On Saturday afternoon, Graham and I were booked in to take part in a spot of tank driving and shooting at Armourgeddon based in Leicestershire. We turned up a little early and took the opportunity to have a walk around the site and snapped a couple of pictures…
When our time came around, we ‘suited up’ and followed our instructor Stu out to our steed for the day, an FV432 light tank named ‘Jane.’ Graham took to the driver’s seat first and managed to plough into a ditch, throwing me around in the turret and slamming me into the turret ring (my back still aches now!), I then took to the sticks to show him how it’s done! During the driver training we did half the course with our heads out of the hatch and the second half ‘buttoned-up’ and looking through the periscope.
We then pulled up to the range and took turns acting as aimer and loader for the 40mm air gun mounted in the turret, ready to take to the field in a mock battle with another tank crew. After we had finished our training in all the crew positions, our instructor took us back to the hanger for a cup of tea and a briefing for the upcoming ‘tank-off’ (and a quick check over by the onsite medic for my poor back!)
The battle consists of two tanks, positioned parallel to each other on a straight course. There were several positions at which we would have to stop and fire two rounds at the opposing tank; the quicker we fired off our shots, the sooner we could move on to the next position thus presenting a moving target for our opponents. I chose to be the aimer and Graham to be the loader. As we were one short for a full crew another instructor took the driver’s seat for us. My aim was pretty good, and Graham’s loading was satisfyingly prompt and by the end of the course we were informed that we had hit 11 out of 12 shots!
It was a fantastic day, and I would recommend it to any fellow tank enthusiasts, the staff were very pleasant and really made it a fun couple of hours.