The Tank Museum is a collection of armoured fighting vehicles at Bovington Camp in Dorset, South West England.
Outside the entrance to the car park at the museum is an A22 Churchill Mark I.
The Tank, Infantry, Mk IV (A22) Churchill was a British heavy infantry tank used in the Second World War, best known for its heavy armour, large longitudinal chassis with all-around tracks with multiple bogies, its ability to climb steep slopes, and its use as the basis of many specialist vehicles. It was one of the heaviest Allied tanks of the war.
The origins of the design lay in the expectation that war in Europe might be fought under similar conditions to those of the First World War, and emphasised the ability to cross difficult ground. The Churchill was rushed into production to build up British defences against a possible German invasion. The first vehicles had flaws that had to be overcome before the Churchill was accepted for wide use. After several Marks had been built, a better armoured version, the Mark VII, entered service.
The Churchill was used by British and Commonwealth forces in North Africa, Italy and North-West Europe. In addition, a few hundred were supplied to the USSR and used on the Eastern Front.
This A22 Churchill at the Tank Museum appears to have been completed as a Mark II but has since been altered to resemble a Mark I.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the gaming front, there were some great games on display.
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.