Thursday, July 19, 2018

I have been to... The Tank Museum (and Battle Group South Wargame show)

....and one was truly awesome, and the other ..  err..  not so.. 

In our (that's DG and I's) continued search for a replacement to fill the hole in our schedules that has been left by our no longer attending Salute (and therefore missing a wargame show between November - Warfare - and September - Colours!) I suggested we might want to try the Battlegroup South show which is put on at the Tank Museum at Bovington ..

Now the Tank Museum has been on my bucket list for what seems like an age, and DG hasn't been in 20 or so years, so a quick decision was made to give it a go.. and as for wargame shows, there really aren't that many in the south other than the two aforementioned ones and it looked like it might fit the bill...

After a sunny and warm two hour drive into the heart of holiday country (lots of caravans and motor homes, and weekend traffic) we arrived at the Museum without any problems, parking is great, and we paid our £14 entry to the museum (the wargame show is "free" after you pay your entry.. the ticket gets you unlimited re-entry to the museum for a year though, so very good value) and I can only say "wow" at my first sight, what looks like every Airfix/Matchbox kit I ever built as a younger Steve the Wargamer is there in 1:1 scale! 

I took a shed-load of pictures which I've loaded into this video ...


..but my stand out favourites in descending top 4 were (of course) the Tiger Hall..  the Tiger II was mahoosive...!


..the Grant as it reminded me of all those WWII games using the Airfix kit and Charles Grant/Featherstone rules forty odd years ago..


...I am drawn more to the early war tanks/era - the bigger tanks (on the whole - Tiger II excepted!) are not so interesting to me, so I loved the Italian desert kit..  this is an M14/41..  couldn't find an M13/40 but the hull is largely the same, just a bigger engine..


...that Carden Lloyd type suspension was clearly very influential at this period of tank development..


...but this was my #1...  Italian L3/33.. basically a Bren carrier turned into a tank...  I cannot begin to imagine just what it must have been like to have gone to war in the desert in one of these..



...this is the flame thrower version.. the fuel for that is in the comparatively unarmoured trailer right behind (!) - so reading the information provided - the pump for the flame thrower is driven by the under powered engine of the tank so range was 40 mtrs (only!) and the crews were advised not to be driving forward when using the flame thrower as they could drive into their own flame! Two men in that, desert heat, paper thin armour, flame thrower fuel just behind you, and in the pipe to the gun which runs under your feet...  where do I sign up?!  Astonishing bravery..



...so as we wondered round we would occasion upon a wargame trader, or game, dotted around the halls in between the tanks and I have to say, that for me (and DG) the show part was pretty underwhelming really, or maybe it was because the museum was so good??  Not many traders, who mostly to me looked like they weren't very busy, and there were some games but mostly (with one exception) there was not much information on what was being played...  stand out game for me was the Siege of Vienna..

Pic. courtesy of the team putting the game on - mine were rubbish!
...good signage and information, and the participant(s) explaining what was going on.. I have heard that they won "Best Demo Game" - well deserved..

Great day out, will definitely go to the museum again..

13 comments:

  1. Cool photos, love the Vienna game!

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  2. Hello,
    Colours is on the 15th September at Newbury Race Course this year. Doors open at 10am. If you wait until October you will sadly be disappointed!

    Thanks
    Simon (part of the Colours team)

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    1. Thanks simon.. LOL... I shall be there - been going since the Hexagon days!

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  3. Great pictures, looks like a fantastic event. I've been to Bovvy many times over the years and was there just a couple of months ago to see the Tiger exhibition. By far my favourite museum and one of these days I will get there for the wargame show (maybe next year).

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    1. Hi Lee - was your various blog updates on it that pushed it up my bucket list.. if I am to be brutally honest, I would save your next visit to a day when they're running the vehicles as that would be better than the show.. just my view....

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  4. Great photos Steve, it's a place I still long to visit although I have watched scores of videos on the individual tanks from the collection and would love to attend 'Tiger Day' and watch those beasts on the move! Have to marvel at the courage of those guys crammed into those tiny tanks in the desert, must have been unbearable.

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    1. Lee - it get's me irritated - every one has a go at the Italians in WWII, and then you see the kit they had to fight with... brave men... have a read of "Iron Hulls Iron Hearts" for an interesting insight into the difficulties facing the Italian war machine in WWII, specifically affecting their armoured troops...

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  5. Nice to see you there, and I agree that the Relief of Vienna game was the best.

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  6. Attack in Devizes this weekend must be as near as Bovington for you and it's usually a relaxed, enjoyable show?

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    1. Jeremy - noted - exact same distance (almost)...

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