition is great because you can get right up and close to the tanks and you get a much better understanding of the strength but also the weaknesses of the armoured fighting vehicle. You can see how tall the Sherman was for example and why those flat sides were a real target for the panzerfaust armed Germans.

Having recently enjoyed the film Fury it was great to see the real star of that film, the M4A3E8 Sherman.

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On the gaming front, there were some great games on display.

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Lots of traders there too ready to take your money, though I went with some ideas of getting some Sarissa Precision models they weren’t in stock and no one had any Copplestone Castings, so in the end I got one of the new 4Ground The Chicago Way buildings and some 28mm Edwardian policemen.

Cromwell

This Cromwell is at Bovington, well the photograph was taken fifteen years ago I think, so it was certainly there back then…
Cromwell
The Cromwell tank was one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second World War. 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. However by the time the Cromwell first saw action in Normandy in many ways it was already out of date.
I am the process of painting some Cromwells for Flames of War.
I remember when I watched episode 4 of Band of Brothers and was pleasantly surprised to see some (real) Cromwells used in the filming.
Cromwell tank in Band of Brothers
Cromwell tank in Band of Brothers
Overall the Cromwell was a welcome addition to the British, 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.

Comet

This Comet is at Bovington, well the photograph was taken fifteen years ago I think, so it was certainly there back then… 😉
The Tank, Cruiser, Comet I (A34) was a British cruiser tank that first saw use near the end of World War II.
The Tank, Cruiser, Comet I (A34) was a British cruiser tank that first saw use near the end of World War II. It was designed to provide greater anti-tank capability to Cromwell tank squadrons. It was armed with a 77mm HV, a derivative of the 17 pounder, with the result that it was one of the few British tanks with the firepower to challenge late war German designs. As a development of the Cromwell, it was an interim design before the Centurion tank. Seeing post World War II combat during the Korean war, the Comet remained in British service until 1958. Comets sold to other countries continued in some cases to operate into the 1970s.
It is one of those tanks that I think I like because of the Airfix and Matchbox influence, there was a lovely 1:76th scale plastic kit of the Comet from Matchbox that I remember building. I am expecting that we might eventually see one for Flames of War… you never know.