I spent last weekend at Bovington Tank Museum, attending Tank Fest 2015. For those who aren’t aware, Tank Fest is an annual event, where the museum brings out a selection of vehicles and has them drive around the arena. It’s a chance to see the vehicles running, rather than stationary in a display hall.
Modern vehicles are often driven at speed, which can be a spectacular sight. Older vehicles tend to be driven slowly, and may even stop if the engine appears to be having trouble. The museum is keen to keep the vehicles in driving condition, so would rather halt a display than do potentially irreparable damage. Given that most of the historical vehicles are very rare, and in some cases the only running example, this is a sensible policy.
There were other attractions, too. The museum itself was open. There were living history displays from military re-enactment groups, and there were WWII-themed entertainers. There were fly-pasts by a Spitfire and a Hurricane. I spent most of my time in the arena, watching the various AFVs.
A particular highlight for me was the Polish T-72M, especially as it demonstrated its ability to make smoke by injecting diesel into the exhaust.
It was also good to see the Tiger running. I’ve seen it in the display hall before, but it’s even more impressive on the move. Other highlights included the Matilda 1, Panzer 38(t), Leopards, Challenger 1 & 2, and the Tank Pull.
That last one is exactly what it sounds like – teams of twelve men pulling an 8-ton Scorpion tank. I’m not much of a sports fan, but if that was included in the next Olympics, I might tune in.