TANKFEST 2018 was an excellent show with guest tanks running in the arena including a Char B1 bis, IS-III Joseph Stalin and the French FT-17 from WWI, so the question was how would the 2019 show measure up? Read on and decide for yourself.
Billed as ‘star’ guests at 2019 were:
- JagdPanther (tank destroyer – Germany – WW2)
- Panther (tank – Germany – WW2)
- Sherman Firefly (tank – Great Britain – WW2)
- T-34/85 x 2 (tank – Soviet union – WW2)
- Type 95 Ha-Go (tank – Japan – WW2)
For me other notable vehicles running in the arena included:
- Leopard PRTL (anti-aircraft tank – Netherlands – current)
- M-24 Chaffee (tank – USA – WW2)
- Matilda II (tank – Great Britain – WW2)
As usual the arena displays were varied and absorbing, I suspect that nowhere else in the world can such a varied collection of vintage armour be seen in action. The WW2 battle was for once entirely armoured, called Final Reckoning it was set in early 1945 as the victorious Allied powers closed in around Berlin. On the Axis side were the Panther, Panzer III, StuG III and Hetzer, while on the Allied side were three Shermans (Firefly, M4A1 and Fury) and two T-34/85s. A particularly nice touch – especially for us photographers – was seeing white flags of surrender being waved from the turrets of the Axis vehicles, albeit at a price of 3 Allied tanks ‘destroyed’.
Over the 3 days that I attended TANKFEST I took over 6,000 pictures. An initial sort whittled these down to 3,000 to keep and from these around 100 have been selected for this page. 100 is rather more than I would normally publish on a single page but it seemed appropriate to do the show justice, so on to the pictures.
In the Arena
Focus on the Panther
For the first time ever a running Panther appeared at TANKFEST, thanks to the Musee des Blindes at Samur in France. The Panther took a leading part in the Final Reckoning as well as the arena vehicle displays.
Once upon a time T-34/85 tanks were quite common at military vehicle & living history shows in the UK. In current times they are less common and seeing two performing together even scarcer, so seeing two expertly display at TANKFEST was a real treat.
Featuring in this short video are T-34/85s, Shermans, a Panzer III and a StuG III. It rather gives something of the flavour of TANKFEST, with plenty of arena action and dust thrown up by the vehicles.
Probably the scarcest vehicle at the the show was the Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go.
And so another excellent TANKFEST ended, 3 great days at probably what is the greatest museum of tracked and wheeled armour in the world. Already I am left wondering what TANKFEST 2020 will bring.
Visitor: “Thank you Monsieur for bringing your Panther for us to see. Tell me what tank will you bring to our show next year?”
French tank man: “Monsieur qui a besoin de savior des informations…”