Continuing my review of Tankfest 2017 held at Bovington, in my last blog entry I had just stopped for lunch and I was taking a tour around the Museums whilst the displays in the Arena were having a break. First stop was the main hall, where the story of Tank development is told. The very first Tank, ‘Little Willy’ is on display as well as a selection of WW1 tanks moving through into the interwar years.
You soon get to the Second World War, and of course this is where tank development really starts to take off. The Germans opted for sophisticated, highly engineered designs, the Russians & USA adopting a more pragmatic approach based on manufacturing capabilities – simple and effective. The British Tank development appears to have stuttered and despite inventing the concept, our tanks lag behind, being either under gunned, under powered or both.
The story of the development of the tank is expertly told, both with the many tank exhibits and Audio visual displays. It is just a joy to be able to see for yourself the different style of tanks and compare size and design.
From the Second World War it was onto the Post war and Cold war period. Most boys of my age will fondly remember playing with the vehicles shown here as they were issued as Dinky toys die cast models in the 50’s & 60’s!
From the main hall we drifted into the latest addition to the museum, the Tiger Hall, where for the first time, you could see the Tiger 1 alongside the Tiger II (pre-production and production versions), Jadgtiger and the only Elephant that survives in the western word, temporarily on loan to the museum. Awesome just doesn’t do these tanks justice! They are magnificent! As you can see from the pictures, it was very busy here. However, the spectators help to show just how monstrous these tanks are!
We then stepped through to the Word War Two Hall – Wow! What a collection of vehicles. I was actually so distracted, I stopped taking photos as we were running out of time, so it was off to the the WW1 displays. War Horse to Horse power, telling the early story of the Tank in WW1 in detail.
By now we were all tanked out so it was back outside for … more tanks! We quickly made our way to the Tank park to look over the vehicles that would be running later in the day. There was a nice mix of the modern and older tanks to see.
Some of the veteran tanks were also on display, unfortunately not all were able to run. The Jadganther suffering from engine trouble – not surprising for a vehicle that is 63 years old!
We were then cleared out of the Tank park as the afternoon programme was about to start in the arena. First up, the modern recovery vehicles, followed by a parade of WW2 vehicles.
And on to the grand finale, a re-enactment of the D-Day landings, with plenty of smoke, flash bangs and noise!
At 6.00pm, I was ready to leave the museum and having had yet another look around, although I felt that I had had my moneys worth, there was still plenty that I had not seen! The good news was that my ticket is valid for a whole year so if I can get myself back down to Bovington, I can enjoy another look around when perhaps there are not so many people around!
I hope that the pictures inspire you to visit the museum. They are just a small taste of what was on display during the day. If you can get there, it is certainly worthwhile and very inspiring. I have said that I will make my photos and videos available but so far technology is defeating me…You can see some of the video that I shot here, on Arcane Scenery’s You Tube channel:
I will be adding more videos and the next job will be to sort out the picture hosting – watch out for an announcement on Facebook.