Went to see a man about : (insert title here).

Hang on , that’s not a boat !

No it isn’t, its actually a Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf F ….in short a Panther and yes its a tank and no mother it isn’t a Tiger tank.

Some of you might be thinking that i went to see a boat today and yes i did but it was such a horrible journey home that somewhere around Poole when i was losing the will to live in the ultra-slow moving holiday traffic that i remembered that there was somewhere pretty neat nearby where i could get coffee, food, more coffee, Tanks and yes…more coffee.   The place is the Tank museum at Bovington and its only a short diversion off the direct route home and i love the place : first went there when i was an obnoxious ginger tw*t in short trousers….err hang on aren’t i still an obnoxious tw@t in short trousers ! ok well maybe but its even better now that it was back then with a huge amount more inside space, an arena and a conservation centre and workshops.  Last year i treated myself to a Tank experience day which was basically a full fay at the museum but with lots of extras such as going around with a real tank historian, climbing over and inside some of the vehicles, driving an APC and finally getting a ride around the arena in the mighty Leopard.

You should hear this thing….about 40 tons and 900 Hp.


Its seriously worth a visit if you have any interest in history at all, apparently its the MOST visited museum in the Uk, the displays aren’t behind glass but right where you can walk up to them and kick them if you want to….you’ll only hurt yourself if you do !    The display does keep changing because aside from the main display there is often a new themed display as only about a third of the collection can be on display at any one time. The new display is simply called the Tiger collection : its like going into the throne room of the Gods >

Tiger 131. (actually runs)


Tiger ‘Elephant’


The King : Konigstiger…..here with an appropriately kneeling supplicant.


Konigstiger and Jagdtiger.


Ok , that’s all the heavy metal you’re getting for one day, its been a very long day and i need to eat.  If you are all very good i will tell you all about the boat.


Sunday edit.

Didn’t get much sleep what with the after effects of a stressy drive and far too busy a head after seeing the Devon Dayboat and thinking about that until about 0 Dark-Thirty !. Taking a break at Bovington was the obvious thing to do, not the least that its a big dry indoor space to walk around in after sitting in the car for what had seemed hours at that point.  Its a bit expensive to get in nowadays but the ticket basically includes a year pass so that i can now go there anytime i like for a longer visit : this one was a quick visit and to be honest there were far too many people there for me to really lose myself in it all.  What i may do is become a friend of the museum and go on another specialist visit, i haven’t seen the workshop yet or the library/archive and ‘friends’ get to see those.  I would love to go to Tiger day and see the Tiger 1 run but its a very expensive day with the ticket price, staying somewhere local overnight and just getting there….maybe next years treat perhaps.

What i didn’t explain in the main post is that while this may seem a very strange interest for a sailor and nurse it is/was a childhood obsession that started with a 2 shilling Airfix model when i was about 6 or 7 and blossomed into a full time hobby throughout my teens.  I only lost interest when i left school and discovered motorbikes, girls, beer and climbing .  Up until then show me half a profile of a Tank and i would have been 95% probable to tell you nation, type and mark : the 5% was because i was a bit shaky on the Russians !.  Sometime i really must post the later story of how that childhood hobby led me inexorably into a deeper and deeper reading of history and especially the totalitarian 20th century that we have never really escaped from.  From a table-top hobby to reading military history, and from there reading smaller and darker stories (Oradour and the march of the 2nd SS panzer division for example) into where i am now which is studying the larger themes of National Socialism and Leninist/Marxism….its been a long journey even this far.  Somehow even today to be able to go and put my hands on the terrible but ruggedly beautiful machines seems to keep it real.

Where it all started :


Tiger Day (Jingles).

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