Sunday, January 21, 2007

Little Willie

I was surfing yesterday when I came across a picture that jogged my memory. The picture in question was that of what they termed a one man tank. It looked more like a metal bubble that had bicycle training wheels attached to it. If the old guys could have seen that it would have raised a real chuckle.

Let me proceed by first saying the picture above is of a Regimental Military Cap badge representative of the British Army ‘Royal Armoured Corps‘, and worn by all soldiers of the RTR. (Royal Tank Regiment’s) The Tank in the badge is called ‘Willie’ and below you see a life size picture of the real tank as used in the 1st World War. 1914 - 1918

They can be seen at a Tank museum and that is where I had the opportunity to go inside a ‘Willie’ as well as many other old Tanks. Surely a site to see.

This also, are two ‘Willie’ tanks in action with the 10th Hussars. WW1 1917

This link gives you more tanks and information over the following years.

As the years went by, it was a realization that the tank was here to stay and would play a prominent part in any future conflicts. So it was that the move was on to improve on what they already had right up to today/s most modern armored equipment . Would you believe that in modern warfare, the forecast life of a tank in action was only 10 seconds beyond that you were deemed lucky to survive it seems.

I myself spent a number of years in the army and served in the Tank corp. The modern ‘baby’ that I had in those days was known as the ‘Centurion’ a very good tank of the day which was used for a number of years, only to be replaced at a later date by the ‘Chieftain’ .

Even in peacetime, training was always very extensive with ongoing maneuvers in mock battle warfare, sometimes for eight weeks at a time. Believe me on those occasions you didn’t get too much respite. Some of these maneuvers were conducted with N.A.T.O. and those were really like war games. Every kind of situations were applied including the air force jets, so you really had to keep your head down and under camouflage so as not to have your tank detected from the air. The planes would use flour-bag’s to represent a bomb; of course if you were hit, that was the end of you for that days encounter. I can say that in the years I took part in the War Games I only ever got plonked once, and we were under camouflage netting at the time.

A few years later in the ‘real thing’ in Korea, I was fortunate & stayed safe.

The British Centurion Tank, used in the 1950’s for a number of years. (my baby)

Well folks let us hope it works this time. C'ya

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